La Scala In Trastevere, Rome Restaurant Review

I am sitting at my desk today dreaming of Rome… There is nothing like it and now that I have been there I will never be the same. Strolling through Trastevere over the cobblestones on a warm night with family has always been my dream. After cancer, life is all about moments and experiences and Rome was one for the ages.

There were many times during our visit that we walked by La Scala in Trastevere and I kept saying we could not leave without trying it.

The hotel recommended La Scala in Trastevere, but said that we would need a reservation. We took a chance and stopped by without one and got a seat outside. It was raining, but that was not a problem, they had an awning and a heater and the effect was a very romantic dining experience.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”

Helen Keller

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Gluten Free Bagel Recommendation

So… I stumbled across these in the grocery store a while back and thought I would give them a try. O’Doughs Thins (Sesame Bagel Thin). I am glad that I did! Gluten Free products aren’t always the best, but these are really good. My husband requests them even though gluten is not an issue for him. I have tried the other flavors also and they are fantastic too. O’Dough’s Bagel Things are also vegan, kosher and trans fat free if you are looking for that. I just know they are fantastic and it is nice to find a bagel I can look forward too.

So if you are looking for a gluten free bagel, O’Dough’s is for you.

 

Simple Suppers – Chicken Tortellini Soup

This soup is a staple in our house and now that my college student daughter has her own apartment, it is time she had some simple dinners for college students that are easy and cheap. We need to get her going, so she and her friends can join the Sunday Chefs Club and not starve in college. Soups and Stews are always a great go to when you are looking for a simple and hearty meal. This meal is both impressive and simple.

Nothing brings people together like good food…. Unknown

  • Two 32 oz. cartons of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 8 -16 oz package of tortellini (depending on how many you are feeding)
  • diced chicken (Optional)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top (Optional)

Boil water and cook the tortellini separately. Cook it a little al dente. If it says 7 minutes cook it for 5, so it doesn’t get mushy when you add it to the soup.

In another big pot add the chicken broth, chicken (if you don’t have leftover chicken for the soup, you can leave it out or add a raw boneless chicken breast and poach it in the broth until its done, then remove it, shred it and then add it back) and spices. Bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes and then add the spinach. It will seem like too much but it wilts down to nothing. Simmer for a few more minutes. Put the tortellini in a bowl and spoon the soup over the tortellini. Top with a little Parmesan cheese and serve with some crusty bread.

Allergens: Gluten

Donkey Punch – Rome Restaurant Review

My college student daughter has been studying in Amsterdam for the semester and we wanted to go visit her. I have always dreamed of Rome and after a long battle with breast cancer, we decided to celebrate it was over and take this bucket list adventure with our family. So we all met in Rome for a great reunion.

She has a lot of friends in Rome, so we asked for recommendations for a little place to grab lunch..street food. They live in Trastevere and all agreed we needed to try Donkey Punch. Yes, you heard it right….. Donkey Punch. It is an eclectic little sandwich shop in the heart of Trastevere. There are murals of 70’s and 80’s rockers all over the walls and the sandwich names follow the same pattern.

The college aged girl who made the sandwiches was spectacular and recommended the “Eddie Van Halen” which was porchetta, tomatoes, pickled red onions, mayo and basil and it was done on grilled foccacia bread. I got the “Eric Clapton” which was tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, pickled onions and rocket salad.  Mine was fabulous but the Eddie Van Halen was the best sandwich I have ever had in my life. Next time I will get that. 

The girl making them put so much love into making these sandwiches, I told her she was an artist and I meant it. We ate the sandwiches so quickly I couldn’t even get a picture of them. I would highly recommend Donkey Punch to anyone visiting the Trastevere neighborhood in Rome, Italy. It was a great meal on the go, with a great atmosphere and great price.

“Eating is a necessity, but cooking is an art”

Unknown

Baking Tip – How to cut the perfect brownie.

I know this sounds silly, but ever since someone told me about this trick, I use it every time. As a parent of a child with food allergies, I always bring the snacks….so I make a lot of brownies. I tend to cook brownies a bit underdone on purpose, which is our family’s preference. The trick is to use a plastic spoon when cutting them. The edges come out perfect and clean and the brownies do not stick to the knife. It is miraculous. Give it a try next time you are making brownies or blondies, you will be amazed.

