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Pranzo Italian Grill, A Gluten-Free Experience

A few weeks ago, I gathered my brood for a day of fun and adventure in Santa Fe, NM.  We boarded the New Mexico RailRunner Express for the first time and the boys had a lot of fun riding the train from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.

I never realized just how blue the sky could be until I moved to New Mexico.  Growing up in Ohio, it was usually a lovely shade of gray. ;-)  I was beyond nervous while waiting for the train to arrive, my precocious little one had that “look” on his face that I know all too well (he inherited it from me!).

I feel blessed to live so close to the oldest state capital in the United States.  Santa Fe was founded in 1610 and has a fascinating history.

There is something for everyone, young and old alike.  One of my personal favorite places to visit is the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

This is my absolute favorite of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings, it is called Pelvis IV

I was the sort of child that ate around the raisin on the cookie and ate around the hole in the doughnut saving either the raisin or the hole for the last and best.  So probably, not having changed much – when I started painting the pelvis bones I was most interested in the wholes to the bones – what I saw through them – particularly the blue from holding them up in the sun against the sky as one is apt to do when one seems to have more sky than earth in one’s world… They were most wonderful against the Blue – that Blue that will always be there as it is now after all man’s destruction is finished.
Georgia O’Keeffe

We also love to visit the many Summer Art Markets on the Plaza, and the beautiful and historic St. Francis Cathedral Basilica.  While I am not a catholic, I can appreciate the architectural beauty and the fascinating history of this amazing building.

This is a picture of the front doors to the church, the ornate detail in the artwork is awe inspiring.

After all that running around, we were famished! We had lunch at Pranzo Italian Grill, my favorite place to dine gluten-free in Santa Fe.  I have never had a single bad experience.  Pranzo carries gluten-free brown rice pasta, so a gluten-free diner can enjoy many of the pasta sauces as well as a few of the appetizers, salads, and entrees (as always, be sure to ask for a manager to confirm the gluten-free options and to discuss preparation methods to reduce the risk of cross contamination).

The manager on duty (Eugenia Blahitka) the day we dined at Pranzo was so kind and helpful, it really makes all the difference in a pleasurable dining out experience, especially when you are gluten-free.  Eugenia’s sister had just recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, so we had a lot to talk about! :-D It is amazing how many people I run into like this.

We started off with the Antipasto Misto (a selection of Italian meats, cheeses, artichoke hearts, olives and peppers).  The accompanying pesto was a new twist on an antipasto platter for me and it was scrumptious with the goat cheese!

This is not a great photo, but the Insalata Caprese was amazing.  Sam hates tomatoes (a texture thing) but for some reason, he decided to try this salad and he loved it so much, we ended up ordering a second one just for him!  I have been making caprese salad for Sam almost everyday since, LOL!

I ordered the Filetto Di Manzo Con Gorgonzola, which was a bit hefty for lunch, but after I first had it a couple of months ago when we attended a wedding reception in Santa Fe (the caterer could not provide us with a gluten-free meal, so we ordered takeout), I had been craving it.  Normally, I am not a fan of bleu cheeses but melted and pared with a juicy filet is heaven.

Mike ordered the Farfalle Con Pollo (Bow tie pasta, chicken, bell peppers, peas, in a roasted garlic cream sauce), but subbed the Farfalle with gluten-free pasta.  It wasn’t what he was expecting (he thought it would be similar to a dish he used to love at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, before going GF), but he enjoyed the paring of the sweet bell peppers with the heat of the green chile in the garlic cream sauce.

Sam ordered the Spaghetti Con Gamberoni (Spaghetti, shrimp, olive oil, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, peas, chili flakes and Parmesan) with gluten-free pasta.  He absolutely loved it and wouldn’t even let me try it!

Luke’s favorite is the Spaghetti Bolognese (Spaghetti and marinara with ground beef, carrots, onion, and celery), with GF pasta.

Needless to say, we had no room left to even consider dessert! :-D

Pranzo Italian Grill

540 Montezuma Ave
Santa Fe, NM 87501

(505) 984-2645
info@pranzosantafe.com

Weekly Gluten-Free Roundup of some of my favorite bloggers:

Last week, Shirley from Gluten Free Easily (GFE) wrote a great post chronicling her experience with MyCeliacID; a do-it-yourself, saliva based gene test for the celiac disease genetic markers.  I encourage you to read her story, as well as the many comments in response to it; we can learn a great deal by reading about each other’s personal journey with gluten sensitivity.

