Tag Archives: montecito

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.

Khao Kaeng

21 Apr

IMG_4079.jpegNow that it is starting to warm up, it is always nice to find a new restaurant to dine at that has an outdoor patio. A friend and I decided to try Khao Kaeng in Montecito which is located in the old Scoop location. I have enjoyed meals at their sister restaurant, Empty Bowls at the Public Market, so my expectations were high. After our waiter checked with the kitchen, I was able to confirm that the Larb Mushrooms and Pad Thai could be prepared safe for me. The mushrooms had a subtle heat to them which gave the dish a nice flavor.IMG_4082.jpegI ordered the Pad Thai with shrimp which was a pretty sizable portion. Even though the waiter checked with the chef to see what would be safe, I felt more comfortable eating at the noodle bar at the Public Market since everything was right in front of me. I think it was also because at the Public Market, I was able to speak with the owner directly whereas here, it was clear that the waiter wasn’t as knowledgeable about cross contamination until he spoke with the kitchen. 

Bettina

11 Dec

IMG_2460.jpgI had heard that new restaurant, Bettina, has amazing pizzas so we decided to try it out since it mentioned gluten-free options on their online menu. The restaurant itself was very appealing. My kids loved it because it is located at the Montecito Country Mart where they have a fire truck, carousel and horse that will move for a couple of quarters. The bad news is that the GF pizza is not celiac safe. They use the same oven surface as their regular pizzas. The good news is that they have a fantastic shrimp dish on the menu which is GF. The sauce was so buttery and flavorful that I found myself trying to get every last drop of it. I was a bit surprised that the non-GF “gluten-free” crust had an upcharge of $5 on the menu. I could understand it if they had to take special steps to avoid cross contamination, but as that wasn’t the issue, it seemed high to me.

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.

 

Rori’s

6 Feb

GF Ice Cream ConeThanks to a tip from Laura via our Gluten-Free Santa Barbara page, I caught word that there is an ice cream spot in Montecito that has gluten-free cones! I literally RAN there as fast as I could. Rori’s which is located in the newly revitalized Montecito Country Mart is the cutest little ice cream shop you will ever see. And… not only do they have GF cones, but they also have GF and dairy free chocolate chip cookies to make ice cream sandwiches out of! The girl behind the counter was very knowledgeable about which flavors were and were not safe for me to eat. I decided on the fresh mint patty with chunks of chocolate in it. I love that it is February and I was able to enjoy a GF ice cream cone out in the sunshine. Does life get much better than this?

Tre Lune has GF Pizza!

3 Jan

Tre Lune PizzaThe whole family was in town for New Years to celebrate my brother’s birthday. One of the restaurants we visited was Tre Lune as it has always been a family favorite. As I was getting ready to order my usual order of GF pasta, the waiter let me know that they now serve a GF pizza! After asking all of the details (same oven, different surface, different utensils), we decided to get one for the table. I am so happy that we did. This is definitely my new favorite spot in town for GF pizza as the crust had a good consistency and the ingredients of the pizza were great too. For my main dish, I had the usual Spaghetti alle Lenticchie which had lentils, spinach and roasted tomatoes.

Spaghetti alle Lenticchie

Montecito Wine Bistro

29 Oct

This evening, we decided to try Montecito Wine Bistro. I started with the Nova Scotia Mussels Arabiata. These had roasted garlic, chili flakes, tomato, pinot grigio and saffron. For my main dish, I was intrigued by the Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghettini. Rather than order that though, I got the Red Quinoa, Sprouted Mung Bean and Stir Fried Organic Kale.

This had grape tomatoes, roasted corn, red onion and avocado with a cilantro lime vinaigrette. I really enjoyed this dish. It felt very healthy but was quite filling at the same time. I could barely finish the entire thing. We weren’t going to order dessert but then we saw the dessert menu which had the following item: Gluten-Free Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae with McConnells Bistro Neapolitan Ice Cream.

This was an unexpected treat. My only complaint for this dessert was that the strawberry was overwhelming. I think it would have been much better without it! I asked where they got their GF brownies and cookies, and apparently they make them there.

On a totally unrelated note, I have lots of family and friends that are in the path of Sandy back East. I hope everyone is staying safe! It may have been 75 and sunny here in Santa Barbara today, but we were thinking of you!