Café Lotus in Fairfax has done it; They’ve come up with a perfect recipe for gluten free naan. This unassuming little Indian restaurant serves organic, gluten free, and vegan friendly food that’ll leave you wanting to drive up to the quaint town on a regular basis. Naturally, the most exciting part of their menu is the naan: an oven baked flatbread that is usually off limits for celiacs. I opted for the garlic version and was not only delighted by the flavor and texture, but also the pure novelty of being served a basket of bread. The rest of the menu is covered with the label “Gluten Free”, leaving only a few dishes unmarked. Highlights were a potato chickpea dish served with yogurt mint sauce (aloo tiki chat) and the organic chicken tikka masala.

1912 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard
Fairfax, CA 94930
(415) 457-7836

 

I was delighted to spot gluten free tea cakes and cookies at Progressive Grounds Coffee House in Bernal Heights amidst their selection of regular pastries. It turns out, Sweet Mill Food Company is a wholesale distributor of local gourmet baked goods and stocks dozens of bay area stores (see below list) with fresh gluten free baked items. Based in San Rafael, Sweet Mill Food Company’s gluten free distribution consists of their own Sweet Millie’s almond tea cakes, Barry’s Theater Cookies of Arcata, CA, and Sweet Things bakery from Tiburon.

Pictured above are Barry’s Theatre Cookies and Billowy Mellows, a Wonka-esque treat consisting of homemade marshmallows flavored with raspberry, mocha, peppermint, or orange and then covered in chocolate. Digging into the delicious messy amalgam will leave you feeling like a sticky-fingered child.

“Sweetmillie” Gluten-Free Tea Cakes:
Aqus Café, Petaluma
Book Passage, Corte Madera
Double Rainbow, San Rafael
My Friend Joe, Santa Rosa & Sebastopol
Progressive Grounds,SF
Roasters Espresso Bar, Santa Rosa
San Anselmo Coffee Roasters
Santa Rosa Community Market

Barry’s Theatre Cookies
Mollie Stones, (all stores as of April 26th)
Roberts Markets, Woodside & Portolla Valley
Mill Valley Market
United Market, San Rafael
La Coppa Coffee, Mill Valley & Ignacio
Petaluma Coffee & Tea
Ted’s, SF
Book Passage, Corte Madera
Café Abir, SF
Haight Ashbury Market, SF
Lagunitas Deli, Lagunitas
Nordstrom Espresso Bars
Great Bear Coffee, Los Gatos
Woodlands Market, Kentfield

 

I thought my phone malfunctioned when a gluten free grocery store popped up on the map after searching “gluten free” while driving through Marin. With further research, I came to find that a pair of gluten intolerant siblings had recently opened an exclusively gluten free grocery (I’d rather call it a sanctuary) that houses hundreds of gluten free specialty items. Highlights include excellent fresh baked breads, pies, cookies and granola from local bakeries that really know what they’re doing.

Upon entering Sans Gluten Free Grocery in downtown San Rafael, you will feel right at home with other customers who are quietly oogling over all of the goodies and exchanging knowing glances with strangers around the store. The space itself is filled with natural light and has a commercial kitchen in the back which will serve gluten free sandwiches, pizza and other items in the near future. Be sure to visit the store on Fresh Friday to take home the best baked goods of the week and have first pick at their popular locally baked items.

While perusing the store, I picked up a box of graham cracker pie crust mix, specialty italian breadcrumbs, to-go packets of gluten free tamari, fresh baked chewy dinner rolls, cinnamon raisin bread, and a delicious loaf of multi-seed bread (all bread was local).  Its hard to avoid a gluten free shopping spree at this store, but I’ll be back soon to re-stock my pantry.

 

821 B Street, San Rafael, CA (415) 454-8888

 

With an exclusively gluten free and vegan menu, Lydia’s Organic Kitchen has to be the healthiest spot in downtown Petaluma. On the menu are lunch items like buckwheat crepes filled with Mediterranean vegetables, veggie burgers served on a buckwheat “blini” (flat bun), Indian curries and Nori rolls. For dessert: a variety of delightful gf/vegan pies and chocolate bonbons may tempt you, but I opted for the apple cinnamon crepe which unsurprisingly brought tears of joy to my eyes. Lydia’s also sells a number of gluten free packaged products like organic crackers, kale crunchies, dips and bulk items that can also be found at specialty grocery stores nationwide.

1435 N. McDowell Blvd.
Petaluma
 

FlourChylde bakery is a hidden gem nestled in the hills of Novato. Making weekly appearances at San Francisco farmers’ markets, flourChylde serves a variety of flawless GF baked goods. After offering wheat free items during Passover several years ago, their customers insisted that their gluten free treats be baked year-round. Since then, flourChylde’s Novato café and bakery has offered a large selection of specialty GF cakes, pies, and lunch options. The flourChylde farmers’ market stands are packed with a variety of their most popular gluten free treats. The owner is happy to pass out samples and provide you with mouthwatering descriptions of every delicious item. Find them on Sundays at the Ft. Mason farmers’ market.

Above, is a selection of GF baked goods from the Ft. Mason farmers’ market stand.

Please note: FlourChylde Bakery serves non gluten free items in addition to their array of GF options- they do separate their baking surfaces, but are not a certified gluten/wheat free bakery.

Check out their website www.flourchyld.com for farmers market locations and updates.