Modern Bread and Bagel (NYC) Restaurant Review

Disclaimer: I was invited to a comped lunch at Modern Bread and Bagel before they open to the public. I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend restaurants that I love.

It’s hard to describe the joy that I experienced earlier this week at Modern Bread and Bagel, but I’m going to try – in short, it was one of the most magical meals of my life.

I met with Orly (yes from Blends By Orly) to learn about her gluten free culinary adventures and her dream to open a dedicated gluten free restaurant. Orly is such an impressive person. She described her culinary background, emphasizing her traditional baking techniques, customization of gluten free flours, accommodations for food allergies, plating design, and desire to have an incredible restaurant where everything just happens to be gluten free (and kosher and oat-free!). Orly is passionate, intelligent and incredibly talented. Drawing inspiration from Australian, Israeli, and New York cuisine, Orly and her team has created one of the most beautiful and unique menus that I’ve ever seen.

When I arrived I didn’t know what to do. One – the restaurant is gorgeous, and I instantly thought, “I want to spend all of my time here.” Two – the food! There was a display of freshly baked sweet treats, rows of New York style bagels, and cases that held a huge assortment of cream cheeses and spreads. I have never seen such a restaurant where everything is gluten free! Then I sat down and saw the menu. Each dish looked stunning and was focused around fresh ingredients. At Orly’s recommendation I chose the Corn and Goat Cheese Fritters (with tomato chili jam, scrambled eggs, and spinach) along with a latte and a sesame seed bagel with strawberry cream cheese.

Orly lived in Australia and explained that one of the hardest parts about moving back to the US was that she would miss the incredible coffee. So of course she brought Australian coffee to her restaurant. The latte I had was simply magical. I didn’t know coffee could taste so beautiful! I’m obsessed, and there’s no turning back.

The Corn & Goat Cheese Fritters arrived. I don’t know if I’ve ever tasted anything quite so perfect. Putting a little bit of everything onto the fork, I swam in a sea of perfectly balanced flavors and textures. The chef trusted the brightness of the ingredients – it was simple, not over-seasoned, yet bursting with flavor. And the bread! They added a few slices of sesame seed baguette. It was the best bread I’ve ever eaten. The crust! It was so beautifully crunchy, and the inside was perfectly soft. I could have cried, I was so happy.

When I bit into the sesame seed bagel I practically fell onto the floor in happiness and quickly propped myself back up again. I grew up with a mother who worshiped New York bagels, and they were one of the foods I mourned for when I was diagnosed with celiac disease. But here they were, and they were just as I had remembered. Dreams do come true! (Mom I can’t wait for you to try this!)

It was so hard choosing just one pastry, but I eventually picked the Lemon & Blueberry Pop Tart. Just look at it! How could you say no to that gorgeous pastry! It was perfect – the outside was flaky and the filling inside was delicious.

I am beyond excited for the NYC celiac disease community to experience Modern Bread and Bagel. Words cannot describe how happy I am. I’m so overcome with emotion and excitement, and I’m so full of amazing food. I can’t wait to go back. In fact I did! – I tried the coffee cake and a gorgeous passion fruit sponge dessert. These are seriously some of the most incredible pastries I’ve ever eaten. I can’t rave about it enough. We are so lucky this restaurant exists. What a gift.

Modern Bread and Bagel opens to the public next week (check out their Instagram because they have some information about their soft opening and updates about the official opening). It features a sit down menu (and a specials menu that changes weekly) along with a number of fresh to-go options including baked goods, coffee, salads, sandwiches, breads, bagels and spreads.

Location/hours:

Sundays-Fridays (closed Saturdays) from 7am-4pm

472 Columbus Ave, near 83rd st in NYC

Stay tuned for more exciting news about what will be happening at the restaurant in the evenings, and get ready for some delicious events with the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group!

Find more information at https://www.modernbreadandbagel.com

Also http://blendsbyorly.com

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Holiday Giveaway #4 – Gluten Free Prairie

Disclaimer: I received samples of this product, but I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I use and love.

