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Monday, July 28, 2014
So Delicious is Um, Well, So Delicious
One of the perks of being a gluten-free blogger is being sent gluten-free samples from time to time. Recently, I got a mystery white box sent to my office. When I opened the box, there were gloves inside. I was so excited to realize these gloves were to handle the dry ice that was surrounding five pints of So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk Frozen Desserts.


I was excited about all of these free samples, but I was most excited about the Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Cookie Dough dessert. COOKIE DOUGH!!! As you know, I am a lifelong celiac. There are many foods that I've never eaten in my life. Cookie Dough ice cream is one of these foods. The other flavor I was excited about was Cookies 'N Cream. 


While you can taste a faint coconut flavor in some of these desserts, it wasn't overpowering. This was especially important to me since I am not really a coconut fan. The coconut milk adds a creaminess to these desserts that was really delicious. 

Another favorite of mine were the Coconut Milk Fudge Bars. These were so creamy and I didn't feel guilty about eating them since there was no added sugar. To be honest, with the creamy fudgey flavor, you didn't need it.



I am going to pull a pun here and say these were SO DELICIOUS. I love that there are dairy-free options on the market that don't taste gross. These are the opposite. I would definitely be these again and highly recommend them to anyone looking for a yummy dessert.

Thanks So Delicious! 





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Monday, July 21, 2014
Gluten-Free at NYC Restaurant Week 2014

Today starts the beginning of New York City's Restaurant Week. This is actually more like a restaurant month where you can enjoy $25 lunches and $38 dinners in top restaurants across New York City. In the past, I have avoided Restaurant Week because there were limited gluten-free options. This year, I decided to do my research and was floored by how many gluten-free options are now on the menus. I have compiled a list of more than thirty restaurants that have decent gluten-free options on their prix fixe menus over the next month. The only problem I see is not having enough time or money to eat at all of these great restaurants!

Click here to access the complete list of gluten-free options at NYC Restaurant Week. Bookmark the page. I will be updating it throughout the month as I learn of even more gluten-free menu options! 

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014
What's Up with Udi's Holey Gluten-Free Bread?
I was so excited to find the large loaves of Udi's Multi Grain gluten-free bread at Costco a few weeks ago. I spent $6.99, which I thought was a bargain at the time, for the big loaf. It was only when I got home did I realize that HALF THE LOAF was broken! It wasn't even really salvageable because not only were these slices broken, but there was a huge hole down the middle of these 10 slices... if I can even call them that! They were more like a broken bag of soft croutons. There was no full slice to be seen in this section of the loaf. 


Here is what Udi's had to say in response to me posting the picture above on my Instagram page.



I was frustrated by this response. This was now going to be my THIRD time that I am contacting Udi's about a problem with their products. I've had problems with holey bread. I've had problems with hole-less bagels. When I pay anywhere from $4.99-$7.99 for bread or bagels, I expect higher quality. I did exactly what Suzanne suggested above and contacted Udi's with the picture of the Costco loaf along with these pictures from previous negative experiences.






As I did more digging, I realized I had posted multiple Udi's fails to my social media before.


This is getting downright frustrating. I post the most obvious product failures, but it is becoming too many to count. On my first two emails to Udi's, I was sent free coupons for future products. Great. I can try more broken products but appreciated the gesture. I was hoping my third email with photo evidence of the faulty products would bring about more of a response as well as a solution to the problem. No such luck!

Here is what Udi's/Boulder Brands had to say just last week:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us here at Udi's. We always appreciate hearing from consumers who care enough to reach out to us with their comments or questions.
We regret that you had a negative experience with our Udi's Whole Grain Bread. Thank you for providing the packaging coding and photo so our Quality Control Department can look into this further. 
We are passionate about offering the highest quality gluten free products that bring joy to our customers. The holes in our loaves of bread can be caused by a natural enzyme reaction with gluten free ingredients, we’ve invested in new equipment and just moved into a brand new facility to help address this. We thank you for your patience while we continue to strive for the best product possible. 
We sincerely apologize and hope you will give us another chance. We are sending you two coupons for free UDI's product of your choice. As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we're also sharing your comments with the appropriate departments within our organization. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us.

Great, more coupons for a crappy product. I refuse to buy anymore Udi's until they fix this problem. In the meantime, I will use the free coupons. Hey, what's free is FREE! Let's hope this next loaf is usable for sandwiches and not a really expensive bag of gluten-free bird seed/bread crumbs. I do hope that Udi's new facility helps address this issue and that the holey bread goes away real fast.

