Crave Bakery Grand Opening This Friday

Great news! Crave Bake Shop is opening a retail store in Lake Oswego. I know. I know. They should really be opening in NE Portland! That’s what I told them, too. Anyways, the grand opening is this Friday at 10:00 AM. Did we mention that Crave Bake Shop makes the best gluten-free cupcakes and cinnamon rolls ever? They do.

Here’s the press release:

You’ll Never Know These Decadent Desserts are Gluten-Free:
Nationally-Acclaimed Crave Bake Shop Opens a Store

Lake Oswego, OR— May 2, 2011

What: We are delighted to announce the grand opening of Crave Bake Shop’s gourmet gluten-free retail store, specializing in cupcakes, celebration (wedding, birthday, special occasion) cakes, cinnamon rolls, scones, cookies, tarts, doughnuts and cream puffs. Crave Bake Shop has a dedicated wheat- and gluten-free kitchen.

Where: 460 Fifth Street in Lake Oswego, OR 97034 Tel: 503.212.2979

When: Doors open to the public on Friday, May 13th at 10 am. Regular store hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10 AM to 5PM and Saturdays 10AM to 4PM.

Unique menu: Crave Bake Shop specializes in gourmet gluten-free and made-from-scratch desserts and pastries that are prepared with the premium ingredients such as sweet cream butter, pure vanilla bean extract, Callebaut French dark chocolate, passion fruit puree – and much more.

Those looking to satiate their sweet tooth can choose from a full menu of Crave Bake Shop’s popular signature desserts – like Tart Raspberry Angel Rolls, buttery Orange Currant Scones, addictive gooey Cinnamon Rolls, decadent Peanut Butter Truffle Fudge Brownies, and many other delectable treats such as Chocolate Caramel Ecstasy cupcakes—all gluten-free.

National and Local Recognition: Kyra Bussanich, pastry chef and founder of Crave Bake Shop, has been featured on the Food Network’s hit series “Cupcake Wars,” in the article “Coast to Coast Cupcakes” in Gluten-Free Living magazine, on numerous national and local gluten-free websites, several times in the Food section of “The Oregonian” (Portland), and more. They have fulfilled custom orders throughout the United States.

Bussanich is a graduate of Portland’s Le Cordon Bleu program in Patisserie and Baking. Previously, she ran Crave Bake Shop as a custom-order-only bakery.

More info: Visit CraveBakeShop.com or on Facebook, (Crave Bake Shop), or contact Jamie Hogland at CraveBakeShop@gmail.com or 503-260-7914

Restaurant Review: The Berlin Inn

We had heard about the Berlin Inn from both our Berlin Inn comments page and a friend, and thus we decided to give it a try last week. The restaurant is located in a house at SE 12th and Powell. This is one of the areas of town that we don’t get to much, but now that we know about this place, we’ll be visiting the neighborhood a lot more.

As could be expected from a restaurant named “The Berlin Inn,” the cuisine is German. Neither of us was very familiar with German food and on the way there, we speculated about what they would serve. I had two German roommates briefly in college and I remember them eating a lot of salami and making Beef Stroganoff (of course I only remember them doing this once, so it may have been a fluke). So when we got to the restaurant, it was obvious that a little education was in order. Luckily, our waitress was extremely helpful. The Berlin Inn serves different kinds of Fondue, various pancakes, sandwiches, salads, wursts, schnitzels, and some specialties like Sauerbraten, Swabian Pork Spareribs, and Chicken Cordon Blue. (They also serve breakfast.)

Here are some useful things to know: Schnitzel is a dish where something has been flattened, breaded, and cooked (fortunately, they can make any of their schnitzel gluten-free by breading with potato flour). Wursts are sausages. The Berlin Inn doesn’t have a separate gluten-free menu, but instead their menu has a page that serves as a guide to what on the menu is safe. You can check their menu our on their website.

