Gluten-Free Dessert at Pix Patisserie! Wow!

When you’re a foodie, life can be a little like bear hunting. Sometimes you get the bear. Sometimes the bear gets you. But then sometimes… Sometimes you go looking for the bear and find yourself confronted with a piece of food that has transcended normal food preparation and has become a work of art. You relish the experience, but have a little sadness because you know that you’re not going to have it this good maybe ever again, or, if you’re lucky, not until the next time you come back.

Abandon Hope! Wow your gluten-free diet is doomed.

A few notes about Pix Patisserie: The atmosphere is playful and energetic. The layout is confusing but that fits somehow. There are sock monkeys and paper lanterns hanging all over the place. There is a display case with fine chocolates in the back. There is another display case with desserts by the register. Although it isn’t obvious, you are supposed to sit and be waited upon. The wait staff knew what I meant when I said gluten-free and were able to tell us what they had that fit the description. They serve beer and wine. They are open until 2 AM. The coffee was far better than Papa Haydn’s but still not as good as we would have liked (considering we live in Portland Oregon and this is a dessert place.) People-watchers will love this place. The staff is friendly. The music was cool.

Gluten-free items

The Aphrodite – Cherry mousse, chocolate mousse, a single drunken cherry and moscato-soaked chocolate flourless biscuit all hide inside a crisp
chocolate shell.

Concord – Chocolate meringue, chocolate mousse, and chocolate ganache are hidden by sticks of meringue and a single red ribbon.

Crème Brulee – Flavors include Vanilla Bean with Cointreau, Lavender,
Passion Fruit, and Pumpkin

Ice Creams and Sorbets – 12 rotating housemade flavors

French Macaroons – A current favorite in 12 rotating flavors

I think they need more gluten-free items, but then that’s me. Here’s another picture. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the Aphrodite when we visited. Hopefully they will put us on their notify list.

The Gluten-Free Dessert Concord

The Concord looks whimsical like a bunch of Parisian chimney tubes. The meringue sticks are like sweet chocolate air. The ganache is like wow. The mousse has snap and is chocolatey. I’ve never had anything like it. Sienna loved it too. It was all I could do to keep myself from picking up the plate and licking it when the Concord was gone. Wow. We will be back.

Bad for your diet: Click here for more posts on Gluten-Free Desserts.

We want to know: Have you been to Pix Patisserie? Did you have the same experience? Why do you think they named a dessert “The Concord?” Let us know!

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

Pix Patisserie
www.pixpatisserie.com
3402 SE Division St, Portland, Oregon 97202 / 503.232.4407
3901 N. Williams Ave, Portland, Oregon 97227 / 503.282.6539

Gluten-Free News Bites

Hi everybody I’m blogging on my lunch break because I have a couple of quick news items and two reminders:

Reminder #1: We’re in Blog for Food for the Oregon Food Bank week 2. Please take a moment to donate to the Oregon Food Bank.  To be part of the official Blog For Food tally, please enter “Blog For Food” in the tribute section on the OFB donation page. Nancy Rommelmann has decided to take the campaign up a notch and is stripping for donations.

Reminder #2: If you were planning to reserve a Valentines Day Cake for your sweetie from New Cascadia Traditional Bakery, the cut-off is today.

US News has an article about the gluten-free diet and celiac disease and how some are calling eating gluten-free a fad.

This is a little old, but Allergic Girl posted a link to a New York Times article that tries to shed some light on the accuracy of allergy tests.

Last, Celiac Chicks posted some links to information on which drugs are gluten-free. I remember early on when I was switching over to being gluten-free I found that one of the vitamins I was taking daily contained wheat.

That’s it. Happy Wednesday!

Valentines Day Treats from New Cascadia Traditional Bakery

Frosted gluten-free Sugar Cookies for Valentines Day

This just in – New Cascadia Traditional Bakery is offering special Valentines Day treats. Items may be reserved by calling their retail kiosk (at 503.887.4392) by Wednesday the 11th, or can be picked up (on a first-come-first-served basis.)

They have cookies and cakes. For the cakes they have chocolate, vegan chocolate, and vanilla almond cakes in a “perfect for two” size for $5.50. (Later note: We got a chocolate and it was AWESOME.)

Yowsa!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake for Two

Restaurant Review: Iorio Italian

Iorio is an upscale Southern Italian Restaurant on the 900 block of SE Hawthorne. In addition to winning the Portland CitySearch Best Italian Restaurant award for 2008, they are “committed to providing sustainable local and organic” food and will accommodate any dietary restrictions. For gluten-free folks and people with celiac disease, they have a number of nice options, and can modify some of the items on their menu to suit. In the case of the pastas and gnocchi, they ask that you call one day ahead.

Lots of atmosphere at Iorio

Lots of atmosphere at Iorio

We were a little nervous when we arrived at the restaurant, because it was basically empty. However, by the time we got our entrees the restaurant had begun to fill up. The restaurant is upscale and a larger than usual number of people were dressed up (for Portland, that is.) Our waiter was knowledgeable and also asked the chef some questions for us.

Horay! Calamari!

Horay! Calamari!

One thing that we got excited about immediately is that their award-winning calamari can be prepared gluten-free, so we ordered that, and it was delicious! Calamari was one of the things that I had recently figured I wouldn’t be eating again any time soon, so it was a nice treat.

