Portland Metro GIG Meeting and Book Signing Event

The March GIG meeting this Saturday hosts Tammy Credicott, author of The Healthy Gluten-Free Life. More information about the event is here on Grain Damaged.

GIG Meeting

When: March 10 – 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Legacy Emanuel Hospital
2801 N Gantenbein Ave.
Portland, OR. 07227-1623
Room MOB2

More Info: Call Lisa Shaver 503.577.9339, GIG of Portland branch manager.

Book Signing

Later the same day, Tammy Credicott will be doing a presentation and book signing at Tula Gluten Free Bakery Cafe (our review here).
When: March 10 – 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Tula Bakery Cafe
4943 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Portland OR 97211

Things We Like: Whole Foods GF Apple Pie and Fifty Licks Vanilla Ice Cream

Gluten free apple pie a la mode, that’s what we’re talking about here. Whole Foods has a bunch of gluten free items now which are produced in a dedicated gluten free facility, so they’re not a source of worry for people who are very sensitive to gluten. The ingredients are posted on the package. We’ve found that there are two sizes of these apple pies, and have to admit enough experience with them to say that the smaller sized pies are better for some reason. Both are really amazingly delicious.

While we’re talking about pies, let’s digress a little bit and mention that some of the gluten free bakeries around town can supply pies. We’ve sampled pies from Crave Bake Shop and also a pie crust from Gluten Free Gem and can vouch for both.

Fifty Licks Tahitian Vanilla

The second part of our apple pie a la mode is the ice cream, supplied by Portland’s own Fifty Licks (their website currently appears to have been hacked – so look out). When I was a kid, I remember my parents making ice cream in an old hand-cranked ice cream maker. To get the ice cream cold enough, you had to put salt and ice into the bucket, and then everybody took turns cranking it. The vanilla ice cream recipe was almost like a custard. This Fifty Licks Tahitian Vanilla ice cream is the closest I’ve eaten to that kind from my childhood. I love it!

Kyra Bussanich of Crave Bake Shop Wins Cupcake Wars

Good news! Portland’s own Kyra Bussanich of Crave Bake Shop has won Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Kyra is pictured here with Kyra Sedgewick (on the right) and assistant Jackie Schonbrun (on the left). Our congratulations go out to her for the victory. Thanks also for helping raise awareness of gluten sensitivities and celiac disease. Here is the press release. Note that the show is scheduled to be rebroadcast, in case anyone out there wants to check it out.

Local pastry chef becomes first-ever Gluten-Free champion—and first winner from the Northwest—of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars!”

When: First airing Sunday, December 18, 2011, 8 PM PST
Rebroadcast: Tuesday, Dec 20, 2011 at 8:00 PM PT and Wednesday December 21st at 3AM PT

The Challenge: Pastry chef Kyra Bussanich, owner of Crave Bake Shop Portland, OR the first baker from the Northwest—and first Gluten-Free pastry chef anywhere—to win Cupcake Wars, highly rated show on The Food Network. She competed on taste, texture and appearance against traditional bakers who had no restrictions on their ingredients.

What’s at stake: Chef Bussanich was the first ever gluten-free baker to compete on the show in December 2010. Though judges crowed about her baking, she came in 2nd place.
A year later, she was asked to compete again on the episode titled, “The Closer 100th Episode.” As the winner, selected from 4 bakers who had all previously competed, Bussanich catered a party celebrating the 100th episode of the hit TV show, The Closer, starring her namesake, actress Kyra Sedgewick.

Book and media appearances: Bussanich has appeared on several TV shows (in Portland and been interviewed in several newspapers and magazines and ezines (Oregonian, Gluten-Free Living). Bussanich is currently writing a book on gluten-free baking and lifestyle for Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House.

About Crave Bake Shop, LLC: Dedicated gluten-free gourmet bakery specializing in cupcakes and celebration cakes, but also offering cinnamon rolls, pies, cookies, cream puffs, scones and specialty desserts.

About Kyra: Portland native, lives in Lake Oswego. Graduated from University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. Then, after being diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder, she was forced to switch to a wheat- and gluten-free diet. Motivated to make high-end pastries that she could enjoy, Bussanich graduated with honors from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie program in Portland. Disappointed with most of the gluten-free pastries and cakes available on the market, Bussanich began experimenting with alternative flours and developed recipes that matched her dietary needs without compromising any of the classic bakery tastes and textures.

