I totally thought I’d be informing all of you lovely people about how to eat gluten-free in New York City today. Alas, climate change had other plans for my husband and I this past week. So we took a detour on our way to the five boroughs and wound up in Palm Springs. This is where I’d like to thank Al Gore for sparing most of NYC, and wish my friends without power the best of luck in getting ConEd out and up in your business.
In spite of the massive disappointment of not getting to enjoy our wedding anniversary tradition of lunch at Gramercy Tavern, and seeing loads of great friends, our alternate plans for the weekend in the PS turned out to be AWESOME. And delightfully, g-free. Right on, Palm Springs. Right. On.
I’ve never been to Palm Springs before, or any type of desert situation, and I have to say I’m for it. I realize loving Palm Springs in August is akin to Alex and Simon loving St. Bart’s during Hamptons season, but I’m now firmly on that RHONY team, because I get it. It’s the ultimate vacation spot in August because it’s too damn hot to do anything but eat, drink, and float in the pool. The crowds are thin, and waits are short. We also stayed at a super rad hotel where they piped in Iron & Wine and The Flaming Lips whether you were swimming, dining, or drinking (like I said, these are the three things you do). It was hipster heaven with a side of Stumptown coffee.
The hotel restaurant, King’s Highway Roadside Diner, was also well-versed in gluten-free eating! Whoo! When I asked the waitress what I could eat, she was confident in her answer and pointed out some organic, local, options. This is what I had: Thyme, oregano and citrus roasted chicken with a side of cauliflower dhal. YUM.
While they also offered a lovely breakfast, we took a friend’s recommendation to head to Cheeky’s. And oh emm gee, it was the finest meal we had in the’ Springs. Again, local, seasonal, organic was the name of the game at this hip eatery that filled up the second after we ordered. I chowed on a fantastic gluten-free breakfast of the scramble with white cheddar, black pepper, and truffle ham — sans toast. It tastes even better than it looks.
Just for fun, we headed over to Rancho Mirage and a mall filled with restaurants that have gluten-free menus. Fleming’s was there, and Yard House. Both chains, which make me think this trend of offering an actual menu for us special types could get even bigger. So I ordered off the “gluten-sensitive” menu at Yard House, and pretended that I didn’t want any of the beer on tap.
Here’s the thing about eating out gluten-free. I realize Yard House probably used the “gluten-sensitive” phrase because they don’t want a lawsuit. They let you celiacs know that the kitchen is not a gluten-free facility, and so cross-contamination is a real possibility. While Yard House makes it clear — in writing — this is the case everywhere, unless it is a restaurant that specializes in gluten-free eating. Which is why, unless you want to be hyper-vigilant and super-aggressive (and if you do, good for you!) and storm the kitchen, there is a chance some gluten will find its way onto a spatula, or a serving spoon, and onto your plate.
And this is why I was super psyched to spot a gluten-free bakery as we cruised into town. However, my biggest thrill quickly became my biggest disappointment, as this is what I found when we headed to Canyon Flours Bakery.
The gluten-free bakery was closed for the season. Did they not know I was coming? Very sad. So I ate some tacos to make up for it.
All-in-all, Palm Springs, you treat a celiac right. We’ll be back next August. You hear that gluten-free bakery????