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Monday, June 30, 2014
Gluten-Free Pasta Flyer is Coming!

Did you pledge to the Pasta Flyer Kickstarter yet?
Only 4 days left! 



In case you missed it, Pasta Flyer is a cool new gluten-free pasta concept from Chef Mark Ladner of Del Posto in New York City. This Kickstarter campaign is going to pave a brand new road for fast, convenient, gluten-free pasta. I encourage you to visit the campaign page and if you like what you see, make a donation! Pasta Flyer could soon be in a city near you.

Chef Mark hosted a Pasta Flyer Kick-Off Party for the NYC Celiac Meetup Group in Brooklyn, New York. The food was awesome, the crowd was excited, and Chef Mark shared his ideas about Pasta Flyer. 

Chef Mark and his Pasta Flyer Team need our help. Make a pledge today! 


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Thursday, June 19, 2014
100% Gluten-Free in Costa Rica at Arenas del Mar
In only four days, I will be here: 

Photo credit: Arenas del Mar

Pinch me!

Do you ever think "I want to travel, but where can I eat gluten-free so far from home?" I know exactly how you feel. That's why I started my Gluten-Free Globetrotter website in 2011. Living with Celiac since 1981, I don't know anything else but gluten-free travel. I wanted to convince other Celiacs that they also can travel. I have connected with so many nervous Celiacs that ask me for ideas of where to go and now I have an awesome suggestion that I am testing it out next week! Tough job, but someone has to do it for the celiac community! 

About six weeks ago, I learned that Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, was putting its staff through the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness GREAT Kitchens training program"This comprehensive course teaches the essentials of gluten-free food preparation and cross-contamination avoidance – skills that are critical for serving customers with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity." This is impressive yet puzzling. I wondered why a hotel in Costa Rica was paying attention to the celiac guest.

Well, it turns out that one of the owners of Arenas del Mar has a daughter who has celiac disease and understands first-hand how anxiety about dining out can deter those with special dietary needs from traveling. When she travels, she becomes scared at each mealtime with concern for the ingredients in her food and cross contact in the kitchen. Sound familiar? I bet it does!

Arenas del Mar is a 38-room hotel on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. In 2013, Travel and Leisure magazined voted it the Top Family Hotel in Central and South America. It has also been awarded 5 Stars for Luxury and 5 Leaves for Sustainability by the Government of Costa Rica. This is all nice, but being able to eat gluten-free at this hotel in Costa Rica is really what stands out to me.

Photo credit: Arenas del Mar
In addition to being able to serve their gluten-free guests year-round, Arenas del Mar is featuring two weeks dedicated to the Celiac Community. During these weeks, the resort will go 100% gluten-free!

Here is more information about these extra special weeks:
A Week for the Celiac Community 
http://www.arenasdelmar.com/celiac_weeks.html 
In support of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), Arenas Del Mar will host two Weeks for the Celiac Community. During the weeks beginning September 13th and again on November 8th.  Both restaurants at Arenas Del Mar will go 100% gluten-free for their guests’ safety and comfort. 
A Week for the Celiac Community was inspired by the daughter of one of the owners who has celiac disease and understands first-hand how anxiety bout dining out can deter those with special dietary needs from traveling. When she travels, she becomes scared at each mealtime with concern for the ingredients in her food and cross contact in the kitchen. 
The first week, beginning September 13th 2014, will feature guest Chef Monica Glass, who herself has celiac disease, accompanied by Chef Nicole Petrongolo. Monica has worked as a pastry chef at the acclaimed seafood restaurant Le Bernardin in New York City, 10 Arts in Philadelphia and now Clio in Boston. 
The second week, beginning November 8th 2014, will feature Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook, the owners and chefs of the highly rated Zahav in Philadelphia. This restaurant was named best restaurant in Philadelphia by Philly Magazine. 
All the kitchen staff at Arenas Del Mar will also have completed the NFCA’s Great Kitchens training program which is accredited by the American Culinary Foundation.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the NFCA.
***

In only a few days, I am traveling solo to the jungles of Costa Rica and staying at Arenas Del Mar* for five days! I am beyond excited for this trip. Traveling the globe, searching for gluten-free friendly places, and then sharing that with my readers is exactly what I want to do with my life. It's why I write Gluten-Free Globetrotter. If I can encourage just one reader to step out of their comfort zone and book a gluten-free vacation anywhere in the world, then my mission is complete!