What do you think? Do you still buy Udi's gluten-free products? Are you getting fed up too? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!




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Monday, July 14, 2014
Good News about Aldi's Gluten-Free Products


I was really excited when I spotted the LiveGFree products at Aldi's back in May. I was visiting my sister in Wisconsin and since we are both Celiac, we made a special trip to Aldi's. As with many of my vacations near and far, I brought home lots of gluten-free food as my souvenirs. This past weekend, I was pleased to see more of the LiveGFree line at my local Aldi's in Rego Park, New York. Again, I stocked up on the gluten-free products, bringing home baking mixes, frozen pizzas, bars, and more. I find all of the products to be very reasonably priced and they taste good too!

The Aldi's labeling has always been really clear and it's easy to spot the "gluten-free" icons on the packaging. With the LiveGFree line, there is no question. The ingredients are all gluten-free. Many of the products are also familiar. Aldi's and Trader Joe's are owned by the same parent company, so many of the Aldi's products (like the Snickerdoodles) taste, look, and feel exactly the same as the TJ's ones. The other products also remind me of Enjoy Life products. Not sure if there is any relation though!  

Over the past few months, I have read about some Aldi's stores across the country selling out of the gluten-free products and the shelves not being restocked. There appears to be high-demand for these good quality, low-priced gluten-free products so I reached out to Aldi's to find out if the products are here to stay. Here's what Aldi's had to say:

Thank you for contacting us regarding the availability of our LiveGfree products.   
Select test stores in the Chicago, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and New York areas will continue to carry a variety of LiveGfree products for the remainder of the year.  A companywide roll out of the most popular items is scheduled for later this year.  
Thank you for being an ALDI shopper! Sincerely,  
ALDI Customer Service 

WOOHOO! It sounds like Aldi's realizes the demand for gluten-free products and the LiveGFree line is going to stay around for a while. I encourage you to contact Aldi's through their corporate offices and tell them you are a fan of their LiveGFree line and you want it to stay. https://www.aldi.us/en/contact-us


LiveGFree Mac and Cheese

Pasta, soft-baked cookies, and brownie mix

Aisle of gluten-free products

Frozen pizzas and gluten-free "hot pockets"

Gluten-free Chicken Nuggets

Soft, pliable wraps! 

The Live GFree label

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Happy 33 Years of Celiac Disease to Me!
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 1981. I do not remember the exact date of diagnosis because I was just a toddler. My parents didn't remember the exact date either because I think they chose to block out how sick I was back in 1981. I was in the hospital for about a week before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease being poked, prodded, and tested for everything imaginable. By the end of my week at the hospital, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and told to go 100% gluten-free forever. I was told that it was a disease that I would not grow out of at any point. I truly believe this diagnosis and my move to a permanent, life-long gluten-free diet saved my life! Too many people I've met were diagnosed as children and told they would outgrow Celiac. If you are diagnosed with this disease, you will NOT outgrow it. Do NOT believe a doctor who tells you otherwise.

Since I don't have an exact date, I am using today as my Celiac anniversary. While at my mom's house a few months ago, I came across my medical records from my childhood. This was one thick folder! As I was flipping through the pages, two entries caught my eye. Both of these entries were from July 1981 and both documented my Celiac Disease for the first time. I believe somewhere in early 1981 I was in the hospital when I got the actual diagnosis. I was between 2.5 and 3 years old at the time of diagnosis. My pediatrician did not diagnosis me, a specialized pediatric gastrointerologist named Dr. James Markowitz diagnosed me with Celiac Disease. At the time, he was a resident and younger than my parents. He did tell my parents this was a rare disease and the only "cure" was a gluten-free diet. Thirty-three years ago, this man knew more than many doctors know today!

It was exactly thirty-three years ago today, that Celiac Disease was written for the first time in my medical charts. Let that sink in for a minute people.

I HAVE BEEN LIVING WITH CELIAC DISEASE FOR 33 YEARS!

People often think their lives are over when they are diagnosed with Celiac Disease. But I was just around 3 years old and my life was just beginning. I was going to grow up with this disease. There was no avoiding it.

My medical records from 1981.
Click on the image to zoom in. 

