Do you know what’s super cool? When you stumble upon gluten-free deliciousness, and not at all on purpose. That happened to me three times on a lunchtime walk the other day. Three times! Apparently that’s what can happen when you walk around Los Angeles. Who knew? Who knew you could even walk around Los Angeles? Now, you all do.
Tag Archives: gluten-free restaurants
Happy Chucktober everybody! Oh, you didn’t know that was a thing? IT IS. And I think my kids might have been the first to celebrate at the Burbank Chuck E. Cheese because they were so excited to see us wander in dressed like crazy people. Or maybe everyone at the Burbank Chuck E. Cheese is just way nicer than the one we used to go to in Brooklyn. 100% possible. Get it together, Atlantic Center.
Either way, when my kids walked into Chuck E. all dressed in costume they were greeted like skee ball champions with unlimited tokens. Which, they kind of were. You see, Chuck E. Cheese reached out to me about this promotion going on all over the nation in October—kids wear costumes, kids get 50 free tickets. Tickets which kids can trade for toys and candy that makes them lose their little minds. But I had another reason for wanting to go and write about Chucktober. A reason beyond going home with a ton of Fun Dip.
I’ve written about gluten-free parties for kids before in both my first book, and I also recommend Chuck E. Cheese as a fun gf spot in my upcoming book as well. It’s because of this – Continue reading
Look, I know it’s dumb to a) walk into a bakery, and b) expect that one of the most famous bakeries in America would be all, “Oh, you bet. EVERYTHING is gluten-free.” But I was waiting on my kid to finish her Saturday morning class and right down that very street was the incredibly delicious La Brea Bakery. And all up in it’s new digs!
Not unlike that time I was craving burritos and so I went to the burrito place knowing I could not have them, I just walked on into La Brea Bakery like I owned the place. Which I do not. Perhaps I was buoyed by my last trip into the bakery when it was just a lil’ ol’ bakery and they offered gluten-free macaroons. I thought, well, at least they have one thing I can eat. I was also assuming that even if he laughed at me, the waiter would know what had gluten and what did not. This, I was wrong about.
See, my girl wanted a special day with me because I’ve been working like an insane person and she’s been thrown in every camp from here to the border, so she’s all, “Mom. Pay attention to me.” I decided it might be fun and ridiculous to take one of those bus tours around Los Angeles and while we were on said tour, we got a coupon for the Hard Rock Cafe. Lunch was solved. But first, did you know Brad Pitt used to dress up like a chicken in front of this particular El Pollo Loco to sell their wares?
But I’m also going to tell you about the upside.
That is a naturally gluten-free pomegranate margarita. They do have the booze there at the Hard Rock, because you know, they rock hard. I figured out pretty quickly why the ladies room reeked of vomit when they plunked down those drink menus where you can get like a French press filled with boozy lemonade and for an extra $3 you get 12 extra ounces and shot . . . of whatever. I felt like I was at LAX and my flight was just delayed. But I stuck with just one giant margarita, because I’m responsible like that.
While the Hard Rock Cafe does not offer a gluten-free menu, they do have gluten-free buns for the burger. And as a bonus, our lovely server was in-the-know about the shared fryer so he knew I couldn’t have French fries. Maybe it was because we switched servers in the middle, but one thing did get lost in translation when I opted for the side salad instead of the gluten fries. If you look really closely in that pic above, you’ll see croutons up in that green salad. Sigh. Although, let’s be honest. I was at the Hard Rock Cafe on Hollywood Boulevard ordering a big ass margarita and cheese burger with triple cheese. I was not there for the side salad. This kid, however, was mucho impressed.
I got to share with her my fave story about that time my boyfriend was working at the London Hard Rock and I sent him a mix tape that was so rad they played it there on heavy rotation. Which led her to asking me why they weren’t playing it in the L.A. Hard Rock if it was so good, and I had to explain to her that The Pixies are not what the kids are listening to these days. Still, she learned a lot about KISS that day, which made it all worth it.
So, yeah, maybe avoid the Hard Rock unless they up their gf game. And maybe other reasons.
But one thing that was super awesome was my gluten-free belly. Every single restaurant I found myself in had a gluten-free menu, you guys! Every. Single. One. Which is one good reason why even though Vegas is kind of, umm, gross, it’s also awesome!