I will be reporting back on my Gluten-Free Globetrotter experiences in Costa Rica throughout the week. Follow my gluten-free travels via InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

For further details about Arenas del Mar, please contact Jeremy Allen, Program Director and hotel Partner at AllenAllen@aol.com or 1-610-407-9371. Please tell Jeremy you learned about Arenas del Mar from Erin Smith of Gluten-Free Fun and Gluten-Free Globetrotter!

* Arenas del Mar is hosting my 5-day stay next week. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely and entirely my own.

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Gluten-Free Globetrotter on Instagram

I joined Instagram! I know I am very late to the Instagram game here but I was trying to avoid it. I finally decided to finally combine my love of social media and photography and started using the app that has been on my phone forever. I was resistant to Twitter at first too but now find it to be an excellent tool. I am sure Instagram will be the same.

On my page, I will share pictures of my gluten-free travels near and far, my Celiac friends, and especially food. Lots and lots of gluten-free food!

You can find me at under my Gluten-Free Globetrotter blog name on Instagram: http://instagram.com/glutenfreeglobetrotter

See you there! 


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Monday, June 16, 2014
Where is Gluten-Free Fun on Facebook?
Dear Readers,

Facebook has change their ways again. With these new changes, many of my Gluten-Free Fun Facebook posts are no longer showing up in your news feeds. Unless I start paying to advertise on Facebook, you may miss many of my posts. This makes me sad. I get ZERO revenue from this blog which means I have no budget for advertising.

According to fellow blogger and social media expert Derek Halpern's blog:
According to AdAge, Facebook said, “We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time…” And a Facebook spokesperson said, “the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it.” 
This means you may not receive my content anymore via my Gluten-Free Fun Facebook page because it doesn’t make sense for me to pay Facebook to send you my Gluten-Free Fun news you can read for free.

There are a few things you can do to keep seeing my content.

1. Read my Gluten-Free Fun blog. You are here, so you are reading. YAY!

2. Like my Gluten-Free Fun page on Facebook, but update to "Get Notifications." By doing this you will always see my Facebook posts. See the image below to know where to look


https://www.facebook.com/GlutenFreeFun

3. Follow @GFreeFun on Twitter. I often post and link back to my Facebook page.

Thank you for your loyalty and your support! It means the world to me.

~Erin

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Friday, June 13, 2014
Gluten-Free Fun Friday Funny: Gluten-Ectomy
If I had a dollar back for every time I got a loaf of gluten-free bread with holes in it, I would be a VERY rich woman. Share this post if you know what I am talking about!


Originally seen on the Gluten Free Club website

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Thursday, June 12, 2014
Pasta Flyer in New York City and Beyond!
Last night, the NYC Celiac Meetup Group and the Brooklyn Gluten-Free Meetup had a launch party for Pasta Flyer. Pasta Flyer is a new Kickstarter project started by Chef Mark Ladner of the award-winning Del Posto in New York City. In my eight years of leading this Meetup group, I think this was my most exciting event ever! It's not every day (or year) that you have a James Beard nominee from a four-star restaurant talking to your group in a small, friendly, intimate setting like this. The room was buzzing with excitement.



Held in the 100% gluten-free kitchen of Krumville Bake Shop in Brooklyn, we had a sold-out event! Throughout the evening our members got to meet Chef Mark Ladner, chat with him about his new Pasta Flyer project, and eat some amazing gluten-free food. Chef Mark prepared his famous 100-layer gluten-free lasagna, garlic dots (think garlic knots/popovers), and dried rice penne with caramel. As expected, the food was amazing and of course, gluten-free. It was so awesome to see so many smiling group members eating safe gluten-free food made by a gourmet chef!

Members of the NYC Celiac Meetup Group

Chef Mark Ladner making his gluten-free garlic dots!

Everyone in our Meetup group was slightly starstruck by meeting Chef Mark, who couldn't have been any nicer. We all were beyond appreciative for the attention he is paying to the gluten-free community through his pasta research and this new project. I was especially impressed that a chef of his caliber is not only going out of his way to learn about gluten-free food, but is also so excited to meet the gluten-free and Celiac community. You guys, he took a night off from Del Posto to cook for US! This was a wonderful experience!

Check out that view from the Krumville ktichen! 


