Best Gluten-Free Vegetarian Pizza in the San Francisco Bay: Mariposa Bakery

pizza6.jpgmypizza.jpgMariposa Gluten-Free Bakery
5427 Telegraph Ave, Unit D3
Oakland, CA 94609

tel: 510.595.0955
fax: 510.595.0966
info@mariposabaking.com

Monday – Wednesday 8am – 4pm
Thursday – Friday 8am – 6pm
Saturday 10am – 4pm
*starting May 18 Sunday: 10am-4pm* (Updated)
(Until May 18 Mariposa will be CLOSED Sunday)

pizzacrust.jpgMariposa Menu (prices current in March, 2008)
A Slice of the Vegetarian Pizza of the Day- 1 slice $3.75 (12-3 pm daily)
10″ frozen pizza crust $4.50
10″ frozen topped veggie pizza
10″ frozen cheese pizza $10
10″ hot topped pizza $14

Toasted bagel with cream cheese $2.25
Toasted bagel and butter $2
Toasted bagel and jam $2.25

mariposaoutside.jpg bagels.jpgI first heard about the Mariposa bakeshop a little over a year ago when they opened a cafe location in Oakland, California to serve freshly baked goods to accompany the fresh baked biscotti and brownies they had been selling nation-wide. I blogged about my first visit in june and reviewed their offerings at the time, but they promised to expand their menu, and I was thrilled to hear this Spring that they had added pizza and bagels to the menu. DH and I decided to go on a local gluten-free adventure and drove down to check it out.

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This visit, I was thrilled to find that not only did they have a delicious vegetarian pizza available daily, but that they had fresh baked bagels and sugar cookies in addition to muffins, lemon bars, and their killer brownies. The prices were generally reasonable, although given the price of food lately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some price increases in the future. They offered a variety of muffins, brownies, bread, and coffee cake. The muffins were $1.50 and the bagels were $1.25, and the cookies were a dollar each, and I couldn’t resist getting some to take home. The star of the show, though, was the amazing pizza. The crust managed to be crunchy and bread-y at the same time, and I loved the toppings. The daily special had a spinach, zucchini, onion, and roasted potato with mozzarella cheese topping. The roasted potato added surprising sweetness, and the zucchini was refreshing- and to think, I used to think I didn’t like zucchini! This was no overcooked, mushy, watery zucchini- this was zucchini in its best manifestation- roasted to sweet, fresh flavor and marrying perfectly with the green spinach and caramelized onions. Most gluten free pizzas underwhelm, either because of their toppings or a mediocre crust- but this pizza was wonderful on all counts. If you’re worried about the cheese, never fear. If you call ahead of time, they will make you a dairy free pizza! I think they use a soy cheese, but I’m not sure- you’d have to verify that with the owner.

halfbagel.jpgsugarcookie.jpgBeing me I couldn’t just have a slice of pizza (although that was really the reason we came all the way from Mountain View!), but had to order a toasted bagel with cream cheese. Honestly, can you imagine how cool it was, after years of ignoring bagels in shops like they were laced with rat poison, to actually order my own, safe, delicious-looking gluten-free bagel in a cafe? It was cool. The bagel didn’t disappoint, either, with a glossy exterior studded with poppy seeds and a bready interior that was satisfyingly dense without venturing into gluten-free hockey puck territory. The cream cheese was just as creamy and cheesy as it should be, and I thoroughly enjoyed my delicious little snack. The sweet butterfly-shaped gluten-free sugar cookie we had for dessert just topped off the meal. I actually only barely managed to score myself a cookie- as we were waiting for our pizza, a loyal customer came in and was about to buy ALL Of the cookies. I managed to wheedle him out of one cookie. There was no cookie auctioning involved, happily. I just mentioned to the nice man that I had been going to buy one and he said to go ahead. Yay! Let’s hear it for nice fellow gluten-free folk! And in case you’re wondering how many stomachs I have… the answer is TWO. DH and I shared everything, although I greedily ordered the whole rest of the veggie gluten-free pizza to take home. It was that good. And, since I was so impressed with the crust, I picked one up to take home. You can see my haul that I took home at the bottom of this post.

I also found that Mariposa (now?) offers gluten-free cakes made to order by Kapcakes, so they are the perfect place to order a gluten-free cake for any birthdays coming up! According to their April newsletter, “for Passover this year we offer[ed] Torta Regina cakes. Fragranced with cirtus zest, these 8″ cakes are a wonderful blend of chocolate, almonds and hazelnuts. Made by Hanna at Kapcakes, the Torta Regina is suitable for Passover as well as gluten-free and dairy-free with no added fats or oils. Yum! Also from Kapcakes, we offer[ed] a variety of cookies, including nut macaroons, which are also suitable for Passover.” It seems like a wonderful collaboration that will benefit everybody involved, including their happy customers!

