Gluten Free Restaurants: Boulder, Colorado

Is it possible to be obsessed with a place you've never been? The more I hear and read about Shine in Boulder, Colorado, the more my mouth waters and I consider booking a flight. One of my first friends with Celiac, the lovely Lauren, recently sent me a message after her adventure with her boyfriend to Colorado, and absolutely raved about her experience at Shine. The kitchen itself is 100% gluten-free, and Lauren mentioned that the only offerings with gluten she noticed were a few of their beers. But there's no need to feel left out, since Shine makes their own gluten free beer!

 Shine was founded by three sisters who decided to open a restaurant serving food for every possible time you could be hungry (brunch, happy hour, late night), all of which is sustainable, gluten- and GMO- free and made in house, from bread to dressings and broth. These are some hardworking ladies, and it certainly sounds like their efforts are paying off. Lauren had the 100% Grass Fed Braised Local Lamb Fettuccine, served with sunchoke (don't ask me what that is) and arugula pesto, delicate squash and mushrooms. She also shared the sweet potato French fries with an "unreal chipotle aioli type sauce" - an endorsement I can definitely get behind! Her friends ordered the burger, bison tacos, and local crispy chicken confit, and reported they all loved their meals and how "all of their food had some sort of spin on it which made it so delicious and different." From my research I'd say this includes the Seasonal Vegetable Stir Fry, with a lemongrass citrus sauce served over cauliflower rice, and Grain Free Ravioli, stuffed with mushrooms, goat cheese and herbs with a brown butter sage sauce and yam butter over greens and sprouted pumpkin seeds. These combinations aren't traditional, but once you read them you start to wonder why no one else has thought to make food like this.

And of course the beer! Shine's on site brewer Mike Kasian crafts five different gluten free beers, from a Pohoda Pilsner to a Down Dog IPA. Lauren tried the sorghum based Ahimsa Gluten Free Ale, similar to an American Amber ale, which received the bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2014. I'm super impressed by the variety of beers, and while most are in the normal ABV range, some pack a punch (Trilogy Red clocks in at 9%)! 

Shine also serves a series of healthy elixirs labeled as "Potions," from Fairy Bubbles to Three Laughing Monks, and you can add alcohol to any of them for $4. Lauren and Co. didn't try these, but said others around them did and mentioned how delicious they were. I loved the comfortable vibe of the restaurant (from the reviews and pictures I found and video on the website I watched!) coupled with the whimsical and thoughtful menu. Lauren lauded Shine for their "super eco friendly and organic" commitment and very hippy environment, right up both our alleys. She was very impressed with how knowledgable, friendly, and helpful the staff were. 

After writing all of this and reading so many wonderful things, my stomach is growling and my instinct to grab my keys and head to the airport is stronger than ever; I have to stop and think about dinner. Shine, I cannot wait to visit you one day (hopefully very soon)! A huge thanks to Lauren for your recommendation and review; I love having a safe place that's been vetted and reviewed for my Visit Colorado list!