Snap Custom Pizza

Wow, it’s been a while since I blogged. I’ve really been slackin’. I’m sorry, but I’m back!

I’m a little over halfway through my spring semester. It’s been going well, my grades are all A’s (except for chemistry with that dang C+, but I’ve got a couple weeks of quizzes and exams to get that baby up). Since I’ve been here at the good ol’ University of Delaware, I’ve been working my way through the restaurants on Main Street. There are literally so many choices, and a lot of them have gluten free options!

One of my favorites on Main Street is Snap Custom Pizza. They just opened at the beginning of last semester, and I could not wait to try it when I heard they would have gluten free crust! It’s a cool set up for a pizza place; it’s almost like a Subway but with pizza instead of subs. You pick the crust you want, the sauce, the cheese, the meat, and any other toppings you want, pick your finishing touches, then it gets put through the oven and in a few minutes, you have a nice fresh pizza! When you tell them you want a gluten free crust, they’ll ask you if it’s an allergy or preference. When you say allergy, they will change their gloves and apron and make your pizza separately in the back to make sure theres no cross contamination. They also have a separate pizza spatula (I think it’s called a peel?) to get it out of the oven and place it in a separate area to cut it with a separate pizza cutter. Needless to say, I love Snap Pizza.

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My standard pizza is usually this beauty: gluten free crust with pesto, shredded mozzarella, chicken, tomatoes, artichoke, and spinach, finished with roasted garlic oil. I mean, come on. Does that not just sound amazing?? The crust is one of the best I’ve had. The flavor is great, nice and thin but not too much so, and they always manage to get it perfectly crispy. The roasted garlic oil gives it the perfect amount of moisture and deliciousness. It is truly heavenly. My other go-to, for when I’m in the mood for your more typical pizza, is tomato sauce, shredded mozz, and pepperoni, finished with basil and parmesan. Also amazing. Now, I try to just treat myself to going to Snap every once in a while, but if you asked me if I’ve ever eaten there three times in one week…let’s just say I can not confirm nor deny that… 🙂

At Snap, you can either create your own pizza (which is my method of choice) or get one of their signature pizzas. But they’re not just all pizza, they also have salads and grain bowls, but when this girl goes to Snap, she wants to inhale an entire pizza. But you can see all their options on their menu. They have locations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, so you can find out if theres one near you!

Now, in the recent past, I was very upset with Snap Custom Pizza. On the day before St. Patrick’s Day, my local Snap in Newark, DE was having a promotion for $5 pizzas if you wear green. So I changed my shirt and walked my way up to Main Street to find a huge line of at least 40 people pouring out the door. But I thought, “I came all the way here. I’m not in a rush. I’ll wait in line. It’ll be worth it.” Well, 45 minutes later, I finally make it to the front of the line. I ask for a gluten free crust. She tells me they ran out of gluten free crust. Excuse me…what??? You what???? I was very upset, and since I was already on Main Street I angrily made my way over to Panera and bitterly ordered a Greek salad and tomato soup instead (which, by the way, was actually delicious, just not what I intended on eating). Waiting in line also made me late for my 8pm Grey’s Anatomy, which is obviously very important. So I did what my mother taught me to do: I wrote an angry (yet polite) email. And guess what? It paid off! I got a response from a very sweet woman named Nicole from Snap’s corporate offices, who sent me a free pizza card to use at my next visit (thank you Nicole!!!!!). So I actually ended up with a better deal than I would have gotten if they didn’t run out of gluten free crust. Moral of the story: angry emails work.

And moral of the blog: go to Snap Custom Pizza! If I could eat there every day I would. I love how attentive they are to my allergy, and they’re always very friendly and understanding. Definitely one of my favorite restaurants on Main Street, and one of my favorite restaurants anywhere.

Nuts.com Products (and Recipes)!

Hi guys! I was so excited to receive an email from a representative from Nuts.com asking me to tell you all about their great products. They were kind enough to send me a couple of their products to try out (yay free stuff!).

First up, black walnuts!

