A September Beach Getaway!

Monica says:

Oh how we LOVE the beach!

And if you’ve never visited there in September, you really need to plan a trip!

It’s much less crowded; it’s still lovely (weather-wise); it’s more affordable for accommodations!

Win. Win. Win.

Since we live on the East coast, we have our choice of Maryland, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey beaches. And while all of them are wonderful in their own unique way, somehow we always gravitate to the “Jersey Shore” and our favorite place is Cape May.

Yes, all the way down at the southern-most tip…Exit 0.

Two Christmas seasons ago, we brought our Golden/Corgi mix puppy daughter, Molly, with us for a quick little getaway to Cape May. She was a great little traveler, but since it was December and very rainy that year, we couldn’t introduce her to the Atlantic Ocean.

This time we knew we wanted to include Molly on our trip so we booked a pet-friendly hotel (with a kitchenette for gluten-free goodies from home*) and we were off!

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*GF goodies included Gluten free Cheerios, Udi’s GF Granola, Gratify GF Pretzels, homemade chicken salad, homemade brown rice salad with scallions, dried cranberries, slivered almonds and broccoli, Gratify GF Everything Baked Bites, Popcorn Indiana Organic Himalayan Pink Salt Popcorn, Schar Honeygrams, fresh blueberries and grapes, and lots of bottled water!

Our eating policy when we are on vacation is to try new places each time we visit. We absolutely have favorite eateries, too and sometimes, we just have to go back and enjoy a favorite meal there. Our first stop was the Lobster House for a quick take-out since we were beat from our long ride!

We were so tired that I forgot to take a picture of my broiled scallops, lobster, and shrimp with baked potato…oh well! But trust me, it was delicious!

The next morning we were up early and off to let Molly explore pet-friendly Higbee Beach. Her tail wagged continuously as we walked the sandy access path to the beach area.

Her nose got quite the workout! She sniffed here and there and everywhere!

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It was so much fun to experience this with my little cutie! She wasn’t too impressed with the water and in fact, couldn’t really be bothered with it!

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The Cape May – Lewes Ferry behind us in this photo is a car and passenger ferry that crosses the Delaware Bay and connects NJ with Delaware. We’ve used this wonderful ferry service and it’s an easy and fun experience!

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Later in the day, we decided to dine at the Cape May Fish Market which is smack in the center of Washington Square Mall in the historic part of Cape May.

Our server, who was familiar with celiac disease (since both of her parents have it!), explained a few of the menu items that would be gluten-free.

I decided on a fresh salad of iceberg lettuce with mixed greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes with fresh jumbo lump crab meat.

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So fresh and delightful! Can’t you just taste this???

Spending our days going for long walks with Molly and enjoying the beach, we were really ready for great food at dinnertime.

Our new favorite place is The Blue Pig Tavern, which is located within Congress Hall. This amazing place was recommended to us by our darling daughter and my blogging partner, Daria! She had eaten there earlier this summer and she raved about it….now we know why!

First, let’s talk about ambience.

This place has it! Tucked in the corner of America’s oldest seaside resort, the tavern is just magical.

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Second, let’s talk about service.

Our server was well versed about celiac disease and checked with the kitchen several times to make sure that I was taken care of.

And, how about these adorable napkins? And, of course, my favorite color, too!

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Third, let’s talk about the food.

The Blue Pig Tavern features American comfort food and uses fresh produce, herbs, and eggs from their own farm, Beach Plum Farm, which is two miles from the restaurant.

Oh my! Everything was wonderful!

Every bite!

My appetizer was the Beach Plum Farm Gazpacho. This tangy cold soup featured tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers, garlic, cilantro, and olive oil.

Absolutely amazing!

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My husband Lewie’s appetizer was PIE (Prince Edward Island) Mussels. The mussels were accented with spicy chorizo and cilantro, in a spicy tomato broth.

These made us so happy!

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My entrée was a culinary delight! I chose the Seared Rainbow Trout which was served with truffle and chive smashed potatoes, roasted red pepper coulis, and sautéed Swiss chard.

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Perfectly prepared and perfectly devoured by me!

We always try to save a little bit of room for dessert! After all, we raised a pastry chef!

We know from personal experience that pastry chefs put their heart and soul into their desserts.

Our Daria certainly does! So proud of that girl!

The gluten-free choice at The Blue Pig Tavern was a flourless chocolate cake…so exciting!

This rich and dense chocolate cake was covered in chocolate ganache and served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream with a strawberry…so scrumptious!

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We wandered around Congress Hall a bit after dinner and I was so impressed with this resort.

It reminds me of Bedford Springs as both have such rich histories.

Take a look!

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We are so NOT GOOD at selfies! But we try!

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Our last beach day had another early beginning and late ending! And of course, it had to include something Italian…and it had to be gluten-free pizza!

We had noticed a few days prior that Blue Moon Pizza had a sign for “GF Pizza and Wraps” in the window. So we decided to check it out!

Please NOTE: the link to Blue Moon does not clarify that they have GF pizza available; don’t know why they don’t publicize this!

The young man at the counter told me that the GF pizza is made in a dedicated oven with its own utensils and bakeware. So, I ordered a personal pan-size gluten-free pizza with a crust covered with fresh ricotta, fresh sliced tomatoes, and spinach. Of course, mozzarella, garlic, and olive oil rounded out the taste!

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It was so tasty and mouthwatering!

