Gluten-Free Santa Barbara: La Super-Rica, Simply Pies & More Fanciness


If you’re posh and planning a trip to Santa Barbara, and also happen to be a celiac you are in massive luck. I just spent the weekend in beautiful Santa Barbara, not on a luxury vacation but visiting my mother-in-law. It’s one of a handful of trips I’ve made to SB since being diagnosed, and luckily, my MIL has done a lot of g-free research for me around Goleta and SB. So before I even arrived I was ahead of the game. Which is probably why Woody’s (my husband’s favorite BBQ restaurant in the whole world) was probably not the first place our family should have gone out to eat, but we did.

Like a lot of barbecue sauce, Woody’s has soy sauce as an ingredient. We know because they picked up the bucket and checked. That’s right, a bucket. My husband’s favorite barbecue comes from a bucket. So I went for the celiac special — a burger without a bun — and the rest of my family enjoyed a gluten-filled meal. Oh yeah, and this:

Which is why I included Woody’s in this round-up. Because that place is a blast, even if you totally can’t eat there. Which you can’t. So don’t go.

One place you will want to frequent, however, is Simply Pies. Almost every one of their pie options is also made gluten-free and honestly, it’s the most amazing pie crust I’ve ever tasted. My MIL brought me a lemon pie a few months ago, and I enjoyed this caramelized onion and mushroom quiche on this trip. That pie crust is truly inspiring. Look it:

I would get a birthday pie from here if I were a native Santa Barbarian (that’s what they’re called, right?), but I’m not so I’ll have to settle for visiting and gorging.

My family has also spent a lot of time standing in line at La Super-Rica, which is naturally gluten-free what with its homemade corn tortillas and fresh ingredients that made Julia Child name this taco stand as one of her favorites. In fact, I’ve eaten a lot of tacos in Santa Barbara since my husband and I used to live in New York City and great Mexican food was challenging to find. Naturally we hoovered whenever we hit California, so I’m all clear on what’s what here in the SB. Which means I’ve actually been going gluten-free in Santa Barbara for quite a few years now without even knowing it.

The hubs and I decided to check out a new’ish downtown hot spot, Milk and Honey for dinner and gluten-free goodness. This specialty cocktail and tapas joint had a ton of naturally gf options for me to enjoy including Mexican sliders and Ahi Tartare (sans crackers). I ate everything so fast I forgot to take a picture, but it was amazing looking. You’re just going to have to trust me on that one. It’s also very hipster-ish, which I have to admit I enjoy. I’m sorry, but food just tastes a little better with a soundtrack that includes Foster the People. And I realize how W’burg that just sounded.

And finally, we decided to go to Cold Stone Creamy for milkshakes, because why not? While it was super cute to quiz the high school kids working behind on the counter on what was gf or not, I would recommend going to the website to sort this out before you order. After all, when your ice cream server is checking out the milk carton to see if there’s gluten in there, mistakes will be made. Still, those kids were adorable and now they have a new vocabulary word for the SATs!

The biggest gluten-free surprise came when we went for a nightcap at the Mercury bar in Goleta. This is me being happy:

Woot! Green’s is one of, if not the, best gluten-free beers on the market. And the Dubbel Dark is nowhere to be found in Los Angeles (although I honestly haven’t looked everywhere, I’m kind of lazy). Having a beer at a bar is something I haven’t done since I was diagnosed. And the guy who served it had moved from Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. Where we moved from! It was all kismet-y in there. So I highly recommend you enjoy a brew at Mercury. Highly.

I think it goes without saying — yet, I’ll totally say it — eating gluten-free in California is not as challenging as other locales. My mother-in-law has other recommendations for gluten-free restaurants that we didn’t even have time to consider. So expect more reports from this fave vacation spot that knows how to treat a celiac.

8 Comments

Filed under Celiac Disease, Gluten Free Restaurants, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Gluten-Free Santa Barbara: La Super-Rica, Simply Pies & More Fanciness

  1. There are so many choices in SB for gluten-free foods now! Feel free to visit glutenfreeinsb.wordpress.com for more ideas on your next visit!

  2. Laura

    Great writing, thank you! BTW, you might want to verify with La Super-Rica that their homemade tortillas are wheat-free; the last time I asked, they said that they had modified their recipe and were using a small amount of wheat for better texture :-(

  3. Marsha Matanick

    Adama is a plant-based, completely gluten free restaurant in SB.

  4. Hi April! I, too, love the Dubbel Dark. I have had it in LA at this place: http://www.evokitchenla.com
    It’s a cute place to have dinner if you’re going to the Sundance theater for a movie. The place is family owned and has at least one Celiac family member so they are extra careful and friendly. It’s pretty casual atmosphere, but everything I tried was good.

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