I am not sure why, but seeing these documents made me feel emotional. I guess seeing my diagnosis in writing from so many years ago made me feel like I really have Celiac Disease. I mean, I always have known that I am living with Celiac, but I don't remember my actual diagnosis. I was too young and I am sure the whole process was very traumatic to me at such a young age so I blocked it out. Growing up with Celiac Disease, I do not remember anything but living a gluten-free life. This is me. This is all I know.

Celiac Disease has defined who I am for almost my entire life and not in a bad way. I have always been an advocate. I created brochures about Celiac Disease in second grade. While I shied away from talking about Celiac in my teens, I grew out of that embarrassed stage. I started gluten-free blogging in my 20s with Gluten-Free Fun. I also became a support group leader in my 20s when I became the lead organizer of the NYC Celiac Disease meetup group. And as if I wasn't busy enough in my leadership and blogging, I launched a second blog called Gluten-Free Globetrotter in my early 30s. I realized that Celiac Disease was with me for life so I chose to embrace it instead of hiding it. I had a lot to contribute to the Celiac community as someone who grew up with this disease. I wanted to show people that life could and will go on post-diagnosis. Today, I am a strong advocate in this celiac community and this makes me very proud!

Celiac Advocacy from 1986! 


If you know me either in person or from reading this blog, you know that I do not let Celiac Disease stop me from doing anything. I travel extensively. I dine out. I am in a relationship. I have friends and family that love me very much. I go to work every day and travel for this job 6 time a year. While I have been glutened like the best of us, I still live my life the best way I can every single day. I just happen to have Celiac Disease.

I do not use Celiac Disease as an excuse. I try not to blame Celiac for every little ailment I have although I realize it is probably part of the reason that my immune system is sometimes compromised. I am not threatened by this disease. I see food as my medicine, not my enemy. I am not isolated by my diagnosis. I do not fear life. I embrace life, my Celiac Disease just happens to be part of that life. 

I am who I am and much of what has defined me in life is due to my Celiac Disease. I am no longer ashamed. I hope through my leadership, advocacy, and blogging, I can encourage even just one person that life can go on after a diagnosis of Celiac Disease. I believe I have been successful with the numerous emails, tweets, and in-person thanks over the past 7.5 years of blogging.

Thank you all for your continued readership, support, and friendship. It really does mean the world to me! Please share this post with others, especially those who were recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I would be so happy to connect with them and give them encouragement!

Happy Celiac Disease anniversary to me! 

Now who is going to give me some gluten-free cake to celebrate? :-)




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Tuesday, July 8, 2014
NYC Celebrate Celiac Awareness Day with the NY Yankees!



Somehow I missed posting about this event. It's probably all of the traveling I've been doing lately. Checking emails from airports, taxis, and late nights in hotels doesn't make for a very clear brain. My apologies for the last minute notice.

NYC Celebrate Celiac Awareness Day with the NY Yankees
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Time: TBD

Please purchase before midnight EST on Tuesday, July 8th! TODAY!!!

You must buy your tickets here:
http://www.glutenfreecalendar.com/shop/ny-yankees-vs-toronto-blue-jays/ 

Join the Gluten-Free Calendar for an exciting night of baseball at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees take on the Toronto Blue Jays. Tickets will be available at Will Call the night of the game, just show your photo ID. $35.00 per ticket (regularly $55) and $7.50 per ticket will be donated to the National Celiac Disease Society, a 501c3 non-profit organization (formally Kicking 4 Celiac) The seats will be in sections 232A-234. Come out for one of Derek Jeter’s last games and support celiac disease!!

Section 232A-234 for $35.00 per ticket

You must buy your tickets here:
http://www.glutenfreecalendar.com/shop/ny-yankees-vs-toronto-blue-jays/ 

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014
It's Finally Here: The GlutenAway Virtual Expo Starts Today!


Today is the day! The GlutenAway Virtual Expo is here. This expo is perfect for all of you who have always wanted to attend a gluten-free expo, but haven't been able to find one in your area. This is also for those of you who love expos, samples, and connecting with gluten-free vendors.

According to the GlutenAway Expo website, A" virtual expo is an interactive online event where companies can display their goods & services just like a physical trade show. Attendees can visit online booths and enter into giveaways, receive free product samples, chat with company reps, learn about new products and so much more."

You can do this all from the comfort of your own home. How cool is that?

The GlutenAway Virtual Expo runs through July 21, 2014 so don't delay. Sign up and start sampling and connecting today!

http://www.glutenawayexpo.com/


Update: Check me out in the Gluten-Free Bloggers Booth! 

