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.

Portland Gluten Free Beer Review

Editor’s note: I’ve been wanting to do a feature on gluten-free beers for a while now, but I’m really more of a hard alcohol guy. Fortunately, we were able to recruit Heather Marsh, who gathered some friends, drank a lot of beer, took notes and photos, and wrote the excellent review you’re about to read. Thanks Heather!

Gluten Free Beers Reviewed

When I moved back to Portland, I wasn’t much of a beer fan. I know, no one admits that. But it didn’t take very many dinners out with friends to be converted from no beer, to some beer, to being a genuine fan of beer. Our beer options in Portland are fantastic, and I was slowly learning to love the various flavors. Then I found out I was gluten intolerant. Then I found out I may be celiac.

I’ve been gluten free for long enough that I can’t really remember what the beautiful Portland beer (that I was just starting to appreciate) tasted like.

I’ve seen gluten free beers around town, and tried a couple. It was nice to have the option, but I was never terribly impressed. One day I decided to compare them, so I did an internet search and pulled together a couple GF options. My brother and I (both gluten free) had an informal tasting, for our own information. But due to our novice knowledge of this strange and wonderful beverage, we really only succeeded in selecting our favorites. After conversations with several gluten free friends, and after discovering a couple other gluten free beers, I decided I wanted to do a more thorough investigation. I’m including my findings here, but I highly encourage you to try this at home! Both for the sake of the knowledge it will provide you, and because it’s just plain fun. And your friends will think it’s the best idea you ever had.

Because of my inexperience with beer in general, I brought in a posse of beer-loving, non-gluten-free friends and experts to consult on this important experiment. Here’s what we came up with (in the order we sampled them)! (Editor’s note: They sampled the beers from light to dark, so they end up being listed in roughly that order.)

1) Estrella Damm Daura
This pale, smooth beer has hints of apple. A mild, gentle flavor, with a bitter finish. Not bad, but it didn’t hit the top two list of anyone in the party. Also, I understand it’s made with barley, and has the gluten removed to under 6ccs. Not sure how that works for someone who is extremely sensitive, but it sounds like a risk that might not be worth it for the mild taste. I recommend hitting a hard cider instead if you want this sort of flavor.

2) Green’s Triple Blond
This one was much more complex than the Estrella, and didn’t have the bitter aftertaste. It was sweet, fruity, and smelled of apple. One of the tasters thought it had hints of vodka, but that could be from the high alcohol content. It was almost reminiscent of a sparkling wine. I really liked it, and I’m not usually a fan of the paler beers.

3) St. Peters Sorgham
Certainly the best bottle in class (lighter beers). I realize that doesn’t say anything about what’s inside, but hey! The beer itself is bitter, with layers of different flavors. Sawdust and peanut shell were both mentioned. We all agreed it has a strong wood flavor and it smells vaguely of tobacco, good cigars. I wasn’t crazy about it, but others enjoyed it. Someone else finished off my taster.

4) New Grist
Sweet and light, and reminiscent of a hard cider, only not as flavorful. It’s a little like drinking juice, understated, with a mild flavor. I didn’t mind it, but I don’t think I’d seek it out. The consensus was a resounding “meh.”

5) Redbridge
This light, golden beer has more color than any of the previous selection, but it wasn’t our favorite. It has a citrus start, and a smoky, caramely finish. Its smell was described as olive oil and acetone (the main ingredient in finger nail polish remover… yumm?). No one finished their taster.

6) Bards
A smoky smell and a heavier flavor. Tasted like caramelized molasses with hints of tobacco. Wasn’t my favorite, but certainly not bad.

7) Deschutes Gluten Free
While not yet available in bottled form (although I have heard rumblings that they are hoping to start bottling eventually… fingers crossed for sooner, rather than later), I wanted to include this in the test anyway. I’ve had the beer in the Deschutes Brewery and Public House on NW 11th and Davis, and I love it, and when I called to find out how to get it “to go,” they assured me that they could fill any size receptacle (that seals), so I went in with my Mason jar and got a pint and a half. A little spendy, but I really think it might be worth it.

