A gluten-free blog about the life of a celiac in college (and now grad school). Full of personal stories about life with celiac disease and fibromyalgia; gluten free, vegan and paleo recipes; and product and restaurant reviews. Plus, reflects on body image, dating and more with a chronic illness!
As crazy as it is to say, my family and I have lived in San Diego for a total of seven years now. Considering that I've grown up as a Marine brat moving every couple years, California has really become a home.
And the San Diego restaurants that I've fallen in love with since my celiac diagnosis? Well, you could say they've become my taste buds' home. Before my family and I take off on our next adventure - moving to Colorado! - late this summer, I wanted to highlight my top gluten free restaurants in San Diego.
Already hungry? Be warned, this post won't help!
The meaning of a "balanced" diet, right?
First, the more unique or less chain restaurants, listed in no particular order:
If you or your friends are healthy foodies, this is the San Diego restaurant of your dreams! True Food is known for a philosophy emphasizing fresh, local and healthy food. I've eaten here several times without issue - except that I never want to leave.
The menu varies from smoothies to hashes to (gluten free!) pizzas to burgers. My favorite meal to date is definitely the bison burger with a kale salad and sweet potato hash. Order the guacamole appetizer with veggies instead of chips for an extra delicious gluten free meal!
Boy, was I spoiled when one of my best friends (who has several food allergies and therefore was on the up-and-up of safe, delicious eateries) introduced my taste buds to Stacked. As I've written before, this restaurant promotes choices - you pick (using an iPad!) every aspect of your meal, and that's exactly what you pay for.
Some shots of our eats!
Stacked offers plenty of gluten free options (from pasta to pizza to burgers, as well as fries and potato chips made in a separate fryer). I also love that because customers order through an iPad (which indicates GF ingredients with a no-wheat symbol), there's no need to give the waiter the usual "celiac spiel." Just click all GF options and you're good to go!
(The fact that gluten-eaters love this place too doesn't hurt either!)
I only ate at this restaurantlast month, but I'm already dying to go back! Peace Pies is an entirely gluten free, raw, vegan restaurant. Even if you aren't a raw vegan, if you have celiac disease or follow a gluten free diet (or just want an edible adventure!), I 100% suggest stopping by.
The first, but not the last trip!
Peace Pies offers everything from burritos to pizza to pasta to their famous desserts (hence the name). So far, I've tried their customer favorite: a mushroom quesadilla with cashew cheese and a side of guacamole and "cheesy" kale chips. I could write paragraphs on how the creamy cashew cheese complemented the crunchy tomatoes and tender mushrooms (you get the picture)...but in a few words: Visit Peace Pies. ASAP!
As I've written before, chains definitely vary in their quality depending on the location. If you're ever in Poway, though, know that this Outback rocks! The waiter or waitress are usually relatively aware of celiac disease and go out of their way to deliver a safe meal. It doesn't hurt that at least 90% of our visits have ended with perfectly cooked foods.
The birthday boy and his cake!
A snapshot of how far this Outback goes to accommodate? When we ate there for my dad's birthday, our waitress brought out the Thunder Down Under (instead of the typical free birthday brownie) so I could eat it as well. If that's not (delicious) customer service, I don't know what is!
For this celiac, the Whole Foods hot bar is always a treat. While celiacs should still be careful when choosing food from the hot bar (for instance, by not choosing gluten free foods that are next to - and possibly contaminated by - gluten foods), Whole Foods provides an easy, delicious hot meal.
Potato salad was obviously the goodie of the day...
Some of my favorite combos? Always start with mixed greens, then add: any grilled veggies, their chopped chicken (the best!), any raw veggies not already in your fridge (like grated beet or broccoli root), and any goodies of the day. These can include (vegan and GF) lentil stew, my favorite kale and white bean soup, roasted potatoes or baked plantains.
Anyone who follows my Instagram knows that Chipotle is my best man and Chick Fil A is my random, but much beloved cousin. At both locations, Chipotle workers are aware of the gluten free protocol and often retrieve contamination-risky ingredients (like lettuce or guac) from the back. Fun fact: Poway's Chipotle is often very liberal with the serving size. Leftovers for the win!
The first burrito bowl I ever ate...
As for Chick Fil A, when I'm craving a "balanced" meal - aka a salad in one hand and waffle fries in another - this is my favorite stop! The food in both locations have tasted fresh. While the cashiers haven't always understood my request for a "gluten free" meal, I haven't had an issue when ordering off the GF menu. I've also read on Facebook that Chick Fil A is introducing a gluten free bun (wrapped and served separate from other foods). I have yet to try it, but you can bet that I'm excited!
San Diego has been a great home for seven years - and has provided plenty of good eats! If you're ever in the area, these would be my suggested stops. And if you want more San Diego celiac tips and tricks, send an Instagram message or email (through the blogger contact form) my way.
Poway does have a hiking spot called Potato Chip Rock after all...
San Diego is known for its ocean views and sunny weather. At least in this celiac's experience, though, good gluten free eats are equally common!