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My husband ate his meatball hoagie and helped me finish the pizza! Yum!

Our last day was Sunday and after early Mass, we went to one of our favorite places in West Cape May that we discovered several years ago. It’s a small café that seems to expand every year. Bella Vida, which means “Beautiful Life” offers many vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Please NOTE: If you click on the MENU tab from the link above and then click on Vegetarian/Gluten Free you will see a pdf that talks about these options. They DO explain that they do NOT have a gluten free kitchen. They stress that it is very important you let your server know the extent of your allergy.

It is such a great find off the beaten path and one that brings us back year after year! (I personally have not been glutened here)

Here is my “million calorie” breakfast that lasted me most of the day! I usually wake up starving and I can only tell you that this really hit the spot!

I ordered the Double Header which featured two eggs, two gluten-free pancakes, and homefries with peppers and onions. And, I had to have a cup of caffeine free Lively Lemon tea!

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Doesn’t it look so appealing? You should have tasted it! Wow!

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My pancakes look so happy, don’t they? They were so fluffy…I need to know the secret to the fluffiness!

So sad to say goodbye to the Jersey shore…one of my favorite places on earth!

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Needless to say, Molly really enjoyed her “vacay” and had a relaxing time!

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Special goodbye to this little guy who lost his foot but had so much spirit!

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Hope to see you next year!

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xos

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A gluten-free getaway!

Monica and Daria say:

Oh how we love the end of July!

“Why?” you ask.

In a word….Bedford!

Well, maybe two words…Bedford Springs!

Lewie (hubby and daddy) always attends a conference here and he is so nice to invite us to tag along! He is busy during the day with meeting people from around the state of Pennsylvania, and we busy ourselves with leisure activities…..swimming, reading, antiquing, etc.

Is it any wonder that we look forward to this conference???

This year we couldn’t have asked for any better weather, either. The days were hot and sunny and even though I, (Monica), am not into tanning, reading under the umbrella and sipping something yummy was simply delightful! Daria gets enough sun for both of us!!

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Even though this is the fifth year that we’ve accompanied Lewie to Bedford Springs and have gotten to know the area quite well, we always look online for any new restaurants (before we leave) that may have opened since our last visit.

And to our surprise, we usually find something!

This year we investigated via findmeglutenfree.com and were not disappointed!

What a great resource for people who need to eat gluten-free!

This web site offers the user an insight into gluten-free friendly businesses in cities around the United States and even some cities in Canada! You can go online from your computer or download the free app to your cell so that you are connected wherever you go!

For those places that we had eaten at in previous years and wanted to dine there again, we made a reservation using Open Table. For the new places, we stored the information (address, phone, hours and days of operation) in a memo on our cell and were we happy we did!

This info was right at our fingertips when making inquiries and reservations when we arrived. We didn’t have to take any extra time to look anything up a second or third time! What a timesaver!

Here are our new favorite places!

Our dinner at Eat2Live Bistro was perfection! This wonderful little place in New Paris, is a dream come true for gluten-free diners! From soup to dessert(s)…we enjoyed every second!

Our server Tina was so friendly and knowledgeable about eating gluten-free; she truly added to our dining experience!

We started off with fresh blackberry infused water….Daria chose to add some coconut palm sugar to sweeten it a bit!

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Then we looked over the extensive menu!

Daria enjoyed the chilled Gazpacho which consisted of local tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, and watermelon…so refreshing!

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Monica and Lewie had the Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Chowder which boasted creamy, roasted sweet corn and red bell peppers with potatoes and nitrate-free bacon! Amazing!

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We each ordered a different entrée and had so much fun tasting each other’s. That’s what families do!

Daria had the Chicken ‘n Pesto which featured seasoned, grilled chicken breast topped with a roasted garlic and herb feta. It was served over house made quinoa pasta tossed with marinated local tomatoes and butter pesto sauce.

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OmG! So delicious!

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Look at that quinoa pasta!

Monica chose the Roasted Pineapple Pork Chop. This local pasture raised pork chop was topped with roasted pineapple salsa and served over a creamy mushroom wild rice risotto.

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In a word…delightful!

Lewie decided on the Trout Almondine (a local spring water fed trout, of course) which was presented on a creamy mushroom wild rice risotto, with seasonal veggies and toasted almond butter.

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Melted in your mouth!

Tina’s suggestions were spot-on and we were delighted to have found such a great eatery.

We were so full after our dinners, but managed to share the Three-Berry Cobbler with house made ice cream….gluten-free of course!

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It was simply delicious!

Since we rarely ever find an establishment that has ALL gluten-free desserts, we decided to take home the other selections….it’s so nice to have a refrigerator in the hotel room!

And when you are on vacation…dessert is breakfast!

So here are the other desserts….

A delicious Cheesecake….so creamy on an oatmeal walnut crust…we chose the caramel drizzle!

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Spring Carrot Cake…moist and delicious with cinnamon and walnuts, this cake had a house made lemon cream cheese frosting! Yum!

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Chocolate Truffle Cake…a decadent two-layer cacao (dark chocolate) beet cake with cacao avocado truffle icing. Just the right amount of sweetness and definitely chocolatey!

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We ended the evening with some sangria on the porch of the Bedford Springs Omni just chatting and reminiscing about vacationing together!

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Lunch at the Bedford Springs Omni was great, too!

Cheese plates, fruit plates to start!

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A gluten-free Rachel sandwich (which is a variation on a Reuben) with turkey, and coleslaw along with some gluten-free veggie pizza hit the spot!