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Monday, June 30, 2014
Gluten-Free Pasta Flyer is Coming!

Did you pledge to the Pasta Flyer Kickstarter yet?
Only 4 days left! 



In case you missed it, Pasta Flyer is a cool new gluten-free pasta concept from Chef Mark Ladner of Del Posto in New York City. This Kickstarter campaign is going to pave a brand new road for fast, convenient, gluten-free pasta. I encourage you to visit the campaign page and if you like what you see, make a donation! Pasta Flyer could soon be in a city near you.

Chef Mark hosted a Pasta Flyer Kick-Off Party for the NYC Celiac Meetup Group in Brooklyn, New York. The food was awesome, the crowd was excited, and Chef Mark shared his ideas about Pasta Flyer. 

Chef Mark and his Pasta Flyer Team need our help. Make a pledge today! 


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Thursday, June 19, 2014
100% Gluten-Free in Costa Rica at Arenas del Mar
In only four days, I will be here: 

Photo credit: Arenas del Mar

Pinch me!

Do you ever think "I want to travel, but where can I eat gluten-free so far from home?" I know exactly how you feel. That's why I started my Gluten-Free Globetrotter website in 2011. Living with Celiac since 1981, I don't know anything else but gluten-free travel. I wanted to convince other Celiacs that they also can travel. I have connected with so many nervous Celiacs that ask me for ideas of where to go and now I have an awesome suggestion that I am testing it out next week! Tough job, but someone has to do it for the celiac community! 

About six weeks ago, I learned that Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, was putting its staff through the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness GREAT Kitchens training program"This comprehensive course teaches the essentials of gluten-free food preparation and cross-contamination avoidance – skills that are critical for serving customers with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity." This is impressive yet puzzling. I wondered why a hotel in Costa Rica was paying attention to the celiac guest.

Well, it turns out that one of the owners of Arenas del Mar has a daughter who has celiac disease and understands first-hand how anxiety about dining out can deter those with special dietary needs from traveling. When she travels, she becomes scared at each mealtime with concern for the ingredients in her food and cross contact in the kitchen. Sound familiar? I bet it does!

Arenas del Mar is a 38-room hotel on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. In 2013, Travel and Leisure magazined voted it the Top Family Hotel in Central and South America. It has also been awarded 5 Stars for Luxury and 5 Leaves for Sustainability by the Government of Costa Rica. This is all nice, but being able to eat gluten-free at this hotel in Costa Rica is really what stands out to me.

Photo credit: Arenas del Mar
In addition to being able to serve their gluten-free guests year-round, Arenas del Mar is featuring two weeks dedicated to the Celiac Community. During these weeks, the resort will go 100% gluten-free!

Here is more information about these extra special weeks:
A Week for the Celiac Community 
http://www.arenasdelmar.com/celiac_weeks.html 
In support of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), Arenas Del Mar will host two Weeks for the Celiac Community. During the weeks beginning September 13th and again on November 8th.  Both restaurants at Arenas Del Mar will go 100% gluten-free for their guests’ safety and comfort. 
A Week for the Celiac Community was inspired by the daughter of one of the owners who has celiac disease and understands first-hand how anxiety bout dining out can deter those with special dietary needs from traveling. When she travels, she becomes scared at each mealtime with concern for the ingredients in her food and cross contact in the kitchen. 
The first week, beginning September 13th 2014, will feature guest Chef Monica Glass, who herself has celiac disease, accompanied by Chef Nicole Petrongolo. Monica has worked as a pastry chef at the acclaimed seafood restaurant Le Bernardin in New York City, 10 Arts in Philadelphia and now Clio in Boston. 
The second week, beginning November 8th 2014, will feature Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook, the owners and chefs of the highly rated Zahav in Philadelphia. This restaurant was named best restaurant in Philadelphia by Philly Magazine. 
All the kitchen staff at Arenas Del Mar will also have completed the NFCA’s Great Kitchens training program which is accredited by the American Culinary Foundation.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the NFCA.
***

In only a few days, I am traveling solo to the jungles of Costa Rica and staying at Arenas Del Mar* for five days! I am beyond excited for this trip. Traveling the globe, searching for gluten-free friendly places, and then sharing that with my readers is exactly what I want to do with my life. It's why I write Gluten-Free Globetrotter. If I can encourage just one reader to step out of their comfort zone and book a gluten-free vacation anywhere in the world, then my mission is complete!