 

It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life – J.R.R. Tolkein

 

Trattoria Il Lucano – Rome Restaurant and Food Allergy Review

As we were walking back from the Pantheon one night on our recent life-changing trip to Rome, the kids were starving and I didn’t have any idea where we could eat. Before our trip I studied and searched for restaurants that would accommodate our family and their food allergies (Peanuts, tree nuts, carrots, cucumbers, soy, gluten, legumes, eggplant and zucchini). Italy is known for being very food allergy friendly but information on specific restaurants is hard to find, so I tried to find blog information and there was a few, but it was outdated and limited. So I looked for restaurants that were recommended by friends or had good reviews and reached out to them. Then I made a master list of the places that I wanted to visit and nearby restaurants that were food allergy friendly. (We made the food allergy cards and they were great but only used them once). It was good old fashioned leg work that got the job done. I will share my hard work with you all to save you some time.

I did a lot of prep work, but on this day I had run out of ideas. It was raining and we took a risk and stopped in at Trattoria Il Lucano and asked if they could accommodate us. We lucked out and it was a fabulous meal.

Our waiter was named Mimo and he was so much fun. He suggested that my husband try the steak which they cook at the table. We got the caprese salad, cacio e pepe, pizza and lots of house wine! Always get the house wine. We sat outside under the awning and had a fabulous meal despite the uncertainty at the beginning. My husband is still dreaming of the steak!

The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook. – Julia Child

Miscellanea Pub – Food Allergies in Rome

I did a lot of research on restaurants before going to Rome, especially ones that catered to food allergies. I have to say it was difficult. The general consensus was that Rome was very allergy friendly and we did find this to be true. But information on specific restaurants was tough to find. I knew the places that we wanted to visit (i.e. Colosseum, Vatican, Pantheon, etc.) So I wanted to discover restaurant choices near our destinations, so I wouldn’t be wandering with a “Hangry” family trying to find a place to eat. We were not looking for fancy…. inexpensive, great food, great atmosphere and food allergy friendly.

One restaurant that kept popping up near The Pantheon was the Miscellanea Pub. They call themselves the “International Students Pub”, so we knew it would be inexpensive and casual. After a beautiful visit to the Pantheon at night, I told my family I had a restaurant for them.  It is a bit hidden, but the CityMaps2Go App was so helpful, because we didn’t have service most of the time.

Franco was our waiter and he was fabulous. He was very friendly and told us the food allergies were not a problem, they would make it work (I made the food allergy cards, but honestly never had to use them..the one place we tried, seemed confused by them. But I am still glad that I had them, just in case).

We got the Caprese salad, Bruschetta, Pette di pollo al limone (lemon chicken) Penna all’ arrabbietta (penne with spicy tomato sauce), Spaghetti alla carbonara (pasta carbonara) and Margherita pizza and a lot of wine (house wine). Always get the house wine in Italy! The food was amazing.

Please note: Miscellanea Pub is cash only!

I forgot this and we had no cash. Franco was so wonderful and felt so bad he walked my husband to the nearest ATM and then brought us free desserts and “sexy wine”. The “sexy wine” is something you have to discover for yourself. When he brought it and I gleefully cried “Is this the sexy wine?” he was thrilled I knew what it was. (I do my research.. haha). It was wonderful!

As we were leaving, Mickey (the owner) was sitting outside and thanked us for coming. We are from Boston and he is great friends with the former mayor of Boston and former Vatican ambassador, Ray Flynn. We had a wonderful conversation about Rome and Boston. Miscellanea Pub is a must see on your next trip to Rome!

 

 

Good food is very often, even most often, simple food – Anthony Bourdain

Sunday Chefs – Holiday Edition

My dad was a Sunday Chef. He discovered a love of cooking in his 40’s after his doctor told him to find a hobby to deal with his stress. He tried model ship making but that didn’t last long. His path to a great Sunday Chef was not without its pitfalls. Our family will never stop laughing about the 18 Sundays in a row we had Fettuccine Alfredo until he got it right and then never made it again or the French apple chicken he only made for me on my birthday because he knew it was my favorite but the smell of the apples and onions cooking together always made him feel ill. And none of us will ever forget the family attempt at making Limoncello!  It was obvious we were Irish/Scottish and not Italian, but a fabulous memory all the same.

