Santa Barbara Gluten-Free Eats and Treats

I was lucky enough to spend the long weekend in Santa Barbara visiting dear friends and attending a wedding. I always love to travel and try new places, but with Celiac that can be a slightly nerve-wracking experience as there sometimes aren’t a lot of safe, gluten-free options. I went into the weekend really excited but expecting to subside on bars and snack foods (if you need ideas, check out this post) but was so pleasantly surprised to find that Santa Barbara is an incredibly gluten-free city! In fact, I would say that they are even much more accommodating than the Bay Area. Rather than do full Gluten-Free Spotlight posts on each restaurant, I thought I’d round up the restaurants in a handy post for any of you planning to visit!

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde

My first meal of the trip was at Mesa Verde, a cool, farm-to-table restaurant that apparently was Santa Barbara’s first vegan restaurant! If vegan restaurant is synonymous in your mind with a hippy, dated restaurant, Mesa Verde couldn’t be farther from that idea. Rather, it has low lighting and clean lines and the plating is all beautiful, with Chef Greg Arnold creating “visually arresting compositions using imaginative vegan ingredients.” For my meal, I went with the Macro Bowl (rainbow chard, quinoa, grilled cabbage, kale, broccolini, shishito peppers, romesco, tahini, chimichurri) and left out the white beans and hummus as I don’t eat beans. This was seriously one of the best meals I have had since going gluten-free and I don’t say that lightly! When cooking I usually think of using one sauce but I’m re-thinking that strategy as the combination of romesco, tahini and chimichurri was seriously unreal. It was a huge portion and I ate every single bite because I loved all the flavors so much. It had the perfect amount of heat and was complex and delicious. If everyone could eat meals like this one, I think that we’d have more gluten-free/vegan believers out there!

Pickles and Swiss

When we stopped for a quick lunch the next day, we went to Pickles and Swiss, a cafe who’s tagline is “fresh bread and produce every day, nothing frozen, nothing deep-fried, gluten-free, no fillers, no nitrates, no artificial flavors or transfat.” Basically, it’s a cafe that actually believes in healthy eating and makes it easy and accessible. Normally at a cafe I would only order a salad due to cross-contamination of bread, but the staff at Pickles and Swiss was amazing. I spoke with the manager and he explained to me that their gluten-free bread was made locally and showed me the ingredient list and I was happy to see that it isn’t made with corn flour or dairy. I did a custom sandwich with Boar’s Head turkey (all Boar’s Head deli meats and cheeses are gluten-free) and they even heated up the bread on a special, gluten-free tray in the oven and were totally aware of cross-contamination. The sandwich was delicious and a rare treat and I would definitely stop in again.

Alchemy Cafe

Alchemy Cafe

Alchemy Cafe is connected to the Alchemy Wellness Center & Spa and is definitely a hidden gem. As you walk into the restaurant it feels a little like leaving the world behind and entering a more zen-like space. The menu is local, organic, healing, seasonal, vegetarian cuisine. One thing that is not mentioned on the menu or website, however, is that the entire menu is gluten-free, with the exception of one roll they offer and they are currently looking for a locally-made, gluten-free bread that is 100% organic. Upon hearing that I could have basically anything on the menu, my eyes lit up, as this pretty much never happens! I debated long and hard between sweet (buckwheat crepes made without any cross-contamination!) and the Thai curry. I ended up going for the latter and it was absolutely delicious and creamy and paired it with a green juice. My best friend went for the Alchemy Rolls (rice paper wraps with fresh carrots, avocado, sunflower sprouts, basil, cilantro, mint and cashews served with creamy Thai dressing) and after tasting them, I can agree that they were fantastic as they were light but packed with yummy, fresh ingredients. I also tried their Vanilla Coconut Macaroon and Almond Butter Goji ball and both were great for when you went a sweet way to finish the meal!

Backyard Bowls

backyard bowls

I’m a huge fan of acai bowls and frequent a few places in the Bay Area, so I was excited to try Santa Barbara’s version, Backyard Bowls. Because I can be slightly high maintenance when ordering an acai bowl (I wish there was a “create your own” option) I modified the Berry Bowl by leaving out the apple juice, bananas, blueberries, granola and honey and added almonds, coconut and cacoa nibs, the latter of which are my latest obsession! It was delicious and although I missed the greens which are in the ones I get normally, it was like a treat for breakfast and perfect for an on-the-go kind of morning.


-What’s your favorite foodie city?

-Any other gluten-free friendly cities I should know about?

Gluten-Free On-the-Go

When you have food restrictions or allergies, you often lose the option to pop into any restaurant or store for a snack when you are out and about. After finding myself starving on numerous occasions, I finally wised up to the importance of snacks. There are tons of gluten-free snacks on the market now, but since I avoid processed foods, I went on the hunt for items that were relatively shelf-stable and had very few ingredients. These are some of my favorites that have saved me from getting hangry when too many hours have passed in a situation where I’m unable to eat. I’m always looking for new snacks to add to my rotation though, so what are some of your favorite snacks when you are on the go?

