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06 March 2006

sweet and savory

gluten-free madeleine, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

I know. You’re probably thinking: Shauna, you’ve been home from New York City for over a week now. Isn’t that longer than you were there? You’re still writing about your trip? Aren’t you cooking? Don’t you have any more recipes for us?

(Goodness, you have a lot of questions.)

Yes, my dear readers, I do. And I’ll return to them soon, complete with new photographs. (Preview? Chewy, gluten-free peanut butter cookies.) But it always seems to take twice as long as the time I’m in New York to let go of my time in New York. So be patient with me, as I continue to reminisce.

Besides, there were just so many great places for this gluten-free girl to eat...

As anyone who has been reading this website knows, I’m not big on trying to find replacement foods for the orginal, glutenous foods I grew up eating. In this past year, I’ve spent most of my time discovering foods I never knew existed, or learning to cook polenta well, or focusing on the basics and perfecting them to exquisite tastes. I don’t miss packaged baked goods, or even the artisanal ones made at the bakery down the street from me. They don’t even really appeal to me anymore, especially now that I feel like I have a handle on gluten-free baking at home. So, during my trip to New York, I didn’t find myself wishing I could have a scone in a coffee shop or a little nibble of a cookie for dessert.


gluten-free ginger cookies (Happy)

Happy Happy Happy

Months ago, I told my friend Monica about Happy Happy Happy, a completely gluten-free, dairy-free bakery on the Lower East Side, after I read about it on Celiac Chicks. She reported back with fabulous results, thrilled to finally find some gluten-free baked goods in her neighborhood. After we had the spectacular lunch at Mogador, we wandered down First Avenue, more excited with every block at the thought of gluten-free cookies and baked goods. We crossed Houston Street and started laughing in the sunshine. Nearly elated, we walked down Allen and found... was closed.

Happy Happy Happy is only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. (And according to their website, they are now closed until March 20th.) So if you’re going to go -- and you should -- plan your visit for the weekend. Otherwise, you’re going to have your mouth watered up for sweets and have nowhere else to go.

Luckily, I had one weekend morning in Manhattan before I had to fly back to Seattle. This time, Monica, Gabe and I walked to Allen Street in the sunshine, and walked into Happy Happy Happy. And we were, especially Monica and I, since we have to eat gluten-free. We ordered a chocolate-banana scone, two madeleines, and a mudslide cookie. And coffees. Happy Happy Happy not only sells coffee with its baked goods, but it also offers house-made soy milk. Nothing in the place has any gluten or dairy in it, you see. And for those of us who have to avoid either one -- or both -- this teeny sliver of a bakery is quite the boon.

The madeleines made perfect coffee-dunking cookies. The scone didn’t really have the flaky consistency of a real scone, or much softness. If you referred to it as something else, however, you’d enjoy it. And the mudslide was small, but dense with chocolate. After all those sweets, it was almost too rich. Now there’s a concept -- so many gluten-free treats available that I could turn some down!


Puff and Pao

One of the happiest times I had on my trip to New York was the cold morning I wandered around the Village by myself, searching for hot coffee and stumbling on fabulous food places. Desperate to find a good cup of coffee, I walked from street to street to street. When I finally gave up, I found Puff and Pao instead.

This tiny, sunny shop on Christopher Street sells cream puffs (forbidden) and paolitos (gluten-free). They also make them in separate ovens, so there is no cross-contamination. Paolitos, or paos as the shop likes to call them, are little cheese puffs. These were made from manioc flour and filled with New York cheddar or English farmhouse cheese.(Pao de quijo means bread of cheese.) Bite-size -- if you work hard to restrain yourself, you can make each one last for two bites -- and crispy, these were my most delicious discovery of the trip.

Standing in front of the glass case, I couldn't believe my luck. All these choices! There were chorizo paos, Chinese scallions paos, sweet Maui onion paos, basil paos, sun-dried tomato paos, and cracked pepper paos. Plus, about ten more. I just couldn't decide. So ordered a dozen.

I sat in the sunlight and bit slowly into each little pao, savoring the taste, and the light, lovely texture. How could I not love something packed with cheese, crispy on the outside, then wonderfully chewy inside? Especially when it was gluten-free.

Sigh. I could eat paolitos every day. Why does Puff and Pao have to be so far away?

I guess that just means another trip to New York soon.

Happy Happy Happy
157 Allen Street
(just below Houston Street)
(212) 254-4088

Puff and Pao
105 Christopher Street
212-633-PUFF (7833)

That's almost all of the New York reports. There's one more coming, on Wednesday. Come on back for that, when I reveal my favorite gluten-free place in all of New York City.


At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Babycakes? Didn't you go there? I thought the cupcakes in your picture looked like theirs. They make the best gf cupcakes in NYC (besides the ones I make). I'm glad you had such a great time. Come again soon : )

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi shauna, I love your blog. I thought I saw a mix on glutenfreemall that was manioc and for making a cheese pastry sort of thing - perhaps it could be used to make these little darlings?

At 10:03 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

Emily --

Oh, I'd never leave out Babycakes. Tomorrow, I'm giving them their very own post. I love that place!

Gaille --

Ah, happiness. I'll have to investigate that paolito possibility this weekend!

At 7:39 AM, Blogger patricia said...

I'm dying here, Shauna. This all sounds so good! What a great trip.

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shauna, I just wanted to let you, but you probably do -- Happy, Happy, Happy closed its doors in March 2006. Next time out NYC, try Peter's 1606 1st Ave, btw 83 & 84th Streets -- 212-734-9600.

Annie P.


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