Another place listed as a possibility for a quick deli style bite to eat was Zeste. Unfortunately, I didn’t locate Zeste until it was almost too late. I had just been to the IGA Blue Marlin Supermarket (largest market in town) to pick up a few items. I found the Blue Marlin to be very limited in fresh products but noticed lots of choices for people who eat gluten. Very few choices for canned tomato sauce, and no spaghetti sauce I was familiar with. We had picked up a few packages of Tinkyada pasta at Naturally’s and wanted to make a sauce with sautéed eggplant and ground beef.
First, I was very disappointed to find they do not have eggplant at the Blue Marlin, but I was able to get the ground beef and a few cans of Progresso diced tomatoes in sauce. On the way back to the beach house, I saw Zeste and pulled in quickly to see if it was the kind of market that carried fresh produce. No, it wasn’t. They had a refrigerator case of prepared deli foods, plus classy carry-out, boutique wines, picnic baskets, and gourmet groceries.
The two guys behind the counter looked like nice guys, so I told Sam and Barry my sad story about how there was no eggplant at the Blue Marlin. I could see eggplant parmesan in the deli case, so feeling desperate, I asked if they had an extra eggplant hanging around in the kitchen. Sam went in the back and came out waving a nice fresh eggplant that he sold to me. This made my day, so I spent a little extra time going over their menu to see what the next gluten-free visitor might want to try. They are very gluten free aware, and, like Naturally’s, they have celiac regulars, so they keep up with what is safe for them.
Some choices would be the Sesame Ginger Chicken Salad, Herbed Roasted Chicken Leg Quarter or Breast, or the Baked Eggplant Parmesan. Their soups are made with fresh ingredients and the salads look like a good possibility too. Just remind them to eliminate the croutons from the Caesar Salad.
Gluten-free side dishes include garlic creamed spinach, sautéed zucchini and tomato, raspberry tarragon carrots, green beans with roasted shallots dilled cucumbers, insalata Caprese, and romaine salad. All items can be eaten there at one of their tables, or they can be taken out. I noticed Mary’s Gone Crackers as I walked out.
The next day, as we were driving out of town, we stopped in to get some herbed chicken leg quarters. I volunteered to sit in the car with the air conditioning blowing on the dog. Joe came back in a minute saying it was closed. Sure enough, it was not due to open for another 20 minutes. So I got out of the car and went and banged on the glass, hoping that my new best friends, Sam and Barry, would let me in to buy sustenance to get us all the way to San Antonio. Another man came to the door, turned the key, and listened to my story. He quickly agreed to sell us some chicken even though they were not yet open for the day. Saved again! This was Mike Atwood, one of the owners, along with his wife, Lisa Payne. (AB July 2008)
Zeste Gourmet Market & Café