Tag Archives: dinner

Smithy

23 Aug

IMG_0081.jpgLast week, we went out to dinner with some good friends. We decided to try Smithy as we hadn’t been there since it had transitioned from Somerset. I just love their outdoor patio. It feels like such a beautiful, serene nook of Santa Barbara. You easily forget that you are steps from State Street. I started things off with a bang when I ordered their “Ortega Undead II: The Resurrection” to drink. It was a yummy, spicy tequila concoction. I was pleased that our waiter was aware of which dishes were not gluten-free due to cross contamination (our table shared the brussels sprouts and the crispy papas which were not GF).  I started with the Grilled Corn. It was served with zucchini, swiss chard, green harissa and queso fresco. Although the dish was simple, the ingredients were so fresh that I found myself wanting to order another one of these. For my main dish, I was tempted by the fact that they had homemade gluten-free pasta available. However, I went with the scallops. IMG_0097.jpgThese were served with an english pea risotto, asparagus and sugar snaps. Once again, the combination of fresh ingredients and a great execution made me incredibly satisfied with my choice. We skipped dessert, but I was almost enticed by their GF chocolate cake that was being served that evening. To be honest, I didn’t find a huge difference between Somerset and Smithy. Regardless, we will definitely be returning both for the food and the ambiance.

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Locavore Kitchen

2 Aug

IMG_9471.jpgI miss Arlington Tavern. Even though they closed 3 years ago, I always get nostalgic when driving past their location. They were always so gluten-free friendly without being a “gluten-free restaurant”. When I found out that a restaurant named Locavore Kitchen would be opening at the same spot, I got excited since at first glance, the menu seemed to be similar. However, upon dining there, I realized that the only thing these two restaurants shared was an address. Our waiter, who in his defense informed us that it was his second day, meant well. Yet when he informed us that the owner had told them that they don’t serve anything gluten-free during their training, I became inquisitive as there were things on the menu that seemed naturally gluten-free without the need for a GF substitution. After speaking with a waitress who was helping our waiter, I felt comfortable enough to order. She knew what celiac was and was able to confirm ingredients and lack of cross contamination with me. It also helped that we were there at 5:00pm with only one other table filled so I knew the kitchen wouldn’t be overwhelmed. I ended up ordering the caesar salad with no croutons and the short ribs (this menu item has since changed on the online menu).

IMG_9472.jpgThe food was fine. Most importantly, I didn’t get sick. That being said, after speaking to another person, it seems that our waiter was correct in that the owner has trained his staff to tell GF people that nothing there is gluten-free. I totally understand that there is no way to guarantee something will be gluten-free unless the kitchen is entirely GF. I am putting myself at risk when I choose to dine out. But I find that attitude unprofitable for a business, especially when there are multiple items on the menu that are naturally gluten-free or that can be easily adapted with the omission of an item like croutons.

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.

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)!