Tag Archives: gluten free

Mony’s

20 Mar

IMG_9453.jpegLiving in Santa Barbara, there is no shortage of Mexican restaurants. However, there are limited spots that offer chips that are truly gluten-free. Mony’s in the Funk Zone only uses their fryer for their fantastic corn tortilla chips. I ordered their nachos which were described to me as enough for 3-4 people.IMG_9456.jpegWhile that may be true, I had no trouble finishing them off with minimal help from my husband. When you start with a chip that is as good as their’s, you are guaranteed to have some tasty nachos. This is the perfect quick meal to have while taking a break from exploring all of the nearby wine tasting rooms.

Goleta Coffee Company

6 Mar

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This morning, I headed to Goleta to try out Goleta Coffee Company’s new gluten free toasts. They prepare and bake their gluten-free, vegan bread on dedicated equipment. The area that they prepare their toasts is also dedicated gluten-free. They do serve lots of items with gluten there as well, but are careful to prevent cross contamination for the toasts. I had a really hard time deciding between the seven choices. I ended up going with their Classic Avocado and Superseed Banana Nut. The Superseed Banana Nut had almond butter, sliced banana, chia, flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and shaved coconut. It was toasted with maple syrup and cinnamon and drizzled with honey. Holy moly… this was awesome. The consistency of the bread was fantastic and held up to all of the toppings really well.IMG_7740.jpeg

I was afraid that by ordering the Classic Avocado, I would be making a boring choice. This toast was anything but boring though. It was served with farmers market watermelon radish and lemon pepper. Both dishes were so beautifully prepared – I was surprised to see such an attention to detail at a super casual coffee spot. The fact that the flavors were just as good as the presentation made me put this on my short list for favorite breakfast in the area. I have included the toast menu below so you can plan your future visit! IMG_1029.JPG

The Daisy

6 Feb

IMG_9115D.jpegAfter the Moms Demand Action meeting last night, a few of us went to The Daisy on State Street for a snack. I was excited to find out that their fries are safe. They are fried in rice bran oil and the only other thing fried in that oil is their falafel which is also gluten-free.

Moms Demand Action is a national, nonpartisan, grassroots movement of mothers and others working for public safety measures to keep our kids and families safe. Our local Santa Barbara chapter meets the first Wednesday of every month. Join me next month on Wednesday, March 4 from 6-7pm at St. George Community Center (1032 East Mason Street).

Merci Montecito

28 Jan

IMG_8696D.jpegI am pretty sure I have found my new favorite dish in town. A friend and I decided to try Merci Montecito after hearing good things about it. Everything in this little restaurant located in the Montecito Country Mart is designed beautifully from the flatware to the glass water bottle options. After talking to the person behind the counter, I found out that their Chicken Paillard is gluten-free. They use tapioca flour and Udi’s breadcrumbs in this perfectly cooked dish. As there was lots of delicious looking gluten-free options and I am very indecisive, I also ordered the Trois which is three items from their salads + vegetables and grains + legumes sections of the menu. I chose the Gigante Beans with summer squash, basil and preserved lemon, the Persian Cucumber with peanut, sesame oil, green peppercorn and toasted garlic and the Kale Salad with avocado, pistachio, fennel and farmer’s cheese.IMG_8699D.jpegI liked the heat of the cucumber along with the toasted garlic, but my favorite was the kale salad. When I ordered the salads, I was told that all of the ones that were in the case that day were gluten-free, even though not all of them were labeled as such. When I asked why they weren’t all labeled GF, I was told that they only put the GF on the items that typically weren’t so that their customers would know. This seems like a horrible idea. You should label the items that are gluten-free whether or not those items are “typically” safe or not safe. I confirmed the ingredients and preparation for the three items I selected, but it definitely leads me to believe that they need to rethink their labeling strategy to avoid miscommunication. When you have celiac, you can never make assumptions about your food whether it is labeled GF or not.