Photos and Notes from the GIG Holiday Food Fair

We attended the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) Holiday Food Fair around noon last Saturday the 22nd. When we walked in, the place was hopping, and everyone we talked to mentioned how busy it was. Besides vendors with booths set up, there were also a number of talks on various subjects available. We didn’t attend any of the talks, and instead went around the room, sampled goodies and talked to some of the people we knew there. We looked around for Lisa Shaver, the Portland Metro GIG Branch Manager, but didn’t see her. (Sorry for the quality on some of these photos. I’m going to have to switch back to using my real camera instead of my phone.)

Here are the Jensens of Jensen’s Bread and Bakeries. They make the buns that are served at a large number of restaurants around Portland, including all 59 Northwst McMenamins, the Corbet and Hawthorne Fish Houses, Dick’s Kitchen, and a quickly-growing list of others.

Some of you may have noticed a gluten-free food cart around town called the “GF Chef.” Here is the chef himself, Jim Adams, and his significant other. He had samples of biscuits and gravy along with information about his cart, which is currently available at NE 20th at Everett in the Green Castle Food Court. They serve various sandwiches, corn dogs, donuts, and other American food.

We don’t have space here to list everyone who had a booth at the show, but the regular big name gluten-free companies had booths. So there was Bragg’s, Ener-G Foods, New Seasons Market, Pura Vida Products, Rudi’s, and even Tupperware. Bakeries were well represented, including many we know like Crave Bake Shop, Cravin Raven, Gluten-Free Gem, New Cascadia Traditional, Piece of Cake, and White Rabbit Bakery, but also some ones we didn’t recognize.

Here is a woefully blurry picture of Ann Miller, the owner of the Gluten-Free Gem Bakery, and one of her bakers, whose name I would have written down if I was more organized (Note to self: be more organized). They had samples of their delicious baked goods, as well as information about their products, which are produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility here in town. They are located at 265 N Hancock St. #105 and have a retail window that is open 9 AM to 3 PM Monday through Friday. Their baked goods are available at Stumptown Coffee locations around town, New Seasons Markets, and a bunch of other places in Portland.

Ann Miller told us about an upcoming Gluten Free Expo taking place at the Salem Convention Center on November 26.

Last but not least, we visited the Crave Bake Shop booth. Laura B. Russell was there signing copies of her book, The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen. Next, from left to right here is Jamie Hogland, the business partner of Crave Bake Shop’s Kyra Bussanich. Then comes Deb Wheaton and her daughter Amy. Deb Wheaton is a celiac consultant, gluten-free blogger (notevenacrumb.com), and writer/producer working with the Celiac Disease Foundation to produce the national public service announcements and a series of educational online videos to raise awareness.

That’s all we have. See you next time, and thanks to the GIG for holding these events!

News from Kyra of Crave Bake Shop

We got a bunch of news from Kyra at Crave Bake Shop in Lake Oswego. (Our Review)

Just so you know, we’ve started doing wholesale orders (so go into your local New Seasons or Whole Foods and ask them to stock our stuff…) :) That way you can get yummy cinnamon rolls and such without having to drive to Lake Oswego!

Also, I just wanted to let you know about a few upcoming events that we’ll be at:
This Saturday we’re doing the GIG fair.

ALSO, on November 11th, we’re doing a fundraiser at Bushwacker’s in Tualatin to raise money for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. There will be gluten-free food and hard cider for sale, and a raffle drawing with prizes such as concert tickets, vacation weekends, gift certitifcates, cookbooks and more! I’ve attached a letter (link to pdf) about our purpose with the CCFA, and also a flier for the event (editor’s note: huge pdf warning, but available here).

Additionally, we are doing pre-orders for holiday pies (Apple, Pecan or Pumpkin Spice) and they are 20% off if ordered and paid for by 11/18.

So there you have it. Your assignment is to attend the fundraiser and also to pester your local grocery to start carrying items from Crave Bake Shop.

Tula Gluten Free Bakery – New Kid in Town

Gluten Free Berry Scone at Tula

Our friends started raving recently about a new gluten-free bakery that opened up on NE Alberta. We just went there for the first time two weekends ago, and went back for some pizza the night that they had their opening celebration. Tula Gluten Free Baking Co. is located at the corner of NE Martin Luther King Jr. and NE Alberta. Besides being a bakery, they also have lunch and breakfast items, pizza, and espresso drinks. The bakery itself is good-sized, featuring a nice area to sit and eat gluten-free baked goods.

