March 16, 2012
Like many people, I have discovered that I am allergic to wheat. When I eat anything with wheat in it (bread, pasta, etc), my stomach starts to hurt.
So for the last few months, I have been extremely diligent about making food choices that exclude wheat, and a whole new world has opened up for me. It seems as if everywhere I turn, there are gluten-free alternatives available.
I went to my local Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market™ that just opened up and they have an entire gluten-free section.
I also found out about a website called GlutenFree.com, where you can purchase all kinds of products!
But, what happens when you go out to lunch or dinner? Especially for Italian food?
Well, what I am about to tell you has me excited!
On Wednesday, I had a business lunch in downtown Los Angeles and we selected Maria’s Italian Kitchen for our meeting.
Madelyn Alfano is the founder and owner of Maria’s, which has nine Southern California locations. Madelyn named the restaurant after her Italian mother, Maria, and they are well-known for their fantastic Italian cuisine.
I first met Madelyn because she has a woman-owned business (just like Frieda’s) and we are both members of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-Los Angeles). Madelyn is actually the current President of NAWBO-LA.
I always try to support other women business owners, so it was especially nice that Madelyn surprised me and showed up for my business lunch! (She and her general manager even wore purple shirts – our company color!)
So, you can imagine my surprise when I opened up the menu and found in big, bold letters, “Gluten-free items offered, including pizza and pasta!”
I have never seen a complete gluten-free option offered in an Italian restaurant. You can see the entire gluten-free menu here.
Although I opted for the Chopped Italian Salad with Chicken, I plan on trying their gluten-free pizza on my next visit. And I would highly recommend Maria’s Italian Kitchen if you are in Los Angeles and want “Real Italian food by Real Italian Women.”
One more connection to Madelyn – next Friday March 23, she will be presenting the NAWBO-LA Legacy Award to my mother, Frieda Caplan, in recognition of her pioneering efforts and accomplishments during 50 years of business, mentorship, and inspiration to women. If you want to send your own congratulatory note to my mom, click here.
If you have a favorite gluten-free product, I would love to hear about it! Please comment at the bottom of my online blog post and maybe I will try something new AND gluten-free this weekend.