My recent New York City trip was the third trip I have made to Manhattan since going gluten-free. Due to the limited nature of each trip, I was not able to seek out a gluten-free bakery until now, when I wandered into By The Way Bakery in the Upper West Side.
I knew By The Way Bakery was 100% gluten-free, but I was downright giddy when I found out they were 100% dairy-free. That meant I could have anything- absolutely anything- on their shelves without restriction. So often when I visit gluten-free bakeries I have a limited selection of items that are dairy-free, but not here at By The Way Bakery.
I am so thankful that I stumbled across this bakery, because it quickly became a highlight of what was a dream visit for this gluten-free foodie.
In addition to being gluten and dairy-free, By The Way Bakery is certified Kosher, which makes it safe for those observing the religious dietary laws. That being said, eggs are used in the products, so they are not allergen-free nor vegan (note: the rugelach is egg-free). Want to know about ingredients used in the products? They have a binder in-store with ingredient lists.
I don’t really have to go on about cross contamination concerns because there are none! If you’re gluten and/or dairy-free, you can pick from anything in the store.
I selected one of their beautiful lemon poppyseed muffins. It is cupcake paper-less, but that didn’t really matter since it was wrapped in wax paper. The crumb of the muffin was moist and light with enough lemon-y flavor and sweetness to satisfy my sky-high standards. There’s a sweet glaze around the rosette in the center. Lemon poppyseed muffins were my absolute favorite before going gluten-free, and I almost cried after taking my first bite. It was perfect.
I also grabbed a wrapped pack of the dark chocolate brownie cookies. These are wide and soft-baked, chewy and chock full of chocoately flavor. They are decadent and perfectly capture the flavor of the brownie with the texture of a cookie.
I also selected a chocolate chip mini bundt cake. The cake itself was on the dry side, and had a minimal amount of chocolate chips scattered throughout. I expected a greater density of chocolate chips so the cake was a little underwhelming. The chocolate frosting on top added the missing chocolate flavor and was thick and decadent, which was satisfying. For being my least favorite thing that I ordered, it was better than gluten-free treats I have tried from other bakeries.
I also picked up an oat challah loaf. Challah is my favorite bread, and this one is dense and fragrant. The bread is chewy and moist on the outside and has a nice flavorful outer crust, as challah should be. It had a warm honey sweetness that was present but not overpowering. I enjoyed eating chunks for breakfast, and finished off the bread in two days. It was the best challah I have ever tried, and narrowly beat out the muffin for my favorite purchase from the bakery. My only regret? Not buying a second loaf to freeze.
For being an accidental find (I was wandering through the neighborhood with my family), By The Way Bakery certainly put the icing on my New York City Trip- pun definitely intended. I had the amazing opportunity to pick whatever I wanted from the bakery without worry- which was a rare opportunity to feel “normal.” I will intentionally plan on visiting By The Way again on my next NYC trip and look forward to a return visit. By The Way without a doubt ranks among the best of the best gluten-free bakeries I have tried.