Oku

12 Jan

IMG_8542.jpegHappy New Year! It has been nonstop here for the past few months between holidays, work, and taking care of the kiddos. For that reason, I was super excited to get out of the house and try a new restaurant. Oku is the latest restaurant from Tina Takaya of Opal. It sits right on Cabrillo Boulevard with beautiful views of the coastline, especially from the upper patio. When I told our waiter about being a Celiac, he had me list the menu items I was interested in so he could check with the kitchen. Many of the items were made gluten-free by substituting tamari for the soy sauce. Our table got a few dishes to share including the shishito peppers, edamame and chinese long beans.IMG_8545.jpegMy favorite of the three would have to be the shishito peppers.

IMG_8549.jpegI asked about the sashimi carpaccio offerings as well. Our waiter let me know that none of the listed sauces were safe. However, they could substitute pure yuzu as an option. I ordered the yellowtail carpaccio in that style and was happy with the taste. I then ordered some nigiri. The wasabi that they use isn’t fresh wasabi (our waiter told us that it is too expensive), so I ordered it without. I don’t tend to trust wasabi pastes as they can have fillers like wheat starch that are not gluten-free. I also asked about the sushi rolls that they offer. Unfortunately, the restaurant soaks their seaweed in soy sauce so those are off limits. I like having another option for Asian cuisine in Santa Barbara. However, I still wish that we could have one restaurant in town that is totally GF friendly, offers sushi and has a gluten-free fryer like Rice in Manhattan Beach or Yuki Yama in Park City.

Blackbird

11 Oct

IMG_6600.jpegFriends of ours recently got married on the east coast, but we were unable to make the trip. Upon their return to Santa Barbara, we took them out to Blackbird to celebrate. None of us had been there, so we were excited to try it. Upon sitting down, our waiter brought out some sparking rosé to celebrate the newlyweds which was a nice touch. He walked me through the menu to give me guidance on which items could be made gluten-free. Sadly, the fried brussel sprouts were made in a contaminated fryer, so they were off limits. However, the rest of the table enjoyed them immensely. We shared an order of the Padron Peppers and the Big Eye Tuna to start.

IMG_6603.jpgBoth were gluten-free as is. The peppers had a perfect char to them. The tonnato sauce wasn’t bursting with flavor, but the peppers were plenty flavorful on their own. The tuna starter was very light. Again, the sauce wasn’t memorable. However, the melons that came with the dish were incredibly fresh and tasty.

IMG_6605.jpgFor the main course, the new bride and I shared the Whole Roasted Branzino and the Scallops. The branzino was cooked so that the skin turned out nice and crispy. The only thing I had altered in the branzino was that they removed the head and tail for me rather than serving it whole which is just a personal preference. The scallops were served with pork belly, so they were a winner before even tasting one bite.IMG_6608.jpegOverall, we had a really nice evening. The food, service and ambiance all made the night feel more special than our typical meal out, which made it the perfect place to celebrate the newlyweds.

La Cocina

28 Aug

IMG_5894.jpgThis month, we decided to try La Cocina which is located in the same beautiful spot that Somerset and Smithy were. I was optimistic since Mexican food is typically easy for Celiacs. However, after talking to our waiter, it seemed that options were a bit limited. Even though they make their corn chips and tortillas in-house, they were not gluten-free because they fry them in contaminated oil. I asked if I could have some tortillas that they didn’t fry but that wasn’t possible for some reason. I started with the Yellowtail Ceviche. We then shared an order of the Charro Bean Dip without the chips.

IMG_5895.jpgNeither of the starting dishes were memorable. Since the tacos and enchiladas were off the table for me, I had the Carne Asada as my main dish. IMG_5897.jpegThis dish was okay but I would try something else if I returned. Sadly, it wasn’t as GF-friendly of an experience as it was when the restaurant was Smithy (remember that GF pasta?! mmmm). I love the outdoor patio here, but I don’t know if that is enough to get me to come back.