Now, black walnuts are like regular walnuts, but with a much more unique flavor. They’re also full of great health benefits; they contain more protein per ounce than any other tree nut, and they are very low in saturated fat, and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (those are the good ones, they help maintain good cholesterol!). They come shelled and ready to go in the package, and I decided to make some pumpkin muffins and toss some of these in there! (I apologize for the lower quality photos, I forgot to bring my nice camera home so I had to make do with my iPhone camera)

These were really good! We used some pumpkin muffin mix that we got from Trader Joe’s. The muffins were fluffy and moist, and the walnuts provided a great crunch (I also added some chocolate chips, because a little chocolate never hurt anyone right?) I liked the walnuts in the muffins, but be warned, they are a little bit of an acquired taste. I probably wouldn’t eat them by themselves, but the unique flavor works pretty well when you put them in other things.

Next, pine nuts!

I never thought to eat a pine nut on its own, but I tried one and it actually tasted really good! It kind of reminded me of a sunflower seed. They have a great flavor that goes well in any kind of dish, and toasting them brings out even more nutty flavor! Like the black walnuts, these are also high in monounsaturated fats, which are great for heart health. They also contain nutrients that naturally increase energy levels (because who couldn’t use a little energy boost?). Anyway, the first thought that popped into my head for how to use these in a recipe was in pesto. But no, that’s too expected. I had to do something different. I didn’t want to blend them up into a sauce—I wanted to showcase them and their flavor. So I decided on a pasta dish with fresh tomatoes, artichokes, garlic, and basil. Heres the recipe! (Again, low quality pic, sorry 😦 )

Pasta with Tomato, Artichoke, and Pine Nuts

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 package Tinkyada Brown Rice Spaghetti (or whatever spaghetti you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • one 8.5oz can of artichokes, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • a little bit of oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan

How to make it:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and sauté the pine nuts and garlic until light brown (I didn’t use all the oil for this step, just enough to toast the nuts and cook the garlic)
  3. Add the rest of the oil, tomatoes, artichokes, basil, and oregano and let it simmer for a little bit, and season with salt and pepper
  4. Toss in the pasta, and serve with grated parmesan

This really was such a delicious, fresh dish, and it allowed you to really taste the pine nuts. I can’t express how much toasting the nuts brings out the nuttiness; it was just so good. I will definitely be adding this recipe to my regular lineup.

Finally, the kind folks at Nuts.com sent me some gluten free snacks to try out. I got roasted chickpeas, veggie chips, and half-popped popcorn.

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The chickpeas were really really good. I’ve been wanting to give chickpeas a try as a healthier alternative for a snack, and they exceeded my expectations. I’ve been sitting in my dorm snacking on them since I got them. I think they taste kind of like a cross between a peanut and a sunflower seed. It’s great. Some friends on my floor had a little sampling session in the hallway and they liked them too! So the chickpeas have been college student approved. Now the next two snacks were kind of a toss up; I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about them. I’ll talk about the veggie chips first. I didn’t think I was going to like them that much. Well, correction, I knew I would like the sweet potato chips, I wasn’t sure about the carrots, squash, taro, or green beans. Yes, I said green beans. Someone made green beans into chips. And surprisingly, I liked them. And everything else in it for that matter. They each have a unique flavor, and I really like it. As for the half-popped popcorn, the name is literal—it really is only popped halfway. I was imagining the weird pieces of popcorn that don’t get fully popped when you microwave the bag. But these were not that. They are delightfully crunchy in just the right way. I really enjoyed them! I’m happy to have these great snacks as options for hanging out in my dorm. I might just have to order more when I run out!

I’m so happy that I got to try these products, and a big thank you to Nuts.com for sending them to me! They’re definitely worth a try!

Although I was not paid for this review, I received free samples of Nuts.com products. However, everything I’ve said in this review is my honest opinion and reflects my own personal experiences.

1 Year Blogiversary!

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45 posts, 3,763 views, 151 followers, 1 Gold Award, and 1 year later…

I can’t believe it’s officially been one year since my first blog post! It feels so weird that it’s only been a year; I feel like I’ve been doing this forever. If only I knew then how much I would love blogging. I just wanted to write a little post to say how much I appreciate everyone who’s supported me this year and everyone who’s followed, commented, liked, or even just checked out my blog. I’m so proud of everything I’ve been able to do, and I’m so happy to have help others with my experiences! I can’t wait for the next year to be just as good. 🙂

Life Update!

