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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pasta Amore!

Lunch dates use to be a nightmare for me and made me quite nervous.  I have always had jobs/careers where networking is a must and required lunch dates.  Early in my career, when I was less confident in myself and my food disability - I had a hard time committing to lunch meetings because 1) I didn't want the client to suggest their favorite restaurant and it end up being impossible for me to eat there 2) I didn't want to look silly sitting there NOT eating and 3) I didn't want my client to see me making a huge fuss over preparations, menu alterations, or end up sending something back.

I realized that I needed to be the first to speak up - I would only suggest 1 or 2 places where I knew I could eat successfully and hoped my client would choose my offerings not suggestion somewhere completely different.  This usually worked and I became much more confident for lunches.  I made sure we went to a restaurant where I was comfortable and could order with little fuss.  I tried to never make conversation around my "food disease," "food allergy," or "food disability."  Sometimes it comes up and I explain briefly but never details.  "Yes, I'm gluten-free."  Leave it at that.

Pasta Amore is a lovely italian restaurant in Rockbrook Village (Omaha) that makes gluten free pasta in house.  I met the family that owns the restaurant through my previous job and have enjoyed safely eating there.  The pasta is the only specifically gluten free item they offer, but the owners & waitstaff are very educated on gluten free eating.  They always have wonderful suggestions for menu items to try and do their best to allow my to eat "special" in a normal setting.

There is nothing like being able to eat in an italian restaurant.  Italian is one of the few ethnic cuisines usually off limits to Celiacs so finding a restaurant where you can safely eat gluten free pasta in public is awesome.  I avoided Italian restaurants for a good three years because of one horrible experience (more about those later) but now I love lunching at Pasta Amore.  

Last week during a lunch meeting, I ordered my usual gluten free pasta but I tried the red pepper sauce for the first time - it was absolutely incredible.  All the peppers retained their integrity and favor after being cooked all together - so delicious!  The order was so large I took some to go and ate it for supper that evening. 

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