When we finally drove out of our rental house, van creaking under the weight of our food, luggage and souvenirs, it felt surreal. It's strange how hard we fell for Colorado in such a short time. Within a mere four days, we transformed from California foreigners gawking over deers walking along the roadside to hiking, outdooring, exploring lovers of every Colorado mountain and valley.
|The oasis we discovered on one of our hikes...|
Nonetheless, our time was finally up and we were ready to get the drive over with. We followed a similar eating strategy as our drive to Colorado, devouring our leftovers from Red Robin for lunch. Oh, the hardship! For dinner each night, I instead relied on my trusty phone app, "Find Me Gluten Free." Chick Fil A won on one night, and I purchased an extra salad for the road. Out of all of our return eats, though, Cafe Sol at Grand Junction will always have a special place in my stomach.
|Sunny Cafe Sol!|
By the time we drove into Grand Junction, hunger replaced our driving fatigue and we wanted nothing more than to grab the food and go. Luckily for us, Cafe Sol has a to-go option. My dad and sister quickly chose the Chicken Guacamole Panini and the Club, served with (gluten free) BBQ chips. Mom and I took longer, drooling over the 99% gluten free menu. In the end, we both ordered a panini-salad combo, respectively pairing the Chef Salad with the Club and Ahi Tuna Panini.
|All the gluten free choices!|
In the end, we waited about 25 minutes for our order to be ready, each salad and panini packaged separately in a labeled cardboard box. Anytime I see "GF" on my order, reciept or to-go box, I'm one happy girl!
|Proof is in the marker!|
Now, for the actual food. Because I didn't use the panini press, my bread lacked the traditional black grill marks. Yet, when I first bit into the combo of multi-grain GF bread, seared 5-spice ahi tuna, orange ginger slaw, cucumber and dynamite sauce, I couldn't have been happier. The tuna was cooked just enough to not be raw, but still tasted juicy. The cucumber and orange ginger slaw added a strong crunch and the unique kick of the sauce tied it all together.
|The gluten free panini!|
The rest of my family were equally impressed, with my sister drooling over the "donut-like bread" and gluten free BBQ chips (which, I test-tasted and gave two thumbs up) and my Dad loving the hearty combo of avocado and chicken breast.
Besides the food, though, my favorite part of Cafe Sol was its bathroom (as weird as that sounds). I went in to wash my hands and left with fingers coated in a light dust of colored chalk. The whole bathroom boasts gray chalkboard paint littered with the chalk scrawl from dozens of strangers. Picking yellow, I added my own slogan to the mix: Be happy.
|KC - that's me!|
*Also found at RunningwithSpoon's link party!*
How did your first vacation/roadtrip after a food allergy/celiac diagnosis go? Have you ever had a panini? Comment below!