Hey everyone! Since the last time I posted, I have officially become a Blue Hen (complete with cool, yet slightly culty, induction ceremony)!

udel induction ceremony

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, but college has been keeping’ me pretty busy. I’ve been at the University of Delaware for about 5 weeks, and it’s been awesome! I’ve met a whole bunch of great new people, and I’m enjoying all my classes. It took quite a bit of adjustment in the beginning (it was weird to think that I live here now), but I’m mostly used to it! I still miss my family (and my cat) a lot though.

As for the food, I’ve been doing pretty well. Most of the time I eat at Caesar Rodney Dining Hall (I talked a little bit about it in this post), since it’s the most convenient because of the gluten free station. I can also order a meal ahead of time from Russell Dining Hall, which is literally 5 steps from my dorm room, but I either always forget to do it in time or nothing in there is any better than what’s in Rodney. I have ordered from Russell a couple times, but I’ve found that I like the food in Rodney better. One day I ordered pasta with meat sauce from Russell (which I was really excited about, since we all know I love pasta and I hadn’t eaten any since I moved in), but when I got it, the pasta had all completely fallen apart. I had a bowl of pasta mush. But that has been my only bad experience here with food! The quesadillas from Rodney are literally fantastic. How can you go wrong with a good ol’ gluten free tortilla filled with chicken,  black beans, and melty cheese??? Answer: you can’t. I’ve also eaten at a couple restaurants on Main Street, like California Tortilla, Honeygrow, Home Grown, Panera, and more (there’s literally so many options on Main Street). All have been great; maybe if I get some time soon I’ll write a full review on a couple of them. Also, for the times I just don’t feel like leaving my room or I don’t like anything in the dining halls, I just eat a frozen meal or a can of soup in the comfort of my own room.

Overall, college is pretty fantastic so far. I can’t wait to share some exciting college stories with you all soon. 🙂

Europe Days 5-10: Italy, France, & Spain

Ok guys, I suck and I’ve completely procrastinated writing my next Europe post (I really have a good excuse, I’m getting ready to head off to college!), so to avoid even more delay, I’m gonna just knock it all out in one post. Prepare for a very long European food whirlwind.

So after our leisurely day at sea, the week of back-to-back ports began. First up was Sicily, Italy. We chose the Taormina On Your Own cruise excursion, so we took about a 45 minute bus ride to Taormina (with beautiful views) and were able to just wander around town. This was such a beautiful little place, with stunning scenery. I mean look at this:

Seriously, just amazing. Taormina was very close to being my favorite place, but not just for the scenery. We went to lunch at a nice little restaurant called La Botte. Our tour guide told us they have gluten free pasta, and when we got there and told the waitress I would be ordering gluten free, she said it would be a little longer because they have to boil new water (which means they didn’t cook it in gluten-y pasta water, yay!!). I ordered Penne ala Norma, which was GF penne with tomato sauce, aubergines (aka eggplants), ricotta, and basil, along with the necessary bottle of house white wine for everyone to share.

First impression of the dish when they placed it in front of me: what are these french fries doing in my pasta???  But I soon remembered they were eggplants, and when I took a bite, I think I went to heaven. This was the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in my life. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and I have no idea what they make their GF pasta out of in Europe but it tasted like I was eating regular pasta. There was some toasted parmesan around the edge of the plate and I could’ve eaten that straight out of a bowl. Everything about this was perfect, and I was so sad that I was too full to finish it! 😦 We of course had to end the afternoon with a delicious chocolate gelato pop from a cute place on the street, where all the pops are “senza glutine”!

For dinner that night back on the ship, I got vegetable spring rolls and seared tuna as appetizers (two appetizers is a necessity on cruise ships), veal parmesan with spaghetti as my entree, and of course, chocolate melting cake for dessert! It was all delicious, except the seared tuna was a tiny bit bland.

Next day: Naples. We did a scenic drive of the Amalfi Coast and spent about an hour and a half (which was definitely not enough time) in Sorrento.

This was also a really pretty town! Now, we knew with only an hour and a half, eating somewhere would eat up (haha) most of our time. But we were in Europe, so we were going to eat. So we went to Ristorante Tasso for some gluten free pizza! I got the Calabrese pizza, which had tomato sauce, mozzarella, and spicy salami. It was so good! A little soggy, so I had to eat it with a fork and knife, but undeniably amazing. I didn’t finish it, but I brought it with me and finished it in the cruise terminal, where I also bought a cappuccino and a bag of gluten free Italian pasta to bring home! We also of course got more chocolate gelato while we were in Sorrento.

