Mariposa’s brand new bakery in the Ferry Building opened just over a month ago. The 100% gluten free cafe expanded from a small kiosk offering a limited selection of their Oakland bakery’s treats into a full fledged gourmet gluten free bakery. With a wide variety of baked goods ranging from bagels and baguettes to apple tarts and donuts, Mariposa has every single craving covered. After oogling at their gorgeous spread and then selecting some fresh treats, pick up one of their classic frozen pizza crusts, ravioli, or gnocchi from the freezer.

Mariposa’s Ferry Building Cafe serves both breakfast and lunch items like fresh sandwiches (egg salad, tuna, or veggie) and personal sized quiches. It’s rare to be able to grab a gluten free sandwich on the go, much less eat it looking over the beautiful bay and then finish it off with a fresh baked cookie. Mariposa’s new cafe is a real asset to the gluten free community of San Francisco.

 

An endless search for gluten free friendly restaurants often results in dining at some pretty eclectic eateries. Places like Lydia’s Kitchen, for example, might make you feel like part of a modern hippie movement. Her food is organic, amazingly healthy, and 100% gluten free. The quirky atmosphere in her restaurant is just part of the experience.

Last weekend, I sat down for lunch at a cafe inside of a buddhist bookstore in San Rafael. The room was adorned with ornate sculptures, a small stage for enlightened guests, and ceiling high bookshelves. Patrons spoke in hushed tones, and the cafe’s speakers streamed the notes of traditional Indian instruments playing assorted Christmas tunes. At Radiance Cafe, customers order their organic gluten free vegetarian lunch at the counter. A small but well rounded menu features items like warm lentil soup, brown rice with a homemade cashew and vegetable curry, and a spring salad covered in delicious raw dressing. This seemingly sacred yet slightly kitschy space might just serve up the tastiest and healthiest meal you’ve had all week.
 

I’ve had this recurring dream lately. I’m standing inside a fragrant donut shop marveling at my purchase, and then right before I take a big bite into my jelly donut covered in powdered sugar, I awake to my reality. Gluten free diet, no donuts.

I’ve yearned for plenty of wheaty things that seem virtually impossible to recreate with gluten free flours. Feta and spinach stuffed croissants, tortellini, flaky biscuits, thick crusty bread. With some foods, I know I’ll just have to wait a couple years for gluten free technology to get there. Donuts on the other hand, seemed more feasible. Knowing I couldn’t score a good gluten free donut right here in San Francisco, I began searching for recipes. Ultimately, I decided that going through the process of dropping sugary dough into a big vat of hot oil in my own kitchen just killed the buzz, so I kept to my regular baking routine.

Then I heard about Fōnuts, a trendy little Los Angeles bakeshop doing gluten free donuts amongst their regular line-up. On the days I stopped in, Fōnuts had six or seven flavors of gluten free donuts (many of them were vegan too) all arranged neatly on their own trays. Their claim to fame is that the donuts are baked, but don’t be discouraged, this isn’t some overly healthy donut. They’re sugary, decadent, and have a wonderfully moist, cakey texture. My favorite flavors were lemon and coconut passion fruit, though every other one I tried was also fantastic. If you’re in Los Angeles, stopping here is a must.

8104 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 592-3075
May 192011
 

Celiacs and vegans are lining up for Homeroom, a grade school themed restaurant in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland that serves both gf and vegan mac n’ cheese. Using their special rice or quinoa pasta, Homeroom will boil up your gluten free noodles with their cheesy menu options such as aged Vermont cheddar, parmesan with cracked peppercorns, local chevre, or the classic all American (not all mac n’ cheese options are gf, so be sure to double check with your server). For vegans, a creamy roux topped with chopped walnuts is suitable to only wheat eaters as it contains a bit of soy sauce (there’s talk of switching to GF tamari). My vegan friends were pretty thrilled with their lunch. As for the gluten free version with real cheese, let’s just say I’ll definitely be back to Homeroom, a lot.

