Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Small Town GF Guide: Ithaca, NY

Taughannock Falls outside Ithaca, NY

[Note: This is the first in what I anticipate will be an irregularly recurring series I'm calling the Small Town GF Guide. Sometimes, I write enough about a place, or I research a place enough, or have experienced it enough, to reach a critical mass of information about gluten-free living there. If I feel like I've reached that point with a particular place, I'll post a new guide, which will include local markets for shopping, and local restaurants with GF options. If we've reviewed any of the places, I'll link to those reviews as well.

In the case of Ithaca, NY, both Kelli and I attended Cornell University, and Kelli's from Ithaca originally. It's a place we know well, love, and travel to often. Probably owing to those factors, over the last two years I've received a surprising number of inquiries from folks asking about GF options - mostly prospective students of Cornell and Ithaca College, students at those institutions, or parents traveling to visit their children at those institutions. I thought I'd make the info more readily accessible here on the blog, rather than always emailing someone individually, and hence here we are with the inaugural Small Town GF Guide for Ithaca, NY!]

The following local supermarkets offer extensive gluten-free sections (or a wide array of GF choices in general):

Wegmans (www.wegmans.com)

GreenStar Cooperative Market (www.greenstar.coop)

Ludgate Farms (www.ludgatefarms.com)

Wegmans is by far the largest, and a great place for one-stop grocery shopping (it’s enormous and has great stuff).

Restaurants within Ithaca or the immediate vicinity:

Waffle Frolic (www.wafflefrolicking.com) - waffles, fried chicken, and more! (Read our review.)

Taste of Thai (www.tasteofthaiithaca.com) – most dishes can be prepared gluten-free

Just A Taste (www.just-a-taste.com) – a Spanish tapas place, they don’t have a specific GF menu, but should easily be able to accommodate you

Pangea (www.pangearestaurant.com) – can accommodate special dietary needs and requests CLOSED

The Heights (www.heightscafe.com) – can accommodate special dietary needs and requests, The Heights catered the rehearsal dinner for our wedding

Moosewood Café (www.moosewoodrestaurant.com) – Ithaca’s world-famous vegetarian restaurant, can easily do GF

New Delhi Diamond’s (www.newdelhidiamonds.com) – Indian

Le Garden Bakery (www.legardenbakery.com) – GF bakery located in nearby Lansing, NY

Restaurants a little farther afield outside of Ithaca:

The Stonecat Café in Hector (www.stonecatcafe.com) - has a GF menu

The Outback Steakhouse in Horseheads/Elmira (www.outback.com) - has a GF menu

Red Newt Bistro (www.rednewt.com) - always has GF items on the menu, ask the server for specifics

Ithaca also has a truly fabulous farmer’s market. In general, the town is a progressive, environmentally-conscious, liberal community with an impressive array of diverse restaurants (especially for the community’s relatively small size). Beyond the list above, I’m sure you’ll find other options if you poke around.

- Pete

Small Town GF Guide last updated Nov 10, 2009


gfe--gluten free easily said...

Glad I stopped by today (finally!). Love Taughannock Falls and falls in general. Mr. GFE and I once did a waterfalls and caves motorcycle trip, but I digress. As I've told you before, we love Ithaca. Ithaca is really gorges. :-) Interestingly enough, we haven't been to any of these spots. Of course, when we go we are visiting friends so we usually don't hit too many restaurants. We've always had great luck though. I love the vibe of Ithaca Commons and its shops and restaurants. We may even be visiting this summer. I'll have to refer back to your list. Looking forward to your small town series. :-)


peterbronski said...

Hi Shirley! Yes, Ithaca IS gorges! =) As cliche as it may be, I never get tired of that play on words... With Kelli's parents still living there, we don't eat out nearly as much as we did when we were in college, so I can sympathize with your experience. But then again, there's nothing wrong with going to Wegman's or the Farmer's Market and making something tasty at home.

Cheers, Pete

Brian said...

In your travels back to Ithaca, there are a few additions offering up Gluten Free eats!