Dinner that night I was a little wild. As my first appetizer, I got braised ox tongue. Sounds gross, I know, but it was actually really tasty! The sauce was ridiculously flavorful. My other app was broccoli cheese soup, which was amazing. Closest I’ve ever gotten to Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, so I was very happy. My entree was salmon cakes, which were very tasty and herby, and a s’mores parfait for dessert, which was more like just a glass of chocolate mousse and marshmallow. That night we also enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the ship!

Next up was Rome, the crazy busy day. Rome was not our favorite place. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful and the sights were amazing, we just didn’t really get a chance to enjoy it because we were rushed way too fast through it all. We saw the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Coloseum. It was just a lot to do in such a short period of time, and we didn’t get enough time to appreciate it. For lunch, we went to Ristorante Naumachia, and I got a Caprese salad, which was very good. Not a lot of gluten free choices here, but we were pressed for time.

Dinner that night featured a cruise staple: escargot. Those delicious, buttery lil balls of flavor along with fried shrimp were my appetizers, and my entree was a seafood pasta dish with calamari, salmon, mussels, scallops, and shrimp. For dessert I ordered cheesecake, but instead I was given bananas and strawberries in a caramel sauce (I thought they maybe couldn’t make the cheesecake gluten free for some reason).  I missed my cheesecake, but this was pretty good too.

escargot

Stay with me here, only three more days to get through! The next day was Florence, which was the consensus favorite of the whole trip. Especially after being in such hustle bustle type city like Rome, Florence was just calm and beautiful and relaxing. We did a little walking tour for about an hour, then we were off on our own to shop and wander. We went to lunch at a restaurant our tour guide recommended called Casa Toscano. I got GF penne with mushroom sauce and bacon. I was expecting a white or brown kind of sauce, so I was surprised when it was a tomato sauce. Either way, it was delicious! We spent the rest of our time just walking around and buying some souvenirs, and obviously eating more gelato.

When we were back on the ship and dinnertime rolled around, I got alligator fritters (may sound weird, but very delicious) and lobster bisque (WOW this was fantastic) as appetizers. For my entree, I got chicken cacciatore, which was pretty good but not great. For dessert, I got the melting cake, AND apparently the night before (when they brought out the wrong dessert to me) we had left before our waiter found my actual dessert.  He had brought my cheesecake out but we were gone! So he kept it in the refrigerator over night, and I got two desserts. 🙂

The next day we were in Marseille, France, and we did a bus tour with some free time to walk around. The town was beautiful; I really loved it. Again, I just wish we got to spend more time there! We didn’t end up eating lunch here; we just went back to the ship and I headed up to Cucina del Capitano for some GF spaghetti with pomodoro, grilled chicken, eggplant, onions, and peppers (the same thing I got on the first day at sea that I loved).

My appetizers at dinner that night were clam chowder and crab cakes, which were both amazing. Continuing with the seafood theme, I then got jumbo shrimp as my entree. And for dessert—surprise!—melting cake. (Why didn’t I take any pictures of my food this night???)

Our final cruise day was spent in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. This was the surprise stop, because we didn’t think we were going to love it as much as we did! It was really beautiful, and we had a great time just walking around town. We went to a restaurant called Sa Casa for lunch, which had gluten free items marked on the menu. This was a tapas restaurant, so we all shared what we got. My mom and I split the zucchini carpaccio and goat cheese salad, and I gave my dad’s chorizo and mussels a try. Everything was amazing! Palma turned out to be an awesome place.

For my last cruise dinner, I ordered frog legs and steamed mussels. It was my first experience with frog legs, and it was actually very good! For my entree, I got prime rib, which was so juicy and delicious. My last dessert of the cruise was carrot cake, which was kind of a toss up because I’d never had it before, but I loved it! I ended our last night off later with a piña colada and a comedy show.

We were so sad to wake up the next morning to have to get off the ship and get on our plane. But we had a short layover in London to hang out and eat lunch in the airport. With this came the challenge of finding something for me to eat. But there was a little cafe that had some pre-made meals, so I got mushroom risotto. It was surprisingly good for airport food! When we got on our plane to take us back to America, we also got a meal. This time we called far enough ahead to get me a gluten free meal, so I had chicken with gravy, potatoes, carrots and green beans, a salad with Italian dressing, a fruit cup, and a really super delicious and soft gluten free roll! My experience with airport and plane food was better than expected.

