Gluten-Free In Fresno: CASA de TAMALES

casa-de-tamale-1

The next stop on our road trip was Fresno. It was the closest to Sequoia National Park that Chaz felt had the best gluten-free options for me. It was also where he found CASA de TAMALES, a family-owned restaurant making artisan tamales. Everything in the restaurant is gluten-free and the beans and rice are also vegan…which is not normally an option for vegans. There are also several vegan options and vegetarian options. And dessert. We were too full to try the dessert tamales, so maybe next time.

We wound up there late, near closing time, and the staff was very helpful when we ordered. It’s a fast-casual place, so you order at the counter and they bring you the food when it’s ready. I had the Shredded Beef tamale and the Green Tomatillo Chicken tamale along with the Berry Hibiscus Tea. The tamales were absolutely divine. I don’t think I’ve ever had tamales that good before. They were so good, I practically inhaled them.

casa-de-tamale-4

General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks was great. Since I didn’t get to hike Fern Canyon or the Redwoods while we were in Arcata, it felt like a good alternative. However, I didn’t quite comprehend the enormity of the parks on top the distance to and from. The walk to the tree was fairly easy from the regular parking lot – it’s all downhill. The walk back was a challenge for my spoon-limited self. We had to stop many times on the way back up, most places I couldn’t even sit – I had to make do with leaning against something. But, it was all still beautiful.

We were pretty hungry when we finally got out of the park (hours later). It was late and a long way back to Fresno. We both thought it was a great idea to grind on some tamales. It took a while to get to an area with cell reception, but when we did, I discovered that they were already closed for the night. Boo.casa-de-tamale-3

Don’t you fret, though, the day we left for L.A., we made sure to stop for our tamale fix. This time around I had the Shredded Beef tamale (again) and the Spinach Artichoke tamale with their famous Sweetie, which is 1/2 Mint Lemonade and 1/2 Berry Hibiscus Tea. The drink may sound weird, but it was tasty and I would get it again. casa-de-tamale-2

If you’re in Fresno and need something gluten-free, go try these tamales. They won’t disappoint.

Gluten-Free In Napa: St. Clair Brown Winery

st-clair-brown-4

Up until now, I’ve only shared the 100% gluten-free places we dined at on the road trip because I wanted to show that these places are out there and they can take a load off on us, especially during stressful times like travel. This post is not about a 100% gluten-free restaurant or bakery. They do serve bread here, so you’ll need to take precautions and make sure to ask questions if you choose to eat here. And even if you don’t eat here, I’d recommend it just for the wine and scenery.

As I mentioned in the Napa Wine Tour post, we returned to the St. Clair Brown Winery later in the week. By design, they are open later for people who want to sit and hang out with a glass of wine and something to nosh on after work. The Garden Eatery is set amidst their kitchen garden, the cars driving by aren’t much of a distraction (unless you allow them to be). They serve small plates using items from the garden and are created to pair with their wines.

st-clair-brown-6

The idyllic setting lends to the desire to want to stay as long as possible.

st-clair-brown-1

Wine is served by the half-glass, full glass, half-bottle, table bottle, and traditional tasting flight. We were served the traditional tasting flight during the wine tour. This time, we ordered by the glass. I chose the Chardonnay and the Sauvignon Blanc, both are some of the best whites we had in Napa. That’s saying something since I’m not one who typically likes Chardonnay.

st-clair-brown-5

They also serve non-alchoholic drinks like iced tea and lemonade. During the tour, we were first served Fig Lemon Iced Tea, made with figs from the garden – delicious. And after I was done with wine the evening we went back, I switched to the Lavender-Bergamot Lemonade – doubly delicious.

st-clair-brown-3

The plates are usually served with bread (made locally), but you can ask for gluten-free crackers instead. The above is the cheese plate served with citrus blossom honey and pistachios.

st-clair-brown-2

We also had the Duck Rillette that came with Fig Apricot Compote. The Citrus-Marinated Olives are a separate “dish.” We were served them at the wine tasting along with Roasted Almonds and Hummus (the latter comes with bread, I ate it with a fork at the tasting, but you can substitute gluten-free crackers at the Garden Eatery). I enjoyed the olives so much I had to have them again when we went back and when we got home I made some. They are that good. Also on the menu when we were there was: PB&J Board (homemade organic ginger almond butter served with strawberries and blackberries) and Heirloom Tomatoes & Burrata (much like Caprese).

st-clair-brown-7

As the sun set, the patio lights were turned on and I didn’t ever want to leave.