My advice to any coeliac travelling to the US is: be cautious. Gluten-free doesn’t always mean it’s safe to eat, especially since gluten-free-as-diet-trend caught on over there much more enthusiastically than I think it did in the UK. This has resulted in a huge amount of restaurants and bakeries offering “gluten-free” food, only to use the same tongs or place the items on the same shelves, right next to all those gluten-filled atrocities. So be cautious.
That said, Tu-Lu’s Gluten-free Bakery is the one place you can let your guard down (well, as long as you’re careful with any other allergies!). The entire bakery is, as the name suggests, gluten-free and they bake everything right on the premises. Situated in the East Village, like many commercial properties in New York, it’s pretty tiny, so it’s good to know there is at least no stray gluten lurking.
It’s difficult to review a bakery really since service doesn’t really come into it and it relies on you sampling the entire menu. Ahem. Which I DIDN’T do, I hasten to add. So I picked the cinnamon sugar doughnut (“donut”), which was also dairy-free and then I asked what was most popular amongst the customers. The man replied without hesitation, “The red velvet cupcakes”. So I bought one of those for good measure. You can see they have quite the mouthwatering selection.
I was the only customer in at the time, so I sat down to savour my baked goods. Although no one else sat down, there was a steady stream of customers coming in and out, and a lot of regulars, it seemed. I was glad it is doing well, since it’s a safe haven for coeliacs in a city full of gluten-free posers.
On to The Doughnut. My first since diagnosis and it was wonderful!
I can’t tell you how much I miss doughnuts these days. But these were freshly baked, lightly spiced, not too sweet and just melt-in-your-mouth yumtastic. I ate the whole thing. I soon realised that I should have sampled a little bit of both because I started to get quite full (this was right after I’d had S’Mac for lunch!)
But for you, dear readers, I am willing to suffer. So I went on to the red velvet cupcake, lovingly dolloped with an American-sized portion of cream cheese frosting.
I can honestly see why it’s so popular! Words can’t describe, the cupcake was moist and dense, the frosting was creamy with a tangy kick. Even in my state of sugar-crazed delirium, I could only manage half so stowed it away in its box for safe keeping. It didn’t travel particularly well, so by the time I was ready for more it was a question of scooping the mush out with my fingers. But hey, it was delicious!
Tu-lu’s is a must visit for any coeliac or gluten-intolerant visitor to New York. Go there and gorge! It’s not cheap, but you will find a premium on most gluten-free items in this city, so suck it up and look at it as an investment.
An investment in omnomnomNOMsluuurp.