Overall, this was a seriously amazing trip. I am so thankful to have been able to have this incredible experience, and I hope I get a chance to go back at some point! Hopefully, if you’re ever visiting any of these fantastic places, I have given you some good options to try out and enjoy. 🙂

Europe Day 3 & 4: First Day of Cruise + Day at Sea

carnival vista

On the morning of July 1st, we got ourselves out of bed, into a cab, and off to the Barcelona cruise port! We went through the whole process of checking in and getting our Sail & Sign cards (your room key, credit card, and boarding pass all in one!). I love the feeling of stepping onto a cruise ship on the first day. It’s so magical and exciting! We went straight to our cabins to check them out and put our stuff down. Our next stop obviously was the buffet. Well, my next stop was to Cucina del Capitano, a restaurant one deck above the buffet that has gluten free pasta! I had been to this place on another Carnival cruise a couple years ago and loved it, so I was very happy when I found out it was on the Carnival Vista too. They give you a little slip of paper with plenty of pasta, sauce, and topping options. I got gluten free spaghetti (the only gluten free pasta available) with bolognese and onions. It was really good! The meat seemed like it was a weird texture, but I only noticed it when I got a bite of a big piece. The nice thing about this place is that they don’t offer regular spaghetti, only gluten free, so I could be sure I was getting what I was supposed to. And then, after our meals, we of course needed to get some frozen yogurt (24 hour frozen yogurt and ice cream…can you say heaven??)

Now that our bellies were full, as they constantly should be on a cruise, we went to explore our home for the next 8 days. The ship was really fantastic. It had all the good stuff that all cruises should have: an amazing deck, cool lounges and theaters, and lots of places to just hang out and relax.

So now that we had seen just about every inch of the ship, we were ready to go back to our cabins and get ready for dinner! Our dining room was beautiful; I would show you but apparently I was too excited to take literally any pictures on the ship (the ones above were taken by cruise family member and fellow vacation photographer Lauren). We found our table and started to check out the menu. When our waiter came over, I asked about the gluten free options (we couldn’t make any special dietary requests for the first night), and I found out my choices were a little limited. For my appetizer, I got shrimp cocktail and strawberry bisque. The shrimp cocktail is a cruise dinner must, and it was delicious! I also almost always order the cold fruit soup, so the strawberry bisque was a no-brainer. It tastes like melted strawberry ice cream, or a strawberry milkshake. It was so yummy! For the entree, I got grilled chicken with a baked potato and vegetables. It was good, not great. I wouldn’t have chosen it if I could’ve picked anything on the menu, but it did the trick. And for dessert, two scoops of chocolate ice cream. For some reason, ice cream on cruise ships is so much better than at home. So now that the staff knew I have celiac, this night and every night for the rest of the cruise the waiter would bring me the menu for the next day and I ordered ahead of time so they could make the meal gluten free. It was cool to be able to be ahead of everyone and know what’s for dinner the next night! So once we were done, we went up to the pool deck and watched one of the dive-in movies. They were playing The Intern, which was adorable. We loved it so much we didn’t want to miss the end and skipped the Welcome Aboard show. Later we went to a comedy show, which was pretty funny. And by the time that was over, we were exhausted and ready for bed!

