Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blogger Dinner at Bella Monica, Plus the Giveaway Winner!

Last night I finally ate at Bella Monica, a fantastic Italian restaurant here in Raleigh featuring an extensive gluten-free menu.  Best part is, I got to share my meal with one of my favorite local gluten-free bloggers, Pam from I’m a Celiac!  She is incredibly friendly and fun and I had a great time getting to know her.  Thanks, Pam, for inviting me!

She had already been to Bella Monica, so she was already familiar with how things work there and made sure to order us extra gluten-free focaccia bread before I even arrived – so glad she did, as it was easily the best bread I have had the pleasure of eating in two years. 

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It was warm, chewy and drenched in olive oil – my favorite way to eat focaccia.  I was so happy when the second square of bread arrived with our meals, just in time for dipping in Nana’s gravy!

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I ordered the chicken parmigiana, which was served with gluten-free penne pasta.  I swear, if I didn’t trust the restaurant and Pam so much I would have thought I was eating gluten, it was that good!  I shared my leftovers with my husband, a gluten eater, and he immediately said that they need to market that pasta because he couldn’t tell the difference.

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Bella Monica even has a variety of gluten-free desserts – I ordered the tiramisu, which was really tasty, particularly the mascarpone cream.  However the star dessert in my opinion was the crème brulee that Pam ordered.  She generously shared a bite with me, and it had an amazing texture and the perfect hint of lemon.

It was definitely blogger night at Bella Monica last night – Marlow from Gluten Hates Me was also eating there!  She stopped by our table after the meal and we ended up chatting for an hour.  I have never gotten to hang out with other bloggers before and it was such a cool experience, especially since I’m such a newbie to the blog world.
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Photo credit: I’m a Celiac

Thanks, ladies, for being so welcoming and friendly! 

Added bonus – Pam knew the manager, who stopped by and talked to us for awhile and even sent us each home with a very special eggplant dish.  It was very thinly sliced eggplant that was breaded and fried, then wrapped around cheese and topped with Nana’s gravy (I swear, I could eat buckets of that sauce).  Hubs and I dug in the moment I got home, and then enjoyed the leftovers for lunch today!  So incredibly good.

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If you don’t live in the area to visit Bella Monica, be sure to check your grocery store’s freezer section for their pizzas to get a little taste Smile  To find a location near you that carries them, check out their store locator.


Thanks to Pam, Marlow and everyone at Bella Monica for a wonderful gluten-free evening!

Now, on to the giveaway winner!  This week I’ve been running a giveaway that Carrie over at Ginger Lemon Girl generously offered to host for a signed copy of her new cookbook, the Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker cookbook.  And the big winner is…Lisa, a.k.a @zenharmony! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please email your address info to me at to collect your prize.  For those of you who are not the lucky winner, you still have a chance to win a copy from Pam at I’m a Celiac, so be sure to head over there and enter!


  1. Had such a blast with you at dinner! Great write up too! So fun to spend time with a blog friend!!

  2. Thank you soooo much, Jenni, I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have won "The Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook!" I've been gluten free for 18 months, and have just begun to feel brave enough to branch out with different recipes. I can't wait to try out the new recipes!



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