A Gluten Free Haven at Linn’s Restaurant.

During my time living up on the Central Coast of California in the Santa Ynez Valley, I always loved any chance I got to head to Cambria. Cambria is 30 miles north of San Luis Obispo, and 230 miles south from San Francisco. A humble, small town, Cambria is known for their stunning Moonstone Beach, as well as their annual Scarecrow Festival and a great Main Street drag of restaurants.

One of their dining staples is the absolute gem of a cafe, Linn’s. Linn’s Restaurant is known for their “Olallieberry”; a Youngberry crossed with a Loganberry. The primary fruit grown on their beautiful farm nearby, a Olallieberry tastes similar to the Knotts’ famous Boysenberry, or blackberry. While very tart, it did not provoke any crazy  “lip smacking” and was a great sweet treat…on the MANY dishes I recently got to experience on a visit to Linn’s!

Heading in on a rainy Sunday, we were quickly greeted by our Hostess, Kim and while the place was bustling, she assured us it would be less than a 20 minute wait. We were so engrossed with their bakery and gift shoppe that it felt more like a 5 minute wait. All decked out and ready for the holidays, Linn’s shoppe may not be ample, yet, they manage to have enough variety and beautiful adornments that you feel inside a proper department store.

Just a glimpse of their gift shoppe.

 

Gluten Free Olallieberry Muffin

We were soon escorted to our cozy corner table with a great window view of the rain coming down and the locals enjoying a stroll under their umbrellas. Mr. Linn himself, Aaron, soon came over to greet us and was an absolute delight to chat with. A Cambria native, The Linn’s have been operating their restaurant and farm since the 1980’s. If you want to know anything about Cambria and their townspeople, go have a chat with Aaron and he can fill you in on the what/where/when of the town. Great guy!

They’re also not shy to encourage you to try the entire menu. I was very excited to head to Linn’s as nearly everything is gluten-free (or they will gladly assist you if an item is not). Aaron’s Mom has Celiac, so they know first hand the excitement  you feel when you hear “Olallieberry Chocolate Brownie Cake….Gluten Free” or, my personal favorite: warm bread baskets that are gluten-free brought to your table.

We began our food journey with one of their most famous appetizers, their Ocean Rose Farm Abalone. Having not recalled experiencing Albalone, I was anxious to see why this is such a special dish. One bite, and I knew. Locally sourced Albalone from nearby Cayucos is served with two hazelnut encrusted medallions, lemon-thyme beurre blanc and a decadent jicama-jalapeño slaw. While not a gluten-free dish, simply mention if you need it to be, and they adjust the encrusted medallions for you. Perfection!

Albalone.

Moon Stone Beach Omelette.
Photo: Michael Farah.

Hearst Ranch Hamburger.
Photo: Michael Farah.

With so much already having gone down (chats with the locals, gluten-free galore, great coffee, great atmosphere), it was time for Mike and I to make our big decision: Whats for lunch?! I decided to take advantage of a late breakfast (Weekends they serve it until 2pm, other days, 12p) and try one of their favorite omelettes, The Moon Stone Beach with an abundance of Shrimp, Dungeness crab, tomato, green onion, mushrooms and Swiss cheese. While Mike decided on an old reliable: their Hearst Ranch Beef Cheese Burger with fries.

The Moon Stone omelette was to die for. The seafood so fresh, I would imagine it could have been caught that morning, while the flavor combinations of the cheese and veggies enhanced it perfectly. Mike enjoyed his burger, and the presentation was gorgeous and made it hard to want to dig in (Just a little….).

We were very stuffed by the time we had many options for dessert coming our way….check out what Aaron and staff insisted we try….

Photo: Michael Farah.

Photo: Michael Farah.

