It’s almost Friday, gluten free-ers! 🙂 This week has felt so long—but maybe I am still on Pacific time…Tonight I bring you more gluten free San Diego reviews: one that is a MUST if you go to SD and two that you can give a miss…
One interesting thing about San Diego is that although there are tons of “gluten free” options, these options are mostly geared towards people on the trend rather than people with gluten allergies/intolerances/celiac, meaning that cross contamination is still a major concern and gluten free does not mean safe here. Great for people who choose to give up gluten, but bad for us Celiacs. I walked into 3 bakeries and upon seeing my delight for the gluten free cupcakes galore, I was told “these are not for people with gluten allergies/Celiac because they do/can contain trace amounts of gluten.” However, there are definitely some great gluten free places here in San Diego so don’t get discouraged. Just remember to always check with the chef about how they prepare the food (different utensils/surfaces, etc).
Iron Pig Alehouse (ironpigalehouse.com): Located at 1520 Garnet Ave, San Diego (Pacific Beach region). If you are looking for some awesome BBQ that is gluten free, this is the place for you! When I went last Friday, everything on the menu was gluten free except for the bread—yes, everything! I was a bit worried when I was told there was no separate gluten free menu, but was extremely ecstatic to discover that they could make pretty much anything gluten free!!!! I could not decide—too many options! But I finally settled for the rib tips and cheesy potatoes. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed! Service was fast and portions were huge. The BBQ sauce was fantastic and it was so nice to not have to worry about being glutened. Go here—you will not regret it!
Seasons 52 (www.seasons52.com): Located at 789 W Harbor Drive, San Diego (downtown, right by the harbor). After taking a wonderful harbor cruise where I got to see sea lions, my friend and I were starved. We were walking along and after striking out at 5 places (yes, 5 places had no gluten free options!!!), we finally found this place that has a gluten free menu. Exciting right? Not quite…when I asked about their gluten free flat bread (which is raved about on yelp), I was informed that it “probably was not entirely gluten free.” The pizza surfaces are shared as well as the oven and toppings so that was a no-no for me. With the pizza option being taken off the table, most of the menu items were eliminated leaving me with only a few good options. I ended up playing it safe, discussing with the waitress to make sure they would take precautions, and getting the scallops with risotto, which was very good but not very filling. I wanted something fresh and figured the scallops would be fresh, but they were actually shipped from the east coast, which was a let down. The waitress was nice, but her knowledge of gluten free for Celiacs was limited. I did not get sick from my meal, but I would not return here unless I had to, but Seasons 52 would be nice for someone who can handle cross contamination or is gluten free for a non-medical purpose.
Extraordinary Desserts (extraordinarydesserts.com): Located at 2929 Fifth Avenue, San Diego and 1430 Union Street, San Diego. After our disappointing lunch at Seasons52, we decided to seek out some gluten free dessert. My friend recommended Extraordinary Desserts because it is well known in San Diego and has gluten free options. I checked their website and sure enough they have a gluten free page! I didn’t see any disclaimers, which made me happy because bakeries that do not take precautions against cross contamination typically have some disclaimer/notice stating that there is potential for gluten contamination. However, this place is terrible for cross contamination!!! The desserts are all next to each other…gluten free is right before flour…and there are fans blowing, making me very nervous about cross contamination. However, I saw a a fresh plate of gluten free chocolate cake…all by itself…it was labeled gluten free and I asked if it was indeed gluten free and was told yes of course so I ordered it. I made sure they changed their gloves when getting my dessert (they were annoyed by this). After I checked out and received my dessert, I was told that “oh, by the way, it’s gluten free but it’s an open kitchen.” So I questioned more…and they were very vague and told me it should be okay and that they are careful. But what does that even mean? They told me that they use clean utensils but can’t guarantee anything because it’s an open kitchen so no dedicated space. I was a little too late and hoped I would not spend hours in the bathroom. The cake was fantastic and somehow I did not get sick. But then again, I selected a dessert that was isolated from the flour-filled desserts. Summary: don’t go here if you have celiac disease or an allergy!! Staff is uneducated about gluten free and I plan to contact the restaurant to request that they clarify their gluten free procedures both in the restaurant and on their website……I lucked out but others may not. I will keep you posted on this! However, this bakery would be great for people who choose to be gluten free.
Stay tuned for more….
**Please note that this review solely reflects my own honest opinion. I was neither paid nor compensated for my visit here.**