The Deschutes was our pick for the Pale Ale lover. It had the 3rd best head, a bitter–lets call it tangy–smell, and had hints of grapefruit and bergamot in the flavor. I have a vague recollection of tasting apricot when I had it with a burger at the restaurant, but no one could find that flavor when we did the tasting, so maybe the complexity is affected by food. Either way, it’s an absolutely lovely beer, and those in our party who love IPA were all impressed. Get yourself a jar (or if you can drink that much, a growler, they sell them at Deschutes) and pick some up, or just go down there and enjoy a great meal. They’re not paying me to say this… it really is just that good.

8) Green’s Amber Ale
This one has the second best head, a creamy white that sets off the amber of the beer itself. Even compared with gluten filled amber ales, this one got a very enthusiastic thumbs up. It’s tangy, with strong apple and gentle coffee flavors. Mild hints of caramel that linger and a malty twinge. A lovely, complex, flavorful choice. And, as with all three of the Green’s options, it comes in a 16.9oz bottle, so there’s more to share! There was no disputing it’s spot on the top three list.

9) Green’s Dubbel Dark
This one takes the award for best head, which apparently the Belgians (from whom this fine beverage comes to us) scrape off. We did not. It’s sweet and dark, caramely and beautiful. Dark beer people loved this one, and I’m assured it’s as good as the gluten filled options for the person looking for a barley wine substitute. I can’t say enough good things about this beer; it’s hands down my favorite. My friend Lexie determined “it’s like a beer cappuccino!”

All of these options, with the exception of the Deschutes, can be found at various locations around our lovely city. I picked them all up at Beermongers on SE Division, which I love, because they have all of these beers, and because they’re friendly, and it’s on my way home.

For more information on these beers, check out their websites, or the links below. The above are only the opinions of a panel of six judges, with varying tastes, so who knows what you’ll discover!

gluten free beer

Further Reading

Gluten Free Beer Festival, compiled by a group in the UK. Not all of these options are available here in the States, but it’s fun to read, and they have ratings and explanations that might be helpful for others who are new to the beer scene!

For more information on the gluten free Deschutes brew, check out these sites, far more knowledgeable than I: Review one. Review two.

New Gluten-Free Resource in Portland: Dessert Labs

We’ve featured pieces of news about Dessert Labs once or twice on Gluten Free Portland. I met with them last week and talked to them about their kitchen, gluten-free food, and what they’ve been up to lately.

Dessert Labs is Joe Kalal and Karen Goetsch. Joe is the chef, and Karen handles the business side of it. Joe found out that he had celiac while living in New York, and inspired by the horrible gluten-free food he found there, decided that he could do better. He enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York City to learn how to be a pastry chef. Since he couldn’t eat a lot of the wheat-based treats that they learned to cook there, he found that he had to concentrate on using his sense of smell instead. To gauge flakiness, crumb, or moistness in baked goods, he would break them open.

Joe and Karen are relatively new to Portland. They came here from New York City by way of the San Francisco Bay Area. They had meant to start Dessert Labs in the Bay Area, but visited Portland in the summer of 2010 and were delighted when everything just kind of magically fell in place. Within days, they fell in love with the city, found a place to live, and found a kitchen space to work out of.

In late spring of this year, they created a Kickstarter project that raised over $2500. If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a website that is a place for creative people to find funding for their own projects. In a nutshell, a person can come up with an idea for a project, describe it on Kickstarter, and then other people can fund the project (see here for more details on how Kickstarter works). The people who fund a project generally get something out of it. In this case, Dessert Labs funders got care packages and subscriptions of gluten-free goodies. Karen and Joe set their project goal at $1000 and it didn’t take long before they passed it. When the funding doubled, they knew that they were really on to something.

What they are doing now is providing gluten-free baked goods to local cafes and restaurants. As we mentioned before, they are supplying Food Front on NW Thurman with gluten-free pies for the holidays. They also take orders for gluten-free cookies, cupcakes, bread, cakes, and pies on their website or by phone. They also told me that they are interested in taking special orders for people who would like to get a particular baked good in gluten-free form, including people who may have family recipes that need to be converted. They are vegetarian/vegan friendly.

