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October 25, 2013

{Restaurant Review} Fig Tree Cafe- A California Eatery & Gluten Free Paradise

One of my favorite ways to spend part of my weekend is dining outdoors, and luckily for San Diegan residents, we can pretty much enjoy this simple pleasure year round. There is something about the combination of fresh air, delicious food and great company that can't be beat So you can understand my excitement when Fig Tree Eatery invited me to their NEW Liberty Station location to try their gluten free menu. Fig Tree has an amazing outdoor space furnished with wooden tables, ample shade and is situated between blooming vines, trees and a serene fountain. The ambiance in itself was enough to wow me, let alone their menu. Fig Tree specializes in farm to table plates with both vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. The menu clearly marks various selections made from the freshest, local produce. Their eggs are 100% natural from a family owned ranch in Ramona. Their Pacific Beach location was 1 of only 21 restaurants in San Diego to receive the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) award in 2011 for offering humane-raised menu options. Fresh is always best!

Last Saturday the weather couldn't have been more perfect for October to dine outdoors. We arrived mid day to enjoy their extensive menu and I was practically drooling over it. We were warmly greeted by Kylie, who was well versed in the gluten free diet and explained the menu and all the OPTIONS they offered for a Celiac. Yes, that's right, I said OPTIONS! So many dishes caught my eye, from the GF Cinnamon Raisin French Toast topped with fresh berries, for ONLY $7.95, (no extra charge for gluten free bread upgrade, I think that is the first time I have ever heard that), to the Breakfast Sushi, 3 thick bacon rolls w/ rice + scrambled eggs + scallions + plum sauce & a side of mango salad for $11.95.  OR one of their numerous Egg Benedict options OR a side order of the Man Candy, thick bacon + brown sugar + paprika for $4.25, EVERYTHING sounded so good!

I guess I forgot to mention 1 minor detail of the perfect outdoor dining experience, the fresh air, food and company AND a refreshing drink in hand. Insert the Blackberry Bliss- a blend of sparkling wine + vodka + muddled fresh blackberries + mint served in a mason jar. Very refreshing, to sip on and screams "it’s the weekend!"! Mark, not wanting to be upstaged with my eye catching beverage decided on Daddy's Pepper, a mix of vodka + soda water + jalapeno + mint + lime + strawberries. I have to admit this is the first time I have seen Mark with a "fufu" drink in his hand, but that's between you and I.  What do you know, he ordered a second. Another drink combo I am anxious to try on my next visit is the Caffeine sampler- a flight of a latte, mocha and Mexican mocha at 4 oz. each! There is also an antioxidant shot flight of goji, mangosteen, and acai. And for all of you beer lovers, Fig Tree carries Bard's Gluten Free Malt Beer. 

I devoured the Portobello Mushroom Panini, GF bread crumb crusted Portobello mushroom + wild arugula + cilantro hummus + goat cheese + jack cheese + balsamic glaze on gluten free multigrain bread. It was an easy choice as our waitress mentioned it was one of their most popular sandwiches. For all their sandwich options, guests have a choice of French fries, garlic French fries, Greek salad, regular salad or tomato soup ALL gluten free! I opted for the garlic fries and Mark was so excited to hang out with me the rest of the day :) Their gluten free bread is from Dena's Gluten Free in Escondido. They carry both gluten free mutigrain as well as gluten free cinnamon raisin, which is delivered fresh each week. Kylie, our wonderful waitress, even offered a free sample of the GF bread. The gluten free bread was thin and fluffy, flavored with pumpkin and sunflower seeds with a crispy crust. Plus, unlike most gluten free breads, the texture was just right, not overpowering the sandwich but gave it that added crunch while balancing the bold flavors of the goat cheese and hummus spread.

Even though we had breakfast earlier that day, Mark couldn't take his eye off of the Meatloaf Hash, 3 eggs any style + spinach + diced meatloaf + pesto + house potatoes. with your choice of bread. Gluten Free multigrain or house baked focaccia bread. He cleaned his plate! I sneaked a little bite and was surprised with how flavorful the combination of eggs and meatloaf was. I can't wait to make it back for a breakfast entree, the bennies look delicious, luckily my Saturday this week is open.

Although none of their desserts are gluten free, the kitchen quickly wiped up an ice cream delight that satisfied my sweet craving.  A mountain of vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate chips and fresh cut strawberries, and yes I ate it all. 

7AM- 3PM breakfast/lunch 7 days/week
4PM-10PM dinner/wine bar 7 days/week

Thank you Fig Tree Eatery for taking  the time and effort to differentiate gluten free options from the rest of the menu. Being a Celiac myself I can’t stress enough the sense of relief I get when I know  a restaurant has taken into consideration dining guests with dietary restrictions. I know I can speak for all gluten free San Diegans when I say “Thank You!” I can’t wait to be back! How about this Saturday?

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