Goodies behind the glass

Tula has a number of treats available. As mentioned above, they have pizza. Behind the counter they usually have a couple different kinds of scone, a few different tart-sized quiches, cookies, cupcakes, breads, and hand pies. You can also pick up some par-baked focaccia bread and/or delicious olive bread. Because baked goods are a particularly sore spot for the gluten-intolerant, we see it as our duty to eat lots and lots of baked goods. We do it out of our sense of duty and in a spirit of altruism. Especially when it comes to cookies.

gluten-free baked goodies

Here we have, starting at the cookie and moving clock-wise around the box: A chocolate-chip salt cookie, a mixed berry pie, a curried vegetable hand pie, and two mini quiches. The cookie ended up being the least popular item we sampled. None of us were particularly excited about it. It seems strangely greasy and besides the grease flavor, there isn’t a lot to it. We’re happy to report, however, that everything else here was really amazing. They all benefit from a little time in a toaster oven to get them warm again. We were especially fond of the berry pie, the curry hand pie, and the tomato dill mini quiche there. These all had great flavors, and the pie crust at Tula is really excellent.

Gluten Free focaccia bread

Focaccia bread is one of those things I really miss, and until now haven’t been able to replace it. The focaccia at Tula comes par baked. So you take it home and finish baking it right before you want to eat it. There’s enough focaccia there to make 4 good-sized sandwiches. The ingredients are millet flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, agave syrup, xanthan gum, sea salt, olive oil, and rosemary (so it’s vegan). To finish baking, you put it in the oven at 375 degree and bake 11 to 15 minutes. Fresh out of the oven, this focaccia is soft, springy and delicious. It’s good dipped in oil and vinegar, but it’s even better with some honey!

gluten-free pizza at Tula

We also tried the pizza at Tula. The good news is that the pizza here is totally safe, since it’s made in a dedicated gluten-free bakery. I’m used to crossing my fingers every time I set foot in a pizza place that has gluten-free pizza available. Half for good luck, and half because I feel like I’m testing my fate. Many places around town are careful about cross-contamination, but to me, it’s really nice to get a pizza that you know definitely hasn’t been dragged through a pile of wheat flour. The crust style is thin, and soft. So if you’re into pizza with soft crusts, this one is for you. I found the lack of topping variety a little disappointing (they only have vegetarian options) and also Sienna and I were dissatisfied with the flavor. The sauce seems more like a ragu and is sweet. Although the cheese and other toppings are good, I felt like the sauce was seeping into the crust and losing its flavor. I think a lot of pizza places fight this by rubbing the crust with a crushed garlic piece and applying a bit of olive oil before adding the sauce.

We’ve been back a couple of times, and every time we’ve had great experiences with the people at the counter. Everybody is friendly and ready to answer questions about the items there and the bakery itself. Did we mention that the place is vegetarian-friendly? They also have vegan options. Last, they serve sandwiches.

Our final verdict: We’re really excited to have another retail gluten-free bakery open in town, and especially happy to have one that has such a wide range of products. We took the focaccia bread and made grilled cheese sandwiches out of it. This is my new favorite thing to do.

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-Free Dedicated Facility
Times we have visited: 3 (So we feel pretty good about our score.)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: 1 or 2 bucks, depending on the item

Tula Gluten Free Baking Co.
Tula on Facebook
4943 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Ste 101 Portland, OR 97211 / 541.306.1250

Grab a Gluten Free Pie: Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts Baking Company emailed us recently to invite us to try their gluten-free pies. The owner, Molly Thurston Parker, recently launched a wholesale bakery to sell her pies, which are individual-sized. She sells the pies at the Buckman Farmers Market (SE 20th and SE Salmon, Thursdays, 3-7pm), at Salt Fire and Time Community Grocery on NW 24th Ave, at Pacific Pie Company on SE 7th, and at Flying Cat Coffee Shop on SE Division. When you go to the Buckman Farmers Market, it’s usually Molly who is there working the booth.

Gluten Free Pies in Portland - Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts makes both savory and sweet pies. We stopped by the stand a couple of weeks ago and picked up some pies (which, in the interest of full disclosure, she gave us for free). On the savory side, Queen of Hearts makes a Black Bean & Pepper Jack Cheese pie and a Curried Lentil and Veggie pie. On the sweet side, Queen of Hearts makes a Hazelnut & Apricot pie, a Mixed Berry pie, and a Nutella pie. We tried everything but the Nutella pie.