Fortunately, they had some gluten-free treats for me to sample when I stopped by.

What we have here are some shortbread cookies, some cupcakes, and a ball of flourless chocolate cake. These were all really good and none of them had the funny aftertaste that you sometimes get with gluten-free baked goods. The flourless chocolate cake was my favorite item. Sienna and I both thought their cupcakes were really impressive. We’re both dying to know how their pies are. We’ll let you know when we have more information!

Dessert Labs – – 347-513-5461

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Drink Non-Dairy Milk

I’ve been debating whether or not to cover this item. It’s not like there aren’t already a whole lot of gluten-free milk options in the world! At the same time, there are a lot of people who can’t (or won’t) drink cow’s milk, and who might be allergic to soy milk. This leaves some less-than-exciting options like rice milk, hemp milk, or making your own almond milk. This milk has millet, amaranth, and quinoa, which is interesting. When we first saw this item, we thought that it sounded like a good idea, and we decided to give a try.

Here are the ingredients for the unsweetened variety:

Filtered Water, Organic Brown Rice, Organic Inulin, Organic Expeller Pressed Canola and/or Organic Expeller Pressed Safflower Oil, Organic Tapioca Starch, Sea Salt, Organic Vanilla Extract, Vitamin Mineral Pre-Mix (Tricalcium Phosphate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Ergocalciferol [Vitamin D2], Cyanocobalamin [Vitamin B12]), Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan, Organic Amaranth, Organic Millet, Organic Quinoa.

And here is the sweetened variety:

Filtered Water, Organic Brown Rice, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Inulin, Organic Expeller Pressed Canola and/or Organic Expeller Pressed Safflower Oil, Organic Brown Rice Syrup Solids, Sea Salt, Organic Vanilla Extract, Vitamin Mineral Pre-Mix (Tricalcium Phosphate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Ergocalciferol [Vitamin D2], Cyanocobalamin [Vitamin B12]), Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan, Organic Amaranth, Organic Millet, Organic Quinoa.

The main difference between the two is that the sweetened one has evaporated cane juice and brown rice syrup solids. The unsweetened has tapioca starch. Those of you who are used to reading ingredients will be struck by two things: 1) The presence of amaranth, millet, and quinoa at the very bottom of the list means that they don’t really make up any real part of the milk and are more there as flavors at best. And 2) What the heck is inulin?

Inulin is a food additive that has been gaining popularity. It’s a naturally-occurring fiber that tastes sweet, but that isn’t digested. There are a lot of health claims about inulin, mostly having to do with stomach bacteria. Because we can’t digest the stuff, our stomach bacteria does it instead. Some say this is good. Others aren’t so excited. The Wikipedia page on inulin has good information on it, as does this page – Inulin: Friend or Foe? I don’t know enough about this stuff to be an expert, but I’m one of those people who distrust artificial sweeteners. At the same time, inulin is naturally occurring and can be found in onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, agave, and a number of other plants.

As you can see from the photo, the milk has that more watery sort of consistency that rice milk has. By now you’re probably all wondering how the milk tastes. I thought it was OK. When you look at the ingredients, you see that it’s basically fortified rice milk with a bunch of stuff thrown in and a strange indigestible sweetener. Those of you who are used to unsweetened non-dairy milks will find that both versions are rather sweet. I’m thinking that this is because of the inulin. In fact, I bought a carton of both and although I didn’t exactly perform a taste test on them, I remember thinking that I would have trouble telling which one is which by gauging the sweetness.

What it tastes the most like, to me, is millet. If you enjoy that nutty-corny taste that millet has, you might like this milk. It certainly doesn’t taste bad, and as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, it does offer a bit more variety in the non-dairy milk category. I wish that I felt strongly one way or the other, but instead I was left with the impression that some people might like it. I didn’t really like it enough to switch from my usual milk of choice.

I would love to hear from anybody out there who gave this milk a try. And also, what you think of inulin, if anybody out there has a strong opinion, let us know what you think in the comments!

Product Review: Gluten Free Fish Sticks and Energy Bars

We’ve got another gluten-free double-header product review coming your way. Today we’re looking at fish sticks and energy bars. I guess that they have one thing in common: they’re bar shaped food. You probably wouldn’t want to eat them together, though.

