- Apr 19, 2013
Over the weekend, my husband and I ate at Sugarbeet, a wonderful restaurant located in Longmont, Colorado. It was one of the most enjoyable dining experiences I have had since becoming gluten intolerant.
First, the atmosphere is great. Sugarbeet combines an intimate, unique, special-occasion dining experience with the right amount of Colorado casual thrown in. It made my jeans and t-shirt feel like the perfect outfit (one of the reasons I love this part of the country so much).
Second, the menu is clearly marked with all of the gluten free options so the entire subject of “what can I eat” did not ever feel like an extra, sometimes tedious, step in the ordering process. And it wasn't like the gluten free alternative was a choice between sub-par versions of the current menu options (ie. hamburger without the bun, salad without dressing, etc). Instead of telling me what I couldn’t have, or just removing part of the plate, Sugarbeet had taken the time to really analyze their incredible menu to give me several choices. I truly felt that my options were extensive and based only on my particular tastes for the night. In my mind, this is a great example of the subtle shift in the acceptance of gluten free by the restaurant community.
Finally, the food was fantastic! I have to say this again, just in case you are skimming – FANTASTIC! We started with appetizers; mouth-watering tostones. Traditionally, tostones are twice-fried plantain chips that are eaten like fries or potato chips. However, at Sugarbeet, these little nuggets of goodness were accompanied by fire-roasted pork shoulder, cilantro, cotija and red pepper coulis.
We followed up our gluten free appetizer with the mache salad. It was an artful combination of roasted beets, blue cheese and walnuts. The salad was the perfect liason to the next course. After lots of deliberation, I had the special. It was a deliciously braised lamb shank that turned out to be meaty, tender, succulent and flavorful. The shank was served with fingerling potatoes and brussel sprouts, which happen to be one of my favorite vegetables. The brussel sprouts were made even better by being cooked with pork belly - oh my! Every bite was delicious.
The choices on the menu were so extensive that my husband's meal was also gluten free. This meant I could sneak bites off his plate. He had the scallops, served with Dungeness crab, purple potatoes, pea shoots and avocado. All this was drizzled with a ginger-carrot dressing.
Many times, even though I pick the restaurant due to my allergies, it still feels like I am sacrificing taste to adhere to my food restrictions when I am dining out. Eating at Sugarbeet felt like a delicious treat and a wonderfully easy, worry-free meal.