We also got the Caesar Salad, which they serve with whole leaves. This turned out to be disappointing. It needed pepper, lemon juice, anchovies, and croutons. The calamari was so good we found ourselves surprised at the Caesar Salad.

Next came the gluten-free gnocchi and fresine pasta. The fresine is made with fresh pasta and a red sauce and can be ordered with either meatballs or sausage. The gnocchi is served with pesto. The best item from either dish was the meatballs. They were outstanding. Next, I would say the fresh pasta was good. It was a little inconsistent somehow, but ended up being way better than the standard rice noodles you can get at the store. The tomato sauce, however, was disappointing. It was sweet and sort of flavorless. Even worse were the gnocchi. They were so salty that we couldn’t taste the pesto. It was like eating the dead sea salty. I can only imagine that it was that bad by some fluke.

Iorio Fresine

Last, they had a gluten-free chocolate flourless cake with a scoop of vanilla gelato and raspberry sauce. The presentation was delightful and the cake was warm like it had been cooked especially for us. It was really amazing. Like really really mindblowingly amazing.

Wow wow wow

Wow wow wow

All of which left us scratching our heads that a restaurant could be so good and yet so bad at the same time. On the plus side, they have gluten-free versions of some exciting dishes. Here’s how we scored everything:

Calamari – 5 out of 5
Gnocchi – 1 out of 5
Meatballs – 5 out of 5
Gluten-free pasta – 3 out of 5
Red Sauce – 2 out of 5
Caesar Salad – 1 out of 5
Chocolate cake – 5 out of 5

Later note: It seems like the service there is spotty, so we’ve downgraded their rating.

Times we have visited: 4 (So we feel pretty good about this rating.)
Overall rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same price. Most dishes are around $18.

Iorio
912 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97214

Restaurant Review: P.F. Chang’s

Happy Year of the Ox! In honor of the Chinese New Year, I decided to review our one Chinese restaurant on the restaurant list. P.F. Chang’s is a restaurant chain and the Portland Oregon branch is in the Pearl, about a block away from Powell’s on Couch. It is large, popular, and always seems to be 85% full.

terra-cotta-soldiers-dscn2913

Our Executive Researcher, Sienna, was out of town visiting her family, so I had to go it alone. I’m going to apologize because the food photos aren’t up to my usual standards. I was sitting at the bar with not one, not two, but three bartenders watching me. As a result I felt conspicuous taking photos of my food with a camera, so I covertly used my phone instead.

P.F. Changs has a completely separate gluten-free menu. It is very brief, and strangely omits all beef and pork dishes, but there’s enough on it that most people will probably be able to find something they want to eat. They even have a gluten-free appetizer, soup and a dessert. They also have a full bar.

I started with some Egg Drop Soup, which was a little salty for my taste, but the flavor was right. For my entree, I got the Lemon Chicken. The chicken comes breaded, which was a nice surprise, and is served with brocolli and thin slices of lemon. The whole dish smelled like garlic when they brought it out, which got me excited. Unfortunately, besides the garlic, the flavor of the dish was a little underwhelming. The chicken was done right, but I found myself eating the chicken with the lemon slices to provide flavor. Also the brocolli was overdone. At some point, I got to an area where the chicken had enough sauce on it, and suddenly BAM it was good. So the sauce is good they just need to hit all of the chicken with it. (Doh!)

lemon-chicken-img008

I finished the meal with their gluten-free dessert, the Flourless Chocolate Dome. This is a seriously chocolatey confection served with raspberry sauce and fresh berries. Imagine a quarter-inch thick piece of chocolate cake with something akin to a piece of fudge on top. I didn’t manage to make it through the whole thing, but I liked it.

chocolate-dome-img009

Notes from a second visit:
P.F. Chang’s has gluten-free soy sauce they can bring to your table. Our rice was dry like it had been left out and then microwaved. The Singapore Street Noodles are awesome! Very much like fried rice but with rice noodles. The Spicy Chicken is good but suffers from the same problem I had with the Lemon Chicken and that is: Not enough sauce. Maybe I should ask for extra sauce next time.

To wrap it up, I think P.F. Chang’s is a good place to get Americanized Chinese Food. I’ve eaten there before and I would go there again. Another nice thing about P.F. Chang’s is that they have their nutritional info available. When I was finished, the bartender brought me a fortune cookie, but he didn’t know if it was gluten-free or not. I figured it wasn’t, but I still broke it open to get my fortune. It said: “Your efforts in a critical area will soon be rewarded.” That sounds good to me!

Times we have visited: 3 (So we feel pretty good about our rating)
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same price. Most dishes are around $12.

P.F. Changs
1139 NW Couch St.
Portland, Oregon 97209

Portland Loses a Great Gluten-Free Dessert Item

We went to the Portland City Grill for lunch on Christmas and imagine my shock when the dessert menu came and I found that it was missing my favorite gluten-free dessert, the Flourless Chocolate Torte with Brittle. When I was done picking my heart up off the floor, I asked our server. She confirmed that it had recently been replaced with some kind of Oreo cake. Oreo cake?!?

If you’ve never been to the Portland City Grill, it really is an excellent restaurant. While their menu can’t exactly be called “gluten friendly” they can tell you what is in every dish, so you can find out what has gluten and what doesn’t. They also have some of the best sushi in town.

I hope they reconsider!

View out the window of the Portland City Grill