BEST Gluten-Free Eats from 2014

‘Tis the season for cookie swaps, wrapping get-togethers and holiday work parties. For many, people like to reflect on what personal goals they’ve achieved over the past year and make new resolutions for 2015. For me, I reflect on all the delicious gluten-free foods I ate; reliving every tasty bite, delicious drink and look forward to all of the mouthwatering foods 2015 has in store!

Looking back, 2014 was definitely the year for all-things comfort. From gluten-free pizza, meatballs, pasta and more, it’s easy to see from the list below that my diet consisted mostly of comfort foods (no shame).

In honor of all my delicious gluten-free eats from 2014, here’s a list of the most memorable dishes (in no particular order):

1. Rubirosa: Gluten-Free Italian Restaurant

Located in Little Italy, Rubirosa is my most recent eat that comes highly recommended among the gluten-free community. It’s so popular that it can be hard to get a reservation for the weekend –  make sure to reserve a spot or you could end up waiting 2+ hours (so worth it)!

The meatballs were everything I was hoping for; full of flavor, not dry and the marinara sauce was spot on. It’s been a while since I ate meatballs at a restaurant since they usually contain bread.

The showstopper though was hands-down the pizza. All the ingredients were some of the highest quality I have ever tasted on a pizza. The pepperoni on the Supreme blew my mind. I don’t know where Rubirosa gets its pepperoni but I really need to find out because I’ve never experienced anything like it. And the cheeses used on the Bianca are so delicious that it was without a doubt the best gluten-free pizza I ever ate, seriously.

Rubirosa Gluten-Free Meatballs

Rubirosa Gluten-Free Meatballs


Rubirosa Gluten-Free Pizza

Rubirosa Gluten-Free Pizza: 1/2 Bianca and 1/2 Supreme


2. Bar Taco: Gluten-Free Mexican Restaurant

Bar Taco is my #1 place to get gluten-free Mexican food. Unfortunately, there isn’t one in New York City. Bar Taco has multiple locations in New York about 20-30 minutes outside of the city. If you ever have the opportunity or are looking for a foodie day-trip, make your way to Bar Taco and you’ll fall in love. And if you like mojitos then you’re in for a real treat.

Bar Taco Gluten-Free Mexican

Bar Taco: Gluten-Free Grilled Corn with Lime, Cayenne and Cotija Cheese


Bar Taco Gluten-Free Fried Oyster Taco

Bar Taco: Gluten-Free Fried Oyster Taco


3. Pie by the Pound: Gluten-Free Pizza

One of my go-to gluten-free pizza spots in the city is Pie by the Pound! My favorite pizza is a tie between the Red Eye which is fresh mozzarella, marinara dollops, parmesan and basil and the Fresh Cubed Pizza – mozzarella, tomato sauce, tomato, garlic, oregano, basil, arugula and olive oil all chopped and put on top of the pizza.

Pie By The Pound Gluten-Free Pizza

Pie By The Pound Gluten-Free Pizza: 1/2 Red Eye and 1/2 Bacon


4. Noglu: 100% Gluten-Free French Restaurant

I recently traveled to Paris where I ate at Noglu, a 100% gluten-free restaurant, which was absolutely amazing. Who knew I would travel to Paris and find a dedicated gluten-free restaurant that served some of the best food and dessert which included the most succulent pan roasted duck and homemade lemon meringue pie. The icing on the cake was that the staff and chef were so friendly and they loved talking with me about being gluten-free.

I loved Noglu so much that I ate there 3 times in one week!

Noglu: Gluten-Free Pan Roasted Duck

Noglu: Gluten-Free Pan Roasted Duck


Noglu: Gluten-Free Lemon Meringue Dessert

Noglu: Gluten-Free Lemon Meringue Dessert


5. Gobo: Gluten-Free Japanese

I can’t begin to explain how many french fries I’ve eaten in my lifetime – let’s just say it’s a TON. That being said, I’ve never had anything like Gobo’s fries. They’re yam fries battered in water chestnut flour which gives them a unique crunchy taste that’s slightly sweet and completely addicting.

Gobo Gluten-Free Fries

Gobo Gluten-Free Fries


6. Pasta Flyer: Gluten-Free Pasta

On December 18th I attended an exclusive get-together with Pasta Flyer Owner and Founder, Mark Lardner, and a few other gluten-free foodies to test out his latest pasta creations. I chose the gluten-free fusilli pasta with a porcini crema sauce and topped it with thick smoked bacon, ricotta and scallions. It was nothing short of amazing! The porcini crema sauce was nice and rich with a hint of truffle oil. The bacon and ricotta were nice complements to the rich sauce. And as you can expect, the pasta was perfectly cooked and you would never have guessed it was gluten-free.

Pasta Flyer: Gluten-Free Fusilli Pasta with Procini Crema Sauce and Smoked Bacon

Pasta Flyer: Gluten-Free Fusilli Pasta with Porcini Crema Sauce and Smoked Bacon


7. By the Way Bakery: Gluten-Free Desserts & Baked Goods

There are a few gluten-free bakeries in New York City but my favorite thus far is By the Way Bakery on the Upper West Side. I’ve personally met and spent time with the owner, Helene Godin, and she is such a gem. A lawyer for 22 years, Helene needed a drastic change from the 9 to 5 desk job so one day she just quit being a lawyer and decided to open a bakery.

