carfreeinla's Profile

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Newark, NJ restaurants suitable for family dinner with Granny / Prudential graduation

While it does take you out of the Ironbound, I would not suggest it for the food.

May 16, 2015
carfreeinla in New Jersey

Good restaurants near Newark Airport (NJ)

Portugal Express had been suggested to us by a SI friend- we tried twice and it disappointed both times. Maybe better than the tourist traps but not nearly as good as many of the Ironbound restaurants. The other issue- though you shouldn't experience with an early dinner- is that if you are in a time crunch, it gets busy. Obviously that means that not everyone agrees with my assessment!!!

Apr 20, 2015
carfreeinla in New Jersey

Real Sichuan food in Bay Ridge

5th ave and 87th st

Apr 15, 2015
carfreeinla in Outer Boroughs

Alva Restaurant near Pru Center

Tried the restaurant in the new Indigo hotel, near the Pru Center. A bit amazed at the menu- had all of the buzz words- La Frieda beef, Mast chocolate, Balthazar baked goods. A welcome addition to the neighborhood! First- the service was excellent- waitstaff was personable and attentive. That being said, the place was not exactly buzzing so it wasn't a true test. Ordered the burger. It was cooked more than I had hoped and wasn't in any way funky- which I would have liked. Fries were delicious. I didn't like the onion jam that came with it- thankfully on the side. Overall though, this is a great alternative to many of the other places in the area $13 for a hotel restaurant burger is reasonable and I will be back. Hopefully, this will be the go to place for breakfast in the neighborhood.

Apr 10, 2015
carfreeinla in New Jersey

Supermarket in Brooklyn for Passover items

+1 for Shoprite on Ave I. And you have Amazing Savings for paper needs next door. I was in a Shoprite in NJ yesterday and it barely had any Passover foods.

Mar 30, 2015
carfreeinla in Outer Boroughs

Costco Food Finds - 1st Quarter 2015

this has been a topic for discussion on various celiac websites. Sounds like it was not by design.

Mar 20, 2015
carfreeinla in Chains


totally agree. But on the other hand, you can only eat at one place at a time.

Mar 17, 2015
carfreeinla in Manhattan


Try Opentable.com You can use it to make your reservations. It has all of the features that you are looking for. And you can use it for cities almost all over the world.

Mar 16, 2015
carfreeinla in Manhattan

First date - with restrictions

While we are waiting to hear what they want... If a guy took me to Pommes Frites on a first date, I would have married him on the spot!

Feb 18, 2015
carfreeinla in Manhattan

First date - with restrictions

on the contrary, I think that you have lots of choices. Ok no red meat, no gluten no dairy. Tell us what you DO like.

Feb 17, 2015
carfreeinla in Manhattan

First date - with restrictions

Since when?

Feb 17, 2015
carfreeinla in Manhattan

Can one find good pasteis de natas in the city?

Getting to Newark is a breeze. And while you are at the bakeries, stop for BBQ!

Feb 11, 2015
carfreeinla in Manhattan

Is Tops diner really all that?

If I have one issue with Tops it is that every once in a while the burgers are not cooked as ordered- and they are too rare ( I order mine medium rare and these are raw).

Feb 08, 2015
carfreeinla in New Jersey

Affordable place near Lincoln Plaza?

Whole Foods Salad Bar. I am not kidding .

Feb 04, 2015
carfreeinla in Manhattan

Is Tops diner really all that?

Yup. Love the Topless Burger. Skip the fries.

Feb 02, 2015
carfreeinla in New Jersey

Is Baco Mercat really this bad?

Tried to go last night. We could not get a reservation but was encouraged to walk in so we did. One two top outside. When the hostess saw that I was alone she asked where my other party was. I pointed at him walking up and she said that the rule was that both parties had to be present in the restaurant and we would lose the table. He was literally outside and we were being seated outside. It was the most surreal thing. As we stood dumbfounded outside of the place, another couple walked out. They were fifteen minutes late and they lost the reservation that they had made. We walked a few blocks and had a perfectly nice meal at the Nickel Diner for a fraction of the price.

Jan 25, 2015
carfreeinla in Los Angeles Area

Sydney Restaurants

Having just come back... My three favorite lunches were Fix St James and the restaurant at the contemporary art museum with Mamak as a less refined ( and farther away) third. The one place I would NOT go back to was Rockpool Bar and Grill. Your dinner request is pretty vague! So many options!

