Making Meals Better Always: Frank’s Red Hot 

Making Meals Better Always: Frank’s Red Hot 

My breakfast this morning 😄

All of my foodies that love hot sauce can agree! 

If you don’t like Frank’s, which hot sauce do you prefer? 

Not a fan of spice at all? 

That’s alright, more for me!

Toodaloo. Have a great day all! 

N. Oliva 


Snack Factory Mini Pretzel Crisps Gluten Free

Snack Factory Mini Pretzel Crisps Gluten Free

Snack Factory Mini Pretzel Crisps Gluten Free version 5oz bag **Image by Nicole Oliva**

So to update: I do not officially know if I have chron’s or anything similar yet. But I have had a very small appetite lately. I got these pretzels during my break at work and they are pretty damn good. I am a big lover of carbs. Especially pretzels.

If you love that salty, crunchy taste and need pretzels that are also gluten free, these are for you.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

No Tip For Server? – Waiters and Waitresses Do Not Cook Your Food, Do Not Punish Them for Waiting

No Tip For Server? – Waiters and Waitresses Do Not Cook Your Food, Do Not Punish Them for Waiting

**(Photo: Courtesy Jess Jones via Asbury Park (N.J.) Press)** The Gaff Blog does not own this image. Receipt says
The Gaff Blog does not own this image. Receipt says “LOL” where people would normally write in the tip. To the right says “1 hour for food.” The bill was $112.03 for eight people.

If you have not read about this situation at all here is the information you need to know:

A waitress in New Jersey was not given a tip for a $112 bill, which was for a table of eight people. Instead of leaving the tip portion of their receipt blank, the customers wrote “LOL” and to the right wrote “1 hour for food” which I would assume means they waited too long to tip. The 20 year old waitress at D’Jais Bar & Grill was waiting tables for the summer to pay for school at Rutgers University.

Now I will not be a hypocrite and say I do not get mad at bad service at a restaurant but I do not punish my waiter or waitress for things that are out of their control.

Unless you see your waiter/waitress doing double duty in the kitchen do not be a jackass and not tip.

And if they are doing double duty, give them a pat on the back for me.

I also understand that communication comes into this situation.

Did the waitress let them know of the kitchen being behind? I do not know. I was not there.

Even when my service is deplorable I leave at least $1. Because people have bills to pay.

Your waiter or waitress is a person too and they are not always putting on their best face or having a good day.

Have some compassion

I am very forgiving. Some people are not this nice.

I’ll admit I get angry when tips are required and the service was bad (tips are required in a lot of restaurants in NYC)

But I still keep my composure and give the waiter or waitress their fair share of money.

Don’t treat the person doing their job as a slave.

Cartoon Waiter and Waitress - Found through Pintrest ** The Gaff Blog does not own this image**
Cartoon Waiter and Waitress – Found through Pinterest ** The Gaff Blog does not own this image**

Add your two cents in the comments

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My source for info:

Two Ways to Get Rid of a Ripe Avocado

Two Ways to Get Rid of a Ripe Avocado

I know its frustrating when an avocado isn’t ripe enough to eat when you buy it and you end up having to eat the whole thing in one day or you have to throw it out.

So I thought I would share the ways I use up these godly creations:

1. Throw Some Slices on Top of a Cream Cheese bagel:

Udi's Gluten Free Plain Whole Grain Bagel with cream cheese and avocado slices on top **Image by Nicole Oliva**

This one is not of my own creation, I actually credit Au Bon Pain for this idea (they may have taken it from someone as well)
Sometimes I like a bit of avocado thrown on my cream cheese bagel. I do not know how it would taste with other bagel toppings.
If you’ve never had avocado on a bagel before (and already like avocado) I recommend starting off small and putting an amount based on what you would normally consume. Don’t start off too crazy and throw the whole avocado on there. Unless you reallyyyy and absolutely love avocado haha (no judgment here).

If you’re bold, nix the cream cheese and go with the avocado on its own (I have not tried it myself).

The first time I had this was at Au Bon Pain where I frequently get breakfast before commuting to my college’ s campus and I’ve loved it ever since. I personally would have it on almost any type of bagel. Plain, sesame, everything, perhaps not cinnamon raisin because the sweetness of the raisins may make a gross combo mixed with the avocado. Now, the only difference is this bagel in particular happens to be gluten free and I make it myself at home. You can make it at home too. Slice it up however you like it.

