McCormick Gourmet Smoked Sausage Jambalaya Mix Makes Impression

McCormick Gourmet Smoked Sausage Jambalaya Mix Makes Impression

McCormick Gourmet Smoked Sausage Jambalaya Mix Makes Impression

When Therese and I moved a year ago, a Therese’s friend Rochelle sent us a bunch of McCormick products.  I’ve been using many of the herbs and spices that were in that package, and loving them (of course).  But it was only recently that I thought I should try out some of the mixes that were included.  Most recently, that meant making a jambalaya that we really loved (thanks again, Rochelle!).  Unfortunately, it seems that McCormick (already!) no longer makes or sells this spice mix.  But I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to come up with something to substitute for it.

Anyway, I wasn’t too keen on the proportions, so I decided to follow my instinct.  I know everyone is crazy about eating spicy food nowadays, and while I like a little zing to my food now and then, I am not into burning my lips off.  So, fearing that this mix might pack a little more heat than would be comfortable, I made some changes. I doubled the amount of meat and vegetables, but kept the liquid and spice (obviously) the same.

Sausage, Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya
(feeds 6-8)

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped onion (1 large onion)
1 cup chopped celery (2 celery ribs)
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup chopped zucchini (1/2 large zucchini)
1 lb. boneless chicken thigh, cut into 1-inch cubes (4 chicken thighs)
1 package McCormick® Gourmet Smoked Sausage & Pepper Creole Jambalaya Recipe & Seasoning Mix
1-1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
¾ cup water
1 small (14 ounce) can marzano tomatoes, with liquid
1 cup Whole Foods Wild Rice mix
½ pound (about 1 dozen) uncooked shrimp, peeled and cleaned

So first I chopped all my vegetables, got my large saute pan warmed over a medium flame, added the olive oil, and when that was hot, the vegetables.  I thought the zucchini would be a nice addition to the mirepoix, to give the dish a little more color and more vegetable flavoring (let’s be honest, with three different kinds of meat in this dish, it is pretty meat-centric).

Mirepoix with Zucchini

Mirepoix with Zucchini

When the vegetables were fairly well cooked, after 5 minutes or so, I stacked up the vegetables in one half of the pan, and used the other pan for browning the meat, first the chicken, and then the sausage.  When the meat was well browned, I mixed it all together, marvelling that it was already starting to look like a quite substantial dish.

Chicken and Sausage Browned and Mixed with Vegetables

Chicken and Sausage Browned and Mixed with Vegetables

Then I added the uncooked rice and the spice packet, and stirred it up.  Wow, how different it looked!

Chicken, Sausage and Vegetables with Spices and Rice Added

Chicken, Sausage and Vegetables with Spices and Rice Added

Finally, I added the liquid, gave it a stir, and raised the temperature to bring it to a boil.  When it began to boil, I put the lid on it, and lowered the burner to just let it simmer.  After 40 minutes, I added the shrimp, gave it another stir, and let it cook for another 7 minutes.

Here is my result.

We loved this jambalaya.  This was one of those times when we were glad that there is just the two of us at home, because it was awesome to have leftovers for lunch the next day!  Thanks again to our friend Rochelle for helping us make a special dinner!

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2016 NYC Vegetarian Food Festival Stuffs Metropolitan Pavilion

2016 NYC Vegetarian Food Festival Stuffs Metropolitan Pavilion

2016 NYC Vegetarian Food Festival Stuffs Metropolitan Pavilion

Therese and I attended our first NYC Vegetarian Food Festival this past Saturday, held at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street in Manhattan.  This celebration of vegan and vegetarian food products and eating is remarkable, and I am glad we had the chance to experience it.  However, I have several reservations about it, and I will get to those in must a moment.

Before I do that, though, let me tell you about some of the vendors that were my favorites. I had a vegan mushroom cheeseburger from Marty’s V Burger that was wonderful – in my opinion, that could easily supplant the McDonald’s cheeseburger (the only drawback being that, at $6.50, it was triple the cost of the McD’s variety).