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And here are some gluten-free shrimp rolls that were so good! The rolls were accompanied by a ham, cheese, and pea salad that is a local favorite. Not one of ours though…sorry!

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SO happy that we were able to spend a little time together!

Monica says:

While Daria couldn’t continue on the way with us to Greensburg to attend the Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp, we really wish she could have, because she missed some GREAT gluten-free food!

On the evening of our first day there, we found a great little place called Noviello’s Sunset Café. What a fabulous Italian restaurant!

As soon as we walked in and smelled the Italian sauce, we knew we were in for a treat!

Since most Italian restaurants serve bread and dipping oil immediately upon ordering, I was so happy when our waiter brought me this little veggie plate! He even apologized that they didn’t have any gluten-free bread and hoped that this would make up for it!

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The house salad featured red beets, fresh grated mozzarella, and a house dressing that was a white wine concoction. Very good!

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I ordered the polenta with marinara sauce and it may have been the fluffiest polenta I ever ate! It seriously melted in my mouth!

Add your grated cheese and that’s it!

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Heaven!

The best was yet to come!

While we were eating the evening before at Noviello’s a gentleman at the next table was talking about being gluten-free….well, one thing led to another and he suggested a pizza place for me to try!

Before we went to the Steelers’ Friday Night Lights practice in LaTrobe, we found Little E’s Pizzeria…and my day was made!

I had to take a picture of the window….so exciting!

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Organic and gluten-free selections were so numerous I couldn’t even believe it!

I settled on a Margherita pizza with red pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, drizzled with extra virgin oil and fresh basil. Lewie decided on a gluten-free meatball hoagie that was made with homemade grass-fed Texas Longhorn meatballs, provolone cheese and red sauce.

We were so shocked and delighted that the meatballs were gluten-free!!

While we waited for our selections to be made, we had some Woodchuck Amber on tap….the flavor was so much crisper than the bottled!

The meatball hoagie came out first…two huge pieces and with extra dipping sauce! Can you see the steam from the sauce?

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Such great flavor in the meatballs and the bread…oh, the bread!

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And now the pizza!

I think this pizza was the best gluten-free pizza I ever had! (even though I raved about the one in Rome!)

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The crust was herbed and so incredible!

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I wondered if the pizza crust and the hoagie bread were made on site. So I asked!

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Our server told us that they bought the gluten-free items from a place called Herbalicious in Mt. Pleasant…

we will be  looking into their products!

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Do you think we enjoyed our pizza?

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All I kept saying to Lewie was “I wish Daria was here!” and “I wish these people would come to eastern PA!”

Our evening ended with Lewie seeing his favorite Pittsburgh Steelers and a beautiful “blue” moon to boot!

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A great trip and tons of great gluten-free food!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

To see our gluten-free adventure in Bedford in 2014 link to:

https://glutenfreedoubletalk.com/2014/08/09/a-lovely-little-place-called-bedford/

 

 

The “Junebabies” celebrate in NYC!

Monica says:

I swear we didn’t plan it!

Both of our daughters are born in June and so am I…it just kinda happened! But I’m so glad it did!

Having wee little ones born in the summer where we live, is much easier on new parents than winter babies! No worries about snowsuits, bad weather, etc.

Since my girls are 10 days shy of 3 years apart, it was always so hard for Claudia (my older one) to understand that her younger sister, Daria, actually had her birthday celebrated earlier in the month than she did! We went through this for years…until one day, it clicked!

girls in 1987

By then, she didn’t care much….my birthday starts off the month of June, then Daria, and by the time Claudia’s special day arrives, we are in the swing!

Poor Lewie (my hubby and the girls’ daddy) loses most of his paycheck in June!

As the girls have grown, we really look forward to spending some quality time to celebrate our birthdays. It’s not too often, unfortunately, that that three of us get to see one another at the same time. Claudia is super busy teaching and working on her PhD, while Daria spends almost every waking hour at the restaurant baking and designing new recipes.

In a word, the girls are….BUSY!

So it is up to this (less busy) “Junebaby” to coordinate a birthday event for the three of us!

This year, we decided several months ago, that we would attend a performance by the New York City Ballet. We love the dancing, we love the music….we love it all!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was on the June schedule at the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center….PERFECT!

Daria and I headed up to NYC to meet Claudia (since it’s been her hometown for several years).

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We checked into our hotel and when we spotted her coming along the sidewalk, we just broke out into huge smiles! She had just gotten her hair chopped and she looked adorable!

Being together in the hotel was very special and nostalgic for me. When the girls were in their mid-teens, they decided to move back into one bedroom to be closer to one another and seeing them together talking and laughing like old times was great!

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Even though Daria over packed for ONE NIGHT!! What a girl!

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They enjoyed opening up their “birthday boxes” (old cigar boxes) filled with dark chocolate, their favorite candy bars, and some good old cash that I folded into butterflies and fish (origami style)!

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What hams they are!

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I’m so happy that they have each other!

Anyway, once we got ready for the evening, we set out to find some gluten-free food!

Claudia knows quite a few places that we can safely eat.

It didn’t matter to me where we chose to dine, and after considering several restaurants, the girls decided on Bareburger. This eatery, which has several locations in the city, boasts of a “build your own burger” from organic ingredients and features your choice of patty from classic beef, bison, chicken, elk, wild boar, duck, turkey, black bean, sweet potato with wild rice, to farmer’s quinoa.

