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First trip to Italy- Florence and Venice, please help with gluten free options

I have read that there is strong awareness of celiac and related disorders in Italy because of a relatively high incidence of celiac among the population. I also understand that government/public organizations are required to provide GF options when serving food.

That said, I think it will be very important to do your research carefully before you leave. I normally eat a low-gluten diet by choice, but found I had to abandon this approach during much of the time I was recently in Italy. If your friend is celiac and could become seriously ill from eating gluten, abandonment is not an option.

It will be especially important to pick your restaurants carefully in Venice, as there seem to be a lot of tourist-trade eateries that serve only so-so pasta/pizza food. Elizabeth Minichilli's apps Eat Venice and Eat Florence never let us down and we relied on them extensively for Rome as well.

The typical Italian breakfast (coronettos, sweet buns, and caffee lattee) may be the biggest hurdle to a GF vacation. If you have access to a fridge, you can store some yoghurt, fruits, cheese, or other breakfast options.

Oct 15, 2013
bonlee in Italy

Secured a Sostanza reservation

Definitely order the butter chicken, even it it's only one order to split. This is a memorable dish. They also have a boiled chicken with salsa verde that is supposed to be very good.

Sostanza has two seatings for dinner, and we had a 9:30 reservation. There were only three servings of chicken left by the time we ordered. I'm really glad I didn't miss out.

A lot of reviews have raved about the artichoke omelet, but the couple next to us (coincidentally, like us, from Vancouver) did not like it at all.

Oct 15, 2013
bonlee in Italy

Porchetta @ Ugo & Joe's

Pork fans may want to try the house-made porchetta at Ugo & Joe's at Nanaimo and Hastings. We've just returned from an eating trip to Italy where we had some fantastic porchetta. The stuff that Joe is making is easily the equal--delicious and just fatty enough.

Oct 15, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Advice for First Night Newbies

I agree completely with you Jen Kalb, and that's what we'll be doing for most of the rest of our trip, using the apps and our intuition to choose where to eat.

My question was just for our first night when we want something close to our hotel the first night. We definitely won't be hanging around Termini at all! We're just staying there for our first two days, then coming back at the end of our trip for several days and staying in Prati, land of Pizzarium.

Aug 16, 2013
bonlee in Italy

Advice for First Night Newbies

Ooops, just realized from your blog post that Cadorna is closed on Saturday nights? Will check your app later, and if that's the case, choose something else.

Aug 16, 2013
bonlee in Italy

Advice for First Night Newbies

Thank you, Cadorna and Com'e il Latte sound perfect.

After being boxed into planes and airports for 14 hours we are going to want to stretch our legs and look around, no matter how tired we are.

It's good to know that it would be acceptable to order just an antipasto and a primi. When my husband was in Italy about 15 years ago he got the sense that restaurants didn't like it when patrons didn't also order a secondi.

The Tiramisu' sounds very tempting, but then, so does the gelato.

But it's my birthday that day, so I might just do both.

Thanks again!

PS Elizabeth, I love all three of your apps!

Aug 16, 2013
bonlee in Italy

Vancouver / Victoria report, for what it's worth

Yes, it's always such a pleasure to get a dinner bill with NO TAX! One of the many things I love about Oregon.

Aug 14, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Advice for First Night Newbies

I'm going to Italy with my husband in September, and we're spending our first two nights in Rome at Hotel Canada before heading to Venice. We're flying in from Vancouver with a two-hour layover in Amsterdam, so we'll be jet-lagged and tired. I also know we'll want to get out and walk a bit and have some dinner.

I've been reading the CH Italy page for some time and have Elizabeth Minichilli's and Katie Parla's apps on my iPad, but some guidance for our first night would really be appreciated as neither of us have been to Rome and we don't speak Italian.

Ideally we'd like something about 20 minutes walk from our hotel, hopefully past some interesting scenery, and safe walking back from dinner. I can't eat mollusks, but other than that, no limitations. We'd like to spend an averageish amount for Rome, for food that isn't too fussy and has some lighter options on the menu, in a place that is welcoming of but not overrun with tourists. Comfortable seating would be a bonus.