Dr. Praeger’s Potato Crusted Fish Sticks

The Whole Foods that is close to us doesn’t carry our favorite gluten-free fish stick, the Starfish brand ones. So we decided to give the Dr. Praeger’s fish sticks a try. They’re gluten free because they use potato flakes to bread the fish.

Dr. Praeger's Gluten-free Fish Sticks

The thing that’s cool about Dr. Praeger’s is that the food isn’t super-processed. Their branding motto is “Where you recognize all the ingredients.” Here are the ingredients: Pollack Fillets, Potato Flakes, Potato Starch, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Eggs, Salt, Brown Sugar. That’s a pretty short list. The manufacturer figures that three sticks make a serving. So a serving has 220 mg of salt which is pretty good. A serving is 120 calories, 70 of which are from fat. The facility disclaimer on the box says that they are made in a facility that uses wheat, soy, and eggs.

Gluten-Free Fish Sticks

We had these with some beans. So how were they? Let’s just say that they are very much like the frozen fish sticks you get at the store. As with things like frozen pizzas and mac ‘n’ cheese, some people like them and other people don’t. We’re not really into them. Our biggest problem with them is that they cook up really mushy. These fish sticks literally end up with a puddle of liquid under them while they bake. So the breading does not get crunchy. Our toaster oven has a convection setting, and I turned that on with the hopes of getting a crispier fish stick, but it only helped a little.

With how they’re already kind of tasteless, the mushy texture kind of pushed us over the edge on these ones. Luckily, the new Whole Foods on Sandy has our favorite gluten-free fish sticks, so we can get our fix.

Prana Bar Energy Bars

Divine Foods contacted us about their gluten-free Prana Bar energy bars and sent us some samples to try out. I have to state for the record that I’m not really an energy bar fan. Most of them taste really nasty to me. I don’t know what that’s about, but there it is. Fortunately, Sienna has more experience with bars.

Gluten-free Energy Bars

They sent us two bars. A Boomi Bar and a Prana Bar. The Prana Bars come in a lot of different flavors. They have apple pie, apricot goji, apricot pumpkin, cashew almond, coconut acai, and pear ginseng. The Boomi Bars come in even more flavors. Divine Foods also has a third line of energy bars that they call their Superchargers. I’m not entirely sure how they decide how to divide the three kinds of bars, but it looks to me like the Boomi Bars are less processed, the Prana Bars are more like regular energy bars where all the ingredients are ground up, and the Superchargers are more about antioxidants. It looks like they do their best to not cook any of the ingredients, except for the nuts.

They are manufactured in a facility which is gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, and peanut-free. Instead of using cane sugar or other sweeteners, they use agave nectar. They do not use GMOs, sulphured fruits, or hydrogenated oils. All of this is pretty cool. Here are the ingredients of the Prana Bar they sent us: Organic Almond Butter, Organic Agave Nectar, Organic Date Paste, Organic Dried Coconut, Organic Almonds, Organic Raisins, Organic Puffed Amaranth, Organic Acai Dry Powder, Sea Salt. And here are the ingredients of the Boomi Bar: Almonds, Cashews, Honey, Dates, Crisp Rice, Amaranth, Salt. That’s a short list. Neither of these has much salt, with the Prana Bar weighing in at 35 mg and the Boomi Bar at 55 mg.

Boomi Bar

So how were they? We were neither astounded nor disappointed. I liked the Boomi Bar better because it had recognizable pieces of nuts in it, and so it had some texture. Both bars tasted a lot like you would expect an energy bar to taste. And in this case, they tasted a lot like nuts and dates. On the plus side, they didn’t taste nasty, so that’s a good thing. Sienna thought that both bars were OK but felt like they were more soft than she likes an energy bar to be.

I feel a little bit bad reviewing these simply because I don’t have strong opinions about them. I would bet that if you like energy bars, you probably can’t go wrong trying these, considering that they’re made in a dedicated gluten-free facility and are made by a company that obviously cares about using healthy ingredients.