Altogether, we had a great experience over at Mariposa Bakery in Oakland. There are so many fun things to do in the area it’s a great place to make a day trip, but of course, the gluten-free bakery was the highlight of our trip! Here’s my entirely subjective review of the products I sampled. I was going to give numbers like I usually do, but it got too hard, so I’m listing them in order of preference with descriptive awards. Hope it helps when you’re deciding how many dozens to order! ;)

Vegetarian Gluten-Free Pizza- Almost perfection! I suppose there COULD be a better pizza, but I haven’t had it yet, and that’s saying a lot after 28 years of living gluten-free! And the fact that it is made in an entirely gluten-free environment… PRICELESS.
lemonsquarepack.jpgGluten-Free Lemon Bars- Addictive DF Heaven in bar form!I love, love, love these lemon bars. Chocolate doesn’t always agree with me, and I’m not always sure about dairy, and I can’t BELIEVE there is no dairy in these puppies. They are sooo sweet (sometimes half of one is plenty) and so… coconutty… and soooo good. I put them in the freezer when I stock up (last time they were 3/$5) and they vanish embarrassingly quickly.
browniebars1.jpgGluten-free Brownies- An awesome Death by Chocolate! I’ve raved about these brownies before as the perfect, fudgy brownie, just like I like ‘em. I have one in my freezer right now… hmmm…. They have the added bonus of being sold in some Bay area stores like Whole Foods. They have some markup, but are worth it. Love this treat in all its permutations.
bagels2.jpg Gluten-Free Bagels- best of the savory breads, after the pizza crust! (You got the gist above, I assume.) Love them!
Gluten-Free Coffeecake, Pumpkin Muffins- Tasty Treat! Let me just say I’m not a huge coffee cake person. But, both the coffee cake and muffins were good and I love that they offer it.
Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies- Lovely for the novelty! The best part? Not having to roll out the dough and make them myself. I do have my own favorite recipes, so I’m not sure I’d buy them again. They were fun, although slightly dry.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies- Good and dairy-free! I love being able to buy them and they are worlds better than processed GF cookies like Ians. (I won’t eat Ians, for the record, but I did enjoy this cookie.) But, both DH and I thought they tasted a little “gluten-free” and have our own favorite recipe at home. However, Mr. Cookie buying man bought them all up, so they definitely have their fans! And, they are dairy free as well, which is definitely a plus.
Gluten-Free Bread - Better than many processed breads. This is always unfair, because I make some gluten-free breads that I love and I’ve tried many great recipes. This bread was good, but a little “gluten-free.” Not my favorite of their products. But so handy to be able to buy it, yes? Love that!

Can I just say that after crushing disappointment at other facilities (like, say, Sunny Valley Wheat Free in Seattle that didn’t serve pizza on the weekends, or at Da Vinci where they didn’t have any vegetarian pizza that day) it was such a joy to be able to order a delicious vegetarian pizza that was… dare I say it and leave my ego intact… better than I can make at home. If I could go every week, I would. It’s just a darned shame we live such an inconvenient drive away. So please, I beg you, let’s help support this wonderful gluten-free company that just keeps getting better and better! If you live in the area, you absolutely MUST run, not walk, to try this gluten-free pizza of legends that I personally think is the BEST GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA IN THE BAY. ,In fact, consider it your mission, as of now, to try it and then come back over to the Book of Yum and tell me all about it in the comments! I’d love to hear about your favorite gluten-free products at Mariposa, or about your experience in general.

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*Oh, by the way, I have no connection to this business or its owner. I just like her product! There were no shady deals involving envelopes under apartment doors or anything like that, although that sounds highly entertaining. Maybe next time I’ll pretend there was one so I can “tell you” about it. haha*

Another beauty shot...


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Check out a photo from Joe’s recent visit, taken the day after I posted. (Yay!)


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17 Responses to “Best Gluten-Free Vegetarian Pizza in the San Francisco Bay: Mariposa Bakery”

  1. Wow, and I have tomorrow off too. I’m going to go check this out!

    I have been dying for a good bagel lately. That sounds like breakfast to me…

  2. Oh, this makes me so hungry and homesick for Oakland! My experience with Mariposa started with buying their brownies (almost unbearably rich – the mocha one is amazing!) at Piedmont Grocery, and then their biscotti which are terrific. They opened the bakeshop after I moved and so the first time I returned to Oakland for a visit, I went there – and became addicted to their lemon bars. Oh wow. THey are SO good. Then the next time I came back (recently) they had so much more tasty stuff and lots of it non-sugary (I don’t really eat sugar right now). Their bagels are amazing, and I agree that their pizza is truly fantastic. Their creativity with toppings reminds me of Arizmendi’s pizza, which I’ve missed so badly since being gluten-free.

  3. Did the owner happen to say if she is still supplying Cafe Rustica with their pizza crusts? Last time I checked, Pizza Rustica was contemplating discontinuing the GF pizza…..

  4. Connie Hampton Says:

    You can order online and they will ship and you can special order things like hamberger buns (made from the bread dough) which means a real burger! I live just around the corner and probably eat too much but it is so wonderful to be able to just buy a loaf of good bread and a morning muffin!
    Connie

  5. OK mission accomplished. It was nice to sit in a place and have a bagel with coffee and feel like a human. Dylan liked the cookies, and I thought they were delicious too: http://flickr.com/photos/sanbeiji/2459072967/

    The bagel was by far the best GF one I’ve ever had, and beat most of the wheat-laden varieties in my opinion. Also tried the blueberry muffin when I got home, and it too was outstanding.