Our favorite snack of the day was probably the Goji Berry crunch ball offered by Fresh & Co – with several Manhattan locations, we are going to have to check them out!

Fresh & Co

Fresh & Co

Of all the beverages I tasted – all the teas and tonics and kombuchas, etc. – the one I liked the best was the hibiscus tea from GoldThread – over ice with a slice of lemon, I could absolutely sip that on a hot sunny day.

GoldThread Beverages

GoldThread Beverages

Desserts are always hard to find vegan (or even dairy free), so I was eager to see what sort of dessert substances might be offered at the festival.  My favorite was Nicobella Chocolate – a chocolate mixed with shredded coconut, one of my favorite combinations (the coconut helps keep the dark chocolate from tasting bitter).

OK, now for my complaints.  Let me first offer the following caveat: I couldn’t help but compare this festival to the Grand Tasting at the Wine & Food Festival, one of our favorite events at a favorite festival every year.  That’s unfair, because that one has a ticket price of $100, and this one only costs $35.  Nevertheless, as I said, I couldn’t help compare the two.  So here is my comparison.

I was shocked at how tiny the tastings were.  It was not unusual for the beverages offered to be maybe a tablespoon of liquid.  And many of the snacks and foods were about a half of the size of my pinkie thumbnail.  If you wanted more of a tasting than that, you had to pay!  And some vendors only had food for purchase!

The festival was well-attended, and yay for them that it was.  But the growth of the festival didn’t seem to be anticipated – I heard one person say the number of people attending has doubled in the last three years.  The building was crazy crowded – everywhere I went, I was either bumping into people, or they were bumping into me.  And even though it was fairly early in the day – we arrived an hour after the festival opened, around 12:00 noon – there were numerous vendors who were running out of tastings.  If you were willing to stand in line and wait for a few minutes, there would be something available, but since we had never been and wanted to get the full sweep of the room, we moved on.

In addition, there were many tables that were for advocacy groups, and these folks short-sightedly did not have any food or beverages at their tables!  At the Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting, some of the best tastings are offered by advocacy groups (travel organizations, etc.).  Personally, I don’t go to a festival to stand around and talk with someone about issues, but I would be more inclined to give somebody my time if they first gave me, I don’t know, maybe a glass of juice or a cracker smeared with hummus.

As crowded as the festival was, I would say it has out-grown its home at the Metropolitan Pavilion.  It was a decent-sized space, but as I mentioned above, getting around the room was often an agonizing process.  Many popular vendors had long lines in front of their tables for their in-demand tastings, and it was generally so crowded that all you needed was for a couple of people to stop moving somewhere and in seconds it would be a traffic jam.

So, as much as I salute this festival, and as much as I enjoyed encountering so many products and vendors that were new to me, I don’t see myself attending next year.  If they would double the price of the ticket, move to a larger venue and offer larger tastings (and require that everyone who has a table bring food with them), I might do it again.

Posted in Chelsea, Dairy Free, Food, Food festivals, Manhattan, New York, New York City, Vegan food, Vegan Food Producers | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vegan Restaurants Keep New York City Youthful

Vegan Restaurants Keep New York City Youthful

Vegan Restaurants Keep New York City Youthful

The crowd at New York City’s many vegan (and vegan-friendly) restaurants is an almost equal mix of young folks hoping to save the world and older folks (like me) who will gladly settle for saving themselves, hoping to live a little bit longer by staying away from the cholesterol and bad karma meat-eating brings.  While not a full-fledged vegan myself (I was for roughly ten years during the ’80s and ’90s), I always jump at the chance to go vegan for at least the odd meal, and am happy to support the city’s institutions that provide vegan fare.  Because not only do they all have their hearts in the right place, but many of them serve food that is absolutely dynamite, in some cases among the best food I have eaten anywhere.

For a dairy free character like myself, of course vegan food has the added bright side to it that I can eat everything on the menu – how often does that otherwise happen?  Not often.  Of late, I have been trying to catch up on some of the restaurants that I love, and exploring new ones, especially in Brooklyn (toward compiling my Dairy Free Brooklyn page, which is still in the works – stay tuned for that one).  So here is an overview of the vegan restaurants I love in NYC.