Fast forward to the next day: when I woke up, I headed up to the buffet to meet everyone for breakfast. Breakfast at the buffet is fairly easy; I just had some peaches, cantaloupe, and a peach yogurt. Then I was off to do whatever fun stuff I could find on the itinerary! One of my favorite things is the trivia, so I go to that whenever I can. The day was basically just full of wandering around looking for things to do, and eventually trying out the gym. I also had to throw some lunch in there at some point, which is when I headed back up to Cucina del Capitano for GF spaghetti with pomodoro sauce, grilled chicken, eggplant, peppers, and onions. This was seriously amazing. I loved it a lot. If I wanted, I could’ve also had the chef show me around the buffet and tell me what I could eat, but why would I choose that over pasta??? This was the first formal night of the cruise, so by 4:30 my wandering time was over and I was in the cabin getting ready for our 6:00 dinner—yes, I need an hour and a half to get ready, and really, I could’ve used two hours. I like to take my time ya know? Also, formal night always coincides with lobster night, one of our favorite nights of the cruise. We can appreciate even more now being served an already cooked, opened lobster tail after the serious debacle we had trying to have our own lobster night at home. Picture lobster juice everywhere, two girls not wanting to touch the things, and a lot of screaming. So when we got to dinner, I didn’t have to order since I had already done it the night before. For my appetizer, I got the fried oysters. I really didn’t think they were actually going to bread and fry them (I thought to make them GF they would just give me some plain ones), but I was pleasantly surprised when my waiter put a plate in front of me with nice crunchy oysters on it! They really were tasty. Now my trick to make sure what I was getting was gluten free was to make sure that the gluten-y version looked different, since at least one other person at the table usually ordered the same thing. And with this one, we were safe. Next up for my entree was, of course, the lobster tail. It came with garlic shrimp and orzo, but to make it gluten free they gave me mashed potatoes. The lobster tail was really good, but to be honest, I actually thought the shrimp were even better. Great flavor, really juicy, just awesome. And how can you go wrong with mashed potatoes? Okay, and now for dessert. The cruise staple. The chocolate melting cake. Yes, gluten free. Eating this was like being in heaven. So warm and gooey and decadently rich. I am in love. (P.s.- I didn’t take pictures of every single thing I ate at dinner, so you’ll only see pictures of the really good and/or really pretty things)

Since it was formal night, after dinner we went to take some pictures while we all looked nice and fancy. We didn’t do much for the rest of that night, except go to another comedy show later. We were very excited to get to our first port in the morning, Sicily! I will leave you this time with a nice picture of us children of the cruise family on formal night. 🙂

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Up next- Day 5 & 6: Sicily and Naples!

Europe Day 1 & 2: Barcelona

Now that I’ve been home for a over a week and I’ve had time to relax and mourn the fact that my amazing vacation is over, I am ready to tell you all about my trip!

So on June 28th, after a crazy busy week including my UDel orientation the day before, we packed up our van and drove off to the airport! We flew out of JFK Terminal 3, which actually had a decent amount of gluten free food options. I didn’t end up eating anything from here (except a bag of the necessary kettle cooked salt and vinegar chips and a mocha latte from Starbucks), because I was able to eat the salad that came with the meal on the plane (we waited too long to call about a full gluten free meal and couldn’t get one). The flight was long to say the least. 7 hours of trying—and failing—to get some sleep. So because of the 6 hour time difference in Barcelona, we left New York at 5:30 pm and landed in Barcelona at around 7 am. We were told that it’s bad to just go to sleep when you arrive in the morning, because it’ll throw you off for that night. Plus, we couldn’t check into our hotel until 3. So we just wandered around for 8 hours, which was fun. We just explored the area, and went to this nice little market called La Boqueria Market.

This place was so cool! There was meat, cheese, fresh fruit, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I had this awesome little coconut banana juice that was delicious. I also had some fruit and tried some of the salami that my dad got. It was some good stuff.

So then we just walked around and explored a little bit more around the main road. We ended up over at the Maremagnum, a mall right on the water. We ate lunch here at a place called Kurz & Gut. They had gluten containing items marked on the menu, which caused some confusion because I thought the things that were marked were the gluten free things. Once I realized that was not the case I had a much smaller selection to choose from. I got a salad that had mozzarella stuffed chicken on top with some oil and balsamic vinegar as the dressing.

kurz & gut salad

Overall a pretty average salad. The chicken was pretty good but not anything super special. Not the greatest first meal in Europe, but there were plenty more to come! After lunch we did more wandering, and ended up sitting in the little hotel courtyard waiting to check in. This is also where we took our mid-day nap. So finally 3 o’clock rolled around and we settled into our hotel room. But not for long, because then we needed dinner! We went to a cute little place called Allium Restaurant. This was one of the places that we found in our preliminary restaurant search, and I wanted some authentic Spanish food! To start off I got some gluten free bread. They topped it with tomato, olive oil, salt and pepper and it was delicious! We also ordered a pitcher of Sangria for the table (drinking age in Europe is 18, yay!) and that was very good. As a main dish, my dad and I split the Paella. I was very surprised when the plate arrived to me with four giant shrimp staring back at me. Yes staring, with their little beady eyes. Needless to say I made dad get the meat out of them for me, because I was not touching those things! The paella was very tasty and had a very strong seafood flavor—my only problem was that I think it needed a little more seasoning. Maybe just some salt and pepper; it just seemed like it was missing something.

