Gluten-Free In Los Angeles: Breakaway Bakery

 

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Uncle Chaz and Obi-Wan start off the arcade experience with air hockey.

Happy new year! Did you think I was done with the road trip? Not even. Life just got in the way is all. But I’m back to finish up the trip and telling you about all the great gluten-free eats we had in completely gluten-free places.

After leaving Fresno, we headed for Los Angeles. For those of you who have followed me for a while, you know going to L.A. means time with my bestie and her family. There was much galavanting about town and hanging out at the house. Obi-Wan was excited (if you can’t tell from the first picture) to play some games with Uncle Chaz.

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Dawn made me this amazing travel journal for my birthday. It is my bullet journal with my tasks, calendars, and address book. When I’m at appointments and take it out to schedule my next one, everyone oohs and ahhs over the peacock. Peacocks are worthy of those reactions. I loved this so much I ordered a custom made one from her to use only for my writing stuff – if you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or my Facebook author page you may have seen the pictures I shared of it when I got it in the mail. If you want one of your own, head over to her Etsy shop – DevilleRouge Designs – and you can request a custom order.

While Obi-Wan was in school the next day, we met up with bestie and Mara Jade in Pasadena at the Container Store. Yes, the Container Store. Who doesn’t love a good container? I gave Mara Jade a Hello Kitty we found at the mall the day before and this happened while in another store:breakaway-bakery-5She was actually loving on her and hugging her and then she stopped like she knew I was trying to get a picture of her adorableness. Still cute and I will always love this photo. breakaway-bakery-6

We hung out at Obi-Wan’s school for a little festival one afternoon. We all got shave ice and while Obi-Wan was playing a game, Mara Jade decided that Uncle Chaz’s shave ice was the only one for her. Uncle Chaz was a good sport.

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This is how she rolls on Rodeo Drive.

Dawn and I ran off one morning with Mara Jade to the poshness of Beverly Hills. Granny and Auntie Carol used to take me to Rodeo Drive when I was younger when I’d visit and then once a year when we moved to Encinitas. It was a thing for the three of us that my sisters never really cared for (but they came with us one year) but once Dawn and I were besties, it became a foursome. With Granny and Auntie Carol gone, we still go in memory of them and now we get to pass the tradition on to Mara Jade. Win-win. Also, Mara Jade was not impressed.

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We went to The Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns and while I usually get a selfie with Obi-Wan (which I did) I thought, let’s get Mara Jade in on the action. Too bad I still didn’t figure out that I needed to clean the front lens on my phone. Oops.

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In memoriam: Wes Craven. One of my favorite directors.

 

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In memoriam: Leonard Nimoy.

The morning after going to The Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns, Chaz and I drove down to Breakaway Bakery. Everything made in the bakery is free of gluten/wheat, dairy/casein, peanuts, tree nuts, gums, soy, and GMOs. Additionally, many items are vegan – like all the donuts.

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Starting from the top left going clockwise: vegan Snickerdoodle with vanilla glaze and cinnamon sugar, vegan salted chai caramel, vegan cocoa cinnamon with chocolate glaze, and vegan chocolate chip with chocolate glaze and vanilla stripes. The donuts are cake donuts, so if that is the type you prefer, you’ll love these.

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From top left going clockwise: lemon blueberry muffin, lil mint scoutie cookies, strawberry pinch cookie, and chocolate cupcake. My favorite of this bunch, the strawberry pinch cookie. There was much more to be had in the bakery and it was really hard to not buy one of everything. You can check out their menu on the website to see what I mean.

One of the things that makes Los Angeles easy to travel to is the amount of places that do gluten-free right. Sure, there are places that cater to the “fad-only” but far more often we find the places that take the time and effort to ensure minimal cross-contact in kitchen both in prep and cooking.

 

Gluten-Free In Fresno: CASA de TAMALES

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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