Thyme & Tonic – NYC Restaurant Review

Disclaimer: I was not paid nor given complimentary product in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend restaurants and products that I truly enjoy. Please always call a restaurant before visiting to verify that it is appropriate for your needs, as policies and menus can change any time.

I have a new favorite 100% gluten free restaurant, and I can’t believe it took me so long to try it. I visited Thyme & Tonic on the Upper West Side earlier this year for cocktails and appetizers. I was incredibly impressed and excited to eventually return to try the entrees and desserts (and more cocktails, of course). In short, I was blown away.

Chipotle Pineapple Margarita

We started the evening off with a round of cocktails. Kris was instantly a fan of the Chipotle Pineapple Margarita. I opted for my favorite cocktail from my previous visit – Besos Calientes (Spanish for “hot kisses”). Featuring vodka, lime, passion fruit, and a cerano ice cube, the concept of this cocktail was so smart. It was on the sweeter side (which I like), but as the cerano ice cube melted, it changed the flavor profile of the drink. And it got spicy quickly!

Besos Calientes – Vodka, Lime Juice, Passion Fruit, Cerano Ice Cube

I normally feel very confident in my gluten free restaurant research, but when this salmon burger arrived at my table I thought, “Oh no, I’ve made a terrible mistake. Am I at the right restaurant? Did I read something wrong? Look at that bun! The height, the color! Is it gluten free?” And yes, of course the restaurant is 100% gluten free. They just do magical things in their kitchen. The burger and fries were simply amazing.

Salmon Burger, Watercress, Avocado, Horseradish Aioli

Lucky us, our reservation happened to coincide with their final ice cream special of the summer. The mini lemon donut ice cream sandwich was heavenly. I’m looking forward to seeing what desserts specials Thyme & Tonic will offer in the fall/winter, but I’ll be on the lookout for anything they make with lemon because this dessert was perfect.

Chocolate & Lemon Donut Ice Cream Sandwiches

Overall, I adored my experience at Thyme & Tonic. The service, atmosphere, food and cocktails were all top notch, and it has quickly become one of my very favorite restaurants in NYC. Book your reservation now. You don’t want to miss out.

Thyme & Tonic is a 100% gluten free, mostly vegan, and certified Kosher restaurant located at 474 Columbus Avenue (near 83rd St). Open for brunch (in collaboration with Modern Bread & Bagel next door) and dinner.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcake Recipe

Three things about me:

1. I’m very competitive.

2. I always caught the bouquet at weddings & Kris always caught the garter.

3. I will always bring my own gluten free cake with me to a wedding.

This recipe was inspired by a particular wedding a few years ago. I caught the bouquet (no, cousin Carol, it’s not “your turn” – Jessica’s on the dance floor) and Kris caught the garter (cue the delightful bit of chatter among guests).

My gluten-intolerant mother and I chose to opt out of the catered dinner (with 184 other guests to provide for, the chances were overwhelmingly high that someone would mess up my gluten free meal), and she surprised me with a small bag filled with homemade gluten free carrot cake cupcakes that she had tucked away under her seat. I happily munched on cupcakes throughout the evening while Kris hit the dance floor with my very smitten grandmother.

“Caught the Bouquet” Carrot Cake Cupcakes

*For best results use a digital kitchen scale to measure ingredients in grams.

½ cup pureed apple (128g)

¾ cup sugar (150g)

¼ cup + 2 tbsp packed brown sugar (83g)

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tbsp coconut oil (27g)

¾ tsp vanilla extract (3.75g)

¼ cup + 2 tbsp potato starch (64g)

¼ cup + 2 tbsp sorghum flour (48g)

¼ cup tapioca starch (32g)

¾ tsp xanthan gum (2.25g)

¾ tsp baking soda (3.6g)

½ tsp baking powder (2.4g)

1 tsp cinnamon (2.5g)

¼ tsp nutmeg (.5g)

¼ tsp salt (1.5g)

1 ½ cup finely grated carrots (150g)

½ cup finely chopped fresh pineapple plus the juice that leaks out as you slice it (90g total – I recommend weighing a 90g chunk of pineapple and then chopping it on a plate so you can catch the liquid)

½ cup unsweetened coconut (28g)

½ cup walnuts, finely chopped (58g)

¼ cup + 2 tbsp raisins (60g)

Cream Cheese Frosting

*This will make a liberal amount of frosting – have fun decorating!