There is so much to learn when you’re first diagnosed with celiac disease. As labeling laws and research slowly advance, I feel like there is always more to learn. Gluten free oats remain a hot topic in the community. In a nutshell:

  • Not all individuals with celiac disease can tolerate oats.
  • Oats are naturally gluten free but are contaminated during growing/harvesting/processing. You must look for oats that are labeled gluten free.
  • Many oats labeled gluten free are regular oats that are mechanically/optically sorted to removed the gluten-containing grains.
  • Purity protocol gluten free oats are oats that are “produced following steps to control the presence of gluten-containing grain beginning with the seed used for planting” (Gluten Free Watchdog). Though there is no standardized definition of purity protocol, it will often include growing/harvesting oats in a dedicated gluten free field, passing field inspections, and processing in a dedicated facility.
  • You normally won’t find the words “purity protocol” on a label. You must do research and inquire with the manufacturer.
  • Certified gluten free oats are not synonymous with purity protocol oats. May certified gluten free products use gluten free oats that are mechanically/optically sorted.
  • How do we know which oat products use purity protocol oats? Gluten Free Watchdog has a great page about it.

Confused? Personally, I choose to only eat purity protocol gluten free oats.

Gluten Free Prairie is my favorite purity protocol oat company and is run by Deb Wheaton. Among her notable accomplishments, she is on the Celiac Disease Foundation Board of Directors and was awarded the CDF’s highest honor, the Blue Butterfly Award, for her years of service. A portion of the proceeds from Gluten Free Prairie go to the Celiac Disease Foundation for their programs to raise awareness.

Important facts about the Gluten Free Prairie:

  • Supports the purity protocol – oats are grown in glutenfree fields then harvested/packaged in a designated glutenfree facility 
  • Gluten Free Prairie is featured on Gluten Free Watchdog’s list of purity protocol oat companies
  • Certified gluten free by the Celiac Spruce Association 
  • Tests to less than 5ppm
  • Non GMO and Certified Kosher
  • High in fiber
  • Higher in protein than most traditional oats (17-22% compared to 13%)

I’m so happy to have found an oat company I can trust. The taste, quality, safety, the awesome owner – in my opinion, Gluten Free Prairie is the way to go.

Gluten Free Prairie has now introduced a Baker’s Box Baking Gift Set, which contains their Deep Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix (OMG it’s sooooo good, I could eat the whole batch by myself), Pancake & Waffle Mix (excellent!), and the Simply Wholesome All Purpose Flour Blend (makes excellent crepes!). The Bakers Box is available on Amazon.com, and is eligible for free shipping! You could order it toady and have it before Christmas.

Find GlutenFree Prairie products in stores nationwide and on amazon.com For more information visit www.glutenfreeprairie.com

GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive a Gluten Free Prairie Baker’s Box Baking Gift Set featuring the Deep Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix, Pancake & Waffle Mix, Simply Wholesome All Purpose Flour Blend, and recipes! Enter via the link below. Continental US residents only. Giveaway ends Tuesday January 2nd at 11:59 EST.

Gluten Free Prairie Giveaway

Visit my Instagram for an extra giveaway! One more winner will be chosen there!

Holiday Giveaway #3 – Red Apple Lipstick

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Red Apple Lipstick, and this post contains an affiliate link. This means I get a small commission that helps maintain the cost of this site (there is no added cost to you). I’ve received samples of this product, but I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love. 

Looking for a good gift to get yourself (or someone else – whatever) this holiday season? The Red Apple Lipstick winter collection is a perfect choice!

Fast facts about Red Apple Lipstick:

  • Gluten free
  • Cruelty free
  • Vegan
  • Soy free (except retractable lip pencils) 
  • Corn free
  • Dairy free
  • Contains no GMO’s 
  • Preservative free
  • Toxin & chemical free
  • Petroleum free
  • Mercury free
  • Lead & talc free
  • Made in the USA

Paris, Ravishing, Fierce and Swoon are totally gorgeous colors that are perfect for the winter season. I love creating bold statements with my lip color during the holidays and winter months. I’ve been a fan of Red Apple Lipstick for years, and it’s the only lipstick I use. Their colors are so vibrate, and I always get complimets about it. It’s also so nice to feel safe and confident, knowing that my lipstick is gltuen free.