1) Goddess Cookie Company - http://www.goddesscookies.com makes almond based cookies that are gluten free and vegan. Truly amazing.

2) Waffle Frolic - http://www.wafflefrolicking.com is cooking up late night gluten free waffles on the Commons with an assortment of vegan and non-vegan toppings.

peterbronski said...

Hi Brian... Thanks for the updates! I'll get them posted to the Ithaca GF guide soon...

Cheers, Pete

Anonymous said...

Tops now has a fair number of gluten free items. Also, Ithaca Bakery serves gluten free sandwich bread and desserts.

peterbronski said...

Thanks for the tip, Anonymous! I'll have to swing by the Ithaca Bakery the next time I'm in town (was just there for Christmas...).

Cheers, Pete

Valerie said...

I just got back from a trip to Ithaca. WE FOUND AN ENTIRELY GLUTEN-FREE RESTAURANT!!!!! Its name is Culture Shock. The food selection there is kind of odd, but it was amazing to be able to order anything on the menu. I ordered a Bi-bim-bap, made with a lot of kimchee. My kids invented their own orders of rice, black beans, and red bell peppers. My partner had a curried salad. For dessert my daughter and I split a gluten-free dairy-free soft-serve ice cream. That ice cream was weird but good, and we were amazed to find ice cream that we could order at a restaurant. Here's their website: www.tasteliveculture.com
They have a ball pit, which my kids loved. They also have a stage, a bar (of gluten-free drinks only), and after 8pm grownups can go into the ballpit. I had the impression that they sell a lot of smoothies, but my family didn't try them so I can't comment on that.

We also ate once at Moosewood, which was good but really slow. My food was safely gluten-free, but I have enough other allergies that the food I ended up with was just stir-fried veggies, which, while they were really well-cooked and yummy, wasn't filling.

We stayed at a rental cottage with a kitchen and mostly cooked our own food. We found the Greenstar Co-op had a really excellent selection of gluten-free groceries. I especially liked the Emmy's chocolate macaroons. My kids liked the GF dairy-free cookie dough ice cream. Here's the co-op's website: www.greenstar.coop

peterbronski said...

Hi Valerie... Thanks for your report from your recent trip to Ithaca! Culture Shock sounds like an intriguing restaurant. We'll have to check it out when we're in town later this month.

Cheers, Pete

Kellie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eValerie said...

I'm getting ready to go back to visit Ithaca again, so I stopped by here to check on the GF options.

I'm a bit baffled by Culture Shock's website. It lists upcoming events, but their Facebook page seems to say that the restaurant shut down at the end of April. So I'm not sure if the website is running on autopilot and the place is closed, or if I misunderstood the Facebook posting and they're still open.

I'll report back here after my visit.

peterbronski said...

Hi eValerie... Please do report back after your visit! We always appreciate feedback that helps make these posts updated, accurate, and comprehensive.

Cheers, Pete

eValerie said...

I'm home from another trip to Ithaca.

* Alas, Culture Shock (the GF restaurant my family found there a year ago) is gone.

* We found a tiny gluten-free vegan Sri Lankan restaurant at the Ithaca Farmers' Market. I am a vegetarian with a dairy allergy, and I love ethnic food, so I was amazed and delighted to find this restaurant!! The food there was fabulous, and I was delighted to be able to choose from about 10 different options at a restaurant. I asked the people behind the counter about it, and they said that they are usually at the Farmers' Market, but not always. I don't know how to contact them to find out if they will be there on any given day. I am also not too sure which days the Farmers' Market is open.

* Some members of my family made an expedition to eat at Moosewood. They ate there safely.

* Other than that, we bought food at the Green Star co-op -- which has lots of GF grocery options. Everything I said about it in my last posting is still true.

Thanks for hosting this forum about eating GF in Ithaca -- it is helpful!

Anonymous said...

We were in Ithaca last weekend and ate at a restaurant called Ciao. They have gluten free pasta and were knowlegeable about what sauces etc were gluten free. I had pomodoro sauce and Penne.It was delicious.