SanDiegoVille’s Specialty Menu Adventure - First Stop: Del Mar Rendezvous’ Gluten-Free Menu

October 19, 2012

Because we have come to live in a time where food allergies, preferences, and eco-consciousness dictate where a growing proportion of diners will dine, we at SanDiegoVille are embarking on a specialty menu adventure in an attempt to highlight some of the health-conscious offerings in and around San Diego.  Follow us on while we feature not only our favorite food places, but those that have extensive menus dedicated to various dietary needs.  First stop, Del Mar RendezvousGluten-Free menu.

Gluten-free. We’ve all seen the special menus popping up and our ultra-fabulous friends talking about it like it’s the greatest trend of the season, and maybe you’ve written it off as simply another fad diet here to make you feel guilty for seeking comfort in vats of pasta or loaves of bread. Maybe you felt like the only one in the room who, six months ago, had no clue what Quinoa was, or perhaps, like me, you called it 'kin-oh-a' the first few times you experimented with it.  Maybe that was just me. I cringe at the thought of shunning the wheatiness I have come to crave in my daily life. But, recently my brother and sister have chosen the gluten free lifestyle and cannot say more emphatically or energetically how it has changed their lives for the better. So, why does this trend pop-up at a time when gluten-filled products seem to be at their peak? 

For starters, what the heck is gluten? Well - it is a protein found in certain grains such as wheat, barley and (oh my gosh, my favorite?!) rye. Gluten gives dough that coveted chewiness and elasticity, helping it to rise and shape, enhancing flavors and consistencies.  But breads and pastas are not the only culprits: gluten can sneak up on you in less obvious food forms like soups, sauces, salad dressings and multitudes of other processed foods. While there are legitimate diseases and allergies that prevent certain afflicted people from ingesting any gluten at all, we are now seeing more and more people making the trending CHOICE to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle, whether to prevent minor intolerances which may trigger headaches, diarrhea, or fatigue, or for other reasons like weight loss, improved skin, digestive health and cholesterol levels – not to mention eliminating the countless processed foods which, as we are well aware, contribute to innumerable health problems and weight gain. Since the American diet has become to a greater extent dominated by processed, gluten-containing foods, we are witnessing increased sensitivities and intolerances to such foods due to developed susceptibilities. And in turn, expanded awareness and newfound alternatives. Let the gluten-free food adventure begin!

So, my sister was in town from Manhattan for a long weekend and, after indulging in a huge burger on a wheat bun from JRDN and a lamb doner kebab on pita from Cali Kebab in her presence, I thought this gluten-free pescatarian was due some respect and some delicious gluten free food. I knew my favorite Chinese restaurant up in Del Mar was hip with the times, and that the staff are always welcoming and offering impeccable service, so up the coast we drove to Del Mar Rendezvous.

We began our meal with the vegetable lettuce wraps: crisp leaves of succulent Iceburg were filled with fresh, al dente baby corn, green beans, carrots, peas, and snow peas sautéed in tamari and served with a flavorful hoisin sauce ($10). This modest but invigorating starter allowed one to appreciate the array of vegetables, as each maintained its distinct flavor and texture, while culminating in one deliciously savory bite.

We also sampled the crabmeat mango salad ($14), a tower of real crab, fresh mango, red bell pepper, celery, green onion, and white onion in a creamy mustard sauce surrounded by spring mix lettuce with Rendezvous’ house vinaigrette. My only wish was for the mango to be sweeter, riper, and juicier so that its flavors really melded with the crab, but hey, I ordered this dish outside of mango’s prime season, so shame on me.  Choosing seasonal is important too, but we'll get to that at another time.

For one of our entrees, we opted to try the Singapore Chow Konnyaku Noodle dish, sans chicken ($18). This dish featured konnyaku noodles, a healthy noodle alternative made from a root vegetable of the same family as taro, and boasts less than 10 calories per serving! And less than 5 grams of carbohydrates! No fat! High in dietary fiber! And deliciously satisfying?! I don’t know why I would ever return to the heavy, deleterious wheat version of noodles when this amazing alternative exists. These light, thin and slightly chewy noodles were all dressed up with sautéed egg, tender shrimp, bean sprouts, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, green onion, white onion, snow peas, and a spicy yet light yellow curry sauce. Keep speaking to me in this food language and my love affairs with baguettes may become a thing of the past!

Next we feasted upon the black bean fish entrée consisting of 10 ounces of freshwater channel bass sautéed with baby corn, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, snow peas, and white onion in a black bean sauce ($19). The fish was light and flaky, and the black bean sauce was sweet and salty - and to die for. I actually kept scooping the sauce with my spoon it was so delicious (whereas I'd usually have done this with BREAD), and in the interest of full disclosure, the only note I took on the dish was a helpful reminder: “I LOVE BLACK BEAN SAUCE!” And you will too.  In this day and age, when sauces and broths are so frequently emulsified with pointless fillers like wheat, I am grateful that we have this gluten-free sauce to drown our taste buds in.  Now I’m hungry again!

We concluded this meal with a fresh mango shell filled with fat free mango sorbet and topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and a raspberry sauce ($5.95), a perfectly light and refreshing finish to an amazing, feel-good meal.

I can honestly say, that despite the indulgence, I left Del Mar Rendezvous completely satisfied, yet feeling great – not weighed down by hefty fillers, like I would usually feel after a plate of pasta, and for that I am beyond appreciative! Simply opening up my mind and my mouth to this gluten free ‘trend’ was an awakening and informative experience and one which I will definitely continue to explore (in doses; we all know that I wouldn’t be able to breathe without a slice of Ciro’s pizza or an ice cold craft beer), but cheers to gluten-free!

Del Mar Rendezvous also offers extensive vegetarian and vegan menus. At first I exclaimed that I wished for a gluten-free AND vegetarian menu, but rest assured, the accommodating folks at Rendezvous are extremely willing to substitute and supplant their dishes tailored to your needs and desires. Kāi wèi!

1555 Camino Del Mar, Suite #102, Del Mar
(On the street level of the Del Mar Plaza)
(858) 755-2669

Del Mar Rendezvous offers free validation for two hours of self-parking in the spacious covered parking garage located directly behind the restaurant in the Del Mar Plaza.


Monday - Saturday 11:30 am - 2:30 pm

Sunday - Thursday 4 pm - 9:30 pm
Friday & Saturday 4 pm - 10 pm
Closed daily from 2:30pm - 4pm

Happy Buddha Hour Mon-Sat 4-5:30pm*
• Monday: No Corkage Fee*
• Tuesday: Half-priced Beer & Sake*
• Wed & Sun: Half-priced Bottled Wine*
• Everyday: All wines, beers, and sakes available for take-home purchase at half-price with your meal or take-out order
• Affordable Catering and delivery available
• 10% off dinner take-out before 6:30pm or after 8:00 pm*

*excluding special events and holidays.

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