I've come up with a few options, but I'm not clear about their pros and consand was wondering in anyone had any light to cast or info to share.

The options are:
Urbana 47
L'Asino D'oro
Colline Emiliane
Trattoria Monti
Trattoria Cadorna

Also, it will be a Saturday night (Sept 14). Is it a good idea to have our hotel make a reservation once we've selected a place to eat?

Thanks.

Aug 13, 2013
bonlee in Italy

Vancouver / Victoria report, for what it's worth

I loved reading your post. You didn't sound full of yourself at all.

I had breakfast at Café Veneto in Victoria a couple of weeks ago. It was just their yogurt, granola, and compote, but it was amazingly good.

In the grass is always greener department, I always wish Vancouver was more like Portland!

Congrats on your wedding and best wishes.

Aug 13, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

49th Parallel Coffee on Main!

I agree, but I just don't like their coffee anymore. Do you drink it over on the Island?

Aug 12, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Is there a store who delivers fridge for free in Vancouver?

That's the one.

Aug 12, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Is there a store who delivers fridge for free in Vancouver?

There used to be a place on Fraser (?) called Handy Appliances. Inventory is limited, but you can sometimes hit them on a good day. I think they might provide free delivery and hook up of kitchen appliances.

Aug 12, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

49th Parallel Coffee on Main!

A 49th Parallel latte and a salted caramel doughnut are a perfect in-the-car breakfast for a road trip.

Depending on my mood and the time of day, I like all kinds of coffee from Starbucks espresso and some of their darker blends to JJ Bean's to 49th Parallel and some of the smaller coffee houses. I like Stumptown in Portland and found Bluebottle in SF to be the most refined coffee I've had.

I won't touch Tim Horton's, Artigiano, or any coffee served in a chain restaurant. That stuff just is not coffee as I know and love it.

Aug 12, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Four great dinners in Vancouver?

Glad to hear you were able to enjoy Bishop's and Yew. It's too bad that Hawksworth is off its game; it started off with such great promise.

Jul 29, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Burgers in Burnaby??

Haven't made to to BH yet. We parked and husband said he wanted to check the menu across the street at Chronic Taco. Finally admitted he'd had a burger for lunch.

We ended up at the taco place and it was bad to meh. They had a decent beer selection along with Mexican pop. The food wasn't great and the place was extremely noisy.

Arrived at Glenburn 10 mins before closing and it was slammed. No aircon, no air, and hardly any staff. Just a lot of hungry kids waiting for cones.

Will try again on Monday.

Jul 06, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Burgers in Burnaby??

Is there somewhere to get a decent burger in Burnaby?

Not Burgers etc thanks. After their tepid performance at Burnaby's Hats Off Day a few weeks ago I'm not sure I'll want to darken their door any time soon.

It's my husband's birthday week this week, and he wants to go out for a burger one night before heading over to the Glenburn Soda Fountain for a butterscotch milkshake.

Any ideas?

Thanks.

Jul 03, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Four great dinners in Vancouver?

...who has been strangely silent.

Jun 18, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Four great dinners in Vancouver?

Bishop's is great for a more intimate dining experience, though I haven't been in a couple of years. I like their attention to the little things like linen and flat wear and their hospitality. The food is, as LotusRapper says, quintessentially Vancouver and very good.

I find Blue Water a bit too corporate--too many seafood towers--but good sushi.

I had a reaction to some pine nuts in a pasta I had at Q4 a while ago. Turns out the cheaper pine nuts from China are not as kind to our systems as those from Italy. So I haven't been back to Q4, since at their price point I think they should use the real deal.

Maybe LaBuca would be a good place for Vancouver Italian, although the taxi ride would be a bit pricey.

Jun 18, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Four great dinners in Vancouver?

