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Malibu Farm at Miramar

2 Jun

IMG_4445.jpgIf you are looking for good service at the Miramar, your best bet is at Malibu Farm. We’ve now dined there twice with two different servers that were knowledgeable about Celiac all while being attentive and pleasant. I was brought gluten-free bread that they warm separately from their usual bread. It wasn’t particularly good, but it was nice that they had it as an option. We ordered a Cauliflower Crust Pizza for the table as our waiter let us know it could be prepared safely.IMG_4446.jpgPeople seem to be all about cauliflower crust pizzas these days. Although this looked very appealing, it completely fell apart when trying to eat it. I then split the Bacon Lettuce Tomato Kale Caesar with someone in our group.

IMG_4453.jpgAlthough the dressing was a bit plentiful, I enjoyed the taste of the salad. Bacon always seems to make things better. Even though I was getting a bit full at this point, I was glad that I ordered the Crispy Baked Whole Fish Tacos.

IMG_4456.jpgThey prepared the corn tortillas in a safe spot for me to ensure no cross contamination. The fish was perfectly crisp and flavorful. This was my favorite part of the meal aside from the good company and tasty spicy tequila beverage I had.

Brophy Brothers

26 May

IMG_4423.jpgThere may not be a restaurant in Santa Barbara loved by both locals and tourists alike as much as Brophy Brothers. With views of the harbor and mountains, it is a great spot to grab a drink and some seafood. There was a group of 5 of us and it was a beautiful day, so we knew there would be a little bit of a wait. We were told 35 minutes, but it ended up being a little over an hour. When we were finally seated and I had a chance to check out the menu, I noticed they had gluten-free buns. After talking to our waitress about cross contamination with the bun, I ordered the tuna melt. It had a heaping amount of tuna with melted, gooey cheese. It typically comes with fries, but they are made in a contaminated fryer. I turned down salad as a side since I figured the tuna melt would be plenty of food, which it was.

Cafe Ana

19 May

IMG_4404.jpgMy favorite building in Santa Barbara is the courthouse. It is unbelievably beautiful with intricately painted walls and ceilings and panoramic views from the clocktower. Plus, I got hitched there, so it will always be one of my favorite spots in town. Just steps from the courthouse is new-ish restaurant, Cafe Ana. With large windows offering views of the courthouse and library, it is a nice location to enjoy a cup of coffee or have a snack. When I went to the cashier to place my order, I started to ask questions about particular items. The gentleman helping me tried to inform me that the burrata and tomato soup would not be gluten-free because of the burrata. Intrigued, I asked what was on the burrata that was not GF. At that point, either the manager or owner who overheard stepped in and let me know that it was gluten-free. As I placed the order, he assisted the cashier so the correct notes would be written for my items. I went with the Butter Lettuce Salad with shrimp added. I also ordered a cup of the Spring Vegetable Soup.

IMG_4402.jpgUsually this soup comes with fried olives. The manager/owner explained that the oil used to fry them is uncontaminated as they only fry potato chips in it. However, this batch of olives was not from today, and so just to be safe, he didn’t want to run the risk of cross contamination since he didn’t see them being made. I appreciated the caution and felt comfortable with my order due to his communication with me and the kitchen. I just wished that the owners would properly educate their entire staff on what gluten is as well as what cross contamination is. I wonder what would have been the result of my meal if he wasn’t there to assist.

Lunch at El Encanto

18 May

IMG_4435.jpegI had lunch with my family today at El Encanto. As soon as I mentioned to our waiter that both my brother and I have Celiac, he excused himself to alert the kitchen. I started with the Yellowtail Crudo. The quality of the fish was good and the olives were tasty but the chili, basil and lemon flavors that were supposed to accompany the yellowtail were nonexistent. I had the Caesar Salad without the garlic croutons as my main dish.

IMG_4439.jpegThe amount of buttermilk caesar dressing and shaved parmesan was just right. It was a bit overcast today, but you could still make out the ocean which served as a reminder of how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful spot.

