Monday, June 17, 2013

Italian Lunch at DiPasquale's

Saturday morning started off bright and early with a glass of horchata before heading down to the gym to read Solaris on the exercise bike for 1/2 hour. 
After my half workout I sat out on the balcony for a bit to read a magazine while enjoying my morning protein shake.  I tried something a bit different for Saturday's shake: chocolate banana and horchata!  I used half horchata and half chocolate soymilk for the liquid, along with half a banana, chocolate protein powder, and ground flax.  You could really taste the cinnamon from the horchata and it was delicious! 
After breakfast my boyfriend and I headed out to do a bunch of errands.  On the agenda: taking my boyfriend's car to the auto shop, getting myself a new passport photo, getting groceries, getting my boyfriend's new pants hemmed, shopping for Father's Day (for my boyfriend's father), and getting lunch.  Phew!  Busy, busy. 
Fortunately, lunch and shopping for Father's Day conveniently fit into one stop because I decided to get my boyfriend's father some Italian cooking supplies from an Italian grocery and deli in Little Italy called DiPasquale's.  My boyfriend's father loves to cook, plus my boyfriend was going to be gifting him a really cool vintage Italian cookbook, so I thought the supplies would be a nice accompanyment. 
DiPasquale's is like a Baltimore institution.  They're always super crowded with a long line for the deli counter, but with their fresh home-made food it's no wonder!  They have all sorts of pasta salad, sandwiches, desserts, and even a brick oven for pizzas!  They make almost everything themselves, like fresh mozzarella, which I always used to love.  This was my first time getting lunch at DiPasquale's since becoming vegan, so I was a little nervous that their cheese-heavy offerings wouldn't leave any room for a vegan meal, but I was very wrong. 
There was definitely a lot of cheese available, plus some delicious desserts I was very sad to pass up, but the sandwiches have so much else going on that I didn't even miss the cheese.  I ordered myself the Calabrese sandwich with no provolone, which left me with: artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, olives, tomato, onion, cucumber & baby greens.  And can you believe this is the small?!?  I was so full at the end that I definitely didn't miss dessert ... much. 
Plus when we got home I decided to make myself a mango banana smoothie (no protein powder or flax, just the fruit and vanilla soy milk).  It was a wonderful sweet treat on a hot day. 
A little while later I got to baking (again!).  I had so much leftover frosting from making horchata cupcakes earlier in the week I decided I just had to make them again.  And luckily we were attending a friend's BBQ on Sunday, so I thought they would be the perfect addition to the party.  Just like before, I made the cupcakes in two stages - baking Saturday and frosting Sunday morning. 
Once dinner rolled around my boyfriend and I weren't too hungry because of our huge lunch, so I whipped up some quick and light B.A.T.'s - bacon, avocado, and tomato sandwiches.  We both love these so much.  They're fresh and flavorful, and really simple.  You just have to make sure you have a nice, ripe avocado on hand.  And the richness of the avocado means neither of us ever miss having cheese on this sandwich.  I'll definitely be making these again and again all summer!

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