Pre-Opera Dinner Reservations in Sydney

What about the restaurant at the Park Hyatt? We recently stayed at the hotel and the breakfast was nice. They have an afternoon tea too. My assumption is that it will be pricey however.

List of places serving the best burgers in NYC

Have to add Molly's. In fact i read your post three times to make sure that I didn't miss it.

Dec 12, 2014
carfreeinla in Manhattan

Lunch near Penn Station?

A great choice. IMHO, the pub room ( n reservations)is the place for lunch- though you can ask for the pub menu in the main room.

Dec 12, 2014
carfreeinla in Manhattan

Gluten free in Melbourne- a recap

Never thought that I would ever find such awareness of gluten free food as I have in Melbourne. It has been 4 days of great meals. Every single place offered me gluten free bread and all promised that if they toasted it, it was not in a shared heat source. Not one server had to be prompted to check with the kitchen. They all could recite which dishes were gluten free. That in itself is amazing. In preparing our itinerary, I wanted variety and the ability to explore neighborhoods but not spend too much time traveling.
Breakfast was at our hotel- The Langham. Nearly cried when I saw the dedicated GF station complete with dedicated toaster! But by buffet standards, overall a b minus.
Birdman Eating ( a disappointment for the food and the fact they no longer have the menus they list on the web)
Cookie- No question the best Thai I have had in years
Woodland House- Wouldn't go back- only time I was served something that wasn't GF. Food was too precious but wonderfully prepared.
Cumulus- dreaming about the corn soup it was so delicious. Noisy and a scene.
Mamak- as good as Sydney outpost. Bustling!
Hell of the North- My vote for the best meal we had the whole trip and great ambience. This is the kind of place every neighborhood should have. Heard them take reservations from 2 celiacs and a nut allergy. Took them with respect.
St Crispin- 2nd best meal but lost points for the noise level. Also the most expensive meal and least flavorful GF bread.

Wish I had known- Safe House on Commercial. Passed it but didn't have time to stop in. A completely GF restaurant. GF Pizza at Queen Victoria Market.
All in all, Melbourne is celiac heaven.

Lunch near Penn Station?

Stella at Macys or Friedman's.

Dec 10, 2014
carfreeinla in Manhattan

Gluten free in Sydney- a recap

Been lurking for a while as we planned our trip. I rarely ask for GF suggestions ( I have celiac disease) instead opting for the best food and making GF choices.
The cafe at the Contemporary Art Museum was a lovely lunch- quinoa and smoked salmon salad and a terrific lemonade- and the Chuck Close exhibit is not to be missed. Dinner reservations were made long in advance through for the Bridge Room. We arrived only to find them closed. We had booked through the bookarestaurant.com site. Beware.
Before I had a meltdown, I did a search on places that were close and we went to Mr Wongs. Amazing. GF sticky ribs and salt and pepper squid. I hated to leave any over and wished I had a fridge to take the leftovers . Fried rice was so so. Would have preferred white. I kept thinking that the menu had to be wrong and these couldn't possibly be GF. All good!
Next day was lunch at Mamak. The Nasi Lemak is perfectly GF and the lamb curry was moist and tender. the milk ice tea was too weak. The curry lunch specials were mammoth and I would go for them next time given the quality of the lamb.
Dinner at Ester. I had really looked forward to this- our server, like many people we encountered this week was GF and gave me lots of confidence. But the food, left me cold. Much was too fussy and the quality of the ingredients was overshadowed by the preparation. Oysters had no brininess- completely overwhelmed by the topping. tartar the same. Squid covered in peas were the best of the apps. Prawns were in a tamari that was too deep and the seafood a bit undercooked. Dessert "three milks" was better- a good contrast between the sweet and tangy.
Rockpool Bar and Grill was the biggest disappointment. Wanted the burger- note they only serve this in the bar area. A decent "patty" was completely overwhelmed by the toppings of a so so cheese, a spot of bacon, pickles ( I took them off) and a glob of sweet "relish". I did something that I rarely do which was send my rare to medium rare burger back- it was closer to well and was WAY over salted to the point of being inedible. They were very gracious but what came back was cooked better but just ok. The chips however were very flavorful.
Dinner came in a cup- a sundae from Gelato Messina. Soft serve is a food of the gods and this was no exception. I could have this every night.
The last lunch was at Fix St James. Everything on my plate was exactly how I like it- tender skirt steak, salad not over dressed with plenty of shaved cheese and duck fat cooked roasties. Wish that I knew this before we ordered chips however- they paled in comparison.
All in all, very easy to find GF choices and knowledgable people in Sydney. Off to the north.

