Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gluten Free NYC! Part 1: Friedman's Lunch

Welcome to my Gluten Free NYC Travel Series!  Stay tuned for fantastic suggestions for GF and Allergic travelers :)

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.

Friedman's Lunch  (Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave, New York, NY 10011, Phone:212-929-7100, info@friedmanslunch.com)

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