Restaurant Review: Cafe Rio

Cafe Rio from outside

Editor’s note: We all went to Cafe Rio together, and our friend Lorna Nakell spontaneously wrote this review about our experience. (P.S. We try to mark when restaurants are vegan/vegetarian friendly, and this one very clearly is. Also, the espresso drinks that we had were awesome!) Thanks Lorna!

Café Rio is a hip enough sounding name for a Portland eatery—but don’t be deceived. Immediately upon entering this small establishment, friends and I were disappointed. It seemed that the owner couldn’t decide between having a sit-down or take-out restaurant, so they went for something in-between—not a cart, but also not a full dining establishment either—a “cartaurant.” Although there were five in our party, there was only one table—in the whole place (okay, it was actually two smaller tables that we had to fit together), and that table would only accommodate four of us. My son was left to make himself comfortable in an upholstered chair (complete with attached swivel table) that looked like it was teleported in from an 80’s style hotel lobby.

The menu appeared simple enough for their small kitchen set-up and featured many variations of their specialty dish, GF waffles. In addition, they offered scrambled eggs with your choice of toppings. At first we were afraid that they would be microwaving the eggs, but were pleased to find out that they actually had two small sauté pans at the ready.

Dishes we ordered included two different egg scrambles, three different kinds of waffles, a scone (brought in from an outside baking co.), coffees and a fresh squeezed orange juice. This is what happened: Orders for our table came a little too staggered. We were surprised and saddened when our food was served on paper plates looking like it was prepared by my seven-year-old son (no offense, Calder).

Scrambled Eggs

Sorry for the image quality - but...

The egg dishes came without sides of toast or garnishes of any kind. Although the sausage in mine was tasty, the eggs were crumbly and they skimped on the spinach leaves. The waffles, on their own, ended up being pretty tasty and a good consistency. But, initially, we had a rough go at it because in addition to having to navigate waffle cutting with plastic utensils, we were informed that they didn’t have any butter or jam, but would we like some coconut oil instead (Ummm, why would I want that? Do YOU use that?).

Waffles with Banana and Nuts

Bottom line: Friendly and accommodating service, airport style presentation and atmosphere. Although I want to be encouraging to any dining establishment that is trying to incorporate GF food into their menu, sometimes all the pieces of a restaurant just don’t fit together the way they should. So, in regards to Café Rio, I have to say that unless you live in their hood and are too tired from partying the night before to drag out ye ol’ waffle iron and whip up some Bob’s Redmill pancake mix (which, by the way, is what they use), by all means give them a try. If not, there are so many other great restaurants that serve GF goods these days, you shouldn’t go out of your way to visit Café Rio.

Gluten Free Sandwiches at Seven Virtues on NE Glisan

Gina, who writes the Portland gluten-free blog Gluten-Free Gourmand, posted a review of the gluten-free sandwiches at Seven Virtues on NE Glisan at 60th. We visited and have to agree that their sandwiches are awesome! We didn’t want to steal Gina’s thunder, so that’s it for our review. You should check out her review, here: Seven Virtues Serves GF Sandwiches

Oh! And they have really good coffee and espresso drinks. And gluten-free goodies from Petunia’s.

Seven Virtues
5936 Northeast Glisan Street Portland, OR 97213 503.236.7763

New Cascadia Bakery Hosting Lectures for Celiac Awareness Month

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery is hosting three gluten-free lectures in the Month of May. New Cascadia asks those interested in attending to call to reserve a seat. 503.546.4901. These events are FREE and there will be samples and door prizes. New Cascadia Traditional is located at 1700 SE 6th Avenue at SE Market in Portland.

Thursday, May 12th 6:30-7:30
Lisa Shaver, ND, MSOM, LAc,
will give a lecture on “Navigating the Gluten-Free Lifestyle: Tips, Tricks, How and When to Speak Up” (It bears mentioning that Lisa Shaver is the Branch Manager of the Portland Metro Gluten Intolerance Group – GIG.)

Thursday, May 19th 6:30-8:00
Christi Reed, BS, NTP,
Nutritionist at New Seasons Market, will give a lecture titled “Healthful Gluten-Free”, followed by a lively Q&A session.

Tuesday, May 31st 6:30-7:30
Krista Anderson Ross, ND,
will speak about “What is the Link Between Gluten Intolerance, Stress and Women’s Hormonal Health?”

News Bites: Gluten Free Ales and Thanksgiving

Gluten Free Brewing

First up, we were invited to a tasting hosted by Harvester Brewing. Harvester is a start-up in the process of creating Portland’s first dedicated gluten-free brewery. They served a couple of their new ales along with gluten-free food pairings created by local chef Ralph Capolupo. We attended the event and had a great time.