See all this, folks? Mike and I were able to get it all down…and, as some of you know, I am a Type 1 Diabetic. I am pleased to say with the proper amount of insulin injections that day, I was able to keep my sugars in a  good range! I truly thought this could be my last supper. Death of a sugar rush. And, what a great last supper it would have been! 😉

First up, was that irresistible chocolate brownie concoction, followed by their famous Pecan Chew Cookie Delight with Linn’s Pecan Chew Cookie, Brazilian Coffee ice cream, house made caramel sauce, candied walnuts and just a little real whipped cream. Bravo!

 While I could continue to share my love for Linn’s, I will end here, and trust that you will do yourself a favor and head to Linn’s next time you are in Cambria. Learn more about them HERE and make sure to tell them Along Comes Mary sent you! xo
(*Disclosure: I was a guest of Linn’s Restaurant in exchange for this feature. All opinions are my own and it was a phenomenal experience!)

 

A Date ‘Knight’ to Medieval Times Buena Park!

Most weekends will find me & my boyfriend at the movies, maybe the theatre or usually, just chilling on the couch with food & Netflix….because, you sometimes forget that some of the best places for a Saturday night on the town could be the places you might associate with ‘family friendly’ entertainment. I certainly had thought that of the world-famous Medieval Times in Buena Park but, when I got invited out there this past weekend, I learned that this is a spot for anyone who wants to have FUN & is indeed for ALL ages!

Having never been, I admit I am most familiar with the tournament from that infamous scene in The Cable Guy, & truly did not know what to expect. Whistling distance away from Knotts Berry Farm, we were pleased right out the gate to discover parking is free & was quite easy. When you check in, they ask you if there are any dietary needs like Vegetarians in your party & that’s also when you can mention if you need a gluten-free dinner (bingo!).

Stepping inside the ‘castle’, you will begin to be addressed your entire stay as “My Lady” or “My Lord”. This is also when you will be assigned which color knight you’re rooting for by the color of the crown placed upon your head 😉 We went from a simple, cute couple….

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A gorgeous garden surrounds the venue out front, with tables & chairs to enjoy your drink from their bar, take pictures in your cute new tee or hat from one of their gift shop areas or use the smoking area. Which reminds me, a major perk if you’re really looking to have a fun night out? They boast a full bar outside of the venue, & if you decide once watching your show you need that margarita fix, a cocktail server will check in with you! 😉

When your team is announced, you head on into your table section. The seating is similar to diner bar style; long marble tables go down each row & your server greets you shortly. You open up the inside of your menu to see what your feast will be. For my boyfriend, it was tomato bisque soup, garlic bread, chicken, spare rib & a pastry. For their gluten-free meal, you get all but the bread, & they switch out the pastry for fresh fruit. After discussing my needs with our ‘Wench’ (as they call her!), Brenda, we decided the Vegetarian meal would suit me just fine, & it was delicious.

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I got the tomato bisque soup, veggies & hummus & my main dish was a great large bowl of the soup with beans, potatoes & rice added in. All dinners also include 2 drinks, & coffee with dessert 😉 Can’t finish your feast? They’ve got you covered as you’re asked if you need a to-go carton!

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With the food so generous & tasty, you almost forget that you also get an amazing SHOW of jousting, sword fights & horse magic right before your eyes. I got so into it, especially when our Knight was fighting with another, that I nearly got mad at Mike for reminding me it’s not a real match. Yep, they were that good! While we were sad our Knight lost to red & yellow, it still was a blast to be surrounded by a full audience rooting for their team & having a great time.

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Something else I learned, Medieval Times will gladly celebrate any event with you! Our hosts for the evening, The King & Queen, spent a portion of the night giving fun shout outs to those celebrating a birthday, graduation, honeymoon & wedding. A birthday cake even went by, too, so keep that in mind for a party! 🙂

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Medieval Times is a definite must whether you’re in town to go to Disneyland or Knotts, or simply a local like me looking to have a great, unique night. They’re so reasonably priced, & even run great deals on top of that. Check them out here & get ready for a jousting good time! 🙂 xo

(*Disclosure: I was invited to Medieval Times on behalf of this review. All opinions are my own)

Happiness is…Snoopy (on ice)! (Continued!!)