Whipping up some gluten-free focaccia bread



The point of our event was not only to eat gluten-free food, but to also introduce Pasta Flyer to NYC and the world. I really encourage you to check out the Pasta Flyer Kickstarter page and help make this gluten-free project a reality. This concept is going to revolutionize the food industry. It is going to bring gluten-free pasta to the limelight in a gourmet, yet affordable way. Please go to the page and back Pasta Flyer today.

Thank you Chef Mark for attending our NYC Celiac Meetup group event last night. It was such an honor! 

Also, a special shout out to my dear friend Kristen, from Wine with Kristen, for her impromptu sommelier job last night!


DONATE NOW BY CLICKING THIS LINK OR THE WIDGET BELOW! 



Click here to see even more pictures on our Facebook page.

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Friday, June 6, 2014
June 11: Pasta Flyer Kick-Off Party with Chef Mark Ladner in NYC
Chef Mark Ladner in the kitchen.
Photo credit: Ted Axelrod

If you read my Monday post, you know I had an amazing and quite memorable gluten-free meal at Del Posto in New York City last Friday. Part of the lunch was spent talking to Chef Mark Ladner about his new upcoming project. Next week, Chef Mark is launching a Kickstarter campaign for his "gluten-free certified pasta bowl restaurant named Pasta Flyer. It's Italian cuisine, Japanese style."

This concept really impressed me. I don't know of any restaurants that I can walk into and get delicious, 100% gluten-free pasta in less than 5  minutes, safely , and "to go." Chef Mark and I chatted about his idea and solidified plans for a kick-off party in New York City on June 11th to celebrate this launch.

PastaFlyer.com


For two decades, Chef Mark Ladner has been working as a chef in Manhattan, focusing exclusively on Italian fine dining at restaurants like Otto, Babbo, Lupa and Del Posto. Last year at Del Posto, he launched a gluten-free menu that received a lot of enthusiasm from diners with celiac. Pasta Flyer is a way for Chef Ladner to share his love for delicious pasta with a wider community, outside the NYC fine-dining scene. He has developed a patent-pending production and cooking technique for Pasta Flyer that enables him to serve any combination of the custom extruded pasta shape, sauce and side in 3 minutes; just as fast as at a Tokyo-style ramen bar. It's 100% gluten-free and will all be made in a gluten-free certified facility. 

I will post the Pasta Flyer Kickstarter link next week when the campaign launches. In the meantime, I want to invite you to our party in New York City on June 11th!

Pasta Flyer Kick-Off Party with Chef Mark Ladner

6:30pm - Cocktail Reception
7:15pm - Gluten Free Demo with Chef Ladner
8:00pm - Tasting of gluten-free snacks and goods
8:30pm - Q&A with Chef Ladner

Now, you might think that a private party with Chef Ladner will empty your pockets. Not in this case! This party is only $25 per person including cocktails, gluten-free pasta, and a chance to meet one of the most prestigious chefs in New York City. This is a big deal for the NYC Celiac Meetup group and probably the most excited I have been about one of our events in a really long time.

Tickets are extremely limited and will sell out fast. Don't delay, visit our ticket page today! You must pre-pay for your tickets to this event. No walk-ins! http://www.meetup.com/Celiac/events/186819012/

Gluten-free 100-layer lasagne

Photo credit: Hannah Whitaker


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Monday, June 2, 2014
Gluten-Free at Del Posto Ristorante in New York City
I don't even know where to start this post. I am still reveling in the memories of eating one of the best meals of my life last week at Del Posto Ristorante in New York City. I've been watching Del Posto for a while now once I learned they were trying to make a gluten-free version of every item on their menu. Then, after I saw this video, I knew I had to go. Well, restaurant dreams do come true, my friends. Last Friday, I had an impressive multi-course tasting menu carefully prepared by Chef Mark Ladner.

I recently connected with Chef Ladner via Twitter. (God, I love the power of social media). I saw a news item about his upcoming gluten-free Pasta Flyer project and I got excited. (stay tuned for exciting details later this week!) Quick, healthy, and gluten-free pasta bowls for busy people on the go? Where do I get one?! Chef Ladner and I started actively emailing to chat about this new project and then I got invited in for lunch.

PINCH ME! 

The chef himself invited little old ME for lunch. Flattered, honored, and beyond excited are just a few of those emotions that flooded through me. To say I was nervous to eat lunch was an understatement. And this wasn't nerves of being afraid of gluten, this was nervous energy to finally eat at one of my bucket list restaurants in the world!

The beautiful dining room at Del Posto. Behind those stairs sits a live pianist!