I always love a good discount – use code “TastyMeditation” for 22% off orders of $50 or more. Plus get free shipping in the continental US when you buy $50+!

Affiliate link: Click here to purchase and learn for more about Red Apple Lipstick

Visit my Instagram page for a chance to win two lipsticks of your choice from the winter collection! Best of luck!

Holiday Giveaway #2 – Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery

Disclaimer: I was not paid nor did I receive samples from this bakery in exchange for this post. I have received samples from this bakery in the past. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use/eat and love.

Another of my favorite 100% gluten free bakeries is Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery. I’m always so excited to see them at expos and witness kids having their first safe gluten free/nut free donut. Heck I was excited, too! Just look at it – so delicious.

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About Izzi B’s:

  • Allergen-free facility!
  • Gluten free
  • Soy free
  • Dairy free
  • Egg free
  • Peanut/tree nut free
  • Casein free
  • No preservatives
  • No trans fats
  • No refined sugar
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Cholesterol free
  • Vegan
  • Kosher certified

Izzi B’s specializes in holiday items as well as MANY different kinds of cupcakes, cakes, cookies, brownies, donuts, pies, muffins and cake pops.

Their cookies are amazing and such a treat for the holidays – gingerbread sammies, chocolate chip cookies, Mexican wedding cookies, double chocolate peppermint cream sammies, snickerdoodles, linzer cookies, other butter sammies – they’re what gluten free dreams are made of! Which cookie would you most like to try?

Izzi B’s Allergen-Free Bakery is located in Norwalk, CT. There is no storefront, but they have pick-up options and ship all across the country! Visit www.ibcakes.com.

GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive a collection of cookies from Izzi B’s! Enter via the link below. Continental US only. Giveaway ends Saturday December 15th at 11:59pm EST. The winner has 24 hours to claim their prize. Good luck!

Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery Giveaway

Holiday Giveaway #1 – Krumville Bake Shop!

Disclaimer: I was not paid nor given product samples in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I use/eat and love.

It’s that time of year – December 1st means the start of the Tasty Meditation Gluten Free Holiday Giveaways! To help celebrate the season of giving I’m hosting a few giveaways throughout the month with some of my favorite gluten free bakeries/companies/small businesses starting with Krumville Bake Shop!

Krumville Bake Shop is a 100% gluten free bakery in Brooklyn, and they make some of the most amazing gluten free foods I’ve ever eaten – muffins and cookies and layered cakes, oh my! I’m actually planning on ordering one of their cakes for my wedding, and I can’t wait to eat it.

Krumville has come out with a new line of holiday gifts which include:

  • Hand Decorated Sugar Cookies Gift Box
  • Choco Lover Cookie Gift Box
  • Choco-Coco Cookie Gift Box
  • Muffin Trio Gift Box
  • Cookie Trio Gift Box
  • Gingerbread Cake
  • Cherry Chocolate Cake

Our giveaway features Krumville’s new sugar cookies. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw these. Have you ever seen a more beautiful cookie?!?! They’re almost too pretty to eat! I must say, I’m already super jealous of the future giveaway winner.

Good news! Krumville ships nationwide and has local delivery/pickup in NYC (there is no storefront, so order in advance). Can you believe they ship cakes across the country? Whether you’re looking for an incredible gift for a gluten free loved one or want to get yourself a gift (do it!), Krumville Bake Shop is sure to make your holiday a whole lot sweeter.

For more information and to purchase these cookies or other gifts visit https://www.krumvillebakeshop.com/products/decorated-sugar-cookies-by-courtney

GIVEAWAY!!! One lucky winner will receive Krumville Bake Shop’s Sugar Cookie Gift Box! Enter via the link below. Giveaway ends Wednesday December 12th at 11:59pm EST. Winner must reply to congratulatory email within 24 hours. Continental US only.

