In 2006 I went to Seattle to attend my cousin’s wedding and while I was in town, I tried the goodies at two two gluten-free bakery cafes. One was located in Maple Vally, Washington and was called “Sunny Valley Wheat Free,” and the other was located in Seattle, Washington and was called Da Vinci. I had a great experience at both places and immediately typed up reports to share with my fellow SillyYaks members on Yahoo Groups. I hadn’t thought about it much since, but the other day a reader mentioned that she was planning a trip to Seattle soon. I have links to both places posted on my blog, but without a review it’s hard to know what to expect, so I thought, why not revisit that old review that I’d written and share it again with you here? Enjoy, and I hope you get the chance to visit these two wonderful gluten-free havens located in my beloved home state.
Sunny Valley Wheat Free
22035 SE Wax Rd. #10
Maple Valley, WA 98038
*This bakery is no longer open to the public- A note on their web site states that “In early 2010 we moved to Kent, WA and transitioned from a retail establishment to distributed wholesale.” Check their web site for information on where you can get their tasty products. There are other gluten-free bakeries in Seattle, so check out my other reviews. -Sea 8/2011*
Sunny Valley Wheat Free is located in the Maple Valley area, not too far from the Sea Tac Airport. I was really excited about visiting a GF bakery, and scheduled a breakfast/ lunch trip to their store. I was especially interested in their pizza and other hot items. The bakery is located in a very modern, clean new shopping area. The store is very neatly organized, with gluten free goods stored in refrigerators and shelves around the room. At the time (two years ago) they turned their ovens off on Saturday and were closed on Sunday so I was unable to get a hot pizza, sniff, but they may have changed things since then. At that time they also did not have tables or chairs for in-house dining. I’m not sure what the situation is like now.
I was impressed by the wide variety of goods, including hard to find and labor intensive items like real homemade graham crackers, cheese crackers, and miniature bread sticks. They also had a fabulous range of desserts, including cakes, chocolate eclairs, miniature cheesecakes, tons of donuts with different toppings, and about 10 flavors of scones.
They also had ice cream sandwiches- which were delicious, but HUGE! I couldn’t eat a whole one and had to recruit DH to help me out. Also something in the creamy filling made me really thirsty. I bought the miniature strawberry cheesecakes (kinda like cheesecake muffins) and took them to the wedding, pulling them out of my purse and enjoying when everyone was eating cake. The eclairs were amazing- I stored them in my hotel refrigerator and enjoyed them later. I was especially impressed by the unique texture of the eclair pastry. It was unlike anything I’d ever had and was flakey but not oily. The sweet creamy filling was also nice. And can you believe- a GF eclair? Clearly there is a master baker at Sunny Valley Wheat Free- no novice here!
I also couldn’t resist the cutest GF holiday cookies that were shaped like adorable leaves and frosted just like a Starbucks or other gourmet cookie! They tasted pretty good, although were slightly dry by the time I could bear to eat something so cute.
They have a wide variety of breads available, and one of their newest breads (at the time) incorporated bean flour for what is, IMO, a superior springy and moist product, compared to the white rice tapioca etc. blends. However, (at that time) most of their breads seem to be based on white rice flour- good for those with bean allergies, but this may have changed. I bought their onion bread, but they also had cheese jalapeno and seed bread etc. Next time I’d buy the brown bread (with bean flour)- I tried a sample and it was great. I had the onion bread the next morning and found it a little heavy and dry- but the flavor was good.
I was given a sample of their maple bar, and had to take it home because it was so rich I could only eat a few bites. But, it was very good and I found it both fluffy and tasty. The woman there said it was the same base as their donuts. Her favorite was actually the scones, rather than the donut based stuff. I bought a tasty orange cranberry scone- unfortunately mine had some little bitter pockets of baking powder(?)- but my initial impression was very positive.
They had tons of gorgeous giant monster cookies, too. I bought snickerdoodle, but they were all tempting. Another customer was there for his weekly GF food run- he bought about 8 packs of their graham crackers and some frozen ready to bake cookies, so that is an advertisement in of itself.
