Saturday, January 30, 2010

Babycakes NYC - The Photos...

I'm not sure why I can't update these into my old post...?  budding bloggers, see photo editor note below

Anyhoo (for my Wisconsin readers) are the photos.

Caption 1: The tiling at the floor entry (exterior)...notice the cupcake.

Caption 2: Here I am in front of the store...
focus on the storefront rather than my face, and no...I am not in witness protection.. 

Caption 3: A glass display from inside the are the T-shirts they sell...expensive...but nice niche.
sadly, nothing was appropriate for a heterosexual male...otherwise I would be rocking one right now.  
(I don't even think there was anything for a metrosexual male....but that is something to decide for yourself)

P.S.#1 - Wisconsin Readers:I don't believe that I have Wisconsin readers...I know of 1 occasional reader from Wisconsin, but I am not so brash as to believe that other Wisconsites/Wisconsonians..? read the blog.  If they do, they can take solace in the fact that...plain cheese is gluten free :-)

P.S. #2 - Photo editor's note to self: The last image was uploaded very easily as I modified the image size in photoshop in order to make the file size smaller.  That may have been the problem when I tried to upload earlier.  You may have noticed that some of my other image files were huge (see Blue Smoke pics for examples).  I'll try to avoid that in the future...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Babycakes NYC ( will add photos at later date.....blogger is lagging)

Babycakes - also known as Babycakes NYC.
They just opened a place in LA called Babycakes in LA (rocket science).

New York Address to cut/paste into google.
248 Broome Street,  New York City, NY 10002
(on the lower east side Btwn Orchard & Ludlow)

I'd been looking forward to going here, as everyone always asked me if I'd been...and now I have.

First impression...nice cupcake tile at the entry (I notice random things like that).

In a random alley of an up-and-coming (read hip/edgy/sketchy at night) neighborhood. Small interior...I'd pictured something larger, but it is New York).
There was a small counter with a few display cases.

It was great that everything is dairy free and soy free, but I couldn't understand why they make things with spelt (not everything, some things are GF).

Beware of Spelt: Items are either spelt or gluten free. Spelt=gluten. I am sure they do a decent job avoiding cross contamination, but why bother having spelt? I don't know anyone that thinks..."mmm....I could do with some spelt." So, be very careful when ordering. I would feel better about things if the spelt had not shared display cases with the GF food.

Service: The employees were friendly and helpful (contrary to some negative reviews many other people have written online).

GF Food:I ordered a plethora of GF food and sat down at the small counter and consumed it all.

Everything was good and tasty, but rather small and expensive.  I had the chocolate crumble GF cake, a chocolate glazed donut (winner of the best taste award - though it had a hint of lemon...but I am a sucker for chocolate glazed donuts and hadn't had one for over a year), some brownies,  a carrot cake muffin (also delicious), and a cup of coffee.

Result:  I left on a sugar and caffeine high that was great! I was shaking like someone shooting the halftime half court shot at a Knicks game...eventually the effect wore off and I had a bit of a headache (I blame the caffeine not the GF food).

However, those on a budget couldn't afford to eat here too often (as I would tend to pig out...also, a plane ticket to NYC is a budget buster).  But when in NY next time, I will try to work in 2 visits during the week...

Final thought: I'd love it if they added some savory GF breakfast options that I could get "to go" and eat for breakfast....coconut almond GF scone anyone?  What they have is very good, but I think they can do better...and I look forward to them proving me correct.
Other:  The owner wrote a the recipes carefully to stay GF.  Spelt contains Gluten! and a lot of the recipes have spelt.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Babycakes LA

Babycakes NYC just opened a store in downtown LA on January 3rd, 2010.

Address: 130 East 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Here is the relevant info.

I guess they are calling it Babycakes in LA...surely they could have come up with a better name...and the location leaves something to be desired...Erin McKenna (the founder of Babycakes NYC) should have considered 3rd St Promenade, The Grove, or some other foot traffic heavy place...downtown LA is not Manhattan...hopefully it remains open long enough for me to get there.

I went to the NYC location last month and will review it soon (I know, I lag...this is a hobby so I fit it in around life). After I descend on the downtown LA location, I'll let y'all know.

How is Celiac Disease treated?

To answer the follow up question to "What is Celiac Disease?" that I blogged about earlier...

From the experts at The US Department of Health and Human Services' National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

The only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet.
When you improve, you still should not eat gluten. The symptoms will recur. You need to avoid gluten forever (forever-ever? forever!).

If you don't start to improve...either
A) you still are eating some sort of gluten (fixable - get more OCD about reading ingredients and read my blog "contains gluten?")
B)your intestinal absorption is so severely damaged that it cannot heal (very bad).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What is Celiac Disease?

This is to answer the question that I get all the time...
There are several different sites with information about Celiac Disease.
Here is what I feel to be the definitive version (for now).

The US Department of Health and Human Services' National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (say that 10 times fast) says:
Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, and lip balms.

When people with celiac disease eat foods or use products containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging or destroying villi—the tiny, fingerlike protrusions lining the small intestine. Villi normally allow nutrients from food to be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine into the bloodstream. Without healthy villi, a person becomes malnourished, no matter how much food one eats.

