Dinner out as a celiac is often fraught, cross contamination makes it so easy to ingest gluten and it is so hard to find memorably good gluten free food. This weekend we went to a restaurant where I have eaten safely four times in the past two years plus it is close by, no need to travel a distance for a decent meal. Where you ask? Bella’s, right here on Main Street in Hellertown. I have written about them before but they don’t know my face so I get the same good service as any other patron. This meal was definitely worth writing about.
I usually get their ziti and once I tried the ravioli, both on the special gluten free menu I always ask for. All were excellent. This time I did the unthinkable; I ordered off the nightly special! Our very friendly and incredibly accommodating waitress went and asked the chef if he could make it with gluten free pasta and flour free as to the sauce. Chef was willing and I waited with much anticipation. Eating off the nightly special menu is something I haven’t been able to do in over two years.
I enjoyed a tasty house salad full of baby spinach leaves while we waited for our entrees. Joe had a cup of soup with spinach and tortellini. He said it was very good. I sat dreaming of the day when I can buy gf tortellini in the pasta aisle and make my own version.
The atmosphere at Bella’s was enjoyable: their decorations were pleasing to my eyes, agreeable soft lighting, tables not too close and the Sinatra was quite soothing. It was not loud in the dining room but I experienced a good buzz of laughter and talk; the vocal music of a restaurant full of happy customers!
Our entrees came. Mine was glorious looking. A salmon fillet covered with sautéed red onions, fresh tomato and smoked mozzarella cheese. It was resting in a sea of ziti with a light wine sauce with large and small shrimp swimming around (well, maybe the shrimp were just laying in it but I like to have fun with words!) The menu didn’t mention them. Bonus!!
I dove in and the flavors were fantastic, the buttery wine sauce played oh so well with the salmon and its toppings. But wait; I couldn’t find any avocado on my plate. That was what had attracted me to this dish in the first place. If you expect something that was mentioned in the menu then I feel you have the right to speak up and politely ask for it. So I did and shortly a young man in an apron with a bowl of avocado slices showed up. He introduced himself as the chef; he was full of apologies for forgetting avocado on my dish and placed several slices on my salmon. How cool is that? A chef that cares enough to personally fix an issue right at table, Wow!
With the avocado it was even more amazing in the flavor department. I declined to finish the large serving; saved some pasta and shrimp for lunch the next day. Joe enjoyed his eggplant rolled and served in vodka sauce but I was just blown away by the complex flavors in my entree and that it was gluten free and whipped up that way especially for me.
Chalk up another safe meal for me at Bella’s. I can’t wait to go back and try something else. If you are celiac like me and dread meals out; this is the place to go. Five times and never disappointed or glutened. Perfect Italian and perfectly safe.