I know that most people come to the Gluten-Free Guidebook for restaurant and travel information, but I have some other news to share. Late this summer, my agent sold my first novel to an editor at Forge, a division of St. Martin’s Press. My debut crime novel, The Damage Done, will be published in October 2010, and it’s the first offering in a two-book deal. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this news. I’ve been writing crime fiction for publications such as Thuglit, Beat to a Pulp, Crimespree, and The Rose & Thorn for the past few years, and a couple of my short stories have been picked up by anthologies, but publishing a novel is pretty much the dream I’ve had for most of my life. (If you’d like to read a bit more about The Damage Done, I discuss it in an interview with David Cranmer, the editor of Beat to a Pulp.)
My new editor really impressed me in our first e-mail exchange. He’d visited the Gluten-Free Guidebook, and came up with a celiac-friendly list of possible places for our celebratory lunch. We ended up at Tamarind, an elegant Indian restaurant that’s a short walk from the Flatiron Building, where the offices of St. Martin’s Press are located. Its main dining room is a stunner, with a skylight in the center of the ceiling. There are statuettes from India and bouquets of flowers in alcoves, and semi-private banquette booths bookending the space.
Beautiful as Tamarind’s setting is, the best feature is its food. Not everything on the menu is gluten-free, but the staff was very helpful in figuring out what would be safe for me. I started with seared scallops in a coconut-mint sauce and grilled lamb on skewers, then moved on to a traditional chicken tikka masala and goat in a cardamom sauce. (My very thoughtful editor was kind enough to go gluten-free for lunch, so we were able to share our dishes.) Chick-pea flour is the starch of choice for many of the items on the menu, though wheat flour is employed in some dishes (and, of course, in the long list of naans). I was too full by the end of lunch to contemplate dessert, but I noticed that there were quite a few gluten-free choices on that menu, too, like the caramelized basmati rice pudding that I’m definitely going back to try.
Tamarind [address] 41-43 East 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010 [tel] 212-674-7400 [web] www.tamarinde22.com