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.

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.

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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 a 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. 🙂

Graduation!

Guess who’s high school’s newest graduate? This girl!

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I’m so happy to finally be done! I am free. I made it. It doesn’t quite feel real yet; it’s still sinking in that I am now a college student, not a high school student. I have New Student Orientation at UDel in less than a week. I keep having to stop and remind myself that this is actually happening and I’m not dreaming!

Anyway, after the graduation ceremony, which was very nice, I was faced with the difficult decision of where we would go for our celebratory dinner. Actually, it wasn’t that difficult—kind of a no-brainer really—Earth Pizza! I got the Four Cheese Sundried pizza, which had their special cheese blend, goat cheese, parmesan, sundried tomatoes, and (extra) roasted garlic. And let me just say, pizza is the best celebration. It was delicious! I also mixed it up and got the Chicken Tenders as an appetizer and those were awesome. But since I’ve already reviewed Earth Pizza and shared my dear love for it, we’re gonna talk about the delicious food we had at my graduation party.

So on Sunday, my family and I had a little party to celebrate with everyone. And obviously the ever important part of having a party is what food to serve. Since we all know I have a  slightly obsessive love for pasta, that is obviously what we had to make! We made penne vodka, which consisted of the two very difficult steps of cooking a bag of Tinkyada penne, and pouring Victoria Vodka Sauce over it. A lot of work, I know. My mom also grilled up some chicken and made a nice little salad to have with it. It all was wonderful!

And now, even more important, dessert! My mom made one of my favorite cakes, Strawberry Shortcake. Strawberry Shortcake always feels so summery and fresh and light to me. And it’s always delicious! For the cake, we used Wegman’s Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix. All you need is 4 tablespoons softened butter, a large egg, and 2/3 cups of milk. Then just cream your butter and 1/2 a cup of the cake mix with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, then add the rest of the cake mix, egg, and milk, and combine it all together.  Then pour it up in the pan of your choosing (we used a big 9×11 pan since we were serving a bunch of people) and bake it for 35-38 minutes in a 350° oven. After the cake is totally cooled, it’s time for the topping! We whipped up our own fresh whipped cream to put on the cake (which is seriously a hundred times better than the stuff in the can). All you have to do is use about 8-10 ounces of heavy cream, about a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and powdered sugar to taste and whip it with an electric mixer. I could literally just eat this all day straight out of the bowl. It’s just heavenly. So after you’ve resisted eating it all before it even hits the surface of the cake, spread it all over the top evenly. Then slice some strawberries and lay them all over on top of the whipped cream!

gluten free strawberry shortcake

Another option for this cake assembly would be to make two smaller round cakes and put them on top of each other with whipped cream and strawberries in between and on top. No matter how you put it together, it’s going to be amazing. I am crazy for this cake. I’m literally eating a leftover slice as I write this. It somehow feels like a healthy version of cake, probably because it’s a little lighter with the whipped cream and fresh strawberries instead of a sweet, heavy frosting.

Overall, I celebrated my graduation with some pretty awesome food. And what better way to celebrate is there than with that? I can’t wait for this next chapter of my life at the University of Delaware. It’s going to be so exciting and new and fantastic! And I am so ready for it. I will now leave you with a picture of my decorated graduation cap that I love. 🙂

graduation cap

Just to let you guys know, next week I will be heading off to Europe for my cruise (YAY), and I’m not sure if I will be able to post anything in that time, so it may be a while til you hear from me next, but I can’t wait to share my stories from the trip!!

Pies & Pints

On Tuesday, we made the lovely six hour drive to West Virginia University to bring my brother home for the summer. Man that drive is seriously long, but it’s totally worth it when it means I get to see my brother again. 🙂