Srsly, every time I go I’m like, “Well, I don’t really like Vegas . . . ” but I wind up having a bang-up time, mostly because of the company I’m in, but also because I keep thinking about how family-friendly Vegas could be and how it would blow the kid’s minds if we took a family vacation to the most surreal place on earth. And the relief that comes from being able to eat safely kind of seals the deal about Vegas being a great vacation spot. Between the fancy (see above) to the greasy spoon, gluten-free grub is around every corner. That spread up there? That’s from the super fance MGM restaurant, Crush. In addition to the roasted cauliflower and hamachi you see above, I also scarfed down the shrimp risotto. They even have a vegan menu!
Now for something completely different, the Black Bear Diner is a local chain with breakfast as big as yo’ head. They also have homemade biscuits that everyone around you will eat and you’ll be sad. Still, check out this skillet full o’ gluten-free goodness. Continue reading
I just ate my way through NYC, you guys. I did. I’m lucky enough to have great friends who love great food so anytime I find myself in the area I get at least one dinner date that just blows me away and makes me say things like, “Ohmygod, New York food is sooooo much better than Los Angeles,” while I’m about three glasses of wine into a meal. Because, you know, judging dinner while drunk is an excellent measure of a meal.
Still, I did have some amazing gluten-free meals and can’t wait to head back, meet more friends (it was a quick trip), eat more food, and get more fab advice from NYC Grubber who I follow obsessively on Instagram. First awesome tip? Maialiono in the Gramercy Park Hotel.
Yeah, that’s some gluten-free pasta with cannellini beans and escarole, what of it? It was great and all, but two more things made this meal spectacular: gluten-free bread, and THREE KINDS OF GLUTEN-FREE PASTA TO CHOOSE FROM!!!!! Oh, and awesome friends. Duh.
The next night I had a bang-up risotto at Peasant. This restaurant, while a bit more difficult to navigate, was one of those magical places where you feel like you’re in a movie while you dine. The wine was crazy good, and our waitress had just enough attitude.
Speaking of movies, I highly recommend you follow up a dinner at Peasant with a vodka shot at Pravda coupled with an intense argument with your bestest friends about Woody Allen. Or maybe just the vodka.
Hold the mother scratchin’ phone! For those of you who have been reading for a bit, you know that I heart the cheese so much. I remember very well the first time I went to Artisanal right off Park Ave. and enjoyed cheese followed by a side of cheese. I met the dearest friend (wow, that sounds SO proper!) for lunch after a morning of wedding registry (not mine, hers) and was slightly worried about being disappointed on account of the lack of fondue I was about to consume. Guess what came out with the seasonal cheese tray?
The true test of my fave New York restaurants came on our last day there. See, before we moved away my husband and I had a tradition of going to lunch at Gramercy Tavern on our wedding anniversary. Why lunch? Cheaper, no reservations, and the tavern seating is kind of more awesome than the white tablecloth dining room. Also, you still get the greatest food. See that cappuccino up there at the top? Yeah, they did that.
Gramercy is constantly at the top of like, every list, all the time. So I was pretty scared to walk in as if I could eat there safely. Yet, everyone was SO on board. Not only that, you guys, this may not look like much -
But what you’re looking at is seriously the greatest thing I have ever eaten in my life ever. And when I told the waitress that, she was like, “Yep. We get that a lot.” This is how good the house made bacon, whatever most perfect cheese in the world that was, freshly ground burger tasted. I said this, “I’m not even interested in that bun. It looks awful, in fact. I’m 100% sure that my gluten-free version is better.” I repeated this often and more than once I got the reply, “Yeah, you might be delusional.” Still, that’s what I FELT you guys. Oh, and look at this -
Honestly, I didn’t have a lot of time to explore New York because it was a quick trip. Which now, embarrassingly, makes this post look like I ate an incredible amount. But I got a hot tip from a friend (an LA friend, actually because they’re all so down with the gf) about a bakery near my hotel.
All of that business up there was gluten-free! I got this savory spinach muffin and a super chocolate chip bar situation. SO GOOD. Pip’s Place, The Gluten-Free Cakery also has the best name. Pip’s, for chrissake.
All right, gang. This was another test (because all I do is test New York, apparently) when I went to my favorite very gluten-filled restaurant in my old neighborhood, No. 7. I loved their fried broccoli so much I recreated it gluten-free and vegan for my book. Still, gluten all up in there when you dine in. These gluten-free broccoli tacos, however, SHIZZLE -
Go forth to New York, my friends, and eat gluten-free.
And I was lucky enough to spend a few days with some super rad friends last week/weekend and one of the other people in attendance was also gluten-free! Woot! Hooray for food issues! (Also she was dairy-free and was able to find good gf/df dishes in ALL of these places, so heads up GFDFs.)