Her desserts and baked goods are all delicious and gluten-free. Everything is reasonably priced and made from great ingredients.

By the Way Bakery: Gluten-Free Desserts

By the Way Bakery: Gluten-Free Desserts


8. Asellina: Gluten-Free Italian Restaurant

It’s the epitome of what a risotto should be (creamy) while at the same time it wasn’t as heavy as a traditional risotto. The sheeps milk ricotta was a light and fluffy addition that I truly enjoyed. The zucchini brought an earthy taste and green color to the dish.

Asellina: Gluten-Free Zucchini Risotto

Asellina: Gluten-Free Zucchini Risotto


9. Cafe D’Alsace: Gluten-Free French Cuisine

A stones through away from my apartment, I make it a point to eat here as often as possible. On its own, Cafe D’Alsace’s menu is the epitome of French cuisine, however, I love to venture off the menu and try out the specials. This is where Cafe D’Alsace really shows off its culinary creativity.

On this night, the restaurant had earlier received fresh venison from upstate New York. I jumped at the chance because I love venison and you can’t get more farm to table then that.

The dish didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. Everything was perfectly cooked – from the venison (medium-rare) the succulent au jus that covered the plate, baked apples that provided a sweet and tart bite, pureed celery root that added an earthy component and the white truffle oil sauteed spinach. I wish this dish was a staple on the menu because I could easily eat it once a week.

Gluten-Free Pan Seared Venison with Pureed Celery Root , Baked Apples and Sauteed Spinach with White truffle Oil and Garlic

Cafe D’Alsace: Gluten-Free Pan Seared Venison with Pureed Celery Root , Baked Apples and Sauteed Spinach with White truffle Oil and Garlic


10. Colors: 100% Gluten-Free Restaurant

No your eyes aren’t deceiving you – that’s gluten-free fried chicken!! Colors opened in the Fall of 2014 and is serving some of the tastiest gluten-free comfort food in New York City. Its menu ranges from dishes like fried chicken, risotto, crispy pork belly, pork and bacon meatballs to pan roasted mahi mahi and much more.

Without a doubt the must-have on the menu is the gluten-free fired chicken. Before being gluten-free, I ate fried chicken from all over the United States and I can easily say that this fried chicken is the best I’ve ever ate, ever. I was shocked as to how flavorful Chef Aaron was able make the batter. The chicken was so juicy and the spiced honey was delicious and a smart addition to the dish to help cut through the heartiness of everything.

Starting in 2015, I’m excited to share that Colors will be serving brunch!

Colors: Gluten-Free Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Spiced Honey, Pommes Puree

Colors: Gluten-Free Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Spiced Honey, Pommes Puree


11. Bistango: Gluten-Free Italian Cuisine

I love that Bistango offers gluten-free eaters Cavatelli pasta. And to top it off, Bistango offers creative and unique pasta dishes for any craving. My favorite dishes are the Cavatelli that has sweat sausage and the Rigatoni which has generous bites of pancetta and fall off the bone short rib meat. So good!!

All of Bistango’s gluten-free flatbreads sound really good. I went for the “Cippolli” flatbread mainly because of the whipped ricotta and the pickled onions which is a tasty combination.

Gluten-Free Pasta: Cavatelli with Italian Sausage, Kale, Calabrian Chili and Stracciatella

Bistango: ” Cavatelli” – Gluten-Free Pasta with Italian Sausage, Kale, Calabrian Chili and Stracciatella


Gluten-Free Pasta: Braised Short Rib, Tomato, Pancetta and Salsa Verde Rustico

Bistango: ” Rigatoni” – Gluten-Free Pasta with Braised Short Rib, Tomato, Pancetta and Salsa Verde Rustico


"Cippolli" - Gluten-Free Pizza with Whipped Ricotta, Roasted Spanish Onions, Garlic Chives and Pickled Onions

Bistango: “Cippolli” – Gluten-Free Pizza with Whipped Ricotta, Roasted Spanish Onions, Garlic Chives and Pickled Onions


12. Alma de Cuba: Gluten-Free Cuban Cuisine

Whenever I visit Philly, it’s a guarantee that I will eat at Alma de Cuba. No matter what you order you really can’t go wrong – every dish is delicious. Almost everything on the menu is gluten-free; including the bread below.

Made in-house, these little gluten-free bundles of joy are seriously addicting and could be a meal all on their own because they’re just that damn good. I’m not sure what it’s that makes them so good but I think it has to do with the powdery white substance on top. I’m not going to speculate here, I’m just going to shut up and eat them!

Gluten-Free Bread

Gluten-Free Bread


13. Pala Pizza: Gluten-Free Italian Cuisine

There are a couple places in New York City that serve gluten-free calamari but my all-time favorite is Pala’s! It’s a combination of the marina sauce, that’s a star on its own, and the perfect crunch of the calamari. Together it’s a flavor explosion that brings me back to the days in the summer spent in Cape Cod, eating seafood everyday on the ocean with the smell of salt in the air.

Pala Pizza: Gluten-Free Calamari

Pala Pizza: Gluten-Free Calamari


"Tre Formaggi" Gluten-Free Pizza

“Tre Formaggi” Gluten-Free Pizza


2014 was a fantastic year for us gluten-free foodies who were looking for some amazing eats. It’s more apparent than ever that safe, gluten-free options are becoming more and more common. I’m sure 2015 will be nothing short of amazing and I can’t wait to see what’s in store. Have a safe and happy New Year!