When planning my getaway to South Lake Tahoe, I was a little worried about being able to find gluten free, vegetarian options available. After doing a bit of research, I was happy to see that there are a number of restaurants in the area that offer eats suitable to my diet. Since I had a long weekend full of wonderful eats, I thought I’d share some of my dining experiences with you all, so here we go!
The first night we were in town, we had dinner at Blue Angel Cafe, a cozy, crowded restaurant that offers a little bit of everything, including menu items clearly marked ‘gluten free’ — which is great for a newbie GF girl like myself who isn’t all that experienced in eating out since beginning to experiment with eating gluten free a month ago.
I ordered a quinoa & bean bowl, which tasted really fresh and healthy and had a ton of avocado, marinated beans and ginger tomato salsa. My hubby ordered a salmon BLT, which he was pretty happy with as well.
They also offered gluten free beer. We ordered an apple cider and a glass of merlot from Sonoma County, and went back and forth for awhile on which one each of us wanted before I opted for the wine.
Another night we dined at Freshies, which specializes in vegetarian and gluten free options. We had to laugh when we walked in, because it’s sort of oddly situated inside this building next to a pirate store, but when I got a look at the menu, I was happy to see so many things I could eat. The waiter told me that around 90% on the restaurant’s menu items are gluten free.
We started off with potato croquettes, which were just okay, nothing special.
For our entrees, Adam ordered teriyaki chicken stir fry, which he wasn’t crazy about…
…but I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner, which was a tempeh taco platter. The tacos were topped with shredded cabbage, cheese, tomatoes, and a Chipotle tartar sauce, and it came with chips and organic black beans and rice.
I had read about Basecamp Pizza offering gluten free pizza, so for lunch one day, we popped into what’s called Heavenly Village where it’s located. Basecamp Pizza is in the middle of downtown South Lake Tahoe, right near all of the action. It was super crowded but we got a table outside where there was live music.
The menu offers a ton of different kinds of pizza, and I ordered a personal one with artichoke hearts, portobello mushrooms, tomato and gluten free crust. I hardly even noticed that the crust was GF, and it definitely satisfied my yen for pizza.
After a few nights of eating at quirky places that are more my style than my hubby’s, we went to a more conventional type of restaurant for dinner on our last night there called Scusa Italian Ristorante. I hadn’t heard of the restaurant before actually being in Lake Tahoe, but heard an ad for them on the radio that mentioned gluten free and vegetarian options. We both love Italian food, and felt like we could use a solid Italian meal after hitting the slopes all day long.
I first ordered their kale salad with avocado and red bell pepper. The kale was too tough for my liking, but I still ate most of the salad to get up my veggie intake for the day.
As with most Italian restaurants, they brought warm bread to the table. This was my only intentional gluten free fail of the trip, as I totally caved and ate a piece of bread. I stopped after one and totally don’t regret it!
Scusa offers gluten free pasta, so I ordered a bowl of penne with fresh tomato sauce, basil and parmesan cheese. It was a simple dish and just what I needed to recharge my body.
On our way out of town on the last day of our trip, we had lunch at Sprouts Natural Foods Cafe. They offer sandwiches, burritos, salads, juices, smoothies, and more, and I loved this place!
I ordered a yogurt, peanut butter and banana protein smoothie.
My hubby got a breakfast burrito, and I also ordered a loaded veggie sandwich on GF bread. Everything was awesome!
Since my hubby felt like he was getting sick, I urged him to grab what Sprouts calls a ‘Flu Fighter’ juice for the road. It had all kinds of fruit & veggie goodness in it, and tasted a lot like the juices I make at home. He drank the whole thing, and you know what? He never got a cold. Food as medicine people!!
While lunch/dinner was pretty easy gluten free dining, breakfast was a bit of another story. Usually when I eat breakfast out, I’ll order pancakes, a waffle, or a fruit, granola, and yogurt bowl (no eggs or omelets for me), but all of these options go out the window when it comes to eating gluten free, unless a restaurant makes gluten free batter. In Tahoe, I couldn’t find this anywhere.
The first morning I was starting to get hangry looking for a place to eat breakfast at, and at one point I was all, ”I just want blueberry pancakes!”
I had seen The Free Bird Cafe online as a smoothie/drink place, so we decided to pop in there on our way out to go hiking to see what we could find.
The Free Bird is a teeny, tiny little place — I’m talking 3 customers in there at a time is about its max — that offers lot of awesome smoothies and coffee drinks, as well as a few other types of things like bars and bagels (which my hubby ordered and said was awesomely soft, probably just to torture me because I love a good bagel every now and then!). We each ordered a smoothie:
Adam had an acai berry smoothie, while I ordered a ‘Free Bird’, which contained strawberries, apple juice, acai juice, banana, fresh spinach, raw oats, raw goji powder, hemp and chia seeds, hemp protein, raw maca powder, ground flax, raw mesquite powder and bee pollen…so basically a ton of goodness, and it was delicious!
I also had a snack bar made at a local bakery that was very yummy. We needed a solid breakfast to sustain us through what we knew would be hours of hiking, and a stop at The Free Bird was perfect.
Another morning we ate breakfast at the Red Hut Cafe, where the only thing I could really find to eat was oatmeal. I ordered it with banana, cinnamon, and honey, and crumbled a Quest protein bar into the oatmeal for a protein boost. It wasn’t the greatest breakfast ever, but I made it work.
I know that oatmeal is controversial as being a GF food unless it’s certified GF due to possible cross contamination, but I decided that in going to Tahoe, and in my attempt at gluten free eating in general, I would just do the best I could. Overall, I was definitely pleased with the food choices I had in South Lake Tahoe. We had a lot of yummy, mostly healthy meals!
Question: When going on a trip, do you do any restaurant research beforehand?