Gluten-Free in Encinitas: Solterra Winery & Kitchen

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We drove up to meet Hordus at Dana Point, a sort of meet in the middle since we weren’t able to see him while we were in L.A. If he looks familiar to you it’s because I’ve done a restaurant post with him in before, and if you follow my Chocolate Wasteland blog, I just did a post about him being one of my best friends.

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We lingered over lunch before driving down to the marina to wander around and then sip on some wine. Before we knew it, it was time for him to leave because he had dinner plans.

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We drove back down to Encinitas so I could ground myself in the sand and watch the sun set.

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Cardiff State Beach is the setting for some scenes in my first novel, Family Ties, but none of the scenes take place at sunset. If you’d like to see more real life settings I used, you can check them out here.

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We then drove up 101 to Solterra Winery & Kitchen for dinner. Pro tip: make reservations if you want to eat here. We didn’t have reservations but they had a high top for two right outside the entrance. This place is not 100% gluten-free but when we asked the hostess about a gluten-free menu she was knowledgeable about my needs without me asking questions, pointed out what wasn’t marked gf that could be gf if I wanted it, told our server before she came to our table about my needs, and checked on us twice to make sure I was doing well.

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Solterra offers cask wines and I couldn’t pass that up – why bother with the middleman…er bottle? I tried the La Sureña (white) and Chaz had the Ainsley Reserve (Cab blend). If we were to go back, it would be my mission to have every single wine they serve. They also have a wine club. *wink wink*

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We ordered the Cheese & Charcuterie plate and they gave us housemade gf crackers to go with it – I didn’t even ask for them!

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And because it was important to eat our veggies we ordered Roasted Brussel Sprouts.

I would go back to Solterra in a heartbeat. Who wants to go with? I’ll even make the reservations.

Gluten-Free in Encinitas: Healthy Creations

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Hotel room keys can make jokes.

We headed south again after leaving Los Angeles. Destination: Encinitas. When we got in, we had enough time to check-in to the hotel before picking up Mom (my best friend’s mom) from work and take her for dinner.

We went to Healthy Creations, a 100% gluten-free bakery and restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch. They close at 6 pm, so we had an early dinner. It wasn’t packed while we were there, so it made conversation easy.

Since the place is 100% gluten-free, it meant everything was safe and everything on the menu looked good so it was hard to choose. Eventually, I settled on a California Wrap (it was a teff wrap).healthy-creations-4

Mom ordered a BLAT on ciabatta and wanted her sandwich to be part of my food porn. I was more than happy to oblige.

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Don’t they look good? They use fresh ingredients and who in the world doesn’t love a good California avocado? The only thing better is a Hawai`i avocado. After having both types, Chaz says I’ve ruined him for avocados. He didn’t know he was missing out before.

I also got a chocolate “malted” with almond milk. There is no malt in the “malted” and even though I haven’t had many in my life, it did taste just like I remember them to be.

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Chaz went back for some of the baked goods and a few drinks (soda for him and local cold brew coffee for me)  before we left. The pastries we tried later were pretty good, but the cupcakes weren’t my thing. Chaz really liked them so that should tell you something since he’s the gluten eater. As you can see in the next picture, they do have gf specialty products for sale as well.

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We took Mom home and kept her up past her bedtime, chatting. (I’m such a bad influence)

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The sun was setting over the Pacific on the way to Mom’s. Too stunning to not share.

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Drank the cold brew coffee another day. It was good stuff and the restaurant had repurposed some of the old bottles, which is what brought my attention to it. Cold brewing coffee is a great way to keep the acidic content down if it bothers you. It’s also the best way to make coffee if you’re going to use it for iced coffee drinks.

Gluten-Free In Los Angeles (Burbank): Bea Bea’s Cafe

beabeas-1Chaz found another restaurant with a dedicated gluten-free waffle iron. Yes, you read that right. I was excited for gluten-free waffles even though the walk was longer than we realized it would be. Bea Bea’s was pretty crowded when we arrived (it was mid-morning) and I found out pretty quick when I verified that the gf waffle iron is dedicated that it was also broken. Bummer. They still took good care of me and I and ordered the Happy Mornings.

This was what I found exceptional at Bea Bea’s, the side offerings. Usually, when you order a breakfast it comes with toast/biscuit/pancake or some type of potatoes. Some places will offer fruit as well. Not only does Bea Bea’s offer those they offer tomato slices and cottage cheese (not together). Sometimes I want colorful vegetables with my breakfast, not fruit, and I don’t want to have to order an omelet to get them.

While breakfast wasn’t quite what I expected (waffles) I was still able to find something I like as much (corned beef).

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Content that he has a comfy lap but he has “his ears on.”

Since I shared many pictures of Obi-Wan and Mara Jade in the previous posts, I thought I’d give this guy his own space because he hasn’t been the center of attention in over ten years. Manny is a spirited chihuahua who mostly has a worried expression on his face when he’s awake. He barks at anything moving or making noise outside (someone has to fight Communism, yo). He kicks it up a notice when it’s someone coming to the door. He is the Sentinel of the pack but he’ll steal the kids’ food without remorse if they leave it within reach.

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He loves to burrow in blankets and sleep in his sunny spot in the living room. He will dance for a treat and follow you around if you have food in your hand. His trembles when he’s excited in any way. He’s always looking for the next open lap to climb on so he can lick your face, beg for belly rubs, and take a little nap.

He’s one of my favorite dogs.

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One of the things we like to do in L.A. is to go to Universal City Walk (Dawn lives two blocks away). We walk around, check out the shops, eat at one of the restaurants, and go to AMC for a movie. This trip we saw Crimson Peak. One of the fun things about this AMC is sometimes there are big displays outside. The display this time around happened to be a little walkthrough for Crimson Peak. It had display cases inside with various props from the movie, including this wall hanging. The walkthrough was set up like one of the hallways from Allerdale Hall, so while it was cool walking through before the movie, it was even cooler after the movie. I liked the movie so much that I created a character who likes gothic horror in my last book.

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And a trip to L.A. wouldn’t be complete without enjoying sunsets from my favorite place in L.A.