I then of course had to get dessert from somewhere. So we went to a gelato place right near our hotel called La Squisita and got some chocolate and hazelnut gelato! The man was so nice, when we asked what flavors were gluten free he pulled out a list and read them all off to us! With how many were gluten free he might as well had just told us the ones that weren’t. The gelato really hit the spot. After this, I was ready to go into a full on coma. At that point we had been awake for waaay too many hours. So by 7:45, we were all in bed fast asleep.
la squisita gelato

Fast forward to the next morning: we woke up very refreshed from the extremely long sleep. My mom went over to a cafe that appeared to be a chain called Pans & Company to get some breakfast for her, my dad, and my brother. She also brought me back a decaf coffee to have with my breakfast, a Whenever Bar. Once we were all fueled up and ready to go, we set out to see more of Barcelona. When time came for lunch, we went to another restaurant we found on Find Me Gluten Free called La Lluna. This place was AMAZING. I could not believe how incredible this restaurant ended up being. First of all, it was a three course meal—appetizer, entree, dessert, and a glass of wine—for only 15 euros. I’ve never seen a price like that anywhere. The gluten free options were marked on the menu, so it was very easy to order. For an appetizer, I got the White Bean Salad with Bacon and Basil Pesta. This was sooooo delicious! I loved it a whole lot. The flavors were just perfect. I also tasted my dad’s appetizer, the Potatoes with Poached Egg. It tasted like breakfast, and it was so good. For my entree, I got the Dogfish Gratin with Creamy Spinach Mascarpone. Again, I loved this so much. The melted cheese on top of the fish made it so flavorful, and the spinach was smooth and creamy. I tried my mom’s pork dish which was covered in this amazing gravy; I was dipping my bread in it non stop. OH, I almost forgot to tell you about the bread!!! This was the best gluten free bread I have ever eaten in my life. It was crunchy on the outside and really soft and fluffy on the inside. I wanted to order 200 and take them home with me. So for dessert I got the cheesecake, and it was great! I was a little nervous about it because it had what they called a cinnamon crumble on top, and while it certainly could be made gluten free, and was marked gluten free, I had a funny feeling about it. But I ate it anyway, and didn’t get sick from it so my feeling was wrong! I also tried my mom’s Homemade Coconut Soup with Sorbet (tasty, but the soup and sorbet definitely needed to be eaten together and not individually to get the full effect) and my dad’s Soft Catalan Cheese with Honey and Nuts (not a huge fan of this, but my dad enjoyed it). I wish I could eat here every day of my life. I would say this was the second best meal I ate on this trip (you’ll have to wait til a little later for the best!)

So after this, my dad and brother went with the family who went with us on this trip (otherwise known as our cruise family) to Camp Nou, the Barcelona soccer stadium, for a tour. My mom and I aren’t very into soccer and weren’t interested in seeing this, so we went shopping instead. We had a great time just walking around and buying things, and eventually found our way back to the hotel to figure out dinner. We decided on a tapas restaurant that we had passed on our way back from lunch called El Pintxo de Petritxol. I was a little iffy about this place when we sat down and the waiter didn’t seem too knowledgable about gluten free options, but then I talked to another woman who seemed to know a lot. I ended up ordering the grilled squid tapas and the cheese plate. I didn’t know if I would like the squid, but I actually loved it! Whatever sauce they had on it was great. I think it was some kind of herby olive oil thing. The ends of the tentacles were crispy and crunchy and awesome. I loved it so much, I ordered a second one! The cheese plate was also delicious. Really, can you go wrong with a cheese plate??? I could not tell you what kind of cheese was on this, but whatever it was, it was good (except the bleu cheese, ew). They also gave us some free shots for some reason at the end of the meal—I think the waiter had a crush on Lauren (member of cruise family). So I took my first shot ever, of what the waiter told me was their version of Bailey’s Irish Cream, and I discovered that I do not like the way it feels to take a shot. But it was an interesting experience!

We then made the walk back to our hotel and hung out there for the rest of the night. We went to bed very excited to get on the cruise the next day!!

Up next- Day 3 & 4: First Day of Cruise and Day at Sea! 🙂