What I immediately liked about this little organic place was that as soon as we were seated, the waitress came over and explained all of the menu choices. And since the menu is extensive (includes many other choices of salads and shakes, too), she made sure that we were aware of the gluten-free items…very nice!

I decided to go for the organic classic beef patty with grilled onions!

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And did I mention a hemp milk bun? This was by far, the BEST gluten-free bun that we tasted in a restaurant!

When you pressed on it, it actually sprung back….something that doesn’t usually happen in the gluten-free world!

And of course, I needed a side salad!

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Daria decided on the lemon chicken with alfalfa sprouts! And she had a side of wasabi carrot slaw!

So yummy!

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We just sat and ate and ate and had a great time….loved the atmosphere, too!

Great shot of this upcycled light above our booth!

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After a visit to Washington Square Park (a favorite place to “people watch”) and eat ice cream (only Claudia enjoyed a sprinkled cone)…

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…we walked to the Strand Bookstore to satisfy our literary needs!

A NYC favorite for book lovers, this place is amazing!

Soon after we hit the subway and made our way to Lincoln Center to enjoy the ballet….such a great evening!

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The next morning, Daria and I headed for home.

Since we didn’t have breakfast in the city, we stopped at Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, NJ, for brunch….how about an omelette?

I had the veggie omelette while Daria had the steak and cheese (only took a pic of mine)!

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I made sure to ask if the home fries were done on the griddle and not in a fryer!

We have gotten sick more than once!

We had a great mid-week “Junebaby” birthday celebration!

Life is so busy….you have to partake in as much fun as you possibly can!

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Happy birthday my dear girls….hope to spend it with you again next year!

xoxoxo

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antiquing in Rhinebeck, NY!

Monica says:

We really lucked out on this trip!

The weather was perfect, the company sublime, and I found great gluten-free food along the way!

My dear friends, Carmine and Margie, responded with a resounding YES when I suggested we take a road trip to the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY, way back in February.

We planned and planned and the weekend finally arrived….we put on our matching sunglasses and we were READY!

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When we were all young mothers with little ones, one of our saving graces was to go “yard-sailing” every Saturday morning throughout our geographic area. It was bonding time for us to just laugh and share our lives with one another. We had so much fun!

There are so many “treasures” throughout my home (and each of them would agree) that make me smile when I look at them, because I can remember the exact story that brought me to that piece!

We had never spent an entire weekend looking for “treasures” so we knew we were up to the challenge!

Our first stop was the CIA, Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, where we needed to have a small bite to get us going! The girls were so excited as we wandered around the beautiful grounds of the campus!

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My choice this morning was coconut tapioca featuring a lemon curd & poached pineapple garnish….

it was delightful and of course, gluten-free!

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Even my tea, Jasmine Dragon Pearl, hit the spot!

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Day One…and we were off to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck to find the fair! 

How happy we are to be together and make memories again!!

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Walking around, talking with vendors, and getting ideas….just spells H-A-P-P-Y!

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Our evening dinner took us back to the CIA, Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici, where we dined for hours!

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We were so busy that I forgot to take pictures of my entrée, which was Brodetto Pesce e Verdure, roasted seabass with an aromatic broth and spring vegetables.

Thanks to Chef Coppedge (Daria’s mentor), once again, for the gluten-free breadsticks!

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We were exhausted since we had been awake since 4:30 am…time for bed!

Day Two: We started our adventure with brunch at the famous Hyde Park eatery, the Eveready Diner!

This 24-hour establishment has been a landmark in the Hudson Valley for nearly forty years! It was even featured on an episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri!

Daria told me that this place was a “must-see” for the ladies….she has great memories of this diner from her days at the CIA!

We open our menus and here’s what we saw….there is “Ed’s Breakfast” and “Carmine’s  Omelette!”

Too funny since our Carmine is married to Eddie!!

Hence the photos below!

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And did I forget to say that the ham and cheese omelette with the side of grilled home fries was served with the best gluten-free toast ever??

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It was a pillow of yummy!

With our bellies full, we were off to the fair for round 2!

Along the way, we searched in several antique shops for treasures, too. Me… I found an old chicken coop that I plan to upcycle into a coffee table! That’s another post!

We once again, saw some great ideas and made a few purchases! How could we not?

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Gigi’s Trattoria in Rhinebeck, was our choice for dinner. I had read about this restaurant online before the trip and I knew that they had gluten-free pasta and pizza, so we ventured in to satisfy our hunger for something Italian.

We decided to split a salad called Rughetta, which featured baby arugula, Parmesan, lemon, and olive oil. And what a good choice!

While the girls enjoyed Tagliatelle, featuring house-made fettuccine with a Gigi Bolognese and fresh ricotta, I decided to try the gluten-free gnocchi. Sadly, our waiter informed me that they had run out of the gluten-free option, so I ordered a gluten-free pizza, or as they called it a Gigi Skizza ™ .

My choice was a pizza called the Rustica, featuring a ricotta-roasted garlic spread, sausage, broccoli rabe, shaved Parmesan, and chili flakes. It was a crispy gluten-free flatbread. Not bad!

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Since Margie’s sweet grandkids call her Gigi, we only thought it appropriate that this picture highlight only her!!

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Time to return to the hotel and crash! Another day of laughter and great fun!

Day Three: Our last day in the Hudson Valley….we are ready to pack in as much as we could before we hit the road for our three-hour ride home!

