For a couple of months now, one of our friends kept mentioning that we needed to go check out Casa Vieja in Corrales, NM since they indicate gluten free selections on their menu. We had never been there but our friends had and they enjoyed it. So we finally made a date of it with two other couples.
Of course we also had to stop by the Corrales Bistro Brewery for a barley apertif (beer, not gluten free) before our meal. They do not serve gluten free beer, but I enjoyed a nice glass of sangria while we discussed beer, hops, bonds and zombie movies – yes, an odd conversation, but considering the company… (kidding!). Unfortunately they did not have any of their own beers on tap that day but they were serving up other New Mexican brews. It was our first time there and the bar seemed like a local hang-out, but in a good way. They also had a nice deck out back but since the weather was still quite steamy, we stayed inside.
After the barley imbibing, we drove down the road a short distance to Casa Vieja. The restaurant is located in an old adobe building that was once a family home, originally built in the 1700′s. It has a nice patio fronting the main street and our reservations were for the patio. Luckily it was quite shady and the sun was starting to sink behind the restaurant and trees. The flies did get a bit bothersome at one point in the evening because there was no breeze but I don’t think they ate much! Unfortunately flies are part of the rural Rio Grande valley. Just drink some more wine and you won’t notice them!
We enjoyed some sparkling wine (1/2 off on bottles on Saturday nights!) and part of our group enjoyed appetizers, although I did not. The sangria and sparkling wine was enough of an appetizer! As usual, I notified our waiter of my need for a gluten free meal as soon as he took our drink order. Of course I had browsed through the menu online (click on ‘From The Kitchen’) already. (The gluten free items are notated online as well as on the menu they hand you at the restaurant.) I had a few items in mind and asked a few more questions about my two preferred entrees, either the Grilled Hangar Steak or the Cast Iron Seared Scallops. (Again, I eat meat when dining out although my husband does not.) The scallops came with potato croquettes that our waiter told me they would leave off the plate, since they were not gluten free. That left me with two sides of cauliflower ‘stuff’ and since I am not a huge fan of cauliflower, I decided to go with the steak. It came with a vegetable-stuffed, roasted poblano and a potato gratin. When I asked, the waiter did double-check that the gratin was indeed gluten free – no bread crumbs or flour in a roux. Our waiter answered all my questions and I felt confident with his answers. And my meal was wonderful!
We were all so stuffed that we did not partake in dessert although there were a couple that sounded wonderful, like the Red Chile Buttermilk Flan (without the funnel cake, of course) or the Black Cherry-Port Chocolate Souffle OR the always delicious Vanilla Creme Brulee. (Speaking of Creme Brulee, have you seen Shirley’s Creme Brulee ice cream? Bookmarked!) There are also some other menu items that I would like to try, like the Duck Confit Tamale appetizer, so we’ll have to go back some time soon. Maybe I’ll just order appetizers and dessert! Oh, and some wine too! Who’s in?