Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pinterest picks the place ...

Otto's Tacos are GR8!
Social media has made following special diets infinitely easier. Using Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Yelp, and many other sites, you can find everything from specific diet advice and product information to recipes and restaurant reviews.

When I go to NYC to visit my children, I love to try out new places to eat, and I often use Google, Yelp, or an app called Find Me Gluten Free to help me in my search for them. Many of the city restaurants have begun catering to GF diners, and such sources make it very easy to find the ones that do. On a recent visit, I discovered a new favorite--Otto’s Tacos at 141 2nd Ave--through Pinterest.

Here’s how it happened:

As I was sitting in my hotel room reading my email, I received a message that someone named nobreadNYC had liked one of my Pinterest pins. I don’t usually pay attention to those messages unless they come from one of my personal friends, but since I have a keen interest in NYC gluten-free restaurants, I followed the pin back to her boards.

There I found a goldmine of boards pertaining to GF dining in NYC: Healthy Hotspots NYC, Best BRUNCH in NYC, Gluten Free Bakeries, My Favorite Foods, and many more. Looking at her profile, I found a link to her blog at, which also deals with GF dining.

When I visited her blog, I discovered that she had categorized, classified, and even reviewed an amazing number of GF restaurants located all over the city. I scrolled down through her lists to see what she thought of some of my favorites and found that she hadn’t listed my top two: Risotteria on 270 Bleecker St. and Risottera Melotti on 309 E. 5th St.

Giant tortilla press at Otto's Tacos.
I acquired her email address in her contact information and wrote her a note thanking her for her excellent resource and recommending that she give the risotto restaurants a try.

She emailed me back to thank me for the suggestions and told me to try Otto’s Tacos, probably because I had told her that my children are students at NYU, and the restaurant is located in the area of the university. (In fact, Otto’s Tacos is on the very street where my son lives. How’s that for a “small world” experience?)

This flurry of computer activity took place around 9:30 a.m., and by noon I was sitting with my husband and son at Otto’s Tacos downing two of the best freshly pressed, carnitas-filled corn tortillas I’ve ever tasted. (Doug had chicken and Bryson had the shrimp, and they testified that those were also pretty delicious.) We also shared a side order of guacamole and chips and had refillable sodas (a bit of a rarity in NYC).

Social media made it that easy.

Pinterest is filled with useful info!

Without social media, people with celiac disease and other maladies would be condemned to a world of isolation and frustration. While the Internet can also exacerbate those problems—you should hear me screaming at my computer in frustration some days—they open up a world of help and hope.

If you haven’t joined Pinterest, I encourage you to check it out. With a few keystrokes, you can find literally thousands of great recipes, celiac-safe restaurants, and other helpful information pertaining to living a gluten-free life.