We decided to try the hotel’s breakfast to get started and unfortunately, I found very little to eat. I chose a banana and ran back up to the room to get a gluten-free bagel that I had packed for the trip! Grabbed some peanut butter and jelly and I was set for the morning!

While we headed back up to Rhinebeck and began looking for a parking space, we stumbled upon a fantastic farmer’s market (which happens every Sunday all year long!). We wished that we had packed a huge cooler…they were selling everything from fresh produce to seafood and garden plants!

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We continued our exploration of Rhinebeck and discovered some great little shops and considered taking a Pilates class…nah, only kidding!

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Soon our appetite alarms sounded and we decided on a Thai restaurant called aroi Thai.

Voted the “Best Thai restaurant in the Hudson Valley in 2014,” this quaint little place did not disappoint!

My entrée choice was Pad Kee Mao with shrimp, which has flat rice noodles sautéed with basil chili sauce, bell peppers and green onions….

it was superb!

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I always make sure that the soy sauce used in any Asian dish is gluten-free….just ask! People are so accommodating! Or better yet, check the menu ahead of time and consider emailing the chef to ensure ingredients are gluten-free!

Our last stop before we headed home was the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in Hyde Park. I had been on the grounds before but never had gone inside, so we decided to take the tour and enjoy the sights!

The tour began in the Visitor Center which was originally the home for the family used when the main house was being built.

We started off by snapping a picture of a huge chandelier and enlisted the help of a bison!

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This fifty-four-room mansion, which was described as a cottage in comparison to the other homes owned by the Vanderbilts, is a remarkable example of the gilded-age of architecture.  It includes 14 bathrooms, 10 guest bedrooms, and several rooms for male and female servants.

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We were completely flabbergasted at the opulence of this home!

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One word can describe the mansion….eclectic!

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Its contents remain virtually unchanged from the time the Vanderbilts lived there!

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Carmine (her Daddy was a great plumber) LOVED the indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water and flush toilets…

again, a first in the area at that time!

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My favorite chandelier….this home was the first in Hyde Park to have electricity!

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Just enjoying this tour so much!

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A few pics of the floor below where the staff and servants lived and worked!

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LOVED the staircase….both down

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…and up!

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The grounds of the mansion were beautiful and we could only imagine how much care went into keeping an estate like this looking its best. The formal gardens were meticulously planned and what a wonderful feast for your eyes!

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Here is the gorgeous view from the east bank of the Hudson River!

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“Buh-bye” Hudson Valley….we enjoyed EVERY single minute!

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The car is packed to the max! Thanks, Daria, for letting us borrow your CR-V!

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Margie only has ONE seat going home (funny, she had TWO going up)….the rest is our treasures!

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So sad to go, but we will be back…promise!

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If you’ve never visited the Hudson Valley, plan a trip soon! It is a very welcoming area and there is so much to see!

And eat!

And buy!

And most of all, a great place to make happy memories!

We had an easy and incident-free ride home, thankfully….and we are grateful to be home safe and sound!

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Thanks for reading about

The misadventures of  3 ladies who love to antique OR 3 antique ladies who love to go…”Where are we going?”

 

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walk for Celiac Disease!

Daria says:

What a wonderful weekend it was!!!

A much needed mother-daughter getaway spent doing what we love….eating, walking, & gluten-free networking!

In mid-April, Mom sent me an e-mail about the 4th Annual Mid-Hudson Walk for Celiac Disease. I checked the dates and wondered…it was on a weekend, which of course, in my industry is the busiest time for work! But, I really wanted to go! So, I requested off and my chef was kind enough to allow me the time AND he became my sponsor!

Yay!  I was off to raise awareness!

As you know by now, the month of May is Celiac Awareness Month, so it was perfect timing for us to head up to New York. As a Culinary Institute of America (CIA) graduate, it was an amazing weekend going back to visit my alma mater in Hyde Park, NY.

Not to mention, my favorite Chef Richard Coppedge was going to be there doing a baking demo (I spotted it on the agenda)! We wanted to surprise him…and so Friday came and we were off!

Driving trips are always a great time to catch up with my mama bear while we listen to my latest music choices & we just laugh as the time passes! No sooner do we realize it, we are at the hotel getting ready to go over to the CIA to eat at one of the restaurants, American Bounty.

Meeting up with one of mom’s childhood friends was a great addition to our dinner experience! She and Marilee hadn’t seen one another in many, many years and had been wonderful friends since first grade! There was a lot of hugging and laughing when they saw each other!

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Once we were seated in the dining room, we were greeted with gluten-free breadsticks…it’s so great when you make the reservation, you just need to state that you are “gluten-free” and they are ready for you! It’s so easy…call or use OpenTable for American Bounty!

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Mom decided to have the half chicken with natural jus, mashed potatoes & grilled asparagus.

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Marilee & I got the duck served with morel sauce & braised fennel. Marilee decided to get the grit cakes & I chose the sautéed dandelion greens as a side.

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Dinner was so amazing! And of course, we needed to try dessert=)

Mom & I got the lemon meringue with ginger ice cream & raspberry pearls, which was gluten-free.

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To end the meal, the kitchen sent out some petit-fours (or as we call them, mignardises)!

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I think the only time we weren’t laughing & being too loud was when our mouths were full of delectable treats! Lol=)

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We had a long day ahead of us on Saturday, so we said goodbye, and decided to get some much needed rest! Not sleeping so well through the thunderstorms, we were nervous that the weather wasn’t going to hold up for the walk.