3 oz butter (85g)

6 oz cream cheese (168g)

1 1/8 tsp vanilla extract (5.5g)

2 2/3 cups powdered sugar (327g)

Food coloring

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Place the sugar, apple, eggs, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl and stir with a spoon until just combined.

3. In a small bowl, combine the potato starch, sorghum, tapioca, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour half of the dry mixture into the wet and stir, then add the second half and stir until just combined.

4. Add the carrots, pineapple, coconut, walnuts, and raisins. Stir until just combined.

5. Line a cupcake pan with liners (this recipe will yield a baker’s dozen) and scoop the batter into the liners. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before decorating.

6. In a medium size bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract together until smooth. Add half the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add the remaining half and mix again until smooth.

7. Frost the cupcakes, leaving a few spoonfuls of frosting left over. Divide the remaining frosting into three small plastic bags. Add a few drops of food coloring to each (I recommend green, red, and yellow). Smush the frosting around in the bag until it takes on the color. Cut a tiny hole in the corner of each bag and pipe your bouquet – start with the stems, then flowers, followed by the ribbon.

Makes 13 cupcakes

Holiday Giveaway # 5 – Red Apple Lipstick

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post. I am an affiliate of Red Apple Lipstick and occasionally receive complimentary products. This post contains an affiliate link, which means when you use my link to order I get a small commission that helps me maintain the cost of this site (there is no added cost to you). All opinions are my own, and I only recommend bakeries, restaurants, and products that I love.

The holiday season could not be complete without a Red Apple Lipstick feature! I learned about Red Apple Lipstick shortly after I was diagnosed with celiac, and I immediately fell in love. Their entire line of makeup is gluten free, vegan and cruelty free. Their dedication to the celiac/GF community is truly admirable, the team is wonderful, the colors are stunning, and it’s my very favorite makeup company.

Featured in this post are some of my favorite Red Apple Lipstick photos over the years.

As you can see, all of the colors are beautiful. Pair them with any number of Red Apple lip liners, and the color possibilities are endless!

My personal favorite lipstick shades? I’m a fan of fall shades year round, especially ones that have a slight mauve color tone. Vogue and Ooh La La are my go-to classics. Spice ‘N Easy is great for a casual look. Add a little sparkle with Mauve Me. Get dramatic with Wine & Dandy.

Top left – Mauve Me lipstick. Top right – Barely Pink lip liner + Vogue lipstick. Bottom left – Vogue lipstick. Bottom right – Wine & Dandy lipstick.

And of course Rallye Balm is the greatest hydrating lip balm. It’s a life saver during the cold winter months (and this reminds me that I need to stock up).

Last minute gift shopping? (Don’t forget to get yourself a gift this year!) Check out their great holiday sale, use code “tastymeditation” for 22% off orders $50+, and enjoy free shipping within the US on orders of $35+!

Click here to purchase your Red Apple Lipstick!

A very happy holiday, indeed – one of my followers will win a $100 Red Apple Lipstick gift certificate! What’s even more exciting – this giveaway is open to anywhere around the world Red Apple Lipstick ships – this includes the US, Canada, & more! (Visit their website for more details)

Visit my instagram page (@TastyMeditation) to enter!

Holiday Giveaway # 4 – Charlie’s Table Pasta

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and I only recommend restaurants, bakeries and products that I love.

Upon going gluten free, I feel like we all have a list of GF-must-finds – we’ve gotta find the very best of the best pizza, bread, cake, etc that’s out there. The food that I hear about the most – pasta. Perhaps you’ve experienced lackluster gluten free pasta that clumps together, falls apart or has a weird aftertaste. If you’re still on the hunt for the best gluten free pasta, look no further than Charlie’s Table.

Charlie’s Table Pasta is:

-Certified gluten free

-Made in a dedicated certified gluten free facility

-Dairy free

-Peanut free

-Soy free

-Certified kosher

-Non-GMO

-Passionate about giving back to the community. They donate a percentage of their profits to local food banks and other organizations to support people who need to eat gluten free and are food insecure.

Charlie’s Table makes so many unique pasta shapes – tagliatelle, rigatoni, gemelli, garganelli, and bucatini. It’s so nice to have a fresh new variety of gluten free options to choose from. I can’t wait to see what they make next (I’m hoping for gnocchi!).