Best of the Wurst and Schnitzel

After some debating, we decided to get the Best of the Wurst & Schnitzel platter. Some changes had to be made to make it gluten-free. As mentioned above, the Schnitzel was prepared gluten-free. The platter normally comes with spatzle noodles, which are not gluten-free and which we substituted with crispy potato pancakes. Going gluten-free also limits your sauce choices to a Dijon cream sauce. We weren’t complaining, though, because the sauce was awesome. So we had a Spicy Beer Sausage wurst, Alder-smoked Bratwurst, Chicken Schnitzel, grilled bratkartoffel (fried potatoes with vegetables), potato pancakes, sauerkraut & sweet-n-sour red cabbage.

Our waitress was very familiar with gluten-free issues, and everyone there was very friendly. The restaurant has a cozy atmosphere. Our food came out promptly and everything was warm enough. All was delicious, especially the wursts. Also amazing were the desserts. They have an enormous dessert tray and have a couple of gluten-free desserts. They make a cashew cream torte that is very much like a sweet lemony cheesecake. We also had a molten chocolate cake. Check out these pictures.

Cashew Cream Torte

Chocolate Lava Cake

We both thought the torte was good, although I think we would have liked it more if it had been a little less sweet. The molten chocolate cake was really incredible, though. It’s the kind of cake where the outside is crunchy and the inside is still kind of gooey. It’s amazingly chocolaty.

We really enjoyed our meal at the Berlin Inn. It was a Friday night and we were looking for something different. The Berlin Inn fit the bill perfectly. I’m pretty sure that if you’re familiar with German food, that you’ll like the food there, but if you’re not, you should really check it out! Did I mention that they have gluten-free beer? They have gluten-free beer!

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-free friendly but ask questions.
Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same.

The Berlin Inn
http://www.berlininn.com
3131 SE 12th at Powell / 503.236.6761

Product Review: Crave Bake Shop

We were contacted by the folks at Crave Bake Shop to check out their cupcakes (see our disclosure policy here). Crave was started by a professionally trained pastry chef who, because of an auto-immune disorder, is gluten-free. They started making cupcakes last summer, and produce made-to-order cakes, cupcakes, and cinnamon rolls. They do not currently have a retail space, but they sell items at farmers markets, and take orders on their website. They do take special orders like birthday cakes, cupcake pyramids, and wedding cakes. The best piece of news is that their kitchen is dedicated gluten-free. Woo hoo!

Crave Gluten-Free Cupcakes

In the picture above is (left to right, top to bottom): Lemon Bar, Peppermint Patty, Snickerdoodle, Skinny Vanilla Latte, Lavender Outrageous, PB&J, Peppermint Patty, PB&J, Lemon Bar, Candy Cane, Snickerdoodle, Gingerbread. These are mini cupcakes or “shooters.” Crave also makes regular-sized cupcakes.

Normally when you order from Crave, they sell their cupcakes by the dozen per flavor. Since they wanted us to try out a bunch of different flavors, we got a box with quite a bit of variety, which they said were extras left over from the orders they put together on that day. We felt really lucky to get a bunch of different kinds to try, because they were all very interesting and delicious.

Yes, before I get into the descriptions of the cupcakes that we got, I should say that they are really awesome. You would never know that they’re gluten-free. The flavors are amazing. The cupcakes are adventurous. The cake part is light and fluffy. The icing part is light and creamy. These are the best dessert items I’ve had since a particular mind-blowing Panna Cotta I had in Venice during our recent trip to Italy. They’re also different from most store-bought cupcakes in that they don’t use shortening. So if you’re the kind of person who makes frosting with butter, these are going to taste like homemade (except that they’re more fancy than most of us will make at home).

So let’s talk about some of these. The descriptions in quotes after the names are from their website.

Gluten-free cupcake

Lemon Bar: “lemon cake topped with lemon cream cheese icing.” – It definitely has a more lemony taste than your usual lemon cake. This was one of my favorites, but then I love lemon anything.

