Sunday, February 25, 2007


Just over a year ago, the Suffolk County restaurant Yazoo City joined the roster of the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP). Now I've just gotten word that Yazoo City went out of business at the end of January. Yazoo, we hardly knew you--boo-hoo!

But such is the way of GFRAP--so much effort can go into bringing a restaurant aboard...and then any number of setbacks can knock it off the approved list.

Fortunately, some restaurants do make comebacks. Bloom's closed due to a fire, but now it has reopened and returned to the list. More recently, New Jersey's Janice: A Bistro returned to the roster, too.

One of the very first GFRAP restaurants--Manhattan's beloved Gus's Place--closed its doors in 2004 but reopened weeks ago in a more central Greenwich Village location. Judging from what Erin at Gluten-Free Fun has written, I'm optimistic that I'll see Gus's Place back on the GFRAP roster soon....

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Staten Island now has an Outback of its very own--and also a Carrabba's Italian Grill of its very own--at the Staten Island Mall!

Both chains offer gluten-free menus created in cooperation with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG).

Here's a gluten-free menu for Outback (PDF) and here's a gluten-free menu for Carrabba's (PDF).

Friday, February 23, 2007


It wasn't just the two-for-one gluten-free cider and beers that made last night's Happy Hour(s) at Heathers a pleasure--it was the gluten-free company that led me to stay later than I'd planned. Thanks to Erin of the NYCCD Meetup Group for the effort she put into the event--and thanks to my other conversation partners for the stimulating talk, which branched out unexpectedly from celiac matters to Northern Baroque Art--and beyond! I look forward to the next Bosch--I mean, bash!

Oh--kudos on the good behavior, too. The talk and music inside the bar were at very reasonable levels, and things were quiet when I was outside.

Here's the sign outside the bar.

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Quick: Which month is Celiac Awareness Month?

Beth Hillson--president of the American Celiac Disease Alliance (ACDA) and founder of The Gluten-Free Pantry--just issued the following call to action:
On February 16, 2007, Representative Nita Lowey introduced H.Con.Res. 70, which endorses May as Celiac Awareness Month, and calls for increased federal funding for celiac research.

Rep. Lowey was one of the lead sponsors of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) which requires food manufacturers to list the top 8 allergens on their product labels. The law also required the FDA to set rules for using the term 'gluten-free' when labeling products.

The American Celiac Disease Alliance applauds Rep. Lowey for her continued efforts to raise awareness about celiac disease, and for her support of our community.

Ask your representative to cosponsor H.Con.Res. 70. Email them directly by going to the ACDA online advocacy site and entering your zip code under "Elected Officials." Your voice will make a difference.

Thank you!

Beth Hillson
President, American Celiac Disease Alliance

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Here's a YouTube clip featuring guacamole guru Julian Medina and David Rosengarten. The audio-visual balance is out of whack, but you can still see a skillful slicing of an avocado and find the interesting guacamole recipes on this page.

Medina is one of the chefs scheduled to compete in the Gluten-Free Cooking Spree on March 2, 2007. Yesterday I posted a clip featuring Ralph Pagano--one of Medina's competitors in the upcoming Cooking Spree.

Source (1:40)

Monday, February 19, 2007


Here's Ralph Pagano in the season finale of Hell's Kitchen. I won't spoil the ending, but obviously Pagano--who has also faced off against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef--can be expected to be a tough competitor at the Gluten-Free Cooking Spree on March 2, 2007.

Source (8:45)

Friday, February 16, 2007


I just got the latest lineup for the Gluten-Free Cooking Spree--a fund-raising event organized by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).

Hosted by CNN Newsroom anchor and NFCA spokesperson Heidi Collins and honoring Dr. Peter Green (right), the event matches up chefs with medical types in a competition to make the best gluten-free meal. Gluten-free food and drink will be served. There will be a raffle and a silent auction, with a donation going to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.

