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Food Harmonics

19 Apr

IMG_6962.jpgI drove to Ojai this morning to have a much needed haircut since my hair stylist of 10 years is currently living there. This was my first time driving on 150 since the Thomas Fire, and I was amazed at the regrowth you can already see. It is a beautiful drive that is worth it just for the change in scenery. After my hair was done, I stopped at Food Harmonics in Ojai for lunch since the “Find Me GF” app showed me that it was an entirely gluten-free restaurant. The website describes the restaurant as offering food that is “real, organic, gluten-free, nutritionally dense and amazingly delicious”. I ordered a Dosa with goat cheese, butternut squash and tamari sautéed mushrooms. It came with a mixed greens and sauerkraut. I also had their Turmeric Matcha Latte. I enjoyed my uber healthy meal on their back patio where there was the perfect breeze. I am already planning a return trip to Ojai for the entire family in the near future.

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Oliver’s

12 Apr

img_6847-2.jpgMonday was a record-breaking warm day, so the idea of having an al fresco dinner as the day cooled off sounded really appealing. We decided to try Oliver’s since their outside patio always looked so nice when we would drive by. The entirely vegan menu has gluten-free items noted, but I made sure to check about cross contamination as we ordered our food. I was excited to find out that they use GF tamari rather than soy sauce.

IMG_6849 2.JPGWe ordered three things from the sides menu which happened to come out first: The Kung Pao Broccolini, Long Beans and Shishito Peppers. My favorite of those three were the shishito peppers which were perfectly cooked.

IMG_6850 2.JPGWe also ordered the artichoke “crab cakes” from the small plates menu since they sounded unlike anything we had tried before.

IMG_6845 2.JPGThe hearts of palm closely resembled the consistency of crab. I especially enjoyed the corn and the spicy aioli. For our main dishes, we ordered the veggie burger and the pad thai. The gluten-free option for the veggie burger is for it to be served with lettuce to wrap the burger in. However, once we saw the dish, it was clear that we would be fork and knifing the burger instead of attempting to pick it up.

IMG_6852 2.JPGThe burger was good, but I might try something different next time to mix things up. The pad thai was a generous portion.

IMG_6854 2.JPGYou might think that after ordering (and eating) so much food, there is no way that we would order dessert. You would be wrong. Both of the desserts they offered that night were gluten-free, so we went with the one that sounded more interesting to us – an apple crisp topped with coconut ice cream.

IMG_6855 2.JPGAs this was made with oats, I made sure to confirm that the oats were certified gluten-free. Our overall experience at Oliver’s was really good – the staff was helpful, the outdoor patio was beautiful and the food and drinks were tasty. I’m already looking forward to returning to the patio to have another Johnny’s Alive cocktail and a small plate or two.

 

Santa Barbara Cider Co.

30 Mar

IMG_6755.jpgFor parents of young children, sometimes you feel that a drink is necessary. Santa Barbara has no shortage of breweries or wine tasting rooms. But the breweries aren’t really a draw for Celiacs and sometimes wine just feels a little too refined when you’ve got boogers and spit up on you from your offspring. Enter the Santa Barbara Cider Company… an entirely gluten-free, family friendly tasting room and patio that still feels cool enough that your childless friends will want to make an afternoon or evening of hanging out there.

IMG_6754.jpgThere are always 12 different ciders on tap, with 5 more taps coming in the near future. They have 4 different flavor profiles so there is truly something for everyone. The ciders feature fresh pressed juices (nothing from concentrate) that are sourced from three different states and there are no artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives added. Basically you can feel good about getting your drink on. I did a taster flight so that I could sample their different flavors. I had Grow a Pear, Tropical Hopical, Viva and Homemade Apple Pie. My favorite was Grow a Pear, but Viva which combined pomegranate and lime was a close second. Homemade Apple Pie tasted exactly as it was intended, bringing back memories of Thanksgiving. The Tropical Hopical blended mango with hops and would be a good choice for those who would love the hoppy taste without the gluten. There are exclusively GF snacks for purchase (think potato chips, cookies and trail mix). They frequently have food trucks, but they can’t vouch for them being safe for celiacs as expected. I had Woodstock’s GF pizza delivered while we were there which went perfectly with the cider. If you want to have a drink with a side of corn hole, board games and fun tunes, Santa Barbara Cider Company is your new go-to place.