Peppermint Patty: “chocolate peppermint cake with dark chocolate peppermint ganache” – Tastes a lot like a peppermint patty on top of cake.

Snickerdoodle: “cinnamon vanilla cake topped with cinnamon buttercream” – This may very well have been our favorite. It’s really just amazing. The flavors go so well together. Although it looks like it has a lot of frosting on it, the frosting is so light that you never notice.

Skinny Vanilla Latte

Skinny Vanilla Latte: “vanilla cake soaked with espresso syrup, topped with fat free meringue topping” – Very clever and inventive cupcake.

Lavender Outrageous: “lavender-infused vanilla cake with lavender buttercream” – Definitely for fans of lavender. Other than lavender candy, I don’t think I’ve had a lavender confection. Fortunately, this is far better than the candy!

PB&J: “vanilla cake with jelly center and peanut butter french buttercream” – Yes this tastes exactly like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (except sweeter and with butter).

Candy Cane: “vanilla cake with crushed candy cane pieces, topped with peppermint buttercream”

Gingerbread: “gingerbread cake topped with cinnamon-cream cheese frosting” – This tastes exactly like freshly baked gingerbread men did when I was a kid. Exactly like it. For a moment I was transported to the kitchen of the house I grew up in. It’s rather uncanny.

Crave Skinny Vanilla Latte Cupcake

Here’s a picture of the Skinny Vanilla Latte with a couple of bites out of it, so you can see the texture. We were told that these cupcakes freeze well, so of course we had to test it. We had a little trouble thawing them out in the microwave, because it only takes a couple of seconds, but they definitely do freeze well.

We also got to sample their cinnamon roll, which was really amazing. I’ve been mourning the loss of cinnamon rolls since I became gluten-free. New Cascadia Traditional has a gluten-free cinnamon roll (which I reviewed here) but it’s disappointing. Crave’s cinnamon roll has lots of cinnamon and has an amazing frosting. I was wishing that they had brought us more!

If you check their website, you’ll see that they have some really adventurous flavors. Persian Love Cake, Orange Tarragon, Venetian Crepe, Wow! File this under miscellaneous: We asked if they had a favorite gluten-free restaurant in Portland and they said Andina and also the Outback Steakhouse. They are working on a new website that will have more information about their products and which is expected sometime early 2010. We’re looking forward to more from Crave Bake Shop.

We want to know: Have you had any of Crave’s goods? Are there other places in Portland Oregon to get great gluten-free bakery items? Let us know in the comments.

Times we have visited: 1 (so we feel OK about our score.)
Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars – wow!
Price compared to “regular”: Not sure

Gluten-Free Italy: Levanto – Hotel Garden

While we were planning our trip to Italy, one place that everyone said we absolutely, positively, had to go was Cinque Terre. We had a hard time finding lodging there when we were doing our reservations, so we ended up staying in Levanto, which is just a bit north of Cinque Terre.

Gluten Free Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is actually five small towns in the Liguria region of Italy. They are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. When you see pictures of quaint villages with colorful buildings right on the coast of Italy, it’s pretty likely that the photos are of one of these towns. (That’s Riomaggiore pictured above.) There are trails connecting all five of them, and there is also a train line that you can take to travel in between them. Both the trails and train extend to Levanto as well, which was a good thing.

Liguria is famous for its food—for example, Pesto originated in Liguria. The place we stayed in Levanto was the Hotel Garden—two newly-remodeled floors in a building. I don’t know for sure, but would expect that the building is four floors? Hotel Garden occupies two floors. One is the second floor, and the other is the top floor. Apparently, the top floor gets booked up pretty early and is more expensive.

The hotel is clean and the staff is friendly. They serve breakfast, which is the usual Italian fare: yogurt, salami, croissants, and espresso drinks. They do have high-speed internet, but unfortunately the Wi-Fi only worked in one spot in our room (coincidentally, Sienna’s side of the bed). Hopefully they have that fixed by now. (I was surprised at how inaccessible the Internet is in Italy.) The rooms that face the sea have balconies. They don’t really have a view because there’s a building between the hotel and the beach. The balconies aren’t private.

I don’t have a lot to say about Cinque Terre. It could be that our expectations were set too high by all the raving we heard about how amazing it is. We found the five towns to be overrun with tourists, and the locals not as friendly as other places in Italy. We did find some great food, though. Here are some highlights:

Farinata

Farinata! This like a very thin pizza made out of chickpea flour. It is super-greasy but gluten-free and delicious. I don’t know if all farinata is gluten-free, so you should probably ask to make sure if you find yourself ordering some.

Sardines and Potatoes with Tomato Sauce

Sardines! You may think that I’ve gone off my rocker, but fresh sardines are awesome! One of my favorite things to eat in Italy was fresh sardines and I was introduced to them in Levanto. This dish was sardines, slices of potato, bell pepper, and olives in a light tomato sauce with lots of rosemary. I had this dish at a place called Pizzeria Bar L’Igea Di Nicora Fabio in Levanto, which we very strongly recommend.

Next to the Hotel Garden in Levanto is a restaurant named Da Tapulin. I had their “Spiedino di Calamari Seppe Gamberi e Pesce Spada,” which is skewered calamari, prawns, swordfish, and cuttlefish. The seafood comes out encrusted with finely grated cheese. Amazing. This is another place we recommend checking out.

Also in Levanto is Da Rina. They had the best minestrone soup I’ve ever had in my entire life. It was minestrone with pesto and Parmesan cheese. We also had their smoked tuna and grilled king shrimp. The food there is light and fresh and really amazing. We recommend going elsewhere for your after-dinner coffee, though.

One final place in Levanto is Ristorante la Loggia. They have a quaint notice about gluten on their menu. It reads, “We serve without gluten-free.” While most of the waitresses and waiters we had in Levanto were friendly and seemed knowledgeable about gluten, our waitress at Ristorante la Loggia was downright enthusiastic. We had salad and dried beef (like Prosciutto but with beef) with mushrooms and cheese. These two were delicious. My entrée was saffron gnocchi with prawns. This tasted like mac and cheese and was only OK. For dessert, our waitress insisted on bringing me a delicious flourless chocolate torte with ice cream. That was awesome. Despite the pluses of la Loggia, we didn’t end up being that fond of it. It was extremely noisy, and we almost had to get rude to get our check.

In Riomaggiore, there is a small place that serves bacon and eggs. They fry it up with rosemary and lots of olive oil. I wish I had written down the name, but it’s one of the meals I think about occasionally and wish I could go back to Italy today and have it again.

I don’t think we felt like the Hotel Garden was special, but I think you could do a lot worse, and according to the TripAdvisor website, Hotel Garden is the number one hotel in Levanto. We both agreed that we were glad that we ended up staying in Levanto. It seemed much friendlier and much less crowded with tourists.

News Bite: New Cascadia Grand Opening Celebration

Gluten-Free Coffee Cake

New Cascadia Traditional bakery, purveyor of gluten-free baked goods with a dedicated gluten-free facility, has announced a grand opening celebration for their new location which will be on Friday, September 25. They are at 1700 SE 6th Avenue, two blocks south of Hawthorne. You might be thinking: “Haven’t they been there a while?” and you would be right. That’s OK though. Here is their announcement:

You are invited to our Grand Opening Celebration at our new location (1700 SE 6th Avenue, two blocks South of Hawthorne Blvd.) on Friday, September 25th.
We will be giving away great raffle prizes including gift certificates, t-shirts, tote bags (perfect for carrying your gluten free goodies), bread knives, and more!

There will be samples of some of our products, there will new products to showcase and there will be mini cupcakes for all (or until we run out)!

The fun will begin at 8:00 a.m. and continue throughout the day.

Please join us in the festivities-we would love to see you.

They are also announcing new hours:

Beginning Monday, September 21st, we will be open each and every Monday at 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. for your convenience.
We will offer a more streamlined menu, featuring our most popular gluten free items.
Of course we will have our full espresso and coffee menu (enhanced by our Stumptown Coffee beans!) as well as a complimentary selection of DragonFly Chai teas for your enjoyment.
Look for our new offerings of organic loose leaf teas coming in the next few weeks-just in time for the cooler months.

AND:

Portland Pedal Power & New Cascadia Traditional TM Team Up to bring you our gluten free products via bicycle delivery…
Portland Pedal Power is a bicycle delivery service catering to the downtown Portland area and close-in NW and they will be able to deliver our goods to you once a week! For those of you who aren’t able to get over to our new location, this may be a great option!
They offer a terrific service and we are proud to be partnering with them. Place your order through their website by 4:00 p.m. every Monday for delivery the following Wednesday afternoon.
Please check out their website for more information or to place your first order:
www.portlandpedalpower.com

We have reviewed them several times in the past. Their gluten-free breads. Cinnamon Roll and Sugar Cookies. And their new location in July. (My word! Where has the Summer gone?)

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery New Location

We finally got a chance to visit the New Cascadia Traditional Bakery on Saturday. At around noon we got on our bikes and rode down to their new location. It’s at 1700 SE 6th Ave at SE Market. So that’s on 6th, just two blocks south of Hawthorne. I was a little unfamiliar with where it was. It’s over in the slightly industrial area down between SE 7th and SE Grand. It’s around the Paper Zone but a little further south.

View Larger Map

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery

They look like they’re still moving in and working on making the place more comfortable. The great thing is that they’re offering coffee and espresso drinks, so now you can sit down and have a nice gluten-free treat with a drink. They will also be setting up outdoor seating very soon. Like their NW outlet often was, there was a line to get to the counter.

Gluten Free Baked Goods

Gluten-Free Coffee Cake

Most of the items have signs letting you know if they contain any common allergens. For instance, the gluten-free coffee cake here contains butter, eggs, and nuts. We both got lattes. Sienna got a regular latte and I got a soy latte. They were both awesome. We also got a scone and a piece of coffee cake. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any cinnamon rolls left. Since my last review of one of their gluten-free cinnamon rolls was less than enthusiastic, I wanted to try one that was fresh from the source.

Delicious Latte

Gluten-Free Currant Scone

Gluten-Free Coffee Cake

My coffee cake was awesome. It was crumbly, sweet, and had the right amount of cinnamon. We also both liked the scone. I normally don’t like anything even resembling a raisin in any kind of baked good (especially cookies) but was able to put that aside for the sake of this review.

The real star of the show, however, was the service. Everybody was friendly and enthusiastic. When we asked about sitting outside, our barrista offered to help carry a table out for us. We bought a pizza crust (review coming later) and accidentally ripped it while putting it in our bike bag. When we took it back inside to ask them if there was a way to fix it, they gave us a new one for free, which was amazingly generous.

We’ve been reviewing a lot of places that might be a little risky for people who are really seriously gluten-intolerant, so it’s nice to be able to recommend a place without reservations, because it’s totally gluten-free and the facility is gluten-free. You should go check it out! Go here for more New Cascadia Traditional Bakery reviews.

News Bites: Gluten Free Hipcooks and New Cascadia Location

Hipcooks Announces Gluten-Free Class

First up, regular readers will remember that Hipcooks and we put up a survey asking what sort of gluten-free class our readers would like. The results are in and Monika has created a gluten-free cooking class. Portland is the first branch to get it! Don’t forget that some of their other classes are also gluten-free. Here is the current Portland class list.

The gluten-free class will be at 6 – 10 PM, August 9 in the Portland Oregon Hipcooks at 3808 N. Williams, Suite 120.

Here is the class description:

Our first Gluten-Free themed Class! You asked for it you got it! Meals on the go, bread-like baking, and dessert making. Also, most are also dairy free, with the exception of a little butter from time to time, so that’s how we’ll roll. This extra-long session has input from our in-house nutritionist, offer advice on meal-planning, and will come with a wonderful take-home cookbook packed with recipes and GF tips.

* No-wheat quiche
* 2 fun pastas with 2 fun sauces
* Adventures with Quinoa and other grains
* No-wheat breadsticks, and sandwich making
* 2 great cakes

Featured drink: Wine is GF!

We love Hipcooks. Check out our reviews of some of their gluten-free cooking classes.

New Cascadia Bakery Location Open

Next up, New Cascadia Traditional Bakery has announced that they are moved into their new cafe/bakery as of July 3. They have been updating their progress on their blog.

The new location is 1700 SE 6th Ave at SE Market (that’s two blocks south of Hawthorne). Besides their awesome gluten-free baked goods, they are serving Stumptown coffee and espresso drinks, and will have WIFI. We love New Cascadia Traditional Bakery and hope to visit soon! They are also planning an opening party, so we’ll be on the lookout for that.

Check out our past gluten free reviews and news about New Cascadia.

Gluten Free Food Fair Wrap-up

We got to the 2009 Portland Oregon Gluten Free Food Fair a little late. They were already doing the lottery drawings. We walked around and sampled a lot of food, took some photos, and talked to people at the booths.

Sift Gluten Free Bakery

Sift Bakery – They are a gluten-free and vegan bakery. A lot of cafes in Portland carry their cookies, which I think are pretty good. In my opinion they make the best packaged gluten-free cookie. They also had some cooking sauces there. They had a couple different kinds of Thai curry paste, a hot chili oil, a Thai hot sauce, and also a Thai peanut sauce. Their peanut sauce was good but I make better. ;) They also had falafel crackers that were really good.

Mississippi Pizza Pub

Mississippi Pizza Pub (See our review of the Mississippi Pizza Pub) – They were handing out squares of pizza. While we were walking around the tables, a couple of times I overheard someone tell a friend “There’s more pizza out. Let’s go!” The pizza was good. Sienna asked the guy there about how to get a crust more crispy and he said that olive oil is good for that. Now we’ll have to experiment!

muruku-dscn4067

Muruku Snacks – SCL Marketing – One of the more interesting items at the fair. These are basically like fried chow mein noodles, and are delicious. I love fried chow mein noodles!

Gloria's Delicious Gluten Free Desserts

Gloria’s Delicious Gluten Free Desserts – This person was selling dessert cookbooks. We tried her samples and they were really good.

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery (See our reviews of New Cascadia Traditional Bakery) – We’re big fans of New Cascadia. They had a bunch of their gluten free products to sample. I tried a piece of their coffee cake and Sienna tried their cranberry raisin walnut bread.

Ener-G Foods

Ener-G Foods – Ener-G Foods had a booth, which I was really excited about. Mostly because they seem kind of hit-or-miss to me and it’s nice to sample a bunch of things without having to buy them. I liked their pretzels but wasn’t excited about their cookies, bread or bars.

Angeline's Gluten Free Bakery

Angeline’s Bakery – Angeline’s Bakery had a bunch of bread and cookie samples out. Their bread is very sort of white-bready, but good white-bready.

Some of the booths we stopped by but didn’t take photos of:

Papa G’s – They make different tofu meat substitutes which we both love, and also have a vegan organic deli with some gluten free items.

Wendy Cohan – Author of the Gluten Free Resource Guide, who also has classes on gluten free cooking. We talked to her for a while about making gluten free pizza crusts and she had a lot of tips for us.

New Traditions Bakery – I’ve looked these folks up on the internet and can’t find anything. They had a bunch of different kind of cheesecakes. The cheesecakes are free of gluten, nuts, eggs, and dairy, which brings up the question: What the heck are they made of? Whatever it is, there was a sign that they did contain soy. I thought they were good, although they really had more the texture of a frozen ice cream cake.

Lingonberries Market – The gluten free, wheat free, allergy-friendly foods grocery store in Vancouver Washington, which we’ve been to once, but keep meaning to get back to so we can take some pictures and do a review.

There were a lot more booths than I’ve included here. There were some booths selling baking mixes, one booth with exercise “power bars” that pretty much tasted like all the rest of the ones you’ve ever tasted, and even a cosmetics booth. After we left, we were waiting for the light to turn so we could cross the street, and a couple of people drove up in a van, rolled down a window, and asked us if it was worth going to the fair. We told them definitely yes. It’s always good to check out new things and find out what is good (or not) without having to buy so much stuff. We’re looking forward to next year’s food fair.

Bakery: Mariposa Review Redux

During our recent road trip to Los Angeles we went a little out of our way to visit the Mariposa Gluten Free Bakery. Those of you who read our review on Mariposa Bakery in Oakland, California in February will remember that we liked their brownies quite a bit. In February it was only Sienna who visited so this was my first time at Mariposa.

On our visit, we talked to the person at the counter for a while. She was very friendly and was able to to discuss food allergy information about any of their products. So here comes the eye candy. They are very well stocked. There are gluten free cookies, biscotti, bagels, muffins, coffee cake, more cookies, muffins, cheesecake, chocolate cake, carrot cake. Everything gluten free!

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They also now have a freezer stocked with various gluten-free goodies. They have a couple different kinds of gluten free ravioli, several different kinds of premade take-and-bake pizza, pizza dough, and breads.

mariposa-gluten-free-freezer-2-dscn3811

mariposa-gluten-free-freezer-dscn3812

I had one of their chocolate muffins. I’d like to be able to say that I took a picture of it but I was too busy devouring the thing. Their muffins are moist, light, fluffy, and flavorful. I also got a gluten free sour cream coffee cake. They describe this cake as “Layered with a sweet and crunchy walnut and cinnamon brown sugar streusel, this tender 4 1/2″ diameter cake melts in your mouth” and they are completely correct. Here are the ingredients: sour cream, organic unrefined cane sugar, GF flour mix (organic brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour), butter, dark brown cane sugar, walnuts, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

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This coffee cake was INSANE and you would never guess that it was gluten free. It had the perfect amount of cinnamon, was the perfect sweetness, and had this amazing crumb. It’s a good thing we don’t live in Oakland or Berkeley, because I would be eating this as often as possible, and I’m sure it’s not the healthiest breakfast in the world.

We’re on Mariposa’s mailing list and coincidentally we just got an email announcement from them today. They are celebrating Earth Day on April 22, 2009 and were also just certified as a “Bay Area Green Business.” Here’s their blurb on Earth Day.

This Wednesday, April 22, is Earth Day. To celebrate, we are offering 10% off your entire purchase to anyone who bikes, walks or brings their own shopping bags to Mariposa on Wednesday. So go green on Earth Day and drop by to save some green when you check out! (discount does not apply to other discounted items.)

Among other things, they also have food-allergy information on their products, and also donate 2% of their profits to community and world organizations.

We want to know: Any other awesome gluten free or gluten free friendly places in the San Francisco Bay Area you can recommend? Have you sampled any of the treats at Mariposa? Let us know in the comments!

Times we have visited: 2 (So we feel pretty good about our rating.)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Around twice as expensive.

Mariposa Bakery
5427 Telegraph Ave, Unit D3
Oakland, California 94609
http://www.mariposabaking.com/

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
www.oldwivestalesrestaurant.com
1300 E. Burnside St. Portland, Oregon 97214 / 503.238.0470