Gluten Free Event at Jade Tea House

We heard from Laura B. Russell about an upcoming super-gluten-free event at the Jade Tea House down in Sellwood.

I’m pairing up with my friends at Jade for a super fun event on Wednesday, May 9th.
Jade will be hosting a private dinner in their new upstairs dining room in honor of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen. The meal will feature five courses from the book, including dessert from Crave Bake Shop (Kyra did the desserts in my book) and beer pairings from Harvester Brewing. I think it will be a really fun, and likely a quite festive event! I’d love if any of you and/or your gluten-free friends and customers would like to join in the fun. Books will be for sale as well, or I’m happy to sign any books that people have already purchased.

When: Wednesday, May 9th 6:30 PM
Where: Jade Bistro, Teahouse & Patisserie
7912 SE 13th Avenue Portland OR 97202
Price: $45/person (I think you need to give a credit card when you call)
R.S.V.P by calling 503-477-8985 or email

Her book: The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen

Did we mention that we love her book? We keep making more recipes out of it, and they’re always really amazing. We also love the Jade Tea House.

Coming Events: GIG Gluten-Free Fair, May Class at Bob’s Red Mill and Gluten Free Expo

Portland GIG Gluten-Free Fair

The Portland Metro GIG has announced the date and venue for this years spring Gluten-Free Fair. It will be held Saturday, May 19th, 2012 at Mittleman Jewish Community Center on Capitol Highway near Multnomah Village. More information here on Grain Damaged.

May Class at Bob’s Red Mill

The May schedule of classes at Bob’s Red Mill is out. They only have one gluten-free class this month, but it looks intriguing. Here’s the description:

Gluten Free Baking with Dr. Jean Layton! Have you been frustrated that your gluten-free goodies have been less than stellar? Using a simple way of measuring for perfect results every time join Dr. Jean Layton co-author of Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies for a tantalizing and tempting baked treats. Her recipes include: Crunchy Hazelnut Biscotti – twice baked cookies that are perfect with a cup of tea, Maple Walnut Tea Scones – using no sugar, just pure maple syrup for sweetening, Sweet Potato Biscuits that use the sweet potato puree for tenderness and flavor, allowing the biscuits to be lower in fat and higher in antioxidants, Cranberry Orange Muffins, this vegan muffin is the perfect quick breakfast treat, Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes with a sweet lemon glaze, and Perfect Pancakes. Bring your gluten free baking questions, Dr. Jean loves to share her 6 years of experience with gluten-free thriving.

Supplies to Bring: enjoy the sampling! Class fee $45.00

When: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Where: Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Cooking School, 5000 S.E. International Way, Milwaukie, Oregon 97222
Contact: Call Bonnie at (971) 206-2208 to enroll.

Chicago Gluten-Free Expo is This Month

The Living Without Gluten Free Expo is coming in two weeks, in Chicago. A quick look at the class schedule reveals two prominent Portland folks, Kyra Bussanich of Crave Bake Shop, and Laura B. Russell, author of the Gluten Free Asian Kitchen. There’s a spot on the website where you can go and vote for them to come to Portland, here. Do it!

Fine Print: We are not affiliated with the Portland GIG, Bob’s Red Mill, or the Gluten-Free Expo.

Horrible Service at Iorio

Usually I prefer to talk about stuff that I really love, and spread good news about restaurants and cafes that are doing things right. Recently, we had such a bad experience at a restaurant that I feel the need to post it here.

We went to Iorio for New Year’s Eve and had the worst experience at a restaurant since our hair raising Valentines Day at Wild Abandon. We had made reservations and we did notify the restaurant ahead of time that one of our party (me) was gluten free, but all night long the staff kept putting the wrong food in front of me.

When we first reviewed Iorio, we thought it was really great, and definitely want to note that this is one experience on one night. At the same time…

From the very start, our waiter was brief to the point of being rude. When our appetizers came, he basically threw the plates down in front of us without a word and zipped off. I had to wait for him to come back so that I could find out if the dish was gluten free, which it wasn’t. Then I had to wait for several minutes while a dish was made for me. Now I could see this happening once during a meal at a restaurant, but not three times. It happened with almost everything they put in front of me. The one time it didn’t happen, the person who brought us our food wasn’t aware that I was gluten free and didn’t know if the dish was (it turned out that it was, but by this time I was paranoid).