So technically, I didn’t have to go all the way there—I could’ve just stayed home by myself and waited til my parents brought Ryan home to see him. But there are only two reasons why I decided to sit in the car for 12 cumulative hours over two days: I didn’t want to wait one more day to see my brother, and the food. I swear, West Virginia has the greatest gluten free food ever. I require that, when I make the trip with my parents, we go to Chaang Thai for the best GF pad thai ever, and Pies & Pints, whose pizza is definitely in the running for the best GF pizza I’ve ever had. So we went to Chaang Thai for dinner on Tuesday (thank god, because we found out it’s closed on Wednesdays and I would have died if I didn’t get my pad thai) and Pies & Pints for lunch on Wednesday before we left. Although I’m surprised we had any appetite after cleaning Ryan’s dorm room—think dirt on dirt on more layers of dirt. Boys are gross.

pies and pints gluten free appetizers

I’ve tried two of their three gluten free appetizer options: the Char-Grilled Hot Wings and the Pork & Pepper Nachos. I am crazy about their wings. They are delicious. They’re the only GF wings I’ve had that are truly as crispy as they should be. Most of the time, GF wings are baked, and can’t get quite as crispy as these do. It’s served with creamy Gorgonzola. I love the sauce, and I don’t think I even like Gorgonzola. That’s how awesome Pies & Pints is. Only complaint: after eating them I end up with a bunch of little black bits stuck on my teeth. As for the nachos, they were just as fantastic. Beware: there are jalapeños on this. I didn’t realize, took a nice piled up chip, and set my mouth on fire with a giant jalapeño. But otherwise, delicious. I loved the pork and beans and chipotle crema all together. Just amazing.

pies and pints gluten free pizza

So I’ve tried a couple of different kinds of pizza from Pies & Pints, but this time I got the Margherita pizza, which is fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, Parmesan, olive oil, fresh garlic & tomato sauce (I got roasted garlic instead of fresh). My mom also got gluten free so I could try her White pizza with spinach (and more roasted garlic…we probably had really bad breath after this). Pies & Pints makes their own crust, and has pretty much perfected the thick gluten free pizza crust. Most places I get GF pizza, it’s a thin, crispy crust, which I do enjoy, but I greatly appreciate a nice thick crust as well. Every other thicker crust I’ve tried is a slightly wrong texture, but this pizza is just how it should be. It’s perfect. I love it a lot. The toppings that we got were amazing, and I’ve also gotten the Classic, which may be my favorite.

pies and pints gluten free sandwich

This time, I really wanted to try one of their sandwiches, but wasn’t willing to give up the opportunity to eat the pizza right then. So I decided to get the Italian Hero to go. This has on it salami, pepperoni, capicola (spicy ham), provolone, Mama Lil’s Sweet Hot Peppers, red onions & house vinaigrette (I got it without the peppers or onions). I ended up eating it when we got home, and oh my goodness it was fantastic. I didn’t know a sandwich could be so amazing. I was interested to discover that the sandwich bread was actually the same as the pizza crust. Pretty cool.

I love Pies & Pints soooo much. They have nine locations across West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky, but unfortunately none in New Jersey. 😦 So I will just have to settle for having it one or two times a year when we make a trip to West Virginia!

Link to Pies & Pints menu

College Decision!!!

Big news!! After months of back and forth between the University of Delaware and The College of New Jersey, I’ve finally made a decision on where I will be going to college! I have decided to go to…

University of Delaware! 😀

university of delaware

The campus is sooo beautiful! I love it so much. In the end, picking UDel just felt right. I’m so excited to go already! I would start tomorrow if I could. I’m already buying things for my dorm, and I still have four months until move in day. One of my favorite parts of this school is all the gluten free options! They just built a new freshman housing complex, which included a brand new dining hall, called Rodney Dining Hall. And it has a designated gluten free station! Meaning they only cook gluten free food here. Meaning very very little chance of cross contamination (I can’t say no chance for sure since there are other gluten foods in the hall). When we visited in March, we tried out Rodney.  Once we walked into the hall, the first person we ran into was the chef from the gluten free station! She was so ridiculously nice. I loved her. I’m so annoyed at myself for not asking her name, but I’m sure now I’ll get to know her very well since I’m going to see her all the time for all my meals! We visited at a weird off-time, around 3 o’clock, so they didn’t have the full range of options that they usually would since they were in the transition between lunch and dinner. At this time, they had cheese pizza, chipotle chicken BLT wraps, and salad. So what did I do? I tried them all!

