Gluten-free pizza party

I’ve been wanting to give GF Patissiere‘s baking a try for a while now. Luckily, I managed to have a small order tagged onto a regular delivery to Edmonton and, after meeting Peter (delivery man, husband to GF Patissiere’s owner and baker Victoria, and the guy behind The Celiac Husband blog) and his lovely daughter, I had the goodies in my hands.

And then I had to promptly stick them all in the freezer for two weeks because I was saving them all for a get-together with friends. It was pure torture, let me tell you. But I was a good girl, and didn’t even open the box to peek inside. Who knew I had so much willpower?

The box that called out "open me!"

The box that called out "open me!"

In addition to dessert, I also ordered some gluten-free pizza shells so that we could assemble our own Celiac friendly pizzas. I took everything out of the freezer the day before, and I am happy to say that freezing didn’t affect the quality of the food at all.

GF Patisserie pizza shells

GF Patisserie pizza shells

We added a little cheese, a little tomato sauce, some yellow, orange and green bell peppers, some Mastro extra lean hot capocollo, and some Harvest Meats bison sausage before popping the shells into the oven. A couple of different side salads rounded off the meal.

my beautiful pizza

my beautiful pizza

The crust browned perfectly in the oven and took no time at all to make. If you like thin crust pizza, I would highly recommend these. And all of us agreed that you couldn’t tell they were made from special gluten-free dough, which is high praise because most gluten-free products do taste at least slightly different from the originals due to the mix of alternative flours.

one of the other pizzas

one of the other pizzas

And some sangria to go with the meal didn’t hurt either.

Yes we were lazy and didn't make it from scratch.

Yes we were lazy and didn't make it from scratch.

To end the meal we cracked open the box and devoured brownies made from Barry Callebaut chocolate and cream cheese. (To be perfectly honest some of us couldn’t hold out anymore and we had some of these before eating our pizza!) They were like biting into a piece of rich, thick cheese cake and were heavenly to eat. One friend said — and keep in mind that I quote her exactly — that they were “fucking glorious.”

Callebaut and cream cheese brownies

Callebaut and cream cheese brownies

If you want to learn more about GF Patisserie, make sure you check out their website, Peter’s blog, and also this profile on Victoria that Chris did a little while ago.

GF Patisserie
122 – 3rd Ave West
Cochrane, Alberta
www.gfpatisserie.com

Café Ba Ba Reeba, Las Vegas

I needed a good place on the strip for a (relatively inexpensive) group dinner. A buffet would have been the easy choice, but I wanted something different. Armed with recommendations (thanks H. Peter!) and with a pre-purchased gift certificate from Restaurant.com that I picked up at a high discount, I made a reservation for Café Ba Ba Reeba and got ready to enjoy some Spanish tapas.

Café Ba Ba Reeba

Café Ba Ba Reeba

The restaurant is located inside Fashion Show Mall but confusingly, you cannot enter the restaurant through the mall. Their entrance faces Las Vegas Boulevard, and has a relatively large patio. The inside is split between the bar and restaurant seating.

I was the first one to arrive and right away ordered a half pitcher of black raspberry sangria. It was served with a generous amount of diced apples as well as lemon and orange peel. It wasn’t too sweet and it wasn’t too dry, but I did feel there could have been a stronger berry taste, as the majority of it came from some Skyy infusion raspberry vodka. Some actual raspberry juice might have boosted the drink another level. They had interesting looking peach sangrias being served at the next table; if I ever go back to Vegas anytime soon I may have to give that one a try.

I was cautious about ordering too much because I wasn’t sure how many people would be drinking. In hind sight, I wish I had ordered a full pitcher because five of us ended up drinking my poor tiny half pitcher. I probably should have insisted that they order their own and leave my sangria alone!

Black raspberry sangria

Black raspberry sangria

To whet our appetites, we were served slices of fresh bread with olive oil. Some balsamic vinegar did show up a little later, but I had already eaten my share of bread. The bread itself was decent, but not extraordinary.

bread and olive oil, sans balsamic vinegar

bread and olive oil, sans balsamic vinegar

As a group we decided to order a number of tapas dishes and a few servings of paella to share. We ordered:

Spanish meatballs (beef) with tomato sauce – slightly spicy and big, couldn’t see what was really Spanish about it though
Crispy calamari with tomato salsa – not bad, but not memorable
Seared sea scallops with raisins, couscous and pine nuts – probably one of the best of the entire meal, warmed all the way through but seared so fast that the insides were on the cusp of being raw, not for those who dislike sushi, everyone except for one person loved it and we ended up ordering an additional plate
Serrano, salchichon & chorizo sliced meats with manchego cheese (a.k.a. The House Plate, although it didn’t say that on the menu we had) – came with teeny tiny olives and small triangles of bread, was tasty but the quantity served probably wasn’t worth the price charged
Bacon-wrapped dates with an apple vinaigrette – was the other star dish of the night, a warm dish that was soft and salty and sweet all rolled into one, wasn’t to everyone’s taste but those who enjoyed it really loved the flavour
Roasted salmon – can’t remember what was on it, and the online menus aren’t identical to what we saw in the restaurant, tasted fine but wasn’t memorable
Seafood paella with gulf shrimp, sea scallops & green beans – served with generous amounts of seafood, a tiny bit too salty for some people, while wasn’t soggy it was almost the texture of a risotto and had no crispy bits that you would expect from the bottom of the pan
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