Gluten-Free Travel -> California Coast Road Trip [Part 1]
You guys, I have the ‘back from vacation blues’ right now. Even though it’s always nice to get back home after a vacation, I’m missing California already. Just take me back. As you guys may have seen on my Instagram, Kenny and I went on a little road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway last week. And OH. MY. GOSH. it was so much fun. We got to see and do SO many things in a short 4 day span. I definitely recommend taking a trip up the coast if you’re ever able to, it is really beautiful.
I wanted to document our trip for you guys to a) show you all the pretty pictures (of course) and b) let you guys know what and where we ate all week so that you can have a few suggestions for gluten free-friendly restaurants in Cali. I’m breaking up the trip between two posts because I’m crazy and can’t narrow down the pictures that I want to show you. I know I know, just humor me.
Here we go:
We flew into Orange County, picked up our rental car and started up the coast. We drove through Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan Beach, and finally ended up in Santa Monica. Driving through all of those beautiful beaches was so fun. I was secretly hoping that we would run into the Tone it Up girls in Manhattan beach. I would die.
I love that they have fresh pressed juice bars everywhere. We stopped at Kreation Organic, and this beauty is full of turmeric, ginger, lemon and cayenne. It pretty much punched you in the face with the strong flavor, but I loved it. Kenny, not so much.
When we got to Santa Monica, we had lunch at Pizza Antica. Their GF pizza was fantastic, and I loved the atmosphere in the restaurant. The waiter was very helpful and took into account my gluten allergy when it comes to cross contamination. Top: his Bottom: mine
After lunch, we went over to the Santa Monica Pier and took in all of the sites and craziness that was going on. We also walked around the Third Street Promenade, there were so many restaurants, shops and a really cool outdoor mall. For dinner, we went to True Food Kitchen. That place is the BOMB. We had been there before (the San Diego location), and it was just as awesome this time around. The lighting is super dim in there, so I couldn’t even get a half way decent picture. But just know that they are very accommodating to people with food allergies. Everything that is GF or vegan is clearly labeled on the menu, and they are careful about cross contamination.
The second day of our trip was the longest and most tiring day. We drove from Santa Monica to Carmel, and stopped at a bunch of different places along the way. Before we left Santa Monica, we had breakfast at a cute little place called Superfood Express. I was in heaven because I got to order french toast. It’s always a good day when a restaurant has GF french toast. Oh yes it is. Kenny got a frittata with the most amazing roasted potatoes and GF toast. For real, he’s lucky I didn’t eat all of his potatoes along with my meal.
Then we set out on our long drive. We drove through Malibu, which I loved. The views from the road were absolutely amazing. We stopped way more that we had planned to because we kept seeing such beautiful beaches and cliffs and we wanted to get out and take pictures of.
Do you see that house on the hill down there? Yeah, that’s going to be mine someday.
We kept driving, and passed through Ventura and several different national and state parks, which gave us amazing views of beautiful mountains and hills. We made it to Santa Barbara for lunch and ate at Silvergreen’s. They are all about local whole foods, and their menu was full of healthy options. We each got a salad, and both were delicious. Mine was a kale and sesame quinoa bowl, and Kenny’s was a turkey, feta and pomegranate salad. We definitely gave Silvergreen’s a thumbs up. After we ate, we walked around the historic area and the plaza shopping center. Santa Barbara is such a cute, quaint town and we will definitely be going back there some day. We actually wish that we could have stayed longer, but we needed to get back on the road.
A couple of hours later, we started to come into the San Luis Obispo area, and not far past that is Morro Bay, which of course is beautiful. At this point, all of the little towns and beaches that we were passing through started to run together in our minds. All we were really paying attention to was the ocean view that we got to look at the whole time.
And THEN, we got into one of my favorite parts of the drive, Big Sur. The view at Big Sur was completely amazing, the WHOLE time. The winding roads all the way through Big Sur are literally on the side of a mountain, and there is a ridiculously scary drop off. Thank goodness we were coming from the south and were able to be on the inside of the curve. If we would have been coming from the opposite way, I would have had a stroke. We stopped at the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and walked the short trail out to see McWay Falls. The pictures don’t do it any justice, it was SO pretty.
Knowing that this part of the drive was going to be pretty long, I made sure that I had snacks with us. I brought Larabars, a couple different types of nuts and seeds, and some homemade granola bars.
After we left McWay Falls, we only had about an hour drive to get to Carmel. At this point, the sun was about to set, and we definitely didn’t want to be driving on the side of a mountain in the dark. So we were trying to high tail it out of there and beat the sun. Except, the sunset was so dang pretty that we just HAD to stop and get a quick sunset picture. This is the beginning of the craziest/greatest story ever. Let me just tell you what happened…
Below is the picture that we stopped in order to take. This is only one out of about seven that we took. We were trying to be clever and set the self-timer on my camera to get a picture of both of us with the beautiful sunset behind us. So we set the camera on top of the car, propped the lens on top of Kenny’s wallet so that it wouldn’t angle downward, and laughed and looked like dummies the whole time we were doing this. Finally, we got the one we wanted, I grabbed the camera, and we got back on the road. About 45 minutes later, we made it to Carmel, just in time to have dinner before the restaurant closed. We stop at a gas station, get out of the car, and Kenny can’t find his wallet. Oy ve.
Did you notice that earlier in the story when I said that we propped the camera up on his wallet. And that I grabbed the camera and we got back in the car? And that I didn’t say that Kenny grabbed his wallet? Oh yeah, that happened. He left the wallet on top of the car, and it flew off into the middle of the road. IN BIG SUR. On the side of a mountain. Oh my heavens. At this point, we were freaking out. We were sure that it was gone forever. I mean, it was who knows where, on the side of a mountain. There was no way we were going to find it. How the heck was Kenny going to get on a plane in two days to go back home? He wasn’t, that’s for sure. AND THEN…
His phone rings. And on the other line was a Heaven sent angel named Caroline that was calling to let him know that she found his wallet. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. IN BIG SUR. ON THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN.
O.M.G. Is this real life?! She said that she lived and worked in the area and just happened to be driving down the road and saw the wallet lying in the middle of the road. She pulled over, ran into the road, and grabbed it. She went through it, found Kenny’s business cards and called his number that was on there. I mean, seriously?!?!?! This woman has forever restored my faith in humanity. Let me say it again, OH MY GOSH. God was absolutely watching over us that night. And we are SO grateful.
So, this picture will always hold a special/funny/scary place in our hearts.
By the time we drove back into Big Sur to pick up the wallet, it was too late to go to dinner anywhere. So, my resourceful and creative husband ran into the grocery store and came up with this little healthy meal. Random pre-made salads, sweet potato chips, hummus, watermelon and GF cookies. SO good.