Queen of Hearts Gluten Free Pies

The pies come packaged in twos. Each pie is an individual meal, and all of them are basically vegetarian. The instructions for cooking are quite simple. You can start from frozen or thawed, but basically you bake them in an oven at 375 degrees F until the crust is golden brown. We ate both the savory pies with some sauteed veggies, but they would also probably be great with a side salad.

Considering we’re talking about pies here, the most important consideration is going to be the crust. The Queen of Hearts crust is really excellent and amazing! It’s the exact kind of crisp and flavor a person wants from a pie crust. We were both really enamored of them, especially because so many gluten-free crusts are so disappointing.

We both also agreed that we liked the savory pies more than the dessert pies. The Curried Lentil and Veggie pie is filled with sweet potatoes, onion, coconut milk, lentils, kale, ginger and spices. Like most curries, we found that the flavor and experience was better with some yogurt on the side to offset the curry. It would probably also be really nice with a chutney. If you’re a curry fan, then these are a real treat.

Gluten-Free Savory Pie

Our favorite pie was the Black Bean & Pepper Jack Cheese pie. Besides the two ingredients in the name, these pies have tomatoes, green chiles, onion, spices, and pepper flakes. Besides broccoli, we added some yogurt here, too (instead of sour cream), and some avocado. These pies have a great flavor and are the perfect level of spicy.

Gluten-Free Mixed Berry Pie

As mentioned earlier, we thought that the dessert pies were just OK. Pictured above is the Mixed Berry pie paired with vanilla ice cream from Portland’s own Fifty Licks. This pie is made with blueberries and marionberries. The Hazelnut & Apricot pies are filled with hazelnut frangipane and apricot preserves, which incidentally contained corn syrup, which we found a little confusing, considering that Queen of Hearts obviously tries to use healthy ingredients in their pies. The dessert pies were a bit bland. This might be one of those cases where the crust is kind of taking the edge off of the ingredients. We both found ourselves wishing that the pies were more tart, or maybe more sweet.

Our final verdict: We really enjoyed the savory pies and think that if you’re looking for something new, interesting, and gluten-free to take home and bake one night, you should give Queen of Hearts a try. Sweet pies are really subjective, so I’d be really interested to hear from any of our readers who have tried Queen of Hearts. Let us know in the comments!

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-Free
Times we have visited: 2 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: not certain

Queen of Hearts Baking Company
See locations above / 503.421.6842

Portland Places We’ve Been Recently

Sometimes we find ourselves going back to places we reviewed months or years ago, and we’re often gratified to find that we were right the first time! Here’s a quick run-down on places we’ve been recently. Some new, most not.

Seven Virtues Cafe

Seven Virtues Cafe

If you’re in the NE and want something good for lunch any day of the week, you should check out Seven Virtues on NE Glisan at 60th. They have great espresso drinks, delicious gluten-free and vegan goodies by Petunia’s (our review here), and gluten-free bread available for their sandwiches. I am especially partial to the Frazer Park sandwich, pictured above. They also make a mean iced mocha.

PSU Farmer's Market

Portland Farmers Markets

We recently saw the documentary Food, Inc and decided to see what would happen if we started going to our local Farmer’s Markets. Besides fresh veggies, cheese, eggs, and flowers from local farms, there are a lot of local gluten-free businesses which sell their goods at your local farmer’s market. The PSU farmers market on Saturday morning is host to Petunia’s and New Cascadia Traditional Bakery (our info and review here). I saw Paobread (our review here) at the Montavilla Farmers Market the last time we went there. At the Buckman Farmers Market a person can pick up gluten-free hand pies made by Queen of Hearts (review coming soon). Although we haven’t gone yet, we’ve been told that Happy Camper Bread can be bought fresh at Hollywood Farmer’s Market.

Chez Machin

We’ve stopped by Chez Machin (our review here) on SE Hawthorne now and again. Although we wish their savory crepes had more options, they keep blowing our minds with their specials and their dessert crepes. We really recommend getting whatever the special entree of the day is, as long as it can be had gluten-free.

Dessert Crepe at Suzette - Yow!

Suzette Creperie

Speaking of crepes, we went to Suzette Creperie (our review) on NE Alberta for Bastille Day, dined on delicious crepes, and listened to AnnaPaul and the Bearded Lady.

Blackwood Cafe

Blackwood Cafe

A recent Groupon or Living Social deal informed us that the Blackwood Cafe on NE 70th has gluten-free bread available. I went there by myself recently and got their special of the day, which was an intriguing sandwich with gruyere cheese, apple slices, and (if my memory serves) Prosciutto. The sandwich was really good, but the bread was like Udi’s, which isn’t really my favorite. The iced mocha was really chocolatey. They have a fun menu, but their atmosphere is kind of uncomfortable for some reason.

Favorite Things from the Farmers Markets

Things we expected to be better from the Farmers Markets: tomatoes.
Things we might not have: celery, cherries, cucumbers, cheeses, and sausages.
Celery? We found thin, kind of sickly-looking celery at the Montavilla Market recently and what a surprise! It’s got a surprising, delightful flavor. Almost herbal or floral. Mmmmm. At the PSU Market look for my favorite cucumber of all time – the lemon cucumber. Also at the PSU Market, we found Rogue Creamery’s Raw Milk Sharp Cheddar Cheese and wow is it amazing, especially with a little of your favorite jam. Finally, we’ve tried some items from Olympic Provisions and have yet to be disappointed.

Summer is Finally Here

Thanks to everyone who emailed us about Subway stores getting gluten-free bread and brownies. We kind of ignored the news because we’re more into supporting our local businesses. We do really appreciate it when people email us, even though sometimes it can take a long time for us to get back to them.

Got any recommendations for shopping at the Farmers Markets? We’re still really new at it and learning. Let us know in the comments!

Petunia’s Pies and Pastries Gluten-Free Vegan Bakery

We’ve been meaning to review Petunia’s Pies for months now. Literally for months. So a couple of weeks ago we got up early on a Saturday morning and drove over to the PSU Farmers Market, where Petunia’s has a stand. It also bears mentioning that Petunia’s goodies can be found at Whole Foods markets, Blossoming Lotus, Cloud Seven Cafe, Ruby Jewel Scoop Shop, Spoke Coffee, Mississippi Pizza (our review here) & Seven Virtues Coffee (who we mentioned recently).

gluten-free baked goodies at Petunia's Stand

Here is the start of a fine Saturday morning. Compared to New Cascadia’s cart, which is a stone’s throw down the sidewalk, Petunia’s is more about the sweet goodies. In the case this morning were brownies, muffins, cookies, pound cake, bundt cake, pie, cupcakes, cakes, and donuts.

Gluten Free Cookies and Pound Cake at Petunia's

Letting the camera do the talking…

Gluten-free donuts

Gluten Free Donut

We also got a box full of items. Here they are, item by item:

Candy Girl Cookie – This is sort of like a fortified chocolate chip cookie. It has other various items in it, the most noticeable of which is raisins. I really like these cookies. They are crunchy/chewy in the right places. The added adult cookie ingredients supply extra interest. In fact, as of now, Petunia’s has my vote for the best gluten-free cookie in Portland.

Lemon Blueberry Poundcake – Because of the density and texture, it’s more like a slice of muffin with some glaze on top than pound cake. I really like the flavors, though.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Power Bar – This is something like a rice crispy bar with chocolate, dried cranberries, almonds, and coconut. This item was not our favorite, but I don’t think that we’re really the intended audience. So if you’re a fan of this sort of treat, don’t listen to anything I have to say about it.

Raspberry Lemon Glazed Cake Donut – Both of us were disappointed by this item. I found the donut to be too thick, both in texture and in size. With donuts, I’m looking for that unmistakable it-must-be-bad-for-you cake donut flavor. These had a little of that, but to me they seemed overcomplicated. (Side note – Looking for donuts? We featured gluten-free donuts a long time ago, but they weren’t also vegan.)

Bumble Berry Pie – We both loved this pie. The pie had the exact right everything: flavor, texture, crumb, crust, sour, sweet. Delicious! Awesome! Amazing.

gluten-free carrot zucchini muffin

Carrot Zucchini Muffin – Will you look at this muffin? Looks good, huh? This muffin was like a love letter to muffins. It was delicious. Besides the pie, this was our favorite item from Petunia’s. It was light, airy, crumbly, and not too sweet. I’m kind of a fan of zucchini muffins, and this was easily the best one I’ve had in years.

I forgot to mention that the people at the stand were all really friendly and helpful, on both times we visited. Besides the difficultly of preparing good baked goods without gluten, Petunia’s also delivers them without animal products. I’m really hoping that they follow the lead of New Cascadia Traditional Bakery and Crave Bake Shop and open a retail operation somewhere. Maybe in the NorthEast, within walking distance from our house?

We want to know: Have you had any of Petunia’s other pies? Any other favorite stands at the Farmers Market? Let us know in the comments.

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-Free Facility
Times we have visited: 2 (so we feel good about our score.)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same