Restaurant Review: Dessert at Old Wives’ Tales

It seems like desserts are a real item here at Gluten Free Portland. To us desserts are one of those things that are most often made with wheat products and are wheat and sugar and milk. Sure there are things like ice cream and gelato. But let’s talk: What about cake and pie and cupcakes, and bread pudding? The list goes on and on. So far we’ve reviewed desserts at Papa Haydn’s and Pix Patisserie. We also reviewed the Flourless Chocolate Dome at P.F. Chang’s and complained about the loss of one of our favorite desserts at the Portland City Grill.

I’m going to skip over the more obvious items on Old Wives’ Tales dessert menu like the ice creams and such and concentrate on the things that have been made gluten-free specifically. And here they are, with their ingredients:

Gluten Free Chocolate Raspberry Loaf
Rice, fava, tapioca and garbanzo flours, soy oil, brown sugar, eggs, coffee, xantham gum, vanilla, chocolate chips.

Gluten-Free Lemon Bundt Cake
Rice and tapioca flours, potato starch, eggs, sugar, lemon, pineapple, ginger, baking powder and soda, xantham gum, soy oil.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Loaf
With rice, potato & tapioca flours, carrots, egg, pineapple, soy milk & soy oil, cloves, vanilla, xanthan gum, baking soda and palm margarine (0 trans fat).

Very nice.

Very nice.

One thing that’s really awesome about Old Wives’ Tales is that they are sensitive to and can accommodate a whole array of food sensitivities and diets. Their menu is clearly marked so a person who is vegan will have as easy a time finding something good to eat as a person with multiple food allergies. The staff is very well educated about these matters and is also very friendly. They do a good job of heating things up if you want them heated, and will start a new pot of coffee if the current pot is old.

This brings up a topic, coffee, that Sienna and I both felt was a problem at Pix Patisserie and Papa Haydn’s. While the coffee at Pix’s was OK, the coffee at Papa Haydn’s was awful, which is surprising to find in Portland Oregon. If I was the owner of Papa Haydn’s I would take everyone on my staff over to Old Wives’ Tales and buy them a cup of coffee so they know what coffee should taste like.

The decor is homey, and the atmosphere is definitely “family”. It’s also mind-blowing to eat with one of Sienna’s cousins and listen to them talk about eating at Old Wives’ Tales when they were kids.

I have had their Chocolate Raspberry Loaf and also the Lemon Bundt Cake. When we go, we do it up right and get it a’la mode. Usually we get the vanilla Coconut Bliss and it doesn’t disappoint. So how are the cakes? The cakes are good. If I had to come up with a criticism, it’s that they’re both a little on the dry side. However, the flavor of both is excellent. The cakes are suspiciously like the ones you can get at Piece of Cake Bakery. I think if you like lemon bundt cake, you’ll enjoy theirs and likewise the chocolate cake.

We really like the place. We’ve been there a lot and I’m pretty sure it will continue to be our favorite dessert spot.

We want to know: What is your favorite gluten-free friendly dessert spot in Portland Oregon? Do you have any favorite items on the regular menu? Let us know in the comments!

Times we have visited: a lot (So we feel very good about our rating.)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same

Old Wives’ Tales
1300 E. Burnside St. Portland, Oregon 97214 / 503.238.0470


  1. says

    I’ve been to Old Wives’ Tales recently and had their Boccone Dolce for dessert. It was pretty good! I was impressed by the sheer number of GF items on their dessert menu.

    My favorite place to go for dessert is Siam Society. If you’re into decadent desserts, you should try their flourless chocolate cake topped with cardamon ice cream. They also have an assortment of other GF options. I’ve talked to the chef there who makes the cake and she seems pretty savvy. She assured me that it was completely gluten-free. It’s the only flourless chocolate cake that I rank higher than my own!

  2. Dave says

    We keep hearing good things about Siam Society. Now we have a real reason to go there! Cardamon ice cream sounds like something I want to try. I love Cardamon. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Melissa says

    The GF carrot cake at Piece of Cake in Sellwood is amazing!!! It is moist and delicious. They also have many other GF sweet treats available. I haven’t had a chance to try any of them because I am so addicted to the yummy carrot cake.

  4. Donna Spencer says

    This is one of our favorite place to go for breakfast when we are in the Portland area! They now have gluten free donuts that are wonderful! I bought half a dozen to take home, since I don’t live in the area.

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