I’ve followed New Cascadia Traditional gluten-free bakery from their humble farmer’s market beginnings to their full-fledged and beautiful cafe space in Southeast Portland. I’ve always been a huge fan of their vegan chocolate cupcake, so much so I don’t allow myself to get it anymore.
Today I tried the margarita pizza for lunch, which was pretty good. It’s a thin crust, which is a nice contrast to the thick crust they serve at Picazzo’s. I got the vegan chocolate chip cookie too, which I think is actually better than the non-vegan variety. I’ll have to go back and verify that several more times, just to be sure (wink).
I also got a sourdough loaf to go. When I got it home, The Man picked it up, chuckled, and said, “Gluten-free, right?” because it weighs a ton. I think there is just no way to make a light and airy gluten-free sourdough loaf. If there is, I have yet to taste it. That being said, their sourdough is pretty darn tasty and makes an incredible grilled cheese when you slice it thin.
I’m super grateful to have such a fantastic gluten-free bakery in my extended neighborhood. I hope someday they decide to add deli sandwich options to their menu because that would be the ultimate for me. In the meantime, I’m happy to make my own grilled cheese at home:
Grilled brie-salami-mustard on New Cascadia's gluten-free sourdough
I thought Katherine Cole did a brilliant job with this piece in last week’s Oregonian. Before I started reviewing restaurants several years ago, one of my favorite reviewers told me she gets food poisoning at least twice a year. Mmmm!
Interesting food weekend! Really, my favorite kind because I ate a lot of different stuff. I ate at Gold Coin (hole-in-the-wall Chinese), Park Kitchen (upscale Pacific Northwest), and Vita Cafe (downhome, heavily vegan). Now there’s variety for you!
I did some of this eating with my food-obsessed spouse, pal DL, and, S, DL’s friend visiting from LA (sorry for the alphabet soup). There’s not much in life I enjoy more than eating and talking about food with other food-crazy people. And, even better, S has a nut allergy! It was so awesome not being the only food freak at the table for once, though I did feel a little sorry for the server at Park Kitchen.
This roundabout relates to a realization I had this weekend that I need to think critically about food, and, well, pretty much everything else, too. It’s just not enough for me to say: “That was a good meal,” and leave it at that. No. I need to engage with my food. I need to converse with it: How did they make you, little cod fritter? Where, exactly, did this patacabra come from? Why are they calling this consomme when it is clearly not consomme? Call me crazy, but this is how I am made. I seriously do not get people who say “That was a good meal” and then go home and sleep.
Yes, this is the person with multiple food allergies. How did this happen to me?! I’m still baffled.
In other news, I’ve been trying to make sense of Twitter and Foodbuzz. Who would want to follow (“twit”) an obscure blogger? And why put ads on your blog for a few extra cents a month? Or maybe it’s more than a few extra cents? If you have the answers to these burning questions, I’d love to hear it. If you want to reply confidentially, e-mail me directly at mjennings26 at yahoo.
In case you missed it, Willamette Week ran a piece on New Cascadia Traditional GF bakery. You can read it here.
A few sweet years ago, yours truly had to quit writing restaurant reviews due to the celiac diagnosis. At that time, I pitched pieces to editors about GF dining around town and the response? Crickets. Now the local media can’t stop writing about it. Go figure.
My apologies for the delay in correspondence. I have been on a much needed vacation in southern (read sunny) Oregon watching birds. I will post about those adventures very soon.
In the meantime, I wanted to let you know about the Gluten-Free Food Fair and Awareness Walk this Saturday, May 17, 2008 in northeast Portland. Details at Grain Damaged.
While you’re at Grain Damaged, check out the links to the four gluten-free pizza places in Portland. Wow! Sadly, I do know they use egg in the GF crust at Picazzo’s in Sellwood. Oh well. But it’s amazing they are even offering it. So I urge you to go get some TODAY.
I also love Grain Damaged’s new interactive map of GF restaurants in Portland and the article about how gluten-free menu items help boost restaurant revenues. I knew this would finally be proven to be true. It’s all about customer loyalty, people! I have spent lots of money at my favorite places that have no problem dealing with food allergies.
Thanks again so much for reading this blog and all your fab comments and suggestions. You’re the best!
The whole day through.
Just an old sweet song,
Keeps chocolate on my mind.
Oh! Am I on? Is this microphone on?! I hate when I lapse into my Ray Charles impersonation accidentally.
I have had chocolate on my mind lately, mostly because I’ve been eating a fair amount, okay a lot, of it. I had the serious pleasure of feeling Food Normal in a downtown setting over the weekend for ten delicious minutes. It went like this:
- Go to the crazy chocolate store with The Man.
- Chat up the lady behind the counter about how I can’t have gluten, dairy, almonds, or eggs with my chocolate because, you know, everyone is as fascinated as I am by my new food allergies.
- Look utterly stunned as this lady says: “You know, we’ve been experimenting lately with hemp milk and we may still have some in the back. Would you like a hot chocolate made with hemp milk?”
- Barely manage something like: Is the Pope Catholic?
Let me see if I can describe the sensation of sitting in the shoppe (it’s that kind of place) window with The Man, watching the rain (the only weather we have here), and sipping the most amazing cup of hot chocolate ever: well, I can’t. The closest I can come is Ray Charles singing Chocolate, chocolate…
I love road trips. I love not going to work every day. But eating on the road is difficult. In fact, I’d say it’s the biggest challenge of having food allergies. We drove for two days to get to Denver from Portland. To accomplish this, we brought along a cooler and some food we had made ahead of time like hummus, white bean dip, raw veggies, some raw crackers, and cans of tuna and olives. We also have an amazing thermos that keeps tea amazingly hot.
But when I’m out on the road, I want to eat. I want to explore. And I explore the world through my tongue. After a nice lunch of veggies and bean dip, I want a real dinner. I want to get out of the van. I want water served in a glass and a toilet.
On the journey to Denver, and it was a journey–they closed I-70 through Wyoming and we had to backtrack and reroute through Colorado–we ate at a decent Mexican place and a steakhouse for dinner. I find Mexican to be do-able if they serve something like pork adobada or carne asada. I have beans too. A steakhouse is also safe–steak and salad no dressing.
When we went sightseeing in Denver, we decided to lunch at the local health food store, Vitamin Cottage. Here’s what we had:
This was the first time I had goat yogurt. Not bad! I’m convinced goat butter and goat milk are the most underutilized dairy products in cooking today. Man, they are fabulous! Tell me that goat butter on your baked sweet potato isn’t the best ever. But maybe I just haven’t had cow dairy in so long that I can’t remember. When I can eat sweets again, I am sooooo looking forward to trying goat butter chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and I promise that recipe is on its way to this blog very soon. After I get my road trip documented.
Outside of Vitamin Cottage we spotted this clever Homelessometer for Denver’s Road Home organization. You can deposit money in it. The text on the face of the meter explains how your money helps the homeless. Portland needs some of these.