As many of you know, I have a wheat and gluten allergy, which means that everything I eat is gluten free. It puts me on a very strict food diet, but I actually think it helps me to eat healthy. Luckily, a lot of places offer gluten free foods and my parents always cook gluten free food for me. In this section, I’m going to write and show pictures about the gluten free foods I am eating on our trip.
Argentina (11 January 2015)
Lately I’ve been eating some really good food here in Buenos Aires! When I was in Italy, I would eat a lot of grilled veggies and in Morocco I had lots of tagines. When in Asia I had loads of rice and in Australia we cooked a lot of meat for ourselves and barbecued a lot like Australians. Mainly here I’ve been eating meat and ice cream. Almost every night for supper I had a cheeseburger ‘sin pan’, which means ‘without bread’, or some kind of meat. Here are some pics:
Eating ribs at Barbacoa:
Eating bife de lomo at La Cabrera:
Lucky for me, there is a gluten-free bakery just a few blocks away from our apartment. So I’ve been eating many gluten free pastries, such as empanadas:
Even little mini-rice-cake chocolates called Chocoarroz. They are a gluten-free version of alfajores, which are little cookies filled with dulce de leche (caramel), only they are made with rice:
I also am enjoying pimiento olives and chips as apperitivos:
The wine is for my parents, not for me! Instead, I like the fruit shakes, which are called ‘licuados’ here … reminds me of Chiang Mai!
The other drink that is popular here is ‘mate’, a kind of tea that people drink everywhere. They carry a thermos of hot water and pour it on top of the tea leaves and then drink it through a straw. I haven’t tried it yet.
Most of the food I’ve had here has been very delicious, and I can’t wait for supper tonight!
Australia (1 December 2014)
Mmm, mmm, mmm!!! Australia sure is tasty! I found many gluten free options there. One of the highlights of the food I tasted in Australia was a big stack of gluten free pancakes at a place called Hide & Cheek in Melbourne:
While we were camping, we cooked a lot of our own food. It was great because all of the campsites had grills and camp kitchens that we could use. Here is a picture of the burgers and asparagus my dad made for me one night. I had to eat it before the wombats and seagulls (those SEAGULLS!) showed up.
In Melbourne, we found lots of delicious Asian food, including noodles at the Night Noodle Market and teriyaki chicken at a Japanese lunch place:
Thailand (10 October 2014)
I don’t even know where to start because there are so many awesome gluten free Thai dishes to talk about. I think I should start with the…hmm…breakfast soup that I, of course love (it’s Thai food)!
Morocco (4 September 2014)
I know you guys are wondering about the Moroccan foods I’ve had, so here’s an update! In Morocco, the food is very fresh and delicious.
Our first night in Morocco, we ate out on the square of Jemaa el Fna with many food stalls to choose from. We ended up getting some kebabs, eggplant salad and a Sprite.
Most restaurants serve tagines, which is anything from meatballs to chicken cooked in a platter with a cone-shaped top on it. Sometimes there is cous cous, but it is not gluten-fee, so I didn’t try it. But my mom did.
My favorite tagine was at Thamie’s. Thamie is a nice guy who owns a restaurant on a corner in Fez’s Medina. His tagines are delicious and his menu makes your mouth water. I sat down and ordered my usual chicken tagine.
My mom read about his place in an online blog, so we thought we should give it a try because it was reasonably priced and had very good food. Even though other restaurants had touts working for them (touts are people who hang out in the street trying to find customers for their restaurants, and they are very annoying and tiring), Thamie doesn’t need any touts. There was a couple who sat down at a neighboring table who looked like they were the people who wrote the book ‘A House in Fez’, which my mom and I read before we came to Morocco. I asked them, but unfortunately, the answer was “No, we did not write that.”😢
The tagines use a lot of spices, and you can see these spices for sale in the souks. You can also find nuts, dried berries, figs, and dates. We got some cashews.
Another restaurant in Fez is owned by a British man and is called ‘Café Clock’. Their camel burgers🐪🍔 (I had to order it without the bun🚫🍞) are outstanding and the terrace’s view is breathtaking. We sat on the highest point just as the sun was setting over Fez🌇.
A popular meal for lunch or dinner is rotisserie chicken (poulet roti) with rice and French fries. I loved that!
One day in Fez we went to a local café to get two coffees☕️ and a hot chocolate. There were also two tap waters. I was totally oblivious that they were tap water and I glugged a half of a glass, introducing my body to new bacteria. Let’s just say that my belly wasn’t too happy about that. Later, though, we got two yogurt drinks to calm my insides down. In the end, I was actually fine!
Another thing I tried was pea soup at a street corner stall. It’s called bisara and is very popular for breakfast🍵. To see more visit my Fez update.
Panella (Rome, 14 August 2014) Mom and Dad wanted to go to a bakery called Panella for lunch (a great place that Gina introduced us to). But what can a gluten-free kid eat for lunch at a bakery known for its bread art? Check it out — tomato stuffed with rice with a side of roasted potatoes. Dad took one bite and said, ‘Elliot, you’ve got the best lunch in the place!’
Gluten Free in Rome (Rome, 13 August 2014) You may think that in a city where everybody eats pasta and pizza and ice cream cones, there wouldn’t be many gluten-free options. But there are! Last night, I had a gluten-free pizza at Voglia di Pizze near the Campo dei Fiore. It was delicious. The kid behind me ordered a gluten-free calzone that looked pretty good, too. The gluten-free dishes come out with a little flag toothpick on them. My flag was France.
