A couple of weeks ago I was surfing around online and came across the Metroland's "Best of 2008" issue. Of course, I was gratified to see that Mari's Japanese Cuisine on Van Vranken Ave, Schenectady won the "Best sushi" category - I've known Mari and Jiro for years and they're not only extremely talented at what they do, they're wonderful people and most definitely deserve this recognition. Congratulations to Mari's, and if you haven't tried their sushi it's well worth the trek to Schenectady!
I also noticed that Paradise Natural Foods, on Western Ave in Albany, was listed as the best health food shop and gluten free was specifically mentioned in the blurb. They're located about half a mile west of Crossgates Mall, in the same plaza as the Runi hair salon.
We walked into this store and were blown away by their selection. Of course, they have a lot of standard fare - the popular grains, flours, and pasta products that we've all come to know and love. They carry Tinkyada pasta at a significantly better price than our local Price Chopper, and they have more varieties of other well-known brands like Mrs. Leepers, Glutino and Glutano just to name a few. We were impressed to see that they carried the Glutano soda crackers that Vince loves and we usually purchase online. We ended up picking up cereal, quite a few different types of gluten free pasta, gluten free bagels (hopefully they'll be much better than the Enjoy Life bagels we tried), pretzels, chicken noodle soup, new england clam chowder, frozen mac and cheese, a frozen ravioli dish, and quite a few other new things to try. I'll definitely note the winners on the blog at a later date.
The woman I talked to behind the counter was very nice - and while she was ringing me up she informed me that they run bulk discount specials if you prefer to order goods by the case. Unfortunately we can't take advantage of that now due to space, but anyone with a chest freezer or a large pantry should duly take note - especially with food prices what they are these days!
Paradise Natural Foods is certainly worth a look in your gluten free travels - we plan on coming back and stocking up in the future!