Gluten-Free in Carlsbad: Tin Leaf Kitchen

tin-leaf-fresh-kitchenOur last day in San Diego/North County we decided to take it easy and play it by ear. For lunch, we wound up at Tin Leaf Kitchen, not far from our hotel. Chaz found them online and showed me their menu. I questioned the Turkey meal, it said it was gluten-free but was it really? I mean what restaurant makes gluten-free gravy so people with Celiac and NCGS can enjoy it too?

Tin Leaf Kitchen does.

I questioned the woman who took our order to ensure the gravy really was gf. She was patient with me and answered everything with confidence.

Pictured above is the All-Natural Roasted Turkey Breast. Or as I was calling it Thanksgiving dinner. This used to be one of the things I loved to order at diners since turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce (or relish as this is) should be enjoyed more than just one weekend a year. I was stoked (to slip in some of my SoCal past).

They also had a Boylan soda fountain. Not Coca-Cola. Not Pepsi. Boylan. They are sodas made with cane sugar instead of HFCS. I have a difficult time with HFCS as it can send me into an adrenal crash so I save it for the occasional movie-going. I had never heard of them before this and couldn’t decide which one to try because decisions! I ended up with the black cherry and wow. It was so good. Since then we’ve been able to find them at various locations around town – first the long trek to Jungle Jim’s but now closer in our neighborhood Kroger and Fresh Market. I have a stash of the ginger ale for the days I’m nauseated because nausea starts to dissipate before I’m halfway done.

After that delicious meal, we went to a movie with reclining seats. It was our first time in a theater with reclining seats. Once you recline you won’t go back to upright seats again.

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We left the theater, greeted by the moonrise on one side…

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…and the sunset on the other.

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Hasta la vista, SoCal..

Gluten-Free In Oklahoma City: Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar

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Two things you need to know about our trip back home before we arrived at Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar: 1) Late dinner the night before was a trial at a Denny’s in Nowhere, New Mexico and it was a disaster that included me overhearing our server mocking me from the back and then asking for the manager when she returned to our table to check on us (if you’re going to talk shit about me and don’t want me to know, don’t do it so loud that I can hear it); & 2) We had tried to go elsewhere for lunch but they did everything they could to not serve us…me…saying the only thing they could serve me was the gluten-free bread, plain. All the experiences on our five-week journey had been mostly positive. There were places where “gluten-free” on the menu didn’t really mean gluten-free – shared toasters, shared waffle irons, etc. You get the picture.

Having two horrifying experiences fairly back to back almost wrecked me. Between dressing down the manager rather publicly for being mocked by one of her staff for a medical condition that I didn’t choose to have and then being denied service I was ready for a breakdown. The latter experience is why I stopped using the Find Me Gluten-Free app. The restaurant we attempted to eat at was given good reviews on the app. This was the final sign to me that there are more users using the app that don’t have to be gf and muddying the waters. The other signs over the course of the road trip were the aforementioned places where gluten-free meant shared equipment was used instead of dedicated equipment.

So there we were, on a late sunny afternoon walking into Whiskey Cake when a smiling friendly face welcomed us and Chaz promptly returned the greeting and let the man know that I can’t have gluten.

The man glanced between us and said with absolute confidence, “We can accommodate you. And if you have other food allergies, we can accommodate those too.”

It was then my shoulders lightened. I didn’t realize I had been carrying the weight of the world on them until I wasn’t anymore.

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He seated us, letting us know he’d be our server and informed me of the options, including the gluten-free bread/buns that are made locally. Even when he came back later, he was patient when I asked questions to verify – like are the housemade chips really gluten-free? Are they fried in a dedicated fryer? Yes and yes.

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I ordered a Pink Drink (non-alcoholic) because it had guava juice. Who knew guava went so well with grapefruit?  The burger with the aforementioned locally made gf bun was delicious and the homemade chips (dedicated fryer) had just a hint of BBQ seasoning.

I described Whiskey Cake on Instagram as having a country hipster chic vibe. I liked how they used repurposed items for table decor: old bottles for the sugar and sweeteners, old lightbulbs to hold a sprig of rosemary, and cardboard for the coasters. Pretty clever repurposing I think.

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I kind of wish we lived in OKC just to go back to this place.