I love when daylight savings arrives and you can eat dinner when it is still light out. To celebrate the extra daylight, we decided to try one of Santa Barbara’s newer waterfront restaurants, Toma. As I usually do when trying a new spot, I made an earlier reservation so that we would have our waiter’s undivided attention when explaining my needs. I started with their grilled romaine salad. This was served with lemon parsley white beans, parmesan and a tomato vinaigrette. I love the texture and taste of grilled lettuce, so I finished this dish with gusto. I noticed on the menu that they had gluten-free pasta available. After asking, I found out that they typically cook the GF pasta in contaminated water. However, the waiter was able to have the kitchen cook the pasta in a clean pot of water and use clean utensils for me.
They had a choice of penne or spaghetti. I had the penne with Italian sausage, fresh ricotta and a pomodoro sauce. It was a very generous portion and was good… however I tend to enjoy pasta dishes with a little more kick to the sauce. Everyone in our group agreed that this was a restaurant worth returning to.
There are some mornings in Santa Barbara where you remember how lucky you are to live in such a beautiful spot. This was one of those mornings. We started the day by taking our pup for a walk along Butterfly Beach, enjoying the show that the dolphins seemed to put on for us. After working up an appetite, we went to Lucky Penny for breakfast. I had the wood-fired eggs with salsa verde, fingerling potatoes, cotija cheese and fresh cilantro. Usually this comes with chorizo, but I got it without it. Additionally, their eggs come with crostini on the side so you just have to ask for them to leave it off the plate! I really loved the vibe here as it isn’t a full service restaurant. We sat on their picnic style benches, enjoyed the tunes playing and watched a photo shoot take place outside.
As I am about one week from my due date, I have been trying to make healthy options when I go out to restaurants. Cafe Luna made that easy for me as they offer a quinoa tabouleh option for lunch. With quinoa, diced tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and fresh herbs, it was both tasty yet light. It came with a side of mixed greens and hummus. Typically it comes with bread, so you just need to omit that for a perfectly yummy gluten-free meal.
While downtown last night, we stopped in to what used to be Ben & Jerry’s at the Paseo Nuevo Mall. It is now Napoléon’s Macarons. As a HUGE fan of Ladurée’s Macarons, I was excited to try these. There was a big sign that greeted us letting us know that they were all gluten-free.
We ended up getting a box of different flavors – Passion Fruit, Raspberry, Pistachio, Chocolate and Salted Caramel. The consistency wasn’t quite like the Ladurée macarons. The salted caramel and chocolate flavors actually felt a little chewy but it might have been because it was the end of the day. It was still nice to have a GF snack option downtown!
Last weekend, I spent a couple of days in Palo Alto as a way to relax before our baby arrives. After getting up there, my first stop was The Counter in Palo Alto. This incredibly GF friendly burger chain offers customized burgers with a GF Udi’s bun. I ordered a cheddar cheese burger with lettuce, tomato, sautéed onions and a chipotle aioli. It felt so normal being able to order a burger on a bun. The only thing that would have made the burger better would have been to use Canyon Bakehouse’s bun as theirs is less dry. The waitress also informed me that they had a dedicated fryer if I wanted to enjoy some fries.
Of course I did. And of course it made sense to add some cheese to those fries since I only have a couple more months of wearing expandable pants. The Counter has locations all over California, so I am crossing my fingers that Santa Barbara will get one of their own!