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.

gfbreadtoastrack eggsaladbeingmade gfeggsaladsw

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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Gluten Free Cafe: Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe in Davis, Ca

June 17th, 2008 yum Posted in Davis, Gluten Free Dining, Gluten Free On the Road, Gluten Free bakery 9 Comments »

Natural Food Works
Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe
624 4th Street
Davis, CA, 95616
(530) 756 1862
Monday-Sat 11am-8pm

One of my favorite gluten-free California destinations is the Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe in Davis, California. I’d heard that change was afoot over at the Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe from one of my message boards. Apparently they’d been expanding their offerings to include frozen, sealed packages of many of their specialty items. Half of the Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe has always been an herb and supplement store, but it was exciting to hear that they had frozen foods as well as more gluten-free mixes. I was very intrigued and couldn’t wait to see the changes. So, one recent Saturday DH and I hopped in our car, put in a book on CD and made the long drive to Davis, California from Mountain View. I was happy to see the cafe buzzing when we got there. It’s always fun to read the menu, both the print version and the daily specials written on the board. That day, green beans in Rellano batter and heirloom apricot gallette sounded intriguing, but it was too hard to pass up the main dish items. Rose Anne told us that they had developed a new gluten-free panko bread coating for new dishes like Tonkatsu (a popular Japanese dish where pork is covered in panko crumbs and deep fried) and their crab cakes. I wish there had been a vegetarian version of the tonkatsu, because I always wondered what it was like. Tofu tonkatsu, anyone? DH was intrigued by the crab cake sandwich, and ordered it. Photo of GF Crab Cake sandwich, non-veg Meanwhile, I wanted to try the Local Organic Soup au Pistou, a hearty all-organic veggie soup with basil pistou sauce. For my main dish I chose the CF Local Organic Green Garlic Ravioli w/ Organic Marinara Sauce. We would have liked to get the blackberry or apricot gallette for dessert but we were just too full after all our food, unfortunately. If only I’d thought of getting a slice to go!

But how was the food? I love the basil pistou sauce- it melts in the mouth and has just the right balance of flavors. I also love that everything in it is organic. Granted, some of the veggies involved are not my favorite, but still, it was a very tasty soup. I also enjoyed the green garlic ravioli with marinara sauce. The ravioli pasta was tasty (although slightly watery) and I thought the chunky marinara sauce was excellent and well flavored. If I were to buy the ravioli myself, I’d probably serve it in a flavorful garlic olive oil sauce or even better, a strong green pesto with nuts and carefully steamed broccoli because somehow its “green” flavor cries out for a green accompaniment. DH thought the garlic was a little strong, but it was fine for me. I think I would order something different next time, but you know, I think I might have to take some of that tasty marinara home for some plain, non-ravioli pasta. And the DH? Well, let’s just say he was not inclined to share that crabcake sandwich! Apparently it was made with their new panko breadcrumbs and it was a HUGE hit. I tried just one bite, and just about swooned over the delicious, creamy, basil infused sauce- it was the perfect accompaniment, and their gluten-free sourdough bread worked well. I can see that the DH has a new favorite on the menu- he said he’d give it a 9/10, and I have to agree. Rose Anne’s chef has created a flavorful masterpiece with that sandwich, and I hope they’re able to keep it on the menu full time. YUM!

While we were waiting for our food, I wandered around the shop side of the site with my little red camera in tow. Rose Anne had put in brightly lit refrigerator and freezer cases in the back of the store, and it looked fantastic. Apparently there are more changes to come, so stay tuned! I know many gluten-free folks say they would love to do all their gluten-free shopping at the same place where they can get a restaurant meal or fresh baked goods, and Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe seems to be headed in that direction. You can buy all kinds of their frozen meals, including pizza, ravioli, tamale (including vegan), and even baked goods. Personally, I was eying the yummy pizzas, both CF and vegetarian, as well as those vegan tamales. They just all looked so good!

There were changes in other parts of the store as well. Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe is now carrying Namaste and Authentic Foods mixes, as well as boxes of their own gluten-free cookies (chocolate chip and sugar cookie), along with packages of their in-house gluten-free pasta. The check-out area had an extensive selection of snack bars. However, the most popular area seemed to be their fresh baked gluten-free food bin, which only had (delicious) gluten-free brownies and their very reasonably priced and popular rosemary hamburger buns (not vegetarian due to gelatin) that other customers were snapping up like [gluten-free] hotcakes.

DH and I tried a few of the gluten-free samples on a table between the restaurant and the shop, paid our bill, and waddled off into the sunset secure in the knowledge that we’d celebrated the joys of organic, local dining. Not only that, but we got to prowl around the adorable college town of Davis, visit a few open houses, and did a little clothes shopping for the perpetually shopping-reluctant DH. Sometimes it’s just good to get away from our own sphere and enjoy a new place, along with some new and delicious food. So, the next time your gluten-free life in the Bay area (or Sacramento… or anywhere for that matter) is getting you down, why not try a holiday to Davis and sit down for a meal at Rose Anne’s organic bistro? Times are tight right now for everyone, including our favorite gluten-free entrepreneurs, and if we don’t show our support now, we may all lose out in the end..

Interested in my other posts about the Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe?

Read about my visit in June 27th, 2007 (pescatarian photo)
April 2, 2007 (all veg photos)

Can’t make it to Davis? Order Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe baked goods online, or try some of their recipes.

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