We want to know: Is there anybody out there who is really into energy bars and has a strong opinion about these? Are there other Dr. Praeger items that are gluten-free? Let us know in the comments!

Giveaway! Triumph Dining Guides and Card Set

Hi everybody. We’re doing our first (and hopefully not last) giveaway here at Gluten Free Portland Oregon! Last week we did a review of the Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Guides, and now this week we’re going to give them away

Up for grabs are:

Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Guides

Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Cards

To make things more interesting, we’re going to give these away to three different people.

The Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Guide Giveaway:

What is up for grabs: The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide, The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide, and The Gluten-Free Restaurant Rescue Pack. The rescue pack is the set of cards in different languages.

Who will win: To enter, simply make a comment to this blog post. On it, we want you to answer two questions. One: Which of the items you would want most. Two: Why. There is no reason to write a novel, but we are really interested to see your answers! We aim to give people the item they would prefer. (I can only afford to ship to the US and Canada, so people from other countries please don’t enter. Sorry!)

What they will win: I have one set to split up, so there’s going to be three winners. One person will win The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide, another will win The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide, and a third will win The Gluten-Free Restaurant Rescue Pack.

When and how the winners will be chosen: The giveaway ends at midnight Pacific Time on Saturday, August 22. Winners will be chosen using We’ll keep generating numbers until a winner is picked for each item based on their stated preference.

Notification: Winners will be notified by email August 23 and will have until August 31 to get back to me. After that, their prize will be forfeited and awarded to someone else chosen with a number.

Leave a comment to enter now!

Book Review: Triumph Dining Guides

First of all, thanks to Triumph Dining for sending us out some review copies (please see our new disclosure policy). I have to say that during the time I’ve worked on this blog, I’ve gotten used to thinking of the gluten-free community as being very grassroots. There are a lot of people with small businesses and I think that I get used to having to go to a lot of different places to get all the information I want about a particular topic. So for me it was almost overwhelming to get these three items in the mail and open them up.

Triumph Dining publishes The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide, The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide, and The Gluten-Free Restaurant Rescue Pack. The book titles are self-explanatory. The “rescue pack” is a set of cards you can give waiters or waitresses at restaurants that explain gluten-free cooking in very clear language.

Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Guides

The Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide

Sienna and I tend to travel a lot and one of our favorite things to do when we travel is eat. (Actually, I don’t need to be traveling to love eating, but that’s another story.) The Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide is a listing of over 5000 restaurants in all 50 states. As of this writing, the guide is in its fourth edition and it shows. It’s exactly 500 pages long.

Basic information about each restaurant is given:

  • What kind of restaurant (American, Seafood, Thai, etc.)
  • Pricing ($, $$, $$$)
  • What meals they are open for
  • Web address, if available
  • Address and phone number
  • Notes (call ahead, dedicated or not, alert your server, gluten-free pizza crusts, etc.)
  • GF menu or no GF menu

Restaurants are split into four groups depending on whether or not they have a gluten-free menu and whether or not they are a chain. The listings also have icons to designate the following:

  • Gluten-free menu available
  • Gluten-free specialty items available (beer, pasta, etc)
  • Dedicated gluten-free establishment
  • Chain Restaurant with a gluten-free menu

One thing that I’ve seen in other guides like this and that is missing here is driving directions from local highways. This makes it really easy to find your way to the establishment if you’re driving through a town or city.

At the end of the gluten-free guide is a section of lists and menus of 80 national and regional chains. Almost all of these have notes as well. Some of the notes are quite extensive and informative on their own. The real jewel in the crown of this book, however, is the first few chapters. These contain very helpful information about how to best deal with restaurants and waiters. Besides giving tips on how to convey information in a way that people will understand, the authors also talk about building short and long term relationships with restaurants.

The Gluten-Free Grocery Guide

This aims to be a guide that you can carry along with you to the grocery store so that you can look things up to see if they’re gluten-free or not. It is in its second edition and covers over 1,000 brands and 30,000 products.

