Saturday, 12 December 2015

NYC Eats 2015

Let’s start with the flight. After the experience I had flying to Orlando with Virgin earlier in the year I wasn’t expecting much of a change but I was pleasantly surprised. Before my flight I again confirmed with the special assistance department that I would need a special meal. They could offer Dairy & Gluten free but not Egg free. I opted for this choice and hoped there would be no egg.

I was served a fresh salad, roll, fruit and a spicy chicken with beans and rice. My biggest excitement came when I picked up the roll, turning it over to my delight I saw the magical word “BFree”. I was so happy. I love Bfree as a brand and for once I could eat the roll as it was also egg free. The meal was tasty and, well, fruit was to be expected so it’s better than nothing. My mid afternoon snack was more fruit but I managed to eat the tyrells crisps out of the normal snack box too. I also liked that ingredients were printed on the labels too. Thumbs up!

We arrived in New York early evening so we checked into our hotel and headed straight out to Bryant Park Winter Market. I’d noticed on Instagram that a lot of the stalls at this market were Vegan and one in particular sold great looking Chocolate so I made sure I found it. The stall was called Kaleidoscope – it sold Vegan Chocolate by Lagusta’s Luscious. I picked out a peanut butter toffee crunch bar and a Mint Chocolate Christmas Tree.

Chocolate bar heaven!

Another place I knew I had to visit was Two Boots Pizza. They have a big range of Vegan / Dairy Free Pizzas and also Gluten Free Bases. The closest one to us was located in the Grand Central Station Dining Concourse. I ordered a simple Cheese and Tomato Pizza. They use Daiya Cheese which melts great and has a lovely taste. The tomato sauce was really tasty and im 99% sure that the base was Venice Bakery as it was very similar to what I have at home and love. All in all delicious and I had my first New York Pizza experience. 

Day Two we were up early to head down to Union Square. The bus dropped us off right near Hu Kitchen which was another place on my list to try and visit. The shop is all about healthy clean food with no added nasties. They are Gluten, Soy and Cane Sugar Free with lots of Dairy & Egg Free options too. I needed warming up so we sat and had a Peppermint Mint. While there I purchased a Quinoa Crunch Bar which was gorgeous. Like a raw chocolate brownie with a layer of chocolate on the top. Mmm. Also picked up a few bars of their Hazelnut Praline Chocolate and a bag of Graham Bites which looked interesting.

While at Union Square I couldn’t resist a visit to Whole Foods. It’s an epic store which I could have spent hours exploring. From here I picked up the Dark Chocolate Justins Peanut Butter Cups (To eat while my husband is munching through his Reeses), Some cute gingerbread men cookies, Some Chocolate Mint Marshmallows and a Mint Choc Chip Nugo Bar. I had to restrain myself from buying any more due to carrying it around all day. I would have loved to have tried the Rice Dream Nog. The USA has so many more flavoured milk alternatives to us. I also picked up some Tortillas and Guacamole to snack on.

While walking between Union Square and Chelsea Market we came across a great store called Garden of Eden and it was full to the brim with different foods and had a decent selection of free from products. I picked up a bag of Salted Caramel Pita Chips which sounded fab and like nothing I’d seen before.

We stopped during the day to eat at Chipotle which I love. Everything is Dairy Free except for the Cheese and Sour Cream and everything is Gluten Free except for the flour tortillas. I adore their burrito bowls. You can choose what you add to your bowl so I had white rice with, chicken, fajita vegetables, salsa and guacamole. Yum! (We went on two occasions)

Day 3 we headed downtown to Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State and the One World Trade Centre. For lunch we ate at Mighty Quinns BBQ which was located in a lovely food court on Liberty Street. I checked out their website before the trip and it had a great allergen section. I chose to have the brisket with fries. The brisket was melt in the mouth tender and flavoursome and the fries where great. The server confirmed too that both were dairy & gluten free. They have a few locations around Manhattan so worth a visit.

That Evening we headed out to do a bit of shopping on Lexington Ave. I didn’t fancy a full meal so we stopped off at Blooms Deli to buy some meat to snack on. When in NYC you have to have some deli meat especially Pastrami and Corned Beef (not like UK corned beef). This was not cheap meat but It was so so delicious and worth every penny. 

Day 4 We were around the Central Park area. There was another nice Winter Market at Columbus Circle. I found a stall by a company called Raaka who sell raw vegan chocolate. Of course I had to purchase a few bars, settling on the Maple & Nibs and Pink Sea Salt bars. I’ve now got lots of chocolate to get us through Christmas.

Later in the day I had to collect an order I’d placed with a company called Cookie Do which was located a few blocks from our hotel. I’d found them whilst trawling the internet and saw that they catered for different diets. I placed an order for a tub of their edible Snickerdoodle Cookie Do, and also a dozen baked Choc chip Cookies. My husband had the “normal” nuts for nuts Cookie Do tub which looked amazing full of M&M’s and Reeses. My Snickerdoodle was scrummy eaten from the tub with a spoon mmm. The cookies were yummy too with big chocolate chips throughout. We need this in the UK.

Our flight home started with a breakfast of fruit three ways (I had to giggle to myself). A Fresh Fruit pot, Dole fruit in juice pot and a packet of dried fried. Lol. It got better though, for lunch I was served a salad, Chicken with potatoes, gravy and sautéed fennel which was actually tasty for a plane meal, there was a Dairy, Gluten and Nut free Roll too but nothing to say it didn’t contain egg so I gave that a miss, and of course more fruit.

I also want to mention an app that I used and found really helpful. It is a Map app that doesn't use internet data, just gps signal so was free to use while out and about. I populated it at home with all the suitable restaurants, shops and other locations we wanted to visit and found it really handy to use while we were out and about to find the closest place to get safe food or directions. It's called Maps Me.

So, another trip I didn’t go hungry on and I managed to find lots of things I wanted to try. There were a lot more places I’d researched too but time just flew by and there was no way I could have visited them all unfortunately. The flights were a great success food wise compared to the last one. As always the USA is a fab place for special diets and I’d highly recommend a visit if you get a chance.