Tag Archives: breakfast

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

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.

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.

A Couple of Days in Los Angeles

3 Apr

For the end of Spring Break, we decided to take a quick trip to Los Angeles, staying at an airbnb near Griffith Park. Even though it was a short visit, we were able to squeeze in some tasty gluten-free food that made me wonder why we go to LA so infrequently. When we arrived, we headed straight for the entirely gluten-free Erin McKenna’s Bakery on Larchmont for a snack. IMG_3812.jpgWe split two doughnuts, banana bread and a cookie sandwich filled with icing.

IMG_3813Not only were the items we selected delicious, they brought back great memories of going to BabyCakes in NYC when I was younger. The next morning, we got an early start to the day at Fonuts, an entirely gluten-free donut business. These “faux donuts” are baked rather than fried. Not only is this spot completely GF, it was also free of my daughter’s allergens which made a 5-year old very excited to be able to choose anything from the case. IMG_3830I chose the breakfast sandwich which consisted of a biscuit-type of donut/bread. I loved the flavor of it and considered getting a second one until I remembered we ordered lots of fonuts to sample.

IMG_3832.jpgThese three were the banana, churro and raspberry vanilla fonuts. We also had a banana chocolate and chocolate with sprinkles fonut. We did not leave hungry. After our hearty breakfast, we spent the morning exploring Griffith Park.

IMG_3852.jpgEverything was so green due to the recent rains. Our favorite part was the Ferndell Trail which was a shady, winding trail along a stream. It was mellow enough that both kids could walk it and sparked the imagination of our 5-year old who envisioned that fairies were hiding behind every corner. After tiring the young and not so young out, we headed back to our airbnb for nap/rest time. Thanks to a hot tip from April of Gluten is My Bitch, we got takeout from Stuff’d. Holy moly gluten-free dumplings. Corny For YouWe ordered three of these deliciously light and flavorful nuggets of goodness. The Corny For You was filled with cream of corn, ricotta and spinach.IMG_3875.jpgThe Siberian Classic dumplings were filled with beef and pork and were served with a sour cream sauce on the side. My personal favorite were the Hot Chick dumplings.

IMG_3877.jpgThey were filled with chicken and veggies and drenched in a Thai coconut curry. The good thing about eating these in the comfort of your home is that no one can judge you when you lick the container clean. How do people in Los Angeles eat anything other than these dumplings every day?

The next morning before we drove back to Santa Barbara, we ate breakfast at Hugo’s. As soon as we started talking to our waitress, it was clear that they took allergies very seriously. I ordered the Desayuno Fuerte which was two poached eggs over potato pancakes with sautéed spinach, garlic, onions, tomato and shredded parmesan.IMG_3895.jpgThe potatoes were so crispy and good. The dish was served with the restaurant’s homemade gluten-free flatbread.IMG_3893.jpgThis bread would be great for a sandwich. With our bellies full, we drove back to Santa Barbara.

Dawn Patrol

1 Mar

IMG_3323.jpgThis morning, I noticed on the Find Me Gluten-Free app that there is a restaurant listed that has GF pancakes. Dawn Patrol was reviewed by a person with celiac who said the pancakes were celiac friendly, so I loaded my youngest into his car seat and headed to lower State Street. After talking to the cashier, I was able to determine that the gluten-free pancakes are made on the same flat top as the regular ones. However, he insisted that they would clean it first. I didn’t feel comfortable with that, so I ended up ordering their Build a Hash which is made on a safe surface. My concoction had russet potatoes, peppers and onions, shredded chicken, spinach, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs and their fire roasted salsa. It also came with an option of corn tortillas (warmed on a GF surface) or bread. The food was hearty enough to split with another person.

It just goes to show that every person with celiac disease has a different level of comfort at restaurants. As always, you are dining at your own risk. That being said, does anyone in SB have a hidden breakfast spot that they love that is GF-friendly?

AH Juice

28 Jul

IMG_5653.jpgHello there. Do you remember me? I haven’t forgotten about you. Life has just been quite busy. I had the urge to try somewhere new in Santa Barbara this past week which led me to AH Juice on Haley Street. This 100% organic cafe just steps from The Mill offers plenty of naturally GF foods. I ordered the Wild Smoked Salmon Free Range Scramble without the toast. The quality of the salmon was outstanding and I loved the slices of avocado that came with the sautéed veggies.

