Tag Archives: dinner

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.

 

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.

Somerset

22 May

IMG_1324.jpgLast week, we went on a much needed date night to the newer restaurant, Somerset. We sat in the beautiful garden courtyard which has gotten a major facelift since the Arts & Letters Cafe days. With tons of copper patio heaters to keep you warm, it is such a nice setting to spend a Santa Barbara evening out in.

Our waitress was familiar with Celiac Disease which is always reassuring. She walked me through the menu pointing out which items were truly gluten-free and which would have cross contamination. We started with the Spring Vegetables which came with fava tendrils, salsa verde and crème fraîche. I loved the freshness of this dish, especially the perfectly cooked brussels sprouts and asparagus. I then ordered the Burrata with grilled asparagus, prosciutto, mustard greens, cured egg yolk and pine nut breadcrumbs. For this, I had to omit the breadcrumbs. IMG_1326.jpgIn hindsight, I would have passed on this dish as it felt very similar to the first starter we ordered. I also had it without the egg yolk, so perhaps that would have added a little more complexity to the taste to differentiate it from the first dish. For my main dish, I ordered Braised Short Rib Osso Buco.

IMG_1329.jpgThis was accompanied by polenta, swiss chard, cipollini onions and a horseradish gremolata. The polenta was about 50% butter which was awesome, because butter. But it  also made it so rich that I had a hard time finishing more than half of the dish. I think that had I skipped the starters, I could have polished this off as the meat was so tender. I wasn’t planning on ordering dessert, but then our waitress alerted me that their Chocolate Walnut Torte was made using Thomas Keller’s gluten-free Cup4Cup flour mix. Sold.

IMG_1331.jpgThe salted caramel was a fantastic addition to the torte. The only part of the menu that we didn’t explore was the cocktail menu as I am currently not drinking. However, one of our neighboring tables had a frothy looking concotion that looked quite intriguing. The restaurant is definitely a littly pricy compared to your average Santa Barbara restaurant. But sitting in that courtyard is worth it, even if you only go for drinks and dessert.

Little Kitchen

11 Nov

littlekitchenWhenever 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)!

Alcazar

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!

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!