Hurrah! Lilac Pâtisserie is finally open! This entirely gluten-free bakery and café on State Street is a very welcome addition to Santa Barbara. I stopped in today to check out the space and pick up some goodies. For now, they are holding off on their breakfast and lunch menus so that they can make sure that they are done right. There were plenty of treats to choose from though to satisfy any appetite. I had a cherry scone that was incredible. I found myself having a hard time deciding between the banana nut muffin and apple crisp muffin, so I got both.
I also couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a toffee nut cookie which was very satisfying. Oh, did I mention I also got a brownie to go? They have two huge cases featuring their attractive and yummy cakes. I am already trying to decide which to get for our little one’s upcoming first birthday.
The only thing I could find wrong about Lilac was that it is going to challenge my lack of self-control. Stay tuned for Gluten-Free Santa Barbara’s next meet up at our new favorite eatery in town!
I just got home from having a memorable meal at new restaurant, Patxi’s Pizza. The only problem was, it was memorable for all the wrong reasons. I had seen ahead of time that they carried GF pizza crusts. I was optimistic that as a chain, they would understand how to take care of their many guests that have to eat gluten-free. Sadly, I was wrong. I asked our server if they place the GF pizza on a separate pan so that it wasn’t touching the same surface as the normal pizza. She said that they don’t but that they probably could. I then asked if they could use a different knife to cut the pizza, but she said that they couldn’t.
At this point, I understand that a lot of restaurants offering “gluten-free” products do not care at all about those of us who have to eat gluten-free. Rather than take responsibility for serving a product that is truly gluten-free, they are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon and trying to squeeze some extra dollars out of those who just prefer to eat GF. It is frustrating to the millions of us who have no choice as to what we can consume, but I understand that it is their prerogative. The part that I don’t understand is how as a restaurant, there is no training done to be aware of the ingredients in your product. Almost everyone that dines out has a preference or dietary need involving certain ingredients. Before opening, a restaurant’s management should make training a priority so that their customers are taken of. After all, they are in the service industry. After asking many questions about the ingredients in their salads (once it was clear I shouldn’t mess with their pizza), it was apparent that not only had our server not been trained to know what was safe or not for me to eat, there was no available manager to help her. The whole time we were there, there were ten workers (two of which looked like they were managers) just talking to each other in different huddles around the room. At no point did a manager look to help the server or check on our table. The fact that it took 40 minutes for my salad to get to the table made it even more aggravating that they were all just joking around with each other.
The salad arrived with the dressing and cheese on the side even though that was not a request. It also came with tongs so that I could toss it myself which seemed very odd. I ordered the Padron Peppers as well which were actually pretty good. After our experience, we won’t be returning though. It would behoove the management to take the opportunity to train the staff and kitchen on the menu during quiet moments like today.
Now, I am even more excited for Pizzarev to open in Paseo Nuevo since it is clear that they care for their gluten-intolerant customers!
The new hotspot these days is in Goleta at the Goodland Hotel. They have completely renovated the hotel and restaurant, Outpost, so that it feels as if you could be in a retro Palm Springs spot. When we sat down, we were served some fried hominy which our waiter said was gluten-free. However, after questioning the oil it was fried in, it was determined that it was not. Because of this, he brought me some kale chips that had not been fried in that oil for me to enjoy. My husband and I then split two salads, the Kale and the Brussels.
For the kale salad, we had to omit the tortillas that usually are included. Of the two salads, I preferred the brussels.
I found that it had a little more flavor than the kale. There is also something about brussels that make me instantly like any dish that they are in. For my main dish, I had the Roasted Chicken which was just okay.
The reason I would come back to Outpost besides the cool setting was the dessert. We shared the puppy chow. Next time, I am getting my own.
They used gluten-free chocolate rice chex and mixed in some peanut butter and a whole lot of powdered sugar. It was AWESOME.
One of the great things about the Axxess Card is that it gets you to try new restaurants out. Japanese cuisine is always scary to try as a Celiac due to the risk of cross contamination, but I was so pleasantly surprised with my experience at Miso Hungry. I spoke with the gentleman behind the counter and learned that of all of their sauces, only the Teriyaki, Ponzu and Japanese Curry are not gluten-free. They use gluten-free tamari for their salad dressings (just avoid the Ponzu dressing). He also was sure to put on new gloves to be safe. I got so excited that I decided to order two items. First, I had the blackened salmon salad. This was dressed with their orange vinaigrette. The guy helping me encouraged additional sauces on top so I gave him free reign as long as they were gluten-free. I also had their spicy tuna sushi wrap.
These are about the size of a burrito. You have the choice of having it wrapped in nori or rice paper. I loved this as their spicy aioli gave it a kick. When I was getting my water, I saw a great Iced Tea Bar around the corner. I will definitely take advantage of this the next time I go!
This past summer, we did a family trip to Hawaii. It was amazingly gluten-free friendly. I came home with a slight tan and about seven extra pounds. One of the highlights of the trip was Nobu at the Four Seasons Lanai at Manale Bay. As soon as my brother and I sat down, we were presented a gluten-free menu. There were almost too many dishes to choose from. One of my favorite orders that we had was the Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño.
There is no way to adequately describe the abundance of flavor in this dish. It was stupid good. If I knew how to prepare this dish, I would eat nothing else. I also loved the Black Cod Saikyo Miso.
The fish was nice and flaky and the sauce was perfectly sweet. Sadly, due to the price, this is definitely a special occasion only type of restaurant. However, after enjoying the meal so much, I think half birthdays and half anniversaries now qualify as special occasions. Does anyone know if all of the Nobu locations have this extensive gluten-free menu?
On August 14, my husband and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. For lunch we decided to get some food from Boochies and have a little picnic at the Sunken Gardens, the place where we got married. As stated on Boochies’ website, “Every ingredient is 100% organic and totally free of gluten, meat, dairy, soy, and GMO’s.” We started with the veggie pizza which had a cauliflower crust. I hadn’t tried a cauliflower crust before then because it seemed odd, but the taste of the crust was pretty good. Then we had a quinoa veggie burger.
The bun was also made of cauliflower. Since we grabbed this from a prepared case, it was cold. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had been made to order and was still warm. For dessert, we split the Blueberry Creme Cupcakes.
These were pretty great. This is a good option for certified gluten-free food in downtown Santa Barbara. It would have been nice if it wasn’t just take away food and there were some seats available. At least there are endless beautiful spots in Santa Barbara to enjoy this healthy meal.