I will be reporting back on my Gluten-Free Globetrotter experiences in Costa Rica throughout the week. Follow my gluten-free travels via InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

For further details about Arenas del Mar, please contact Jeremy Allen, Program Director and hotel Partner at AllenAllen@aol.com or 1-610-407-9371. Please tell Jeremy you learned about Arenas del Mar from Erin Smith of Gluten-Free Fun and Gluten-Free Globetrotter!

* Arenas del Mar is hosting my 5-day stay next week. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely and entirely my own.

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Gluten-Free Globetrotter on Instagram

I joined Instagram! I know I am very late to the Instagram game here but I was trying to avoid it. I finally decided to finally combine my love of social media and photography and started using the app that has been on my phone forever. I was resistant to Twitter at first too but now find it to be an excellent tool. I am sure Instagram will be the same.

On my page, I will share pictures of my gluten-free travels near and far, my Celiac friends, and especially food. Lots and lots of gluten-free food!

You can find me at under my Gluten-Free Globetrotter blog name on Instagram: http://instagram.com/glutenfreeglobetrotter

See you there! 


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Monday, June 16, 2014
Where is Gluten-Free Fun on Facebook?
Dear Readers,

Facebook has change their ways again. With these new changes, many of my Gluten-Free Fun Facebook posts are no longer showing up in your news feeds. Unless I start paying to advertise on Facebook, you may miss many of my posts. This makes me sad. I get ZERO revenue from this blog which means I have no budget for advertising.

According to fellow blogger and social media expert Derek Halpern's blog:
According to AdAge, Facebook said, “We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time…” And a Facebook spokesperson said, “the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it.” 
This means you may not receive my content anymore via my Gluten-Free Fun Facebook page because it doesn’t make sense for me to pay Facebook to send you my Gluten-Free Fun news you can read for free.

There are a few things you can do to keep seeing my content.

1. Read my Gluten-Free Fun blog. You are here, so you are reading. YAY!

2. Like my Gluten-Free Fun page on Facebook, but update to "Get Notifications." By doing this you will always see my Facebook posts. See the image below to know where to look


https://www.facebook.com/GlutenFreeFun

3. Follow @GFreeFun on Twitter. I often post and link back to my Facebook page.

Thank you for your loyalty and your support! It means the world to me.

~Erin

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Friday, June 13, 2014
Gluten-Free Fun Friday Funny: Gluten-Ectomy
If I had a dollar back for every time I got a loaf of gluten-free bread with holes in it, I would be a VERY rich woman. Share this post if you know what I am talking about!


Originally seen on the Gluten Free Club website

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Thursday, June 12, 2014
Pasta Flyer in New York City and Beyond!
Last night, the NYC Celiac Meetup Group and the Brooklyn Gluten-Free Meetup had a launch party for Pasta Flyer. Pasta Flyer is a new Kickstarter project started by Chef Mark Ladner of the award-winning Del Posto in New York City. In my eight years of leading this Meetup group, I think this was my most exciting event ever! It's not every day (or year) that you have a James Beard nominee from a four-star restaurant talking to your group in a small, friendly, intimate setting like this. The room was buzzing with excitement.



Held in the 100% gluten-free kitchen of Krumville Bake Shop in Brooklyn, we had a sold-out event! Throughout the evening our members got to meet Chef Mark Ladner, chat with him about his new Pasta Flyer project, and eat some amazing gluten-free food. Chef Mark prepared his famous 100-layer gluten-free lasagna, garlic dots (think garlic knots/popovers), and dried rice penne with caramel. As expected, the food was amazing and of course, gluten-free. It was so awesome to see so many smiling group members eating safe gluten-free food made by a gourmet chef!

Members of the NYC Celiac Meetup Group

Chef Mark Ladner making his gluten-free garlic dots!

Everyone in our Meetup group was slightly starstruck by meeting Chef Mark, who couldn't have been any nicer. We all were beyond appreciative for the attention he is paying to the gluten-free community through his pasta research and this new project. I was especially impressed that a chef of his caliber is not only going out of his way to learn about gluten-free food, but is also so excited to meet the gluten-free and Celiac community. You guys, he took a night off from Del Posto to cook for US! This was a wonderful experience!

Check out that view from the Krumville ktichen! 