I had a really nice evening at Yew this past Friday and would recommend it to anyone visiting Vancouver. Not your typical hotel restaurant, and it specializes in seafood, mostly local and sustainable.
Food was well-presented and expertly cooked, service was warm though perhaps a bit slow between courses, and the restaurant decor has a high-end West Coast feel. We had a glass of wine, bottle of beer, two starters (spot prawns and kennebec fries with bacon and lobster aioli) and two mains (salmon with kale and paella) for $105, which we thought was pretty reasonable. No room for dessert, but the chef had made some chocolate salmon and some power cookies for all the guests that night. Not sure what the couverture was, but based on the quality of the chocolate, I would guess the pastry chef has a deft hand.
Another downtown "hotel" restaurant you might consider is Hawksworth. I haven't been in a while, but when I've been there the food has been delicious and the service spectacular but unpretentious. It's a very short walk from your hotel, basically across the street.

Jun 17, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Tojo's - Detailed review with pics

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the detailed review. I agree Tojo's food sometimes misses the mark, though I'm surprised to hear about the slimy beans. Ooops.

I like the space at Tojos. It's not like anything else in Vancouver. And I think the staff go out of the way to give great and thoughtful service.

Jun 09, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

North Burnaby?

Thanks LotusRapper and moneychow!

Jun 03, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

North Burnaby?

Is Cotton Enoteca in the Heights on Hastings? I don't recall ever seeing it.

Jun 01, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Florence / Rome report - May 2013 (Long Trip, Long Post)

Thanks for taking the time to write this. It was entertaining and has given me some ideas for an upcoming trip in September.

May 20, 2013
bonlee in Italy

North Burnaby?

If you like Indian, I can recommend Handi Cuisine at 4544 Hastings.

Apr 14, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Yo Sushi, Burnaby - Avoid

Hi moneychow,

Had some very good rolls and nigiri at Sushimoto on Friday night. Definitely a step up from Osaka, rice and knife wise, and a fun room as well.

I'll definitely be be back to try more of their offerings.

Thanks again for the tip.

Apr 02, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Salty Tongue left a bad taste in my mouth

I really do suspect the Salty Tongue is not up to the Heather empire's usual standards.

Mar 27, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Yo Sushi, Burnaby - Avoid

Thanks, for the lead on Sushimoto, Moneychow. Will check it out.

Mar 23, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Yo Sushi, Burnaby - Avoid

Thought we'd try a new sushi place last night, and my husband suggested Yo Sushi, a recent addition to the Heights in Burnaby.

It was awful. I could forgive the loose rolls if they had flavour, or even texture, or if there was even a little evidence of knife skills. Which there wasn't.

There wasn't even sushi rice or a touch of vinegar -- just plain old parboiled rice. It was the worst sushi I can remember, and I've eaten some pretty marginal mall sushi in my time. (Not sure if that disqualifies me from posting on Chowhound?)

One somewhat positive note. We ordered some chicken teriyaki, and it was not too bad. Unfortunately the vegetables accompanying it were mostly undercooked onion.

Oh well. Luckily we can get tasty, well-made, quality sushi down the street at Osaka. And at lower price-points than Yo's.

Mar 23, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)
1

Salty Tongue left a bad taste in my mouth

I had a similar experience a few years ago and never went back. There was no signage that I saw about filling out a form to order, staff was dismissive, sandwich was so-so.

Not sure why this place has stayed in business without having to up its game. There are so many other spots within walking distance with better service and better food.

Mar 19, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

West Coast Eats, Tofino and Uclulet?

Just got back from a couple of days there. Had a very nice eggs and sausage brunch at Black Rock's Fetch restaurant. My husband had seafood chowder and said it was excellent. Great water views. We were in the bar the night before and the burgers looked really good.
Shelter in Tofino is another lunch/dinner possibility with a decent sandwich and burger menu and surfing videos that teens would probably like.
For higher end dining you could try Norwoods in Uke, or Spotted Bear in Tofino.
I cannot recommend the Pizza Factory in Uke, although our hotel recommended it to us, unfortunately.

Feb 12, 2013
bonlee in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)