Monday Menu Plan- Eat Out to Get Creative

I am one lucky girl.  I’m working and vacationing in California this week and next.  I hope I can keep the work to a minimum but somehow I’m guessing that will be difficult.  Either way I have a break from cooking to re-energize myself and eat what some great chefs are creating.

Right now I’m in Southern California staying in Santa Monica.  I’ve been drooling over Karina’s photos (The Gluten-Free Goddess) of the local farmers market.  Well this weekend I got to go myself.  It was amazing.  So much fun and so much fresh food and flowers.  Not having a kitchen to cook in I mostly just looked and sampled.  I did purchase some lavender to refill my pillow case and some great pistachios to munch on.  Scott sampled the Pomegranate Apple juice and some fresh shucked oysters.  Being this is on the California coast, there are so many options at this farmers market.  I wish I was here every week!

I’ve also been eating some amazing meals.  Before I came I tried to read up on as much as I could on dining gluten free in the area.  I also made reservations via OpenTable and made sure they could accommodate my gluten, dairy and rice free needs.  Since I arrived late in the evening and got up to drive at 5am to a meeting 2 hours south, my first meal was at one of my favorite restaurants in La Jolla, George’s on the Cove.  We ate on their open terrace that overlooks The Cove and the Pacific Ocean.  It’s a spectacular view.  If you get there at just the right time for dinner, you will witness the most amazing sunset.  The food was fantastic as I had remembered.  After a little shopping at one of my favorite clothing shops there, Fresh Produce, we headed back to Santa Monica.

Being we were still on east coast time we took advantage of the hotel’s restaurant Fig offering 50% off the entire menu at 5pm.  This gave us lunch for the next day too as I ordered an entire chicken cooked under a brick.  I just love those!  Fig is great at accommodating and even going above and beyond by going to Whole Foods just to get the bread and buttery substitute I can eat.  I actually had a sandwich for lunch yesterday.  I’m feeling very pampered and enjoying every minute.  So far everything Erin Wiley has served and Ray Garcia has created in that kitchen has been great and worth your visit for sure!

OK are you ready to just kill me?  Sorry.  But this is such a treat and a learning experience for me.  You never know what you might get if you engage in conversations with the food personnel.  I like to use every opportunity to share and teach.  It often gets you just what you need although this is the first time someone has made a special trip to the store just for me.

If you want to hear and see more read on.

We went to Border Grill for an amazing Mexican Dinner.  (found that recommendation from Karina too) It is owned by the Too Hot Tamales (Food Network) stars Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.  Susan was recently on Top Chef Masters this year, has written many cookbooks on the Mexican Cuisine.  They were great at getting me a version of what they make that was right for me.  I ordered their Cochinita Pibil-
achiote pork roasted in banana leaves • caramelized onion • orange • cinnamon • roasted plantains • guacamole.  It was out of this world.  They happen to roast their plantains in butter so they made, just for me, tostones with a chimichuri sauce.  Well you know how I love tostones.  I was delighted.  The only problem was it was one of those meals that tastes so good and has great mouth feel that you can’t stop eating even if you are full.  So I waddled back to the hotel and even brought leftovers which I’ll be eating tomorrow for lunch.

Well I have a lot more great restaurant meals to share with you that you will most likely see me trying to recreate at home.   I’ll be sure to share those with you too.  But for now I’m signing off to go catch some rays!  If I have not totally made you mad, come back and see what I find next in Santa Barbara.

3 Responses to Monday Menu Plan- Eat Out to Get Creative

  1. gfe--gluten free eas July 21, 2010 at 5:43 am #

    Oh, I'm so thrilled you are having these incredible dining experiences while you are working and playing! I only wish I could be there with you! LOL, but not kidding. Oh, to have farmers' markets like that one. Enjoy every second of the fun and don't work too, too hard, my friend!



    • Diane July 22, 2010 at 9:23 am #

      Shirley- Working about 2% and soaking up the relaxation and fun the rest. The farmers markets in CA are amazing. They run the gambit with the fruits, veggies, flowers, seafood, spices, sauces, nuts, seeds and on and on. I can see why the local chefs shop there. I have had so many amazing meals that have all been gluten, dairy, and rice free. If I can keep my computer working I'll share more and hope I don't get hate mail.

  2. Alta July 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    I would love an opportunity to get to California. Espeically if that opportunity included a lot of eating and visiting the farmers markets! You are a lucky gal!