Along Comes Mary felt extra special last week…I was a guest blogger for Erin over at Horsing Around in LA!:-) Have you checked it out?!  Afew weeks ago my Mom & I got to see Knotts Berry Farm’s new Summer Attraction, Happiness is…Snoopy on Ice & I had an absolute blast & captured many pictures. An array of them are in Erin’s post, & I thought I would upload afew more for you, too. If you get the chanch to see their show, or even just visit Knotts anytime if you are in Orange County, I highly recommend it for everyone!

Happy Monday to you all! xo

Mother’s Day Sunday!

I have been debating this post. Should I really get all gushy & emotional to tell you about my best friend, who is also my Mom? Especially since I know alot of my friends do not have the best relationship with their own? My conclusion is…yes. My Mom is such a huge part of my life & has helped shaped me into the woman I am, that I feel how can I not pay homage to her when Mother’s day just passed?? 😉

I feel really blessed to have such a great friendship with my Mom; I often will say it is both a blessing & a curse how close we are; & I do even find myself with holding info about my life here & there just so I do not have to get into a deep discussion with her, or explain I don’t know why a guy did or didn’t call me back (haha). Sometimes, I also definitely notice that generation gap; my bestie & confidant is a woman born in the 1950s, while I am a product of the 1980s. We have talked about that, too, & she admits how much more simple life was for her at my age; college fees weren’t an issue, jobs were easier to come by, illnesses were not as common for young people & the cost of living overall just was not the burden it is on us all nowadays. I also applaud her generation; I feel many political issues were not swept under the rug, & people took advantage more of freedom of speech, & you have to admire the love is free & make love not war mindset from her ‘hay day’…although, I totally would have been a hippy if I were her…she claims she was not 😉

She also claims I am more spunky & gutsy than she was at my age….having recently said “I would have never taken a trip by myself to New York, tackled mosh pits or played a Stripper in a movie like you, Mary!” (While I have written some about my NYC & moshing ventures…I know I have yet to share with you my experience on a 10 day overnight film shoot….I wasn’t supposed to be a good Stripper, just for the record!). I feel it is quite the contrary; I bet there is alot about Mom she has not told me that perhaps inspired where I get my maybe-spunk from….I think I am somewhat lazy, anyways.

My Mother is my friend I can always count on, & I take advantage of that. Who do I call at 4 in the morning when I am sad, cannot sleep or see something silly on tv? Who knows before me a boy I will have a crush on or what kind of movie I am going to want to see? Yep, Mommy!
Shes had the burden of taking care of me, too; having been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 8 years old, I cannot imagine how scared she must have been having to give her sick little girl insulin shots, then hoping it was enough insulin so I don’t feel sick from high blood sugar, or too much insulin & praying that I don’t take a nap yet never wake up because the insulin made me go too low & into a coma. Shes always done all she can for me; she is the reason I now live this life I love in SoCal; having helped me make the big leap from small town mouse to city mouse, & always encouraging me to keep going when times are frustrating.

I got to see her for Mother’s Day, a 1st in 2 years for us! Below, some pictures of Mom riding the Hot Air Balloon Race at Knotts Berry Farm, as well as a picture of my gifts she gave me for Mother’s Day. Yeah, you might be thinking, “I didn’t think Mary is a Mom?” I am not. Not even to pets. But, since I was young, Mom has had the silly habit of giving ME a gift on Mother’s Day since she is honored to be celebrating the holiday because of me….silly, I know. This year, she got me the adorable gift of a suitcase with How to be A Princess trinkets inside (I made her show me the receipt that it truly was only $2 on a clearance table) aaaannnd, you guessed it….a gluten free CUPCAKE!;-) Thanks, Mom!

I love you more than anyone or thing in the world! xo (&PS….she would kill me if she knew these photos of her were on my blog…so this is our secret, ok?!)

(Cupcake from Santa Barbara…chocolate…mmmm…)