I'm a Southern California based wedding photographer, specializing in beautiful and authentic storytelling. 

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Girls Weekend Trip to New York

What do you do when you find out that one of your absolute favorite singers is doing a short 10-week stint on Broadway in a show that you were already dying to see?  You pack up and head out to New York!!  Lucky for me both my mom and sister share the same love for Sara Bareilles that I do, so instead of it being a solo mission, we turned it into a mini mother-daughters weekend trip (which I always cherish)!

During our couple of days in NY we managed to find a couple of great new gluten-free food spots (and revisited an old favorite), squeezed in a mini-photoshoot and saw 2 shows; Waitress and Dear Evan Hansen.  Below I’ll share some of my thoughts on both the shows and share my recommendations on some of the best gluten-free locations we’ve found throughout the city so far (feel free to skip to whichever section interests you)!

Shows

* First we saw “Waitress” with Sara Bareilles. *
I have to be honest… this show completely surprised me – in the best way possible.  I had high hopes for Sara Bareilles, she is my favorite female vocalist AND she wrote the music for the show?!  She just had to be good… and she absolutely was, I didn’t think it was possible to admire her anymore than I did.  What I wasn’t expecting, however, was how phenomenal the cast around her was going to be as well.  Its not often I watch a show and think every single character was cast perfectly and each character was just as interesting and entertaining as the next.  This show did an incredible job of that.  There wasn’t a dull moment, I was either laughing or crying and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it!  If you’ve been on the fence about giving this show a shot, don’t be, it’s truly entertaining!

* Then we saw “Dear Evan Hansen” with Ben Platt.*
I knew I loved Ben Platt’s voice the second he opened his mouth in Pitch Perfect, but I was absolutely floored with both his vocals and performance in this show.  His vocals were absolutely angelic and he put 110% into his character.  I have never seen so many real tears in a Broadway performance before, let alone while maintaining such incredible vocal control.  I was thoroughly impressed and absolutely enthralled by his performance.  Having said that, I don’t believe the rest of the cast quite matched his caliber.  Aside from maybe his “family friend”, who had me in stitches more than once, I think Ben deserved to have a stronger cast supporting him.  My mom disagreed and thought it was overall well executed… so it’s possible with the contrast of the two shows we saw that I’m being a little hard on this cast… but I would have liked to see them invest more into their performances.  Having said that, it’s a very interesting story that is both real and very relevant.  Ben Platt alone makes it worthwhile in my opinion.

Food

New York is one of my favorite places to eat since going gluten-free 6 years ago.  And while I mention these places due to their gluten-free options, most have equally as amazing gluten-filled options as well according to my non-gluten-free friends and family.  ;)

1)  Tompkins Square Bagels in East Village – we just ran across this bagel joint the morning we were leaving this time around and oh my GOSH is it delicious!  They had two gluten free options, so of course we tried them both.  They had an “everything” and a “cinnamon raisin” bagel and they were both incredible – really tasty and the perfect consistency, which is not easy to find gluten free.  We even bought a few to bring back home with us.

2)  Etcetera Etcetera Restaurant around Times Square – we were so excited to try this place out because they had homemade gluten free RAVIOLIS as an option.  I can’t even remember the last time I’ve had a ravioli and they did not disappoint!  They also had homemade tagliatelle and gnocchi, which I’m sure would have been just as delicious – but I’ll have to give those a try next trip!

3)  Tu-Lu’s Bakery in East Village – and last but not least, this is a gluten-free specific bakery and it’s absolutely delicious!  Their cupcakes alone are worth going in for.  I’ve never been a huge fan of cupcakes myself (even before going gluten-free), having said that, aside from “Frosted” in Long Beach, CA (which is my ultimate favorite) these are the only cupcakes I’ve ever really liked.  Everything here is so flavorful without tasting overly sugary and aren’t dry like so many other gluten-free products.  The cinnamon coffee cake is also one of my favorites!

4) Risotteria in West Village – this restaurant did have my all-time favorite pizza… but I’m so sad to say that it closed down within the last year.  So, I am back on the hunt for my new favorite pizza – we tried a place that had great reviews this past trip but it wasn’t much to write home about.  Anyone else know of a great gluten-free pizza in NY??

Mini Photoshoot

And of course, in closing, I just had to share a few photos we took during our mini photoshoot… because what kind of photographer would I be if I didn’t take a little advantage of the setting, right?  Shooting on these streets really made me wish LA looked a bit more like NY… it’s just so pretty.   The flowers, the beautiful architecture and pillars… my heart!


Love,
Stefani Ciotti

  1. Kelli Kamph

    April 18th, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    I LOVE NY!!!!

  2. Grandma

    April 18th, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Your photos are spectacular as usual and I enjoyed the yak to. Was wondering about the plays. Happy they met your expectations.

  3. Joanna Moss

    April 18th, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    So pretty ladies!

  4. Jill

    April 19th, 2017 at 4:56 am

    How FUN!!! Sounds like a great trip- I MUST see The Waitress sometime!!

  5. Mahlia

    April 19th, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Ahh, the mini shoot is SO cute!!! I love your outfits! I still haven’t been to NY, I need to go so badly!

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