Friday, January 20, 2012


Sometimes a gluten-free vegetarian wants time with friends more than she wants to be in a gluten-free vegetarian restaurant alone. Which is how I found myself at Cocoron, a small soba noodle shop on Delancey Street in Manhattan with almost nothing I could safely eat. Of course, the noodles were problematic. Even buckwheat noodles are made with wheat flour most of the time, and are very costly if they are not. But, I digress. Much of the noodle-free items I had hoped to order were unfortunately cooked or served with soy sauce (hijiki, my favorite seaweed, for example). No hearty soup bowl for me, so I had to get creative. I examined the "sides" and this is what I ordered:
I ended up with the green tea served to one and all in beautiful ceramic cups (infinite refills!), a plate of salted edamame, some buckwheat porridge, sobagome, served with wasabi (Japanese horseradish) paste. Both the sobagome and the daikon (mild Japanese radish) mochi (pounded sweet rice), far right, really called out for tamari, so I left the restaurant, which is near Chinatown, hoping to pop into a little shop for some, but, alas, it was CHINAtown, and only wheaty soy sauce was to be found. I bought a small bottle of toasted sesame oil, which helped only a bit, and which convinced me I must NEVER leave the house without my San-J tamari packets.
I was feeling a bit dejected from watching my pals happily slurping away at their soba, or possibly from all the starch I'd consumed in such a short space of time, when I realized there was a board of specials with several desserts listed. The others in our group were too full of soba to order, but I went all out and got the most complex dessert.

(It was meant to have cornflakes--yes!--in it as well, but of course I opted out). This is a sort of trifle, Japanese style. Intense green tea served to pour over the green tea ice cream, which rests in the glass with mochi balls, crunchy buckwheat groats, and red bean paste. LOVED it! So refreshing. Such flavor and texture variety in such a small dish. The height of the meal for me, but then, isn't a luscious dessert always a memorable finale?
61 Delancey Street


Cris Winters said...

Love your blog! And I am so glad to know about the tamari packets - already on my Amazon wish list. I have been gluten-free for awhile, but now I am going vegan as well. Pretty complicated to eat away from home. I will keep coming back for more ideas. Thanks!

G.F.Veg said...

i have to say, at the beginning, it was so so frustrating, but now i've got my routine down most of the time, and when i'm in a place that presents real challenges, i see it as a puzzle to solve. the night of the day i was at cocoron, i ate at a steak house with those same friends: beet salad, grilled asparagus and a fruit plate so gorgeous all the meat-eaters were jealous! i was a little off-balance for not enough protein for the day, but made it up the next day. thanks for writing!