Sure enough, we got ready & got lost along the way, but finally made it to the correct side of the Walkway Over the Hudson!

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We registered & got a very nice bag full of gluten-free goodies, a T-shirt advertising our walk, and got to meet lots of amazing vendors & taste-test all of the amazing breads, cookies, apple wine & hard cider!

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Everything was wonderful….AND the best part ~ there was not one thing there that was going to make us sick if we ate or drank it!!!

The countdown began & the ribbon was cut….off we were on our walk to raise awareness of this disease!

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It was absolutely perfect weather! It was sunny, the breeze was blowing & spirits were high!

Again, we got to keep catching up with one another & keep bouncing ideas of what we would like to do with our future plans together as a mother-daughter duo=)

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We met Nico, the “AmbassaDOG” of the Walkway Over the Hudson, who is a celebrity in his own right! And adorable, to boot!

We made it all the way across & back over the Hudson River & we couldn’t wait until noon to surprise Chef Coppedge. We had some time to walk around & purchase some of these amazing treats vendors had to offer, although we learned our lesson….don’t ever browse, then think you’d come back & everything would still be there to choose from! Get it as soon as you see it, no matter where you are! Cardinal rule of the gluten-free world=)

We were discussing breads with another amazingly talented mother-daughter team we just met & out of the corner of my eye, I spotted him! Chef Coppedge…he looked like he was seeing a ghost!! It had been almost 8 years since I graduated, and probably at least 6 years since I had last seen him while visiting the CIA!

Immediately, I ran over & gave him a hug! He still seemed like he was in shock! We got to chat for a short while before his baking demo and of course, pose for a few pictures!

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At noon, he announced that he was going to be making amazing gluten-free muffins to the crowd that gathered; the wonderful muffins that I remembered! Completely taken off-guard, Chef called me up to introduce me to everyone that was sitting in on his demo.

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Slightly blushing, I made my way up to the front & he talked about my being a former student & how he had placed a bio of me in his cookbook (Gluten Free Baking with the Culinary Institute of America; a must for your library), how I had worked at The Hotel Hershey for seven years, & now, how I am starting my venture as an Executive Pastry Chef at The Mill in Hershey!

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He also promoted our blog (the one you’re reading!) & handed out our business cards so that the gluten-free crowd could check us out and hopefully, follow our journey =)

I absolutely adore all the people that come out to the gluten-free events!

Everyone is so excited to share their stories, their newest hurdles & adventures. The great part about my background from the CIA is being able to help share that knowledge with others to help them be able to travel & eat without constantly being sick!  The even better part is I get to do this with my best friend, my mama bear! I am so glad we got to meet all of these amazing people and now hope to keep in touch & spread the word about their incredible products!

Here are some of our favorites!

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Awestruck premium hard cider

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Yankee Folly Cidery

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Meredith’s Bakery which has many gluten-free products….their bread is FANTASTIC!

Bearsville Bakers

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And these for which we have no pictures, but it doesn’t diminish their impact!

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Schar

Schar, an Italian company that’s been around for over 20 years, is a great source of gluten-free products. We were so THRILLED to meet Dr. Anne Roland Lee, Director of Nutritional Services for Dr. Schar USA! She was so personable and knowledgeable!

Thank you to all of you who will be helping us spread the word about our blog in the near future

After the walk, we headed back over to the CIA to hit the gift shop and visit with one other chef that I fondly remember….Chef Stephane Weber. He is the pastry chef at Bocuse, the French cuisine restaurant on campus. His desserts are simply amazing!!

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We had a great little mini-reunion!

And of course, the CIA campus changes all the time…this sign is a new FAVORITE!

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Can you see why??

Chef Coppedge said to be sure to visit the “fish sculpture” near the Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici, the Italian cuisine restaurant on campus….now we now know why!

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This 12-foot, 360-pound Atlantic sturgeon was created by artist, John F. Sendelbach, in 2014. It features approximately 700 knives, 400 forks, and 600 spoons!

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It’s simply incredible!!

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We wandered around some more….just because….and had a blast!

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Our last stop before home was a former favorite of mine,

Coyote Grill, in Poughkeepsie. They have really good tacos!

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I had chicken and Mom had fish….they were yummy!

If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit the Hyde Park area, please put it on your “Must See Places” list! The area is just gorgeous and has so much to offer!

Until we meet again!

Happy gluten-free adventures!

© 2015, Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

“Buh-bye” February!

Monica says:

As I begin writing this post, we are in the midst of yet another snow storm to be followed by ice…March is certainly carrying the bad weather forward!

I had a very busy end to February and luckily, it included some sun and a lot of fun!

Yes, my sister and I went to “The Sunshine State” of Florida to visit some wonderful friends and get some much needed rest and relaxation.

And even though Florida was experiencing some very cold weather, the last few days of our trip were in the 70s while our northern families and friends were in a deep freeze. So let’s just say we felt very blessed!

While visiting the Seminole/St. Petersburg area, I was able to find some gluten-free goodies! Here are a few of my finds!

Double Tree @ North Redington Beach had a gluten-free menu!

Turkey Reuben with roasted turkey breast, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut on toasted GF caraway seed bread! Accompanied with Strawberry Lemonade with beach umbrella….mandatory!

