January 18, 2012
This week's paper, out tomorrow, Jan. 19, features a piece on St. Tropez (624-8977) in Carmel and its ongoing efforts to present gluten-free alternatives, including sorely missed items like breads, pastas and crepes.
Here, a look at other local spots making similar pushes to appeal to people with wheat protein allergies:
Although gluten free products are on the rise across the map, there are some favorites that are hard to do without evoking cardboard.
Below appear some gluten free favorites from local spots, taste tested and approved by a three-year gluten-free eater and Weekly food contributor Amanda Womack:
Pizza Allegro Gourmet Pizza, 3770 The Barnyard, Carmel, 626-5454 Pizza is often the most painful to give up, but I got my fix at Allegro, serving gluten free and vegan pizzas for more than two years. Its thin crust had a glutinous textured crunch and did not have an overwhelming ricey taste, a common quality in many gluten free, rice flour based dough recipes. Prices range from small cheese ($11.99) to a large with toppings ($27.99). Allegro now offers gluten free pasta as well.
Other local pizzerias give a shot at gluten free too, though I haven’t given these a bite. Pizza My Way, 1157 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove. 643-1111 $16/small; $23/medium, plus toppings Bellagio Pizzeria, 404 Tyler St., Monterey. 643-9500 $13.99/10 in., $1 per additional topping Gianni’s Pizza, 725 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. 649-1500 $13.99/cheese, $1.75 per additional topping
Baked Goods Wild Goose Café, 18 E. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. 659-5052 Giving up wheat flour is rare in the bakery world. One might find an occasional gluten free cookie or macaroon once in a blue moon, but bakeries don’t often stock more than a few goodies. Wild Goose, though, bakes its gluten free blueberry and banana loaves ($3) on-site every morning. Each slice is dense, moist and sleek, pairing well with a slab of peanut butter and a large cup of joe. For a full list of local bakeries and their gluten free offerings, visit www.mcweekly.com/edible.>
Clam Chowder • Fish and Chips Rappa’s Seafood Restaurant, Fisherman’s Warf #1, Monterey. 372-7562 Flaherty’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar, Sixth between Dolores and San Carlos, Carmel. 625-1500 Rappa’s is the only location on the Central Coast that uses solely cornstarch in their clam chowder ($4.95 cup, $$9.50 bowl) and has that same chowder taste: buttery and aromatic with the right touch of pepper and spices. (I would’ve gone for more potato and clams though.) Flaherty’s offers gluten free fish and chips ($14.95) and while the quantity wants—three small pieces of fish with fries—its fresh taste blows the gills off the gluten free frozen fish and chips I have found in the grocery aisle on previous gluten free adventures. Flaherty’s also offers gluten free calamari, bread and sandwich rolls, pasta, and bread crumbs.
Polenta and More il vecchio, 110 Central Ave., Pacific Grove, 324-4282 It is comforting for anyone with a gluten allergy to be able to eat at a restaurant that has labeled gluten free menu items. Further, it’s a refreshing change to be able to at at a restaurant where close to nothing is off limits. Not only does il vecchio’s menu have every gluten free menu item identified, but only the pastas—one section of four—have gluten.
There’s a broccoli in padella ($5), polenta con tre formaggi ($5) and the zucchine ripiene ($6), a stuffed zucchini antipasti that is filled with flaked beef and sausage, bread crumbs excluded. Other reassuring dining experiences I’ve had in the area include Mundaka (624-7400) and Passionfish (655-3311), where I received a menu with gluten items crossed off.