If you are visiting Charleston, you MUST make Five Loaves Cafe one of your stops. This casual, allergy friendly restaurant went above and beyond in accommodating our tricky group. After letting them know about our dietary needs, they brought out “normal” bread and oil and a separate plate of GF bread and oil. The bread wasn’t anything special (I believe it was Udi’s), but the fact that they served it along with its own safe olive oil was awesome. I had read that their soups were great, but I was having a hard time deciding between the six gluten-free choices so I went with the three soup sampler. I chose the potato, cheddar and broccoli, the tomato tarragon with crabmeat and the carrot ginger. They were equally yummy and the perfect size. For my main dish, I had the Pumpkin Seed Encrusted Salmon.
Even though I didn’t taste much of the pumpkin seed, the salmon was cooked well and the accompaniments were light and fresh tasting. We couldn’t resist ordering their gluten free carrot cake for dessert.
This was a very good decision. We made quick work of the cake, finishing the meal on a high note. The menu at Five Loaves was so accommodating that we ended up getting take-out from there another day. I had the Rueben Sandwich on GF Bread which was pretty darn tasty… so tasty in fact that I ate it too quickly for a picture. There were about ten other things on the menu that I would have tried if we had more time in Charleston. It is so nice to find a place where you have as many choices as anyone else!
Anytime I am in the South, I have a craving for shrimp and grits. And so, when we knew we were heading to Charleston, I started researching which restaurant had the best shrimp and grits there. Hominy Grill kept coming up, but to my disappointment, the recipe that had been posted online showed that they used flour. Nevertheless, we went there anyway as it came highly rated as a breakfast restaurant. On their menu, they have gluten-free pancakes listed. Once I talked to our waitress, I didn’t feel comfortable ordering them since they used the same flat top for everything else. It also sounded like it was a very small kitchen that happened to be very busy at the time. When I told her that I really wanted the shrimp and grits, she said they could make those gluten-free for me. I am so glad that they did. These were unbelievable. Along with the shrimp, there were scallions, mushrooms and bacon served over cheese grits. Oh god these were good. I don’t think I gave myself a second to breathe as I inhaled the dish in record time. It is very clear that this restaurant has both a local and tourist following, and for good reason. Because of that, try going on a weekday when the crowd is a bit more manageable!
I just got back from my first visit to Charleston, South Carolina where we attended a friend’s wedding. As we were there with a group a friends, we all rented a house together through airbnb. It was my first experience with airbnb but I loved it. If you need a recommendation for a house to rent, I have one for you! Close to the house we rented was a great spot called Dellz Uptown – a vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free friendly restaurant. Most of the food here has a Caribbean influence which was very appealing to me. I ordered the Turkey Goddess Wrap with a GF wrap and no sauce just to be safe. The wrap held together amazingly. This was definitely one of my favorite spots during our trip. I am still regretting that we didn’t make a return trip!
On Friday we went to see Pitch Perfect 2 at Paseo Nuevo. Right next to the movie theater is the newly opened PizzaRev. I had read about this chain being good about limiting the chance of cross contamination so we decided to give it a try. As soon as I let the gentleman at the counter know that I had celiac, he went straight into a very well rehearsed routine. He changed his gloves and explained to me that he would be seeing my pizza through the entire process rather than passing it down the line like the other pizzas. As I remarked that it was very cool to see them take it seriously, his coworker chimed in to say that it was very important to limit chances of cross contamination. Yay PizzaRev! Rather than use the sauce that they use for the other pizzas, he used a squirt bottle and clean ladle. As he went down the line, I asked about the meats. They are all GF except for the meatballs. Since the GF pizza is put on a tray within the oven, he explained that they put oil on the bottom so it crisps up a bit.
We ordered the Margherita Pizza and the Taco Pizza without the chorizo. I preferred the Margherita which had tons of fresh garlic. The taco pizza was okay. We ordered it as is so that we could try it as it was intended. I think that next time I would add some jalapeño to it for a little punch.
We really enjoyed the crusts they used. Upon asking we learned they were from Venice Bakery. They do cook the pizzas in the same oven as the normal pizzas and they do use the same ingredients on the line (like Chipotle) except for the sauce. There is definitely still a risk of cross contamination. However, I felt much more confident eating here than I do at other pizza places in Santa Barbara. It was so refreshing to see staff that had been properly trained how to keep my food safe!
We were back on the East Coast recently to see a pediatric allergist for our daughter. While there, we found an amazingly gluten-free friendly spot called River Edge Pizza Kitchen. The owner, Francine, has three celiac grandchildren so she has taken it upon herself to have safe Italian food for them to eat. I had the chicken parmigiana hero – something I haven’t had in 11 years. Eating it brought back so many great memories. I also had the cheesy garlic bread since it would have been wrong to not order gluten-free cheesy garlic bread.
I inhaled these during the short walk from the restaurant to our car. They did not disappoint. As good as this place was, it was a reminder that there isn’t a place in Santa Barbara for safe gluten-free comfort Italian food.
Speaking of reminders, GFSB will be meeting at Lilac this Sunday at noon! For more information or to RSVP, visit our Facebook page.
We recently tried Barbareño in downtown Santa Barbara at the old D’Vine location. I was pretty excited since their focus is on locally sourced food which in my head translates as “We know all about the evils of gluten” for some reason. When I was ordering, I went through my usual spiel waiting for the waitress to cut in and say that I would be well taken care of. Instead, there seemed to be an attitude about modifying any of the dishes to be gluten-free. There were multiple instances where she said that the chef did’t intend for the dishes to be consumed in an altered state. As a celiac I have to modify dishes a lot. I would never judge a chef on a dish’s flavor profile if I had to alter it. That being said, I would always hope that any dietary needs could be accommodated to the best of their ability. I ended up getting the California Roll modified. It was really light and fresh. I then had their burger without the bread.
It was a decent burger. They substituted some potatoes in for me which were particularly good. I really had my eye on the Santa Maria BBQ, but beer is used in the preparation of the dish. I liked the vibe of the restaurant. Their outdoor patio seemed like a great spot to have a drink once the days are longer and the weather is warmer.
Things have been quieter here since life has been pretty busy. Our daughter just got diagnosed with some food allergies, so as we venture into this new territory, we have been cutting back on dining out as much to be safe. That being said, I would love to connect with you GFSB people! Come to our next meet-up, this Sunday, the 19th, at Lilac Patisserie. We will be there at noon enjoying their awesome lunch menu. We will now be meeting monthly, the third Sunday of the month, so mark your calendars!