Manhattan

Red Bamboo.  My long-time mostly vegan friend Ed first introduced me to Red Bamboo more than a decade ago, and I have been going there off and on a lot in the intervening years.  A couple months ago, I realized that I had not been there in a while, so I have made it a point to get back to going there regularly.  Ed and I had a great time most recently chatting with one of the owners, Jade, not only about Red Bamboo but also about other vegetarian Asian restaurants around New York.  She is an encyclopedia of knowledge on the subject, and the restaurant’s blend of carefully crafted but also straightforward and pleasing food continues to thrill me.

Pure Food and Wine.  Fairly high-end and consequently one of the pricier vegan restaurants in New York City, Pure Food and Wine was a revelation for me the first time I went there, and I look forward to paying my annual visit there soon.  Before eating there, I didn’t know that raw food could taste so good.  Of course, having the sweet tooth that I do, I especially enjoy their fantastic desserts.  And – they serve wine (a raw food, I suppose).

Blossom Cafe/Blossom du Jour.  I have actually never eaten at the full-fledged Blossom restaurant, but I have been to many of their Blossom du Jour locations, including ones in Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen and the Upper Westside.  They serve mostly wraps and sandwiches, of which I have tried several, and enjoyed them all.  They also have great desserts, although the Chelsea location has the largest variety of those – some locations just have a couple different brownies and cookies for sale.  In recent years, they are opening more and more locations – I can’t keep up with them!

Terri Cafe.  I have only been to Terri’s Financial District location (they also have locations in Chelsea and Midtown East).  When I lived down there, it was such a joy having Terri’s so close by.  Like Blossom, they carry a variety of sandwiches and wraps, as well as some salads, bottled teas and cleanses, and awesome desserts.  Love their “chicken” quesadilla, with lots of Daiya cheese on it.  That, plus a bottle of their mint iced tea and a chocolate cupcake was my go-to.  Wouldn’t mind having that right now!

Atlas Cafe.  I will confess that I go to Atlas many for their unbelievable variety of top-notch mouth-watering desserts, which come to them courtesy of our friends at Vegan Treats from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  They used to get their delivery from Vegan Treats on Tuesdays, and I have more than once shown up just to have my mind blown by all the cakes and cheesecakes and pies and vegan doughnuts.  As for other offerings at Atlas, they do serve vegan sandwiches (as well as having a full menu of decidedly non-vegan stuff).  I have eaten their Cuban sandwich with vegan meat and cheese, and thought it quite good.  But can we talk about the desserts some more?  Coconut cake, brownie cheesecake, chocolate-covered strawberry shortcake, etc.

Brooklyn

I am just beginning to explore the many outstanding vegan restaurants in Brooklyn.  Here are the highlights of what I have seen thus far.

Bliss Cafe.  I had their vegan French toast, and loved it.  Will have to go back again soon – maybe I will meet my stepdaughter there for lunch (she lives in Williamsburg). Cash only, for those of you who, like me, are plastic-centric.

Vinnies Pizzeria.  Warning – Vinnies isn’t all vegan, just one section.  But oh what a section – several enticing vegan varieties of pizza slices filled with vegetable and veggie meat (and even fruit!) toppings.  Thrilling to know you don’t have to order a whole pie to get the vegan variety (although you could order a full pie too if you wanted).  Also cash only.

Sun in Bloom.  A friendly place in a neighborhood on the brink of explosion (not far from the Barclays Center).  I went there mostly to try their desserts, but they also have a full menu of breakfast/lunch/dinner food.

I realize, again, this is just a start.  In addition to exploring more restaurants in Brooklyn, I need to re-visit some favorites in Manhattan, like the iconic Caravan of Dreams.  After all, menupages lists 132(!) vegan restaurants in New York City (although I bet a lot of those are non-vegan restaurants that have the occasional vegan offering).  I any case, I have my work cut out for me!

