Gluten-Free in Ventura: Brophy Bros.

Brophy BrosI didn’t tell anyone we were going to be in town since we went to L.A. to help Dawn, and babies really don’t give us a timetable until they’re ready to arrive. Once everyone was home, I announced on Facebook that I was in town. This led to my uncles giving me a hard time for not saying anything. Because uncles.

We arranged to have lunch with family, meeting up with everyone at Uncle Ed’s girlfriend’s house, where fruit, cheese, veggies, and dip waited for everyone. And mimosas. Can’t forget the mimosas. It is a must to have at least one drink when I’m with my family.

Brophy Bros 2We drove together to Ventura Harbor Village for lunch at Brophy Bros. This is one time I did not get to do research ahead of time. Sometimes I don’t have that option when I’m with family. Luckily, our server and the kitchen were amazing. I gave them my list of food allergies and they worked with me on what is and could be safe for me on their menu.

Brophy Bros 3Chaz and I started with Oysters. They were East Coast even though West Coast are better (in my opinion). But I never turn down an oyster (unless it’s coated and fried in gluten) and I never met an oyster I didn’t like.

Brophy Bros 4I chose the Shrimp & Crab Salad without dressing. The dressing had soy in it. Of course. Soy and corn are in just as many things as gluten and I hit the trifecta. But, I’m used to eating salads without dressing so it wasn’t a loss. The actual win in this is the crab. So sweet. It was the second time having crab after being deprived of the succulent crustacean for a year and a half. Anyone want to sing the “Hallelujah Chorus”? That was in my head with each bite I took.

My crazy cousins. I love them.

My crazy cousins, Clutzy & Pipsqueak.

I would go back without hesitation.Brophy Bros 5

Gluten-Free In Los Angeles: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Bubba Gump 7Chaz wanted to walk to Universal City Walk from Dawn’s house. Totally doable walk, but I lacked the energy to walk the steep hills with all the up and down the stairs and driveway I did at Dawn’s in the days prior. Instead, we drove with the intent to walk around after having lunch.

Honolulu, please!

Honolulu, please!

It took us some time to decide on Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. because mobile reception was horrible and I couldn’t use my Find Me Gluten-Free App. This meant looking at what was available and going by what we knew. And we knew Bubba Gump has a dedicated gluten-free menu, having been to the one in Honolulu several  years ago when I was just gluten-free and dairy-free.

Bubba Gump 2I started with an Adult Root Beer Float (root beer float with rum). I figured after holding down the fort for seventy-two hours without anyone’s head catching on fire, I deserved it. Plus, it was like having dessert first and I like having dessert first. It makes me feel empowered.

Bubba Gump 3Then I went with the Shrimp and Veggie Skewers. I tried the butter sauce, and while it was good, I preferred the simplicity of the shrimp and veggies on their own.

Bubba Gump 4We strolled around, checking out stores here and there. I found myself a new coffee mug with different Hello Kitty faces all over it. Of course I found a lot more Hello Kitty things I wanted and convinced myself it was not a good idea. Besides, I wouldn’t have enough room in my suitcase.

Coasters can be artwork

Coasters can be artwork

Then I found this amazing Wonder Woman poster in the window of a comic book store as we left it. After some searching I discovered the artist is Ant Lucia and she did it as part of a series for QMx. I had every intention of ordering the print but talked myself out of it because I have nowhere to hang it. And prints like that shouldn’t be hidden away in a closet.

Bubba Gump 6To end the day out, we saw Lucy at the AMC Theater there since it was the only movie playing soon either of us had an interest in. If you ask me, I’m still not sure about the movie other than Luc Besson has done better.

Gluten-Free In Lost Angeles: Katsu-ya

Katsu-yaGoing without sushi for months is excruciating. I was more than willing to oblige Dawn’s desire for sushi for dinner one night after bringing Mara Jade home. She chose Katsu-ya for takeout.

The restaurant has horrible reviews for its service in the restaurant, but great reviews for the food. I don’t think any of us would’ve handled poor service well that night. My order wasn’t my usual long list of maki rolls and nigiri since Chaz and I ate a late lunch that day.

Chaz and I used to eat Japanese food a lot in the days before I went gluten-free. The last four years I’ve stuck with sushi and sashimi. We are spoiled by our local sushi chef, Ken, who gets his fish direct and not through a middle-man. That’s an important thing out here in the Midwest. It means fresher fish which in turn means non-fishy tasting fish. Every Japanese restaurant we go to with friends and gets compared to Ken and his restaurant. Most never measure up. The last time we had sushi in California, two years ago, we weren’t impressed. Sometimes you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best.

My order was simple, Chirashi sushi. Basically sashimi served over sushi rice in a bowl. Honestly, simple sushi is the way it was meant to be. Not sushi with all the sauces, fried tempura, and cream cheese. Really, cream cheese in sushi is an abomination. I’m not saying you’re doing it wrong if you like the extras in your sushi. I’m just saying all that extra stuff runs counter to the intent of sushi. You should be able to taste the fish, rice, and vegetables, not all the crazy stuff added to it to appease Western appetites.

The tako (octopus) was tender, which is rare to find. My big test is the salmon. Truly fresh salmon will feel like butter in your mouth with just a hint of the taste of salmon. Katsu-ya passed my salmon test. I only wish I had thought to order more because once my sushi was gone, I was one sad Debi.

I’d be happy to order takeout from Katsu-ya the next time we visit.

Anyone else in the mood for sushi now?