Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gluten-Free New Orleans (Part 1)

As I mentioned earlier this week, I'm in New Orleans and surprised by how many gluten-free options there are.  I've been back to my first find, FARE Food for Health (full review here), every day this week.

My first night here, we went to Drago's, which has a gluten-free menu. If you go, be sure to get a big order of the charbroiled oysters. Heeding the advice of our exceptional waiter (thanks, Errol!), we had the herradura shrimp and red fish special. Both were excellent.

While I generally avoid touristy things at all costs, it's my first time here, so a walk through the French Quarter was in order. A rainy Sunday afternoon seemed a tame time to make that trip. Once fortified by a few stiff drinks (go to Molly's, one of the few bars loved by locals and tourists alike) we were ready to deal with Bourbon Street. I started feeling snacky halfway through, so we popped into seriously old school, no-frills Felix's for oysters.

When in Rome ... 

Btw: It was as we walked to Felix's that the obvious sunk in: Everyone was walking around with booze in hand. No open container laws! As a native New Yorker, this seemed decadent and incredibly novel. Get your cocktail in a go cup - just because you can.

After oysters, we ambled back around to Molly's (go cup!) and hit up Magnolia Praline Company along the way. Yes, completely touristy, but worth it. If they have pralines (sugar + butter + pecans = gluten-free) cooling on the counter, buy one. I don't even like pralines (way too sweet), but warm fresh pralines are a different beast altogether.

After a few more hours of wandering around, we started to think about dinner. I love the wrought iron gates and random little courtyards in NOLA and had just pointed out a lovely one out when boyfriend read the sign on the gate: Cafe Amelie and said "I read about that place:  I think they have gluten-free food." And so they did.

Gorgeous courtyard - picture doesn't do it justice. 

While they don't have a gluten-free menu, they are a farm-to-table joint and easily able to do GF. Our wonderful waiter, Wade, went through the menu and marked off what was safe for me to eat. Get the shrimp and grits and poutine (fries are oven-baked, not fried, so no contamination issues).

Secluded courtyard and twinkly lights - just lovely. 

I'd heard from a NOLA native that the city has amazing Vietnamese food, a cuisine that is generally gluten-free save for some sauces. I had success at Magasin Vietnamese Cafe on Magazine Street, where the food was GF, delicious, and - a nice surprise - cheap. Seriously - my entree (below) was under $8; can't beat that with a stick.

I love the little fried egg sidecar. 

Still here for a few more days, so more to come. Also: suggestions? Would love to hear where you've eaten safely in New Orleans.

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