PizzaRev

17 May

Margherita PizzaOn 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.

Taco PizzaWe 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!

The Little Beet Table

13 May

Tender ShrimpWhile in NYC last weekend, we tried the entirely gluten-free The Little Beet Table. Not only is everything gluten-free, but they also are heavy on the veggies so you can feel good about what you are eating. To start, we had the Tender Shrimp which was served with chickpeas, garlic and chili. I would have ordered 5 of these. There was a fight at the table for the chickpeas, garlic and chili. We also shared the Tuna Tataki.

Tuna TatakiThe charred jalapeño vinaigrette gave this dish a subtle heat that was quite good. For the baby, we ordered the Roasted Sweet Potatoes and their Market Beans.

Sweet PotatoesServed in a cast iron skillet, the sweet potatoes were perfect in every way. Due to the yumminess of the smoked sea salt on top and the crispy skin, we took the opportunity to teach our daughter that sharing is caring.

Market BeansShe wasn’t too fired up about the beans which was fine by me as I finished these off with gusto. I ordered the LBT Burger as my entree. This was topped with roasted tomato, potato crunch, special sauce, bacon and NY state cheddar.

LBT BurgerAlthough it was really good, I didn’t really get much crunch from the “potato crunch”. It was served with fingerling potatoes and some extra “special sauce”. The special sauce had a little kick in it that tasted a bit like horseradish. My dad ordered the Rigatoni with onions, garlic, olives, tomatoes and pepperoncini.

RigatoniThe gluten-free pasta was a great consistency so I asked whose they use. Apparently the reason it was so good is that they make it in-house. My husband got the Vegetable Panini served on a multi-grain bread.

Vegetable PaniniThe bread was outstanding. I would use it for all my bread needs if it was available for purchase. The sandwich was so good with the sliced zucchini that we have talked about recreating it at home. It was so nice to be able to go to a restaurant where I could try what everyone had ordered. I am not sure that they appreciated how much I ate of their dishes, but it was definitely a special experience. I can’t wait to get back there so we can try their flatbreads.

River Edge Pizza Kitchen

13 May

Chicken Parm HeroWe 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.

Cheesy Garlic BreadI 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.

Barbareño

15 Apr

California RollWe 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.

BurgerIt 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!

Gluten-Free Santa Barbara Meetup

31 Mar

Lilac Lunch

In an effort to see all of you Gluten-Free Santa Barbarians more often, GFSB will be holding monthly meetups at our new favorite place, Lilac Pâtisserie. They will be held on the third Sunday of the month, with our first being Sunday, April 19th at noon. Come meet other gluten-free locals, ask questions, share your experiences and try Lilac’s new lunch menu!

For the latest news and updates, follow GFSB on Facebook. Hope to see you there!

Lilac Pâtisserie

19 Jan

Cherry SconeHurrah! 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.

banana nut muffinApple Crisp MuffinI 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.

GF cakesThe 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!

Patxi’s Pizza

23 Dec

Padron PeppersI 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.

Greek SaladThe 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!

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