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G-Free in NYC

Wow, what a day! After a few days of rain/snow/sleet/clouds the sun finally came back so I decided to go for a walk. . . which turned into an epic trek across half of Manhattan. Josh was going to the east side to record some songs at a friend's studio, so I took the train into the city with him. My one and only goal for the day? To find and devour the elusive gluten-free bagel. As you may know, I have been gluten free for nearly two years (the story of why and how is long and boring and better saved for another time). So whenever we travel, eating is a top concern- I love food and one of my favorite things about traveling is discovering great local restaurants, but unfortunately I have this dietary restriction. NYC, of course, is known for many things, bagels being one of them. I used to be a huge bagel lover back when I was carbavore. But since I stopped eating gluten, my everything bagel with veggie cream cheese and sliced tomatoes obsession has been sadly put aside. I know that many grocery stores carry gf bagels in their frozen foods section, but they're not the same as the warm gooey toasted variety you get at bagel shops. And I can't bring myself to try them because I know I'll be disappointed. So last week, I found this place online that got rave reviews for its gluten free bagels as well as homemade "spreads". It happens to be in Murray Hill, near where Josh was going to record, so I woke up this morning in eager anticipation.  Long story short, after a 45 min subway ride and a 10 block walk, the place was closed! The sign was still above the door, but there was paper plastered to the windows and clearly the inside was empty. No note or anything to explain what had happened! Weirdly, their website is still up, but I should have known better. I should have called ahead.
So now it's noon, it's cold and windy out, I have an angry empty stomach and I'm feeling pretty sorry for myself. What to do? Luckily, this being Manhattan, there is certainly no shortage of good places to eat. Josh got on his phone and found a gf bakery a mere 20 blocks (the short ones, not the long ones) away that (sigh) don't make bagels but do make their own bread, cupcakes and a host of other gf goodies. Well, it wasn't a bad second option. The roasted red pepper and spinach panini at Tu-Lu's saved me from sinking into a deep, low-blood sugar induced, depression. Plus the ladies there were super nice, and even gave me a free bag of mini-brownies!
Revived, I continued my walk from the Lower East Side across Manhattan to the west side and up into Chelsea. Chelsea is a lovely, posh part of town with lots of wonderful-looking restaurants, gourmet grocery stores and boutique stores. After aimlessly wondering around the Chelsea Whole Foods, which is amazing, I found myself growing hungry again (that panini wasn't very big, actually). I stumbled upon the Chelsea Market and curiously followed the crowd of people pouring into it. Having no idea what to expect, I was blown away by this huge previously industrial building that has been restored as a foodie mecca. Inside there are dozens of businesses including restaurants, food stalls, grocery stores, bars, and today there even happened to be a designer sample sale going on (I bought a gorgeous Free People dress for $30!). Unfortunately, I found the whole food situation at that moment a little overwhelming, and growing tired after my long walk I decided to just grab a snack (mixed nuts and a coconut water) and jump back on the Brooklyn-bound train. Hopefully, there will be time, however, to go back to the Chelsea Market in the next couple weeks, and time to find a decent gluten free NYC bagel. . . But our month-long NYC experiment is more than half over and there are so many great food places still to discover!

inside Chelsea Market



NYC: Day 1 (from an apartment in Bushwick)

Well, we arrived in NYC yesterday with the intention of spending an entire month exploring the musical side of this vast city. Admittedly, I had a little bit of anxiety thinking about being surrounded by millions of people with virtually no personal space or peace and quiet for this whole time. . . But despite the fact that we're staying with four friends in a small 3 bedroom apartment in an "up and coming" part of Brooklyn, sleeping on an air mattress that turned out to have several holes in it (which I'm blaming for the bags under my eyes), I am less anxious and more excited now that we're here! It's funny how being in NYC has always had this affect on me. It's exhausting and overwhelming and dirty and crowded but somehow you just accept that and let it inspire. So that's what I'm going to do every day that we're here- walk around the various neighborhoods with my eyes wide open, trying to take in as much of it as I can (despite the wintry mix of snow and rain and viscous wind happening outside right now!).
After the last two months of taking it relatively easy in Atlanta, surrounded by family and fair weather, this is a pretty big change. I can't believe how fast that time flew by! I was so busy, I didn't even have time to blog (ok, I could have found the time, but there was cable at mom and dad's house).
Josh, however, did find some time to write- you can check out his interpretation of our Southern adventures here. And I was able to spend a good deal of time thrifting, and working on my Etsy site!
This marks 6 months since we gave up our apartment in Madison and hit the road. And it will probably be another 6-8 months before we "settle down" again. For the most part it's been really great- for Josh's career, for our relationship, for my restless spirit and for the lasting impact it will have on us for the rest of our lives. Every day is different and that is amazing. So tonight we will head out into the gray, cold snowy fog and see if we can find some art and music (I hear these things are abundant here)!

And now for a moment of zen that has nothing to do with NYC in early March....
kayaking in Charleston in January

For more photos from the road check out our Flickr album. And to see where Josh is playing this month, check out the tour page!