As someone who makes fresh pasta from scratch, when it comes to fresh pasta vs dried/boxed pasta, there’s no comparison – the taste, the texture! It’s a total game changer. However, I don’t always have the time or energy to set up my pasta machine, so I’m glad to have a box of Charlie’s Table pasta in the freezer. It’s also a wonderful option for times when I’m not in my own kitchen. I was house sitting several times this fall and didn’t have access to all of my normal cooking equipment, but there was no reason for me to settle for meals that were less than inspiring. With Charlie’s Table I was able to quickly and easily make gourmet Italian dishes.

Charlie’s Table currently ships their pasta across the contiguous US. Visit www.charliestable.com to order and experience this amazing pasta for yourself.

It’s time for a giveaway – one winner will receive four packages of Charlie’s Table pasta!*

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

And head to Tasty Meditation on Instagram for a bonus giveaway – a second winner will be chosen there!

Giveaway ends December 26th at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be randomly chosen and must respond within 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen. 18+ years old. Contiguous US only.

Holiday Giveaway #3 – Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend restaurants, bakeries and products that I love.

Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery is very close to my heart. I’ve been a regular since they opened in NYC, and I’m thrilled that they began shipping their products across the US this year so more people can experience their wonderful breads, muffins, cakes, cookies and more.

My beautiful Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery pumpkin pie (Thanksgiving special)

Overwhelmed with all of the choices? My personal favorite items – panini bread (I use it to recreate my favorite Senza Gluten prosciutto & mozzarella panini at home), lemon mascarpone almond muffins, and the almond ricotta orange loaf……but also the hamburger buns, flourless chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, literally all the muffins and scones – you can’t go wrong!

Chocolate crinkle cookies (photo credit: Gill/@soillgo (IG))

Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery recently announced three new cookies for the holidays – chocolate crinkle cookies (dairy free), classic sugar cookies, and gingerbread people!

Classic sugar cookies (photo credit: Gill/@soillgo (IG))

The final day to order before Christmas is 12/20. Senza Gluten ships on Mondays & Tuesdays only, and the cutoff for weekly shipments is Sundays at midnight EST. All orders placed after Sunday/midnight ship the following week.

Click here to visit Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery.

Gingerbread cookies (photo credit: Gill/@soillgo (IG))

More exciting news – we’re collaborating on a giveaway, and one of my Instagram followers will win a cookie bundle featuring all three holiday cookies! Visit my Instagram (@tastymeditation) to enter!

Holiday Giveaway #2 – Bread SRSLY

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post. I am an affiliate of Bread SRSLY and occasionally receive complimentary product. This post contains an affiliate link, which means when you use my link to order I get a small commission that helps me maintain the cost of this site (there is no added cost to you). All opinions are my own, and I only recommend bakeries, restaurants, and products that I love.

I’ve written about Bread SRSLY more times that I can remember, and for good reason. This 100% gluten free bread is made in San Francisco and is the real deal when it comes to sourdough. Not only is it my favorite gluten free sourdough, it’s my favorite gluten free bread on the market.

Bread SRSLY is certified gluten free and made in a 100% gluten free facility, top 8 allergen free and made in a dedicated top 8 allergen free facility, dairy free, soy free, egg free, potato free, tree nut free, peanut free, tapioca free, chickpea free, sesame free, kosher, non gmo, and vegan. AND there are rice free and gum free options available. I’m in love with their ongoing commitment to our community!

Love their classic sourdough loaves and rolls but in the mood for something a little sweeter? Bread SRSLY recently launched their new cinnamon raisin sourdough!

Click here to purchase your Bread SRSLY before the holidays (affiliate link), and use code “tastymeditation” for free shipping!

Don’t wait – Bread SRSLY is taking a break from shipping the weeks of 12/21, 12/28, and 1/4. The last day to order for 2020 delivery is December 13th, so place your order asap!

Who’s ready for a giveaway? Head to my Instagram page (@TastyMeditation) for a chance to win a sampler pack of Bread SRSLY loaves & rolls! (Winner will receive their prize in January)

Holiday Giveaway #1 – Krumville Bake Shop

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post, nor was I given complimentary product. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend bakeries, restaurants and products that I love.

It’s that time of year again – Tasty Meditation’s Favorite Things Holiday Giveaways! 2020 has been the worst, so I’m hoping to spread a little joy and highlight some of my favorite small GF businesses with my annual holiday giveaways. I’m kicking it off with one of my very favorite things – Krumville Bake Shop cakes!

