Inclusivity is the great cultural zeitgeist of our time, whether it be in terms of politics, entertainment, art or even food. There are more dietary restrictions to cater to than ever before, and plenty of Santa Fe restaurants rise to the challenge. Being a picky eater in the City Different isn't really so hard if you know where to look. In particular, the gluten-intolerant are blessed with an array of options to satisfy every urge, from the health-conscious to the indulgently decadent, from vegetable bowls to baby back ribs. Below is a cheat sheet of the top places to hit up when you've got a health condition of the celiac variety, or if you're a dilettante looking to lay off the wheat-based treats for a while.
Love Yourself Café
DeVargas Center, 199 Paseo de Peralta, 983-5683
8:30 am-7 pm daily
The restaurant extension of Light Vessel Santa Fe spa is a total celiac-safe space. Everything the café serves is gluten-free, including the pastries baked in-house using a mixture of coconut, almond and rice flour. The menu is a veritable ode to food sensitivities, containing a range of vegan, vegetarian and paleo options. From the grainless hearty skillet ($11) of sweet potato, kale and sautéed vegetables, to the lemon pancakes ($12, available at brunch) topped with strawberries, banana and coconut, there's plenty of hearty, cold-weather friendly comfort food to go around. For liquid refreshment, Love Yourself offers a range of smoothies, juices and elixirs designed to detoxify and cleanse. The food options were designed to work synergistically with the treatments offered at the accompanying spa, but given the convenient location, you don't need to sit down for a full massage to pick up a cup of golden milk-infused bullet coffee ($8) while you're on the go.
Second Street Brewery (Rufina Taproom)
2920 Rufina St., 954-1068
11 am-midnight daily
For the gluten-challenged who crave a cold one, there's no better place to scratch that itch than at Second Street Brewery's Rufina Taproom. Among the regular taps are a spectrum of beers with gluten removed, a process that uses enzymes to extract any gluten particles from the beer after brewing. These are precipitated out along with the yeast cells used for fermentation. Every batch is lab-tested to ensure it contains less than one part per million of the offending double protein after processing. The resulting beer comes closer in taste to the real thing than any of the dupes out there brewed with alternative grains, and Second Street features around four gluten-removed options, available at $5 a pint. The Kolsch is a light, crisp style of beer with a touch of fruitiness that drinks like a lager, and the Rod's Best Bitter is a stronger, pale ale style that packs more of a punch. But if you're craving a more assertively hoppy and citrusy flavor, try the 2920 IPA ($5.75 a pint) made from seven different varieties of hops. It's highly aromatic, with plenty of bold fruit and bitter flavors, that won't lead to any bloating or brain fog after drinking it—unless you have one too many, that is.
38 Burro Alley, 213-369-1604
8 am-5 pm Monday-Friday; 8 am-6 pm Saturday
B&B stands for bread and butter, but don't let the name fool you—this hidden gem of a bakery boasts plenty of gluten-free and vegan options. Owners Sky and Amanda Yang originally hail from Korea, and they bring a worldly, open-minded approach to their baked goods. These feature a uniquely East Asian stamp, frequently using ingredients like condensed milk, bean paste and rice flour. The latter is used to make the gluten-free and vegan chiffon cakes, dense yet fluffy confections that come in flavors like red velvet, mocha and green tea, iced with a frosting made of almond and rice flour. The Yangs also make a gorgeous selection of jewel-toned macarons, which are a traditionally gluten-free treat made from almond four, one of many of a rotating selection of gluten-free cookies featured in the bakery. B&B is well worth navigating the trial of parking downtown to satiate a highly particular sweet tooth.
The Ranch House
2571 Cristo's Road, 424-8900
11 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday; 11 am-10 pm Friday and Saturday
But what to do if you have a gluten allergy and you feel like you can't even look at another green juice or rice bowl without gagging—what about when you're craving straight-up baby back ribs, or a big juicy burger? Enter the Ranch House, a Santa Fe staple that offers a selection of down-and-dirty comfort food with a surprising soft spot for its more food-sensitive customers. The restaurant is owned by Joshua Baum, formerly of Josh's BBQ, whose parents are gluten-intolerant, and he's carefully crafted a wide range of options on the menu. Everything out of the smoker is gluten-free, as is the house barbecue sauce, and gluten-free buns are available upon request for the burgers. Smoked options include the brisket plate ($14) which is smoked for 18 hours and comes either moist or lean, the pulled pork plate ($12), the half chicken ($14) and plenty of combination options. Prices are eminently reasonable for Santa Fe-style dining, and portions are so large it's almost impossible to eat it all in one sitting. There are even a few gluten-free desserts, such as the bourbon vanilla creme brulee ($5.95), a decadent treat of caramelized sugar topped with fresh berries.