The event is scheduled for Friday, March 2, 2007 from 6:30-9:00 pm at the Institute for Culinary Education at 50 West 23rd Street. Admission costs $50; for an additional $25 you can purchase a VIP ticket and attend a 6:00 pm "meet and greet" with the doctors and chefs.

Here's the current roster of chefs:
Carrie Levin, Good Enough to Eat
Julian Medina, Zócalo
Jehangir Mehta, Graffiti
Ralph Pagano, Hell's Kitchen
Brett Reichler, B.R. Guest
Aarón Sanchez, Centrico
Patricia Williams, District Restaurant
The medical types include celiac specialist Green of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center as well as fellow gastroenterologist Michael Blechman of Beth Israel Medical Center, registered nurse Maureen Higgins of Memorial Sloan-Kettering, pediatrician Suzanne Loiselle of Mt. Sinai Hospital, and pharmacist Robert Mangione of St. Johns University. From Westchester the attending physicians will be internist Michael Contillo of Lawrence Hospital, internist Rafael Soltren of Phelps Memorial Hospital, and internist Zoovia Hamid and pediatrician Marc Wager of Sound Shore Medical Center.

RSVP via this page. (At this time, nearly 20 members of The New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group have indicated that they would attend.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Next Thursday--February 22, 2007--there will be at least two events for the gluten-free in NYC.

Thanks to The New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group, there will be a happy hour at Heathers Bar (506 East 13th Street between Avenues A and B; 212-254-0979) featuring 2-for-1 drink specials from 6:00-9:00 pm; a $1 event fee will be collected. (Sounds like three very happy hours to me!) Gluten-free beer and cider will be available along with other imbibements, but keep in mind that Heathers does not serve meals and be careful not to make a ruckus, as some of the neighbors have lodged complaints about noise.

That same night, the local CSA support group gathers at 6:30 pm for dinner at the GFRAP restaurant Bistango (415 Third Avenue at East 29th Street; 212-725-8484). Reservations should be made by Tuesday, February 20. Call Merle (212-662-2464) or Mary (212-304-1026) for more information.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


This is for the sweethearts--past, present, future--who love and support those of us on gluten-free diets. Thank you!

Source (3:08)

Monday, February 12, 2007


For the record: Video of the January 26, 2007 segment of The View (in which Elisabeth Hasselbeck and her co-hosts discuss celiac disease) can be found at the website of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. (It might be necessary to download a plugin to access the video.)

An online discussion of the segment can be found here.

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Ted's Montana Grill offers special guidelines for patrons on the gluten-free diet (as well as other special diets). When I visited the midtown Manhattan location during the holiday system, the staff seemed totally clueless, but more recently I stopped by and spoke with chef Jesse, who seemed much better informed. He said that restaurant headquarters might actually be preparing bona fide special diet menus, which I imagine would be at least as user-friendly as the guidelines its been using.

Gluten-free locals and tourists could benefit greatly if the Manhattan location of Ted's Montana Grill proves itself reliable. Located in the Time-Life Building, it's convenient to museums, Rockefeller Center, City Center, Carnegie Hall, and Times Square and the upper theater district. It would be great if the restaurant heightened its credibility by coordinating its efforts with GFRAP and/or the Gluten Intolerance Group Corporate Restaurant Program.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The other night I arranged a meatloaf-and-potatoes dish so that it would look like a face, but I didn't take a picture of it. I wish I had--because WNYC's Leonard Lopate and silly Amy Sedaris are avidly seeking pictures of food with googly eyes!

Not exactly sure what that means? Check out the explanation and photos here.

On Friday, Sedaris will pick her favorite picture of googly-eyed food (not necessarily gluten-free). The chosen image wins something called "a fake cake" handmade to order from Amy and a signed copy of her book I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. (The first of her sample recipes calls for "More flour than you think you'd ever use" but most if not all of those recipes appear to be adaptable for the gluten-free diet.)

Submissions can be made here.

