Tag Archives: santa barbara

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.

Brophy Brothers

26 May

IMG_4423.jpgThere may not be a restaurant in Santa Barbara loved by both locals and tourists alike as much as Brophy Brothers. With views of the harbor and mountains, it is a great spot to grab a drink and some seafood. There was a group of 5 of us and it was a beautiful day, so we knew there would be a little bit of a wait. We were told 35 minutes, but it ended up being a little over an hour. When we were finally seated and I had a chance to check out the menu, I noticed they had gluten-free buns. After talking to our waitress about cross contamination with the bun, I ordered the tuna melt. It had a heaping amount of tuna with melted, gooey cheese. It typically comes with fries, but they are made in a contaminated fryer. I turned down salad as a side since I figured the tuna melt would be plenty of food, which it was.

Cafe Ana

19 May

IMG_4404.jpgMy favorite building in Santa Barbara is the courthouse. It is unbelievably beautiful with intricately painted walls and ceilings and panoramic views from the clocktower. Plus, I got hitched there, so it will always be one of my favorite spots in town. Just steps from the courthouse is new-ish restaurant, Cafe Ana. With large windows offering views of the courthouse and library, it is a nice location to enjoy a cup of coffee or have a snack. When I went to the cashier to place my order, I started to ask questions about particular items. The gentleman helping me tried to inform me that the burrata and tomato soup would not be gluten-free because of the burrata. Intrigued, I asked what was on the burrata that was not GF. At that point, either the manager or owner who overheard stepped in and let me know that it was gluten-free. As I placed the order, he assisted the cashier so the correct notes would be written for my items. I went with the Butter Lettuce Salad with shrimp added. I also ordered a cup of the Spring Vegetable Soup.

IMG_4402.jpgUsually this soup comes with fried olives. The manager/owner explained that the oil used to fry them is uncontaminated as they only fry potato chips in it. However, this batch of olives was not from today, and so just to be safe, he didn’t want to run the risk of cross contamination since he didn’t see them being made. I appreciated the caution and felt comfortable with my order due to his communication with me and the kitchen. I just wished that the owners would properly educate their entire staff on what gluten is as well as what cross contamination is. I wonder what would have been the result of my meal if he wasn’t there to assist.

Lunch at El Encanto

18 May

IMG_4435.jpegI had lunch with my family today at El Encanto. As soon as I mentioned to our waiter that both my brother and I have Celiac, he excused himself to alert the kitchen. I started with the Yellowtail Crudo. The quality of the fish was good and the olives were tasty but the chili, basil and lemon flavors that were supposed to accompany the yellowtail were nonexistent. I had the Caesar Salad without the garlic croutons as my main dish.

IMG_4439.jpegThe amount of buttermilk caesar dressing and shaved parmesan was just right. It was a bit overcast today, but you could still make out the ocean which served as a reminder of how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful spot.

Due Lune

28 Apr

IMG_4059.jpegTre Lune in Montecito has been a family favorite of ours for the past decade. We’ve enjoyed countless meals there as they have always taken care of our multitude of dietary restrictions while serving up delicious food. Because of that, we were looking forward to trying their new location, Due Lune located at State and Cabrillo. There are great views of the water from both inside and their patio. It was a windy night so we opted for a window seat inside. I started with the Garden Party Salad which had kale, zucchini, beets, tomatoes, goat cheese, pear, cranberries and walnuts. The ingredients were very fresh, however there was too much balsamic on it for my liking. It was also a much larger portion than I had anticipated.

IMG_4062.jpegJust like Tre Lune, they have gluten-free pasta available as a substitute for their pasta dishes. After speaking with our waiter, he confirmed that they would cook the gluten-free pasta in a clean pot and use a clean colander. I ordered their bolognese which similar to the salad, was enough to feed 2 people. Is it just me, or is a huge portion unappealing? Although there was nothing wrong with the dish, I would probably try something else if I were to go back.