Diane and I spent the past few days down the coast in Monterey, California to celebrate our 40th birthdays. No matter why we are traveling there are always a few specific things we do to set ourselves up for success when it comes to food.
Seems obvious, but it takes some planning to make sure you’re not stuck scavenging out of a 7-11 for questionable jerky and a PayDay bar. And planning takes time. I spent a couple of hours the previous weekend searching for gluten-free friendly breakfast, lunch and dinner spots and made reservations at two restaurants for dinner about a week ahead of time. Planning ahead also means knowing where you’re potentially stopping. On his trip, we decided to stop in Santa Cruz and peruse a farmer’s market that our SF friends rave about. They gave us a solid tip about a food truck there. Gordo Gustavo’s offered up some tasty pork and brisket tacos of GF corn tortillas as well as some excellent ribs.
Pack Some Hangry Protection
The most common trouble people run into traveling is finding themselves on a real food island without options. Protect against this inevitability by packing (or buying as soon as you can) some quality products. Coconut Milk for coffee, Kasandrinos Olive Oil for salads, Clean snack foods like Epic Bars, Lara Bars, and plantain chips from Artisan Tropics or dark chocolate by Eating Evolved, for example.
Using Google / Yelp / Blogs
By this time, almost every area of the country has someone who has done a “best GF in (city)” list. If that fails, I often use Yelp and search “Gluten-Free Friendly” restaurants. Another trick is to use the search terms “Farm to Table” or “Grass-fed.” Many times I’ll use Yelp to cross reference lists I find on blogs. Just because a place shows up on a “best-of” list, doesn’t mean the masses agree. Using this technique I found the following:
The Morning Dove – 100% Gluten Free Restaurant serving up coffee, baked goods and light breakfast &
lunch in Monterey. We tried the breakfast sandwich, quiche (neither dairy free), brownie, muffin and cookie over our two days in the area. Everything was good, albeit not amazing. I found the ginger snap cookie a bit ‘sandy’ and the sandwich bread just ok. Frankly, I’ve been spoiled by local Bread SRSLY Sourdough.
Carmel Belle – High quality ingredients made up our lunch salads during our visit to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Easy enough to navigate the menu with lots of options.
The “C” Restaurant and Bar – This 3-meal restaurant was in our hotel, The Clement. It was well rated and uses the Monterey Aquarium’s own Seafood Watch list to build their menus. We had a good, if not amazing dinner here. Very easy to navigate their fresh food approach.
Montrio Bistro – Our favorite meal of the trip, dinner the second night was booked online after I had found it in a list and reading Yelp reviews. One of the best steaks we’ve ever had was easily ordered off their GF marked menu and knowledgable staff.
Ask For Recommendations from Trusted Sources
Our lovely lunch at Carmel Belle was curtesy of someone who commented on one of Diane’s Instagram posts about the area. While you may not have the reach of a blogger, it’s worth asking people who’s opinion you trust for recommendations in areas you travel to. We’ve done this successfully in Hawaii, Portland, Denver and even Italy. And if you’re planning a trip to San Francisco – I’ve got you covered!
Hope that helps give you some pointers on eating well and gluten-free in your travels!
-Yours in Health,
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Last modified: May 20, 2018