I wanted to support some great GF small businesses throughout 2020, so I decided that this year was the perfect time to fulfill my dream of trying all the Krumville layered cakes! We ordered a different flavor every month from the spring through the fall, and (with the exception of a holiday flavor) we have now tried them all!

(Raspberry Chocolate, Coconut, Lemon Cream, Lemon & Berries)

Raspberry Chocolate, Coconut, Strawberry Vanilla, Lemon Cream, Cherry Chocolate, Lemon & Berries, Chocolate & Salted Caramel, Carrot – all of them were beautiful and delicious, how could I possibly choose a favorite? The chocolate sponges are to die for, but the summer berry flavors are exquisite! I’d better try them all again….just to be sure….

(Cherry Chocolate, Strawberry Vanilla, Chocolate & Salted Caramel, Carrot)

Krumville Bake Shop is a 100% gluten free bakery located in Brooklyn, NY and is the master of shipping cakes across the United States. They’re perfect for any special occasion – you’ll spot my Krumville wedding cake in one of the photos!

Krumville generously agreed to collaborate on a giveaway to celebrate the holidays and the achievement of my cake goal. One winner will receive (what I *think* is) my favorite cake – Raspberry Chocolate!

Visit my Instagram page to enter!

What do Politics have to do with Celiac Disease & Gluten Free Food?

There has been a lot of buzz on social media about politics, and the question of whether bloggers should stick to talking about food has come up many times. Just like actors, athletes, and anyone in all other professions, bloggers are people who are allowed to have and express personal views. However, I thought it was important to bring up a deeper topic, one that I believe is not discussed nearly enough in the celiac disease community. This has lead me to create a series of posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, the first two of which are below.

Everything. Let’s talk about it.

✔️ People with celiac disease have a pre-existing condition, something the Affordable Care Act protects.

✔️83% of Americans with celiac disease are not diagnosed. On average it takes 6-10 years to get an accurate diagnosis. That’s a lot of medical bills. Want the diagnosis rate to go up? People need access to affordable health insurance that do not have lifetime caps.

✔️Many people with undiagnosed celiac disease have (or were misdiagnosed with) other medical conditions. Again, the ACA protects these individuals – one cannot be denied insurance for having a preexisting condition.

✔️Individuals with celiac disease are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act – a federal law.

✔️The FDA is a federal agency.

✔️Pharmaceutical companies do not need to declare the presence of gluten in medications because there is no law for it.

So yeah, celiac advocates will post about politics because politics affect our lives every day. We’re also people. As US citizens, we have a civic duty. And it’s time to vote.

My post yesterday only brushed the surface of how politics and celiac disease/gluten free food are directly related. Shall we talk about economics and class?

✔️Gluten free food costs 242% more than the gluten-containing counterparts. Can’t afford that?

✔️How about fresh fruits & vegetables? Fairly short shelf lives potentially means more waste and more frequent trips to the grocery store, which not everyone can manage.

✔️ How about food banks and government sponsored programs? Safe gluten free options are few and far between.

✔️On average it takes 6-10 years to obtain a celiac diagnosis. The costs include:

🔴 Health care premiums, copays and pre-deductible costs.

🔴 Transportation to and from specialists, some of which may not be local.

🔴 Potential loss of work and wages.

🔴 Potential child care costs.

Can’t afford all this? No diagnosis. Family members go untested. Long term complications and other serious medical conditions may arise from undiagnosed/untreated celiac, resulting in even higher medical bills, transportation costs, lost wages, etc.

The phrase “celiac disease/gluten free food is expensive” means so much more than the cost of bread.

About 1% of Americans have celiac disease, but 83% remain undiagnosed. What can we do? Supporting the expansion of affordable health care for all is a great start. Vote.

More to come. Looking for information about voting? Visit vote.org

Call to Action: Support Small GF Businesses

The COVID-19 crisis began in NYC over four months ago. It has hit the entire world hard, and it’s proving to be a continuously challenging time for all. This post is about one thing – small gluten free businesses need our help.

The statistics on how many restaurants will make it through the crisis is crushing. And what will happen to the gluten free restaurant scene? Compared to the entire restaurant industry, there are so few safe gluten free restaurants, and we are in danger of loosing them. NYC has already lost several widely-loved gluten free restaurants that have been around for years (in some cases – decades), and it’s heartbreaking.