Although I was bummed about not getting to try any of their pizza, if my hotel had an oven I could have bought some mini frozen pizzas complete with toppings. This place had several GF hearty options that were vegetarian, as well as lots of chicken etc. pasta dishes as well for those interested- lasagna, ravioli, and pizza) I bought cheese ravioli (Yay!!!) for a very reasonable price- under $5, maybe even under $4. Microwave in its container and you can have homemade ravioli with no muss, no fuss, and no pulling out the pasta machine. It was wonderful- being the freaky foodie I am, I kinda wished they’d had more gourmet fillings- pumpkin and mushroom, spinach ricotta etc- but I really enjoyed having microwaved ravioli in our hotel room late that night. Soooo good! I would totally buy these all the time if I lived in Washington. They also had some ready made soup (slightly pricey) in several varieties, including vegetarian. *with cost of ingredients rising, prices have undoubtedly increased since 2006.
I really enjoyed my visit. I was EXTREMELY impressed with how ambitious and varied their offerings were. I’d love to see them go into the gf frozen food business and give, say, Amy’s, a run for their money with some GF certified products. I had several things I’ve never had before in my life, and while I don’t really feel like I need these things in my life all the time, it’s definitely fun to have a special treat once in a while. Also, the prices were pretty darned good, compared to Whole Foods GF bakehouse in California, at any rate. If you’re in the area, definitely make it a GF stop- especially if you will have access to a microwave in your future.
Looking for a more recent review?
Try Celiac in The House’s Review in May of 2009
Da Vinci, Bakery and Cafe*
10003 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98133
*url updated 8/2011- they are still in business! yay!
Store hours as of 8/22/2011 *confirm before you make the drive:
Monday to Saturday 8am – 5pm
Sundays 8am – 3pm
*NEWS 8/2011 They are transitioning to be an entirely rice-free bakery this month! This is wonderful news for those who must be rice-free as well as dairy-free. :D
We also made a special trip to Da Vinci, a gluten free bakery housed in a charming little house in North Seattle. It is always mind boggling to walk into somewhere where I can eat any darned thing I like, and this little cafe was no exception. They have a lovely bookshelf full of savory breads (most dairy free) and tons of absolutely stunning sweet desserts in a refrigerator case, as well as other stuff sprinkled across the counters and some daily specials.
On my 2006 visit, most of the savories (besides the breads) had meat in some form or another, so it was a little tricky finding daily meal bits that were
vegetarian. They had a roasted red pepper quiche and a feta salad- otherwise, the pizzas all included meat. DH had a lovely pizza with bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar which he quite enjoyed. Meanwhile I enjoyed the red pepper quiche and shared a cherry strudel and blueberry cinnamon roll with my Mother.
Da Vinci has mastered the art of creating clever espresso beverages (see their menu- I had the picasso- or whichever one has cayenne and orange… note, I couldn’t really taste the bite of the cayenne). At the time of my visit, they were a fairly new bakery so it seemed that they might not have completely decided on their menu. In 2006 they seem to use some of the traditional gluten free flours (rice, tapioca, potato) and haven’t really gone into the bean or sorghum flours, so some of their savory or plain breads were slightly heavy for my taste. (This may have changed, so take this comment with a grain of salt.) However, avoiding bean flour would make them an excellent choice for bean sensitive individuals, and they do have an egg-free, dairy-free line also helpful for those with multiple intolerances. However, I did make myself a lovely sandwich later with their new onion hot dog bun, and it was very nice!
Later I also used their dairy free sun dried tomato bread for very flavorful crumbs on a eggplant parmesan- made a vegan parmesan for my mother with toasted pine nuts and this bread that she really liked. DH and I also bought a slice of one of their exquisite cakes- mocha espresso frosting… DH said it was “just like a normal store bought cake” and i liked it a lot as well. We shared a slice for our respective birthdays and enjoyed it thoroughly. Gorgeous! It was probably the highlight of my visit.
I can’t tell you how thrilling it is that these gluten-free cafes and bakeries are popping up all over the United States. But you know, they all rely on our business to stay afloat- so lets make sure to support our gluten-free bakeries whenever we have a chance, whether local or a traveler’s destination. Eating all those goodies is a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!
Traveling to Portland? Read about my visit to a gluten-free cafe bakery and fish house!
Near Sacramento in Davis, California? Read about Davis’ GF Farmer Cafe
In Berkeley, California? Check out my report on the GF friendly Cafe Gratitude
In Oakland, California? Visit the GF Cafe Mariposa Bakeshop
Read about my adventures at the Italian restaurant Mangiamo with a fabulous GF menu in Windsor, Ca