There could not be a more honest name for a New York Deli: Food Passion.
My day, that had started out pretty bright already, became brilliant when I walked into this boutique Artisanal Gourmet Deli/shop on the Upper East Side, FOOD PASSION. A family business that has been run by father and son for years, this store is the real deal. From the delectable selection of charcuterie, prepared meats, artisanal cheese, homemade pastries, fresh market vegetables, deli cold salads, you name it, this store has got it.
As I tend to eat with my eyes before I then consume with the oral partition of my face, I was perusing the deli vegetable selections with substantial interest when the guy behind the counter encouraged, “You can try anything you’d like. Please, enjoy!”
Don’t mind if I do.
After a few delicious samples of honestly-prepared food, I selected the lentils, cooked with some Italian herbs, olive oil, red pepper, and summer vegetables. At the check-out, the guy behind the register was simply glowing with pride, and I couldn’t help but find his energy and PASSION for what he does contagious. We started rapping on food, and the conversation eventually got onto all of my dietary intolerances and allergies. He explained how they are actively increasing their certified “gluten-free” selection. He looked me square in the eyes, and shared how he is shocked that food allergies are something that us Bubble Children should be scared of when buying food they didn’t make themselves.
How could that not be scary?!
He continued with the fact that when someone loves their food, they know their food. Likewise, when anybody loves food, and works for someone who has prepared food, how could they not know every ingredient listed in every product? Is that not the sheer joy of food– the cooking, the creation, the ingredients, that makes the tantalizing experience of eating worth partaking in and working for?
This beautifully simple thought of his reiterated one of my personal realities while dining out: while not every cafe or restaurant has “special allergy-free” options, the owners/managers/whoever is serving you your food should be aware of every single ingredient in the dish. Not just because it’s their job, but because they share that same PASSION FOR FOOD that the owner of this Deli does. Not every town has the gluten-free selection of New York, not every restaurant is Risoterria, and while there are many opportunities for eating allergy-free, some places are less overtly catering to it than others. This doesn’t mean that eating out needs to be a scary process, no matter how allergen-oblivious the dining joint may be!
What it comes down to is knowing what ingredients you can and cannot eat, making sure you eat at places where they love their food so much they know every iota of flavor, protein, and sugar that goes into every dish, and then making an informed decision based off of asking questions, your current taste bud’s inklings, and your digestive and immune systems’ unwavering desires.
Passion for Food saves the day. And makes this Bubble Child one happy camper.
<–(or picnic-er, as I enjoyed said lentils in Central Park immediately afterwards. My view to the left. Rough day.) If you have any questions on what you can and cannot eat with any food allergy or intolerance, feel free to ask me here!
Food Passion is located at 1200 Lexington Avenue.
between 81st and 82nd Streets
New York, NY 10028