Bay Area Oakland, California Gluten Free Bakery Review: Mariposa’s Latest Developments

June 11th, 2009 yum Posted in Bay Area, Ca, California, Coffee shop, Gluten Free Dining, Gluten Free Product Review, Gluten Free bakery, Mariposa Bakery, Oakland 7 Comments »

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mariposarye1 Mariposa gluten-free Rye Round $4.95 (as of June ‘09)- This new product immediately piqued my interest with its lovely artisan shape and promising caraway flavoring. When I asked the bakers at mariposa which of the new loaves they recommended, they mentioned that the un-rye bread had been selling very well. It was also quite reasonably priced, for a bakery-made artisan loaf. But how did it taste? The first day I found it had nice texture and was great sliced with butter, and then after that I enjoyed it toasted in small sandwiches with baba ghanoush, tahini sauce and arugula. Of all the breads I’ve tried at Mariposa, this is definitely my favorite, and one I would purchase again.

mariposalemonmuffinI swooned when I saw this gorgeous lemon poppyseed muffin in the case. It was fluffy and light and seemed to defy gravity with its lovely top. The white icing added just the right delicate and lovely touch, and I was sold. I took it home and hoarded it for a day or so before finally trying it. I found the texture to be excellent, and I enjoyed the delicate flavors. The poppyseeds really popped- and the lemon was interesting without being cloying. I did find it to be sweet- and I tend not to eat sweet muffins very often, so I don’t know how often I would buy it, but I did enjoy it.

mariposacake When I saw the beautiful White Cake Layer slices for $4.50 in the refrigerator case at Mariposa, I knew I had to have one. The sign advertised cream cheese frosting with raspberry filling, and the cake was also garnished generously with sliced, toasted almonds. Gorgeous! The DH and I shared a piece right there in the bakery. Our estimation? The cake texture was good, and the flavor was nice as well. The cream cheese frosting was thick, and a bit too sweet for my taste buds, and I wasn’t wild about the almonds in combination, but it was everything a white layer cake should be. I don’t think I would try that flavor again (although I confess a strong curiosity about the chocolate) but it was a satisfying and pleasant cake experience. Love that they are offering them in slices now!

marinutmealcookieI’ve raved about these nutmeal raisin cookies before, and my opinion hasn’t changed. This time I was able to snag about four to take home with me… which I kept in the bag and treasured for days. Of all the cookies at Mariposa (Chocolate chip and sugar cookie) I like the texture and flavor of the nutmeal raisin the best, and they are the only ones I buy regularly. Delicious!

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mariposagrocerymariposagrocery2 I’d heard that changes were afoot at Mariposa, including some un-rye bread, new freezer cases, and of course gluten-free ravioli. When we got there I noticed immediately that they had expanded the non-Mariposa offerings into a small gluten-free grocery selection. They are now carrying DeBoles pasta, Tinkyada Pasta, Glutino snack bars (yuck), Mesa Sunrise, Bakery on Main, and Amazon Corn Flakes, and Pamela’s mixes, among many other things.

mariposafreezer2 mariposafreezer3The freezer case was especially impressive, with offerings including bagels, cheese ravioli, butternut squash ravioli (GF DF NF), multi-grain bread, scones, baguettes, quiche in a pastry crust, rosemary rolls, and of course, pizza. I made sure to snag some of the gluten free cheese ravioli right away, although the price (10 pieces for $9) did give me serious pause. I know it is time intensive (trust me, or I’d make it more) but that is a pretty steep price for something I can make myself. But- luckily this blog gave me an excuse to try it at least once. I also bought the cheese quiche because I can’t resist a tasty looking crust that I didn’t have to make myself. And- last but not least, their poppyseed challah also went home with me. The DH and I of course had to have a slice of their gluten-free pizza, which in the past I’ve referred to as the best pizza on the West Coast.

mariposapizza2I always love Mariposa’s all-vegetarian pizza, and it’s one of the things that brings me back time after time. They have an excellent crust and toppings are generally very creative and tasty. I have to admit, this time I was slightly disappointed. The crust was underdone, so it wasn’t as gorgeous and crispy as usual, and the toppings were… not quite as inspired as usual, being just cheese, tomato, peppers, and herbs. I hope that they can keep their creative juices flowing and impressing us with their fun toppings that set them apart from the rest- and also, make sure that the crust is baked long enough to really do it justice. I’ll order their pizza again, of course, but it was a little bit of a bummer this time around.

mariposaquicheI took one of these quiche home and had it with a lovely arugula salad for dinner one night. Actually, it made several meals (but two of them were more like snacks). The crust was gorgeously browned and golden, but I found it slightly flat in flavor. I don’t know exactly what the ingredients are, but I don’t think it contains butter, and I miss that a little bit. The egg-cheese filling was pleasant, but I did want to add some kind of flavor element- I wish it had a vegetable, herb, or even more seasonings of salt and/or pepper. I loved being able to take the quiche home and bake it, and it is a very smart offering, in my opinion, that made this savory girl very happy. However, I probably wouldn’t get it again unless there was an option with the pow of additional (vegetarian) ingredients. You should definitely try it for yourself, though, and see what you think.

