Back in 2005, I wrote a New York City guidebook for Frommer’s Travel Guides. That slim little volume (it’s all of 192 pages, tiny compared to most guidebooks but a perfect fit for pockets or handbags), New York City Day by Day, was designed to be a cheat sheet to the best of the city. Not only does it highlight the best of the five boroughs, it maps them out for readers in a series of 22 self-guided tours.
As comparatively compact as it is, the book was the most labor-intensive of the 17 guidebooks I’ve written. That’s the reason I’ve been so pleased to see it take on new life recently as an eBook. Better yet â€” the eBook is available as a free download from different libraries around the United States. I am not sure if every one handles it the same way, but at the New York Public Library, you can download the book as a PDF and read it on both PCs and Macs. The NYPL download is for 21 days, the usual length of time you can borrow a book from the regular collection. Best of all, you don’t need to visit the library to get it â€” you can download it from the NYPL’s website so long as you have a valid library card. (If your public library offers eBook downloads, but doesn’t yet have New York City Day by Day, you can request it.)
One tough thing about writing the book was that the restaurant reviews had to be kept incredibly short â€” most are a mere two sentences â€” which didn’t allow for comments on their celiac-friendliness. As an addendum to the guidebook, I’d like to point out a few of my favorite New York City restaurants. These are all places where I’ve found great gluten-free dining, and I’m happy to report that they’re still in business four years after I did my original research for the book!
- Blue Smoke: If you love rich, smoky barbecue flavors, you’ve found your heaven. This spot offers special gluten-free, nut-free, and vegetarian menus; [address] 116 East 27th Street, New York [tel] 212-447-7733 [web] www.bluesmoke.com
- Eleven Madison Park: Elegant dining with farm-fresh ingredients and impeccable service; [address] 11 Madison Avenue, New York [tel] 212-889-0905 [web] www.elevenmadisonpark.com
- Pure Food and Wine: This Irving Park raw-food restaurant is a vegan gem; here’s a full review; [address] 54 Irving Place, New York [tel] 212-477-1010 [web] www.purefoodandwine.com
- Rice: Always a delicious spot for brunch; click here for the full review. [address] 2 locations in Manhattan, 2 in Brooklyn [web] www.riceny.com
- Rosa Mexicano: Excellent Mexican cuisine, much of it naturally gluten free; [address] 3 locations in Manhattan [web] www.rosamexicano.info
- Ruby Foo’s: It’s impossible for me not to think bordello when I walk into this restaurant â€” but I come back for its gluten-free menu; [address] 2 locations in Manhattan [web] www.brguestrestaurants.com
- Tocqueville: This is a splurge spot, but for special occasions it would be hard to imagine anyone taking better care of a gluten-intolerant diner; [address] 1 East 15th Street [tel] 212-647-1515 [web] www.tocquevillerestaurant.com
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Facebook Update: I mentioned in my last post that I would be creating a Facebook group for the Gluten-Free Guidebook. The group is now up and running, and I invite every reader to join. I hope that it will be another helpful resource for you as you plan your travels, as well as a place where we can share information and advice via the messageboard. I look forward to seeing you there!