udel rodney dining hall gluten free

Considering the dining hall horror stories I’ve heard, this meal was pretty great. Let’s go from left to right. So the salad was good; it was a salad. Lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, italian dressing. Pretty basic, but good. The pizza was so much better than I thought it would be. I thought it was going to taste like icky frozen pizza with not-so-great ingredients, but it wasn’t that at all! The crust was really nice, and the sauce and cheese tasted like pretty good quality stuff. I really enjoyed it. The chipotle chicken BLT wrap was tasty too! The wrap itself was one of the better ones I’ve tasted. The stuff inside was really good, but I wish there was more of it! The chipotle chicken had great flavor, and a great little spiciness to it. I just really wanted a good stuffed wrap, and the filling was a little sparse. Overall, this food completely exceeded my expectations!

So the dining hall has a little online portal where you can see the menu for the next couple weeks. I’ve seen some really good looking lunches and dinners, but there’s no gluten free options listed in the breakfasts. So of course, that was my first question to ask. Super nice gluten free lady told me that she always has some breakfast options for “her kids” at the gluten free station, like muffins and cereal.

But Rodney isn’t the only place to eat gluten free on campus. There are plenty of off campus restaurants that I will be able to stop in and grab something to eat, whether it be a meal or a snack.

Here are some places that I’ve already tried that I know are wonderful:

And some that I plan to try:

I can’t wait for August to come. I’m so excited to try all the new gluten free food in Newark. And even more excited to be a Blue Hen!! 💙💛

Earth Pizza

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Earth Pizza has become my go-to restaurant for gluten free pizza. I love love love it, and they have everything! Appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizza, and a large selection of desserts—basically, almost everything on the menu can be made GF. But this isn’t just any pizza place that offers some gluten free choices; they state on their website that they “have many gluten-free and vegan options available to allow folks with Celiac disease or special dietary needs to eat safely here at Earth Pizza.” They also “take great pride and care when serving our customers who have food allergies.” This is very reassuring to know that they create a safe kitchen environment to keep the gluten free foods actually gluten free, with no cross contamination. On this day, I visited with my parents. My dad and I both got personal size pizzas, my mom got a sandwich, and we all shared an order of the buffalo wings. If any restaurant I go to has GF buffalo wings, there is a 99% chance I will be ordering them, and at Earth Pizza, they are delicious. They have a nice, slightly crispy exterior and great flavor. Another appetizer that we sometimes get is the 3-Dip Flatbread. I love the GF flatbread and my favorite of the dips are the tapenade, marinara, and hummus (see menu for other dip options).

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As for the pizza, I’ve been here so many times I’ve kind of personalized my order; I always get the Eggplant and Mozzarella pizza with no red onions, and with roasted garlic and bruschetta. It is so delicious, and the crust is nice and thin and crispy. My dad got the Aloha pizza, which had bacon, pineapple, and red onion, and although I’m not a fan of red onions, I thought it was awesome. I am in love with all the pizza from this place. Some other kinds that I’ve tried are the Pizza A La Burger, the Margherita, and the Mediterranean, and all of these are also super tasty!

Eggplant & Mozzarella

Eggplant & Mozzarella

Aloha

Aloha

This time was the first time I’ve ever tried a sandwich from here (the Chicken Pesto), and I realized that I have been totally missing out. I wish I’d had one of their sandwiches earlier!! The bread was so fantastic and soft, I would’ve just bought a dozen of those rolls right there if I could’ve. Not to mention what was inside the sandwich was just as fabulous.

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To finish off the meal, we ordered the Homemade Brownie and added some hazelnut gelato. This brownie was so good! The texture reminded me a little more of a cake than a brownie (it was a little fluffier than a brownie usually is), but that is definitely not a bad thing! The gelato worked really well with it, but was also just as good on its own.

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I also need to stress that Earth Pizza has one of the most extensive lists of GF desserts I’ve seen. They offer 9 different dessert options that are or can be made gluten free, and that is A LOT!

I really always feel so taken care of at Earth Pizza; it’s so nice to be able to have pretty much whatever I want and have so many options!

Link to Earth Pizza menu