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Gluten Free in the City of Angels

Santa Monica in February

Random Notes:: 

I've been back in New Mexico for a week - a week that has skidded by at an alarming rate (it's true what they tell you about time accelerating as you advance in years, I'm sorry to say). Monday morphed into Friday with nary a blink. I've been playing correspondence catch-up, shoveling snow, doing heaps of laundry, and sifting through e-mails. I slid through Valentine's Day with a yawn and a shiver and a rain check in spite of good intentions and an armful of  red roses. Steve and I are both nursing a cold- the first we've caught in three years. Memories of those balmy afternoons sipping vanilla lattes in Santa Monica are fading fast.

Albuquerque was dark and well below freezing when we boarded the plane to LAX. Two and a half hours later we were strolling the Santa Monica farmer's market in the morning sun, inhaling the ocean air, our winter jackets abandoned, tossed in the back seat of the rental car. It was lovely if not surreal.

After scoping out the nearby Wild Oats, Whole Foods, and Third Street Promenade, we headed up to The Grove to drop in on our son, Colin, who was teaching a class at The Studio/Creative Bar at the Apple Store.



The Food Issue::
We stayed at The Embassy Hotel and Apartments so that I could have a kitchen. I'm not adventurous when it comes to dining out. Truth is I waited five gluten-free years before I took the risk. Those of you who were undiagnosed for years understand. Flirting with celiac symptoms is not sexy. I'd rather eat rice cakes and peanut butter and be able to cruise the town without testing out every powder room between Hollister and the Miracle Mile. 

Luckily, in Los Angeles I had more choices than rice cakes.

I found plenty of things to stock the kitchen at Whole Foods and Wild Oats - gluten-free bread, Applegate Farms organic smoked turkey, beautiful cheeses, berries, Redbridge sorghum beer (my first gluten-free beer!) and even a decent frozen GF pizza shell we topped with spinach and jalapeno jack cheese. We broiled fresh salmon from Trader Joe's, and made roasted potatoes. We made blue corn nachos. Scrambled eggs with corn tortillas. Easy and good.

The best dinner out was at The Border Grill in Santa Monica- owned by the Too Hot Tamales. It was a quiet Sunday night (some kind of game was on?). After ordering some lip smacking top shelf margaritas and settling in with Colin for some getting caught up chit chat- nourished by blue tortilla chips and lime laced tomatillo salsa- hunky Chef Ishmael came to our table to discuss the meal preparation and offer his gluten-free recommendations from the menu. The chunky guacamole we shared was robust and authentic. I ordered the smoky-garlicky grilled shrimp and greens with rice. Babycakes, it was to die for. The best shrimp I have ever eaten. Seriously. And for dessert, there was flourless Aztec chocolate cake, aka melt-in-your-mouth chocolate orgasm. Yes. This was one happy and contented gluten free goddess. My heartfelt kudos and sigh-of-relief-thanks to Chef Ishmael for a not only safe, but fabulous meal-- You rock, dude!.



Our apartment view, the local surf report and Venice Beach.

Hangin'::
While Steve took meetings in Santa Monica and Culver City [Steve sold his first screenplay, this winter- did I mention that?] I got to hang with Colin, as he had the week off. We lunched safely vegan-style-- three times-- at Real Food Daily, once sitting next to one of my favorite actors, Alan Arkin - nominated for Little Miss Sunshine this year.

We shopped at
Wasteland on Melrose [both of us snagging several Diesel and LA designer bargains], sipped Jamba Juice, walked Venice Beach, talked about [Colin's] music, my impending artistic choices, movies we loved (and hated) this year. Not to mention, the various ironies and synchronicities of life.

To have one whole week to listen, to witness, to soak in the presence of your amazing twenty-four year old son is delicious beyond words.

 I came home well fed.



TRENDING

Gluten-Free Goddess Raspberry Jam Bars

Sweet and simple raspberry jam bars. Let's be honest. I am here today to tempt you. To coax you. To seduce you with a gluten-free dessert worthy of every single luscious calorie. In full transparency, I am admitting up front these are not fat-free. Or sugar-free. These aren't diet food. They're not proper for breakfast (unless you serve them with Champagne). And you won't be able to sigh ever-so-wistfully at parties and mention, off hand, how hard it is to eat gluten-free at family gatherings and parties. Because, Darling Reader, you'll score zero sympathy points once people sink their teeth into the luscious raspberry jam filling nestled between buttery toasted coconut-almond crunch topping and tender hazelnut cookie crust. Nope. In fact, these decadent raspberry coconut-almond bars should come with a warning:   Be careful who you share these with. Because they are sure to fall madly in love with you. Seriously. Karina xox

