Just when I started to get comfortable being gluten free in New York, I hit a travel-filled few weeks in my calendar. While my trip to Cape Cod involved some Googling, advanced planning, and a lot of potato chips, I didn’t think any big-city trips would be a problem, and I was right. I spent the long July 4th weekend in LA visiting one of my best friends, and had not one speck of trouble finding gluten free things to eat! (I also ate avocado at nearly every meal, as Californians love to add it to everything. I am 100 percent okay with this.)
Here are some recommendations–even if you’re not GF, all these restaurants are awesome. Special thanks to my friend Sally (who doesn’t have a blog yet, so read her stuff on Nymag.com), who hosted me and took me to all these places!
La Sandia is in the middle of the mall in Santa Monica, but don’t let that fool you, because this place is awesome. While all of the tacos were gluten free, our waiter was gluten free himself and told me which ones he found upset his stomach sometimes vs. which ones never did. Really helpful, and I tried a pork taco I wouldn’t have picked otherwise (and loved it).
Promise me when you go to LA you’ll pack yourself a gluten free picnic and go to Malibu Wines. Since they don’t offer their own food you’re guaranteed to have a GF time, and the setting is just so delightful and peaceful. Also, the Bachelor house is down the block, which is a selling point for a lot of people apparently.
This burger at The Counter (multiple locations) was so good that I didn’t even notice the gluten-free-ness of the bun (if you’ve ever had gluten-free bread, you know exactly what I mean). You can put whatever toppings you want on it, and even order it as a salad if you want to skip the GF bun altogether. Also, they have gluten free beer, so you can feel like a proper American again. AND! They apparently have a New York location! In Times Square though so sadface.
Clearly I love choose-your-own adventure type food. 800 Degrees (Westwood) is also that kind of place, and offers gluten-free crust to coat with your choice of lots of hard-to-choose-between toppings. (While they do awesomely keep the GF dough separate, only use GF flour on it, make it on special boards, and change their gloves, there is lots of regular flour in the air, so I wouldn’t come here if you have celiac.) The pizza also reheats well.
MOAR TACOS! We ate a lot of Mexican, but these tacos from Escuela Taqueria (West Hollywood) were definitely my favorite. Everything was incredibly flavorful, and incredibly cheap too! (That top one is roasted poblanos and cheese, and the bottom is carne asada.) It’s a BYOB spot as well.
You guys. Let’s talk about Fonuts. Fonuts (West Hollywood) is the greatest donut shop on Earth. They do both regular and gluten free donuts, and I loved ordering the gluten free flavors even when I ate gluten. They are essentially cake in the shape of a donut (not cakey donuts, there’s a difference–Sally is not a donut person but likes these). This chocolate one is BOMB, and is even better when you have it in the form of a Fonut sundae, which is everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more. If they ever open one in NYC (and they should) I will get so fat. And happy. I may or may not have crammed a box of half a dozen of them into my carry on…
Also gluten free? CENTRAL PERK. I have never geeked out so much in all my life, except maybe when I went to Harry Potter world. The $50 price tag on the Warner Brothers VIP tour is completely worth it for this alone.
Other places I’d recommend:
Food Lab (West Hollywood) – they have an omelet with potatoes IN IT. Enough said.
Kiku Sushi (Larchmont) – as soon as I told the waitress I was gluten free, she brought me GF soy sauce without my asking, and looked over my order to make sure all my choices were safe for me
Hugo’s (multiple locations) – menu clearly marks GF options (as well as other restrictions)
Cook’s County (West Hollywood) – lots of egg dishes available at brunch (but everyone’s pastries around you will make you sad)
Mendocino Farms (West Hollywood) – good gluten-free bread and will check all dressings/sauces/etc. for you on anything
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go eat one of my slightly squished Fonuts.