Having been to New York City several times, I can tell you it is possibly my favorite place to eat in the United States and is arguably my favorite place I've eaten in my world travels (I've been to a few European countries.) This was true before I had gone GF, but it still holds up. There are plenty of eats and treats for the savvy NYC visitor and resident, starting with a stop at Chelsea Market.
Chelsea Market is a top foodie destination for any NYC traveler; it houses several bakeries, restaurants, specialty food retailers and yes, even the Food Network studio is located in the market building. Suggested to me as a great GF destination by Kristin of Gluten Free Crumpette, Friedman's Lunch is definitely what you're looking for when it comes to a hassle free breakfast or lunch.
Months before visiting, I emailed Friedman's to ask them about their GF goods: What ingredients were used? Would I feel safe eating there? They were extremely helpful and sent me a full ingredient list of all their GF breads. Not only did I notice I had choices of bread even despite all my allergies, I could eat their bagels!!!!
I hadn't eaten a bagel since 2007, and I certainly hadn't eaten a bagel in New York since then. Bagel eating in the city is a bit of a religion for me, so you can imagine my surprise at finding that I could partake safely in my favorite lost ritual. Be warned: Friedman's instructed me that bagels are only available on the weekends and go fast! Just in case, I was first in line on a Saturday morning to make sure I got one. This is when I received another pleasant surprise; I had a choice of flavors! So not only do they have bagels, they have different kinds of bagels. I ordered my favorite type, Everything w/shmear, and waited with the anticipation of a giddy girl getting waiting to meet her first puppy.
What was delivered to me was a toasty warm miracle for my mouth, neatly wrapped in foil, marked proudly with a GF.
Here we go! I unwrapped the bagel with cautious optimism. Would this be as good as I remembered? Surely it couldn't taste exactly like a gluteny bagel, but would it come close? Would I mysteriously get sick even though I triple checked the ingredients and stressed to the cashier that I was gluten free, making sure that the necessary safety measures were taken?
This bagel was great! It was a bit thinner than the traditional NYC bagel, but they certainly added the traditional amount of shmear (I removed a good amount of the cream cheese, less is more for me.) Although the "everything" wasn't covering the bagel, there was enough flavoring that I could grasp the Everything concept and flavor, even though it doesn't look it. It had the consistency of a slightly larger Lender's bagel, which being GF, soy free AND nut free, is high praise! You win Friedman's Lunch, you win.
I did eat breakfast there a second day, ordering the B.E.L.T. sandwich (bacon, over easy egg, lettuce, tomato & herb mayo) on GF white bread and it was DELICIOUS. In fact, it was so delicious, that I ate it all, forgetting to snap a picture of it for you. Sorry! But let that be a testament to Friedman's Lunch- So good, you'll forget all about your food blog picture-taking and just chow down.
Stay tuned for Part 2: People's Pops.