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.
I love a good burger, but let’s be honest. Having a burger wrapped in lettuce isn’t quite as satisfying as sinking into a bun. So when I saw that Mesa Burger, co-owned by Cat Cora, had a gluten-free bun on their menu, I was cautiously optimistic. When I started to question the cashier taking my order, he didn’t know the answers offhand, but he was able to find someone that did. The gluten-free buns are Udi’s and they are heated on a designated gluten-free area of the flattop. I ordered the Mesa Burger with a turkey burger, gluten-free bun, grilled onions and no sauce. Sadly, the special “Mesa Burger Sauce” has soy sauce in it so it is off limits. The fries are also a no-go for us celiacs as they only have the one fryer and it is contaminated. Wouldn’t it be nice if any future locations had a second fryer for us GF folk? I had my burger with a side salad which usually has croutons on it.
When my food arrived, I checked it as I always do and found that they had forgotten to leave off the sauce. After an apology from the manager and a quick redo, I was able to sink into the burger. The burger itself was good and the salad tasted fresh. If I were to make any changes, I would switch to Canyon Bakehouse hamburger buns as I find that they do not fall apart as easily as Udi’s. Two of my dining companions had the veggie burger and raved about the texture and taste of it. After asking about it, we were told that it is gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan and is made by Hungry Planet.
Whenever I see gluten-free bread listed on a menu, I am always skeptical. More often than not, it is prepared with no consideration to the people that actually will get ill if they consume gluten. So when I visited Little Kitchen in downtown Santa Barbara, I was pleasantly surprised. Upon asking the owner how they prepare the sandwiches with gluten-free bread, she asked if I was celiac and then explained that her good friend is as well. She then assured me that my sandwich would be prepared in a clean pan rather then the usual flat top. Additionally, she proactively walked over to the chef making the food to have him change his gloves and clean the work space. I ordered the Vineyard Chicken Sandwich with chips (the fries are made in a contaminated fryer). It had organic chicken with a balsamic glaze, goat cheese, caramelized onions, butter lettuce, tomato and rosemary garlic aioli served on BFree’s GF Brown Seeded Sandwich Bread. I had never had this GF bread before but found that it had a really good consistency and taste. The restaurant itself has a super cool decor. It is located right next to the Kitty which seems perfect as they also offer up a very appealing late night menu. I can’t wait to go back to try their grilled cheese (hello Sriracha mayo)!
This past weekend, we took a break from making dinner and headed downtown to Caffe Primo with some friends. The restaurant is right on State Street which allows for some some good people watching, or if you are my toddler, some good trolley sightings. After talking to our waitress, I learned that the tots and fries on the appetizer menu were definitely not GF due to contaminated oil. However, she assured me that I could order the GF pasta as it would be cooked in a clean pot of water and handled with clean tools. I went with the Short Rib Pappardelle with the gluten-free penne. I was exceedingly hungry so I finished my meal quite quickly. I think if I were to return, I’d probably go with something else though as I didn’t find the dish to be memorable. There was definitely a level of comfort with the waitress though as she knew what gluten was and understood cross contamination.
Hello there. Do you remember me? I haven’t forgotten about you. Life has just been quite busy. I had the urge to try somewhere new in Santa Barbara this past week which led me to AH Juice on Haley Street. This 100% organic cafe just steps from The Mill offers plenty of naturally GF foods. I ordered the Wild Smoked Salmon Free Range Scramble without the toast. The quality of the salmon was outstanding and I loved the slices of avocado that came with the sautéed veggies.
Speaking of The Mill, I’d like to congratulate GFSB’s cofounder, Courtney, on her recent wedding which took place at Potek Winery. With a very cool setting, an entirely gluten-free menu compliments of Wildwood Kitchen and Lilac Patisserie, and good company, it was one of my favorite weddings I’ve been to! Good luck to you and your husband in SLO! The GF community there will be lucky to have you! Stepping into Courtney’s role for Gluten-Free Santa Barbara will be Emily Luxford, MS, RD. Emily has “developed and published research regarding dietary modification. Emily’s focus is individualized medical nutrition therapy. Her practice includes evidence based nutrition intervention for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal disease, gastrointestinal disorders, bariatric surgery nutrition support and disease prevention.” Come meet us at one of our monthly meet-ups at Lilac Patisserie. If you ever have any questions, you can also always send us a message through Facebook!
Every time that I drive by Kanaloa Seafood Market on Chapala, I always think that that their patio looks so appealing. That, mixed with the fact that it is always busy when I drive by, finally convinced me to try it out. One of the things that makes Kanaloa stand out is that they promote and support environmentally responsible, scientifically sustainable fisheries.
From their website, “Kanaloa is the only International Organization of Standardization-certified seafood company in North America, earning our ISO 14001 certification through regular third party audits of our environmental management practices, and our continuous effort to reduce the size of the environmental footprint of our entire business, including our eco-packaging and shipping methods.”
I ordered two of the Pacific Tacos. I’m glad that I didn’t get three since they were huge. The tacos were served on corn tortillas and had sautéed swordfish with poblano peppers, onions, cabbage, pico de gallo and their house salsa. I am a huge fan of fish tacos, so I assumed that I would enjoy these. Not only were these good, they were tremendously good. The poblano peppers and onions mixed with the swordfish were such a good combination that I will be thinking of these for days to come.
Last Sunday, my grandma, daughter and I went for an early dinner at Lure Fish House. This restaurant just opened at the La Cumbre Shopping Center in place of Ruth’s Chris Steak House. It was busy even though we got there at 5pm, most likely due to a combination of the happy hour specials along with the energetic atmosphere. The music was loud to the point that it hurt my ears, which made me feel as old as my 95-year old dining companion. Other than the headaches that ensued, our meal was pretty good. The first thing I noticed was that the menu had all of the gluten-free items marked. I kept my order pretty safe as it was my first time dining there. They had items like the chips and guac marked GF, but I didn’t inquire whether the chips were fried in non-contaminated oil. I started with the Organic Tuscan Kale Salad. I got the small size, which upon receiving, made me wonder how huge the large size is. The salad consisted of organic Tuscan kale, julienned red bell peppers, julienned carrots, quinoa and wild rice, halved red grapes, shaved parmesan cheese, and sunflower seeds. Even though it was quite sizable, I managed to finish. For my main dish, I had the Grilled Salmon with sides of Brussels Sprouts and Green Beans.
The salmon was cooked really well and I loved the sides as they both had a plethora of garlic cooked in. Going in only knowing that this restaurant was part of a chain, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the food. I will be interested to find out about the more “dangerous” items marked GF, and whether they are properly marked or not.
As a reminder, this Sunday, Gluten-Free Santa Barbara will be holding their first meet-up of 2016. Come stop by Lilac Patisserie at 11am to have some yummy food. I will be giving out free tickets to the 2016 Gluten-Free and Allergen Friendly Expo, which is being held next month in San Diego!