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?”

Gluten Free Pizza – Garlic Jims and Eat Pizza

I almost called this post “The Gluten-Free Pizza Smack-Down!” Maybe I should have. We have two separate pizza places in Portland that offer gluten-free pizza. Garlic Jim’s has had it for quite a while. Eat Pizza! has just joined the pack. Did I mention that we have a list of places in town that serve gluten-free pizza?

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: When you walk in to most pizza places, you will see that everybody who works there is covered with flour. It’s usually pretty safe to assume that the work surfaces and ovens are also covered with flour (although Garlic Jim’s is accredited gluten-free and so it should be OK – see more on that below). While I didn’t have any problems with the Garlic Jim’s pizza, I did end up having a little trouble after the eating the Eat Pizza.

Garlic Jim’s

Garlic Jim’s is a chain with locations in Oregon, California, Washington, Idaho, and Colorado. Strangely enough, their website doesn’t list all the locations in the Portland area, so you’ll get more accurate results with Google Maps. There are two in Vancouver WA, one in Clackamas, and two in Beaverton. We went to the Clackamas Garlic Jim’s, which is located in a strip mall on SE Sunnyside, across the street from the Sunnyside Kaiser Permanente hospital.

Garlic Jim’s is definitely a carry-out or delivery pizza place. There is some seating, but the ambiance is strictly strip mall. If you’re looking for a cozy neighborhood pizza joint with a pinball machine and booths, this is not it. The staff there was friendly and helpful when we went. The people who work there all looked like clean cut college kids. The transaction was smooth. The pizza was boxed and ready to go when we arrived.

Garlic Jim's Gluten Free Pizza

We got a pepperoni with half mushrooms and half olives. We really liked the pizza. In fact, this is now Sienna’s favorite gluten-free pizza in Portland (I still like Sellwood Pizza Kitchen best, but think this is a close second). They have a thin crust going on. Unlike most of the rest of the gluten-free pizza in Portland, the crust here is thin and crunchy, so if that’s the way you like your pizza, you should probably try Garlic Jim’s. True to their name, the pizza is garlicky. Since the crust is thin, you don’t get the phenomena with some other pizzas where they end up being like chewing on a flavorless sponge. We’ve had it twice now and the second time wasn’t as good as the first, so there may be some problems with consistency, but we still liked it.

Garlic Jim’s also has an impressive gluten-free FAQ page, where they talk about how they prevent cross-contamination and how they have a Gluten Free Food Service Accreditation from the Gluten Intolerance Group. That’s pretty awesome! Also, the gluten-free crust happens to be vegan.

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”: Add $3 for the large size.

Garlic Jim’s
www.garlicjims.com
Multiple Locations

Eat Pizza

Like Garlic Jim’s, Eat Pizza isn’t exactly a cozy restaurant, but there is seating. If we had to choose a place to sit down between the two, based only on ambiance and people-watching, we would definitely pick Eat Pizza. It’s a small place with character on Burnside at 21st that does mostly delivery and carry-out. The staff was very friendly and resemble the Garlic Jim’s staff except with tattoos and piercings. The pizza was hot and ready to go when we arrived. We did this with a Groupon, so we also ordered a Mediterranean salad.

Eat Pizza! is unique in the gluten-free pizza market for having three sizes of pizza available: Mini, In-Between, and Giant. They are also vegan-friendly and have vegan cheese available.

Eat Pizza! Gluten Free Pizza

We got a pepperoni pizza with half mushrooms and half olives. Despite the rave reviews we were hearing from our readers, we weren’t as enamored with the pizza at Eat Pizza. The pizza wasn’t as flavorful. There wasn’t enough sauce (or maybe the sauce wasn’t flavorful enough). We thought that the crust was kind of spongy and too dense. I see pizza as being one of those really subjective things. Some people really like thick crust pizza, and if that’s your thing, then maybe you would like them better than we did. I probably would have liked the pizza better if we had ordered it with extra garlic. We’re also scratching our heads a little, because we’ve always thought that New York Style pizza is thin. Maybe their regular pizza is thin?

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Avoid if you’re really sensitive.
Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: 1 to 3 dollars more, depending on the size.

Eat Pizza!
www.eatpizzaportland.com
2037 SW Morrison St. Portland, OR / 503.243.FOOD

Summary

When it comes to pizza, being gluten-free is especially painful. It’s this thing we all love to eat. Part of me feels ungrateful for writing a lukewarm review for a pizza joint that has gone out of its way to offer something I can eat. At the same, there are places in town to get excellent gluten-free pizza. Our favorites are Sellwood Pizza Kitchen (our review here), the Oasis Cafe on Hawthorne (see our review), and now we can add Garlic Jim’s to the list. We have another winner!

