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: Chutney’s Indian Cuisine in Vancouver, WA

Thanks to the readers who left comments on Chutney’s comment page linked from our Gluten Free Restaurant List, we’d heard some about their food before we managed to get there. Even without diet restrictions, getting good Indian food has been a real problem for us in Portland, because we’re both used to the really amazing Indian restaurants that were available in Berkeley and San Francisco. We’re both big fans of Vindalho down in SE. Their food is really amazing, but Vindalho is kind of… not the kind of Indian food we’re used to in restaurants. We were excited to try the food at Chutney’s and finally got a chance this weekend. As a bonus, the restaurant is really close to the Regal Cascade 16 Cinema, so we caught the 4 o’clock showing of Inception and then got ourselves some delicious gluten-free Indian food afterward.

The movie Inception was really good by the way. You should check it out! As for the restaurant, we are happy to recommend it. It’s in a quiet little strip mall. The place was about three quarters full of very obviously happy people when we walked in. The decor makes the restaurant look very new, and there is a warm vibe to the place. We had water brought almost instantly, and our waitress was very helpful. She was almost a little too attentive, and made us feel a little rushed. At one point, we got a little worried because she said “gluten-free means no wheat, right?” which is only part right, but otherwise she was able to answer all of our questions. Besides that, were very happy with how attentive and friendly the staff was.

Gluten-free Vegetable Pakoras

We started with the Mixed Vegetable Pakoras, which are described as “Mixed vegetable fritters dipped in mildly seasoned batter and fried.” These tasted a lot like Samosas, so those of you out there who miss Samosas should check this dish out (sadly, their Samosas are not gluten-free). The Pakoras were so delicious that it took an effort for us to not devour them all instantly.

For entrees, we got the South Indian Dal and Chicken Korma. South Indian Dal is described as “Tomato lentil dal in ginger, garlic South Indian spices.” This is a dish made primarily with yellow lentils and chunks of tomatoes. Dal is one of my favorite things to eat, and we were both very happy with this dish. If we had a complaint, it would be that it was a little watery, which is mostly OK, because you’re just going to mix it up with some rice anyway. The Chicken Korma is described simply as “Chicken cooked in coconut sauce.” This dish was also really good. Like the rest of the food we had at Chutney’s the flavors were complex and delicious.

Dal and Chicken Korma - Gluten-free Indian Food

Our only other complaint of the night was that we ordered vegetables with our chicken and they forgot them. On the plus side, when we mentioned this to our server, it was taken care of very promptly. Other than this, our food arrived in a reasonable amount of time, and it was all served warm. Later on in our meal the host stopped by and we had a conversation about rice and food. Her name was Usha (if you’re reading this, we hope we’re spelling this right!!) We asked if they had brown rice available and she mentioned that they can do special things if we were to call ahead. That was nice to know.

Chutney’s was awarded the Best of Citysearch- Portland Metro Area for Indian food in 2009 and it’s plain to see why. Chutney’s is also sitting at number 3 on Urban Spoon’s best 100 list for Portland. Chutney’s is open 7 days a week for dinner, and also does catering. They’re locally owned and operated, and also gluten-free friendly. The food is great, so we say check them out!

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.

Chutney’s Fine Indian Cuisine
chutneysvancouver.com
3000 SE 164th Ave, Vancouver, WA. / 360.254.7254

We want to know: Do you have a favorite gluten-free friendly place in Vancouver WA? Got a favorite dish at Chutney’s? What is a donut shop doing at #1 on the Urban Spoon 100 Best Restaurants in Portland list? Let us know in the comments!

News Bites: GIG Pancake Breakfast this Weekend

Gig Pancake Breakfast at Lingonberries

The Portland Metro Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) is having the first of two pancake breakfasts this Saturday (the 17th) at Lingonberries Market in Vancouver. This weekend they will be using mixes from Bob’s Red Mill, Laurel’s Sweet Treats, and Kinnikinnick. Dairy free options will be available. The cost is $5 per person – $12 max per family. (I can’t say for sure as of this writing, but I can only imagine that the proceeds from this event will go to support the Portland GIG.) I wish that I could attend, but I’m still working on losing weight and can’t do the maple syrup! Here’s the relevant info:

Where: Lingonberries Market – 6300 NE 117th Ave – Vancouver WA 98662
When: Saturday, July 17 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Contact: christina@lingonberriesmarket.com or call (360) 260-4411

The next GIG Pancake Breakfast is scheduled for August 21. We’ll try to remember to give everybody notice the week before.

Restaurant Review: Beaches Restaurant

Beaches Restaurant is in Vancouver WA. We went there after taking a day trip over to Beacon Rock in Washington. Beacon Rock is far enough to make it a “trip” but close enough for people who didn’t manage to get an early start on the day. If you ever find yourself there, be sure to climb to the top. It’s got a great view! On our way back, we debated where to grab some dinner, and decided to consult our own Restaurant List. Because we were going West on the Washington side, we decided to dine in Vancouver. Beaches Restaurant came up.

We used to have Beaches on our gluten-free pizza list but they stopped carrying gluten-free pizza. This ended up being a disappointment because we were in the mood for some. Although they do not have a gluten-free menu, Beaches does make points with us for having a kind of informal printed-out guide to things you can get there. They are a bar and grill, and have a number of dishes that are easy to modify and make gluten-free. I decided to get a grilled chicken sandwich without the bun. Sienna got the Mandarin Chicken Rice Bowl (and I don’t think the sauce for this was gluten-free).

Beaches Mandarin Chicken Rice Bowl

Beaches Restaurant Grilled Chicken and Fries

The staff at Beaches was friendly, and they were happy to answer my questions about how things were prepared. The place was packed and everyone there seemed happy to be there. We got seated pretty quickly. Our food came out in a reasonable amount of time and was a good temperature. It became apparent, though, that I got the safe dish. Grilled chicken at a grill. How can you go wrong? The grilled chicken was indeed rather good. Sadly, Sienna thought that her rice bowl was lackluster. My fries were a little disappointing, being a little soft and less than fresh.

If we had gone to a small grill in town and spent under ten bucks for an entree, we would have felt pretty good about the meal, but entrees at Beaches start at around ten and go higher than that. For that many clams, we tend to look for a little better quality. For the same price, a person would do much better to hit Deschutes Brewery here in town (see our review). Sorry Beaches. They do seem to be rather popular with the locals, so maybe there’s something more to it that we missed, or maybe we went on an off night.

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-free Friendly but Ask Questions!
Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same.

Beaches Restaurant & Bar
beachesrestaurantandbar.com
1919 SE Columbia River Dr., Vancouver, Washington 98661 / 360.699.1592

We want to know: Do you have a favorite gluten-free friendly place in Vancouver WA? Have you eaten at Beaches and disagree with our opinion? Let us know in the comments!