Hello everyone! I spent this weekend in Los Angeles for Ryan and my 6 year anniversary. So get ready for a bunch of gluten free reviews–he is a pro at finding great new places to try. For one afternoon, he surprised me by taking me to the Rose Garden at USC. Of course, he scheduled in lunch knowing how hangry I get and found Lemonade, an on campus cafe that markets itself as healthy.
Layout: This cafe reminded me of Chipotle in a way…You walk up and pick as many sides as you would like. They had the classic sides such as greek salad, but they also had unique ones like cauliflower curry. After selecting your sides, you move onto the protein section–fish or chicken options were available. Then you move onto the soups and sandwiches and finally the desserts. As you go, the staff marks off items on your paper ticket which you then present to the cashier. This was actually rather confusing. There is no set menu…so you pick the options as you go…but you don’t know what all is there to try! For instance, I had already picked two sides before I saw a side that I really wanted further down the line. I wish there was at least a board displaying the options for the day.
Variety: Gluten free and vegan? No problem! In terms of sides, TONS! Probably the highlight of this cafe. Meat options…only a few. Soup options…even less. Sandwich options..none. Dessert options…well there was a gluten free cookie option but it was not individually wrapped and it was kept on same shelf as the gluten-containing cookies so that was a no go for this celiac.
Quality: Fantastic quality! The food was fresh and full of flavor. I loved the interesting side combinations and thought that the seasoning choices were fantastic.
Gluten free labeling: Very clear. Allergens are clearly displayed on a tag in front of each food option. Staff was very knowledgable about the gluten free status of the sauces too. I really appreciated the clear labeling of allergens so I didn’t have to worry.
Price: Very pricey! The meal I had (see photo) cost $18!!!! See the tiny amount of chicken? An additional $6 (!!!).
Portion size: Small!! I definitely had room for dessert afterwards—luckily there was a Sprinkles ATM right next door.
Would I eat here again? Sure, if I was hungry and in the area, I know that this is a safe option (didn’t get glutened!) with lots of variety for sides. Would I go out of my way for this cafe? Definitely not. The portion size and price are a deterrent. However, I am very happy that USC has safe gluten free options for its students!!! Definitely a welcomed change. 🙂
What is gluten free like on your college campus?