We want to know: What kind of pizza do you like best? Got a favorite pizza place in Portland that I didn’t mention in the review? Let us know in the comments!

Restaurant Review: Dick’s Kitchen

When we heard about Dick’s Kitchen we knew that we would need to check it out. They’re another place in town using the excellent Jensen’s Better Buns to serve gluten-free burgers. The Dick in Dick’s Kitchen is the owner of Laughing Planet. Dick’s Kitchen is something of a diner-style burger joint with a twist, the twist being that they serve “paleo” food.

The idea behind paleo food is that you shouldn’t eat food that our ancestors didn’t. So there is an emphasis on avoiding processed foods, dairy, cereal grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, salty foods, soft drinks, and refined sugars. During a conversation we had with him, the owner mentioned that this diet also aligns pretty well with the kind of anti-inflammatory diet that a person with rheumatoid arthritis might want to be on. The restaurant doesn’t completely cut out all the items in the above list, but it does make it easy to avoid them.

The place itself is half New York subway (although it reminds me more of the San Francisco Muni subway) and half diner. It has a kind of stark black and white aesthetic going on. Both times we went, the place was packed. The first time we visited, we were able to sit down immediately. The second time we had a considerable wait. The staff is very friendly and were able to answer our questions about what on the menu was gluten free. On the plus side, they do their best to keep everything very clean and do care about cross-contamination. On the minus side, they use the same toaster and cooking surfaces, so like most restaurants, the very sensitive should probably steer clear of Dick’s Kitchen. As for the fries though, they’re not actually fried, so there isn’t any cross-contamination from the deep fryer.

Dick’s Kitchen has a relationship with a cattle rancher in Eastern Oregon where they get grass-fed, grass-finished beef for their burgers. They also don’t salt things. Instead of serving fries, they serve “not fries.” These are fingerling potatoes that have been air baked instead of having been fried in oil. Besides burgers, they serve various kinds of sausage and hot dogs, a few different salads, some burgers made with other kinds of meat and fish, some alternate sandwiches, some extremely expensive shakes, and some vegetarian and vegan options. All of their sides are vegan. There are two flavors of vegan sausage, and also vegan buns. And vegan milkshakes!

Dick’s Kitchen also makes their own condiments. They have: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, tomato chutney special sauce, horseradish sauce, Cambodian garlic sauce BBQ, wasabi aioli, and chipotle aioli persillade. Along with not adding salt to their food, they don’t automatically add any of the condiments, so you have to ask for them. They are all pretty good. A friend of ours (hi Dr. B!) told us that she opts to bring her own ketchup because they just don’t give you enough.

Vegan Chocolate Shake

Did we mention that they have vegan milkshakes? We tried the vegan chocolate shake. It’s made with Coconut Bliss ice cream and oat milk and is awesome. Obviously, people who should stay away from oats should probably get the regular shake. I always just risk oats because they don’t seem to ever make me sick. We also tried the papaya drink, which is advertised as a “healthful aid to digestion.” I wasn’t particularly hot about it, but Sienna liked it.

gluten-free dinner at Dick's Kitchen

We both got the burgers. This is a burger, coleslaw, gluten-free bun, the trimmings, and a side of yam “not-fries.” The burgers are great. The coleslaw is good. The gluten-free buns are, as mentioned, made by Jensen’s and so they are awesome. We also really liked the “not-fries.” I got a chance to sample the regular “not-fries” and definitely enjoyed the yam variety better. Sienna preferred the regular ones, which I have to admit are a little bit more crispy.

Vegan Gluten-Free Dessert

The second time we visited, the owner stopped by, and after talking to us about food and gluten, encouraged us to try one of the desserts. He called it a cobbler, but I seem to recall that it was called something else on the dessert menu. It’s basically nuts over cooked fruit, and it’s really delicious.

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-free Friendly but Ask Questions!
Times we have visited: 3 (So we feel pretty good about this rating.)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same.

Dick’s Kitchen
www.dkportland.com
3312 SE Belmont St / 503.235.0146

We want to know: Do you have an opinion about Paleo food? Have you been to Dick’s Kitchen? Let us know in the comments!

50 Plates, Gluten Free Classes, and Halloween

50 Plates Reader Review

Jenn from Grain Damaged sent us this great email about a place in town called 50 Plates:

Just thought I’d direct your attention to 50 Plates. I had a great dining experience there last night. While their GF menu is a regular menu with handmade notations on it (as to what’s safe), they were most accommodating.  I was very nervous eating out somewhere new.  I’m both very sensitive to gluten as well as having a list of other food allergies including dairy and eggs, I don’t think I’m very easy to cook for. We got there early in the evening and the chef came out to take the time to talk to me about what I might have off their menu.  He was even willing to “frankenstein” something together for me if I didn’t see any one menu item I could have.  He was knowledgeable and could recommend a few things that I could safely eat.  I went for the “fish and chips” which had to be the most sophisticated version of this meal I’ve ever had.  The light white fish was wrapped in a single strand of never ending potato “shoelace” and browned to perfection, it was laid over a bed of bok choy and accompanied by steamed asparagus.  The whole delightful meal was drizzled with an amazing sauce that he’d come up with just for me.  (Normally this dish is served with a sauce that uses malt vinegar as the base), instead he replaced it with a sauce of lemon, sweet wine and magic. It was delicious and above all I felt full and happy and quite gluten free when I left the table.