And here's a clip from Late Night with David Letterman in which Sedaris demonstrates her craft.

Source (7:06)

Monday, February 05, 2007


Well, yesterday's fundraising opportunity for the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) generated about $4.00 with approximately 400 hits on the GoodSearch search engine. Better than nothing!

Remember: You can use GoodSearch throughout the year to raise a little money for the CDF or the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Just select the charity of your choice before you search.

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Saturday, February 03, 2007


You can get GoodSearch to contribute about a penny to the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) every time you use its Yahoo! search engine on Sunday, February 4 (also known as Michael's Birthday and Super Bowl Sunday 2007).

So spread the word and search away!

ALSO NOTED You can currently set up your GoodSearch to donate to the CDF or Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University (or many other other charities) at any time of the year--so consider adding GoodSearch to your bookmarks or toolbar. So far I've raised several pennies just by trying out the system! Woo-hoo!!

In case you don't think a penny can make a difference to anyone, check out this. (Here's some context.)

Source (1:19)

Friday, February 02, 2007


Thanks to Erin and the lively message board at The New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group, I became aware of two letters to the editor of The New York Times regarding Heathers, that rare Alphabet City bar that stocks gluten-free beer but also bothers some of its neighbors:

As a board member and resident of the building directly across the street from Heathers bar ("The Sound and the Fury," Jan. 21), I believe that the public opposition to the noise problem is legitimate and more than just an "active minority" of residents. My neighbors and I regularly endure noise and many other disturbances to our quality of life resulting from Heathers.

Although I live in the back of the building, I must now leave some of my windows closed at night year-round to avoid hearing the noise.

Many residents of our building are suffering from the nightly commotion, even with windows closed. One unit-owner recently moved out, citing the disturbances from Heathers, specifically, as the main reason for moving. For these reasons, I believe that the vast majority of the residents of our building and this block oppose the renewal of Heathers’ liquor license.

Stephen Cooper
East Village

I am a designer and artist living on 13th Street, two doors down from Heathers. As a patron, I appreciate the gluten-free beer and potato vodka, but primarily it is the vibe that brings me back.

Not since leaving the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco have I found a place that feels like a true community of locals, varied in interest, age, profession and gender. Heathers is one of the few gems at night that reflects what the East Village could be.

Before Heathers, the space was an after-hours club, and as a neighbor I much prefer Heathers. As a patron I am glad it has withstood the complaints, and I hope that the two parties can resolve their issues.

Cas Holman
East Village

And now Gawker has drawn my attention to this piece of investigative journalism, by Chris Shott of The New York Observer, in which Shott taped noise at Heathers and described some of what transpires there.

I'm still thinking along the lines of letter-writer Cas Holman: There must be a mutually satisfactory solution to the dispute. This is, after all, not an unusual problem in New York City. That is why, after reading about owner Heather Millstone's attempts to mitigate the problem, I continue to be disturbed by the Community Board's hardline, seemingly uncompromising, position.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


I recently saw Kristin Davis on Late Night with Conan O'Brien promoting a fundraising gimmick for America's Second Harvest and thought I'd spread the word.

Here's what's involved: You go to this web page and provide a little information. Then Barilla donates $1 to the America's Second Harvest food bank (up to a $100,000 total) and you get a little cookbook (pictured) via PDF.

The Celebrity Pasta Lovers' Cookbook is a collection of pasta recipes provided by celebrities and then adapted by top chefs Mario Batali and Giada De Laurentiis. Looking over the recipes, I believe that most if not all can be re-adapted by other "top chefs" (that means you) to be suitable for the gluten-free diet. Mangia!

Please Note: As you probably know or suspect, Barilla does not market any gluten-free pasta. The company doesn't even bother to guarantee that any of its sauces are gluten-free. (Its FAQ page currently states, "Barilla does not add gluten to the raw materials used to make our sauces. At the present time, however, we cannot guarantee that our sauces are absolutely gluten free.") Sigh.