Happy Trail Mix Day!

Monica and Daria say:

What can you do with a bunch of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate (yes, most definitely, chocolate)?

You can make your own trail mix!

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We grabbed a variety of nuts that we always have on hand… ½ cup of each of walnuts, almonds, and pecans.

Then we added in ½ cup of pumpkin seeds, and ½ cup of sunflower seeds.

We LOVE dried cranberries so we put in ½ cup of those and topped it all off with ½ cup of Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips!

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What is easier and nutritious to boot?

It has a great combo of carbs and energy. Trail mix is THE snack for hiking, biking, and exploring!

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Trail mix is so versatile that your ingredients are only limited by your imagination! Some of our favorited additional ingredients include puffed rice cereal, M&Ms, pretzels, unsweetened coconut, or anything else that is trail mix worthy!

Just make sure that your ingredients are gluten-free, and you are set to go!

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And did you notice that our trail mix is in a collector Pyrex bowl? Just picked it up at our favorite antique shop, The Shop 2….check them out!

Have a great day…wherever your travels may take you!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica & Daria 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!

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‟Senza glutine” in Italy!

Monica says:

My husband, Lewie, and I were so fortunate to go on our ‟dream trip” to Italy a few weeks ago. We travelled from the US to Lake Como and then worked our way south to Rome on a tour with TravelWorld.

This tour was hosted by our pastor, Fr. Jack Lambert, and as a group of 45, we saw a great deal between those two cities. Since I am gluten-free, my first questions when booking the trip were, ‟Can you accommodate my gluten-free diet?” and ‟How hard will it be for me to find gluten-free food while in Italy?”

How can you visit the great land of pasta and be gluten-free?

Both questions were answered with ‟We’ve had many people on our Italy tours, and all of them were pleased with the food accommodations.”

So we said, ‟Let’s do it!”

Overall, I can say I was well taken care of…since we were part of this tour, we had several group dinners included. These were wonderful! The chefs at each of the venues took such great care of me, it was almost embarrassing! They were so attentive and the food was delightful!

While on our own, it was much more challenging! Especially during lunchtime….I mostly existed on salads! And I was hungry most of the time, while everyone else filled up on pizza, cannoli, Panini sandwiches, etc. This was really tough for me! All I wanted to find was gluten-free pizza!!

If we had been on our own, we most likely would have been able to chart out where to go for lunch beforehand, but because we were always on a time crunch and couldn’t take the time to get a taxi to find gluten-free food, it was upsetting.

So I had salad, salad, and did I say salad?

Our first day in Lake Como was so incredibly beautiful but very windy. We were unaware at the time that the hurricane winds from Bermuda were funneling over Europe. We wore our gelato after eating lunch! Here is a picture of my lovely ‟insalata”! The greens were so fresh, they tasted like they were just picked out of the garden!

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And this was an antipasti ordered by our traveling companions, Marge and Tom….the cheese was incredible….melted in your mouth!

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Our evening meal at the Palace Hotel was amazing! We tasted wines from each region with our dinners, and this one was a winner!

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What we found out right away was that you needed to be very hungry when dinner was planned, since there were several courses, including gluten-free rolls for little old me (which were so yummy!).

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The gluten-free ‟orecchiette” pasta here was served with prawns, olives and cherry tomatoes and was a perfect al dente. How do they do it?

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The main course was a pan-cooked sliced entrcôte steak with rocket salad, parmesan cheese flakes and roast potatoes….oh dear! Just melted in your mouth!

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A selection of crème brûlée was served for dessert….mine without the crunchy hazelnut biscuit….to ensure that it was gluten-free! Delightful!

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The next morning we were off to Venice by way of Padua, and before we left, I enjoyed a great breakfast.

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It’s a good thing because once again, I had a salad for lunch! But when we arrived in Venice, we were so amazed by the ‟floating city,” food was the last thing on our minds….until much later, when we had a group dinner at Ristorante Noemi , where I had an antipasti, gluten-free pasta with mushrooms and a ‟special dessert” made just for me!

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This pasta was the best that I tasted in Italy….it was perfectly cooked and since I love mushrooms, I was in heaven!

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And my dessert….cherries jubilee! It paid to be gluten-free that night!

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The next morning we had a morning walking tour of Venice and there was very little for me to eat at our hotel, Hotel la Fenice et des Artistes, for breakfast. I grabbed some vanilla yogurt and added some cocoa krispy flakes to flavor it….wasn’t too bad!

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After the tour, we were on our own and luckily found a great little place called Beppino, where I found a great seafood risotto. We were able to have a great sit-down lunch and enjoy our food!

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Our afternoon and early evening were sightseeing and tasting gelato….we had gelato nearly every day! You just can’t seem to pass up those places….they are like magnets! See what I mean??

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When dinner time arrived, I just wanted something a little lighter. We found a quaint little place, called Ristorante Trattoria Cherubino. Our waiter looked like a friend of mine and it felt so homey there!

We all ordered scallops on the half-shell with zucchini ribbons. They were to die for! I seriously could have eaten just these….tons of them!

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Next, I had a great insalata, followed by veggie soup. Everything tasted so fresh and delicious!

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Lewie had the same dinner except he ordered the seafood soup….which I could have ordered, too! Looks good, huh?

