Teal Pumpkin Project

6 Oct

IMG_0989.jpgIt is that time of year – when parents are scrambling to pull together a costume that resembles a superhero unicorn or a taco-eating dragon. There is something about Halloween that is magical for both kids and kids-at-heart alike. With minimal effort, you can make Halloween special for all kids, whether or not they can eat the usual trick-or-treat candy offerings.

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a movement to make Halloween a more inclusive, happy experience for all children. By placing a teal pumpkin at your doorstep, you are indicating that you offer non-food items as an option so that little ones with allergies can take part in the trick-or-treating fun.

As a mother with Celiac Disease to a daughter who has life threatening food allergies, this project hits particularly close to home. Fortunately, I have found our family and friends to be incredibly supportive as it offers a teaching opportunity for their kids on kindness and being inclusive to all children. You can make it a fun crafts project by painting a pumpkin teal together. Or, if you are lazier like myself, you can purchase a teal pumpkin that can be reused year after year. Currently, Michael’s in Goleta has one on sale for $10. There are so many fun non-food items to offer that will get your trick-or treaters excited: Glow sticks, stencils, bubbles, spider rings, stickers, kazoos, crazy straws, silly glasses, whistles, playing cards, temporary tattoos and more. If you are like me and can’t resist some Halloween chocolate, Enjoy Life Foods now offers individually wrapped mini Halloween chocolates that are free from the top eight allergens along with casein, potato, sesame and sulfites.

For more information, please visit FARE’s (Food Allergy Research & Education) website on The Teal Pumpkin Project. Have a Happy Halloween and thank you in advance for spreading kindness to all!

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Green Table

26 Sep

FullSizeRender 2.jpgI had been meaning to try Green Table in downtown Santa Barbara for some time now. The entire menu is organic, gluten-free and vegetarian with lots of vegan options for those who choose that lifestyle. I am quite indecisive, so I asked the employee helping me what their most popular lunch item tends to be. That led me to the Raw Veggie Wrap. It was a raw veggie burger with their house dressing, cucumber slices, avocado, arugula, shredded cabbage and goat gouda cheese all wrapped up in a coconut tortilla. When I first got the wrap, I thought that it looked like a lot of lettuce as filler, but I was pleasantly surprised as to how dense it was when I bit into it. I really enjoyed the goat gouda that I added to it as well. Not only does Green Table have a nice variety of made-to-order foods, they also have an extensive juice and matcha menu. Fans of the autumn favorite PSL will be happy to find a Pumpkin Spice Matcha Latte on the menu, prepared with freshly made almond milk. Now if only it would start feeling like fall around here…

Fitzpatrick’s Tavern Pub & Grill

25 Aug

IMG_3279.jpgLast weekend, we found ourselves a little north of Santa Barbara as we spent the day visiting the Folded Hills Farmstead to pick some berries and feed the animals. After working up an appetite, we headed to Fitzpatrick’s Tavern in Solvang as I had discovered them on the Find Me Gluten-Free app. I always get a kick out of visiting Solvang with their horse-drawn wagons, wind mills and Danish architecture. After talking at length with our waitress, I learned that they have GF buns, they prepare them on a portion of the grill that is not contaminated with gluten, and they have a dedicated fryer for their fries. I had a cheeseburger but might try the Spicy Melt burger next time. If you are looking for a no frills, standard (and safe) burger and fries this is your place.

Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill

15 Jul

IMG_2144.JPGBraving the smoke in Goleta from the Whittier Fire, we decided to try Hollister Village’s newest restaurant, Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill. When I looked at their menu online before heading there, I found that they seek out organic, local ingredients which was very appealing to me. I ended up ordering the Sharky’s Quinoa Salad with tofu added on. This salad was uber healthy but filling at the same time. It had organic red and white quinoa, organic baby spinach, cabbage, jicama, cucumber, sweet peppers, green onions, cilantro, avocado and toasted flax and chia seeds. The dressing was an avocado vinaigrette. Online, they have a gluten-free menu guide which is very helpful, noting that the fryer is used for items that contain gluten.

Somerset

22 May

IMG_1324.jpgLast week, we went on a much needed date night to the newer restaurant, Somerset. We sat in the beautiful garden courtyard which has gotten a major facelift since the Arts & Letters Cafe days. With tons of copper patio heaters to keep you warm, it is such a nice setting to spend a Santa Barbara evening out in.

Our waitress was familiar with Celiac Disease which is always reassuring. She walked me through the menu pointing out which items were truly gluten-free and which would have cross contamination. We started with the Spring Vegetables which came with fava tendrils, salsa verde and crème fraîche. I loved the freshness of this dish, especially the perfectly cooked brussels sprouts and asparagus. I then ordered the Burrata with grilled asparagus, prosciutto, mustard greens, cured egg yolk and pine nut breadcrumbs. For this, I had to omit the breadcrumbs. IMG_1326.jpgIn hindsight, I would have passed on this dish as it felt very similar to the first starter we ordered. I also had it without the egg yolk, so perhaps that would have added a little more complexity to the taste to differentiate it from the first dish. For my main dish, I ordered Braised Short Rib Osso Buco.

IMG_1329.jpgThis was accompanied by polenta, swiss chard, cipollini onions and a horseradish gremolata. The polenta was about 50% butter which was awesome, because butter. But it  also made it so rich that I had a hard time finishing more than half of the dish. I think that had I skipped the starters, I could have polished this off as the meat was so tender. I wasn’t planning on ordering dessert, but then our waitress alerted me that their Chocolate Walnut Torte was made using Thomas Keller’s gluten-free Cup4Cup flour mix. Sold.

IMG_1331.jpgThe salted caramel was a fantastic addition to the torte. The only part of the menu that we didn’t explore was the cocktail menu as I am currently not drinking. However, one of our neighboring tables had a frothy looking concotion that looked quite intriguing. The restaurant is definitely a littly pricy compared to your average Santa Barbara restaurant. But sitting in that courtyard is worth it, even if you only go for drinks and dessert.

Pickles & Swiss

16 Jan

img_9595This past weekend I went on a lunch date with my 96-year old grandma. She loves a good sandwich, so we decided to try the new location of Pickles & Swiss at Hollister Village in Goleta. When ordering, I found out that the cashier thought she may have celiac. Not so awesome for her, but awesome for me as I knew that she would ensure my sandwich would remain gluten-free. She had the staff change their gloves and the sandwich was placed on a GF-specified tray before being heated in the toaster. I had the tuna melt which was perfectly gooey and yummy. If you are in downtown Santa Barbara, you can also try their Paseo Nuevo location. I’ve eaten successfully at that location a handful of times as well since I wrote about them 4 years ago.

Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly Expo

6 Jan

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Hi GFSB! There is an event coming up in Del Mar, CA on February 11-12 that many of you would be interested in attending – the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo. This event is perfect for anyone with celiac disease or a special diet.

If you are interested in volunteering, they need help! Volunteers get free entry to the Expo and a t-shirt in exchange for working at shift at the event. Those interested should fill out this form.

If you would like to attend, but don’t want to volunteer, let me know and I will get you a $5-off coupon that you can use towards tickets.