Gluten-Free Baking Tips + Substitutions

Need wheat-free gluten-free baking tips? Help is Here. Here's what works- and what doesn't- in quirky Gluten-Free Baking and Substitution Land. From Karina, Gluten-Free Goddess®. Baking Substitutions for Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free and More Notes on GF Flours: Gluten-free non-wheat flours generally fall into three basic weights- light starch, all-purpose medium, or heavier whole grain. A blend of medium and heavy flours with some starch mixed in to lighten, tenderize, and help bind the batter or dough works best, and tastes best (too much starch can result in a gummy texture). Light, starchy GF flours include sweet rice flour, white rice flour, and the ubiquitous gluten-free starches- tapioca starch, cornstarch, potato starch (NOT potato flour, which is whole different animal) and arrowroot starch. Medium flours are akin to 'all purpose flour'- these include sorghum flour, certified gluten-free oat flour, and superfine brown rice flour. If you cannot find sorg

Gluten-Free Goddess Bread Recipe - dairy-free and rice-free, too

One Delicious Loaf... Man shall not live by bread alone, so the famous saying goes. In other words, we need ideas to feed us, too. We need awareness. Conscious action. An expression and celebration of the spirit. And yet (here's the sticky part, folks) almost every spiritual tradition includes the bread we shall not solely live by, whether it be a hand-torn loaf, a paper thin wafer, a piece of matzoh, a curve of naan, or a sprinkle of cornmeal. Breaking bread and sharing grain is a cherished and beloved symbol for community, celebration and tribal nourishment. From Holy Communion to the Super Bowl gatherings around an elevating principle or a family milestone (from birth to marriage to funerals) include the simple but connecting gesture of sharing food. Because cooking makes us human. And eating illustrates our kinship with the entire animal kingdom. Humans are animals, after all, interlinked and cousined by astonishingly similar DNA and subatomic particles from the

Gluten-Free Goddess Brownies- The Best

Why bake a gluten-free brownie from scratch and not a mix? While baking mixes are perfectly acceptable in a pinch, and no doubt a boon to busy cooks on a gluten-free diet (well, honestly, who isn't busy, preoccupied, overwhelmed, and anxious these days, I ask you?), your taste buds will tell you why. In a heart beat, Darling. A dark chocolate brownie made from scratch is deeply delicious and decadent. Impressive, even. Company worthy. Dare I say, date night worthy. I'm not kidding. This brownie recipe is swoon inducing. (You know what they say about chocolate.)  But here's the best part. Throwing this recipe together takes only a few minutes longer than opening up a box of mix. In fact, you can whip up these luscious gooey babies in a mere ten minutes. In less time than it takes you to scan your daily dose of cute animals IG feed.  Seriously.  So what is more rewarding? Watching baby donkeys frolic on Instagram or stirring together this rich, tender, dark chocolat

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets, Chick Peas and Orange

Fresh, bright quinoa salad with oranges and roasted beets. Roasted Beets + Quinoa are a super yum match. Trust me. February second. We survived January, Darling. Happy Groundhog Day to you. Happy Imbolc. The dwindling of winter is at last within reach- no matter what Punxatawny Phil predicts. Six weeks is doable. After all, there is chocolate. Irish Soda Bread . And soul warming soup . And our hope-fueled New Year betterments are still on track (right?). If not, the year is young. Tomorrow is a fresh start. To celebrate, let's throw a party. My contribution? A gluten-free vegan salad that is perfect for parties. Because throwing a party is a tad more complicated than it used to be. There are vegans to accommodate. And newly gluten-free friends and neighbors to feed. And let's face it. Everyone is a wee bit bored by those layered taco bean dips and pork sliders. Gooey meat and cheese is so predictable. Pizza dips are so frat house. Why not go fresh and bre

How To Cook Quinoa in a Rice Cooker (with recipes)

How to cook quinoa in a rice cooker.  How do you cook quinoa? I was recently asked. The answer is simple.   Easy. Fast. Rockin'. I cook it in a rice cooker. In fact, quinoa is the easiest no-fuss "grain" you'll ever cook. It's healthy fast food. Cook up a batch ahead of time and you can stir up a fabulous light lunch (like the Lime Quinoa Salad with Mint ) in a New York minute. Well, maybe a Los Angeles minute. No wait. A Santa Fe minute. I can't keep up with where we are these days. It doesn't matter. It's all good. Try these favorite quinoa recipes and you'll see for yourself. Love, Karina xo How to cook quinoa in a rice cooker: 1. Using a fine mesh sieve rinse 1 cup of organic quinoa in cold water. Drain. 2. Dump rinsed quinoa into your rice cooker. 3. Add 2 cups fresh water* see notes. 4. Turn on your rice cooker. That's it. In about fifteen minutes* you'll have hot fluffy quinoa to play with.

Gluten-Free Goddess Lemon Yogurt Cake

Luscious Lemon Cake So  I've been jonesing for a cake laced with citrus- not too sweet and not too light. A cake with character and heft.  Something akin to a lovely simple cake I remember liking as a child, a store bought bakery cake called Louisiana Ring made by Freihofer's. The cake featured a hint of orange. The day I decided to bake, I did not have oranges in the pantry- but I did have some lemons, organic Greek yogurt, and plenty of blanched almond flour.  And this simple home baked lemon cake was born.  In time for Spring. Love, Karina xo