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Horiatiki Salad @ Hellas in Tarpon Springs….garden fresh tomato wedges, cucumbers, onions, green peppers, Greek olives, and feta cheese. I had mine with oil and vinegar to be safe.

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The “best Gyro in town” without the pita @ Hellas! A blend of lamb and beef, broiled….melted in my mouth with tzatziki sauce! Delightful!

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We had to go to Florida to find a Pizza Hut that carried gluten-free pizza….was a treat but didn’t have the taste I remember! I guess I was really missing that gluten-filled crust….oh well!

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A visit to the Mazzaro’s Italian Market in St. Pete was the best place yet! We could have wandered in this place all day! Everyone was hustling and bustling about….great fun!

Of course, I had to have dark chocolate gelato and look at these Italian salamis and pepperonis!

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February ended on a very high note when Lewie and I attended the wedding of our dear friends’ son, Ian who married his high school sweetheart, Sarah. Lewie and I (also high school sweethearts) celebrated our own wedding anniversary just a week prior and were so happy to be invited to this celebration! And the weather cooperated!

Ian’s mom, Dori, and I first met when I was hired as an elementary librarian at a school district in the Poconos where her children attended school. She was hired as my library assistant and our friendship was cemented right off the bat! We had so much in common and have been close ever since….19 years and counting!

Later, when I transferred to the high school, I was again connected with Dori’s children….just loved having them!

Luckily our husbands are good friends too….Mike and Lewie have a lot in common as well….both LOVE food and are great cooks! Lucky us….although we aren’t too bad in the kitchen, either!

Anyway, Ian and Sarah chose what proved to be the absolute best place to have their wedding reception….The Brownstone in Paterson, New Jersey.  It was stunning in every way!

The food was phenomenal….by far, the best wedding reception food we’ve ever eaten! It truly did not taste like mass-produced food at all….it was fine dining!

And even if I couldn’t eat some of it…I admired the smells and beautiful presentation of the appetizers, the drinks, the salads, the entrées, etc.

To say that we were “stuffed” is an understatement! You just couldn’t help yourself….so much to eat and so little time!

Thank goodness for the wonderful DJ and dancing!

The evening began with appetizers too numerous to recount but here are a few of my gluten-free favorites!

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Our dinner was a Mediterranean dream….the wait staff asked you to choose your salad, pasta, and entrée.  I did not choose pasta for obvious reasons, but here are my other choices.

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And c’mon…..how about this dessert table?

Italian zeppole (doughnuts), wedding cake that tasted like strawberry shortcake (or so I was told by Lewie), Italian cookies, fruit, and coffee (with your choice of liquor) that was so pretty, you just didn’t want to drink it…but I was told it was incredible! Even though I could only choose fruit, it was delicious and satisfying!

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Let’s face it…there’s nothing like an Italian wedding! If you’ve never been to one….I hope you get invited to one of these amazing celebrations!

Just love this picture of Mike, Sarah, Ian, and Dori!

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Much happiness for Ian and Sarah!

Thank you for letting us share this glorious day with you!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

A gluten-free tour of Historic Virginia

Monica says:

If you’ve never visited the Historic Triangle – Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown – you need to add it to your list of “must-see places.”

The “birthplace of American democracy” is so rich with history. You feel like you’ve actually stepped into a history book…it’s that amazing!

How lucky we were to be travelling from Pennsylvania to Williamsburg on a clear and sunny day! We stopped for lunch about 2 ½ hours into our trip at a wonderful little place called Pure & Simple in Greencastle, PA.

This little gem tries its best to only use natural, organic, and locally produced ingredients. They have many gluten-free selections and it is just a joy to be there!

I was so happy to order a roasted chicken salad (pastured local chicken, mixed greens, tomato, tarragon, vegenaise, olive oil, and pine nuts) on a gluten-free teff wrap with black corn chips.

Did I say how excited I was? So excited, that I forgot to take a picture!

However when dessert arrived, I did not forget to photograph it….in fact, Lewie and I both had gluten-free desserts! We shared a gluten-free chocolate sun butter cake with buttercream icing and a gluten-free lemon meringue cake with lemon curd and buttercream icing. All made on the premises!

Delightful!

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It was so great that I not only was able to order lunch, and then to order dessert! It felt like heaven!

Now that our tummies were happy, it was time to continue our journey…

When we arrived in Williamsburg, we were happy to find a Trader Joe’s. Since they carry many gluten-free items that I like, we stocked up on some of those for the week.

And did you know that the famous Charles Shaw wine, 2-Buck Chuck, is still a steal @ $3.29 a bottle? Needless to say, we purchased some wine, too! It’s gluten-free!

Next morning I enjoyed a gluten-free bread pudding made by my blogging partner, Daria. We had surprised her and stopped in Hershey to see her along the way, and she gave me this little beauty.

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It was delicious with a cup of tea…must get the recipe from her!

After familiarizing ourselves with the area, we wanted to eat pizza. There are so many places that have gluten-free pizza in Williamsburg that I could actually choose the place to go!

We settled on Olde Towne Pizza on Olde Towne Road, since there was a great article about the chef in one of our welcome magazines. The place did not disappoint!

First, we ordered a Greek salad with feta, olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

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Next, came the gluten-free pizza with traditional sauce and cheese. The cheese was so gooey and good! Happiness!!

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Visits to the Antique Mall of Williamsburg (over 300 antique dealers) and the Williamsburg Pottery (with three huge marketplaces) were on our list for this day, since it was raining and we knew we wanted to be inside. Both places are great to see if you are an antique lover like me!

