The other weekend we had supper at one of my favorite places to eat out at: Bella’s in Hellertown, PA. I have to admit that I was slightly nervous as I had felt a touch glutened after the last time I ate there. But I wanted to give them another chance as I have eaten there safely many times in the past. So, I reached out to the owners about my sub par dining experience. We had a little trouble connecting due to our schedules and summer vacations. Getting smart, I made the reservation in my name instead of Joe’s and that was enough to get the owner at my service! Before dining, Sue came over and chatted at length with me. The issue that might have existed last May seems to be addressed and staff is more aware of the need for extra care for celiac patrons. They use a separate pot for gf pasta and a dedicated strainer for draining gf pasta; both a must. And a bit more care is now taken to keep cooked gf pasta away from other pasta dishes as they are sauced and plated for service. She was really accommodating and we had a second chat after supper; a wonderful host!
I couldn’t resist my favorite meal there; penne with pink vodka sauce and shrimp. I have had it a few times and even though I am not generally a fan of pink vodka sauce, I eat it at Bella’s and adore it. This time Vinnie put finely chopped fresh basil in the sauce and it was a wonderful addition, adding complexity and another layer of great flavor. Most places, when they have gf choices on the menu, make them so plain and lacking in flavor complexity. I guess they are afraid to use seasoning for fear it will gluten customers who seek totally gf meals. Fresh herbs and single spices are totally safe. I particularly recommend McCormick single spices/herbs. Season just like you do for non gluten free customers. We celiacs love great flavor just as much as anyone!
I can add that their parmesan house dressing is lovely and safe and the salad was very good; fresh and flavorful.
Joe had an entrée with eggplant and linguine that he seemed to enjoy. I am longing for the day that Bella’s adds gf linguine to their menu. Hint hint!
My last suggestion is that they make some gf dessert choices; flourless chocolate cake, homemade sorbet, sherbet or granita, and a good quality vanilla ice cream with fresh fruit come to mind! Just saying that there are some easy tasty meal enders that could be just as inviting to the rest of the client base as they might be to we gf diners.
Thanks for a memorably yummy meal out Bella’s!