Whipping up some gluten-free focaccia bread



The point of our event was not only to eat gluten-free food, but to also introduce Pasta Flyer to NYC and the world. I really encourage you to check out the Pasta Flyer Kickstarter page and help make this gluten-free project a reality. This concept is going to revolutionize the food industry. It is going to bring gluten-free pasta to the limelight in a gourmet, yet affordable way. Please go to the page and back Pasta Flyer today.

Thank you Chef Mark for attending our NYC Celiac Meetup group event last night. It was such an honor! 

Also, a special shout out to my dear friend Kristen, from Wine with Kristen, for her impromptu sommelier job last night!


DONATE NOW BY CLICKING THIS LINK OR THE WIDGET BELOW! 



Click here to see even more pictures on our Facebook page.

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Friday, June 6, 2014
June 11: Pasta Flyer Kick-Off Party with Chef Mark Ladner in NYC
Chef Mark Ladner in the kitchen.
Photo credit: Ted Axelrod

If you read my Monday post, you know I had an amazing and quite memorable gluten-free meal at Del Posto in New York City last Friday. Part of the lunch was spent talking to Chef Mark Ladner about his new upcoming project. Next week, Chef Mark is launching a Kickstarter campaign for his "gluten-free certified pasta bowl restaurant named Pasta Flyer. It's Italian cuisine, Japanese style."

This concept really impressed me. I don't know of any restaurants that I can walk into and get delicious, 100% gluten-free pasta in less than 5  minutes, safely , and "to go." Chef Mark and I chatted about his idea and solidified plans for a kick-off party in New York City on June 11th to celebrate this launch.

PastaFlyer.com


For two decades, Chef Mark Ladner has been working as a chef in Manhattan, focusing exclusively on Italian fine dining at restaurants like Otto, Babbo, Lupa and Del Posto. Last year at Del Posto, he launched a gluten-free menu that received a lot of enthusiasm from diners with celiac. Pasta Flyer is a way for Chef Ladner to share his love for delicious pasta with a wider community, outside the NYC fine-dining scene. He has developed a patent-pending production and cooking technique for Pasta Flyer that enables him to serve any combination of the custom extruded pasta shape, sauce and side in 3 minutes; just as fast as at a Tokyo-style ramen bar. It's 100% gluten-free and will all be made in a gluten-free certified facility. 

I will post the Pasta Flyer Kickstarter link next week when the campaign launches. In the meantime, I want to invite you to our party in New York City on June 11th!

Pasta Flyer Kick-Off Party with Chef Mark Ladner

6:30pm - Cocktail Reception
7:15pm - Gluten Free Demo with Chef Ladner
8:00pm - Tasting of gluten-free snacks and goods
8:30pm - Q&A with Chef Ladner

Now, you might think that a private party with Chef Ladner will empty your pockets. Not in this case! This party is only $25 per person including cocktails, gluten-free pasta, and a chance to meet one of the most prestigious chefs in New York City. This is a big deal for the NYC Celiac Meetup group and probably the most excited I have been about one of our events in a really long time.

Tickets are extremely limited and will sell out fast. Don't delay, visit our ticket page today! You must pre-pay for your tickets to this event. No walk-ins! http://www.meetup.com/Celiac/events/186819012/

Gluten-free 100-layer lasagne

Photo credit: Hannah Whitaker


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Monday, June 2, 2014
Gluten-Free at Del Posto Ristorante in New York City
I don't even know where to start this post. I am still reveling in the memories of eating one of the best meals of my life last week at Del Posto Ristorante in New York City. I've been watching Del Posto for a while now once I learned they were trying to make a gluten-free version of every item on their menu. Then, after I saw this video, I knew I had to go. Well, restaurant dreams do come true, my friends. Last Friday, I had an impressive multi-course tasting menu carefully prepared by Chef Mark Ladner.

I recently connected with Chef Ladner via Twitter. (God, I love the power of social media). I saw a news item about his upcoming gluten-free Pasta Flyer project and I got excited. (stay tuned for exciting details later this week!) Quick, healthy, and gluten-free pasta bowls for busy people on the go? Where do I get one?! Chef Ladner and I started actively emailing to chat about this new project and then I got invited in for lunch.

PINCH ME! 

The chef himself invited little old ME for lunch. Flattered, honored, and beyond excited are just a few of those emotions that flooded through me. To say I was nervous to eat lunch was an understatement. And this wasn't nerves of being afraid of gluten, this was nervous energy to finally eat at one of my bucket list restaurants in the world!

The beautiful dining room at Del Posto. Behind those stairs sits a live pianist!