LV Buffets- Gluten Free

Just returned from a 5 day business/pleasure trip. Didn't have a car or the ability to stick to a schedule- reservations were out- so we decided to hit the buffets. Lots of reviews for "the best" but haven't found any recent ones for gluten friendly. So here is the celiac overview...
Weekday dinner at Caesars- arrived at 6:30p and all told the wait was just under 1/2 an hour. Place is huge and spiffy.Probably the most expensive of all the buffets. It truly is overwhelming with International stations and food served in a variety of ways- from individual dishes to Le Creuset-like pots to traditional serving platters. But given all of the chaos, getting attention from a chef is almost impossible and the more steps one is from the chef the less confident I become. Stuck to the safe choices which were abundant- Mexican was the primary focus- loved the variety of salsas. Grand seafood choices including oysters. Patrons seemed fairly careful with serving spoons- I usually avoid anything that is near something with soy sauce- that being said, the sushi that wasn't served with a sauce was fairly tasteless. Best dish- truffled polenta with mushrooms. Creme brûlée was the dessert standout- just the right sweetness. Overall the food seemed more exciting than it actually tasted. But somehow pizzaz in the serving works at a buffet.
Next day was the Bellagio for dinner. This was the buffet that I first visited years ago but now it seems tired. The waiters work so hard at this place. No line at all when we arrived at about 5:30p. The selection that seemed endless a few years ago paled in comparison to Caesars. I had many more people to ask for confirmation re GF. The roasted meats were terrific. Lots of salad choices. mammoth slices of smoked salmon and other fish. Nigiri Sushi was much more flavorful than Caesars. Just good basic choices. Desserts rule here- though they were not nearly as well prepared- the flan and the creme brûlée were overly sweet. But the soft serve made up for all- as well as a GF chocolate cake square.

Brunch at Caesars- the highlight. Lots of GF choices including all of the smoked meats ( though not the sausage). While the dinner was very under seasoned, a number of offerings at brunch were way too salty. One disappointment was the lack of GF desserts- only because they had so many pastries. I was told that at 11a, the choices are more varied.

Dinner at the Wicked Spoon- No line at 6p on a Saturday. Every time I would ask whether something was GF, the response was "not sure, you probably shouldn't take the chance". After a while, it got depressing. It was confirmed that the roasted meats were all gf ( including the sausages) but they were all so tough and they didn't have any sharp knives. I gave up. And when I asked for some ice cream ( not all flavors, even those without obvious additives, are GF)in something other than a waffle cone, they suggested that I bring a big plate because they couldn't serve me in anything else. My husband who is not GF said that the quality of most of the food was the best of all but it gets a "C" for GF choice.
A few years ago, the Wynn was far and away the most attentive. Will have to try it again next trip.
Remember that even if something is prepared GF, the restaurant cannot guarantee that a patron has not contaminated it by using the wrong tongs.

Nov 23, 2014
carfreeinla in Las Vegas

Keens Steakhouse what to get?

If you are craving cutting into a steak this will not do it for you but...The cobb salad at Keens is terrific. Chicken, steak shrimp corn etc.... It is on the pub menu.

Nov 22, 2014
carfreeinla in Manhattan

New Opening- The Gander

I run a business and every moment we are open to the public- which happens to be 24/7,we have the A team.
If you turn out a meal at 11a on a Sunday, it should be up to the same standards as what you serve at 8p on a Thursday. Otherwise don't open for brunch.

Nov 09, 2014
carfreeinla in Manhattan

Buc'ees - what's up with this place ???

Agreed about the rest rooms. And the candy. The staff is super friendly. Thumbs up from me

Nov 08, 2014
carfreeinla in Texas

Restaurants in Ironbound

I just ate at Portugal express and found it just ok.Would not go back- though we did not order anything grilled and seeing other tables, that looked better than what we ordered. Agreed that it depends when but also what you are looking to eat. I still like Seabras seafood place best. Have yet to try Casa Vasca. The BBQ places are an adventure. Had a really nice meal at Tony Da Caneca's the other day.
Mompou is a good alternative to the Spanish/Portuguese restaurants.
I would avoid Forno's if you are on a time limit.

Nov 08, 2014
carfreeinla in New Jersey

Costco Food Finds - 4th Quarter 2014

thats what I had. As much as I liked it the first batch, I didn't care for it the second go round.

Nov 03, 2014
carfreeinla in Chains

hamburger in Midtown?

They now serve only crinkle cut

Oct 30, 2014
carfreeinla in Manhattan