For dessert, a normal piece of cake was placed in front of me, and when I asked, I was amazed to discover that they had forgotten again, and I ended up waiting at least 15 minutes for a substitute dessert to come out. Again, if they had just found out, this would have been OK. Instead, they had my reservation for several weeks, and the waiter knew that I was gluten free pretty soon after he threw the appetizers at us. When they messed up our desserts, Sienna got up, went to the back, and asked to talk to the manager. The manager acted hostile when she complained about the bad service. There’s even more to the story, but we’re choosing not to include it here. Suffice it to say that our dessert was not their last mistake.

Because I’m gluten free, I know that I’m kind of high maintenance. I do my best to express gratitude for the extra trouble that restaurants have to put into serving me. While all out the food we were served was outstanding, the service at Iorio was so bad that I wondered if we had done something by mistake to irk our waiter. Then we noticed that the couple at the table next to us was just as unhappy. We have since then also noticed that the Yelp page on Iorio is starting to fill up with complaints about the service.

I keep reading about how the chef at Iorio is winning awards. So it confuses me that he would turn a blind eye and allow visitors at his restaurant to have such a horrible experience.

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.

Gluten Free Desserts in December

Crave Bake Shop on the Food Network

Regular readers will remember that Kyra from Crave Bake Shop in Lake Oswego was on the TV show Cupcake Wars a year ago. It looks like she’s going to be on another Food Network show coming on Sunday, December 18th, at 5 pm Pacific. Here’s the message she sent:

…You might be interested in checking us out on a new (never before seen) show on the Food Network on December 18th at 8pm EST.

We saw the Cupcake Wars episode that she was on, and have to say that reality shows are a lot more exciting when you can root for the home team. We’re hoping to check this out.

Buche de Noel at Pix

Buche de Noel at Pix Patisserie

Speaking of favorite dessert places, Pix Patisserie has some gluten free Buche de Noel available for the Holidays! All of their Buche de Noel are gluten free except for the Candy Cane Ice Cream Cake. Our review of Pix is here. We go there on special occasions and always leave happy. Here are details.

Bûche de Noël is the holiday cake in every French household. Traditionally they are made with a rolled sponge cake and butter cream. Some of the best shops offer creations with fresh fruits, mousse, or even ice cream. Here are Pix’s creations…9” cake $36

Bûche Traditional – The classic cake resembling the Yule log – chocolate flourless sponge cake rolled up with your choice of Hazelnut, Coffee or Vanilla Bean cream. Add a quart of Pix ice cream for $12 (and a real treat!)

Sicilian – Canoli filling, kirsch cherries, chocolate mousse and chocolate flourless sponge cake.

Chocolate Port Fig – Shiny glazed chocolate mousse, port-soaked figs, salted Marcona almonds, chocolate ganache and chocolate cake.

Petunia’s Pies in the Oregonian

Petunia’s got written up in the Oregonian, and the article mentions that a retail store is in the works for next year (see our review of Petunia’s here). The deadline for ordering Petunia’s pastries, cookies, cookie doughs & desserts is this Friday 12/16. Pick up is on December 23 between 11-2.

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.

News From Around Portland

We’ve got a bunch of news from various places around Portland…

GIG Holiday Fair is this Weekend

A quick reminder that the GIG Holiday Fair is this Saturday. See this post on Grain Damaged for more information.

Where: The International Fellowship Family
4401 NE 122nd St. Portland, OR (NE Sandy & 122nd)
When: Saturday, October 22, 2011 from 10 AM to 2 PM
Entry Fee: $5 per person, $10 per family, Kids under 12 free

Jensen’s Better Buns Now Available at New Seasons Deli

These are the same gluten-free buns that are currently available at McMenamins around town, as well as Dick’s Kitchen. We think they’re the best gluten-free buns around. Now you can get gluten free sandwiches at New Seasons delis.

Petunia’s Pies at New Seasons

Speaking of New Seasons, Petunia’s gluten free and vegan treats are now available at New Seasons. Petunia’s – Our Review

2012 GIG Conference Will be in Seattle

The Gluten Intolerance Group national headquarters are in Seattle, WA. The organization holds yearly conferences in different cities around the country, and has announced that next year’s conference will be held in Seattle. They’ve also announced that the format of the conference is growing from a “traditional program” into a Gluten-Free Health & Wellness Expo. Look for more details coming soon.

Harvester Brewing!

A local tipster alerted us that Harvester Brewing is setting up shop at 715 SE Lincoln St, just a stone’s throw from New Cascadia Traditional. Harvester will be a dedicated gluten-free brewery in Portland OR, and expects to operational and open in Fall/Winter 2011. We were invited to sample their beers quite a while ago, and were impressed. We certainly wish them well! Visit their Facebook page for more details.

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