Monday, April 17, 2017

Gluten Free in Napa, California

Over Easter break, we spent three nights in Napa, California.  My husband and I stayed at Inn on Randolph, an amazing 100% gluten free bed and breakfast.  You can read my review here.

If we lived closer to Napa, I would probably eat at C CASA once a week.

C CASA, a 100% gluten free restaurant in Oxbow Public Market, is open every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Our first night in Napa, I was still full from the large lunch we had earlier in Sausalito, so I decided to pass on dinner.

I did order a pineapple water and a bag of Cate & Co. white truffled Kennebec chips from C CASA.  I only meant to sample a few chips, but I ended up eating the whole bag with a lot of help from my family.  The chips had an interesting flavor, which I wasn't sure my daughters would like, but they eagerly gobbled them up.  

My husband ordered one of C CASA's specials, the bison burger served with corn tortilla chips and tomatillo salsa.

He said it was one of the best burgers he has ever had.  It was topped with grilled onions, white cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, avocado guacamole, and chipotle aioli.  I tried his chips, and was really impressed with the tomatillo salsa.

My uncle ordered the grilled salmon dinner plate, one of the chalk board specials.  His salmon, which he enjoyed, was served on a bed of sauteed corn, zucchini and edamame with cilantro pesto and toasted pumpkin seeds.

On our last night in Napa, my husband and I had dinner at C CASA.

I ordered the skirt steak taco with grilled onions, cotija cheese (subbed for blue cheese), avocado, jalapenos and cilantro, minus the garlic aioli.

Topped with some of my shaved cabbage Fuji apple salad with cilantro cumin lime vinaigrette, my taco was out of this world.  I loved my salad so much, I tried to recreate it when we got home, but it just wasn't the same.

My husband and I shared an order of guacamole and chips with roasted corn relish.  The chips were thin and crispy, and the guacamole was very good.

For dessert, I bought a package of Cate & Co. dark chocolate chips cookies.  Cate & Co. is a 100% gluten free bakery in Napa, and is owned by Catherine Bergen, the owner of C CASA.  Cate & Co. used to have its own space in Oxbow Public Market, but now, you can find their baked goods at C CASA.

Cate & Co. dark chocolate chip cookies are some of the best gluten free cookies I have ever eaten, so I ended up buying a second bag before we drove home.  They are crispy around the edges, and have just the right amount of chocolate chips.  I suggest you freeze them if you are not going to eat them within a day or two.

My husband loved his pork carnitas tostada with white beans, corn relish, micro greens, lime crema and cotija cheese.

This is Napa, so of course you can order a glass of wine with your meal at C CASA.

We had breakfast at Inn on Randolph every day, but we visited C CASA every morning to pick up some pastries for an afternoon snack.  The apple fritters, which were the stuff a celiac's dreams are made of, were my top pick.  I have had great cake donuts and beignets since my celiac diagnosis, but Cate & Co. makes light and fluffy fried yeast-based raised donuts.

We also sampled a Cate & Co. cinnamon roll and glazed donut, which I am convinced could fool any gluten-eater.

Cate & Co. Corner at C CASA had a variety of different bread options to choose from, and all seed crackers, pumpkin seed brittle, nuts and seeds, and C Crunch granola.

My aunt loved the all seed crackers she bought for her flight back to Pittsburgh.

We bought three bags of olive oil crostini.  The first bag was devoured by my family during our various wine tastings in Napa.

This past weekend, we enjoyed the second bag with cheese, and some fun olives and peppers we bought at the olive bar at our local Whole Foods.  It was one of the best lunches we have had at home in a long time, and the crostini was amazing with mini mozzarella balls and peppers on top of it.

I also bought a bag of seasoned croutons, but we have not tried them yet.

We purchased a sourdough baguette before leaving Napa, and served it with dinner the night we got home.  The texture was great, and my family enjoyed it, but I have never been a fan of the taste of sourdough.

There were so many amazing looking baked goods from Cate & Co. at C CASA that I did not get to try.  I guess we will have to take a day trip up to Napa sometime soon.

Our second night in Napa, we dined at Bouchon Bistro, one of Chef Thomas Keller's restaurants in Yountville.

I had high hopes for this restaurant, because I had heard how gluten free friendly it was, and Thomas Keller makes Cup4Cup, my favorite gluten free flour.

Bouchon Bistro did not have a gluten free menu, and I did not find our server to be particularly helpful.  I was interested in ordering their famous Steak Bouchon or the flat iron steak, but was told they no longer have a dedicated fryer for their French fries, so I would need to pick another side.

The highlight of my meal was their gluten free crackers.  They were so good with butter on top of them, I said yes when they offered me a second serving.  The crackers appeared to be full of nuts, seeds and dried fruit, and they were slightly sweet.

For an entree, I ordered sauteed Idaho rainbow trout with green beans, toasted almonds, and brown butter.  My fish was very good, but as I watched neighboring diners being served steak with French fries, I was a little bit disappointed that I was not enjoying the meal I really wanted.  When our server mentioned that their only gluten free dessert options were creme brulee and sorbet, I told him that I was surprised a Thomas Keller restaurant did not have one interesting dessert made with Cup4Cup.

Overall, we all enjoyed our meals at Bouchon Bistro, but it did not live up to my expectations, and I doubt we will ever go back.  Neighboring Bouchon Bakery did not have one option I felt safe ordering after talking to a manager, so I ended up having gluten free chocolate chip cookies for dessert at our bed and breakfast.

As far as fun things to see and do in Napa, I highly recommend the guided tour and wine tasting at Castello di Amorosa.  We also spent an afternoon exploring neighboring Sonoma, which has a beautiful downtown area, and some historic sites to visit.  I also had fun checking out the wine barrels at Sebastiani, which has one of the two largest redwood tanks in the world.  My favorite wines of the trip were Grgich Hills Estate's Violetta and Castello di Amorosa's Moscato.

Overall, we had a great trip to Napa, and look forward to going back again soon.  A stay at Inn on Randolph should be on every celiac's bucket list, and I could have spent a week or two trying different foods and baked goods at C CASA and Cate & Co.

What are your favorite places for gluten free dining in Napa, California?


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