Wow! Doesn’t that sound awesome??? Speaking of Grain Damaged, they are a really great Portland-based gluten-free information site, so you should check them out.

50 Plates is located at 333 NW 13th Ave. in Portland. Phone: 503-228-5050

Gluten Free Classes at Sprout Health

Next Up, this is late and I’m sorry about that, but there are still dates available. Here is the email from Skylor at Sprout Health.

Sprout Health has just opened on 44th and Hawthorne. We are a health coaching and donation based yoga studio. We guide people through cleanses and have cooking classes. We have a gluten free, dairy free cooking class series starting on October 3rd–4 classes, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Here is our site.

Gluten-free Candy List

Thanks to Heather for sending us this list of gluten-free Halloween candies.

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
www.meatcheesebread.com
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!

Restaurant Review: Thai Fresh

We got an email from reader Montserrat about a Thai place at Division and 84th named Thai Fresh. Here’s what they had to say about the restaurant:

hey, just wanted to give you a heads up on a Thai restaurant called Thai fresh. it is located on 84th and division on the north side of the street. i had dinner there last night and the food was great. the best part is that if you tell them you can’t have gluten they will modify the use of their spices (including using wheat free soy sauce) and if you are eating family style they will also leave gluten out of the rest of the dishes! they are super nice, very accommodating and the food was delicious.

We love it when people email us about restaurants and, coincidentally, we love Thai food! Portland has great Thai food in general, and it’s good to hear about new places. So it was natural that we would have to give it a try. We’ve been there twice now and think it’s pretty good.

Both times we’ve gone, the restaurant has been pretty full, but both times we were able to sit down immediately. Both times the wait staff were extremely helpful and discussed food allergies and gluten very thoroughly. You can order almost the entire menu gluten-free. That’s really awesome. The friendly wait staff also made me relax almost instantly. Sometimes I go to restaurants and I feel like I’m taking a risk trusting the staff, but not here.

Here’s a rundown of the dishes we sampled: Spring Rolls, Pad Thai, Tom Kha (Coconut Soup), Yellow Curry, and Lemongrass Chicken.

The Spring Rolls are the deep fried kind with ground pork (or vegetarian), carrots, onions, mushrooms, and clear noodles. They are served with the standard Thai sweet & sour sauce. These are really amazing.

Gluten Free Pad Thai at Thai Fress

The Pad Thai is good. It’s a little different from some of the Pad Thai around town in that it doesn’t seem quite as sweet and maybe has tomato sauce in it? The flavor is good, the noodles were done perfectly, and the sauce has a little bit of an afterburn, which makes it interesting.

Tom Kha is one of our favorite dishes. There’s nothing quite like coconut soup. We felt like theirs was certainly acceptable, but thought it was missing something. Like maybe some hot pepper oil.

Gluten-Free Yellow Curry at Thai Fresh

We also had some Yellow Curry. This is the standard dish that comes with potatoes, carrots, onions, and your meat of choice. We had it with chicken. To us, the curry seemed a little watery. Also, there was a little bit of an anise taste to it that Sienna wasn’t really into. When we asked the waitress about how it tasted a bit like anise, she figured that it was the basil we were tasting. Some people like anise, and others don’t. I wasn’t bothered by the anise flavor, but I kept wishing that the sauce was a little thicker. Maybe they don’t use a thickener with the gluten-free version?

We both really loved the Lemongrass Chicken. This is chicken breast, marinated with lemongrass, with vegetables over rice. It comes with peanut sauce. We’re both real suckers for peanut sauce. The chicken and vegetables were perfectly prepared, and everything was really amazing.

Both our visits left us with a positive impression of the restaurant. It’s small, clean, and has a nice energy. Our food came out in a reasonable amount of time, and the staff was friendly and attentive. We didn’t feel like it’s the best Thai food in town, but then there’s a lot of rather stiff competition in Portland, and we were generally pleased with our selections. If you’re gluten-free, it’s great to go somewhere that you don’t have to feel like you’re taking a huge risk. Did I mention that you can substitute brown rice for $2? That’s really cool too.

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-free Friendly but Ask Questions!
Times we have visited: 2 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same.