Krumville Bake Shop Giveaway

GFAF Expo comes back to New Jersey! Giveaway!

(Disclaimer: I am not being paid by the GFAF Expo organization. I am one of their official expo bloggers and am recieving a comped admission ticket. All opinions are my own.)

The GFAF Expo is coming back to Secaucus, New Jersey! I’ve had this event in my calendar since the expo last year, and I cannot wait.

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The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo is a great opportunity to meet other gluten free folks, attend lectures, and sample amazing products from businesses and local bakeries. I normally spend the entire expo running around and talking to friends, a piece of cake constantly in each hand.

Now before you say, “What???? New Jersey??? That’s so far!!!” Trust me, it’s so easy to get there. It’s a ten-ish minute bus ride from Port Authority, and the bus drops you off right in from of the expo center.

I’ll be at the expo Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, so if you’ll be there please let me know so we can say hi!

Tickets and more information available at www.gfafexpo.com/expos/new-york

Use code “NYC30” for 30% off tickets!

Ticket GIVEAWAY! For a chance to win a free ticket leave a comment below – what are you most excited to see/do/sample at the expo? Giveaway ends Friday September 21st at 11:59pm EST. For the NJ expo only.

Updated – Opinion on the Nima Sensor

Disclaimer – The following opinions are my own. I own a Nima Sensor (which I paid for myself). This is meant to be a discussion, so pease feel free to contribute. Please keep in mind that the FDA has defined gluten free as less than 20ppm (parts per million). Some gluten free certification organizations require foods to be less than this. I am aware that some extremely sensitive celiacs react to 20ppm. Nima has said their chemistry is optimized for 20ppm but occasionally picks up gluten lower than that.

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After years of consumers and testing experts asking for the Nima team to release their third party testing data to the public, the Nima team finally has via a webinar (which you can watch HERE). I am concerned and horrified, though not surprised.

A refresher – you can find my previous opinion post about the Nima Sensor HERE where I discuss cost, limitations, sample size, inconsistencies in my person testing experience, and questions about accuracy. All concerns are still valid.

Foods over 20ppm

Nima’s website says “Nima was designed to detect gluten in food samples at 20ppm (parts per million) or above with 99.5% accuracy.” However, about 16 minutes into the webinar, you’ll see a slide that shows foods at 20ppm test positive for gluten 79.5% of the time. Only when we get up to 40ppm does Nima detect gluten 98.7% of the time.

Foods containing 20-40ppm are not safe for those with celiac disease, yet a test with Nima may result in a smiley face.

Foods under 20ppm

In the same slide we see that foods at 10ppm will test positive for gluten 56.4% of the time (we might as well toss a coin). Foods at 5ppm will test positive for gluten 34.6% of the time. We also know from a piece of data that the Nima team previously released – foods less than 2ppm will report ‘gluten found’ 7.8% of the time.

Adding in widespread social media and Nima app factors – my fear is that restaurants and companies that are doing great work for the celiac disease community are having their reputations unfairly tarnished, and Nima is preventing people from eating safe food.

Conclusion

There is no way to know how many ppm of gluten your food contains when testing with Nima – “gluten found” and smiley face could mean anything. I believe the Nima team had best intentions at heart when they began making this gadget, and they continue to say that Nima is another tool in your tool box. However, I continue to ask the questions – Is it an accurate tool? Does it leave you with more answers or more questions?

I truly wish that the Nima team would have released this data before they started selling Nima gadgets. I originally had the highest hopes, but had this data been available I would never have bought one.

It is my hope that consumers, restaurant staff, and company representatives will read this data and become more informed on the gadget’s limitations and accuracy. 

 

Additional resources

Gluten Free Watchdog’s summary of this new data

The Canadian Celiac Association’s opinion on the Nima Sensor -“At the present time, the CCA Professional Advisory Council DOES NOT RECOMMEND that people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity use the NIMA Sensor device to determine the gluten status of a food….”