Sage

12 May

IMG_4271.jpegTwice a year, I make the pilgrimage to Ojai to get my hair done. While I have friends that think it is crazy to drive 45 minutes when there are plenty of salons in Santa Barbara, I look forward to the trips. The drive takes you past Lake Casitas with beautiful views of the mountains and I can always be sure that a healthy, gluten-free restaurant will be found. This trip, my hair stylist let me know about Sage, a newly opened restaurant serving “mindful meals and elixirs”. After finishing up at Rise, the cutest hair salon there ever was, I headed to Sage. While ordering at the counter, the cashier knew exactly what Celiac was. She informed me that it is a shared kitchen so there is a risk. She also let me know that they make their own GF bread. They use the same pans that they use for their regular bread, but the pans have been cleaned prior to use. I ordered the Ojai Greens Bowl. It had sunflower seeds, buckwheat and a forbidden rice medley with local greens, green goddess dressing, pickled onion and pickled mushroom. With the bowl, I was able to choose two roasted vegetables so I selected the Brussels Sprouts and Beets. I also was able to choose a protein. I picked the Salmon Sashimi. I ordered a side of the gluten-free naan as well.

IMG_4275.jpegEverything in the bowl was super fresh and satisfying. There was the perfect amount of dressing and the portion was just right. The naan was served warm which was a pleasant surprise. I would definitely go back to Sage on a return trip to Ojai.

Caruso’s

5 May

IMG_4201.jpgLast week, I joined friends that are like family at Caruso’s. This was my first time dining at the Miramar Hotel’s signature restaurant, but not my first time at the resort. My previous experiences at the The Manor Bar and the Miramar Beach Bar were disappointing due to dismal service. However, the newest hotel in the area is beautiful and worth checking out for the views alone. Caruso’s is situated right on the water. Even if it is chilly, I’d recommend sitting on the outside patio. They have ample heaters and it seems silly to be so close to the ocean yet choose to dine inside. While speaking with our waiter about my dietary needs and asking for recommendations, he wasn’t entirely helpful. He proclaimed that this was the best restaurant in Santa Barbara but it was tough to get guidance from him. I asked if they had gluten-free bread and was told that they did have some that would be safe for me. When it arrived, I had to ask for my own oil though as they hadn’t anticipated that I would need a separate one. When they served an amuse-bouche, the server wasn’t sure if it was gluten-free and had to double check (it was). I started with the Little Gem Caesar without the croutons.

IMG_4204.jpegI really liked the salad. It sort of reminded me of the now defunct Arlington Tavern’s caesar salad. For my main course, I had the Pan Roasted Channel Island Halibut.

IMG_4206.jpegI thought this was okay. It didn’t have much flavor. Overall, the setting of the restaurant was unbelievably beautiful. However, I felt that the food and service were not on par with Bella Vista at the Four Seasons. I had to ask for water five times which may sound silly, but for the “best restaurant in Santa Barbara”, it was a bit annoying.

Due Lune

28 Apr

IMG_4059.jpegTre Lune in Montecito has been a family favorite of ours for the past decade. We’ve enjoyed countless meals there as they have always taken care of our multitude of dietary restrictions while serving up delicious food. Because of that, we were looking forward to trying their new location, Due Lune located at State and Cabrillo. There are great views of the water from both inside and their patio. It was a windy night so we opted for a window seat inside. I started with the Garden Party Salad which had kale, zucchini, beets, tomatoes, goat cheese, pear, cranberries and walnuts. The ingredients were very fresh, however there was too much balsamic on it for my liking. It was also a much larger portion than I had anticipated.

IMG_4062.jpegJust like Tre Lune, they have gluten-free pasta available as a substitute for their pasta dishes. After speaking with our waiter, he confirmed that they would cook the gluten-free pasta in a clean pot and use a clean colander. I ordered their bolognese which similar to the salad, was enough to feed 2 people. Is it just me, or is a huge portion unappealing? Although there was nothing wrong with the dish, I would probably try something else if I were to go back.