Speaking of The Mill, I’d like to congratulate GFSB’s cofounder, Courtney, on her recent wedding which took place at Potek Winery. With a very cool setting, an entirely gluten-free menu compliments of Wildwood Kitchen and Lilac Patisserie, and good company, it was one of my favorite weddings I’ve been to! Good luck to you and your husband in SLO! The GF community there will be lucky to have you! Stepping into Courtney’s role for Gluten-Free Santa Barbara will be Emily Luxford, MS, RD. Emily has “developed and published research regarding dietary modification. Emily’s focus is individualized medical nutrition therapy. Her practice includes evidence based nutrition intervention for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal disease, gastrointestinal disorders, bariatric surgery nutrition support and disease prevention.” Come meet us at one of our monthly meet-ups at Lilac Patisserie. If you ever have any questions, you can also always send us a message through Facebook!

Hominy Grill

1 Jun

Shrimp and Grits
Anytime I am in the South, I have a craving for shrimp and grits. And so, when we knew we were heading to Charleston, I started researching which restaurant had the best shrimp and grits there. Hominy Grill kept coming up, but to my disappointment, the recipe that had been posted online showed that they used flour. Nevertheless, we went there anyway as it came highly rated as a breakfast restaurant. On their menu, they have gluten-free pancakes listed. Once I talked to our waitress, I didn’t feel comfortable ordering them since they used the same flat top for everything else. It also sounded like it was a very small kitchen that happened to be very busy at the time. When I told her that I really wanted the shrimp and grits, she said they could make those gluten-free for me. I am so glad that they did. These were unbelievable. Along with the shrimp, there were scallions, mushrooms and bacon served over cheese grits. Oh god these were good. I don’t think I gave myself a second to breathe as I inhaled the dish in record time. It is very clear that this restaurant has both a local and tourist following, and for good reason. Because of that, try going on a weekday when the crowd is a bit more manageable!

Lilac Pâtisserie

19 Jan

Cherry SconeHurrah! Lilac Pâtisserie is finally open! This entirely gluten-free bakery and café on State Street is a very welcome addition to Santa Barbara. I stopped in today to check out the space and pick up some goodies. For now, they are holding off on their breakfast and lunch menus so that they can make sure that they are done right. There were plenty of treats to choose from though to satisfy any appetite. I had a cherry scone that was incredible. I found myself having a hard time deciding between the banana nut muffin and apple crisp muffin, so I got both.

banana nut muffinApple Crisp MuffinI also couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a toffee nut cookie which was very satisfying. Oh, did I mention I also got a brownie to go? They have two huge cases featuring their attractive and yummy cakes. I am already trying to decide which to get for our little one’s upcoming first birthday.

GF cakesThe only thing I could find wrong about Lilac was that it is going to challenge my lack of self-control. Stay tuned for Gluten-Free Santa Barbara’s next meet up at our new favorite eatery in town!

Joni’s Kitchen

30 Sep

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This month, we headed back east to Montauk to see our friends get married. I used my trusty Find Me Gluten-Free App to see if there was anything GF friendly near where we would be staying. I ended up hitting the jackpot with Joni’s. While ordering, I noticed an array of GF baked goods on the counter including a plethora of doughnuts! I devoured my cinnamon doughnut outside on one of their faded turquoise picnic tables. I then had the zen rabbit wrap with chicken.

unnamed-1When ordering, the lady (perhaps Joni) assured me that they would be changing their gloves and taking precautions to limit cross contamination. This spot is just blocks from the beach and definitely had a local’s feel to it. I wish we were in the area for more time so I could have had a couple more meals here!

C’est Cheese Cafe

7 Jul

Smoked SalmonI love cheese… I sometimes think that not being able to eat gluten is easy when compared with the idea of not being able to eat cheese. My favorite place in Santa Barbara to stock up on some cheese has always been C’est Cheese. So when I found out that they were expanding to include a cafe, I was so excited. I tried it out for breakfast and it did not disappoint. The pastry chef’s significant other has Celiac Disease which has translated to an awareness of what gluten is and what gluten-free means. That being said, I did have to ask questions when ordering. I ordered the smoked salmon with their own gluten-free bread. Typically they warm the bread in a contaminated toaster. However, they were able to warm it up in an oven for me on some foil. I loved my dish and can’t want to go back to try something else… preferably with one of their signature cheeses!