Homeroom is doing an awesome job catering to the gluten free and vegan community. I can definitely see this place expanding upon their gf and veg options, offering gluten free beer parings, gf bread crumbs, vegan chorizo, and of course, the gluten free/ vegan cheese option would be great.

400 40th Street
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 597-0400

 

Downtown San Francisco’s Millennium Restaurant has a flawless vegan menu centered around local, seasonal ingredients. With entrees that could satisfy any carnivore’s appetite, each dish incorporates rich sauces and dynamic flavors made solely from whole foods. Last month Millennium hosted a five course winemaker dinner featuring an entirely gluten free menu paired with locally made wines from Urban Legend Cellars of Oakland. Executive chef Eric Tucker skillfully designed each course to compliment the accompanying wine, wowing diners with his aptitude for exquisite pairing.  Highlights of the evening included a crisp polenta cake served with toasted cashew cheese, black chanterelle mushrooms, and smoked tempeh sausage. Another dish was a teff crepe with black lentils, caramelized onions, grilled Enoki mushrooms and braised collards. An incredible vanilla meyer lemon torte made with  almond crust wrapped up the evening, leaving guests marveling at Millennium Restaurant’s ability create spectacular food without harming a fly.  Several gluten free options are available nightly.

580 Geary Street
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 345-3900

 

If you are tired of eye-ing that basket of naan when you’re out eating indian food with your gluten-friendly friends, look no further then Udupi Palace. At this South Indian vegetarian/vegan restaurant on Valencia Street, you will enjoy a variety of lentil based bread-y items that are naturally gluten free. Although the menu does not include gluten free naan bread or any actual (gf) notations, the manager has assured me on several occasions that their dosa and papadams are gluten free. These two items are made with lentil and/or chickpea flour. Many, if not all of the curries are also gluten free, and can be served with a dosa shell upon request. A dosa is a crispy crepe made of lentil flour and stuffed with spiced potatoes and vegetables, served with several dipping sauces. Oftentimes there is a line out the door for this restaurant. If you don’t feel like waiting, try Dosa, a restaurant half a block up Valencia St. with a swankier atmosphere, slightly higher prices, and a little (gf) note on the menu. (Future post to come.)

Featured Dishes: Masala Dosa and Papadum

1007 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 970-8000

1901 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 843-6600
 

One of the few gluten free bakeries in the bay area that has mastered the art of gluten free baking while operating in a 100% dedicated gluten free kitchen is Miglet’s Cupcake Shop in Danville, Ca. Miglet’s offers at least a dozen exciting cupcake options and is also a full service bakery featuring a wide variety gluten free baked goods.

Owner Katie Taylor has a lifelong passion for baking. After gaining professional experience in the bakery at Whole Foods Market, Katie decided to start her own gluten free bake shop to fill a gap in the growing market for gluten free treats in the bay area. Katie’s biggest inspiration has been her mother, Elaine Taylor of the Taylor Family Foundation who has celiac disease and works to better the lives of children with chronic illnesses and developmental disabilities in Northern California. In a short time, Miglet’s has become an indispensable resource for celiacs and those with other food allergies living in the bay area.

Miglet’s also offers gluten free/vegan cookies and cupcakes.

When I bit into a Miglet’s chocolate chip cookie, I realized I hadn’t eaten a real cookie in 5 years. There are too many goodies on the Miglet’s menu to list them all, and Katie also accommodates just about every special diet (ask about items free of dairy, casein, eggs, soy, nuts, or corn). After all, how many places can a celiac find fresh rolls, donuts, quiches, bread sticks, cakes, and ice cream cookie sandwiches? The best part is, Miglet’s baked goods don’t taste gluten free. Chocolate cupcake with peanut butter filling and a rich mousse frosting on top? I’ll take five. Thousand.

*Find Miglet’s products at the bakery location below or at specialty food stores listed on their website.

480 San Ramon Valley Boulevard, Danville, CA (925) 831-9016