I also want to write about vegan groceries (or if you prefer, health food stores) and vegan bakeries/dessert shops.  There are many of those in Brooklyn as well, such as the wonderful Riverdel (they call themselves dairy free, because I am guessing that they sell a couple things that have eggs in them, but they are most vegan).

Posted in Brooklyn, Dairy Free, Food, Manhattan, New York, New York City, Restaurants, United States, Vegan food | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dairy Free Three Little Birds Ice Cream Creative and Available

Dairy Free Three Little Birds Ice Cream Creative and Available

Dairy Free Three Little Birds Ice Cream Creative and Available

Back in the day, when I was a single fellow looking for ladies to date on Internet sites, I had a philosophy: it doesn’t matter how wonderful somebody looks on paper if you never get to meet them.  I have similar feelings when it comes to discovering new dairy free products – no matter how incredible they sound in writing, what does it matter if you can’t buy them in a local store? (for example, you may remember how hard it was for me to find Ben & Jerry’s new non-dairy ice cream flavors)  Well, the good news here is that Three Little Birds Ice Cream is sold, not only in Whole Foods stores in NYC, but also in Brooklyn Fare, which is just down the street from me.

A few days ago, when I looked in Brooklyn Fare’s ice cream freezers and saw the intriguing containers with their cartoonish simple depictions of birds on them, was not the first time I had heard of this brand.  Not long after Therese and I moved into this neighborhood a year ago, we went out for coffee to a shop that supposedly had Three Little Birds ice cream available by the scoop.  But when we got there, they told us they were all out of it.  Disappointment.  I put the name of Three Little Birds away in the back of my mind, until now.

Thrilled to finally be face to face with this brand, I bought the Black Chocolate Stout flavor for starters, and upon tasting it, I was mightily impressed.  When I dished the ice cream up not long after removing the container from the freezer, the consistency looked a little crumbly, so I wasn’t sure what the mouth feel would be like.  It was mighty creamy and smooth, and the coupling of the tangy rich stout swirl flavor with the chocolate ice cream is dynamite.

A few days later, I decided to try another flavor, the Peanut Butta Cups, and I enjoyed that one quite a bit as well.  The peanut butter ice cream base is the most peanut butter-y ice cream I’ve ever tasted.  Which is not to say that it sticks to the roof of your mouth – it is still creamy and light, with nice small chocolate chunks in it to complete the peanut butter cup experience.

A Bowl of Three Little Birds Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butta Cups Ice Cream

A Bowl of Three Little Birds Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butta Cups Ice Cream

Ice cream should be an occasional indulgence for me, so in that sense, I don’t mind too much that Three Little Birds is the most expensive ice cream by the pint that I have ever seen ($9.99 per container).  OK, I mind a little bit.

And incidentally, I must plead complete ignorance to the origin of the brand’s name.  Of course I have known the Bob Marley song for decades, with its reassuring refrain of “every little thing is gonna be all right.”  In fact, I read just the other day that Brazilian pop legends Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil sang it as an encore at their recent concert here in New York.  I just never knew what that song was called!

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Why Everyone Should Eat Dairy Free

To my mind, I am not usually political in my writings in this blog.  My focus is most often on sharing the challenges of following a dairy free lifestyle, and the successes in finding that it can be done, not only at my home in New York City, but around the world.  But I recognize that beneath that is an assumption, or an assertion: by eschewing dairy products, I am placing myself in opposition to the dairy industry, one of the large forces in the food business in our country.  As people like me assert why people might not want to partake of dairy products, that means dollars that the dairy industry is losing.

So in this post, I am going to take off the gloves for a few minutes.  And I apologize beforehand that I am going to make a lot of assertions of facts that I am not going to back up with links to studies and lots of convincing numbers.  Before I finish, I will direct the reader to at least one source for hard numbers.  But my inclination is to paint with broad strokes for the time being.  We can debate over the voracity of individual points later – I think that, taken as a whole, the points I make will present a fairly convincing rationale for my title assertion.  So let’s get started.

To begin with, let’s talk about practical matters.  Creating dairy (and beef/veal) uses a huge amount of precious natural resources.  For years, the dairy/beef industry has used the middle of our country for grazing, with little to no work done to sustain the grazing lands so that they can be used for the next generations.  If you think I am wrong, you should also know that, rather than recover the lands in this country so they can be used again, decades ago already the cattle folks looked elsewhere for cheaper sources, and they have been deforesting the Amazon rain-forest little by little to provide beef for the American market (ask Hormel, for example, where they get the beef in their chili).

Other resources that are consumed by cattle for meat and dairy in a huge way are water and grain.  For many years there have been vegetarian folks writing about how many pounds of grain it takes to create a pound of meat, versus how many months to years a human could live on that same amount of grain the cow is eating.  As for water, while we can see already how critical having sources for water for the future is going to be, we have no qualms with letting the dairy/beef industry taking a huge amount of water.

If the resources argument is not convincing, let’s talk health.  I am only slightly joking when I say that in the future, people who eat a huge amount of red meats and dairy are going to be selected for extinction.  For these are the people who are going to suffer higher levels of heart disease, diabetes and cancers.  The meat and dairy industries have been very successful in convincing the American public that (a) proteins are a crucially important part of diet and (b) meat and dairy products are the best sources of proteins (and other vitamins like B12, and minerals).  Advocates for the plant-based diet have shown that (a) meat and dairy products are actually fairly poor sources for proteins and, for example, minerals (the body digests very little of what is contained in the meat), and (b) proteins are present in a host of fruits, vegetables and legumes.  I am always amused how meat-eaters are concerned about whether vegans are getting enough protein, and completely comfortable with believing that they can rest assured that they are getting enough just by eating meat.

I know I have been jumping back and forth between talking about dairy and meat-production.  Let’s conclude by focusing specifically on dairy, by talking about one particular issue that is a pet peeve of mine.  The dairy industry has convinced numerous lactose intolerant people that for their health, and also so that they don’t really have to make any uncomfortable significant changes in their lives to adjust to their condition, that they don’t really have to stop eating dairy.  People pop Lactaid pills and drink Lactaid milk (and eat Lactaid ice cream), and also steer themselves toward dairy products that are low in lactose like some cheeses.

Personally, when my body told me I shouldn’t eat dairy products, I began trying to find ways to live without them.  There is a clinical trial going on right now that may very well result in a pill being released on the market that will block food allergies (I am not very sure if it will tackle all of them, or just certain ones).  Even if it becomes easily attainable, I doubt that I would be a big user of that pill.

Sure, I can see that there would be certain circumstances where I would find it helpful. For example, if I went to a conference where the meals were provided buffet-style, and I couldn’t be sure whether the vegetables might not be cooked in butter, I would take the pill to prevent possible allergic reactions.  But I would not take it in order to enable me to eat macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Better in my view not to indulge in behavior that may tax my body’s resources to protect itself.  Products like Lactaid have not been on the market long enough, I don’t believe, to measure possible consequences of long-term usage.  I am not saying that people who take those pills are setting themselves up for bad things to happen in the future.  I am just saying that, why take the chance?  It is hard, yes I know how hard it is, to completely cut dairy products from my life.  But we are living in an age when the alternatives are better and more readily available than ever before, and I am sure this trend is going to continue.  And as more and more people take the plunge and follow a dairy free (and perhaps even a vegan) regimen, it is going to be easier and easier to do so.  And we might just save our race, and the world, in the process.

For more information, check out the Vegan Society’s rationale for going vegan.  They cover the ethical rationale, which I elected not to discuss here.

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Dairy Free Moroccan Chicken Salad Brings Spring Home

Dairy Free Moroccan Chicken Salad Brings Spring Home

Dairy Free Moroccan Chicken Salad Brings Spring Home

The weather may still not have decided to be spring-like, with alternating days, it seems, in the 60s and low 5os (and sometimes even colder).  But the calendar says it’s spring, and for this time of the year, Therese likes it when I make salads.  For me, it is a challenge to dress up the same old ingredients (chicken, seafood) in new ways.  Most recently, I turned to a favorite cuisine of ours that we don’t get enough of – Moroccan – to make a salad that we will be returning to often, I am sure, in the months to come.

Moroccan Chicken Salad
(serves 4-6)

6 chicken thighs (boneless and skinless), sliced into strips
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 large or 2 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp. La Kama Spice (see below)
1 tbsp. sugar
¼ cup raisins
½ medium red onion, diced
1 medium carrot, shaved and diced
1 celery rib, diced
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 head, Boston lettuce

For La Kama Spice, you can order a pre-mixed version on-line, or you can make your own, by mixing equal parts turmeric, white pepper, ginger and ½ part cinnamon, with a pinch of nutmeg.

Put the cumin seed, garlic and kosher salt in a mortar, and grind them down to a pulp.  Add that to a medium mixing bowl with the La Kama and sugar and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and add 1/4 cup of hot water, and mix it all together.  Add the chicken strips, stirring with a large spoon to make sure all the chicken gets well covered with the Moroccan marinade.  Set aside to marinate for about 1/2 hour.

While the chicken is marinating is a good time to chop all the vegetables.

Take a large skillet or saute pan, and set it over a medium heat, with one tablespoon of olive oil in it.  When it is nice and hot add the chicken, cooking on one side for 2-3 minutes, then flipping to the other side until they are well-cooked, another 3-5 minutes.  It is not a bad thing to get a good crust on the chicken, but you don’t want the spice and chicken drippings on the pan to get too dark – if this starts to happen, turn the heat down.

When the chicken is done, remove it to a plate and set aside.  Taken the pan off the burner – we are going to make the dressing in the pan, so leave all the color and stuck pieces in there.  While the pan is still a little bit warm, add the vinegar and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, stirring those around so they mix together and you get all the color and flavor from the bottom of the pan loosened and incorporated into the dressing.  Now add the mayonnaise, sesame oil and honey, one at a time, mixing each time so that it all gets well-incorporated into the dressing.  If you want to brighten up the dressing, you could add a bit of lemon or lime juice, but I feel like the tanginess of the mayonnaise and vinegar is plenty for me.

Now mix the chicken and raw vegetables (except the lettuce) and raisins into the dressing.  Remove several leaves of lettuce, make sure they are washed well (dirt often adheres near the stems), and lay them in a fan configuration on your plate.  Dish several large spoonfuls of chicken mixture over the lettuce, and your salad is ready to be eaten!

Posted in Chicken, Dairy Free, Dinner, Food, Moroccan food, Recipes, Salad | Tagged , | Leave a comment

New Paris France Dairy Free and Vegan Food Options

New Paris France Dairy Free and Vegan Food Options

New Paris France Dairy Free and Vegan Food Options

This will be the third time I am writing a preview to the dairy free restaurants and food stores in Paris, France.  I keep writing anew because (a) I find new places each time I plan our upcoming trips (some of which honestly already existed the last time we were there), and (b) the number of options has grown exponentially each time.  That is certainly the case now, with so many promising restaurants and dessert places that I won’t be able to name them all.  But I will give you the ones that sound most promising to me (at this point, for some I don’t know much more than the title, but I will share with you what I know).  These are the ones that we will most likely visit when we are Paris in June/July (we will be making Rouen our base for the weeks we are in France, but we will be back and fourth to Paris 2 or 3 times at least).

Restaurants

If you can speak a little French, or visit a restaurant in the touristy neighborhoods (where your server is likely to speak some English), you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding food that is dairy free on a menu.  I find the brasseries are the easiest, with their focus on grilled meats and so forth.  Paris is also full of Asian restaurants, whose cuisine is usually largely dairy free.  And then of course to be safest of all, vegan restaurants are the place to go, and Paris has some good ones, and more are opening up all the time.  The ones below are mostly vegan or vegan-friendly (thanks to Yelp’s page of Paris vegan restaurants and the parisrental.com blog’s page on eating out vegan in Paris – I have mined those two sources for much of what follows, although as I continued to search, I found that many of the restaurants they mentioned showed up in other sources as well).

1st arrondissement

If you are a first-time visitor to Paris, you are likely to visit Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre Museum on your first day.  Conveniently located on a side street just a couple blocks from Paris’s most famous museum is Spring, a restaurant that is vegan/dairy free-friendly.  They are only open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, so you will want to make a reservation.  They don’t really have a menu – they prepare a 4 course meal based on what ingredients are available – if you tell them about your dietary requirements, they are known to be very good at accommodating them.

2nd arrondissement

Just north of the 1st, and therefore not far from the center of everything in Paris, the second is home to attractions like the Paris Opera (with its quite lovely restaurant), tea house Fee Nature and promising gluten-free “epicerie” (bakery/delicatessen) Noglu.

3rd and 4th arrondissements

The Marais neighborhood which encompasses these two districts is where we spent most of our time during our last visit to Paris, and we found it very friendly, walkable and fun.  Down on the Rue des Rosiers are several falafel shops (which are always great for getting some easy, cheap and filling vegan fare).  A number of the new establishments I have found are in the 3rd arrondissement, like Cuissons, Bob’s Kitchen, Cafe Pinson and Le Potager du Marais.  We will probably spend some time in this neighborhood when we are in Paris, soaking up its old Paris vibe, and I would bet we will try at least one of these restaurants when we are there.

5th arrondissement

With this district we move for the first time south of the Seine River that dissects Paris in half from east to west.  Here there is a very well-regarded vegan bakery named, appropriately enough, Vegan Folies.  The word out, though, is that you will not find vegan croissants there (rats, I am still looking for those!), but rather American-style baked goods like brownies and cupcakes.

6th arrondissement

Home to the Sorbonne and the iconic Cafe Deux Magots, this district also is where you will find some intriguing dairy free desserts, in establishments that are otherwise full of dairy. So beware if you travel to Grom, an ice cream shop that sells an awesome dark chocolate sorbet, or Pierre Herme, a bakery where you can get your French macaron dairy free if you ask them for the one with the sorbet in the middle.  Maybe not worth a special trip, but then again, I guess it depends on how much you love chocolate sorbet!

7th arrondissement

Restaurant Mariette in the 7th serves conventional French cuisine, but they seem to be very sensitive to food allergies, including serving us dairy free folks.  A cursory examination of their menu reveals several dishes that might work very well dairy free, although dessert as usual could be difficult – the chocolate sorbet profiteroles probably won’t work, but the figs in red wine syrup might be just the thing.

8th arrondissement

If you are like me, your mind is never far from thinking, “where is the chocolate???”  Well, Jadis et Gourmande, a chocolate shop in the 8th, sells some dairy free dark chocolate, and also offers jars of a Nutella-like spread that is dairy free (I have heard – don’t know exactly what it is called, though).  Also in this district is a coffee/tea cafe called Trendblack that is a great place for lunch – they label their dishes according to food allergies, including gluten and dairy free options.

11th arrondissement

I will round off my restaurant discussion by mentioning gluten-free bakery Chambelland.

Organic Groceries/Health Food Stores

Paris has a wealth of health food store chains that have locations all over the city, like Naturalia, Biocoop and Bio C Bon.  I’m sure if I run into one of those, I will stop in and see what they might have in the way of whatever I can’t find in Rouen (vegan cheeses and dairy free milks are always high on my list).  The place I will be making at least one special trip to is Un Monde Vegan.  They are known for their packaged vegan goods, like vegan meats and cheeses.  I can imagine making a plan where I stock up at Un Monde Vegan, and then head to the train station with a couple of full grocery bags to head back to Rouen.

As you can see, there are just a wealth of options for us dairy free folks in Paris this days.  Pretty much any district you find yourself in is going to have either a vegan restaurant or a bakery or chocolate shop that has some dairy free offerings.  Or they might have all three, and more!

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