Miscellanous News: Subway and Burgerville Go Gluten Free Friendly

SUBWAY Gluten Free

We heard about it first on our Facebook group page. SUBWAY has been in the gluten-free news for a couple of months by starting to provide gluten free bread (and brownies?) at their restaurants. We have yet to try the sandwiches, but have heard good things about them. They are also going to great lengths to educate their employees about gluten free issues and to prevent cross-contamination. For these things, I can only be grateful. Here’s a press release they sent us recently:

Gluten-Free goes mainstream: Oregon Subway Restaurants are first casual sandwich shop to offer gluten-free menu items

For the estimated 16 million Americans with gluten sensitivity, eating out can pose a real challenge. Now Oregonians can kick off the New Year with new choices, when SUBWAY restaurants across the state begin offering gluten-free sandwich options and gluten-free brownies as regular menu items after a successful test in Portland and Bend this summer.

Oregon is one of a handful of states to offer these alternatives, based on its reputation for mainstreaming food trends that might be niche alternatives elsewhere. When Subway’s Oregon stores had the highest average number of gluten free rolls sold during the test, it was clear that gluten-free foods are popular locally.

Gluten’s ubiquity can present a challenge for many families and work groups as they try to coalesce around a restaurant choice.

SUBWAY’s wheat-free sandwich rolls and brownies are produced in a gluten-free facility and are individually packaged. SUBWAY sandwich artists are trained to prevent cross-contamination during the sandwich-making process. For example, one employee will prepare a gluten-free sandwich order from start to finish. Other techniques include single-use knives and eliminating contact between traditional sandwich rolls and other ingredients including meat, cheese and vegetables.

Burgerville gluten free bun


Speaking of fast food, Burgerville, Portland’s much-loved burger chain, has come out with gluten-free buns that they are testing at two restaurants locally (25th & SE Powell in Portland and Fisher’s Landing in Vancouver). We went to one of the restaurants to check it out ourselves. As you can see from the photo above, the bun is delivered in a wrapper to help prevent cross-contamination. We were also handed a questionnaire to fill out.

After having heard so much about Burgerville from people we know, we were unprepared for how unappetizing their burgers were. The patties were overcooked. We both felt like the bun, which is produced by Udi’s in Colorado, did not compare well to the buns you can get from Jensen’s. The buns were dry, crumbly, and generally unappetizing. Of course, since the buns were being served in a package, there was no way to toast them, so I guess that would be expected.

On the plus side, the staff was extremely friendly, and the food came out fast. On the minus side, the restaurant was freezing cold. Did we mention that the burger patties weren’t very good? If you want to try them out yourself, Burgerville will be testing these buns until January 12, so you still have a few days left to try them.

Gluten Free Friendly Bakery: White Rabbit in Aurora

We’ve been trading emails with a couple of bakeries around the Portland Metro area, and recently we were headed through Aurora, so we stopped by for some sandwiches and picked up some baked goods. Since we usually show up at places incognito, it needs to be mentioned here that White Rabbit knew we were coming. I like having this kind of experience, because we get to hear the person’s story. We took the goodies over to my friend Noah’s house and had a taste testing with Noah, his wife Lorna, his son Calder, Sienna, and me. So this time we were able to get a kid’s perspective on the goodies.

White Rabbit Bakery Owner, Emily Arreola

Owner Emily Arreola had originally intended to open a bakery in Portland, but when the roof of the kitchen they were renting literally fell in, they decided that maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to open the bakery in Aurora. For those of you who are scratching your heads over where Aurora is, its South of Wilsonville, and it’s pretty tiny.

White Rabbit does bake wheat products, but they take precautions to prevent cross-contamination. They try to isolate the areas where they use different products when possible, and thoroughly clean equipment and surfaces when they can’t. On their display case, they have a disclaimer that they do cook with wheat, nuts, eggs, dairy, and soy, and that they don’t recommend their products for the severely allergic. None of the gluten free folks who did taste testing with their baked goods experienced any problems.

gluten free tuna salad sandwich

During our visit, Sienna and I sat down for sandwiches, and had some lattes. The lattes were good, and the sandwiches were stellar. We both had tuna salad sandwiches. Sorry about the bad photo. I wanted to show what the bread on these sandwiches looked like. That’s right – it’s like Focaccia bread! Fluffy, kind of olive-oil flavored, delicious bread that made me worry that I was eating wheat bread. Wow!

gluten free bread

Besides the bread for our sandwiches, White Rabbit gave us some other bread to sample. The texture and flavor of this bread is exactly like most of the gluten-free breads we make with our bread machine. Like basically all gluten-free breads, it really needs to be toasted before you eat it. The bread has good flavor and a great crunch when toasted. I ended up wishing that it was a little less dense, but Sienna really loved this bread. We tried it toasted with butter, and also used it as a base for open faced hamburgers. It easily beats any of the store-bought breads I’ve purchased recently (Whole Foods brand and Rudi’s).