Amy, from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, posted a recipe for Chewy Chocolate Vegan Date Brownies that look wonderful.  Had I not already tried Amy’s Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream recipe, I probably would have skipped right over this recipe because of the dates.  The last time I had a date (as a child), I didn’t like them.  I hadn’t given dates a second chance until I had an almost out-of-body experience just looking at Amy’s Fruit Tart!  I made the tart for my mom on Mother’s Day and it was pure heaven.  The dates are pulverized with pecans, then melted butter is added (dairy-free Earth Balance in my case) to form the crust.  The dates add sweetness plus you get the added health benefits and fiber by using the whole date.

Alta, from Tasty Eats At Home shared a recipe for Flourless Almond Butter Cookies that she adapted from a recipe of Shirley’s (of GFE).  These would be great for kids with peanut allergies (but can tolerate tree nuts ), if you are trying to eliminate carbs or simply want a twist to the classic peanut butter cookie!  And they are naturally gluten-free! :-D

Linda, from The Gluten-Free Homemaker shared an AWESOME post for cleaning tile grout!  I have approximately 3,200 sq. feet of tile in my house (dogs + allergies + carpet = misery for Luke and me) and cleaning the grout is one of my least favorite activities (and it usually doesn’t look any better). I will definitely be giving Linda’s method a try soon.

Linda also made a post on Getting Started In Freezer Cooking.  I just started doing this a year ago and it has been a great resource when time is of the essence!

I found a brand new (to me) blog and I definitely encourage you to check out Lexie’s Kitchen. Lexie blogs on gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free meals and treats!  The very first post I read of Lexie’s was on homemade, non-toxic deodorant (really, how cool is that?).  I happen to have all the ingredients on hand so I am about to go make some. :-D

Lastly,  don’t forget to enter the giveaway for Erin Elberson’s (Gluten Free Fitness) e-book “7 Quick Start Steps for a Healthy Gluten Free Life,” I will be announcing the winner tomorrow!

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Comments

  1. Heidi, OMG Luke is so stinking cute!! Weird, but true, he looks a bit like Carson! They both have the same "I've got something up my sleeve" look – next weekend could be trouble.

    What a fun day for you guys! I am sure the kids had a blast on the train.

    A great round-up, too, of the happenings in the gf blog world.

    • Thanks Kim, and oh yeah, all 4 of our boys look eerily similar (wasn't there a creepy movie once about blond children?) We are definitely in trouble when they get together next weekend! ;-)

      What is Carson into? Luke dropped Jungle Junction for Blue's Clues (the day AFTER his birthday party! Grrr….)

      • The funny thing about me have such blond children is that I have totally dark hair (as does my entire side of the family). I remember right before I delivered Conner, my mother-in-law and I joked that it would be so funny (and seemingly impossible) if he came out blond haired and blue eyed. I remember bursting out laughing when I saw him – his hair was as blond as could be!

        It will be a blast to see all our blondies together!

        At least Luke waited until after his party to embrace Blue's Clues, after all your work you put into it! Carson is obsessed with Caillou, Fishing, and anything related to trucks with trailers!

  2. Kim says:

    OMG..I am drooling over your meals!!! That caprese salad looks amazing!! Is that a base of pesto? The pastas and steak look amazing too!! Can they start a location here in Columbus? How about a franchise? You & I could run it! ;)

    Kim

  3. Renee says:

    Still want to try this place…maybe next week when my in-laws are here. We went to Casa Vieja in Corrales with friends last night. Lovely and gluten-free delicious!

    • Renee, you should definitely take your in-laws to Pranzo and take the train (no need to worry about driving home so you can enjoy a glass of wine!). The train depot is actually right around the corner from the restaurant so it is really convenient.

  4. kelly says:

    yummmmmy! that looks so good. I have thought about a little day trip on the Railrunner to santa fe. =0) might just have to do this. =0) Glad you had a wonderful day.

  5. Cara says:

    Wow! I just love Santa Fe too, just got back from there, but didn't know about Pranzo. Oh Well, something to put on the to do list. :)

  6. Deanna says:

    Sounds like a fun trip! I love Georgia O'Keefe, too.

  7. Maggie says:

    Great pics – I haven't had breakfast yet so you made me soooooo hungry. My sister loves O'Keefe too :) And I love love love Lexi. I adopted her a few months ago and made some of her amazing treats. That girl is talented. I'm off to check out her deodorant. I use Tom's Apricot and I love it but would love to make my own and give it as gifts – that's so weird isn't it? Maybe I'd couple it with cashmere sweaters just to seem sort of normal? Haha!

