Tuttoriso – A Health Foodie Haven in Staten Island

Goodlifer: Tuttoriso - A Health Foodie Haven in Staten Island

On the first day of the year that truly felt like spring we decided to take the Staten Island Ferry (free!) for a fresh-air outing that would not break the bank. After a beautiful ride across the harbor, we arrived at the ferry terminal in S.I. and had no idea where to go. Heading toward what seemed like the downtown area, we looked for a place to enjoy some lunch. Behind a modest storefront, we found the equally unpretentious Tuttoriso, a haven for health conscious foodies, with a whole array of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices on the menu, and live guitar music to boot.

The Staten Island ferry is free and takes you about as close to the Statue of Liberty you can get without paying for the tourist boats.

The Staten Island ferry is free and takes you about as close to the Statue of Liberty as you can get without paying for the tourist boats.

Tuttoriso

Tuttoriso. The logo is designed by the owner’s daughter, a tattoo artist.

Sunday is live guitar brunch.

Sunday is live guitar brunch.

We were a good test patrol — a pescatarian (me), a child with mac and cheese tendencies and an omnivore. I tried a special variation of their vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, which was very delicious, an organic beef cheeseburger was very well-received by my six-year-old dining companion, and a turkey BLT was a good mix of meaty and healthy that suited the omnivore. The beer we tried, New Grist, was brewed from sorghum and rice and tasted a bit strange to someone used to the flavor of hops, so it may be a good idea for beer lovers to just stick to regular organic beer, of which they have several offerings. They serve good old New York tap water for the table on request, but if you’re inclined to order bottled water (shame on you), they carry only Waterkeeper‘s Keeper Springs water. Dessert of flourless vegan chocolate cake with vanilla frosting was split three ways and was satisfyingly rich although a bit dense. If you go for brunch, an açai mimosa is included with the specials.

Turkey BLT sandwich accompanied by New Grist beer, made from sorghum and rice extract.

Turkey BLT sandwich accompanied by New Grist beer, made from sorghum and rice extract.

The owner, Helen Albanese, came over in person to offer suggestions and tell us about the food, it is very obvious she really cares about what she serves. Helen has a family history of celiac disease and has dedicated years to perfecting recipes that can be enjoyed by families and groups of friends regardless of dietary preferences or restrictions. Her and partner Alfredo Velez’s main goal is to create good food that is good for you, and everything they serve is organic and fresh, but also free of gluten, casein and preservatives. She says “The only things missing from the food is the ability to make someone feel ill or not well.”

Helen, the owner, really cares about the food she serves, and will tell you all about it if you are interested (or ask a million questions like we did).

Helen, the owner (on the left, with a very happy me on the right), has a great philosophy about food and really cares about what she serves. She will also offer suggestions and tell you anything you want to know about what you are about to eat.

People who suffer from celiac disease are unable to digest the gluten that is found in wheat and bread flour. It is a lifelong autoimmune intestinal disorder that affects those who are genetically predisposed to it and interferes with the absorption of nutrients in the body. It is very hard for people with celiac to sit down and enjoy dinner with non-celiac family and friends — a pleasure that should be denied no one. This is Tuttoriso’s mission.

Helen grew up in Brooklyn, the child of Italian immigrants. She came across organics for the first time in 1976, during a visit to Berkeley. The experience must have stuck with her, because soon thereafter she relocated there for school, and joined a food commune, discovering a gastronomic world beyond supermarkets aisles. She spent a few years in Italy, visiting cousins and uncles who are organic farmers in Puglia, all the while developing a strong relationship with food and its origins, forming her philosophy of food (a thoughtful account of which can be downloaded from the site, a small excerpt below).

Today, picking up a package of food is not that simple act of consumerism that it was for our parents. In present day society, our choices are so varied that we need to be versed in terminology: preservatives, freeze-dried, desiccated, synthetics, genetically modified, and I’m sure many more that I am not aware of. Here are two that people are not clear in in their meaning and some are afraid of—“ organic” and “fresh”. We are not really sure we want organic or fresh because we have been convinced that it is not really good for us—if it hasn’t been manipulated by a major food conglomerate, we have been trained not to trust the food.

If you happen to find yourself in New York and want an inexpensive, scenic and healthy excursion, a trip to Tuttoriso is a fun escape. A leisurely cruise across the New York harbor with a front row view of the Statue of Liberty is included free of charge. We know we’ll be going back.

The ferry ride also offers up some pretty darn nice views of lower Manhattan, New Jersey and Brooklyn.

The ferry ride also offers up some pretty darn nice views of lower Manhattan, New Jersey and Brooklyn.

(Yes yes, I know I use too much salt on my food, and the top image totally busts me shaking that salt shaker a bit too hard. I’m trying to cut it out, but it ain’t easy. Nobody’s perfect!)

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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