Celiac disease is both a disease of malabsorption—meaning nutrients are not absorbed properly—and an abnormal immune reaction to gluten. Celiac disease is also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Celiac disease is genetic, meaning it runs in families. Sometimes the disease is triggered—or becomes active for the first time—after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or severe emotional stress.

They have a Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign with information here. The site includes current information and examples of a gluten free diet.

Monday, January 11, 2010

GF in NY BBQ - Blue Smoke Review. Downright Delicious Ribs.

I just returned from my New York trip, visiting a wide range of gluten free places to eat.
Here is the first review.

Blue Smoke - BBQ place near Madison Square Park.
116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016
1-212-447-7733 phone
1-212-576-2561 fax (for those of you still living in the late 1990s).

Gluten free menu available online (PDF).

I took the 6 downtown from Grand Central Station and it was about a 45 second walk from the 28th street subway exit to the restaurant.

If you like Jazz or knows someone who does, Jazz Standard is right next door. You get your GF BBQ in NY and they get their Jazz. It's a win/ when Kobe shoots 4 for 21 and the Lakers win anyway. But I digress...on to the food.

Blue Smoke.
Their business card claims "Urban Barbecue" but I call it downright delicious (say it with a drawl). Their GF menu is small but the ribs make it great. You order everything separately...

I devoured the Kansas City Ribs (full rack of pork), Mashed Potatoes, and Baked Beans. I also tried the Texas Ribs (beef) when I stole a rib from my girlfriend. Kansas City beat Texas like the Chiefs wish they could beat the Longhorns (football reference).

The pork ribs were a hot mess. Napkins and sauce galore. It's hard to find GF BBQ sauce, and doubly so to find good sauce at a restaurant. Blue Smoke delivered. They also had a handy contraption by the bathrooms...a pedal operated sink. These folks understand the need to get one's hands dirty...and the need to avoid the stigma of being "that guy that got BBQ sauce all over the faucet in the bathroom."

The mashed potatoes were hearty, but I needed to send them back the first time as they forgot to take the onions off (Gluten on the deep fried onions). The beans, sadly, were bland and lukewarm. They have Redbridge GF Beer at a rather exorbitant price. (I reviewed Redbridge previously in my blog). I was also disappointed that there were no dessert offerings. Mr. Blue up Babycakes NYC and get some GF cupcakes from them to offer on your GF menu.

 No dessert, expensive beer, so-so mashed potatoes, bland beans, but bbq pork ribs that make everything great. If you have Celiac Disease and are traveling to New York, Blue Smoke is worth a visit.

Tucked away in a corner of the Men's Bathroom is a little plaque that mentions Blue Smoke is Michelin Food Guide Recommended. It also earned a 2010 Bib Gourmand Rating. Details on what on earth that means after the link. That alone may convince some of you foodies to pay it a visit.

On a baseball note/rant:
Blue Smoke BBQ is slated to be sold at food stands in the new Mets' Ballpark CitiField. Lucky Devils. Here's hoping they sell a GF option. LA Dodgers take note. I won't spend money on a Dodger Dog sans Bun. I would drop serious dough for GF BBQ at Dodger Stadium (bad pun not intended but noticed after the fact...dough better be GF).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gluten Free Cookbook - the one I use

I currently have only one cookbook that is designated as a gluten free cook book. I think it is the best general guide available in most bookstores...not a ton of ingredients. Different meals. Good tasting. Inexpensive. I bought one, and my parents also have a copy that they acquired. Most things I cook were inspired by recipes that I have modified after reading this book. If you'd like one for yourself or a GF friend, here is the link to get it at Amazon.

Website Review - The Gluten-Free Mall

Someone ordered me some GF food as a holiday gift. They shopped at The Gluten-Free Mall. I checked out the website and discovered..
1. It has been around since 1998.
2. Has lots of categories and food choices and is word searchable.
3. They have secure online ordering and most items are shipped on the next business day.
4. They call themselves "Your Special Diet Superstore"...I prefer, "You are special and so is your diet"...infinitely more cheesy.
5. They have a cool logo (probably should have been number 1, as I am still working on my logo for Celiacs United.)

You can sign up for coupons from The Gluten-Free Mall, and updates from by clicking here.

I'll blog at a later date about the food I was given...still have some to eat first.

Positive GF snack review - Mrs. Denison's Gluten Free Quinoa Macaroon

So I went and checked out Henry's Market, as promised in an earlier post. I went to the Costa Mesa store. They did, indeed, have a small GF section. Most items I had seen before, but something caught my eye.. what? you wonder? (more likely you don't wonder as you read the title of the blog entry before reading the review...unless you start all books with the last page).

I purchased a box of Mrs. Denison's Gluten Free Quinoa Macaroon's. There are 9 in a box. Soft, chewy, deliciousness. I gobbled them down with some tea. As I ate, I hoarded the box like Gollum with his precious. Eventually, however, I saw the light and shared with other people (I can always buy more - it is not the "one cookie to bind all others"). They all enjoyed it also. "They" sounds infinitely better than "Two other people. Quinoa (if you were wondering) comes from the Andes and is an ancient GF grain. I bought a box of a competitor's GF quinoa cookies that I will review in the near future. Mrs Denison's includes traces of dairy and eggs for those of you with other intolerances.