Life, Travel

Gluten Free along the Oregon Coast, a.k.a. Hunting for the Best GF Clam Chowder!

If you’re required to eat gluten free due to medical needs, not by choice, you know that traveling at times can be stressful. Where can I find safe food? Will there be a grocery store nearby so at least I can get things there? How safe is the food at the restaurants that say they can offer gluten free?

Sure there’s Yelp and Find Me Gluten Free and other sites. And yes, I use them as a starting point.

Having Celiac or being required to eat gluten free connects so many of us together in a bond that just can’t be explained to others. If you need to eat gluten free, you get it. You get the thrill of just talking with someone at the next table to you who you overhear asking the same questions you’d ask! You get the connection of virtually meeting others who understand what you’re going through. You get the need to share information.

It’s been a while since I posted. I know that. Life has been busy. I have two product reviews I need to do soon, too, so stay tuned for those, please.

But taking a break from life, The Artist and I took a trip to the coast two weekends ago to explore some new towns we’ve not been to yet. We booked a condo in Depoe Bay and planned to explore from Newport up to Lincoln City.

The Coast
The rugged Oregon Coast. It’s one of the few places in the world I go and I truly am at peace. It relaxes me, it inspires me and it is just beautiful.

It was a wonderfully relaxing weekend filled with great gf food AND a great trip (or two!) to a great gluten free store. Where everything is gluten free. EVERYTHING.

Here’s my recap of where I found some great gluten free food this weekend

Tidal Raves
This little gem on the coast in Depoe Bay is a must for a nice dinner. It overlooks the bay and while it was dark outside, you could see the great views from the parking lot. I can imagine in the summer months the dinner view is spectacular. I called in advance to confirm they could accommodate gluten free and was told there were a few menu items that are gf and a few that can be changed to accommodate. I made a reservation and was glad I did. It was pretty busy on Friday night. Our server, Brandy was perfect. I started to explain about my needs and said understood. I ordered the Manhattan Shrimp soup (tomato based), the house salad (really yummy light dressing) and the baked alaskan halibut with crab risotto and vodka sauce. Everything was superb!  The service was great. The margarita was great. I highly recommend this place.

The Gluten Free Place
This gem is open seven days a week in Newport. They have a small bakery in the back that has fresh items daily. But get there early. I got there around 5 PM the first day. While the selection was limited that day, I did get a great apple spice donut and chocolate crinkle cookie. I emailed the owner of the store, Linn, that night to tell her what a great store she has.  She wrote back promptly about the store, giving me some restaurant recommendations and also told me what was coming the next day at the bakery. Pretzel sticks and coconut donuts. Of course I had to go back to get those and was not disappointed in either.

The entire store is a small grocery store with tons of gluten free products. Many I’ve seen and many I’ve not seen. Her prices are reasonable and you’ll be sure to find a few items to take home to try. Please do stop and support this business if you are in the Newport area.

Tiki’s at 51st
This little place in Lincoln City has many gluten free options including, hands down, the best gluten free chowder I ate all weekend.

Tikis
Truth in Advertising at Tiki’s at 51st!

I sampled three different chowders at three restaurants over the weekend and this one is it. They’ve won awards for their chowder and I can see why. AND that it’s gf?!  SCORE! It was creamy, and rich and had bacon in it. Enough said?! It was just so perfect on a cold day. And, they even served it with gluten free crackers on the side. So few restaurants do that for soup. That factor alone won me over!

Besides the chowder, I had fish tacos. Large chunks of poached cod (not fried – it was so refreshing to not have something fried!), great sauce and slaw with corn tortillas. The blackberry mojito was pretty darn tasty, too! 🙂

They have a small area to eat on the inside which we were thankful for since it was a chilly day.

Tikis Chowder
Tiki’s at 51st’s chowder. Hands down, the best this weekend. I’d go back (and will!)

I’m looking forward to going back here someday. This place got an A+ in my book.

Nye Beach Cafe
This cafe was recommended to me from Linn, from The Gluten Free Place. She said she’s

Morning chowder
2nd runner up for me. If for any reason the reigning Best Gluten Free Chowder is unable to fulfill their duties, the title will go to the first runner-up.

heard they have great breakfasts. And they do! And they have great chowder, too. They won 1st runner up in my “best chowder of the weekend” adventure. It was a tough choice between them and Tiki’s but Tiki’s adds bacon…. But this chowder had tons of clams and tons of flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I’d eat this chowder any day, too!

Breakfast – The Artist ordered biscuits and gravy (not gf) and he said they were really good. I ordered a caprese omelet.  It came with gf toast (they make their own gf bread and have their own gf toaster/grill). The omelet was so flavorful with the basil, tomato and mozzarella.

And the service was great. There was one server and one cook. The server (sorry, I didn’t catch her name) did a great job keeping up with everyone. When I mentioned to her that I saw they have chowder, but it’s just for lunch, she said, “Oh we could probably heat some up.”.  And soon, to my surprise, she brought us out a small cup of soup so we could try it! That was a nice touch.

I’d give this place an A.

Bay Walk Cafe
This little cafe in the heart of Depoe Bay offers a gluten free menu with gf chowder and gf fish and chips in a dedicated fryer. I had a bowl of the chowder and an order of fries for lunch.

The fries were great. They seemed hand cut versus what was served at the table next to us that ordered the “regular” fries. Those looked like frozen commercial fries.

The chowder? Meh. Watery. Decent flavor but nothing great. Nothing I’d rush back for.

The decor in here is so awkward, too. I am not sure what theme they are going for but the dried flower baskets and plants hanging above the tables and stretching across the ceiling didn’t do much.

When I asked about the chowder, the owner said, “We’re giving away samples today, would you like to try one?” I opted to try it (this was pre-Tiki’s, so I had to do my research). I found the way she offered the “giving samples today” line was awkward. Any good restaurant should give a sample if they can to sell their product. Don’t tell me you’re doing it today. You do it everyday.

I would not go back to this place. Nothing special at all here. Counter ordering with mediocre food.

I hope this helps those traveling to this part of Oregon. Let me know if you have any favorite places you know of along the Oregon coast – I’m always eager to find new places!

 

 

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