The Best Gluten-free Restaurant and Bakery Stops from the Bay Area to Portland: Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe in Davis, California

April 21st, 2009 yum Posted in Bay Area, California, Davis, Gluten Free On the Road, Gluten Free Recipes, Gluten Free bakery 2 Comments »

gfravioliFarmer’s Kitchen Cafe
624 4th Street
Davis, CA, 95616
(530) 756 1862

This week we went on an epic road trip with our new gypsy van and stopped at many great gluten-free and gluten-free friendly places in California and Oregon. Over the next week or so I’ll be reporting on some new finds and some changes to some old favorites. I’ll begin with our first stop at Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe in Davis, California for dinner. I always enjoy visiting this place for its fresh, local produce and interesting gluten-free dishes. The economy has been hitting this little place pretty hard, so if you get a chance, definitely come by and lend your support to this little gem in Davis, California. The good news is that in the last month or so, the cafe has come up with a gluten-free french bread recipe good enough to please even regular glutenoids and so no longer offers any gluten products in the cafe whatsoever. (And- I’ve tried this bread- it is truly divine and even beats my favorite Bette Hagman’s french bread recipe!) The only downside is that for strict vegetarians, this bread (As well as their sandwich bun/rolls) does contain gelatin and so is not vegetarian. Vegetarians (and even vegans) can take heart, however. Although I would be happy to see more vegetarian dishes on the menu as there is definitely a preponderance of non-veg options, vegetarians can enjoy the salads, roasted vegetable dishes, soups (check on stock), a few veggie sandwich or tacos (note bread gelatin for those that are strict veggies), a veggie/casein free ravioli dish or pizza, and a rice curry dish or two. This time I had my heart set on gluten-free ravioli and was intrigued by the promise of shitake mushroom ravioli, but a sudden rush of customers meant they were out. Instead I had the butternut squash ravioli in a melted clarified butter sauce with garlic. (Marinara was also a sauce option.) I do enjoy their ravioli, but there was an awful lot of the butter/oil sauce (as well as a generous amount of garlic, but no other herbs) so next time I think I’ll go with a marinara sauce. gfchickensandwichThe DH who is neither gluten free nor vegetarian in any sense of the word ordered the chicken salad sandwich with homemade pickles. (I had the pickles and let me tell you, those were some FINE and tasty pickles. I wonder if it is possible to order them with the veggie sandwiches…) He was extremely pleased with his sandwich and proclaimed the GF bread EXCELLENT. gfstrawberrytartI was intrigued by the extensive dessert menu (those darned pregnancy cravings for sweets!) and ordered a strawberry lemon tart. Unfortunately there was an order mix-up and we very nearly lost our shot at the pie, but they were able to get together a last? piece of the pie for us that while not beautiful, was very, very tasty. Their gluten-free pie crust is a little thick but the filling was superb and exactly what I was hoping for with fresh strawberry slices and swirls of strawberry on a tangy-sweet lemon base.

gffrenchbreadrollSince we were going to be on the road for a week and I wanted to make sandwiches (and the DH couldn’t stop raving about the bread), I purchased a beautiful loaf of their gluten-free french bread, swallowing my guilt about certain non-veg ingredients that will remain nameless as well as one of their buns and a gluten-free, casein-free chocolate brownie. I have no excuse for the latter except that I have no defense against chocolate these days. The owner also kindly gave me a trial package of their newest gluten-free panko crumbs to try at home. The DH very much enjoyed these panko crumbs on the crab cake sandwich he had last time. They are made from their gluten-free breads so do contain you-know-what, but how could I possibly resist gluten-free panko crumbs?

gfbrownieIf you are close to home or have a great ice chest, you can stock up on frozen gluten-free goods including genuinely vegetarian pizzas (some casein-free), ravioli, blueberry muffins, and more. They have a wide variety of (room temperature) dried homemade pastas that I should probably purchase- but due to the time consuming nature of pasta, they are a bit pricey for my budget at $12/lb. I’m sure they’re worth every penny, but since I can and do occasionally make my own (and I’m usually feeling guilty about how much I’ve spent on other things) I haven’t tried them yet.

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Previous Posts about Farmer’s Kitchen:
Review from my first visit in April 2nd, 2007
Review from my visit in June 17th, 2008

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Vegetarian-friendly restaurant coffee shop with Natural Gluten-free Options in Tehachapi, California

March 26th, 2009 yum Posted in California, Coffee shop, Restaurant Review, Travel 1 Comment »

mamahillybeansMama HillyBean’s Cafe
426 E. Tehachapi Blvd,
Tehachapi, California 93561

This weekend we went on an impromptu trip to Death Valley, California and Las Vegas, Nevada. On our way out, we happened to drive by an unexpectedly appealing coffee shop in Tehachapi, California. They were closed at the time, but the sign featuring Rosie the Riveter and just plain appealing exterior made us think it was somewhere we’d like to visit. One great thing about coffee is that it is generally gluten-free as long as you keep an eye on flavorings and syrups. Granted, I’m pregnant so no longer downing the double-shot lattes as I once was, but there’s always decaf or herbal tea. On our way home from our long trip the DH happened to remember this coffee shop and so we made sure to stop. When we walked in the door, I was really glad we had. Funky, home-grown and eclectic artistic decor was everywhere- and a bright, cheerful menu sign immediately grabbed our attention, not just with an extensive coffee and tea menu but also with a light lunch menu. mamahillymenu I had been eating gluten-free snacks and the odd microwaved potato or In-N-Out fries for days, and when I started reading their (largely organic and healthy sounding) menu, I went a little crazy. Note: this coffee shop does not have a gluten-free menu or any special gluten-free goodies, but they do have simple and natural ingredients and were more than willing to check on items for me. I was intrigued by their customizable salads and baked potato with broccoli-cheese toppings, although I didn’t check on the GF status of the latter.
Here’s what they say about their food:
“All of our food is made from scratch and is about 95% organic. If we can find it organic (preferably local), it is organic. All of our coffee and tea is organic and fair trade.”
Couldn’t sound better to me! (Unless of course there was something about gluten-free items in there too.)

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After much agonizing, I ordered their vegetarian Cameron Salad, which featured fresh organic greens, artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper, feta and pumpkin seeds with a light and refreshing lemon olive oil dressing (house made). mamachaiI also had an organic Chai latte, which is not only available decaf, in black tea or green tea versions, but can also be made with regular or nonfat milk, almond milk, soy milk, or even Hemp Milk! mamamaryskissThe DH ordered a VERY customizable (pescatarian) salad and this lovely creation called “Mary’s Kiss”- made with shots of espresso, chocolate, and (optional) real whipped cream. We sat down at one of their funky tables, listening to the hippie coffee shop music and the sound of the waterfall fountain (complete with koi). memamahillymamadhandsalmonsalad They have a great internet corner and free wi-fi for them as what wants it- as well as a fun collection of magazines. I sat down with some ecologically-friendly Mother Earth magazine and waited. Service isn’t especially fast, but it’s friendly and cozy- with a real small town hippie vibe. I couldn’t have been happier after all of the desolate post-mining towns we’d driven through- and it was even a great antidote for our very mass-produced Las Vegas, Nevada experience.

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