As they say, what does not kill you, will make you better. I am always suspicious of things that are supposedly really good for you or things that will increase my sexual stamina. Usually these things are things that are terrible tasting.
Italians have an obsession with their intestinal and gut health. Drinking a little digestif, digestivo, is something many of them are accustomed to.
Digestifs are usually an alcoholic beverage that you enjoy at the end of meal. It is not meant to be downed like a shot. As with many things in Italy, most of the Italian digestifs are bitter. Oh how they love bitter here!
I have tried a few. Some made from walnuts and some made from arugula. The one made from arugula is a specialty of Ischia, an island near Capri.
If they are not too bitter, then they are often too sweet. When I tried the Ratafia, I was delighted because while sweet, it at least tasted good.
Can a celiac eat pasta, pizza, and gelato? Is a trip to Rome even possible?
First, learn the basic phrase for without gluten — “senza glutine” (sen-za glue-tea-neh) in Italian. While there are many dishes that do not include gluten, such as rice dishes, cross contamination can be a problem so it’s a good idea to explain that you have an allergy. Celiacs is “celiachia” in Italian and the “ce” at the start of the word is pronounced as a “chay” so it’s “chay-lee-ah-chee” but you can show the restaurant this phrase from Celiac Travel which explains that you have celiacs and that you cannot eat food made with wheat or wheat products.
Sono affetto da celiachia (intolleranza al glutine), devo seguire una dieta assolutamente priva di glutine.
Qualsiasi cibo contenente farina/amido di grano (frumento), segale, orzo, avena, farro, spelta, kamut e triticale può causarmi gravi malori.
Luckily, the Italians are obsessed with gut health, so they will feel the tragedy for you, and they will understand. Now, on to the places in Rome where you can eat!
Mama Eat Lab (100 percent gluten free) – They also have another restaurant called Mama Eat but it is not 100 percent gluten-free.
Read a really good article here. Much of this list is from that site (which includes information about AIC — gluten-free accreditation). This site also rates the places. I also looked at this site which gave a good roundup of gluten-free eats in Rome but more importantly, a list of gluten-free eateries at the airport!
At the start of every year, and indeed at most other times of the year, there is someone who wants to eat salad. I was asked to do a posting about salad which I took to be about salad with lettuce. So, let us eat lettuce!
Cosme: “Col” salad at Cosme. This large (larger than most main courses) salad is served on a ten inch wide plate and is large enough for a main dish or to be shared as an appetizer. It is listed as an appetizer on the menu at Cosme. The salad has raw shredded red cabbage, alfalfa, cashews, hearts of palm, artichoke, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, and the dressing is a yogurt based dressing so you feel healthy when eating it.
Matria: Also has a decent salad. It’s pretty and actually makes you want to eat salad.
Osso: Although Osso is a steak house, there is a selection of salads including an attractive wedge salad (in real life, in the close up above, the wedges rise like the Andes covered in mint green and dusted with bacon and candied pecans). The second salad mentioned, “salad #3” contains tiny deep fried cheese balls. I recommend keeping the dressing on the side, and foregoing the song and dance of the waiter pouring and tossing, so that you can enjoy the fried cheese “croutons”. The salad is called #3 because on the old menu, it was the #3 (at least, I think that’s why).
Cafe Mozart: Located in San Borja, this cafe has an all-you-can-eat salad bar. The salad bar has a full selection of cooked items including pasta salads and many other salads to put in the salad.
La Mora: They have several salads. They also use a classic European mustard vinaigrette. Because the olive oil is whipped/emulsified in, the dressing has the thickness of an aoli (mayonnaise in plain language).
Cafe A Bistro: The head salad is like an iceberg wedge salad, but you get all and not only the wedge (the photo doesn’t do the salad justice as the salad is more impressive when viewed in profile).
Antica: One of the salads uses butter/bib lettuce and has wedges of oranges among other things making it a decent salad.