2. Put Avocado in a Tuna salad or sandwich, and/or Egg Salad:

Egg salad with avocado mixed in **Image by Nicole Oliva**

For this example, I used my avocado in Egg salad. If you’re a pescatarian you may prefer the Tuna salad. I have tried Avocado in Tuna salad and a sandwich as well and it is just as heavenly. The avocado gives both a nice creamy smooth consistency. If this is not the consistency you desire, then it is not for you.

I recommend only using a just ripened avocado for these ideas. The avocado should be a nice greenish yellow. If the avocado is too brown you may wish to consider eating it by itself or tossing it (a light brown on top is alright but not dark brown). Or as a side dish with the bagel, tuna or egg salad. Either way, they make a nice combination.

These are just two ways to use up your tasty avocado. If you have more ideas you would love to share: comment and share them with the avocado loving community.

Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner


If you’ve grown up Italian you have probably experienced Sunday’s where you skip lunch and go straight to eating dinner around 3 to 4 in the afternoon. Since I start work late today, I thought I would continue this tradition I experienced at my own grandmother’s house and cook dinner early. Today I’m eating corn fettucine pasta (gluten free) with pesto sauce and some salad shrimp thrown in.

Enjoy your Sunday meals along with the rest of your day 🙂

I’m going to enjoy mine.

My Gluten Free Breakfast

My Gluten Free Breakfast


In the foreground, Gluten Free Cinnamon and Currant English muffin with some butter, taco blend shredded cheese and  slices of Gooda cheese on top. In the background, Kozy Shack Rice pudding and some Spanish coffee ( my by my mom ❤ )

So far its pretty damn good.
Yummy! Have a great breakfast everyone 🙂

National Hot Dog Day 2015: How Do You Like Your Hot Dog?

National Hot Dog Day 2015: How Do You Like Your Hot Dog?

If you have not read any of my other posts: I recently discovered I may be gluten intolerant. And will be going to the doctor soon to test for celiac or chrohn’s disease.

This past Fourth of July, I enjoyed many standard all beef hot dogs. My family prefers Nathan’s brand beef hot dogs or Ball Park beef franks. I enjoy them as well. But since I made this recent discovery, I have had to make a lot of changes in my diet, while still attempting to keep myself sane with foods that I love.

For National Hot Dog Day, I celebrated a day ahead of time with two organic uncured beef hot dogs by Applegate (also gluten free)

Applegate Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs **Image by Nicole Oliva**

I had them in Udi’s Gluten Free Classic Hot Dog Buns

Udi’s Gluten Free Classic Hot Dog Buns. **Image by Nicole Oliva**

This year National Hot Dog Day (USA) falls on July 23, 2015.

You may be tired of all these national holidays. So instead of simply saying have a great hotdog: I’d like to know how you like your hot dog. Not just how you like them. But what kind do you like? Do you like all beef? All meats? Or a certain brand? Even veggie dogs?

If you hate hot dogs more than anything, you can vent about that too.

You can even vent about the never ending list of national holidays

The floor is yours! (Or page, however you want to put it)

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Lamarca – Lasanga So Good, I Broke Tradition

Lamarca – Lasanga So Good, I Broke Tradition

As a child, my mother always told me to never leave my plate completely empty. She said to leave just a little bit, it makes you look refined and that you had enough of whatever was given to you, no matter how hungry you truly are. While it never really made much sense to me, I always kept that tradition. Then I went to Lamarca.

Lamarca - exterior of restaurant **Taken by Nicole Oliva using a Samsung Galaxy**
Lamarca – exterior of restaurant **Photo by Nicole Oliva**

Randomly googling for a pasta joint in the city led me to Lamarca, a wonderfully warm and quaint Italian restaurant on the Lower East Side. I’ll spare you the details on the ambiance and get straight to the main course I had, their Lasagna made only on Thursday and Friday. I never had lasagna at a restaurant, quite frankly, I have only had lasagna whenever my family made it and one time my friend experimented making his own. While those efforts were good this one totally blew them out of the water.

Lamarca - meat lasagna - **Photo by Nicole Oliva**
Lamarca – Meat Lasagna with Parmesan cheese to the right – **Photo by Nicole Oliva**

The meat lasagna was served in a round bowl, something I was not expecting. Topped with parsley, it left a rich range of flavors in my mouth compared to the standard pasta sauce and cheese. One of the coolest things about this lasagna was that it was sitting in a pool of meat sauce, which had some beef mixed in and also added to the flavor. The lasagna itself did not have meat in it, which was another break from tradition for me because the homemade lasagna my family made in the past were filled to the brim with meat. The winning combination allowed me to fully appreciate the flavor of the sauce and noodles, all which were excellent. The Parmesan cheese offered really topped everything off. So good in fact that Nicole noted that my plate was completely clean. I did not even realize that I broke a 22 year tradition. It was THAT good.