My meal was extraordinary. Dish after beautifully-plated gluten-free dish was served to me by a steady stream of extremely professional waitstaff. Service was impeccable and as I watched the busy dining room, I knew I wasn't get special treatment because I am a blogger. This was just how it is at Del Posto. Professional and luxury dining at its best. There is a reason Del Posto has "a four-star New York Times rating, one Michelin star, a Relais & Chateaux distinction, a grand award from The Wine Spectator and five Mobile Diamonds." This is dining at its absolute finest! Chef Mark Ladner is also a 2012 and 2013 James Beard Award nominee!

Not only was the food gorgeous and the service great, but the Chef went out of his way to talk to me during and after my meal. I felt very honored that Chef Ladner came and sat with me to talk about the Celiac community, his gluten-free trial and error in the kitchen, and how he wants every diner in his restaurant to be treated equally. There is no judgement if you have allergies, preferences, or Celiac needs at Del Posto. You are a customer and you will be fed. Simple as that.

Now on to the food! My captions will do these dishes no justice. I was too busy eating and admiring each dish to remember the exact names of the food. I just know it was beautiful and delicious and all gluten-free!

Dehydrated rice penne

Local, spring vegetable salad

Veal ravioli with asparagus

The thing that really impressed me most about Chef Ladner is his dedication to getting his gluten-free recipes just right. He uses Thomas Keller's Cup 4 Cup flour blend in the kitchen. He spent YEARS getting the pasta just right. And let me tell you, he nailed it! Fluffy, airy focaccia bread. 100-layer lasagna with the thinnest gluten-free noodles I have seen in my life! Ravioli!!! He puts a tremendous amount of effort into each gluten-free dish to make sure the Celiac customer's dining experience is no different from a "regular" customer. Chef Ladner does not have celiac nor is he gluten-free, he just makes delicious food and accepts the challenge of gluten-free cooking. I truly believe he has gone above and beyond for the gluten-free customer and is one of the most impressive chefs I've ever met who is feeding the gluten-free community.


Gluten-free focaccia bread with rosemary and thyme

I never eat fish because I am always afraid it's going to be "fishy." This halibut was perfect.
Chef, please note, you got me to eat fish. That's a HUGE accomplishment in itself!

100-layer gluten-free lasagna. Yes, you read that correctly... ONE HUNDRED LAYERS

Del Posto is definitely a special occasion restaurant. This would be perfect to celebrate birthdays, retirements, or anniversaries. It might be a bit pricey for some people, but it is definitely worth every dollar. If you are looking to get a taste of what Del Posto has to offer, I highly recommend lunch.  At $39 per person for a prix fixe lunch, you are getting quite a bargain at this high-end restaurant. Make your reservations early because they fill up quickly. This is not a place to be missed.

Palette cleanser: rhubarb granata with rhubarb compote and cucumber ice

Butterscotch semi freddo with plums and cherries

Swan cappucino

Housemade "candies" including edible rice paper filled with champagne vinaigrette caramel.
AMAZING!!

Presented to me as "chocolate with some chocolate on top of chocolate"


Thank you so much Chef Mark Ladner and the staff of Del Posto for such an amazing dining experience. This post cannot really express how much I appreciate what Chef Ladner is doing for the gluten-free community. He has raised the bar for gluten-free dining to a new all-time high! The Chef's approach to making the gluten-free dining experience so "normal" is what stood out to me the most... after the delicious food, of course. Instead of seeing our dietary restrictions as an annoyance, Chef Ladner has embraced the challenge of gluten-free cooking. In my opinion, there are very few people that do this for our community. My lunch last Friday was so special to me and I feel lucky that we made the connection via Twitter.

I cannot wait to help share the Pasta Flyer efforts in the upcoming weeks. If this meal at Del Posto is any indication of what's to come with Pasta Flyer, we are in EXCELLENT hands.

THANK YOU, CHEF MARK LADNER!

Me with Executive Chef Mark Ladner of Del Posto


Del Posto Ristorante
85 10th Ave.
New York, NY 10011


Side note: I met a lovely woman dining next to me who wondered if I was a food critic. I was beyond flattered. I told her I am a gluten-free blogger and she proceeded to tell me her son-in-law had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease just two weeks ago! She said as a big foodie living in Europe, he was devastated. I told her he shouldn't be and that I was living proof that life goes on. I was sitting eating at Del Posto, wasn't I? I wished her son-in-law well and hope that he soon enjoys (gluten-free) food again!

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