Every Sunday was an event… all day experiments of food from all over the world. Some Sundays just one course, other Sunday’s five or six. My husband jokingly tells me this is why he married me so he could keep coming to Sunday Dinner. My father passed on his love of cooking to his son-in-laws. My brother-in-law was fully entrenched at a young age and he continues to amaze us. Christmas Day is his show! This year was an amazing display of five courses and not one them disappointed.

When my husband and I got engaged my dad gifted my future husband with a cookbook and a welcome to the Sunday Chefs Club. Christmas Eve is his show! He makes a massive pot of marinara sauce. This years included 14 shelled lobsters, mussels, shrimp and little necks!  It was amazing.

I love to cook, but I love the tradition that these wonderful men have chosen to embrace and follow in the footsteps of my amazing father. My children are growing up with this wonderful tradition and the people that my daughters choose to marry will be getting cookbooks. I am sure he is smiling and toasting us with a glass of Limoncello!

Marry someone who knows how cook. Looks go away but hunger doesn’t …. Unknown

Roscioli Salumeria Con Cucina – Rome Restaurant and Food Allergy Review

When I let my sister know that I was going to Rome all she kept saying was you need to go to Roscioli Salumeria Con Cucina located in the heart of Rome!  She and her husband said it was the best meal they have ever had and they tell everyone to go there. When we discovered it was only a three minute walk from our hotel we were thrilled. It did not disappoint!  I would highly recommend a reservation and to dine in the wine cellar. The reservation is very easily made on their website. When you travel to Rome with food allergies there is a lot of research to be done and I had a hard time finding information on specific restaurants. But if you do your research it can be done. We have a daughter with a lot of food allergies and there was a comment section on the reservation form where we inquired about what she could eat.

Our first night in Rome we ventured out for a beautiful walk through Rome to the restaurant. We were greeted by our waiter Ricardo and brought to the wine cellar. He was aware of the food allergies and let her know that she would have a fabulous meal. She is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, carrots, cucumbers, legumes, zucchini and eggplant but they had it under control. Honestly, I do believe he was very relieved that we were not uptight about it and she didn’t care what she had, she was just happy to be there. We were told to order the cacio e pepe and we would be amazed. We were! The wine was wonderful and the caprese salad, bread, gnocchi, ravioli, the limoncello, tortellini in brodo (homemade tortellini in broth) was so simple and to die for. The menu had a food allergy labeling system that made it all so easy. If you are gluten free, I found the restaurants bent over backwards to accommodate you. Roscioli is comfortable, relaxed and not very expensive, the perfect restaurant for our first night in Rome. They even brought us a little dessert with cookies you could dip in chocolate to welcome us to Rome. Roscioli is a must see.. I do believe it was the best meal I have ever had in my life.

I’d much rather drink wine and eat pasta than be a size zero – Sophia Loren

Bucket List Adventures

Bucket List Adventure – Rome, Italy

Recently I had the privilege of visiting Rome, Italy with my family. My daughter is studying abroad and we could not miss the opportunity to take this Bucket List Adventure. We scrimped and saved and it was so worth it . After a long 14-month battle with breast cancer last year, I have vowed to experience life more and this was a great first start. We stayed in the beautiful Hotel Ponte Sisto. It was in the perfect location to walk everywhere. Right across the bridge from the wonderful neighborhood of Trastevere with all its fantastic restaurants. We spent five days eating, sightseeing, strolling and relaxing. It was wonderful. This trip was a life-changing event for me. Rome is so spiritual and the beauty if overwhelming. To take this vacation with my whole family after the battle we have all gone through, truly makes you appreciate life. 

I spent a lot of time researching restaurants for allergy issues due to our family and their multiple allergies. I found this to be challenging so I will write reviews on every restaurant that we went to and how they handled allergies. Heads up: Italy was wonderful and we found a way to eat everything.  I managed to make it home without gaining any weight… Most likely due to the 24,000 steps/day my Fitbit recorded.

Living La Dolce Vita