Tasti D Lite is a New York institution. The chain offers a range of “low-calorie” desserts for a price that’s arguably too high. But despite that and the fact that it tastes only slightly better than the ice milk served in my college dining hall, I still find it holds an inexplicable lure.
When I was diagnosed with Celiac almost three years ago, I went in for my endoscopy after eating a slice of pizza and a large Tasti-D Lite waffle cone. (For a proper diagnosis you should keep eating gluten until you have the endoscopy.) The ingredients at the time included oat bran. Since then, Tasti-D has changed its formula and confirmed via email that the vanilla flavor is gluten-free. I was unable, however, to get a response about the gluten-status of their other flavors.
I don’t feel safe getting any of their toppings – who knows if there was a waffle cone sitting in the peanuts.
And their method for putting on toppings is rife with cross-contamination potential.
Tasti-D Lite survived the Crema Lita attack and the lines are still long even with the current Pinkberry invasion of Manhattan. Its status as a NY institution was confirmed when it made an appearance on HBO’s Sex and the City.
I know that Tasti-D Lite will never taste as good as real ice cream, but the pleasure I find in spending a warm summer evening with a friend walking and eating a cup of vanilla “frozen dessert” makes up for anything it may lack.