My aunt, uncle, and two cousins flew in to Fort Lauderdale today from Wisconsin and we worked it out so that I could meet them for lunch on Las Olas Boulevard instead of having to meet them later in the week up in Delray Beach. It coincidentally turned out to be quite a Fort Lauderdale weekend with the water taxi bar crawl yesterday and lunch on Las Olas today. I’m a big fan of Fort Lauderdale in general, as my recent post implied, but I especially love Las Olas. It’s a great place to eat lunch or dinner at one of many great restaurants (it’s especially nice to eat outside along the sidewalk) and then walk around and check out all the boutiques and art galleries. There is a lot of great architecture in the buildings along the street, as well as some large trees along the Boulevard and other greenery, so it really creates an enjoyable experience to eat and shop.
We went to lunch at Caffe Europa. Another aunt’s friend who lives on Las Olas once told us that Caffe Europa was its best restaurant, but we went somewhere else because we saw it was Italian and assumed there wouldn’t be much for me to eat. Lo and behold I discovered later that Caffe Europa has gluten-free pasta and pizza so this time we checked it out for lunch. Caffe Europa is a nice restaurant with a great atmosphere in general and was very popular when we were there. It’s in particular a great place to sit outside along the sidewalk and people watch because they have a great covered outdoor seating patio (it was a bit cold with the breeze today but I survived- my Wisconsin kin probably thought I was a bit crazy). I ordered the Orecchiette with gluten-free penne pasta so it came with broccoli rabe, Italian sausage, garlic, olive oil, and crushed red peppers on them. With the penne I definitely didn’t taste a strong “gluten-free” taste like some gluten-free pastas and the texture was just like normal pasta so I certainly enjoyed that. I really liked the Orecchiette because it was very flavorful and was a nice lighter change over the red sauce I eat on pasta usually. My aunt, who follows a gluten-free diet, got the Spaghetti Agio e Olio (with garlic, parsley, crushed red peppers, and olive oil) but substituted the gluten-free penne. She also then ordered a side of the broccoli rabe after she tried some of mine and added it to hers. My uncle and other aunt both got the regular lasagna and my cousins got the gnocchi, one with red sauce and the other alfredo. For dessert my cousins got gelato, which looked pretty good, and my uncle got cheesecake, which he said tasted really great.
The Las Olas Art Fair was going on this weekend and we walked briefly through after lunch and looked at a number of the vendors, but I had to get back to Miami so I wasn’t able to see as much as I liked. I definitely want to get back up there and spend more time at it the next time it’s there. I did discover a gluten-free stand- Weezie’s Gluten-Free Kitchen- which was a nice surprise combined with eating at Caffe Europa, and I bought a loaf of French bread and some peanut butter cookies. I really like the French bread and got some chive cream cheese at the store this afternoon to put on it, which was really good together (the sweetness, which is pretty common for a lot of gluten-free breads was a nice contrast with the chive cream cheese). The cookies were good as well and I definitely ate a bit more than I should have. You can order from Weezie’s at their website (http://www.weeziesgfkitchen.com/) and pick it up at the Wilton Manors Green Market on Saturdays or the Las Olas Green Market on Sundays, as well as they deliver in Broward County. In addition to the French bread and many different kinds of cookies they also have muffins, sandwich bread, waffles, banana bread, English muffins, and more!
I plan to head back to Caffe Europa and try some other kinds of their pasta, as well as give their pizza a try, and I’d recommend it (gluten-free or not) if you’re in the Fort Lauderdale area!
*I have been pretty bad about going to eat at someplace I researched or heard about, especially gluten-free places, and then digging into my meal before taking a picture. So unfortunately nothing from Caffe Europa this time, but I did take one picture of the stuff from Weezie’s tonight when I got home.*
Caffe Europa- 910 Las Olas Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL
Weezie’s Gluten-Free Kitchen- Saturdays at the Wilton Manors Green Market (2020 Wilton Drive Wilton Manors, FL) and Sundays at the Las Olas Green Market (Las Olas Blvd and 12th), as well as delivery in Broward County.