We got to meet Lisa Shaver, who is one of the branch managers of the Portland Oregon Metro GIG. Also at the event were some folks from, a local blog that covers beer in the great NW. You can check out their coverage of the event and a review of the brews here. The food was amazing. Especially a delicious polenta cake they served that was sweet and dusted with fennel pollen. Wow.

Harvester Brewing is in the process of developing recipes. We tasted an American Brown, an Amber, a Pale Ale, a Scottish Ale, and a Pumpkin beer. The American Brown was a little strange, but I can’t really say why. I liked the Pumpkin best, followed closely by their Pale Ale. The Pale Ale had a wonderful home brew kind of thing going on. We’re looking forward to more from them.

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Announcement One

Speaking of the Portland GIG, to celebrate Thanksgiving in a gluten-free way, on Saturday November 21, there will be a Thanksgiving GF Potluck in McMinnville. Here are the details:

Saturday, November 21st, noon-2pm
at First Baptist Church, McMinnville
125 SE Cowls Street, McMinnville

Sponsored by Gluten Free Friends (McMinnville GIG) and Portland Metro GIG

WE PROVIDE: Turkey, ham, bread, beverages, plates, cups, utensils, etc.
Rolls donated this year by Cascadia Traditional Bakery!
YOU BRING: A Gluten Free side (stuffing, potatoes, veggies), Salad, or a Dessert
ALSO BRING 40 copies of your recipe with ingredients and directions!

We would appreciate an RSVP so we can plan, but everyone including families are welcome. It’s a potluck where you don’t have to ask which dishes are gluten free because they ALL are!

To RSVP or for more information: email or call 503-435-9952

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Announcement Two

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery is taking orders for gluten-free pumpkin and apple pies, mini tarts, and soft rolls. The apple pies are double-crust. Orders must be placed by Friday, November 20th. We’ve had a lot of comments from readers that the service is slow at New Cascadia, but they have a dedicated gluten-free facility, and seem to know their desserts (especially when it comes to cakes). I have high hopes for their pies. They are also offering soft rolls and french rolls.

Kind of unrelated to Thanksgiving, but also about New Cascadia, they are having a pizza night on Saturday, November 28, from 5:00 to 9:00 PM. More details are coming, but they plan to serve gluten-free beer, wine, and pizza.

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.


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:

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.

News Bites: New Cascadia Traditional Bakery is Moving

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery is Moving

Last week New Cascadia Traditional Bakery hinted around that they would have a special announcement and it came today. They’re moving to a new location in June. In addition, it looks like they’ll be serving Stumptown coffee and a selection of teas. That’s awesome! I’m all ready to sit down on an easy Portland afternoon with a cup of coffee and eat a delicious gluten-free treat. We are big fans of New Cascadia Traditional Bakery.

Their new location will be 1700 SE 6th Ave at SE Market (two blocks south of Hawthorne.) They will be at their current address on NW Glisan up next to Trader Joe’s until June 15.

Hipcooks Survey Reminder

We’ve teamed up with Monika at Hipcooks to bring you a full-blown survey! Take a minute or two to fill out this survey (survey has ended). Monika is hoping to use the information to plan more gluten-free classes at Hipcooks.

Mariposa Bakery Announces New Breads

This isn’t exactly Portland, but while we’re talking about our favorite bakeries, Mariposa Gluten Free Bakery in Oakland California has announced that they have revamped their sandwich bread, baguette, and challah to make them even tastier.

News Bites: New Survey, Book Reading, New Cascadia

New Survey!
You may have noticed that we took the poll down from its usual place on the top righthand corner. This is because we’ve teamed up with Monika at Hipcooks to bring you a full-blown survey! Take a minute or two to fill out this survey (survey has ended). Monika is hoping to use the information to plan more gluten-free classes at Hipcooks.

Book Reading Coming to Powell’s Books: Ani’s Raw Food Desserts: 85 Easy, Delectable Sweets and Treats by Ani Phyo
On Sunday, May 31 at Powell’s Books, Ani Phyo will be visiting to discuss her new book. Her desserts are raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free, and cruelty-free. She even makes muffins. I’m trying to imagine how you make raw muffins!

The Event
When: Sunday, May 31, 2009 07:30 PM
Where: Powell’s City of Books in the Pearl on Burnside, Portland, OR

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery at the Eastbank Farmer Market
Our favorite bakery, the New Cascadia Traditional Bakery will be at the Eastbank Farmers Market from 3:30 – 7:30 PM starting yesterday and continuing every Thursday until September 24th. The market is located in Southeast Portland on SE 20th at SE Salmon between SE Belmont & SE Hawthorne — in the parking lot of Hinson Baptist Church. We’ve reviewed New Cascadia Traditional Bakery a few times. They are also hinting around that they have a big surprise announcement to make next week. We can’t wait!

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!