mariposachallah2The challah at Mariposa ($6.50) is a thing of absolute beauty. I have never seen a gluten-free challah with gorgeous, glistening braids like this one. The poppy seed topping is also fantastic (and they have them without if you prefer). The challah came frozen, so I left it in the freezer for a few days and then took it out for breakfast. I cut off a piece of the loaf and microwaved it…. and then it was time for a taste test. I think because the bread is based in brown rice flour, it has a distinctive “brown” bread flavor, with a sweet, almost fruity element. I tried the first piece with butter. The texture was pleasant, and the flavor wasn’t bad, but for me the real strength of the bread is its beauty. It makes me proud to see where gluten-free bread has come since my diagnosis. However, I do have to say that I wasn’t wild about the flavor and found it rather sweet and bland. I tried it with cream cheese, and it was also pleasant, but I don’t think the flavor of this particular bread is my thing.
2/18/09 Update
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*photos taken from experience in February- I just didn’t get around to posting about our trip, but this seemed like a good time to tell you about it!

valdonutsI was delighted when I heard about Mariposa’s special gluten-free doughnut day celebrating Valentines Day. They don’t normally offer doughnuts, so it sounded really fun and different. Their pretty cake-style (not fried) doughnuts looked enticing and I went a little crazy, buying a whole box full. Unfortunately, when we actually tried them, both the DH and I were not that crazy about them. They were pretty heavy, not all that sweet, and tasted pretty firmly gluten-free. They didn’t pass the glutenoid taste test, and the DH stopped eating after the first bite or so. I nibbled at a few, but to tell you the truth, most ended up sitting in our refrigerator uneaten and finally ended up in the trash. I hate to say this, but I much prefer the mass marketed donuts produced by kinnikinnick. These aren’t a regular offering at Mariposa. If they are offered again, perhaps the recipe will be tweaked a bit. I don’t think we’ll be making it to doughnut day anytime soon, though.

valcupcakes2valcupcakesStarting on Valentine’s Day (or perhaps prior to), Mariposa began offering chocolate, vanilla, black bottom, carrot cake & seasonal cupcakes made by Miglet’s Gluten-Free Cakery. ($2 each) For Valentine’s Day they had red velvet cupcakes that were bewitchingly sweet and as appealing to look at as they were to eat. I bought one carrot cake cupcake and one red velvet cupcake- in the interest of science, you understand. Both were tasty, but the cream cheese and other frosting was a bit sweet for my taste. They would be perfect for anyone with a strong sweet tooth, though- and I’ve never seen a cuter gluten-free cupcake. How great would it be to be able to bring home a box for a newly diagnosed child or family member? Now that they have a lovely refrigerated case, these cupcakes appear to be offered year round, and are a wonderful addition to the offerings at Mariposa.

valchocolateheartI have to say, though, that my absolute favorite Valentine’s Day treat was the Valentine’s Day flourless chocolate cake. The DH bought it for me, but if I remember correctly it was either just under or over $10.00. It sounds like a lot- but it was a beautiful, toothsome looking creation. When I cut into it, I found it was my idea of a perfect, fudge-like cake without any heavy bread or cake bits to get in the way of my enjoyment of the cake. The ganache-type coating was delightful, and I’d definitely order it again.

To conclude- Since my last Mariposa report, there have been lots of additions to Mariposa’s gluten-free baked good lineup lately. On our last Sunday afternoon visit, I was very pleased to see a great deal of foot traffic into the bakery. I noticed visitors often picked up some gluten-free cereal or other groceries along with their gluten-free cookies or cake- and in this tough market, anything that contributes to the bakery’s success is a good thing. I think Mariposa has been very smart with their gradual expansion of bakery offerings, and I’m thrilled to see them offering more savory items to the Bay Area like ravioli and quiche. I look forward to seeing what they make next, and hope you will all consider visiting their location and supporting their efforts for the gluten-free community.

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Mariposa Gluten-Free Bakery Party in Oakland, Gluten-Free Beer tasting, and GF tomato bruschetta Recipe

September 16th, 2008 yum Posted in Bay Area, Ca, California, Gluten Free Beer, Gluten Free bakery, Mariposa Bakery, Oakland, Party Food, Restaurant Review, tomatoes 7 Comments »

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the anniversary party of Mariposa Gluten-Free Bakeshop in Oakland, California. I found out about the event from the Mariposa monthly newsletter, which promised scrumptious gluten-free food samples, sparkling champagne and festive live music. I don’t need much of an excuse to go visit my favorite gluten-free pizza bakery, so I marked it on my calendar and even persuaded some gluten-free “taste-testers” to accompany me. :) Patti, the owner of Mariposa, was true to her word, serving a delicious spread of gluten-free baked goods like Peach and Spinach pizza, Tomato Basil Pizza, gluten-free baguettes for bruschetta accompanied with tomatoes or peach chutney, gluten-free dairy-free chocolate chip cookies, and other baked sweets. They also had refreshing fresh fruit and chilled champagne, as well as delightful italian blood orange soda and sparkling water. The best thing? The bakery was absolutely hopping with fans of Mariposa’s tasty gluten-free offerings. There’s nothing I like seeing more than a gluten-free bakery with lots of customers. Soon after we got there, a local band started playing outside, adding to the festive atmosphere.