Thai Fresh
www.thaifreshpdx.com
8409 SE Division St. / 503.774.2186

We want to know: Do you have a favorite gluten-free friendly Thai restaurant in town? Do you have a great gluten-free Yellow Curry recipe? Let us know in the comments!

Event – Gluten Free Treats at Ninth Row Block Party

This is kind of late notice, but we got this email from the interestingly-named Dessert Labs, who will be selling gluten-free items at the event:

Dessert Labs is a new gluten free baking company in Portland, with a dedicated gluten free kitchen. We’re going to be at the Block Party on Ninth Row this Saturday with our delicious treats.

The details are:

  • Saturday 18th
  • 11 am – Dark
  • Block Party put on by the Art Department
  • SE 9th Ave between Madison and Taylor

There will be art, performances, music, and food (including Dessert Labs).

Website for the event: http://www.artdeptpdx.com/?p=140

Still more coverage of the event at the Oregon Live website.

Restaurant Review: Chez Machin

We discovered Chez Machine Creperie thanks to a great Groupon discount (you could get a $25 coupon for $11). Sienna checked out the restaurant online and found that they offer gluten-free crepes, so it was a done deal. The restaurant is a tiny place a couple of blocks from Powell’s on Hawthorne. It’s really so small that a person could drive right past it. I have to report up front that they cook the gluten-free crepes on the same surface as the normal ones, so if you’re extremely sensitive you should definitely pass on the crepes. On the plus side, our waitress was very friendly and was happy to discuss what was gluten-free and what was not.

Inside, Chez Machin is made up like a cross between a cafe and an Italian restaurant. I think that they were going for French, but the place felt more Italian to me. Maybe it was the checked table cloths. When we went, the place was packed full of happy people and had something of a laid back cafe atmosphere. The crepes here are the more thick kind, rather than the more thin kind that some will be used to. The last time I talked about crepes on this blog, I mentioned that I’m not really a crepe-loving kind of person. To me, especially when they are thick, crepes end up seeming a lot like a “wrap.” Sometimes you might want something like flat bread around your food, and sometimes it’s just a distraction.

Chez Machin Gluten Free French Onion Soup

For an appetizer, at the recommendation of our waitress, we opted to have the French Onion Soup, which can be made gluten-free. We both thought it was very good. Make sure you order it gluten-free, because otherwise it comes with croutons in the soup.

Gluten Free Crepe at Chez Machin

Like most crepe places, Chez Machin has sweet crepes and savory crepes. On the savory side, they have vegetable crepes, meat crepes, and seafood crepes. I got La Percheronne, which is Black Forest ham, brie, avocado, mushrooms, and crème fraîche. Sienna got L’Allemande, which is bacon, pan sauteed potatoes, caramelized onions, scallions, Ementaller Swiss cheese and crème fraîche. (On a side note, their béchamel sauce is not gluten-free. They start it with a rue.) All the ingredients were fresh and the crepes were hot when they came to the table, but neither of us was blown away by our dishes. Once again, that might be in part because we’re just not that into savory crepes. I think the next time we go there, I might try one of their entrees instead of a savory crepe.

Gluten Free Sweet Crepe - Chez Machin Portland Oregon

On to the sweet crepes. I got La Mont Blanc, which has local berries, chocolate, and whipped cream. Sienna tried La Compote, which is made with cooked apples and cinnamon with caramel sauce. As with the savory crepes, all the ingredients were good. They got my order a little wrong, but fixed it very promptly. We both really enjoyed our dessert crepes. I really think that crepes are more suited for desserts. Sienna and I had a short conversation about the nature of crepes and why it would be that they seem to work better with sweets. Sienna’s theory is that sweets are more flavorful and so they don’t get as dulled by the crepe. With savory crepes it does seem that the flavors can get lost.

Gluten Free Leftover Box - Chez Machine Portland OR

Our newest adventure with crepes ended well, and we both agreed that our experience at Chez Machin was favorable enough that we would be interested in going back sometime soon. Some notes:

  • Go to Chez Machin on a night where you want to slow down and relax. We thought that the service was a little slow. But if you’re not in a rush, you can just sit back and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and do some people watching.
  • Plan to split your crepes. We ended up with leftovers, and could very easily have split one savory and one sweet crepe between the two of us.
  • The coffee and tea that we had were both very good.

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”: $1 more for gluten-free crepe.

Chez Machin Creperie
www.chezmachincreperie.com
3553 SE Hawthorne Blvd / 503-736-9381

We want to know: Do you know of any other crepe places in town that do gluten-free crepes? What is up with the person who writes the descriptions for everything on Groupon? Are they crazy or what? Do you have any opinion about sweet -vs- savory crepes? Let us know!

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
http://www.berlininn.com
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
http://www.grilledcheesegrill.com/
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!