Our favorite part of the Williamsburg Pottery was, of course, the Gourmet Kitchen Marketplace. We found such good things! And so many gluten-free items that we do not have in northeast PA!

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We had brunch to begin our day and Lewie was in charge. He baked some gluten-free cornbread (Krusteaz brand), cooked sunny-side up eggs, poured orange juice, and steeped Tazo sweet cinnamon spice tea. Perfect way to get started!

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The day was full of walking and walking and walking! It was really fun and we worked up an appetite!

Since Thai food is one of our favorite cuisines, and a regular “go-to” we were delighted to find a place in town called Bangkok Garden Thai. The menu was so extensive that it was hard to decide what to eat!

I settled on an appetizer of steamed shrimp rolls served with sweet and sour sauce and ground peanuts. These rice paper rolls were so delicious!

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My entrée was “Ocean Noodle Soup” which had fresh rice noodles in a broth with bean sprouts, green onions, garlic, cilantro, and shrimp. It was the perfect food for a rainy day!

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Our next adventure took us to Yorktown, the site of one of the most critical of all Revolutionary War battles. We toured the Victory Center (a new one is under construction) and went “into the field” to speak with re-enactors who explained everyday life as it was during this time.

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And I made a friend on the way to the museum! The victor in the 1781 battle….General George Washington!

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Again, all of the walking and sightseeing set off our appetite alarms and we landed at the Riverwalk Restaurant. Maybe my favorite place of the week!

We were seated by the fire on this damp day and the atmosphere was just right!

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Our early dinner began with a tomato basil crab bisque that was to die for! It was so creamy and the crab was so plentiful that you had crab in every spoonful!

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We followed this with the special of the day, the “Seafood Boil.” OmG…it was outstanding! If you love seafood, this is the entrée for you!

Isn’t it gorgeous? The fresh clams, shrimp, lobster, and Alaskan King crab legs, are all steamed in a broth with carrots, celery and fresh herbs…I could still smell the wonderful aroma!

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We ate it all up! I’d go back in a second!

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The next day we decided to venture to Jamestown where over 400 years ago, 104 men and boys selected a site on the James River which became America’s first permanent English settlement.

Having taught in Virginia in the early 1980s, I brought my class to Jamestown for a field trip. However, since my visit, there have been archaeological findings in 1994 that have changed the whole understanding of the settlement. In fact, these archaeological digs are still continuing.

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Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and funny…we learned so much! This may have been my favorite all-time tour because of our guide, Mark Summers!

And I made another friend!

Pocahontas…she was the daughter of Chief Powhatan, who by marrying John Rolfe, united the English and Powhatan tribes for several years of peace between the two.

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When we were done touring Jamestown, we decided to cook “at home” and enjoyed Conte’s gluten-free ravioli with marinara sauce and a salad.

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When we were at the Williamsburg Pottery mall one of the previous days, they had a gourmet foods section and we found this! A cute, little gluten-free pie in the frozen foods! Of course, I picked blueberry!

A great dessert to end a great day!

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Our last day was upon us….and we decided to visit Colonial Williamsburg!

We have been here several times, as we lived in Richmond in the early 1980s and in 2006, Daria did her pastry externship at Kingsmill in Williamsburg.

But, we had never been to the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg! So off we went!

The museums house the Public Hospital of 1773, the first of its kind in America where it attempted to treat those suffering with mental illness; the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum which houses collections of furniture, metals, ceramic, glass, and more; and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum which houses colonial and contemporary folk art.

We were fortunate to have an almost private tour with a woman who led us through the museum. It was both fascinating and a feast for the eyes!

After our tour, and when we were hungry, we headed to Merchants Square where there are more than 40 shops and restaurants, all nestled between the College of William & Mary  and the Historic District.

The Cheese Shop was our destination. We were familiar with its menu and had eaten there while visiting Daria back in 2006. We were not disappointed!

I ordered a gluten-free Udi’s bagel with homemade chicken salad (chunks of chicken with celery, onion, bacon and mayo). Of course, you need something crunchy to go along with your sandwich, so I chose Deep River chips. So good!

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To wash it all down I had a Crispin Hard Cider (Huckleberry pear). Very tasty!

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We visited several shops and of course hit the William & Mary campus store. It was all in all a fun day!

Our last dinner proved a bit disappointing. We had gone to the Bonefish Grill a few times when Daria was a student at the Culinary Institute of America, since there was one in Poughkeepsie near the school. Of course, Williamsburg has a Bonefish Grill, too. So we headed there!

Our favorite appetizer is the Mussels Josephine; this appetizer features the mussels in a tomato, red onion, garlic, basil and lemon wine sauce.

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The mussels were delicious, however, even before we were done eating them, the wait staff brought out our entrées and as a result, the food started to cool down considerably.

I had ordered from the “Gluten Free Menu” and decided on the wood-grilled sea scallops and shrimp with mango salsa. My side order was steamed asparagus.

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Nowhere did the menu mention “blackened” fish….and yet, when it arrived at the table, it looked peppered! I should have sent it back the moment I saw it, however, I didn’t and my indigestion upon eating it, stayed with me for many hours and hours! It was my fault for not speaking up…next time!

Overall, I would recommend visiting the Historic Triangle to anyone who is gluten-free! We found nearly every restaurant to be accommodating….and the grocery stores carry many items that we do not have in our area yet….hoping soon!

Happy travels!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk