This is my last New York review post! Soon I will compile a list of all my reviews plus my personal thoughts on eating gluten-free in New York, but for now, let me tell you about my visit in April to Jennifer’s Way Bakery in the East Village, New York.
It is not far from Tu-Lu’s Gluten-free Bakery, so I popped in straight after I had scoffed a cinnamon donut and red velvet cake. Big mistake, going there while full!
The place itself is tiny, and very cute. Think vintagey distressed wood tables etc. I say tables, when I should say table – that’s how small it was! I still can’t get over how small New York restaurants are – even smaller than in London.
The bakery is the brainchild of actress Jennifer Esposito (she’s been on Blue Bloods & Samantha Who?) who had a very difficult diagnosis, and was eventually diagnosed with coeliac disease a few years ago. I’d read about the bakery and followed her story online so I was bursting with curiosity to go and visit and try some of the food.
I walked through the door and was blown away to actually see her right in front of me, doing some paperwork. Please note I have a history of being totally awkward around celebrities, and for some unknown reason I simply cannot be normal (I may tell you some stories after a bottle of wine, but not before!!). I just about managed a smile and “Hello” before I diverted my attention to the girl behind the till and studiously asked about the products on offer. Apologies, Jennifer, for ignoring you, I was only trying to save myself from embarrassment! (I should add that Jennifer was super smiley and friendly to me!)
All the products in the store are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free, and free from refined sugar. Many are also egg free/vegan. So it’s basically a dream come true for those with food allergies. For a small bakery, they have a lot on the menu as well. I decided to get a sweet and a savoury item to try and picked out a vegan chocolate cookie thingy and a loaf of quinoa bread.
The chocolate cookie thing was gone in a couple of bites and had a great flavour but a bit of a strange texture, as is generally found in egg-free products, I find. It was certainly nice enough, but I was more interested in the bread products, as gluten-free cookies are everywhere in a city like New York. But freshly baked gluten-free bread? Not so much.
The quinoa bread was absolutely delicious! It was a little sweet and nutty and quite dense but in a good way. I promised myself I’d save some for my friend to try. But no. Even after gorging on doughnuts, cupcakes and a chocolate cookie, I still managed to eat THE WHOLE thing before dinner. I’m not proud of myself. But I’m very proud of Jennifer’s Way Bakery for making such a delicious bread!
I’ve actually been searching online since then for a recipe that would make something similar but I can only find bread made from cooked quinoa, not quinoa flour (I assume that’s what they used). If anyone has a good recipe, do let me know. I’m desperate and I can’t go back to NYC just for more bread! 😉
Looking at the menu now, I’m actually regretting not going back here while I had the chance. At the time, I thought it was best to sample as many different places as possible, but now I want to know whether their soft pretzels are good, and what their artisan Italian bread tastes like. Ah well, that’s what next time is for! 😉
The bakery isn’t cheap, but it’s certainly worth a stop on a New York trip (fresh gluten-free bagels for lunch, anyone?). It’s quite different from Tu-Lu’s I think. Tu-Lu’s is a bit more sugary and fun, whereas Jennifer’s Way is more focussed on healthy, wholesome ingredients (and yummy fresh breads!). There’s certainly room for both of them in the East Village!