Gluten-free Oakland: Mariposa and Scream Sorbet

March 10th, 2011 yum Posted in Baked Goods, Bay Area, Ca, Gluten Free bakery, Mariposa Bakery, Oakland 5 Comments »


mariposa baking company
5427 telegraph ave, unit d3
oakland, ca 94609
tel: 510.595.0955
Every so often I go on a gluten-free pilgrimage to Oakland to see what’s up at my favorite bakery, Mariposa Baking Company. I am happy to report that they are still the home of the best Gluten-free pizza I’ve ever had. They have been developing many new recipes, too, and I was delighted to see some new items on the menu.

They now have more vegan gluten-free breads than ever! These breads are dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and soy-free:
- rustic long baguette
- 2pk baguettes
- sandwich bread
- cinnamon raisin bread
- 6pk dinner rolls

The little kid in me loves their “Polar Bear”, a cream filled counterpart to the Twinkie. Don’t laugh! I was diagnosed at three and don’t remember ever having a Twinkie- these lightly orange flavored cupcakes may be very bad for me, but they taste so good! Those who miss Ho-Ho’s or Ding Dong’s will love their Penguino, a chocolate cupcake filled with cream that my DH says tastes just like its gluten counterpart. He loves them! (I don’t care for chocolate cake, but I’m weird like that.)

The grown-up in me adores Patti for developing a gluten-free veggie burger option with their new beetloaf sandwich. I’ve never had a beet-based veggie “burger” before! Paired with their amazing sandwich rolls, and with a side of cabbage salad, this burger made my mouth very happy. Baby Yum even got in on the action! The burger contains egg so is not vegan, but it is dairy and nut free. Next time I must also try their panini, but my stomach is only so big. If only Mariposa were closer!

Other standout savory options at their bakery include a cheese quiche, cheese or butternut squash ravioli, and gnocchi. And thank goodness they still have their nutmeal cookies, which I am personally obsessed with. Every time I go, I pick up at least five, and jealously hoard them from my husband. They also have new gluten-free pop tarts that are truly a thing of beauty. The flavor of the crust somehow didn’t appeal to me, but the texture was excellent and the novelty of it kept me entertained. I still am kicking myself for not trying their gorgeous apple galette, but I had already racked up quite a bill and had a hard time justifying the purchase. What’s your favorite Mariposa gluten-free product?

The bakers at this little bakery are baking their hearts out for their gluten-free clientele and it makes me so happy to see what a huge success they’ve become. At our last visit, almost every table was full. A college student was sitting studying and enjoying coffee and gluten-free food, girlfriends were gabbing and sharing yummy gluten-free sweets, a gluten-free grandmother was sharing food with her family, and we sat at a table with Baby Yum in a highchair and fed her bites of Mommy’s veggie burger. I looked around the room and thought that this was the perfect place to spend a Saturday afternoon. It can’t get much better than this warm, comfortable place with safe food where gluten-free folks can come and relax with their family and enjoy a delicious lunch just like any other family on a Saturday afternoon.

*If you can’t make it to Oakland, Mariposa has a permanent booth at the Ferry Building in downtown San Francisco as well as a new booth at the Palo Alto Farmer’s Market on California Avenue or at their booth at the San Rafael Farmer’s Market- both on Sundays.

Another recent review of Mariposa Bakery


Scream Sorbet
5030 Telegraph Ave,
Oakland
Tuesday through Sunday, 12pm – 9pm
(510) 394-5030

While I know it is hard to avoid absolutely stuffing yourself at Mariposa (maybe this is just my problem), I would like to recommend that you save a little room in your stomach for the absolutely best dairy-free sorbet I’ve ever had in my life. Scream Sorbet began offering their divine flavors at local Bay Area Farmer’s Markets some time ago. I became completely obsessed with them when I was on my every-allergen-free diet for breastfeeding. When I couldn’t have much else, I could still indulge in some farmer’s market fresh flavors of sorbet. A few flavors contain dairy, and some flavors contain nuts. There are plenty of vegetable or fruit-based flavors that should be gluten-free and allergen-free!

Their mission statement:
Each week, we walk our 27 farmers’ markets in search of the best local, organic, and seasonal produce available, head back to our lab to experiment, and then finish by making our sorbet one quart at a time the evening before every market. We want our sorbet to taste exactly like the fantastic ingredients that go into it.

Their sorbet really does taste just like the fresh ingredients they use, in the most unexpected ways. I was especially excited when they had one of their dairy-free chocolate flavors like coconut milk-chocolate. Mint-lime sorbet or one of the fresh fruit flavors are fabulous as well. If you can tolerate nuts, their macadamia vanilla or pistachio are probably my hands down favorite flavors. In fact, I like pretty much all of their flavors for their creativity. If you’ve always wanted to try snap pea sorbet, chipotle chocolate sorbet, popcorn sorbet, coconut thai basil or coconut kale sorbet, this is the place for you. Some of their more outrageous flavors may be a bit much, but they are all fun to try and you may be surprised at how palatable an unexpected combination of ingredients can be.

