Category Archives: Travel

Newport Beach, CA

Jeremy and I just spent 6 days in Newport Beach. It was so much fun! Not only was it fun, but it was easy to find delicious, healthy gluten free food. 

The Stand Natural Food Restaurant – Laguna Beach
The Stand is a vegan restaurant that serves healthy, fresh, organic products. Everything is made to order. For such a small place, the menu is huge. It includes everything from salads, soups, burritos, to rice bowls, and sandwiches. The lemonade is freshly squeezed and refreshing. 
While not exactly 5-star dining, the food is top quality. I loved it’s cozy outdoor seating area and the staff’s knowledge of gluten free dishes. The soy sauce used is Tamari. Many of the menu items are gluten free – the tortilla chips bowls, rice bowls, salads, etc. Jeremy and I both had brown rice bowls. I had the Oriental Vegetable Bowl with steamed vegetables and brown rice, topped with guacamole and ginger tamari sauce. The Tamari Sauce was delicious. There wasn’t too much, so the rice did not get soggy and it had a little kick to it; I loved it. Jeremy had the Hummus Bowl with brown rice, hummus and guacamole, and seasoned with a sweet and sour bowl. The guacamole was delicious, as was the homemade hummus. This was one of the best meals we had all week. Simple yet incredibly delicious.
Banzai Bowl 
There are several places in California that serve Acai Bowls, but we only went to Banzai Bowl, twice. Acai bowls are made with 100% natural fruit, organic juices, no sugar added, no ice added, no dairy. The best way to describe the unique – and deliciously satisfying and tasty – bowls is that it starts with a smoothie base, topped with gluten free granola, and covered with fruit and honey. Sounds so simple and easy right? It is so delicious. The base is made of acai berries blended with soy milk, apple juice or coconut milk, depending on what you choose. Toppings include fruits (strawberries, blueberries, mango, goji berries, pineapple, coconut flakes), vegetables (celery, spinach) honey, and dark chocolate.

What is Acai {Ah-sigh-ee}? Acai is a small purple “superfruit” that comes from acai palm trees in South America. The purple berry is packed full of antioxidants, omega-3s and amino acids and has many health benefits including weight loss, improved blood circulation, anti-aging effects, healthy skin, helps with digestion…SIGN ME UP!
The reason we went here twice and didn’t even bother trying another was because they had gluten free granola and it was just so delicious, we didn’t want to be disappointed if we went to another and didn’t like it. Each bowl is made to order and it can take up to 15-20 minutes, when they are busy, for your bowl to be ready. But trust me, it is worth the wait. The small is huge, you do not need a large, even if you are starving, a small would be plenty.
We tried two bowls. The first was my favorite: Maui Sunrise. The smoothie blend was made with coconut milk and mango and topped with granola, strawberries, blueberries, coconut flakes, and honey and bananas. I also tried the Sharks Cove (not pictured) with soy milk, acai, bananas, strawberries, goji berries and honey.  Both delicious. The Maui Sunrise is a little sweeter because of the coconut and it was my favorite, I can not wait to have this again. I am hoping my local whole foods sells acai berries. If anyone knows where I can buy acai berries PLEASE tell me!
Fun Fact: Acai berries are frozen because they go bad within 24 hours of being harvested.
Everything is fresh, and you can taste that. The bowls are refreshing, filling and healthy so you feel good after eating them. It breaks my heart that they don’t have anything like this here in Boston.
Mother’s Market
Best. Grocery. Store. Ever. Mother’s Market has the best gluten free product selection I have ever seen in a grocery store.  They cater to a wide variety of special diets – this is what they are known for. Most, if not all products, are organic, natural and local. There is also a restaurant inside and a ‘’to-go’’ bar. We stopped here to pick up some snacks for the beach. I recommend trying FlamousBrands falafel chips. If I lived in Newport Beach I would do all my shopping here.
Mozambique Peri Peri – Newport Beach 

We have a map that we are trying to fill in by dining at different ethnic restaurants. We’ve got the basics done – France, Spain, Italy, Thailand, Japan, China, Mexican, Korean – and some a little more rare – Cambodia, Ethiopia, Brazil, Senegalese. We thought it would be fun to try to find a restaurant with a cuisine we know is not available in Boston and we stumbled upon Mozambique Peri Peri in Newport Beach. (There is another location, the website says “Steakhouse and Lounge”, in Laguna Beach) 
Mozambique cuisine was largely influenced by the Portuguese due of their presence there for nearly 500 years. Various spices and seasonings are used in the food, such as onions, garlic, coriander, paprika, piri piri peppers, and sweet red peppers. Two of the main ingredients used in Mozambique are fish and rice. The food was great. Some of the dishes were very familiar sounding – salmon, roast chicken, French fries, vegetables – but the sauces and seasonings were very different and very tasty. Even the side of beans was different. I actually liked these! (I never eat my side of beans, and whenever I order a dish that comes with it, I substitute it for something else). Well these beans were seasoned with all sorts of spices and I ate almost all of them!
So was is it safe? YES! The menu labeled every dish that was gluten free! I was pleasantly surprised. We shared two dishes. 
The first was the Grilled Salmon Maputo Platter served with beans, pineapple slaw and mazavroo fries. The salmon came with a lemon sauce and the fries were seasoned with cilantro and other spices I could not put my finger on, but they were delicious! Some of the best fries I’ve had, but a bit on the spicy side! Everything was delicious. The salmon was not over cooked, the pineapple slaw was sweet and slightly mayo-ed. 
The other dish we ordered was the Peri-Peri Combo Plate with Chicken Sausage and Prawns, and served with Moroccan rice and vegetables. Peri-Peri sauce is made from chili peppers and used as both a marinade and sauce. It is Portuguese in origin and especially prevalent in Mozambique cuisine. His chicken was delicious. It was my favorite part of the meal. The sauce comes in different varieties; I tried the medium. I drank 5 glasses of water during lunch, so you can only imagine was the ‘hot’ sauce tastes like. The rice was a little stale, unfortunately because I love rice, but the vegetables were lightly seasoned and tasty.

Wildfish Seafood Grille
Wildfish also has a gluten free menu and a happy hour menu, that is served all day on Sundays. Can you guess what day we were there? We sat at the bar and the bartender was extremely knowledgeable about the menu, and when he was unsure he checked with the chef. I tried the Salt and Pepper Gulf Shrimp with ginger, red chilli and snap pea pods. Normally this dish is served crispy (fried) but we had it without the flour. It was delicious! I was nervous it would be too salty but I could hardly tell there was any salt on the shrimp. I also ordered the Seared Pacific Ahi Tuna with shitake mushrooms. The soba noodles are not gluten free (I hate when restaurants are cheap and don’t buy the real thing – for those of you who don’t know traditional soba noodles are made with 100% buckwheat flour – American restaurants buy noodles made with wheat flour and buckwheat flour because its mush cheaper). The sauce wasn’t gluten free either but honestly it didn’t need sauce. I could have ordered the Tuna Tartare but I wasn’t in the mood. The entire dish is gluten free, including the curry and sesame oils, sliced avocado, mango and citrus. 
The gluten free menu has a lot of options, but I was limited to the happy hour menu. Ok I wasn’t limited, but I wanted to order off this menu as the regular dinner menu is quite pricey.
Other Gluten Free Restaurants in Newport Beach