Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Laili Restaurant - Santa Cruz, California

On Saturday, we had lunch at Laili Restaurant in downtown Santa Cruz.  Laili's cuisine features Mediterranean flavors with an Afghan twist.  This restaurant was recommended to me by the owner of Melinda's Gluten Free, our favorite local gluten free bakery.

Laili Restaurant does not have a gluten free menu, but our server was pretty knowledgeable about gluten free options, and when  she wasn't sure about something, she checked with the kitchen.

To start, we ordered a side of hummus, and our server recommended vegetables for me instead of the gluten-filled naan.

The hummus was very different from the hummus I am used to, but it was delicious.  It was slightly sweet, and I loved it on the broccolini, carrots and cauliflower, that seemed to be lightly steamed.

For an entree, I chose the pomegranate chicken kabob with saffron basmati rice and arugula.

The marinade on the chicken was super flavorful, and  my entree was served with a trio of dipping sauces that I used on my chicken and rice.  The apricot chutney was good, but my favorite was the jalapeno walnut pesto (hopefully I am remembering that right).  I did not try the yogurt dip, because I am not a fan of yogurt sauces.

I was excited to learn that there are several gluten free options on Laili's dessert menu.  The ice creams are not made in house, so they cannot guarantee that they are gluten free, but I could choose the cardamom creme brulee, flourless chocolate torte, and the rose meringue with balsamic strawberries, Chantilly creme, pistachio crumbles and mint oil.

Our server talked us into ordering the flourless chocolate torte with sabayon creme and raspberry puree.

I loved everything about this dessert, but I would have liked a little more of the sabayon creme, because it was so delicious.

Overall, we all enjoyed our meals at Laili Restaurant, and look forward to dining there again soon.

You can read more about Laili Restaurant on their website here.

What are your favorite gluten free options at Laili?


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