|Happy Valentine's Day from Anthony and I! This is from our engagement photo shoot back in August.|
Valentine's Day. A day full of love, dinner, and lots of chocolate. Before I was diagnosed with severe Gluten Sensitivity and a host of food allergies this holiday was an easy no brainer and my fiance would surprise me with chocolate galore and dinner at a nice restaurant, often with a prix fixe menu. While it require a bit more planning and preparation, I have to say this Valentine's Day was a sweet sweet success.
About 2 weeks before Valentine's Day Anthony and I realized that for the first time in about 3 years we were both off from work on Valentine's night so we decided to make dinner reservations. Most of my former go to places were only offering a prix fixe menu that did not allow for substitutions of any kind. Enter Portobello Cafe and my dilemma was solved. When I called to inquire about reservations the hostess was happy to answer all my food related questions and told me that they would be happy to accommodate my dietary needs. (Side note: I've eaten at this restaurant several times since my diagnosis and the staff is extremely knowledgeable and careful.) I booked a 7:30 reservation and was excited to eat a safe, yummy meal.
When we arrived Anthony was highly impressed with the menu and very excited to enjoy a good Italian meal. I scanned the menu and had a few options ready to go. When the waiter came over I talked to him in length about my food and he made a few suggestions based on my needs. I settled on an arugula salad for a starter and steak with asparagus and broccoli rabe for my main course. I then excused myself to use the bathroom and happened to pass the kitchen on the way and heard music to my ears: "Kitchen staff listen up! We have a food allergy alert for table 17. THIS ORDER NEEDS TO BE MADE SEPARATELY AND NOT COME IN CONTACT WITH GLUTEN, DAIRY, EGGS, SHELLFISH, OR FENNEL." The head chef repeated all this info again to ensure that no errors were being made. While I've never had a problem eating here, I now felt so confident and safe that I know I will continue patronizing this place. I shared what I heard with Anthony and he smiled saying, "That's so cool! Good choice babe." This information put us both at ease about our food and we enjoyed a truly romantic night.
I know, you're probably wondering about dessert. Since I follow BED I'm not one who cares much for sugar and most restaurants use one of my allergens in a dessert (dairy, eggs, and coconut knock out most options, even at a vegan place). So I came home and made myself a guiltless sweet treat :)
Quick Fix Chocolate:
1 tablespoon Raw, Organic, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
1 tablespoon Raw Organic Cacao Powder
2-3 dashes of Cinnamon
1 dash Alcohol Free Vanilla
Liquid Alcohol Free Stevia to taste (I use 3-4 drops)
Mix all ingredients together and place into a mold. If you're really in a rush place in the freezer for about 10 minutes or place in fridge for 20-30 minutes. Savor and enjoy this melt in your mouth treat!