After a vigorous hike in Sabino Canyon, we had the same burning question in mind, “Where can we eat around here?”
For the tolerant stomach, a post-hike meal decision is easy. For someone with gluten and dairy sensitivities (like Lacey), not so much.
Finding a good place to eat requires a menu with simple and interesting ingredients, out of the ordinary options, and shareable items.
Below are two possibilities after a hike at Sabino Canyon.
Brewd – A Coffee Lounge
4960 N. Sabino Canyon Road, Tucson, AZ 85750
Just south from Sabino Canyon on Sabino Canyon Road is Brewd. Formally located downtown, the local business made the move northeast where they’ve been welcomed by a generous gluten-free market. The coffee shop serves breakfast, sandwiches, and salads. There’s no designated kitchen, but the menu does offer a gluten-free bread option. Co-owner Kate Preble was passionate about her intentions to introduce more treats, going so far as to tempt us with a line-up of future gluten free pastries.
The shared meal:
- Saddleback Ridge Panini – Toasted gluten-free bread had great consistency; we subbed hummus for brie cheese; and the “red pepper jelly” made a typical turkey sandwich memorable.
- Side Salad – mini sweet peppers, dried cranberries, slivered almonds and a balsamic vinaigrette on bed of romaine– a perfect balance of flavors and textures
- Iced Americano – we were introduced to Macadamia milk – resembling the taste of ‘rice pudding,’ we highly recommend it over almond or cashew alternatives
- Esperero Canyon Panini – Spicy chicken breast, green chilis, pepper jack cheese (sub with hummus), on rosemary artisan bread (sub with gluten-free bread)
- Apple Muffin – coming soon
Lacey & Suede say:
Brewd is a great option for a quick breakfast or lunch. It’s possible that the gluten-free bread is susceptible to cross-contamination, but overall, Lacey was happy, delighted, and craved more.
For more information visit brewd.us.
Commoner & Co.
6960 E Sunrise Drive, Tucson, AZ 85750
Heading west on Sunrise from Sabino Canyon is Commoner & Co. Sister restaurant to Prep & Pastry, Commoner’s menu doesn’t specifically suggest any gluten-free alternatives, but plenty of items more than suffice and satisfy. The appetizers and sides alone are meal-sized and the variety of crafted condiments and dipping sauces quickly highlighted our choices.
Most memorable was the conversation with Assistant General Manager Vinh Nguyen, who expressed his own dining experiences about family members with gluten and nut allergies, allowing Lacey and I to feast with confidence.
The shared meal:
- Animal Crackers – Calling chicharones (fried pork and chicken rinds) “animal crackers” was too funny to pass up – the snack was well seasoned, not greasy, and the perfect balance of crunchy and chewy
- Mussels – The seasoned broth tasted like a creamy-curry pho that could be sipped with a spoon or generously poured over a side of fries
- House Fries – Delicious with the Meyer lemon and garlic aioli sauces
- Shrimp Cocktail – Vodka poached, house bloody mary salsa, avocado, homemade saltines (request without for gluten-free), key lime
- Farm Egg Salad – Cider glazed pork belly, apples, arugula, pecan vinaigrette, egg
- Fullyloves Herded Trout – Snow pea puree, chorizo crumble, fennel + orange supreme salad
Lacey & Suede say:
While the main course items are not very gluten-free or dairy-free friendly, Commoner is definitely a great spot for apps and a cocktail. Gluten-free items are susceptible to cross-contamination and share a fryer, but when all was said and done, Lacey felt stuffed (in a good way) with no sign of direct gluten consumption.
For more information, visit commonertucson.com.