When I planned a trip to Oakland to visit Mariposa, I knew I had to visit the new Scream Sorbet storefront, which is just down the street from Mariposa. Literally. Look at the address! It was fun to see their dreams of a retail shop finally come to fruition, and I loved the cool, friendly coffeehouse vibe of the place. I never thought I liked sorbet until I had Scream Sorbet, and now I can’t get enough of the stuff! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. What is your favorite Scream Sorbet flavor? Mine changes almost every week!

If you can’t make it to Oakland, you can enjoy Scream Sorbet at Bay Area Farmer’s Markets including the Mountain View Farmer’s Market, Palo Alto Farmer’s Market, and the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market.

Other fun gluten-free friendly destinations in the Oakland/Berkeley area include the Berkeley Bowl Health Food Store, as well as Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley. What are your favorite Gluten-free spots in the Oakland/ Berkeley area?

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Review of Gluten-free Menu and Pizza at BJ’s Brewhouse in California +

February 9th, 2011 yum Posted in Bay Area, Ca, Oregon, Restaurant Review, Travel, Washington State 5 Comments »

BJ’s Brewhouse
10690 N. De Anza Blvd.
Cupertino, CA 95014
408.865.6970 TEL
Gluten-free menu including Pizza
Hours
11am-12am Monday-Thursday
11am-1am Friday
10am-1am Saturday
10am-12am Sunday

You can also find Locations in California (51), Texas (20), Arizona (6), Florida (6), Nevada (4), Colorado (4), Oregon (2), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (2) Washington (2), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), and possibly Lahaina Hawaii (with a limited menu).

The DH came back from a business trip to Israel and found himself in sunny California jet-lagged, starving, and awake on a certain Saturday morning. We decided the best course of action would be to take ourselves to a restaurant, post haste. But where to go? I have mentioned several times that a good friend of mine from our Gluten-free Support Group recently wrote an article recommending her favorite gluten-free pizza joints. One of her absolute favorites was the pizza at BJ Brewhouse. This is ironic. I’ve lived in Sunnyvale for several years and passed the BJ Brewhouse in Cupertino countless times and snubbed it. A microbrewery with a food menu? Those places usually have, at best, a salad or two that MIGHT be adaptable for a gluten-free vegetarian. Might, if they don’t coat the lettuce greens in breadcrumbs just so they match the rest of the menu. Every time the DH made noises about how it might be nice to stop and get a beer, I was less than enthused, so we’d always end up going to the nearby Outback Steakhouse, where at least I could get a Gluten-free Chocolate Thunder from Down Under and a hearty baked potato, not in that order but ordered by preference. But then my friend tells me, while our Gluten-free toddlers are toddling along on a playdate, that BJ Brewhouse has a fantastic gluten-free pizza baked on a Venice Bakery Crust. Who knew! They do, in fact, have a full gluten-free menu which includes salads, soups, omelettes (brunch menu) and protein bits in addition to pizza. The only thing they don’t have is a thrilling gluten-free dessert, unless root beer floats float your boat.

The atmosphere is a combination between a cleaner microbrewery and upscale family-style restaurant. The designers of the Cupertino location really like diverse lighting, as you will see if you just look up. Tract lighting, chandeliers, everyday lamps and hanging bistro lights add ambiance, as do the brewing vats behind glass in the corner. Ordering at BJ Brewhouse is remarkably painless. If you want just a pizza, the gluten-free option is listed on their regular menu. Otherwise you need to ask for their gluten-free menu. The first time we went we had a pizza with fresh basil and artichoke hearts. Excellent! The second time, I went with roasted red pepper and, yes, fresh basil. What can I say, I’m a basil girl. I also tried their highly tasty tomato soup, their California Omelet (which does not seem to include their gluten-containing potatoes), and most recently their Italian Market Salad. Everything has been good, and satisfying. And, while it isn’t exactly fine dining, the prices are quite decent. While I love going to unique family-owned restaurants, sometimes I really, really like the security of dining gluten-free with a chain; this is especially the case when they have gluten-free down to a science as they seem to at BJ Brewhouse.

The pizza has turned out to be my favorite, locally available pizza. I like Jina’s idea to order it with extra sauce, although we haven’t done so yet, and the pizza has been appropriately crispy both times I ordered it. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed their Italian Market Salad, ordered without salami to make it vegetarian. It had several kinds of lettuce, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, basil, artichoke hearts, olives, roasted red pepper, garbanzo beans, cucumbers, and more. Basically all my favorite things, in something that felt way too hearty to be a salad. Perfect!

BJ Brewhouse is a great place to go with Baby Yum. She loves the pizza, and the booths are very handy for babies and toddlers. She has tried and seemed to enjoy everything we ordered. And for our part, the DH and I are happy to have found another option where we can all eat safely and enjoy ourselves, without going bankrupt. I would definitely recommend BJ Brewhouse to others. I haven’t had so much as a tummy rumble after eating there, and that speaks for itself. Unless of course it was a tummy rumble for MORE PIZZA!

Have you eaten at BJ’s Brewhouse? What is your favorite thing on their gluten-free menu? Tell me in the comments!

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