The front section begins with an index, and continues with an introduction, a section of tips for grocery shopping, an overview of food labeling laws, and information on how best to use the guide. The guide itself is broken up into sections like most grocery stores are. So there’s a produce section, a baking supply section, a soup section, etc. At first I didn’t understand this way of organizing the book. I thought that there should be a master index at the end of the book where you could look something up. I still kind of think that there should be something like that.

However, I decided to test the book and thought of a couple of different things I might want to look up as if I were in a grocery store with the book in hand. I was able to find tamales very quickly (Prepared Meals, Trader Joe’s, Tamales, Chicken Tamales). And likewise, canned pears were easy (Canned Goods, Fruit). Bacon was just as easy (Meat, Bacon). Though I’m sure that sooner or later I would be able to stump the book, it does seem to be organized well.

The book ends with a list of common ingredients so you can see what is safe and what isn’t. The list looked pretty complete to me.

Although it’s an impressive book, I feel a lot more excited about the restaurant guide. Once you get used to reading ingredient lists and looking for all the different indicators for wheat, I think you get pretty good at it. A book like this would end up being a great supplement for people who, after reading a label, still find themselves unsure, or people who would rather consult a book than a list of ingredients.

Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Rescue Cards

The Gluten-Free Dining Cards

These cards are in English on one side and in other languages on the back. There are ten cards and the languages covered are: English, Chinese, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese. As I mentioned earlier, the cards lay everything out very clearly. They are broken out into three topics: I Cannot Eat, Please Check, and I Can Eat. I think the I Can Eat section is an especially great idea because often times at restaurants, when a waiter or chef is presented with a food allergy limitation, it’s like they suddenly get amnesia and can’t think of anything they could ever feed you. Most people really want to be helpful and are happy when given some advice about what would work along with being told what won’t. At the end of each card there’s a nice “Thank You” and a box with instructions about cross-contamination. The cards are awesome. I definitely plan to have one on hand when we go to Italy in September.

Wrap Up

We are simply stunned at the amount of information and level of organization of these guides. They are very high quality and provide a lot of helpful insight and advice on how to be gluten-free. The information is organized in a thoughtful manner and helpful icons are sprinkled throughout each book. Although we’re kind of on the fence about the Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide, we’re unabashedly excited about the Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide and the Gluten-Free Restaurant Rescue Card Pack. (Later Note: We are giving away these Gluten-Free Guides here. Enter to win!)

We want to know: Have you used either of these guides? Can you think of any uses for them that I missed? Let us know in the comments!

Times we have visited: n/a
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: n/a

Final note: We find it a little uncomfortable to be advertising a product that we’ve reviewed, but we really think we gave Triumph Dining a fair review.

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 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!



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.



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.



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

New Seasons Gluten-Free Store Tour Info

Scheduled Gluten-Free Store Tours

New Seasons Markets have scheduled gluten-free tours of their stores to introduce people to what products they have available. Here are times and dates at local stores:

Wed, March 4 – 7:00-8:30
5320 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, Oregon 97211

Sat, March 7 – 10:00-11:30
Orenco Station
1453 NE 61st Ave, Hillsboro, Oregon 97124

Thurs, March 19 – 10:00-11:30
Happy Valley
15861 SE Happy Valley Town Cntr. Dr, Happy Valley, Oregon 97086

If you are not able to make one of their scheduled tours, we’ve been told that you can assemble a group of not more than 8 people and schedule a private tour. Just call the nutritionist at a store near you to arrange.

The upcoming calendar for Apr-June will be available and on their website approximately mid-March.

From their website:

Gluten-Free Store Tour

Recently discover that gluten does not agree with you? Join us for a tour of the gluten-free products in the store, and we’ll help you find some new treats to go with your old favorites. We will provide information on gluten-free diets and our gluten-free shopping list.

Gluten Sensitivity – Signs & Symptoms

It seems everywhere you look these day, people are talking about gluten sensitivity, gluten allergy, Celiac disease, and wheat allergy. What does it all mean? What’s the difference between them all? And why is it showing up so much now? You may have considered gluten sensitivity if you have digestive problems, but did you know that it could also cause chronic pain, insomnia, fatigue and depression? Come find out what signs and symptoms might point to gluten sensitivity and what you can do about it.