 I advise anyone that has an extra 20 dollars on a Thursday or Friday to head down to Lamarca and prepare to be amazed. I know I was. I eat like a truck driver, but every now and again something good like this comes my way. So good I had to share.

Lamarca – outside of restaurant by the corner of 3rd Avenue and 22nd street **Photo by Nicole Oliva**

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correct jpeg national burger day
Screenshot of Twitter trends via an Android Galaxy 😛

So apparently its National Burger Day.

If you’re not on Twitter, or not looking at trends on Twitter, now you know lol.

So what’s ironic, is that as a past vegetarian, I will be writing this post. Keyword past. Please do not consider me a trader vegetarians, but recently I have been loving hot dogs and burgers. Predominately burgers.

McDonald’s burgers, grill em at home burgers, Steak n Shake, Shake Shack, you name it. I’ve tried them all since giving up being a vegetarian and it seems unlikely at this point that I will stop.

Burgers are satisfying in a weird way. Not that tofu is not satisfying. Veggie burgers are tasty and good. But veggie burgers are so light that they sometimes leave you wanting a little more.

This is not me shooting down being a vegetarian. If you don’t like beef or burgers (or meat in general) more power to you. But some people just cannot give it all up. I didn’t eat beef for at least five years and gave up meat entirely for about two or three years. Chicken is just chicken but when I tried a burger again, I knew in my mind I would not be able to stop.

Maybe I’ll celebrate National Burger Day by eating one, who knows?

If you don’t eat beef, try a turkey burger. Or if you don’t eat meat at all, try a veggie burger.

Everyone can celebrate National Burger Day, don’t just leave it for the meat eaters lol.

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Heavenly Honey Battered Half Chicken with the Most Average Crispy Shrimp – Dallas BBQ – 23rd Street & 8th Avenue, NY, NY

Heavenly Honey Battered Half Chicken with the Most Average Crispy Shrimp – Dallas BBQ – 23rd Street & 8th Avenue, NY, NY

As promised, kingwich and I made a visit to Dallas BBQ. I had the pleasure of being there for their recently launched drink: the Funny Bunny Royale. I do not eat barbecue very often, but when I do I expect it to be tasty and filling and Dallas BBQ filled that quota.

Before even choosing our entrees, kingwich and I tasted the “Dallas BBQ sauce” to see what it would be like. The best explanation of the taste would be to compare it to a smoky flavored ketchup. So instead of getting barbecue chicken, I went ahead and got Honey Battered Chicken and Crispy Shrimp with french fries and corn bread. What could be better?

chicken and shrimp dallasbbq
Honey Battered Half Chicken and Shrimp with Cornbread and French Fries (Tartar Sauce to the right)

One thing I typically do not like to do is get my hands dirty, and you might think it’s strange that someone like me would go to any barbecue spot. Yet, I still love barbecue. The Honey Battered Chicken was not only sweet and syrupy (in a good way) but so tender that someone as fidgety about dirty fingers as myself, could eat it with a fork. Also, the french fries were crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside – just how I like it.

My dislikes were the shrimp and the cornbread. And don’t get me wrong, they were not bad. But they did not have any oomph to them. They were just there. Maybe the honey batter overwhelmed my taste buds, maybe not. I could have gotten the same crispy shrimp anywhere else and I could have made the same cornbread (probably better).

The 100 percent winner of the night had to be the Funny Bunny Royale:

Dallas bbq 4
Funny Bunny Royale

Although, this was apparently supposed to be purple (source: and mine is clearly on the pink side, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Funny Bunny Royale is a purple/pink Long Island served with Moscato and a shot of rum. It is difficult to explain the taste of alcohol, but if I had to explain the taste in terms of how it made me feel, this drink had me wishing I could have one every night -and I am not a big drinker.

If you want a restaurant that is not serious or something new, go to Dallas BBQ. If you’re not a fan of their barbecue sauce, definitely try something battered in honey, or hurry to get their Funny Bunny Royale and share it with a friend or loved one.

You won’t regret it 😉

And don’t forget your wipes

dallas bbq wipes
Dallas BBQ Wipes