Out The Door is the popular offshoot of San Francisco’s renown restaurant, Slanted Door. With a gorgeous new location in the heart of the Fillmore neighborhood, Out The Door is upping the ante. Their original to-go style cafés located in the ferry building and Westfield shopping plaza offer excellent gluten free friendly Vietnamese noodle dishes, spring rolls, and rice bowls that boast organic, local ingredients. With Out The Door’s newly opened restaurant location, you can find inspired variations on those tasty takeout dishes in a more elegant setting. For the gluten free crowd, their wait staff is knowledgeable about which dishes are safe (at the ferry building location they have a list of menu items that contain common allergens). Our waiter directed us to the beef pho and five spice chicken dish, served with thin rice noodles (had to be modified to be gf by omitting a soy sauce marinade). Both meals were exceptionally flavorful, in part because of their seasonal, fresh ingredients. For any trained gluten intolerant eater, you know that finding great Vietnamese food can sometimes be a challenge due to the common use of commercial soy sauce and hoisin sauce (both contain wheat). With restaurants like Out The Door, gluten free folk  aren’t left with a plate of plain rice and steamed vegetables. Instead, we can share in the fun of slurping down a bowl of spicy noodles with all of the traditional flavors intact.

 

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

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

 

Simone Powers of Hot Spud has a great concept. Take a 12 oz. perfectly baked potato, offer a number of irresistible gluten free toppings, add some vegan choices and you’ve got a fast, healthy meal. Using organic produce when available, Hot Spud prides themselves on having a 90% gluten free menu, a rare find in the most touristy neighborhood in the city. But for anyone that finds Fisherman’s Wharf intolerable, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that Hot Spud is not on the main drag sandwiched between Alcatraz paraphernalia and stinky crab shacks. Instead, the potato joint sits quietly off of the beaten path appearing more like a sleek internet cafe then a place to buy a loaded baked potato.

At Hot Spud, gluten free options abound, leaving just two lowly items containing wheat: croutons and wonton strips (both salad toppings). Choose from a menu of unique baked potato fillers like the “shrimp spud” with chipotle tartar sauce, or “chicken spud” with hotwing sauce, green onions, corn, and sour cream. For vegans, build your own baked potato with their selection of veggie toppings, or try their “veggie spud” with sauteed mushrooms, onions, peas and broccoli- just be sure to specify to leave off the butter if you’re vegan. Don’t miss their housemade gluten free brownies baked with sweet potatoes.

2640 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 399-1065

 

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

 

At Bar Bambino in the mission, notable sous chef Ben Robert has perfected several varieties of handmade gluten free pasta made from a combination of potato, brown rice, tapioca, quinoa and corn flour. Gluten free menu choices are not simply an addendum to their fantastic Italian menu, instead they are integrated with forethought. Entrees like gluten free pappardelle with foraged mushrooms and crispy prosciutto or tagliatelle with braised guinea fowl are dishes that make eating gluten free not feel like a restriction at all. As if fresh homemade pasta isn’t enough of a celebration for the gluten free diner, Bar Bambino also offers a number of other menu items suitable for celiacs; Grilled octopus and radicchio salad, or an entree of farm fresh poached eggs with local spring greens and artichoke hearts are hardly what most would call a compromise. Waiters are knowledgeable about sources of gluten, making your dining experience at Bar Bambino less about the typical gf questions, and more about the outstanding food.

2931 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 701-8466

 

 

I’ve made the 4+ hr drive from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe countless times, yet somehow I always find myself wishing I had brought along more snacks while passing by the slew of unappetizing fast food chains along interstate 80. Even the famed Ikeda’s limits a gluten free customer to the likes of chips and salsa as their burger joint is clearly off limits. After discovering Confluence Kitchen in Auburn just off of exit 121 on 80, I knew I’d never again have face this road trip devoid of good food. Serving fresh gluten free sandwiches, green salads and a variety of frozen meals to go, the Confluence Kitchen is truly an oasis for health conscious diners who favor local and organic produce over the dollar menu at Taco Bell.

On the lunch and dinner menu there are a multitude of vegan and vegetarian choices along with fresh smoothies and pre-made specialty salads like their quinoa with roasted sweet potatoes (look for a little G on the menu to indicate gluten free). The Confluence Kitchen will make every effort to prep sandwiches on a gluten free surface as long as you express the need (the owner assured me that their cooks are trained on how to avoid cross contamination by prepping gluten free orders on a separate surface with fresh utensils and condiments). While you await your order, pick up specialty groceries for the rest of your trip. In the freezer you’ll find their organic frozen meals- some of which are gluten free like their sausage and pepper polenta lasagna, chicken and sausage jambalaya, and black bean enchiladas.

The market also stocks local fresh baked gf breads and baked goods in addition to artisan cheese, gf crackers, Pamela’s baking mixes, cookies, small batch jams, mustards,  gluten free beer and raw food items. The last thing I thought I’d find along I80 was a gourmet grocery crossed with a health conscious deli serving gluten free and vegan sandwiches, it’s great to see gluten free  awareness spreading to smaller towns like Auburn!

Hours:

Weekdays: 7am-7pm, Weekends: 7am-6pm

13471 Bowman Road, Auburn, Ca

(530) 885-3886