My meal was extraordinary. Dish after beautifully-plated gluten-free dish was served to me by a steady stream of extremely professional waitstaff. Service was impeccable and as I watched the busy dining room, I knew I wasn't get special treatment because I am a blogger. This was just how it is at Del Posto. Professional and luxury dining at its best. There is a reason Del Posto has "a four-star New York Times rating, one Michelin star, a Relais & Chateaux distinction, a grand award from The Wine Spectator and five Mobile Diamonds." This is dining at its absolute finest! Chef Mark Ladner is also a 2012 and 2013 James Beard Award nominee!

Not only was the food gorgeous and the service great, but the Chef went out of his way to talk to me during and after my meal. I felt very honored that Chef Ladner came and sat with me to talk about the Celiac community, his gluten-free trial and error in the kitchen, and how he wants every diner in his restaurant to be treated equally. There is no judgement if you have allergies, preferences, or Celiac needs at Del Posto. You are a customer and you will be fed. Simple as that.

Now on to the food! My captions will do these dishes no justice. I was too busy eating and admiring each dish to remember the exact names of the food. I just know it was beautiful and delicious and all gluten-free!

Dehydrated rice penne

Local, spring vegetable salad

Veal ravioli with asparagus

The thing that really impressed me most about Chef Ladner is his dedication to getting his gluten-free recipes just right. He uses Thomas Keller's Cup 4 Cup flour blend in the kitchen. He spent YEARS getting the pasta just right. And let me tell you, he nailed it! Fluffy, airy focaccia bread. 100-layer lasagna with the thinnest gluten-free noodles I have seen in my life! Ravioli!!! He puts a tremendous amount of effort into each gluten-free dish to make sure the Celiac customer's dining experience is no different from a "regular" customer. Chef Ladner does not have celiac nor is he gluten-free, he just makes delicious food and accepts the challenge of gluten-free cooking. I truly believe he has gone above and beyond for the gluten-free customer and is one of the most impressive chefs I've ever met who is feeding the gluten-free community.


Gluten-free focaccia bread with rosemary and thyme

I never eat fish because I am always afraid it's going to be "fishy." This halibut was perfect.
Chef, please note, you got me to eat fish. That's a HUGE accomplishment in itself!

100-layer gluten-free lasagna. Yes, you read that correctly... ONE HUNDRED LAYERS

Del Posto is definitely a special occasion restaurant. This would be perfect to celebrate birthdays, retirements, or anniversaries. It might be a bit pricey for some people, but it is definitely worth every dollar. If you are looking to get a taste of what Del Posto has to offer, I highly recommend lunch.  At $39 per person for a prix fixe lunch, you are getting quite a bargain at this high-end restaurant. Make your reservations early because they fill up quickly. This is not a place to be missed.

Palette cleanser: rhubarb granata with rhubarb compote and cucumber ice

Butterscotch semi freddo with plums and cherries

Swan cappucino

Housemade "candies" including edible rice paper filled with champagne vinaigrette caramel.
AMAZING!!

Presented to me as "chocolate with some chocolate on top of chocolate"


Thank you so much Chef Mark Ladner and the staff of Del Posto for such an amazing dining experience. This post cannot really express how much I appreciate what Chef Ladner is doing for the gluten-free community. He has raised the bar for gluten-free dining to a new all-time high! The Chef's approach to making the gluten-free dining experience so "normal" is what stood out to me the most... after the delicious food, of course. Instead of seeing our dietary restrictions as an annoyance, Chef Ladner has embraced the challenge of gluten-free cooking. In my opinion, there are very few people that do this for our community. My lunch last Friday was so special to me and I feel lucky that we made the connection via Twitter.

I cannot wait to help share the Pasta Flyer efforts in the upcoming weeks. If this meal at Del Posto is any indication of what's to come with Pasta Flyer, we are in EXCELLENT hands.

THANK YOU, CHEF MARK LADNER!

Me with Executive Chef Mark Ladner of Del Posto


Del Posto Ristorante
85 10th Ave.
New York, NY 10011


Side note: I met a lovely woman dining next to me who wondered if I was a food critic. I was beyond flattered. I told her I am a gluten-free blogger and she proceeded to tell me her son-in-law had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease just two weeks ago! She said as a big foodie living in Europe, he was devastated. I told her he shouldn't be and that I was living proof that life goes on. I was sitting eating at Del Posto, wasn't I? I wished her son-in-law well and hope that he soon enjoys (gluten-free) food again!

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