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! 🙂

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Whipped Crêperie & Dessert Bar

As promised, here is my review of Whipped!

So, as I said before in my Gaetano’s review, we had a not-so-great dinner there, but it led to an amazing dessert here, at Whipped Crêperie & Dessert Bar! Actually, on our way to dinner I spotted this little place and instantly became sad because I missed crepes and thought there was no way they had anything gluten free. But then, at the end of dinner, I checked Find Me Gluten Free to help decide whether we would have dessert at the restaurant or if there was anywhere nearby with something sweet. That is when I saw that Whipped has gluten free crepes. This was at the same moment that our waitress came to our table and asked us if we wanted dessert, and I said with a little too much excitement (and a little aggression), “NO.

So we walked over to Whipped and sat down and ordered our crepes. Most of the crepes can be made gluten free, but obviously not the ones with cookies or graham crackers or anything obviously gluten-y in them. If you’re not sure if something in the filling is GF, always ask. I ordered the Classic (strawberries, bananas, and Nutella) and my mom got the Monkey’s Choice (bananas, peanut butter sauce, and walnuts).

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Classic & Monkey’s Choice

These crepes are sooooo good! The filling was delicious, the crepe itself was amazing, even the whipped cream was great! The Nutella/peanut butter sauce was both on top and inside, and man it’s just so damn good! Also, they are huge. It doesn’t seem that big when you get it, but once you start eating, it’s very filling. There was no way me or my mom were finishing these! We ended up taking the rest of what we had home and giving it to my dad (have food leftovers? Give them to my dad, he’ll take care of that). If I’m being picky, the only annoying thing about them was that they were a little tough to cut through so you have to use a knife, but that’s probably because the GF crepe batter is thicker than the typical gluten-filled crepe batter.

We visited a few weeks later after another dinner in Red Bank, and now that we knew how filling they are we ordered just one for me, my mom, and my dad to share. This time we got the Mixed Berries crepe, which has strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. We also added Nutella for $1 extra, which was totally worth it. The second time at Whipped was just as fantastic as the first! And seriously, aren’t these crepes just so pretty??

mixed berries crepe

I really love this place so much. It’s so unique; I’ve never seen another restaurant with gluten free crepes. They don’t just have dessert though, they also offer lunch crepes (which sound weird to me but they’re probably good) and breakfast crepes, as well as Belgian waffles and other breakfast foods. I’m dying to try one of the breakfast crepes with Greek yogurt, mixed berries, granola (which I do have to ask to make sure it is gluten free first), and honey, but that would require me waking up and being ready early enough to actually do it.

I’m so happy we discovered Whipped, and this will definitely become a regular spot for me. I can’t wait to go back!

Link to Whipped menu

Recipe: Zucchini Bread!

We have a garden in our backyard, and every year my dad grows zucchini. By the end of the summer, we have a ridiculous amount of these things. And they’re not just normal zucchini; for some reason the ones we grow are massive. On average, a zucchini is usually somewhere between 6 and 10 inches. However, some of ours are almost double that!

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Since we always have so much zucchini, we are constantly looking for things to do with it, whether it be zucchini parmesan, zucchini fries, grilling it as a side dish, or just giving it away to friends and family. But zucchini bread is definitely one of my favorites. You can eat this bread for breakfast (which is what I do), or you can put some frosting on it and make it a dessert! No matter what you do with it, it’s guaranteed to always be delicious!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of grated zucchini
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I used Domata GF Recipe Ready Flour)
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (or you could substitute all purpose gluten free flour if you have a nut allergy)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum, only if your flour blend doesn’t already have it
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (or if you don’t have that around, whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I don’t like nuts in my bread so I chose not to add these)

Making the zucchini bread:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°, and spray 3 mini loaf pans or one standard 9-inch loaf pan (which is what I used) and set aside.
  2. Put your shredded zucchini in some paper towels and gently squeeze out any moisture. Fluff your zucchini with a fork and set aside.
  3. Whisk together your GF all purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In another large bowl, add your brown sugar, canola oil, eggs, coconut milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and nuts. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and beat until combined. Fold in your grated zucchini, and if you’d like you can reserve a little bit of it to sprinkle on top of the loaf.
  5. Pour your mixture into your pan and sprinkle on the reserved zucchini. Bake for 35-40 minutes*, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully turn out the loaf to cool completely on a rack

*I think this recipe was really meant for 3 mini loaves, so when I made it in the 9-inch pan it took longer—about 20 minutes more.

bread2

The before & after

This zucchini bread is so amazing and the taste of vanilla and cinnamon are so delicious. I ate this every day for breakfast for as long as it lasted (which wasn’t too long), and it was also a great snack. The best thing about it was that it was a wonderfully tasty way to get rid of our hoards of zucchini!

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