yard-housePeople are starting to make healthier choices when it comes to foods that best serve their bodies. Many are choosing vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, and low carb lifestyles. It’s not uncommon these days to ask for dietary considerations when inviting friends for dinner. And when choosing a place to dine out, meeting everyone’s needs can be challenging.

The Yard House offers something for everyone. This upscale bar and grill is popular for their 100+ beers on tap and lengthy menu of gourmet bar fare, seafood and steaks. But many don’t know that they also offer extensive vegetarian options and a stand-alone gluten-sensitive menu.

My husband and I love the Yard House as he is a lifetime beer connoisseur who favors paleo foods, while I prefer vegetarian. In addition to the many entrees and appetizers to appease our preferences, we get to sample from the largest selection of beer the Valley has to offer. And as craft beers are now considered ‘the new wine,’ sampling is a fun and tasty complement to the Yard House’s vast array of cuisine.

yard house dishVegetarian. In addition to a variety of gourmet salad options, The Yard House features a lengthy gardein™ menu. Gardein™ is a new, very tasty chicken and beef alternative made from soy, wheat and pea proteins, vegetables and nutritious grains such as quinoa, amaranth, millet and kamut. Perhaps its greatest attribute is the wonderful, satisfying texture, which is lacking in other meat substitutes. In addition to being animal and dairy free, gardein™ is also cholesterol free and a good source of fiber.

The Yard House’s gardein™ menu offers 14 selections from buffalo wings to a chicken rice bowl loaded with fresh veggies; from a spicy Thai chicken pizza, to their most popular orange peel chicken served with brown or jasmine rice.

In addition, you can choose to substitute any chicken or beef dish on the menu with gardein.

yard house dishGluten-Sensitive. Because they do not have a separate kitchen for preparing gluten-sensitive dishes, the Yard House does not claim to be gluten-free. While your server will ask if it is an allergy or diet choice, and special preparations are made accordingly, this is very important for those who suffer from celiac disease or severe gluten allergies, and cannot chance any potential gluten exposure.

For those who choose gluten-free as a lifestyle choice, the stand-alone menu is a real treat. It contains a majority of the main menu items with suggestions for substitutions. While many restaurants will simply remove the sauces and other gluten- containing elements that flavor most dishes, the Yard House offers nine substitute sauces including spicy tomato, béarnaise, sweet chili and Thai basil pesto.

On this night, we enjoyed the rare pan seared ahi served with jasmine rice and asparagus. The standard dish comes with Chinese black bean sauce and fried basil which, along with the rice bowl sauce, were removed to offer a fresh and clean gluten-free meal. The tender, succulent ahi would have been well complemented by the gluten-free porcini mushroom or sweet chili sauce (which we forgot to order before we devoured it!)

Paleo & Low Carb. The paleo or ‘caveman’ diet is based on the premise of only eating items that would have been available prior to the development of grain-based diets. The modern paleo diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.

Yard House BeerThere are plenty of options on the extensive menu for this lifestyle choice. Their ‘natural’ beef varies per dish (hormone-free, grass-fed, etc.) so ask your server for details. Burgers are offered ‘protein style’ with a salad replacing fries and no bun.

So how popular are these offerings? “About 20% of our customers are choosing these healthier options,” says Chef Roxanne Tavares. “We’ve only offered the gardein and gluten-sensitive options for two years and that number continues to grow.”

The Yard House is a fun place for families and friends, serving tasty, interesting food, a wide breadth of specialty beer and wine, and even “Fresh & Skinny” cocktails. And because the Yard House is open to serving meals to your specifications, we strongly recommend it to all food-conscious diners.

The Yard House is located at The River in Rancho Mirage and open daily from 11am until 12am (Sun–Thu) and 1am (Fri–Sat). Happy Hour (Mon-Fri 3pm–6pm and Sun – Wed 10pm–Close) offers half priced pizzas and select appetizers (including gardein wings!). Limited reservations available, please call restaurant directly for more information 760.779.7475

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