GF on the go

1. Sprouts Organic Kale Chips: I’ve written about my kale chip love before, but these are my current favorite. The ingredient list is super clean and they run about $5.99 so a little less than many on the market. I really love the sea salt variety too but for a fun change, I’m in love with these spicy, crunchy chips.

2. Larabar & Kit’s Organic Bars: I’ll admit that bars are a saving grace for me, as they fill me up and give me some nutrition when I don’t have time for real food. I’m really discriminating when it comes to bars on the market as so many have tons of added sugar and questionable ingredient lists, but I love these two because they contain only nuts and fruit. Although Larabars are more well-known, I do prefer the texture of the Kit’s one a little more as it is slightly drier and this dark chocolate flavor is perfect for when I’m craving something sweet.

3. So Delicious Coconut Yogurt: I used to be a big fan of yogurt before going dairy-free and was so excited when I discovered this yogurt because it’s the perfect snack that actually will hold you over. I love this particular unsweetened one because it only contains 1g of sugar and has a clean ingredient list. Lately I’ve become obsessed with cacao nibs and I usually add some, as well as almonds and if I have time, strawberries, for a great snack or meal.

4. Bare Organic Apple Chips: When I’m at home, one of my frequent snacks is a sliced granny smith apple, but I only like them cold and sliced, so when I’m out, these Bare ones are my favorite. What I love about these particular ones, is that they only have one ingredient: apples. They also have an addicting thin, crispy texture and are perfect when I need a snack that is going to last me for more than a few bites.

Seeing Clearly in Style

I have been a dedicated contacts wearer for years now, but haven’t had a pair of glasses in a very long time. It’s been on my to-do list, but was something that I kept putting off because it seemed like such an expensive, difficult task. But then I heard about Classic Specs and the process that had intimidated me in the past was no longer.

Classic Specs was born out of the Brooklyn Flea Market, so you know it’s cool and their glasses are crafted in Los Angeles with all of the features you could want. Finding the right glasses for your face shape can be challenging and CS understands that, so you can select 6 pairs online for an at home try-on session. That way, you can get a feel for what they look like, ask your friend’s opinion and snap a few selfies to figure out which one is right for you. Then you send them back and go online and order your faves, with all prescription glasses starting at $89.

I chose the Remson glasses in the Havana Tortoise finish and I couldn’t be happier with them. If you are more of a cat eye glasses lover, go for the super cute Sedgwick glasses! Overall, I was so pleased with the entire process and the high quality of the glasses and super nice packaging. Now I’ve been wearing my glasses around and I think they are such a fun, chic look that I’m loving.

Seeing Clearly 1

Seeing Clearly 2

Seeing Clearly 4

Seeing Clearly 5

Seeing Clearly 6

What I’m Wearing:

Top: J.Crew (similar), Cuff: LOFT (similar), Necklaces: H&M (similar)

Disclaimer: These glasses were given to me by Classic Specs but this post was not sponsored and all opinions are my own.

Selling Clothes Online: The Basics

In Northern California, we’ve been spoiled with amazing weather lately in the high 70s and 80s and I am fully in Spring/Summer mode… however, my closet is not. My winter coats are still hanging and I’m constantly pushing past my sweaters in order to get to my tanks. This means that it’s time for a closet clean out. For those of you feeling the Spring cleaning vibes, I thought I’d share how I clean out my closet and make some money to spend on new clothes.

The first thing I do is go through my closet and take out items that I’m ready to part ways with. This usually includes clothing that I never really loved, clothes that I’ve worn a ton and am tired of, or clothes that aren’t in great shape anymore. For the items that aren’t in perfect condition, I put them in bags to take to Goodwill or Salvation Army. I sell the rest of the items online, through Twice or Thred Up. If you are new to selling clothes online, it couldn’t be easier, just follow my 5 easy steps!

Step 1

Request clean out bags from Thred Up and Twice. These bags are free and come with pre-paid postage so the only thing you have to do is drop them by the post office once they are filled!

Step 2

Thred Up vs Twice

Both Twice and Thred Up accept current, on-trend clothing that is in great condition. Using the chart above, make two piles designating clothing and accessories for Twice or Thred Up.

Step 3

Fill the bags and drop them off at the post office!

Step 4

Twice: You will generally hear back from Twice quicker and should receive a payment in about a week. Your payment can be directed to PayPal, Venmo or check. If you prefer store credit, you receive a 25% bonus on your payment. If you are unhappy with your payout, you can pay $4.95 for shipping to have the items returned to you. Any items that are not purchased are recycled.

Thred Up: You hear from Thred Up when they receive your bag and it generally takes a few weeks to process after that. For items that will be listed for under $60, you receive the payout as soon as it is processed. Higher-end items that will be listed for more than $60 will be on consignment and you will receive a payout when your item sells. Your payment can be directed to store credit, donated to charity, or after 14 days, transferred to PayPal or a check. Unaccepted items can be returned by selecting “Return Assurance” for $12.99 when ordering a clean out bag or automatically recycled.

Step 5

Enjoy your newly cleaned out closet and some extra cash!


-Do you ever sell your clothes?

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way, I simply am excited to tell you about ways to clean out your closets!