    They said you can call ahead too and find out what they have for the day or place orders for pick-up too.

  6. Hi Joe- I’m so glad you reported back and that everything was as good as you’d hoped. The bagels are great, aren’t they? :) Glad your son liked the cookies! We are very particular about our cookies, but homemade or bakery-made is so much better that the packaged wonders, isn’t it? I’m so glad to have inspired a gluten-free bakery visit. :)

    Hi BytheBay, So glad to see you! Those brownies are amazing indulgences… I usually put them in the freezer and then have half at a time… unless my greed gets the better of me. I do absolutely love the lemon bars. As a savory-loving-girl I am so thrilled to see their offerings broadening to include savory foods… Yay! I’m glad you agree about the pizza. It’s the most fun I’ve had with pizza in ages, although I do like the “I am Passionate” pizza at Cafe Gratitude as well for very different reasons. I didn’t mention the biscotti because I thought people might be most familiar with it and it is more widely distributed. I’m partial to my homemade biscotti, but I think it’s fantastic that they offer it and can give Pamela’s a run for their (overpriced) money!

    Hi Cathy, You know, when I went (on a Saturday) the owner wasn’t there, so I didn’t get a chance to talk to her. I’ve heard rumors of CC happening at Cafe Rustica though, so I’m a little nervous about it- think I’d rather just go straight to the source. :)

    Hi Connie, Cool, good to know! You know, I think I might have seen you or another gluten-free neighbor to the shop the first time I went a year ago … hmm…I’m wondering now. Funny world, isn’t it? I’m glad to know you can go regularly- I always worry about businesses not getting enough traffic, but hopefully having the Whole Foods distribution etc. helps add some revenue.

    Thanks for the quick response all!

  7. Had a roast beef & cheddar sandwich for lunch using one of their poppy seed baguettes. Quite good. I expect to be visiting their shop every couple of weeks from now on just to load up on supplies.

  8. Joe- is the baguette different than the bagel? I don’t think they had it when I went there… I ended up freezing some of the bagels and that worked well. But now I’m curious about the baguette….

    -Sea

  9. That piece of pizza looks so yummy. Reading your posts about Bay area gluten-free eateries makes my trip to D.C. seem rather sparse, in terms of gluten-free food offerings. I aspire to eat gluten-free pizza in a restaurant!

  10. I love Mariposa!!! I live in Oakland and visit Mariposa at least once a week. I buy the frozen pizza crusts for quick weeknight dinner options. I also always keep the biscotti around – I just tried Pamela’s biscotti for the first time and I think Mariposa’s is much better!!

    My very favorite item at Mariposa is the Lemon Poppyseed Muffin – it is sooooo good. My husband won’t eat regular muffins anymore – only wants the Mariposa Lemon Poppyseed. I’ll go and buy four at a time – I’ve found they easily last a few days or even a week and still taste good to me. This has honestly been a huge thing for me – Before going GF, I loved to get muffins or treats from bakeries and coffee shops and being able to have these muffins has made me so happy!

    The Sour cream coffee cake is also fantastic and gives no sign of being gluten free!

  11. I am a keen reader of food blogs but just stumbled upon yours. I really like the clean design and simple layout. I started blogging myself a year ago and always thought that clean design was key. The fact that you also have good photos does help a lot. I have just started a website for bloggers, chefs and foodies to meet and share all their photos, recipes and videos. Anyway keep the great work up on the blog, have it bookmarkd now and talk soon. Cheers

  12. thank you! I just arrived from Paris and was not at all sure where to go for gluten-free – Mariposa will be my first stop.

  13. Wow, I was so excited when I visited my boyfriend’s family in Oakland and discovered Mariposa. We were both really excited when we visited the bakery… I wanted to buy so much stuff.

    I really recommend the lemon poppyseed and pumpkin muffins. These were great plain and toasted. I also enjoyed their biscotti and oatmeal cookie. YUM!

  14. [...] My First Review of Cafe Mariposa My Second Review of Cafe Mariposa [...]

  15. I can’t wait to try this place!!! I used to live right down the street and never knew it!!!

    my girlfriend and I have been wanting to go to a pizzeria or cafe and feel normal!

    will write a review after we taste!

  16. [...] Awesome Gluten-Free Pizza in the Bay Area: As you probably know by now, I think Mariposa Bakery in Oakland has the best, most creative gourmet gluten-free pizza around. Patti rocks. Best of all, THIS PIZZA [...]

  17. I am from Florida and am on vacation in Cali. I saw your recommendation for this place before we came out here and was determined to find a way to Oakland. We went yesterday and enjoyed pizza and brownies for lunch, bagels for dinner, and muffins this morning for breakfast. I’m a little heartbroken now that I’ve eaten all my goodies, because we don’t have time to swing back by the bakery again before we fly home. Everything there was WONDERFUL!! Thanks for the wonderful recommendation, I guess its back to my GF kitchen so Jacksonville is lacking in GF bakeries.

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