GFHV Review: P&G’s

P&G’s 

91 Main St

New Paltz, NY 12561

(845) 255-6161

Website and Menu

Waitstaff: A

P&G’s waitstaff has always been friendly and accommodating. I’ve never had a problem explaining my wheat allergy and getting awesome substitutes in return.

I love their very reasonable “2 for $20” special for Monday dinner. One appetizer + two entrees for $20 = one of the best deals in New Paltz!

Ambiance: B- 

P&G’s doubles as a bar in the evenings. It’s dark and can get kind of loud. Great for family and low-key gatherings. Think small-town Friendly’s. It’s not fantastic, but I keep coming back for the service and the food. If you get a booth by the window, it’s actually pretty cozy. Just don’t plan on going there late at night on Friday or Saturday or you’ll be faced with the hordes of dancing college students.

Food: A-

Gluten free bread is only 75 cents extra here! Total steal for a surcharge! I love getting the same sandwiches and burgers as everyone else. It’s no frills pub food, but it’s delicious. Please note, they’ve told me their fries are not gluten free — but they’re also not fried in the same fryer as their breaded items. So, safe for wheat allergy — but not so if you have Celiac disease. You can sub a baked potato or one of their other sides without any issues.

We substituted the normal tortilla chips served with the spinach and artichoke dip for corn chips, thanks to our server.

Close up of the spinach and artichoke, a bowl of cheesy goodness:

The cheesy goodness of artichoke and spinach dip from P&G's.

The cheesy goodness of artichoke and spinach dip from P&G’s.

I ordered the P&G’s burger with Swiss for my entree, with the gluten free bread. It was a standard, pretty large burger with a generous serving of fries (sorry…no photo…slacking blogger here.)

I’d easily recommend P&G’s. It’s a great pit stop for some comfort food.

GFHV Review: La Bella Pizza Bistro

La Bella Pizza Bistro

194 Main Street
New Paltz, NY 12561

845-255-2633

Website and Menu

Waitstaff: A

-Awesome. I called earlier in the day, before I planned to go there for dinner, and the person who answered the phone was knowledgeable and friendly. Gluten free pizza takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare, so it’s best to call ahead if you don’t want to wait. I arrived in about 20 minutes and it was already ready. Great service.

Ambiance: A

La Bella is casual, but cozy. It’s a nice spot to catch up with friends or family — the interior is warm and there’s plenty of seating. It’s not fancy — but it’s not meant to be.

Food: A-

-La Bella is just branching out into the gluten free world. (Although I believe they are now doing gluten free pasta as well….) The pizza here is really, really different from any other gluten free pizza I’ve tried. Gluten free pizza is typically very flat and tastes a little bit like Pizza Hut (not in a bad way!) A 12″ pizza here (the only option, as is typical for places that sells gluten free pizza) is $12, plus $2 for each additional topping other than cheese. I paid a little extra for green peppers and was pleasantly surprised to see my pizza 1) full of peppers and 2) be enough for two servings of food. (I can normally wolf down a whole personal pie in one sitting. Not sure I’m proud of that…but just to give you a size comparison to other places, La Bella provides a very generously sized pizza.)

In the lower right-hand side of the photo, you can see how “spongy” the pizza is — a lot like normal dough!

Gluten free 12" pizza from La Bella Pizza Bistro with green peppers.

Gluten free 12″ pizza from La Bella Pizza Bistro with green peppers.

Here’s where it gets a little subjective. I’ve heard several people say La Bella’s has the best gluten free pizza in the Hudson Valley. It’s spongy and thicker than regular pizza, and it mimics normal dough pretty well. If you’ve ever had Sicilian-style pizza — it’s similar to that, although not quite as thick. The sauce and cheese was delicious, and the crust was perfect, but I could not get used to the dough. It was too strange to me. (I remember not being used to gluten free pizza at first, and I didn’t like it in the beginning, so this could probably just be a “you get used to it” sort of thing.)

So…I recommend the pizza. It certainly doesn’t taste like regular, flat gluten free pizza. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It just wasn’t my personal preference at the time. The service and atmosphere is stellar and I would probably go again if I had a pizza craving.

GFHV Review: Main Street Bistro

When I first entered college, Main Street Bistro (affectionately referred to as “the Bistro”) was a favorite of mine. Its breakfast special (toast, two eggs any way you like, and home fries) was a cheap Saturday morning fave. But now that I’m eating gluten free, does this college staple still hold up? I tried to push away the nostalgia and review this staple once more, this time without consideration of the delicious pancakes (which, on some level, I’m still mourning the loss of those delicious chocolate chip stacks.)

Main Street Bistro

59 Main Street
New Paltz, NY 12561

845-255-7766

Website and Menu

Waitstaff: A

-Staff is super friendly, although it can get swamped here, especially on weekends. Despite this, I’ve never had a rude server here (if anything is even slightly out of whack, it’s fixed right away with an apology — pretty awesome.)