Gluten free baked goods

On to the baked goods. As you can see, we got quite a range of items. Here are notes for them:

Lavender Shortbread Cookies – Obviously for those who like lavender. Best gluten free cookies ever. EVER. They are crisp, and have the perfect amount of lavender, so that it doesn’t overpower the taste of the cookie.

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts – While we were eating our sandwiches, a man and his little daughter came in looking for some of their chocolate glazed gluten-free donuts. Apparently, they’re awesome. We all liked the cinnamon doughnut. It was donutty, and close to the real thing.

Chocolate Chip Oat Scone – The adults were luke-warm on the chocolate chip scone, but Calder thought it was great. We thought that the scone part was good, but not so much the chocolate chip part of it.

Brownie – Everybody loved the brownie. It is nearly the perfect consistency and is deliciously chocolaty. We enthusiastically gave this item an eight out of ten, and then promptly forgot to rate anything else.

Chocolate Cookie – We all liked it. It was properly gooey inside, crunchy outside, and had good flavor. We all felt like it needed something. Maybe some powdered sugar on top? Maybe baked thinner?

Fruit Bar in the Front left there – We thought that although the flavor was good, but it seemed undercooked.

Raspberry Orange Sour Cream Muffin – Another universally liked item. The muffin is light and fluffy, the texture is perfect, the flavors intriguing, and the lemony frosting is perfect on it.

Lemon Bars (with raspberries and plain) – The lemon bars are properly tart, which we loved. We all wished that the crust was a little more crisp, but these were also a winner, especially the bar with raspberries.

Gluten Free Banana Cream Pie

Banana Cream Pie – This was Noah’s favorite. All the adults were trying to figure out what the crust is made of. It’s really quite remarkable. Banana cream pies are usually more custard-like, but this pie is more on the whipped cream end of the spectrum, and is almost insubstantial.

gluten-free quiche

We ended up being really impressed with White Rabbit’s baked goods. Check out this page for a more comprehensive list of their products. The clear winners were the banana cream pie, the Raspberry Orange Sour Cream Muffin, the lemon bars, and the lavender cookies. Sienna’s favorite was the gluten-free doughnut. She also had a slice of their quiche, and she found it necessary to drop an f-bomb when describing how much she liked it. Did we mention that they make gluten-free granola? White Rabbit does and it’s good. I’d say that the worst thing about the White Rabbit Bakery is that it’s a little bit out of the way, down south of Wilsonville. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, though, we recommend that you stop by for a delicious sandwich and a treat.

We want to know: Anywhere else to get gluten-free donuts? Have you eaten at the White Rabbit Bakery? What did you think? Let us know!

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-Free Friendly But Ask Questions
Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same

White Rabbit Bakery
21368 Hwy 99e, Aurora OR, 97002/ 503.267.9044

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

Product Review and Press Release: Rudi’s Bread

We got a press kit from Rudi’s Bread last month. They are announcing a partnership with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), the details of which can be found in the press release included below. Along with the press release was a little sandwich box, some promotional material, and a loaf of Rudi’s Multigrain sandwich bread.

Rudi's Gluten-Free Multigrain Bread

Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery was launched by Boulder, Colorado, based Rudi’s Organic Bakery. They worked with the Gluten-Free Certification Organization to make sure that their products are safe and gluten-free, and also strive to use only organic ingredients. Here are the ingredients in their multigrain bread: Water, potato extract, rice starch, rice flour, sorghum flour, organic high oleic sunflower/safflower oil, organic evaporated cane juice, organic honey, egg whites, organic inulin, yeast, sea salt, xanthan gum, organic cornmeal, organic sunflower seeds, organic millet, organic flaxseed, organic molasses.

We’re diligent ingredient readers, so we both found it disheartening to see that the first three ingredients besides water were rice or potato products. We also noticed that the bread contains inulin, which regular readers will remember is a strange sweet-tasting indigestible fiber, most likely derived from chicory root and which basically amounts to a “natural” artificial sweetener. We also noticed that the only items that have flavor, the millet and molasses, are in the last three ingredients. So yes, what we have here is American white bread with a slight millet flavor to it.

Slice of Rudi's Gluten-Free wholegrain bread

We just happened to have some Udi’s bread around to give it a head-to-head taste test with, and found that they tasted about the same. Upon tasting it, Sienna immediately pronounced the Rudi’s to be “typical awful gluten-free bread.” I have to agree. It has to be toasted to become palatable. The texture is grainy. Besides the millet, there isn’t really much flavor to speak of. We do have to include the disclaimer that if you’re into tasteless white bread, then this might be something you would like. It certainly isn’t what we look for when shopping for something called “multigrain” bread, that’s for sure.

This is where we mention that locally-made Jensen’s bread really beats the heck out of Rudi’s (and Udi’s). Their bread is so amazing that I’m going to include a link to their list of where you can buy it, here. Also, we have to reassert our position that people who are serious about their bread should probably get a book on making their own and invest in a bread machine.

Unfortunately, we still can’t get Jensen’s at Whole Foods or New Seasons. So who do we like between Udi’s and Rudi’s? If you’re at Whole Foods, get their own gluten-free bread. It’s got a weird crunch to the texture, but the flavor is way better. Between Udi’s and Rudi’s, I would have to say it’s a toss-up. I liked the slight millet flavor of the Rudi’s, but the Udi’s had a better texture. Udi’s ingredients are less healthy, though, being mostly tapioca starch, brown rice flour, and modified potato starch.

Sorry Rudi’s. We do appreciate that you’re supporting the gluten-free community and also we did enjoy the package. We wish we had better things to say. Here is Rudi’s press release:

As you may know, there are an estimated 3 million people in the U.S. suffering from celiac disease, yet only 160,000 are diagnosed. We’re pleased to announce that Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery is working with NFCA to support education for the diagnosis of celiac disease, with our new Spread the Bread charitable program, which launched in late December.

For every dollar coupon downloaded, Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery will give a dollar to the NFCA, up to $20,000, to help in its efforts to better educate physicians in the diagnosis of celiac disease. Coupons are available on the Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery website and Facebook page.

We are also proud to announce the launch of our new Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery website. We hope this new website will provide all the detail you could need about our new gluten-free breads – from product ingredients and nutrition facts to local availability – as well as helpful information about local gluten-free events, a variety of gluten-free recipes, links to our partners and educational resources, including NFCA, the Gluten Intolerance Group, Celiac Sprue Association and Celiac Disease Foundation.

In addition to the website, we’ve also launched a new blog, Baked on the Bright Side, where we’ll be providing all of the latest news on Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery and the gluten-free community. We’re eager to hear what you think of the blog and website!

Restaurant Review: Meat Cheese Bread

We love the block where Meat Cheese Bread is located. It’s a tiny island of hip art, fun buildings, a Thai restaurant that lights up a night, and now it has gluten-free bread. We heard that they had gluten-free bread at Meat Cheese Bread, and of course we had to go check it out. It turns out that they are making their own bread using the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Whole Grain Bread Mix and adding honey.

Meat Cheese Bread Menu

Here was the sandwich menu when we went. It bears noting that they: A) Have a plentiful salad menu in addition to the sandwich menu, and B) Will make any sandwich into a salad for a little extra cash. So, it’s not like we couldn’t enjoy a meal there before (and we had). At the same time, it’s a sandwich! Who doesn’t love sandwiches? I love sandwiches, and I especially love steak sandwiches. So I was happy when we were quizzing the guy behind the counter about which sandwiches are best with the gluten-free bread, and he said that the Park Kitchen is really good on it.

Gluten-free steak sandwich

The Park Kitchen is a cold sandwich with flank steak, pickled onions, blue cheese aoili, lettuce, and vinaigrette. My sandwich was really amazing. Good steak. Good cheese. Perfect amount of dressing. Fresh greens. The bread is tasty, although it doesn’t hold together as well as wheat bread probably would, that was OK with me.

The not-so-good news is that they don’t have a dedicated toaster. When grilled further about their cross-contamination policies, they said that while they keep things as clean as possible, they do have wheat around and so people who are terribly sensitive may want to steer clear.

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-free Friendly but Ask Questions!
Times we have visited: 2 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same.

Meat Cheese Bread
1406 SE Stark St. / 503.234.1700

We want to know: Do you have a favorite gluten-free friendly sandwich in town? Had any experience with the Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Bread Mix? Let us know in the comments!

Jensen’s Multi-Grain Gluten-Free Bread

We’ve been following Jensen’s since January of this year when they gave us some samples of their gluten-free buns. For an intro to their company, you should check out our initial post about them, but the basics are that Dave Jensen and his wife Debbie have come up with some really great gluten free buns and, now, an amazing multi-grain and seed bread. You can check out their website, here.

Their multi-grain bread looks, tastes, and feels like a real whole wheat seeded bread. When you hold a slice of the bread in your hand, it bends like real bread. Unlike basically every other gluten free bread we’ve ever had, you can eat this bread without toasting it first. Also a bonus, it isn’t entirely made from rice flour and potato starch. Here’s a list of ingredients: Eggs, Buckwheat Flour, Molasses, Honey, White Rice Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Sweet Dairy Whey, Canola Oil, Teff Flour, Cornstarch, Dry Milk Powder, Tapioca Flour, Sorghum Flour, Montina flour (Indian Rice Grass), Garfava Flour, Xantham Gum, Expandex (Modified Tapocia Starch), Flax Seed, Water, Baking Powder, Yeast, Salt, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Potato Flour, Dough Enhancer (Whey, Soy, Lecithin, Soy Tofu Powder, Citric Acid, Sea Salt, Spice Blend, Ascorbic Acid, Natural Flavor), Dry Egg Whites, Pectin, Guar Gum,Sorbic Acid, Cocoa, Coffee.

I’m trying, but I can’t really express how great this bread is. If it’s possible for sliced bread to be revolutionary, then this bread is revolutionary. I’ve tried it as toast, for sandwiches, and for hamburgers. It’s great for all these purposes. As with the Pao Bread, which we reviewed yesterday, the bread is made in Portland in a dedicated gluten-free facility. So you get to support a local small business and also have peace of mind that you’re not going to “get glutened.”

Jensen’s is available at local Lamb’s Markets, Lingonberries Market, and supplies the buns for the Corbett and Hawthorne Fish Houses. They are also supplying PGE Park with gluten-free buns. See their site for up-to-date info on where you can get it.

Bread Recipe: Gluten Free Cooking School Sandwich Bread

Here’s our next candidate in the series of gluten-free bread recipes we’re reviewing here. We’re looking for the best gluten-free bread recipe that the Internet has to offer. This next one comes to us via Gluten Free Cooking School dot Com and is their “Really Good Sandwich Bread.” I picked this one simply because it came up as number one in a Google search and looked like a basic gluten-free white bread. As we’ll be doing with all the recipes in this series, we used our bread machine to bake it. (Shameless plug: don’t miss our guide to gluten-free bread machines.)

I’m not going to include the recipe here. I followed this one to the letter. To make the bread, you need to make up a batch of their all-purpose gluten-free flour mix, here, and then add basic bread ingredients that go in most breads. The one item that’s a little troublesome is that the flour mix calls for masa harina. This is a special kind of corn meal that you can usually find in the Mexican food area of your local supermarket. Masa is corn (usually hominy) that has been boiled with lime and water and then dried. In Mexican cooking, this is what corn tortillas, tamale shells, and other corn items are made from. Strangely, our local Whole Foods didn’t carry it. Fred Meyer transferred me all over the store looking for it, and finally told me that they didn’t have it. I ended up going there for something else later that day, and it turned out that they did have it on the shelf. The proportion of masa harina in the mix is pretty low, and I think that a person could probably just substitute a fine corn meal. Later note: we heard from the author that a better substitute is almond flour.

In the recipe, they tell you to throw the mixed ingredients into your bread machine and set it to the “80 minute setting.” This ends up being infuriatingly general. I would have liked to have known what that meant. For example, does that mean 20 minutes of rising and 60 minutes of baking? Or 20 minutes of kneading, 20 minutes of rising, and 40 minutes of baking? Who knows? Many times with recipes on the Internet, a person can check the comments section for more information or better ways of doing a recipe. Unfortunately, this recipe has almost 300 comments, half of which seem to be people discussing baking the bread without a machine. The more I read, the more confused I got. Later note: The author has updated the cooking time information so that it is very clear.

I would tell you what we did, except that it didn’t really work. We ended up having some bread machine problems, too. When we tried to program 20 minutes of rising and 60 minutes of baking, our machine turned itself off after the rising. It was another 20 minutes before we discovered that the bread was cooling instead of baking. Here’s what we ended up with (another short loaf).

White Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread

Definitely take my review with a grain of salt, because the bread didn’t come out the way it probably should have. That said, if you’re looking for a relatively flavorless, inoffensive, white bread then you’ve come to the right recipe. The bread by itself tastes a tad strange, but when paired up with other things the flavor fades into the background. The flour mix is basically corn, brown rice, and soy flour, which is probably more nutritious than some of the breads that are simply rice four and starch. So that’s a good thing.

On the down side, the bread doesn’t really brown in a toaster, and I wasn’t really impressed with it as toast. As a sandwich bread, we tried it with hamburgers, BLTs, and grilled cheese sandwiches with our Panini press. (After a month-long Panini grill search, we got a Cuisinart Griddler, which we’ve been very happy with.)

Gluten-Free Panini Sandwich

I’m kind of surprised at how popular this bread seems to be. Neither of us was very impressed by it. The bread is better than the Trader Joe’s gluten-free rice bread, but that’s not saying much. I personally preferred the Bob’s Red Mill Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix, which we reviewed here. A person would be much better served by the Teff Bread that we reviewed last time, our favorite gluten-free millet oatmeal bread, or any of the breads we’ve tried from Gluten Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine by Annalise G. Roberts, which we reviewed here.

This is just a very long-winded way of saying that neither of us liked this bread, and I’m scratching my head over why it’s so popular. At the same time, it didn’t really turn out right, so maybe more testing is called for.

Easy to Make: 2 out of 5
Sandwich Bread: 2 out of 5
Toast Bread: 1 out of 5
Overall Score: 1 out of 5

We are always looking for another bread recipe to make. Do you have a favorite gluten-free bread recipe? Send us an email or leave a comment here!

Restaurant Review: The Berlin Inn

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

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

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

Best of the Wurst and Schnitzel

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

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

Cashew Cream Torte

Chocolate Lava Cake

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

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

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

The Berlin Inn
3131 SE 12th at Powell / 503.236.6761

Food Carts: Grilled Cheese Grill and Perierra Creperie

Before I get too far into either of these reviews, it must be said that although both offer “gluten-free” items, neither dedicates a grill to them. So beware if you are celiac or really seriously gluten sensitive. You’d best steer clear. I debated whether or not to review either of them due to this fact, but I do know that there are people who follow our blog who don’t have to be quite so careful. Also, it’s good to know either way. So there you go.

The Grilled Cheese Grill on NE Alberta

You know how sometimes you won’t really have an appetite for something until a series of events makes you think about them? For instance, one day your significant other might make him or herself a grilled cheese sandwich and then the next, one of your co-workers will eat one and talk about how wonderful it is. That happened to Sienna recently so we visited the Grilled Cheese Grill on NE Alberta so that she could have a grilled cheese sandwich.

The Grilled Cheese Grill offers gluten-free bread. They use the rice bread that you can get at Trader Joe’s. The menu is interesting. They serve everything from a super-simple grilled cheese sandwich, to a four-cheese sandwich, to something resembling a meatball sandwich, to the “Cheesus Burger.” The Cheesus is a hamburger made of two grilled cheese sandwiches with a meat patty in between. If it isn’t already, this sandwich should be on the This is Why You’re Fat website. Besides the standard sandwiches on the menu, a person can also choose to build their own from of a list of ingredients. Their Creamy Tomato soup is not gluten-free, which sucks.

Sienna got the straight-up normal grilled cheese sandwich and I got the Moondog. This is Provolone, Hard Salami, Pepperoni, and Chopped Olive & Pepper Tapenade on bread. In my case it was on the Trader Joe’s rice bread, of course.

We both enjoyed our sandwiches. The problem I have with the Grilled Cheese Grill is that it is so easy to make a grilled cheese sandwich yourself. I could see going to this place if you’re wandering around on Alberta with some friends and you decide that it would be fun to get some grilled cheese sandwiches together. They do have some adventurous grilled cheese sandwiches which might make it worth a trip, but otherwise you might as well grab some cheese out of the fridge, grab some of your gluten-free bread, and make your own. You’ll get the added bonus of being able to have some gluten-free tomato soup with your sandwich.

Final verdict: We thought that they were good, and would be curious to try some other sandwiches. We would like them better if they had a dedicated gluten-free grill.

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: No Dedicated Grill – Unsafe Depending on Your Level of Sensitivity.
Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Add $0.75 for GF bread.

The Grilled Cheese Grill
1027 NE Alberta Ave / 503.206.8959

Perierra Creperie on SE Hawthorne

Next up is Perierra Creperie. Crepes are one of those things where it seems like there’s a small population of people who love them, and then the rest of the world doesn’t really care much. I belong in the former group, although I do love dessert crepes, I don’t really love them enough to go out of my way to get one. Perierra is on SE Hawthorne next to a couple of other food carts.

I think it’s pretty standard to sort crepes into two groups: the sweet and the savory. Here are some examples of their crepes. On the sweet side, Perierra has lemon & sugar; strawberry, cream cheese and honey; walnut, honey, cardamom, and coriander; and a S’More Crepe. On the savoy side, they have Gorgonzola, pear, walnut, and honey; ham and Gruyere; fig, prosciutto, Chevre, and honey; and a crepe with smoked salmon, cream cheese, arugula and lemon. They also have some very adventurous shakes. For example, they have a avocado and sea salt shake and the very interesting sounding basil and coconut milk shake.

Despite anything they may say about keeping their gluten-free crepes separate, I watched as our crepe chef poured the gluten-free batter onto a grill she had just used to make a standard crepe, so beware.

We thought the crepes were good, but both of ours were crunchy and thick, so it was almost like eating something in an ice cream cone. This may be the style of the place, but both of us were used to crepes being thin and soft. I checked out what other people were saying about them on the Internet, and it seems like a lot of people have the same experience. I should mention that it happens that the gluten-free crepes are vegan and so it’s possible to get vegan crepes here.

As with the Grilled Cheese Grill, we both felt that their offerings were good, but not amazing. Maybe another go with some different choices would change our minds. If you love crepes and don’t mind the shared equipment, then I don’t think you can go wrong with the Perierra.

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Unsafe Depending on Your Level of Sensitivity.
Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same

Perierra Creperie
Perierra Creperie Facebook Page
SE 12th & Hawthorne

We want to know: Should we continue to include restaurants that aren’t exactly gluten-free safe? Have you eaten at either one? What did you think? Let us know!

Coming Product: Jensen’s Better Buns

We were contacted last month by Jensen’s Bread and Bakeries, who are working on bringing a brand new gluten free product to market in Portland, Oregon. Both David Jensen and his daughter, Brenna, were diagnosed with Celiac disease a few years ago, and like most people quickly learned that they weren’t going to have anything resembling real bread without some action on their part. Most of our readers can certainly relate, I’m sure. After suffering through months of awful imitations, they started making their own bread.

David’s wife, Debbie, who has been a recreational baker for over 40 years, started working on recipes to make better gluten free bread and buns. She and David spent two and a half years coming up with a product that they think is good enough to sell. Then they took a course at the Portland Small Business Development Center to figure out the next steps. They are almost ready to start selling them, and we got a sneak peek.

Jensen's Better Buns Packaging

The good news is that we have tried the buns and agree that they are awesome. The bad news is that you can’t buy them – yet. I met David last week and we talked about gluten-free bread, buns, and what the next step is for their company. David is very clearly serious about bread. They are in the process of getting a commercial kitchen set up and hope to get their products on shelves near you in the first quarter of this year.

Gluten-Free bun

Take a look at this. I brought one of these to work last week and a fellow co-worker who is also gluten-free saw it and couldn’t believe that it was a gluten-free bun. The buns are flexible and soft. They toast excellently and aren’t crumbly. They don’t need to be toasted and freeze well. The flavor is as close to a hamburger bun as I’ve had since I stopped eating the real thing. Sometimes buns and breads will end up having a beany flavor, or a corn aftertaste. These buns don’t suffer from that problem.

Gluten-free burger

Given buns like these, we had to make some hamburgers immediately! These make awesome hamburgers. They are the best gluten-free buns we have tasted and are head and shoulders above the competition. The Jensens have other gluten-free products in the pipeline, including sesame seed buns, multi-grain buns, and bread. You can check in on their progress on their website, Gluten-Free Concepts. They can be found on Twitter, here and on also Facebook, here. We’re looking forward to hearing more from them!