So it’s up to us. If there’s one thing I know about the celiac disease/gluten free community – we are loyal, and when someone supports us, we want to support them.

I’m asking my friends in the celiac/gluten free community to join me in sending out a little extra love this week. But for those sheltering in place or without safe GF options in their neighborhood, it can be difficult to find ways to support the restaurants you love. Here are some easy things you can do:

1. Post on social media – Give a shout-out to your favorite eateries!

2. Like/comment on/share their posts – Social media algorithms are tricky, but liking and commenting on posts from your favorite restaurants/bakeries will hopefully give them a boost and help more people see their content. Sharing posts also helps exposure.

3. Buy – If you are able to financially support your favorite restaurants and bakeries, please do. BE SAFE. If you cannot safety visit a restaurant/bakery consider the many eateries that are offering takeout, delivery, or nation-wide shipping.

Click here to see my post about local NYC bakeries I’ve been ordering from throughout the crisis (featuring Krumville Bake Shop, Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery, Everybody Eats, and Modern Bread & Bagel – all of which ship across the US).

These little things can make a big difference for our community. Let’s work together to help support the small businesses we love, so they’ll be there for us when the crisis is over.

Supporting Small Businesses – NYC Gluten Free Bakeries

Disclaimer – I was not paid or asked to write this post. I am friends with or have a special relationship with some of these bakery owners. I’ve received free samples in the past, but I also recently ordered products myself. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend bakeries and restaurants that I love.

As I do my best to keep track of time, I believe I am currently on my 75th day in my studio apartment in Queens. I’ve only gone out for necessary medical appointments, social distancing walks, and to do laundry/pick up packages in my building’s basement. No subway. No casual trips to Manhattan. The COVID-19 crisis presses onwards, and with no end in sight my husband and I are worried about the future of our favorite gluten free restaurants and bakeries. Unfortunately, my neighborhood has a distinct lack of safe gluten free restaurants, so takeout isn’t an option. What is an option – ordering from local gluten free bakeries and having packages shipped to us.

The following are recommendations and shout-outs for some of our favorite 100% gluten free bakeries in NYC that we ordered from recently. All ship across the continental US (most have pickup options available, as well) and are doing incredible work during this stressful time. Click on the name of the bakery to be taken to their website. In no particular order –

Krumville Bake Shop

A long time favorite very near and dear to my heart, Krumville made our beautiful wedding cake. Kris and I recently celebrated our one year anniversary with a Krumville cake. We had originally planned to order an anniversary cake every year (a great excuse to try all of their cake flavors!), but we decided that we’ll be ordering a cake every month this summer because why not? I also highly recommend their focaccia, cookies and muffins. And yes, they also ship their cakes across the country!

Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery

Always one of our favorite places to dine at in Manhattan, Senza Gluten Cafe & Bakery made an incredibly fast switch in their business model and began shipping select baked goods a month ago. I’ve been obsessed with their panini bread. Their Prosciutto & Mozzarella panini was one of my favorite things to order at the cafe, so I’m thrilled that I can order their panini bread and recreate the dish at home. Senza frequently adds new items, and I’m so happy they’re now offering one of my favorites – Almond Ricotta Orange cake. I also recommend their scones and muffins. Dairy free and vegan items available.

Modern Bread & Bagel

Another restaurant that recently began shipping baked goods. Their bagels are incredible. They are truly New York style bagels, not just bread in the shape of a bagel. Tip: order as many as you can, slice them, and freeze. Defrost, toast, and enjoy! Dairy free and vegan items available.

Everybody Eats

A long time favorite of many gluten free New Yorkers, you might recognize their gluten free baguette, as it’s served in several NYC restaurants. I love their baguettes and bagels. I often use their deli rolls as humburgers buns, and they’re amazing. Nut free bakery. Dairy free and vegan items available.

To conclude, a few notes on shipping – Remember, these items are made fresh by bakeries in NYC and are not made with preservatives. They need to be shipped fast in order to arrive in good condition. Shipping may be pricy, but what you get is high quality gluten free baked goods and you support some amazing local businesses. A tip: if you have a local friend who is also gluten free, see if they would like to place an order with you and split shipping costs. Gluten Free Spartan and I are neighbors, so we recently ordered a gazillion bagels and had a hilarious social distancing drop off/pick up.

Also, always remember to follow specific storage recommendations and reheating instructions to ensure maximum enjoyment.

Have you supported any great gluten free businesses lately? Share the love and leave a comment!