Ambiance: B-

The Bistro is cozy and cramped, and depending on when you visit, the noise level gets a little ridiculous. There’s always some kind of music streaming from the TV, and the art here cycles in and out to showcase artists, but let’s be honest: you’re not here for the decor. You’re here for the eggs.

Food: A-

-I leave the Bistro with a solid A-. It’s always delicious and fresh (get the avocado, you can’t go wrong!), but its gluten free options are lacking. You can go with the Breakfast Special sans toast, or one of their sandwiches with gluten free bread as a replacement, but it’s more of a lackluster replacement than a true gluten free foodie experience. They’re very clear about their intentions — the menu states that the Bistro is not a gluten free facility, but if you tell your server you have an allergy they will do their best to accommodate it. (Anecdote here: I’ve never gotten sick from the Bistro.)  I usually skip the toast and go straight for one of the frittatas. Here, I got the Athens Frittata, sans toast, which was $6.95. Eggs, home fries, spinach, feta and red peppers. Not terribly expensive, but a little pricey for what you’re getting. (I still inhaled it.)

photo(4)Despite the crowds and the surefire idea that I’m going to order some sort of egg dish, I keep coming back. I love that the coffee is unlimited, and tend to come here for a caffeine buzz on the cheap. If you don’t like eggs, though, your options are limited here.

GFHV Pro Tip: Adjusting to Eating Gluten Free

I’ve been doing some thinking about how hard it is to start eating gluten free. Once you’re slammed with a diagnosis that forces you to go gluten free, it can be incredibly overwhelming to figure out what works for you. Whether it’s your first time ever going gluten free, or you’re going gluten free in a new environment, I know it can be tough to deal with.

To get a fresh perspective on what going gluten free out of your comfort zone feels like, I spoke with Lily Maxwell, an Albany native and first-year student at SUNY New Paltz. Lily, 18, has been eating gluten free since she was 14 and diagnosed with Celiac disease.

GFHV: How did you prepare for going gluten free in an unfamiliar place?

Lily: I brought a lot of my own food with me. I brought boxes of granola bars and fruit in my fridge. Once I was here for a while, I started to take advantage of my surroundings (I realized I had too many granola bars.) I visited the farmer’s market on Thursdays and keep vegetables in my fridge — they’re good to snack on late at night when I don’t want to eat junk food.

GFHV: What’s in your stockpile right now?

Lily: I’ve had a lot of work recently, so I’ve been living on peanut butter and carrots! I have olive oil in my fridge for if I want a salad. I also keep apples, bananas, almonds and hummus around. I try to stockpile on protein-filled food and carbohydrates because a lot of the time, especially eating a lot of vegetables, I don’t have enough protein and carbs for the day.

GFHV: Many social gatherings are food-oriented. How did you deal with that?

Lily: It definitely affected me — my orientation meet-up party was a pizza party, and since I couldn’t eat the pizza, I didn’t go. Same thing with hall events — baking cookies with my floor, for instance. I try to make my socialization about other things — I hang out in the art building and I like to go rock climbing at The Inner Wall.

GFHV: Have you had any social situations where people have treated you differently because of what you ate?

Lily: Definitely – every meal somebody gives me a look or comments because I always have an enormous salad that’s spilling onto the table, or an entire bowl of tomatoes. I really like vegetables  and I’m trying to be healthy. At this point, people know me as the salad girl.

GFHV: So what’s in your infamous salads?

Lily: Oh wow, this is going to be long! A lot of the mixed lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, sometimes olives, feta, a bunch of hummus or beans because I love hummus and sometimes hard boiled eggs or rice

GFHV: What’s the weirdest breakfast/lunch/dinner you’ve had because you had to eat gluten free and your options were limited?

Lily: Today I just bought an entire bag of tortilla chips and I was just like, lunch! And [friends] have a bagel or coffee and I just walk in with my bag, munching…and they’re like, “Ookay.” But Tostitos are delicious. [GFHV Editor’s Note: Plain Tostitos are gluten free, as are most plain varieties of potato chips. Flavored Tostitos contain wheat and are not gluten free.]

GFHV: What do you wish you had known when you first moved here?

Lily: I wish I had explored more instead of waiting for someone else to mention where gluten free stuff was. I kind of stuck to the salad — I wish I had established a more balanced diet instead of eating the same thing every day. I definitely need to get better at packing snacks with me, like carrots and portable peanut butter or fruit. I’ve realized that trying to find the time to eat gluten free isn’t very convenient with my schedule, and maybe I need to change my schedule so I have more time to go to the dining hall and eat real food. I definitely didn’t think of how hard it would be when I was starting here.