Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happiness ~


This past week was filled with delicious food, little surprises and the beautiful San Francisco Bay. But before I get to all of that AND to mentioning some restaurants that you won't want to miss, I needed to post an update from last week's risotto story...and this enlightened clarification comes straight from the mouth of a real Roman in Roma. So here goes...classic Italian style:

1)"Risotto is a classic Italian side dish that uses short grain rice (one variety is basmati) that releases lots of starch during cooking so the finished dish is very creamy and rich."

"Nop, risotto is a main dish."

2)"If you order risotto and they serve you farro in Italy you are allowed to bring them to the court. Risotto is not farro!"

Classic response.

Now on to other happy tales. Visiting my hometown of San Francisco is always a true pleasure - the beautiful fog that rolls in and out over the shores creates this "heavy" air that is so wonderful and just envelopes all in its path. Happiness comes to me from the smell of the Bay and the salt water, the profound beauty of such a unique skyline and the indulgent pleasure that comes from eating at some of the City's wonderful restaurants, and doing so safely.

A dear friend and I escaped to SF last weekend and found ourselves dining at one of our favorite Basque restaurants, Piperade, which I've mentioned before on this blog. It's so exciting to eat out at a restaurant that completely understands gluten-free eating and takes great care in ensuring that your meal is perfect and without sacrificing any of the flavor. It's hard to believe that it's possible to indulge in such deliciousness, but this weekend in SF I felt as though I was so safe and able to dine with abandon, which is a rarity, to say the least.

Listen to what we ate...Pequillo peppers with cream cheese and raisins, ham Bayonnese with this amazing goat cheese, a Halibut entree that melted in my mouth with pleasure and delight AND...the famous Piperade "koka"...a scrumptious flan-like dessert with a texture that's "out of this world," as my friend described it...she was so right!

Happiness.

The other restaurant I must mention, for any of you ever visiting the City by the Bay, is the well-known, Slanted Door. It's located in the northeast corner of the wonderful Ferry Building.

"The Slanted Door is a modern Vietnamese restaurant that showcases the abundance of produce as well as ecologically farmed meat, game and poultry found at farms around the San Francisco Bay Area."

I couldn't have said it any better! So not only did we have the most amazing and attentive waiters assisting us throughout the meal, but each new exactly what I could and could NOT eat and literally went through the entire menu with me, helping to choose all of our courses - they essentially planned an entire gluten-free meal for me, on the fly! How amazing is that?! Honestly, after my order was carefully crafted, I didn't even care how the food tasted...I was simply so floored and excited to be in such a civilized and informed eating establishment, filled with a caring and enlightened staff.

The meal was quite simply - F A N T A S T I C ! I asked my friend, who had eaten at the restaurant several times before, "do you notice an absence of flavor without the soy sauce?"...of course I was feeling a bit badly about her possibly missing out on a fusion of flavors...she kind of snickered at me and responded, "are you kidding me...this is amazing. NOTHING is missing!" First we devoured this green papaya/tofu salad that caused us to both roll our eyes and dream of a bottomless bowl of this goodness. Then came the Halibut and its accompaniments that were too mind-boggling to even try and describe - Just order it for yourself and be the judge! And last, but certainly not least...the cellophane Asian noodles with chunks of crab...as my best pal William says, "it was a party in my mouth." Celiacs...Eat at this restaurant. You will experience safe abundance and happiness here.

I PROMISE.

So since I was on such a GF roll last week (and as I'm writing this I am really realizing how true that was)it's my great pleasure to announce the grand opening of the Reno Whole Foods! A total of 52,000 SF of perfectly lined shelves, a pretty delicious looking bakery, a coffee bar, pizza bar, a culinary center...shall I continue? Yes, I shall...because the best part of that entire store is of course, ALL of the fabulous gluten free products lining shelf after shelf after shelf. If you live in Reno, you must check this new store out.


These little delights that I found inside the "Gluten-Free" freezer at Whole Foods were and are the reason for me racing to work every morning lately. NO, not to check email...but to pop one of these SWEET Azna Gluten Free Cinnamon ROLLS into the oven and stand there watching the frosting melt, just dreaming of how each sweet, chewy, gooey bite is going to taste. There's only one problem...they are too small. So I try to slowly eat each swirly layer, one bite at a time -

Impossible!

See you at Whole Foods and truly take in and enjoy the fact that in 2008, those of us who are Celiacs are truly blessed to have the variety and volume of products NOW that we do. Ten years ago...heck, three years ago the shelves of our favorite and progressive markets and grocery stores looked nothing like they do today. For this fact, I am ever-increasingly grateful and excited. Keep demanding (in a smiley way) that these products are created and that the knowledge and abundance keeps growing, keeps flowing.

Happy shopping.

Happy eating.

Happiness to you all ~

1 comment:

Gluten Free Specialty said...

If you like Azna Bakery, they're doing a tasting during our Second Saturday Art Show on August 9th from 4pm to 7pm.

The location: Gluten Free Specialty, 2612 J Street, Suite 4, Sacramento, CA 95816. GFS is next to Starbucks, and tucked behind Brie's Boutique & Canvas Salon.

Come visit and try out wonderful Azna treats.