Gluten-free Reubens and more at Santa Cruz Aleworks

I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the deli/cafe at Santa Cruz Ale Works is one of the city’s best hidden gems.

The brewery opened a cozy little restaurant at their digs in the Harvey West area about a year and a half ago, and it’s not to be missed. There’s also a tasting room, natch.

There’s a full menu of gourmet sandwiches made with house-made smoked meats, krauts, pickles and sauces.  There are also salads, soups and sides, all made with high-end ingredients.

Of course, for someone who has been on a strict gluten-free diet for a decade (not by choice,) the appeal of beer and sandwiches is usually lost on me.

Imagine my surprise at finding out that Ale Works actually bakes their own gluten-free bread and offers hard cider.

A recent trip for lunch had me salivating over the Reuben Time on GF bread, made with house-cured corned beef, Swiss cheese, homemade sauerkraut and 1000 island dressing. Add a homemade pickle on the side and I was one happy camper.

My gluten-eating compatriot went for the Buena Vista Cubano,  made with oasted pork loin, smoked ham, homemade pickles, Swiss cheese, spicy giardiniera, and Dijon-cilantro aioli. If you’re daring, ask for their specialty “death paste,” but be warned,  the name is no euphemism — it’s seriously hot.

As a bonus, these sandwiches are also a pretty good deal at about $8 a pop.

The spot is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Santa Cruz Ale Works is located at 150 Dubois St. in Santa Cruz.

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Thanksgiving and Fakesgiving

I completely forgot to post for Thanksgiving this year.

It’s funny – when I started this blog, gluten-free was still not that well-known. And now it’s seeming to be everywhere. Maybe that’s part of why my posting has fallen to the wayside. Lately, it just doesn’t seem as necessary.

Anyways, this year I celebrated Thanksgiving with my roommate and his family. His sister hosted, and she was sweet enough to make a GF pumpkin pie and cornbread stuffing for me. I brought what has quickly become my new favorite quinoa pilaf – one that combines the hearty grain with pomegranate arils, butternut squash and pistachios.

I brought the same pilaf to a friend’s Fakesgiving party held the weekend before Thanksgiving.

The full “Fakesgiving” spread

My gluten-free and autumnal-inspired cheese plate, which included homemade persimmon chutney, pickled cranberries and pumpkin preserves.

GF cornbread stuffing


Persimmons from neighbors!


Post-Thanksgiving turkey soup a-simmering