My second mystery novel, The Next One to Fall, came out on Valentineâ€™s Day, and Iâ€™ve been on the road for my book tour almost constantly since then. Thatâ€™s good news, because Iâ€™ve been visiting terrific bookstores, meeting wonderful people, and discovering some great restaurants with gluten-free menus. But Iâ€™ve been editing my third novel at the same time, so Iâ€™ve had little time to report back (yet) on what Iâ€™ve found.
Yesterday, I spoke at Mysteries to Die For in Thousand Oaks, California, which I highly recommend checking out if youâ€™re in the area. Afterwards, my friend Anissa suggested a place called Hugoâ€™s Restaurant for dinner. Hugoâ€™s has been around for some time in Studio City and West Hollywood, but its location in Agoura just opened.
The menu at Hugoâ€™s is overwhelming because there are so many gluten-free options. Many choices are naturally gluten-free, while some require modification. The kitchen is well aware of cross-contamination issues and isolates products that contain gluten from those that donâ€™t (they have a similar policy regarding animal products, since many of Hugoâ€™s offerings are vegan or vegetarian).
I had a Caesar salad and a tortilla-encrusted chicken breast with a black-bean salsa (all of it delicious). The menu made me wish I could stay longer. The gluten-free options start with breakfast items â€” such as pineapple-coconut pancakes â€” and include sandwiches, salads, soups, and a wide variety of Mexican- and Indian-inspired main courses.
Reading at a terrific store like Mysteries to Die For, followed by dinner with friends at a great restaurant? It doesnâ€™t get better than this. Next stop: Sacramento for the Left Coast Crime conference, then an event at Book Passage in San Francisco on April 2nd and with Mystery Readers International in Berkeley on April 3rd!