12 Nov

Pollo Con Crema Tacos

Last week, I wanted nothing less than to have to cook for dinner. So we ventured out to Alcazar located on the Mesa.We got there right when they opened, so we had our waitress’s undivided attention when explaining our family’s dietary needs. She knew her stuff, letting me know that the fryer was contaminated with gluten without me having to prompt her. I started with the Pollo con Crema Tacos. These were my favorite of all the things we ordered. Sadly for me, my daughter also loved the chicken so I didn’t end up having too much. We all shared an order of the Manchego y Guava Membrillo.

Manchego y Guava MembrilloI will enjoy eating Manchego cheese any day and in any form. The guava paste was firmer than I had anticipated. I could have done without it though and just eaten a hunk of the cheese. We also shared an order of the brussels sprouts.

Brussels SproutsAfter numerous attempts at cooking brussels sprouts perfectly, I still haven’t succeeded. So it was nice to enjoy them prepared by someone that knew what they were doing. The last thing I ordered was some spinach/bacon/mushroom/bean dish with a garlic butter sauce.

Spinach dish

The words bacon and garlic butter sauce were the reason I ordered the dish. I found it to be pretty bland though with the spinach in a strange not-quite-wilted form. Overall, I found the food okay. I would definitely try it again though since our waitress was so well-informed and there was a lot of variety on the menu.

As a reminder, Gluten-Free Santa Barbara will be meeting this Sunday at Lilac Patisserie at 11am. Come stop by and have some breakfast, lunch or cake! I will be giving out extra cases of gluten-free travel soy sauce packets left over from my trip to Japan!

Ground Breaker Brewing

8 Sep

Blistered Padron PeppersOver Labor Day Weekend, we attended a wedding in Stevenson, Washington for one of my closest friends. After flying into Portland, we decided to grab a bite to eat before making our way across the state border. Thanks to a recommendation from an awesome Gluten-Free Santa Barbara member, we went to Ground Breaker Brewing – an entirely gluten-free brewery and gastropub. We started with the Blistered Padron Peppers which are one of my favorite snacks to munch on. They did not disappoint. I had a really hard time deciding between getting their fried chicken and their pulled pork sandwich since those are things I never get to have. The other white meat won out.

Pulled Pork SandwichThis was as good as it looks. It was served on a New Cascadia roll, a dedicated gluten-free bakery located in Portland. My husband ordered the Squash Tomato Cheese Sandwich.

Squash Tomato Cheese SandwichThe cheese and tomato gave it kind of an eggplant parmigiana taste which was a good, familiar taste. To finish the meal, we split a chocolate chip cookie.

Chocolate Chip CookieOh god this was fantastic. I think it is mandatory that all cookies I have from now on have salt sprinkled on top. Since we were at a gluten-free restaurant AND brewery, it seemed necessary to try their beers.

GF BeersThey had 8 beers on their list which made it hard to pick which ones to try. Therefore, we ordered samples of all of them. My favorite was the Pale Ale, but the IPA No. 5 was a close second. I seriously love the Pacific Northwest. You have amazing gluten-free options and it is so incredibly beautiful. PNW

August Gluten-Free Santa Barbara Meet-up

13 Aug

It is that time again! Gluten-Free Santa Barbara’s August Meet-up will be this Sunday at Lilac Patisserie. After getting some feedback, we have moved the time to 11:00am. As of this past week, Lilac is now offering a breakfast menu until noon so come try out their new items! See you there!

Industrial Eats

9 Aug

Zucchini Tomato GratinTo celebrate my birthday weekend, we took the scenic drive up to the 154 to spend a few hours. I have been meaning to try Industrial Eats in Buellton ever since it opened as the couple behind the new hot spot were the caterers for our wedding. Upon telling the lady at the counter that I was celiac, she was quick to inform me that due to one oven, there is a big chance of cross contamination. They have GF pizza crusts, but they are cooked on the same surface in the oven as the regular crusts. I ended up ordering three things that were cooked in the same oven, but were in their own cast ironware. First, I had the Zucchini and Tomato Gratin without the bread that is typically included. This dish had a way of tasting so fresh and healthy even though there were massive amounts of cheese on it. Topped with basil, it was incredibly flavorful. I also ordered the Sweet Corn with Tomatillo and Bacon.

Sweet Corn with BaconCorn with house-made bacon will always be a winner in my books. Add in some Mexican flavors with the tomatillos, cheese and cilantro and you’ve got a plate of amazingness. The third thing I ordered (yes, I ordered too much per usual) was the Shrimp with Pancetta, Chile and Garlic.

Shrimp with PancettaIf I remember correctly, the woman that rung me up altered this dish as well as it usually has bread on the bottom. I loved the flavor of the large chunks of garlic. Eating here reminded me of why we used Janet and Jeff Olsson to cater our wedding… they cook amazing food using locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients. I was a bit disappointed that they wouldn’t think to cook the GF pizzas on a separate surface as they were beyond GF friendly for our event. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t hesitate to stop by again if I was in the Buellton area.

Presto Pasta

22 Jul

Pasta Putanesca

Last week, we stopped by Presto Pasta after checking out ukuleles at Jenson Guitar and Music Co. The first thing I noticed at the counter was a big display saying that they had tons of GF choices. They use Mariella Gluten-Free Pasta, a corn pasta from Italy. Additionally, they have the GF sauces to choose from marked for ordering ease. After speaking with the employee about cross contamination, she got the manager who assured me that they would “nuke the pasta” so there would be no worries about a shared pot or colander. I suppose that is where they get the “presto” in Presto Pasta. I had the Pasta with Puttanesca sauce as I was told it was pretty spicy. I personally didn’t find it spicy or flavorful for that matter. However, they get points for providing an easy, safe and quick option for GF pasta.

As a reminder, this upcoming Sunday, the 26th, Gluten-Free Santa Barbara will be meeting at Lilac Patisserie for our monthly get together. Find all of the details here!

Cookbook Review: The Gluten-Free Cheat Sheet: Go G-Free in 30 Days or Less

7 Jul

The Gluten-Free Cheat SheetI felt like I won the jackpot a couple of weeks ago when April Peveteaux, the mastermind behind Gluten is My Bitch, sent me her newest cookbook that is out TODAY! I was totally going to buy it anyway since everything she writes makes me feel like I am not a crazy person for having to eat gluten-free. I was also skeptical though since I am a look-at-the-pictures, get-intimidated-by-recipes kind of cookbook reader. Since this book doesn’t have pictures, I figured I was screwed.

After getting some recommendations as to which recipes would be easy enough for me to execute and could be eaten by our GF, vegetarian, peanut and sesame seed-free household, I got to work. The first recipe I tried was the Cheesy Quinoa Broccoli Mac since it had the word cheesy in it.

Cheesy Quinoa Broccoli MacI am not kidding when I say that this was the EASIEST recipe to follow. Bonus points for the fact that my 15 month old ate it without a struggle. Since making it the first time, I’ve made it again but with even more cheese because you can never have enough cheese.

I got a little cocky since the cheesy mac was so easy to make and attempted the Spinach Enchiladas, complete with homemade enchilada sauce. This was way more labor intensive than the cheesy mac, but still totally doable. Aside from a rookie mistake of trying to blend the sauce ingredients in a small food processor rather than a large blender, everything went off without a hitch. My husband was very skeptical when I told him I made everything since he said it was restaurant quality.

Spinach Enchiladas

I was batting 1000, so I figured I would try one of the appetizers. The Polenta Crostini with White Beans and Kale looked pretty straightforward. Once again, I was the lauded at the dinner table. And once again, I had a 15 month old eating something healthy… willingly.

Polenta Crostini with White Beans and Kale

April’s book is full of tips, resources, meal plans and of course, lots of yummy recipes. Below is how to make my new go-to meal!

reprinted courtesy of April Peveteaux, The Gluten-Free Cheat Sheet: Go G-Free in 30 Days or Less

Cheesy Quinoa Broccoli Mac

Once I made this for my daughter’s class when we were demonstrating what could be made with a box of vegetables from the CSA our school supports. It was gone in 5 minutes flat.

PREP TIME: 15 minutes

COOK TIME: 30 minutes

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa

½ cup gluten-free vegetable stock

1 cup broccoli, chopped

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded


  1. Bring water to boil in medium saucepan. Add quinoa once water is at rapid boil, and turn down heat to low. Allow quinoa to cook for 20 minutes.
  2. Turn heat under quinoa down to lowest setting to simmer. Immediately add vegetable stock and broccoli to saucepan and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add cheddar cheese and combine until completely melted. Remove saucepan from heat and serve.

MAKES: 6 servings

Five Loaves Cafe

3 Jun

Soup Sampler

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.

Pumpkin Seed Encrusted SalmonEven 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.

Carrot CakeThis 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!


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