Brasil Arts Cafe

25 Mar

IMG_6594.jpgAfter spending the day downtown to attend the March For Our Lives, I thought it would be nice to support a local business that appeared to be gluten-free friendly by the looks of their menu. We’ve walked by Brasil Arts Cafe countless times on our way to Chicken Little, our favorite local children’s store. I was so excited to finally try it out. As I started to ask my usual questions, our waitress informed me that it was her first day but that she would get the owner to help ensure that I was getting correct information. The owner was very aware of cross contamination, informing me that I wouldn’t be able to have anything fried due to their lack of a GF fryer. He was also very accommodating with my daughter’s allergies. He made sure as soon as we ordered to go into the kitchen to ensure they took the necessary steps to keep us safe. I started with their small caesar salad which is served with their naturally GF pão de queijo – a delicious cheese bread. I wouldn’t necessarily call this a small salad so I can’t imagine what the large looked like. For my main dish, I had the BAC Burger.

IMG_6596.jpgThe burger featured locally sourced beef on their cheese bread. Since I was unable to have their fries, I had this with the side salad which was another large portion. As much as I enjoyed having the option of eating a burger with a bun, I really want to return to try the Moqueca de Peixe as it is also naturally gluten-free and sounded very good.

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar

21 Jan

IMG_4422.jpgIt has been a trying month and a half here in Santa Barbara between the fires and the mudslides. Add the fact that I gave birth to a son a week before the Thomas Fire started, and you can imagine how crazy it has been. During the stretch of days with toxic air, we stayed inside as long as possible before I needed to get out of the house. We took a day trip north to Avila Valley Barn which was the perfect place to breathe fresh air for a few hours. There were pony rides and animal feedings for my daughter and yummy gluten-free snacks for purchase so that we were all happy. We also did a day trip south to Camarillo and Thousand Oaks. We spent a couple of hours at a local playground and then went to Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar for lunch. Our waitress was very well informed about cross contamination for both my celiac and my daughter’s allergies. I had the GF Sweet and Spicy Shrimp Wok which was unbelievably tasty. I think it was a combination of the fresh air, friendly service and being able to eat safe Asian-style cuisine, but I loved my meal and have been thinking of returning since we were there.

Teal Pumpkin Project

6 Oct

IMG_0989.jpgIt is that time of year – when parents are scrambling to pull together a costume that resembles a superhero unicorn or a taco-eating dragon. There is something about Halloween that is magical for both kids and kids-at-heart alike. With minimal effort, you can make Halloween special for all kids, whether or not they can eat the usual trick-or-treat candy offerings.

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a movement to make Halloween a more inclusive, happy experience for all children. By placing a teal pumpkin at your doorstep, you are indicating that you offer non-food items as an option so that little ones with allergies can take part in the trick-or-treating fun.

As a mother with Celiac Disease to a daughter who has life threatening food allergies, this project hits particularly close to home. Fortunately, I have found our family and friends to be incredibly supportive as it offers a teaching opportunity for their kids on kindness and being inclusive to all children. You can make it a fun crafts project by painting a pumpkin teal together. Or, if you are lazier like myself, you can purchase a teal pumpkin that can be reused year after year. Currently, Michael’s in Goleta has one on sale for $10. There are so many fun non-food items to offer that will get your trick-or treaters excited: Glow sticks, stencils, bubbles, spider rings, stickers, kazoos, crazy straws, silly glasses, whistles, playing cards, temporary tattoos and more. If you are like me and can’t resist some Halloween chocolate, Enjoy Life Foods now offers individually wrapped mini Halloween chocolates that are free from the top eight allergens along with casein, potato, sesame and sulfites.

For more information, please visit FARE’s (Food Allergy Research & Education) website on The Teal Pumpkin Project. Have a Happy Halloween and thank you in advance for spreading kindness to all!

Green Table

26 Sep

FullSizeRender 2.jpgI had been meaning to try Green Table in downtown Santa Barbara for some time now. The entire menu is organic, gluten-free and vegetarian with lots of vegan options for those who choose that lifestyle. I am quite indecisive, so I asked the employee helping me what their most popular lunch item tends to be. That led me to the Raw Veggie Wrap. It was a raw veggie burger with their house dressing, cucumber slices, avocado, arugula, shredded cabbage and goat gouda cheese all wrapped up in a coconut tortilla. When I first got the wrap, I thought that it looked like a lot of lettuce as filler, but I was pleasantly surprised as to how dense it was when I bit into it. I really enjoyed the goat gouda that I added to it as well. Not only does Green Table have a nice variety of made-to-order foods, they also have an extensive juice and matcha menu. Fans of the autumn favorite PSL will be happy to find a Pumpkin Spice Matcha Latte on the menu, prepared with freshly made almond milk. Now if only it would start feeling like fall around here…