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Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Tommy Lasagna Review and Blogger Round-Up
Last week, I had the honor of hosting a gluten-free bloggers dinner at Tommy Lasagna. There are so many awesome gluten-free bloggers in the New York City area so I was excited to have all of us together. We often dine at the same restaurants, attend the same events, and know the same people but we are rarely all at the same place at the same time. It was Tommy Lasagna's new gluten-free menu that brought us all together.

GF foccacia

Tommy Lasagna first opened in 2011 when Chef Tommy Mosera decided to take his lasagna to the masses after insistence from lasagna-loving friends and family. When one of Tommy's biggest fans and his restaurant partner's wife was told she had a gluten intolerance, Chef Tommy decided to make it his mission to serve her gluten-free food at his restaurant. According to Chef Tommy, it took six months to get the gluten-free pasta recipe down pat and I can honestly say his hard work paid off. Using Bob's Red Mill in some pastas and Cup4Cup for lasagna, Chef Tommy's gluten-free chemistry shines bright in his delicious house made lasagnas, pastas, and breads.

Caprese salad with homemade mozzarella

When I first spoke to the chef on the phone to plan our gluten-free bloggers dinner, I asked him my usual rapid fire "do you know gluten?" question. Chef Tommy answered all of my questions about cross-contamination, ingredients, flour in the air, and more. It was obvious that he wasn't giving me lip service but truly understood the needs of his gluten-free customers. In order to try his best to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen, all of the gluten-free pastas are made early in the morning (after a thorough nightly cleaning the night before) in a dedicated Kitchenmaid. When cooking the pastas, Chef Tommy makes sure all of the pastas are boiled in their own pots with clean water. Chef Tommy did warn that this is a gluten-filled kitchen so there could be airborne contaminants but they do their best to serve gluten-free meals safely. I appreciated his honesty and felt comfortable moving forward with the bloggers dinner. I did warn Chef Tommy that gluten-free bloggers (or any gluten-free/celiac people for that matter) are very critical of their meals and can get sick easily, but he didn't see a problem and welcomed us warmly.

Best. Chicken. Ever. 

When I arrived at Tommy Lasagna, it was great to see familiar faces like Anya, Carolyn, Judith (the only non-GF blogger), Katie, Kristen, Mike, and Molly and to finally meet Candice in person. We all made our introductions and quickly started chatting like old gluten-free friends. Chef Tommy and waiter Zach came over and greeted us, walked us through the beverages for the meal. The chef asked if we had any additional allergies and because with celiac there is always something else, we all piped up with our other intolerances and allergies. Chef Tommy paused for just a moment before saying "No problem!" This is when his staff started started serving the food. And serving and serving. Yep, they kept the food coming all night long with six gluten-free courses!

Not one, but two gluten-free lasagnas to try!

I ate so much, I am not even sure I can remember everything but I do remember foccacia, a caprese salad with olive oil and tomatoes, a pear and pine nut salad with goat cheese and arugula, two different lasagnas: a garden vegetable lasagna and a bolognese lasagna, fettuccine with vodka sauce and one with bolognese sauce, the most AMAZING crispy chicken with hash browns and Brussel sprouts, and then not one but TWO desserts: flourless chocolate cake and cheesecake. If I didn't tell you we rolled out of that restaurant stuffed to the brim, I would be lying. Chef Tommy went above and beyond my expectations and his gluten-free menu launch was a big hit.

Flourless chocolate and cheesecake

Here are some of the other blogger write-ups from the Tommy Lasagna Gluten-Free Menu launch night.

Based on a Sprue Story: Gluten-Free Food: Two Chefs Get It...
Another Gluten Free Blog: Tommy Lasagna
Gluten Free Mike: Don't Tell My Mother
London to NYC: Tommy Lasagna’s Gluten Free Menu
Pasta's Kitchen: Tommy Lasagna launches extensive gluten-free menu
Fooditka: Going Gluten Free with Tommy Lasagna
Gluten-Free Blondie: That Time I Ate Gluten Free Lasagna in an Otherwise Normal Restaurant.

Interested in Tommy Lasagna? The NYC Celiac Meetup group is having a prix fixe dinner on December 3 for only $36 per person. Join us!

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