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The next morning, we were on our way to Tuscany, particularly Montecatini Terme. This place could take your breath away….it was so beautiful…one little village after the next with olive trees, lemon trees, and lime trees. Again, I had yogurt for breakfast and when we arrived in Tuscany, we went for a walk to find some lunch and what did I have?

Of course you know! A salad!

For dinner we had a wonderful meal at our hotel, Grand Hotel Tamerici Principe, and I was treated royally! Our wine of the region was a delicious Cianti, which went well with my insalata and gluten-free roll.

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The chickpea soup with fennel was smooth and pleasant. Mine was made just for me (minus the pasta)!

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The main course was breaded veal with ham and cheese, so the chef made me chicken with ham, cheese and sautéed string beans. No la spuma di patate (potatoes mousse) for me tonight!

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No dessert for me tonight! Don’t think I could have fit it anyway!

Our next day began with eggs, bacon, and fruit for breakfast!

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Then we were on to Florence to see the world’s most famous sculpture, Michelangelo’s David at Galleria dell’Accademia. We had such a busy day and of course, I had a salad for lunch.

When we returned to Montecatini Terme, we found a great little place for dinner called Trattoria il Vicolo. The staff was very familiar with ‟senza glutine” (no gluten) and I was very happy! I ordered branzino (sea bass) and it was complemented with a tomato/potato flan….accented with black olives. The fish was perfectly cooked….yummy!

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To top off the meal, I ordered vanilla bean crème brûlée….it had such a great texture!  And it was so tasty!

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I had a repeat breakfast from the day before and then we were off to Rome, by way of Siena. Siena was such a great stop along the way….we loved this medieval city! And it was here that I actually had a lunch of porketta and cheese with balsamic vinegar (minus the bread, of course!). The enoteca (wine bar) was located right off of the Il Campo and it was so delicious….I am just so sad that I forgot to take a picture of it! We had so little time to eat lunch that day!

When we arrived in Rome later that day, we had a group dinner at al Nuovo Fagianetto where I enjoyed some wine and gluten-free penne pasta with marinara sauce.

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My Lewie, ‟Luigi,” met Mario, the owner, and they hit it off immediately….see what I mean?

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To end my simple meal, I had some fruit….simple and delicious!

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It was so nice that our hotel in Rome, called the Best Western Hotel Universo, had a gluten-free menu.

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I ordered a sandwich-to-go for lunch and it was fair….meat a bit too fatty for me! No picture….forgot to photograph it!

After our day of sightseeing in Rome, we had dinner on our own. We were exhausted and decided to try a restaurant nearby the hotel. It was called Trattoria Grotta Amatriciana and turned out to be a fun place! I was able to have a salad….of course!

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And then I ordered baccalà  (cod) with polenta in marinara sauce…..this picture doesn’t do it justice….it was very good!

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Vanilla ice cream with raspberry swirl topped off the meal but didn’t get photographed! I was too excited to eat it!

Our next morning began super early and luckily I had stockpiled some gluten-free items from the Hotel Universo’s kitchen. I started the day with some gluten-free crackers and Magdalenas….thank goodness for Schär products!

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We were off to see Pope Francis and we could hardly contain our excitement! What an honor to be part of the Papal blessing in St. Peter’s Square….something we will never forget! It was the most uplifting event we ever attended!

Upon leaving the Papal blessing, we headed toward the Vatican Museums. One of the women on our tour told me she had spotted a sign for gluten-free pizza the previous day.  We had to check it out….it was our last full day in Italy and I still had not found pizza!

I can’t tell you the elation when we found this sign!!

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And, how about this menu?

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The man who took my order was all smiles, as was I…..he must get this reaction most days! And, I am not kidding….when my gluten-free pizza arrived and I tasted it, I was in heaven! It seriously was the BEST gluten-free pizza I had ever had!

The crust was so wonderful (the closest to ‟regular” wheat crust) and the cheese was gooey and chewy!

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Oh how I wish I could order a takeout right now!!

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At least I have my memories, right?

After I ate ¾ of the pizza….no kidding….we walked and walked and walked….and got lost and lost and lost….thank heavens we had a map (albeit a small, ‟need your bifocals” map)! Between our finding the Trevi Fountain (which was under construction) and the Spanish Steps, we stopped for gelato at Gelateria Siciliana. Mine was raspberry….turned out to be my least favorite of all of my Italy gelatos.

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We got a taxi back to the hotel since we were so tired and on the way back, we witnessed a motorcycle and taxi accident! Both parties were yelling Italian obscenities at each other and everyone around them chimed in …..quite the scene!

For dinner our group returned to al Nuovo Fagianetto and since the owner, Mario, wasn’t there, his second-born son Marco, had to provide my gluten-free dinner. He didn’t speak much English but did his best to accommodate me.  I had a repeat meal of gluten-free pasta and chicken with peppers (but forgot to take a picture!).

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Marco was just as sweet as his dad and of course, we had to have a picture of Marco and ‟Luigi!” As I mentioned above, Marco is one of 9 brothers and has one sister….number 10 son is on the way!! Insert

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Notice the painting behind them….father, Mario, is on the far right!

Words can’t even explain how grateful we are to have experienced Italy. Since both Lewie and I are of Italian descent, this was truly a trip of a lifetime! And we are so happy that two of our best friends, Marge and Tom, got to experience Italy with us….we hope to return someday but until then…

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Arrivederci e Grazie Italia!

© 2014, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk