Saturday, May 26, 2012

Foods of New York

My friend Amber and I recently took a fantastic mini-break to New York City. Her first such visit, my second time. First of all, let me just express how much I love New York. In the interest of full disclosure, my expectations of the States are generally low (sorry for any offence). Much to my delight, however, NY far, far exceeded my expectations in almost every way - just as it did the first time. The people are friendly, the service is excellent, it feels safe, it's easy to venture by foot, and last but not least: the food.

Travelling paleo-style really isn't that hard, depending on where you find yourself. If there are meat and/or vegetables of some kind, you're in the clear. Hold the bun on a juicy burger and away you go. The low histamine element is a fair bit harder to manage. This in mind, I packed myself a bottle of Histame and let nature take its course. Keep in mind here that pretty much every possible dish on any possible menu has some kind of histamine-filled or inducing ingredient. I'll show you below the aftermath of a relatively careless histamine-filled long weekend (with Histame thrown in for the especially potent meals).

Note: unlimited drinks were also part of this excursion :-)

First meal in NY - so far, so good. Yummy mushroom and goat cheese omlet, served with grilled asparaus and sweet potato hash browns (44 & X Restaurant). 

Amber had the short ribs over mashed potato with something green in it that I don't recall...
Amber is a foodie. She loves good food, enjoys cooking and can eat with the best of them (one of many reasons I love this girl). Food was one of the things we were looking forward to on the trip (unlike traveling with my husband, Tim, who could eat Subway* for every meal). With this in mind, one of our pre-booked activities was a Food Tour of Greenwich Village. I think if Tim (celiac) were to participate in this tour he might actually die. Here was roughly the line-up: cheese pizza, bread with olive oil, gourmet mac and cheese, rice balls, bacon-wrapped date, artichoke, deviled egg, cookies, cheese, and cannoli. And let it be known I ate everything. And it was all delicious!

*We wouldn't actually do Subway these days for obvious reasons, including the fact Tim has a highly sensitive case of celiac disease. But you get the idea - grab something from a corner store and call it dinner.

Cheese pizza from this joint. I hadn't had pizza in well over a year, but I'll say it: this was worth it.

Thanks to some poor guy getting his times mixed up, Amber and I split an extra slice. Pictured here is our great tour guide, Sephra. 

Macaroni and cheese is not a dish I frequent, but they know how to make it at  this place, which I've forgotten the name of...
We enjoyed this little taster dish with a cold, refreshing cocktail.

These warm, melt-in-your-mouth cookies came from Milk & Cookies.

As you can see from the selections above, I basically put any and all food restrictions out the window. That's right - there was gluten, histamine, sugar, all of it. And no regrets here. Lucky for me, the impact of going off the rails like this is relatively minimal. Sure, I was tuckered out at times, but being a tourist can be exhausting. The real food impact began near the end of the trip, into the full week after our return (so far). We arrived home a week ago tomorrow, and my eczema is the worst it's been in probably a few months (which still isn't THAT bad, considering it's been pretty clear for quite a while).

A bit hard to see, and really not all that bad. We returned on Sunday and I took these photos the following Thursday, four days later.

The inside of my elbow. These days, symptoms are typically confined to my hand, however, post-NY I have this patch on my right arm and recently developed smaller patch on my left.

Interestingly, I'm now having to re-adjust to an even lower histamine diet to recover from the weekend overload. Since transitioning to a low histamine diet, I've gradually reintroduced a few foods such as avocados, tomatoes and some condiments (I love condiments - this category has been a real sacrifice!). With the skin already compromised, I have to get myself off these "extras." This is proving pretty tough - no bread, no problem. No avocado with salsa, problem.

You might think I'd be frustrated with the downturn of my skin and the work it will take to clean it back up, but here's the key: I know what causes it and how to fix it - and that makes all the difference. This small sacrifice in the name of an awesome girls weekend in NY is absolutely worth it - no regrets.

On a related note, I have to mention this incredible cobb salad I had at Sarabeth's, the "Central Park South Cobb Salad" (lobster, crab, shrimp, egg, bacon, avocado, etc). Amber will laugh at me, as I raved about it to every single Sarabeth's employee I could find. I doubled up on the Histame for this particular meal. Again: absolutely worth it.

So upon reflection, this experience (from a food perspective) has ultimately helped me renew my commitment to my regular regimen. Time to start planning for next year's trip...

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