California has a special place in my heart for a few reasons. One, I went to college there and have a lot of fun memories. Two, the beach! Three, the amazing food options available. There is green juice all over the place, almond milk at all the coffee shops, smoothie bowls galore & so many gluten free options + restaurants! On my most recent trip to SoCal, I got to combine all of my favorite things: college friends, good gluten free food and the beach.
I got to spend time with my college roommate, Ari, and run with her! Since fitness takes me to California fairly frequently, I usually get to see her about once a year. She is one of my favorite reasons to visit San Diego, we always have a lot of fun. We ran the one mile race, saw an improve show and ate delicious food. More on that below.
Good [Gluten Free] Food
This is what this post is really about: all the good gluten free eats I found in SoCal. I hit up most of my favorite places and tried a few new ones as well.
The Waffle Affair
I flew into LAX on an early flight so by the time I arrived I was starved. I looked for a place on Yelp to grab a bite to eat on the way down to Carlsbad. I found ‘The Waffle Affair‘ that was right next to Fashion Island where I planned to stop for a freeze from Pressed Juicery. They serve specialty gluten free waffles that are DELICIOUS. It was savory and sweet all at the same time. I paired it with an almond milk latte. The perfect start to the day.
Then I stopped at Fashion Island for my freeze. They are my all time favorite thing from California. It is soft serve, and it is only made from all natural ingredients. For example, chocolate flavor only has dates, cacao, and almond milk. My favorite is the greens, it’s like frozen green juice. SO YUMMY!
I picked up a few juices too!
I grabbed dinner with Ari that night at Urban Plates. They have a gluten free menu, so it makes ordering easy. I loved their salads. So many options, fresh ingredients & really good. I enjoyed it so much that we even went back another night! This is on my ‘must visit’ list for the next time I’m in SoCal.
After the 1-mile race, Ari and I took off to downtown San Diego to try Cafe Gratitude. It is a vegan restaurant that was on my list of new places I wanted to go and it did NOT disappoint. I took me forever to decide what to order, everything on the menu sounded amazing.
95% of the menu is gluten free. My favorite were the kale chips. SO GOOD. I could have eaten another bowl.
Everything we ordered was delicious. I got a tumeric latte and a savory gluten free brioche french toast. (insert heart eyed emoji)
The gratitude vibe filled the whole place. Another new favorite on my ‘must visit’ list when I go to Cali!
Nektar Juice Bar
Saturday night for dinner, I grabbed a green juice and smoothie bowl from Nektar Juice Bar. This whole trip I was in disbelief that I was able to find so. many. smoothie bowls. It was awesome!
Both the bowl and the juice were really good. I loved that they served the juice on ice if you wanted. All the juices and smoothies are gluten free and they have a gluten free granola option for the smoothie bowls.
Sunday after the All Day 20K, I went to my favorite breakfast place in North County San Diego – Swami’s Cafe. They have gluten free pancakes that are really yummy. My favorite is the omelettes! They offer gluten free toast.
For dinner that night, I tried out Pieology, a create your own pizza place. They had gluten free crust and vegan cheese, so I created my own gluten & dairy free pizza with chicken, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, spinach, bacon, tomatoes and red pepper. I was in total heaven – it was DELICIOUS. The crust was perfect, not too thick, not too thin. This pizza was the best I have had in a long time. I so wish Pieology would come to Seattle!
Monday, my last day, I grabbed breakfast at Healthy Creations cafe in Encinitas. I found it on Yelp and got really excited about their menu – everything was gluten free & very healthy. Once I got there, it took me a good 10 minutes to decide what to order. I’m not used to having so many options!! I decided on the breakfast sammie. #yum. I highly recommend this place for their huge gluten free menu and healthy options. It is unassuming but SO good. It is also on my ‘must visit’ list, there is more I want to try on the menu.
To finish off the trip, I got a smoothie bowl from Choice Juicery in Carlsbad. The atmosphere is so unique. There is a small building where they make the smoothies + bowls, and the rest is outdoor seating.
I loved that you could make any smoothie a bowl or any bowl a smoothie. The menu was very customizable. They also sold protein brownies and banana bread! I got a banana bread for the flight home and ordered a PB&J smoothie bowl.
The chia jam was DELICIOUS, it made the whole bowl. I definitely want to come back to Choice Juicery and try more of their menu. The chocolate chip mint bowl and the green milk (kale+almond milk) are on my ‘must try’ list!
Need I say more. We definitely don’t have this in Seattle. I love the sand, the crashing waves, the sunsets & the beach culture. It is my happy place. So much inspiration, beauty and peace. I can’t get enough.