Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gluten Free in Raleigh, NC – Bella Monica & ZPizza

We all know that dining out isn’t the easiest when you’re gluten free. But more and more, restaurants are offering gluten free options.

It’s still important to do your research and make sure proper precautions are being taken to make sure cross-contamination doesn’t occur. So when I find a restaurant I can trust, I pretty much…latch on.

I become a regular! I shout them out on twitter. I follow them on facebook. I let them know that I appreciate all the effort to make my meals gluten free.

And this past weekend I enjoyed TWO restaurants in Raleigh that I know I will add in to my regular rotation:

Bella Monica Italian Restaurant (3121 Edwards Mill Rd #103, Raleigh, NC 27612)

and

ZPizza (All over the country – three convenient locations in the triangle!)

Let’s start with Bella Monica.

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Friday night I enjoyed an amazing Blogger Dinner at Bella Monica. The chef prepared a special menu for everyone participating, and it was amazing!

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While some of the dishes aren’t available on their regular gluten free menu (which is two pages by the way!!!), there was one dish that you can enjoy on an everyday basis when dining at Bella Monica:

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The gluten free Focaccia!

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It’s….crazy good. Crispy on the outside and covered with herbs. Soft and doughy on the inside. MOH and Parrish were dining with me, and MOH couldn’t believe the Focaccia was gluten free. It’s that good!

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I may or may not have eaten more than a few pieces. I couldn’t help myself! It was so darn good!

Every course at Bella Monica was INSANE. Everyone was ooohing and ahhhing. It was such an incredible treat!

A Tomato Tarte that stole the show with its buttery, flaky crust and tasty toppings.

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An Arugula Salad with Prosciutto and Pear – yeah. #killer

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Tender, juicy pork medallions with an amazing sauce. Fun fact: this dish had the MOST delicious pearl onions, which I thought were mushrooms….and Parrish thought were potatoes. Either way…they were yummy!

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Perfectly cooked shrimp with zucchini noodles and pesto. I am CERTAIN that I now need a spiralizer!

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Fennell Au Gratin that surprised everyone! I thought I hated fennel; I can’t stand the licorice taste. But Jessica from Kettler Cuisine shared a secret with me: When you cook fennel it gets sweeter and less licorice-y. Truth. This dish was amazing!

The bacon on top didn’t hurt either! Winking smile

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Gluten Free Gnocchi in Bella Monica’s famous gravy. I die.

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It was an amazing meal followed with a strawberry shortcake stack for dessert…

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I wish I hadn’t been so darn full when this was served because I was only able to eat two bites. I thought I might pop if I ate anymore!

Bella Monica is an absolute gluten free TREASURE. The next time you’re in Raleigh check it out! Enjoy the focaccia…and maybe bring me a piece or two.

Up next, ZPizza!

I was so excited when I saw their booth at the GFAF Wellness Expo!

weekend 081 Z Pizza is delicious! Tons of gluten free options – the crusts even come in two different sizes!! Plus it’s fresh. Delicious, healthy toppings with gluten free goodness in the crust. Love it!

I spoke with the manager regarding their segregation of gluten pizzas and gluten free pizzas, and he had tons of great information. They only use rice flour for the tossing of the gluten pizzas, so there is no gluten flying around in the air. The gluten free pizzas are also prepared in a separate back room with their own pans that are built up on the sides to keep any accidental touching from happening.

Even better? ZPizza has started offering their gluten free pizzas at local music venues where they’re serving pizza! Going to see a live band at Koka Booth in Cary? You can enjoy gluten free pizza while you’re there!

I’m excited to have two great restaurants so close to home!

Happy Tuesday!