    • Hey Maggie! I love Lexie too! I thought about doing the same thing for gifts!! I have a bunch of health nut friends just like me!!! I was thinking it would be a good holiday gift! LOL I told my husband and he looked at me like I was crazier than he already thinks I am. Lexie said she hoed for 4 hours in the heat and still smelled good ;0)

  8. Linda says:

    Sounds like a great trip. Thanks for the shout out. Just for the record, the freezer cooking post was a guest post. Glad you liked it.

  9. What a great trip, meal, etc.! Your little one is absolutely adorable. Almost everyone in both Mr. GFE's and my families started out blond. We call blond little ones "towheads." :-) Your youngest is beyond adorable, Heidi!! And, I love, love, love that your kids made those meal choices and then didn't want to share. Real food addicts at young ages! ;-)

    Thanks so much for the link love, my dear. Always appreciated! And, I see that these "roundups" are making the rounds–way too cool! ;-)

    xoxo,

    Shirley

  10. Lisa says:

    Wow… apparently I am not reading carefully enough, because I had *no idea* you are in Albuquerque. (smacks head– d'oh!) Here are two GF tips from a Santa Fe local.

    Try Real Food Nation. At the intersection of US 285 and Old Las Vegas Highway, in Eldorado, about 10 minutes north of Santa Fe. If you take the US 285 exit off I-25, turn left at the end of the exit ramp, and you will run into it.

    Address: 624 Old Las Vegas Highway

    Phone: 505-466-3886

    Website: realfoodnation.biz

    Hours: Open for breakfast and lunch on weekends, 8am-3pm; otherwise open 7:30am-7:30pm Tues-Fri (closed Mondays).

    Real Food Nation is *very* Santa Fe, meaning that they serve food that is locally grown, sustainable, organic, slow food, (insert Santa Fe stereotype here). They are not exclusively GF but they have a lot of GF options. I tried them for the first time last weekend. I had a very good organic beef burger with a GF bun– I can't really remember the last time I ordered a burger with a bun! I recommend topping your burger with avocado, it was great. They also serve a lot of GF desserts, but their availability varies widely because they sell out. Last weekend at lunch I ordered one of everything– I got GF carrot cake bread, a vanilla cupcake, and rice pudding (made with coconut milk and cinnamon). It was great to bring home locally made GF treats. Your family will love this place. There is a playroom in the back of the dining room, with lots of pillows on the floor & some toys to play with. There's also a play area outside on the back patio. I saw quite a few children playing happily here last weekend.

    Another bit of Santa Fe insider knowledge: We have a local chef and chocolate historian, Mark Sciscenti, who teaches baking with alternative grains at Santa Fe Community College, and many of his classes are one-day Continuing Ed classes. He has been baking wheat-free for years, and he is very sympathetic to those of us who are attempting to learn to bake Gluten Free at 7,000ft. You can check out his web site at worldtreechocolates.com

    So let's talk local for a second… Do you have any secret GF treasures in Abq that you can share? We've been picking up bread mixes and goodies from Great Harvest Bread Company in Abq. Have you got any great GF insider tips for Abq?

    • Hi Lisa!!

      Sorry it has taken so long to respond, it has been a crazy week (leaving for vacation tomorrow)!

      Thank you for all the local tips, so cool!!

      My favorite spots to shop in ABQ are:

      La Montanita Co-op on Central (AWESOME!)

      R. Downs Nutrition Center (on Montgomery/Louisiana)

      Keller's Farm Market on Eubank (they can be really pricey though, but they carry some things that other stores don't)

      I also shop at Whole Foods and Sunflower. Vitamin Cottage is also good.

      Restaurants:

      Pars Cuisine (if you like Greek/Mediterranean food), they have belly dancers and you can sit on the floor, so much fun, my boys "love the ladies," LOL!

      Marcello's Chophouse (ABQ Uptown)

      The usual chain restaurants of course (Pappadeaux is my fave chain). But there is also Bravo, Boston's, Chili's, Outback, PF Changs, Pei Wei,

      Paisano's is another favorite if only because the owner has CD. The food is good too, it used to be hit or miss, but they have gotten much better. I was there last week and had GF Eggplant Parmesan!

      I have also heard of a little shop on Central called The Community Cup. I have not been there yet but hear they have great GF pastries!!

      There is also a Brewpub in Rio Rancho that brews GF Beer (haven't been yet), Turtle Mountain.

      Hope that helps, it would be fun to meet up for coffee sometime!

  11. best beer says:

    On that concept i must state why don't we celebrate with a glass of guinness, and this day definitely will start simply great!

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