GUEST POST by Brandie Kajno
Walking into this adorable shop makes me so happy. It’s the kind of place your grandmother might run if she was vegan… or your coolest, most creative, antique-decorating-loving, amazing chef neighbor. Whichever. The walls are decorated with antique crate vignettes of blue mason jars, vintage baking spice containers and well used kitchen tools. It all hints at real food, made well, with old-fashioned flavor, and that’s exactly what it is. Oh, and have I mentioned tasty, tasty stuff? Ok then.
Friends know the best places.
I discovered this little place after a recommendation from a friend who had eliminated gluten several years ago. She has seen a major change in her health, and not long after that, I found myself in a similar situation. Removing such a major food from your daily life is an enormous undertaking, and can sometimes feel very limiting. (Ok, let’s be honest: It often feels like wanting to have a raging-three-year-old-throw-yourself-on-the-floor-like-a-posessed-devil-kicking-and-screaming tantrum, because you just want a friggin’ cookie that won’t do bad bad things to your insides.) It’s a glorious day when you find familiar treats on a plate, which are not only tasty, but invite you to indulge with abandon. Like a warm hug for your taste buds. Equally awesome sauce when you can go there for lunch with friends, and they can recognize and enjoy the food right along with you. Win.
No worries. Just eat.
This is what I found in Back to Eden Bakery: A place I could eat without worrying about finding (after the fact) there was gluten in my food. There is no gluten here, at all. The other amazing thing about Back to Eden is everything is 100% plant based. So gluten-free vegans, rejoice, there is a place for you. (Confession: I’m not a vegan, but I’m a huge fan of plant based foods, and I’m intrigued by it!) Finding one or the other is a happy thing, but finding both in one location is about up there with Christmas morning.
Wait, no eggs?
The first thing I had at Back to Eden was one of their Cashew Tarts, which is really more like a quiche. I was so excited about the place being gluten free, that I didn’t even notice the clearly marked “100% plant based” sign. I cut into the tart flaky tart shell, and took a bite of the creamy middle with some perfectly placed roasted asparagus. I almost cried. Seriously. I asked one of the staff about it, and because I’m sure I was engrossed in what must have been a foodgasm, I completely forgot what she said save one thing: There were no eggs at all. I was stunned. After learning the tart was made with cashew cream, I went home and researched this amazing ingredient. Kids, go use your friendly neighborhood search engine and discover this ingredient for yourself. You’re welcome.
A fun little place to go with friends.
I’ve brought friends here, raved about it, and sat in the corner window to absorb it’s quaint decor – especially the mason jars, cream and robin’s egg blue overtoned interior. It’s a quiet intimate place to come and reflect, think, and be. This neighborhood has undergone quite a renaissance (I lived here nearly 20 years ago before all that, when you wouldn’t walk down the street at night alone), and I’m so happy to see such wonderful establishments come in and make this a bright spot in Portland. (Another confession: I live across the river, in Vancouver, WA, and I drive 30 minutes to hang out. It’s worth it.)
Recently Back to Eden added an espresso machine. It’s such a great fit for the perky pastries they serve up. So, also, coffee lovers rejoice, and get ready to indulge in a hazelnut milk latte. I started drinking hazelnut milk because of Back to Eden. Before they installed the espresso machine, I had a hazelnut cafe au lait. It was a revelation. It’s so Pacific Northwest, and I just love it. It’s also ridiculously tasty.
So, next time you have a lunch or coffee date, consider Back to Eden Bakery, and tell them I sent ya. I’ll be in the corner window, so be sure to say hi, K?
Brandie uses humor & eye-blinding enthusiasm to connect, teach & guide others. She can be found trying new recipes, lusting after copper cookware, frolicking through farmers’ markets and sipping hot beverages at a local coffee shop. She writes about her fab finds, simple recipes and “it’s easier than you think” tips on her site, SpoonAndSaucer.com.