Friday, April 8, 2011

I'm Dying Here...Conflicted and A Little Nervous

Well, I've officially hit a wall. I have no inspiration and no new recipes to share. Not for a lack of trying, mind you. Last night I made Pasta e Fagioli soup and the reviews were lukewarm, especially from me. The soup had it's little photo shoot and after I ate it I thought, hmm, I wouldn't make this again, so why write about it?

Which leads me to write a post I have been putting off since January. I am terribly conflicted about this bit of information, so I am hesitant to share it. When I finally get to the point, you'll see what I mean.

For my birthday in January we went to a restaurant in Salt Lake City's downtown called Biaggi's. It's in the Gateway shopping center, and my kids love to watch the trains go by and go to the "big city." But the real reason we went there was that I was dying to get my hands on their gluten free menu. They have a full gluten free menu with appetizers through dessert, which is really saying something. Of course I want to support this restaurant, because they are making such an effort to accomodate gluten free eating. However, and this is a personal however, I was disappointed in my experience there. If I express it in list form, it may be easier for you to understand.

Things I Like About Biaggi's:

1. The gluten free food they serve is delicious.
2. They have quite an extensive menu to choose from.
3. The ambience and service was great.
4. I had no concerns about my meal being completely gluten free. My waiter was very careful.

Things I Don't Like About Biaggi's:

1. You have two choices of gluten free pasta: penne and a spinach noodle. Spinach noodles just don't look yummy to me. Green strings in sauce seem a little swampy.
2. I paid $14 for the Chicken Alfredo Penne Pasta. I recieved about 1 cup of pasta with exactly three pieces of chicken in the dish. Although it was yummy, it didn't have quite the value I was expecting.
3. When you order a $14 dish of gluten free pasta, you are only ordering gluten free pasta. No salad, no vegetables, and no dessert. Not that I couldn't have ordered them separately, but it seems cheap to make someone pay for lettuce and oil and vinegar when they are paying $14 for pasta already.
4. Since the only appetizer our table recieved was french bread and dipping sauce, I obviously didn't eat that. But I had a long time to wait before my cup of pasta arrived. Even The Dodo (a small local restaurant) will bring me carrot sticks and celery with hummus when there isn't anything for me to order. But I wasn't sure I wanted to spend $5-$6 on something to tide me over, because I was expecting a lovely, filling dinner.

So, my recommendation is this: Biaggi's is a great gluten free option for lunch, when the prices and portions are smaller, or for people who don't mind paying $25-$30 only for their own dinner. One day when I don't have five children in tow, I may be that person. But I left this restaurant hungry and disappointed. Yet I still want to commend Biaggi's for their gluten free efforts and service. Not many restaurants are there yet. So I want to support them, but I'm not sure I can recommend them carte blanche. I feel the trust I have with my readers is immeasurable, and I would hate to steer you wrong on anything that I myself don't love wholeheartedly. I think Biaggi's can easily get there, and yet they are a family style restaurant, where everything is ordered separately. If you know ahead of time what to expect, I think you'll be pleased. But going in with high expectations is a recipe for disappointment. You can have the gluten free world on a platter here, but you just have to pay for it.

There. I did it. Can you see the conflict? Can you see why I waited 4 months to write about it? Biaggi's, I love you and I don't. But I can't send my readers to you without giving them a completely honest review of what to expect there. My relationship with them is just too important.

Happy eating!

2 comments:

  1. We had the same conflict. We waited all year to go there and then at Christmas time we went to see the lights and we were going to eat there. Then we saw the prices and chose to go somewhere else. We need our food to be enough to get full on and not soo expensive. I know GF foods are already expensive. So we try to cut dollars where ever we can.

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  2. Thanks for the heads up! I was so excited to see their gluten free menu and was planning on going sometime. I guess I'll have to save my pennies and eat something before I go! :(

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