La Panka: This chain restaurant has large salads. The one below is with roasted veg and chicken. The salad is the size of small hot tub.
La Linterna: Also has a decent house salad with ham and pecans.
Taller Razeto: Has good salads (melted cheese on a bed of lettuce in the photo below), but the restaurant is out in La Punta so not a daily destination unless you live there.
Pardos Chicken: Has a lettuce salad but I like their “cooked salad” with cooked carrots, beets, beans, and avocado. But, we were talking about lettuce.
Poke Pacifiko: As you can order exactly what you want, I imagine you can make your own salad. I’m sure you can get it without fish.
Plus, I would guess that most of the vegetarian and vegan restaurants have lettuce salads.
Some things are difficult to find in Bogota. Thai massage is one of them. The closest one gets is from Alvaro Silva. His phone number is 314-357-6656. Email address is email@example.com. His massages are 90 minutes long and cost 150,000 pesos. (Massage therapists don’t usually receive tips, and some refuse, so that’s the set price.) Alvaro does Thai-, hot rock-, pressure point-, oil-, and Swedish massage. Plus, he also offers other wellness products like personal training sessions and exercise classes.
His massages are usually done on the floor on yoga mats (so he can pretzel your legs and arms) but he also uses a massage table if you have one. Only caveat with Alvaro is that he doesn’t speak English. It’s still easy to communicate with him and he can usually tell where you are in pain. Another thing that I like about him is that he doesn’t talk during the massage (unless you want to) and he doesn’t keep checking on how you like the session (I usually play music from a relaxation app on my phone so I tend to zone out and concentrate). Sometimes I wish that I had booked more than one massage because he’s spent the whole 90 minutes unknotting my back.
Most hotels have spas so one can get massages in fancy environments. I’ve only tried a few massage therapists and spas in Colombia. As this is Bogota, you can get the massage therapist to come to your house. The style of massage in Colombia seems to be mainly “Swedish.” I prefer pressure point and deep tissue. The other massages I’ve had here cost about half the price of Alvaro’s, but they were also only half as good. Most of the other massages involved lots of oil and Swedish style (light sweeping strokes). But, some people don’t agree with me and tell me that they get strong massages from other therapists (but each person has a different level of pressure that they like — one person’s pain is another person’s so-so).
My advice is to try them out and see which one you like.
The pitaya is extremely good for you, by most accounts. Some think it should be sold as a diet fruit. If I were to market it in the U.S., I would call it the “Golden Dragon Fruit” because that’s essentially what it (it’s called the “yellow dragon fruit” which has a much less regal tone). The pitaya is a cactus fruit which when opened up looks and tastes like the better known pink skinned dragon fruit (I have yet to see a pink dragon fruit here in Colombia — just like I have yet to see a lemon).
I was looking up about the pitaya on Wikipedia and learned not only how healthy it is (same amount of potassium as a banana) but also about the other names for the pitaya. Of the various names, I liked “Queen of the Night” quite a bit. The pitaya is a native of the Americas — and did you see that pink fleshed one? I can’t wait to try that one.
The easiest way to eat the pitaya is to slice it in two, take a spoon, scoop it out, and eat. Delicious. It’s a mild sweet juicy flavor. The seeds in the white flesh can be eaten as well. The yellow skin cannot be eat (as far as I know). Some people put this in juice or a smoothie but I think it’s easiest eaten out of the half-skin. The pitaya are pricey as far as fruit goes, as I bought a whole bunch at Paloquemao and as they cost 4,000 pesos per pound — that makes it about 85 cents per fruit.
Very few fruits make me giggle. But the pitaya does, solely because of its digestive effects. It is like the Vitamix or blender of the fruit world. After having eaten these for several days in a row, I discovered that each time I ate one, I got a funny feeling in the pit of my tummy. Gurgling. A rumble in the jungle. It was comical… Unlike most fruits, the pitaya requires some forethought: know where you will be 110 minutes after consumption!