Tag Archives: downtown

Bibi Ji

23 Sep

IMG_0862.jpgLast night, my husband and I decided to try a new restaurant before heading to the Santa Barbara Bowl to see The National. We ended up at Bibi Ji, the creative Indian restaurant that opened earlier this year. Now, we LOVE Indian food. We have a weekly tradition of getting takeout from Flavor of India. But this isn’t your run of the mill Indian restaurant. The presentation and flavors of the food definitely exceeded our expectations. We sat outside on their back patio since it was a perfect Santa Barbara night. When speaking with our server, he knew what Celiac Disease was, and gave me guidance on what I could and could not have. We started with the Paneer Tikka Sliders. These “sliders” were more of a fork and knife dish. They had a surprising heat to them which was much appreciated since we love spicy food. All of the curries are gluten-free, so we decided to order two of those along with a side of basmati rice. We got the butter chicken which our waiter had mentioned was their top seller. We also ordered the coconut curry with vegetables.

IMG_0868.jpgAlthough I enjoyed the butter chicken and the tikka masala sauce it came in, I preferred the coconut curry flavor. I had some papadum on the side so that I could scoop up all of the extra sauce. IMG_0863.jpgBecause they are very clear on the menu about being unable to accommodate sesame allergies, we won’t have this restaurant in our usual rotation as my daughter is severely allergic to sesame and nuts. However, it will definitely be a top pick for date nights.

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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.

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…

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)!

Caffe Primo

2 Nov

img_8350This past weekend, we took a break from making dinner and headed downtown to Caffe Primo with some friends. The restaurant is right on State Street which allows for some some good people watching, or if you are my toddler, some good trolley sightings. After talking to our waitress, I learned that the tots and fries on the appetizer menu were definitely not GF due to contaminated oil. However, she assured me that I could order the GF pasta as it would be cooked in a clean pot of water and handled with clean tools. I went with the Short Rib Pappardelle with the gluten-free penne. I was exceedingly hungry so I finished my meal quite quickly. I think if I were to return, I’d probably go with something else though as I didn’t find the dish to be memorable. There was definitely a level of comfort with the waitress though as she knew what gluten was and understood cross contamination.

Kanaloa Seafood

19 Feb

IMG_2816.jpgEvery time that I drive by Kanaloa Seafood Market on Chapala, I always think that that their patio looks so appealing. That, mixed with the fact that it is always busy when I drive by, finally convinced me to try it out. One of the things that makes Kanaloa stand out is that they promote and support environmentally responsible, scientifically sustainable fisheries.

From their website, “Kanaloa is the only International Organization of Standardization-certified seafood company in North America, earning our ISO 14001 certification through regular third party audits of our environmental management practices, and our continuous effort to reduce the size of the environmental footprint of our entire business, including our eco-packaging and shipping methods.”

I ordered two of the Pacific Tacos. I’m glad that I didn’t get three since they were huge. The tacos were served on corn tortillas and had sautéed swordfish with poblano peppers, onions, cabbage, pico de gallo and their house salsa. I am a huge fan of fish tacos, so I assumed that I would enjoy these. Not only were these good, they were tremendously good. The poblano peppers and onions mixed with the swordfish were such a good combination that I will be thinking of these for days to come.