With the International Celiac Symposium just around the proverbial corner, here are some tips for attendees--I hope I haven't posted them too late!
If you're attending the conference and you've got questions, feel free to ask them here; maybe I or another visitor can be of assistance....
EXHIBITORS Here are some highlights of the exhibitor list:
Bard's Tale BeerGLUTEN-FREE NEW YORK CITY This here blog you're reading has a companion website--yeah, it's not pretty...but it should be pretty functional as a celiac guide to the city.
BI-AGLUT Heinz Italy
Everybody Eats (good crusty breads!)
Foods By George
Kinnikinnick Foods Inc.
Whole Foods Market
COMPANION MAP Here's my crazy map of local restaurants that have gf menus supervised by the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program or its equivalent.
RESERVATIONS Call restaurants in advance to make reservations or at least let 'em know when you plan to come. Communicate to avoid showing up when a place is closed or overcrowded.
GF FOODS CLOSE TO THE HILTON As you can see from these dining and shopping lists, there are many gluten-free oases in New York City. Following are four of the closest major destinations; none of the others are very far.
The closest restaurant with a "supervised" gf menu (ask for it!) is the Outback Midtown East (919 Third Avenue on 56th Street, 212-935-6400), where one of the desserts is a chocolate gf brownie topped with ice cream, whipped cream, and sauce.
For groceries, there is a well-stocked health-food store--Westerly Natural Market--at 8th Avenue and 54th Street. There is also a Whole Foods Market inside the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, off the southwest corner of Central Park. The Whole Foods carries frozen items from its Gluten-Free Bakehouse and carries other gf items throughout the store. Inside the store there is a cafe where you can microwave frozen food and eat it on the spot. This particular Whole Foods does not carry beer.
Back to restaurant land: Tropica Bar and Seafood House (200 Park Avenue at East 45th Street in the Metlife Building; 212-867-6767) offers some tangy dishes on its supervised gf menu (ask for it!)--it's closed on weekends, though.
BAKED GOODS If you decide to go to Brooklyn to try out Josefs Gluten Free, call 718-336-9494 in advance and confirm that it will be open. (It closes for the Jewish Sabbath.)
You should be able to find some Josefs products at the aforementioned Whole Foods Market, too.
Some restaurants offer gf baked goods, too. At the popular Risotteria (in the West Village), you can usually get bready breadsticks, carrot cake, cheesecake, and brownies and cookies, plus some surprises. Cheesecake (crustless) is also on the menu at Peters' on the Upper East Side. I'm obsessed with the decadent and shareable Latin Lover dessert (pictured) at midtown's Asia de Cuba, but you might want to call 212-726-7755 to learn more about dining gluten-free at this particular restaurant. Candle 79 (212-537-7179) offers unusual vegan desserts.
GF BEER Whole Foods Chelsea sells gluten-free beer; Whole Foods Union Square probably does, too--call 212-673-5388 if you want to confirm. Other places where you can get gf brew include the restaurants Risotteria and Peters' as well as the Ninth Avenue Vintner (moderate walking distance from the Hilton) and the hipster bar Heather's (506 East 13 Street, 212-254-0979), which also carries gluten-free hard cider. In Park Slope, Brooklyn, there's Bierkraft.
TOURIST TIPS The Hilton is just south of magnificent Central Park. Inside the park but about 30 blocks north of the hotel is the magnificent Metropolitan Museum of Art--where the admission policy is always "pay what you wish."
Another cheap thrill is a pilgramage to the original Winnie-the-Pooh at the Donnell Public Library.
Just blocks away from the Hilton are the Museum of Modern Art, American Folk Art Museum, and the Museum of Arts & Design. The first two offer free admission on Friday evenings; the Museum of Arts & Design offers free admission on Thursday evenings. The Museum of Television & Radio (which hosts screenings and talks and houses large recording archives) is also nearby but potentially frustrating unless you have hours to spend there.
Interesting in getting high--by which I mean going to the top of a skyscraper? You might be tempted to go to the top of the Empire State Building, but beware the cost and the long lines. Instead, consider Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center--you get great views in a relatively elegant setting that's closer to the Hilton. It'll still cost ya, but it's more pleasant in many respects.
If you're into classical music, consider attending Carnegie Hall (the Stern Auditorium) or the Metropolitan Opera House, where the acoustics are outstanding.
I could go on...but I'd better post this before the symposium begins!
Photo: David Marc Fischer