Jason here. While we were visiting family in San Diego, our second food destination was Barrio Star. Part of the Isabel Cantina chain of restaurants, Barrio Star is a Mexican Restaurant located in San Diego. It happened to have been July 4th and I was very thirsty from walking around in the sunny weather, so when we discovered a restaurant that was not only open with available parking but had a menu with gluten free options labeled, I was pretty happy.
For starters, I drank about 2 glasses of water, and then half a pomegranate margarita. Kayleigh and I decided to split the margarita, but she ordered a non-gluten free dish. Thus, in order to avoid cross contamination I opted to drink my half up front. The pomegranate added a nice fruity flavor, but the tequila definitely came through strong.
For an appetizer, the table ordered some tortilla chips with guacamole. While they are labeled gluten free on the menu, they let me know they have been cooked in the same fryer as other items. However, our waiter went out of his way and offered to bring out some gluten free corn tortillas so I could have some of the guacamole.
Now what’s interesting is that I can’t really find any other fried items on the menu that would have contaminated the nachos. This is convenient, as without thinking things through I ordered a bowl of tortilla soup which was also labeled gluten free on the menu. Whether it was luck, or they really do have a safe gluten free fryer, I can say I felt fine afterwards. While it was an exceptionally hot day, the restaurant was air conditioned and my glasses of water (along with the ice I consumed) had cooled me down considerably. I enjoyed my nice hot bowl of soup, downing the entire thing in short order. The tortilla chips were not exactly “crunchy” as advertised, but I wasn’t expecting that from tortilla chips soaked in soup. The roasted red chile guajillo added only a small amount of heat, which was good considering the weather.
Kayleigh here. Out of all the food I tried there, the highlight by far was the freshly baked corn tortillas. They were incredibly soft and very slightly chewy, unlike any I have had before. What was I doing buying prepackaged corn tortillas all my life? That's it- we are going to buy a tortilla press, then use them instead of bread for everything from now on.