The Most Monstrous Meal I Ever Remember, Cosio d’Arroscia (3 August 2014)
So, how long does it take to eat a twenty-course meal? The answer is three hours!
(Full disclosure, my dad helped me a bit on this section so I could remember all of the courses and my mom provided the photos!)
When my parents speak about food, they usually speak about their experiences from when they lived in Asia and how awesome the food was there. They also speak about their experiences eating at restaurants in Liguria which is where Triora is. The thing about the restaurants in Liguria is that most of them do not offer menus, and they do not post the prices. You simply arrive at either 12:30 for lunch or 7:30 for supper, they seat you, and feed you and everybody gets the same meal. It is proper to make a reservation before your meal, though they always try to accommodate people who simply show up. It is amazing and most people from the US are very confused by this. But here, it is the way it is.
When we arrived in Cosio d’ Arroscia it was about 12:00 noon and we walked around a bit in the village. We spotted one cafe/bar and one restaurant called Trattoria Maria (trattoria in Italian means restaurant).
We opted to eat at the trattoria and at around 12:30pm we entered. The owner happily made a table for us, even without a reservation. At that time there were only four people sitting at two tables. Then by 12:45, all fifteen tables were taken up by around 60 people in total. The place was packed, full of life, and the owner and his daughter-in-law put bottles of water and wine out on each table – then the fun began. My mom told the owner that I had an allergy to wheat so he would know what he could serve me or not.
We were all very hungry when we sat down. I felt as light as a feather when we sat down, in fact, but by the end of the meal, I felt so full. And that was even BEFORE my double dessert. My mom’s motto is ‘There’s always room for ice cream!’, but my motto is ‘THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR DESSERT!!!😆😆😆🍦🍦🍧😋😋😋😋🍧🍨🍨🍰🍰😆😆😆!!!’ I still don’t know how I made that up😆!
While it is prohibited to smoke inside a public place in Italy, it is not against the law to bring your dog to lunch or supper! This was our lunch companion.
The other thing about these meals is that when you are in a restaurant for three hours, my dad usually strikes up a conversation with people around us with his very broken Italian. Then my mom has to pick up the pieces because she can actually speak Italian, which is a romance language btw😛.
Christiano and his mom have lunch together every Sunday:
It is rare for people from the US to be up in these small mountain villages so the locals think we are usually from Germany or Norway or the Netherlands. When they realize that we are from the US, and that my mom is a fluent Italian speaker, they usually love to talk to us and tell stories. They also wonder how or why we are where we are.
Anyhow, at these lunches, you really don’t know what to expect because the owner simply serves what he or she has prepared. It is usually a series of antipasti, or 3, then a pasta dish, or 2, and then a meat, or 3, followed by a dessert, or 2, and a coffee. They walk around with big oven pans and serving dishes and stop at each place to scoop out the food. It seems like it never ends and everyone in the restaurant is eating at the same general pace.
So yesterday, the fun started with a bag of bread on the table, water, and a bottle of fizzy rosé wine. There were some things I could not eat so the waiter usually gave me double portions of other courses like the beef and salads. I will show the gluten-free dishes with (gf). Then came the following in a series of courses:
1) fried bread, then
2) a thin slice of beef with a mustard sauce (gf), then
3) bresaola with thinly sliced cabbage (gf), then
4) primosale cheese with diced trombette and tomato (gf), then
5) a type of Torta Verde, then
6) cannelloni stuffed with a potato filling, then
7) zucchini and ricotta torta verde, then
8) eggplant with some very yummy tomato sauce on top (gf), then
9) mushroom and scamorza, then
10) for just me, a plate of gluten-free fettuccini with tomato ragu (gf), then
11) a zucchini cake with almonds, then
12) a lemon and sage rissoto (gf), then
13) polenta with creamy mushrooms (gf), then
14) tagliatelle with white onion sauce, then
15) vedura (sliced up salad) (gf), then
16) a slice of awesome roast beef (gf), then
17) stewed cinghiale (wild boar) (gf), then
18) grilled pork loin (gf), then
19) panna cotta with caramel sauce, then
20) lavender panna cotta with chocolate and hazelnut sauce (I had two of these!) (gf), then
21) coffee along with grappa and limoncello (but I did not have any of this!)
By like the 14th course, even the other diners were saying, “just a little portion please” to the owner. The owner would also walk around trying to give people seconds if they wanted in order to clear out the serving tray. My dad almost never turned him down.
So yes, when we started it was 12:30 pm and my dad paid the bill at 3:30 pm. But, and this is simply how my dad is, after the meal he went into the kitchen to compliment the chef who was the grandmother of three generations all working in the restaurant.
As it turns out, she told us that she has a sister who lives in Warwick, RI and I think she said her sister there recently turned 100 years old. The chef, her daughter, and her granddaughter all worked to provide this wonderful lunch – a real Italian experience I wish all of you could have enjoyed. But for Ligurians, this is simply a normal Sunday out with the family. We stood around talking for a bit and, as usual with my dad, we were the last to leave!
Oh, by the way, you might be curious of how much this incredible meal cost? 22 euros per person all included regardless of how much you eat or drink – post meal nap not included of course!
Here is a picture of me in Taos, NM at Station Cafe 3-one-6 biting into a gluten free hamburger bun:
It is very easy to find gluten free pasta at the store in Italy, and even at some restaurants. The way you ask for gluten free in Italian is ‘senza glutine’. My mom made me some gluten free lasagne using gluten free fusili (pasta):
More gluten free fusili with spicy mushroom sauce and some meat dad got at the butcher in Molini:
Instead of eating bread with butter, I like to eat rice cakes with butter.