The sophisticated peach and spinach topped pizza toppings won my heart, and I also thoroughly loved the simpler marguerita style tomato and basil pizza. I probably gobbled more than my fair share (cough cough) but it’s just so hard to hold back when faced with the best gluten-free pizza in California! I also thought the chocolate chip cookie bites were absolutely divine- I’m not sure, but they seemed a slightly different formula than I remembered from before. At any rate, the chocolate chips were big, chocolaty and melty and they were worth any amount of guilt. The other baked offerings were tasty, but I already have my favorites (not on sample, alas). I just can’t resist their nut-meal cookies (drool, almond slices and plump raisins- they taste too good to be bad for you!). And don’t even get me started on the completely addicting dairy-free lemon-coconut bars. I bought four nut-meal cookies and four lemon-coconut bars. Turns out the lemon bars are from a family recipe that Patti converted to be gluten-free. Yummy! I also bought one of each of the frozen, topped pizzas. At $12 they are not inexpensive, but worth every penny and a world away from commercially available gluten-free frozen pizzas like Amy’s Rice Crust pizza.

Haven’t made it to Cafe Mariposa’s Gluten-free Bakery yet? Here’s their vital stats:
5427 Telegraph Ave, Unit D3,
Oakland, CA 94609
tel: 510.595.0955
fax: 510.595.0966
info@mariposabaking.com
Don’t forget, you can also order their products online!
Hours:
Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm
Saturday – Sunday 10am – 4pm

My First Review of Cafe Mariposa
My Second Review of Cafe Mariposa

But there were even more gluten-free delights available besides the regular baked goods. During the party, Mariposa’s neighboring business The Wine Mine had a $1 gluten-free beer tasting in his awesome wine shop between 12-2pm. Apparently this booming local business has found it advantageous to stock some of the more exotic gluten-free beers, as well as a wide selection of tasty wines. For a mere $1, we were offered samples not only of the mainstream Redbridge and increasingly well-known New Grist, but also Green’s Belgian beer in three styles.

Here’s my entirely subjective Review of Gluten-Free Beers:

Anheuser-Busch’s Redbridge beer is becoming a classic in the gluten-free community. Some drinkers compare it to a mass-market beer like Coors. It’s fairly easy to drink, but does have a slight bitter aftertaste thanks to the sorghum base.

New Grist is my latest gluten-free beer discovery, and I find it an extremely drinkable light-tasting beer without much of an aftertaste. According to their web site, “New Grist is the first beer brewed without malted barley or any gluten-containing products to be recognized as beer by the U.S. Government.”

Green’s Belgian Discovery Gluten-Free Amber beer was an extremely pleasant surprise. It’s tasty and beer-like without a nasty aftertaste and has a complex, golden body. My fellow gluten-free taste tester with a taste for beer liked it the best of Green’s beers, and I had to agree. Well worth the effort to hunt this beer down! i liked it so much I bought one to take home.

On the other hand, Green’s Belgian Endeavour Gluten-Free Dubbel might appeal to those who like a dark beer, and it certainly had a strong, distinctive taste. However, to my taste buds it tasted unpleasantly medicinal, and my fellow taster thought that it was weirdly “sweet.” After the first dainty sip, I literally could not drink any more, but it’s important to remember that tastes vary and you might enjoy it, so it’s definitely worth a try.

Green’s Belgian Quest Gluten-Free Tripel Blonde Ale is quite fizzy and somewhat sweet. It’s easy to drink, and pleasant with an almost perfume-like flavor. It had a slightly bitter aftertaste. I bought one to take home, but more for the sake of comparison than anything- I couldn’t see myself drinking it regularly.

Have you tried these gluten-free beers? I’m just working on developing a palate for beer, so you might have a much different impression of them. Please tell me what you think of them in the comments!


Interested in visiting the Wine Mine and buying your own gluten-free beer? Here’s their info:
Wine Mine
5427 Telegraph Ave
Oakland CA
510-547-9463
Monday: closed (except 11/24, 12/22 call for hours)
Tue – Fri: 11:00 – 6:30pm
Saturday: 11:00 – 6:00pm
Sunday: 11:00 – 4:00pm

For now, I’ll leave you with the recipe for Patti’s delicious and easy tomato bruschetta. Hopefully I’ve whetted your appetite for Mariposa’s tasty gluten-free baked goods. Remember, I don’t have any affiliation with these folks- just an appreciation for some quality gluten-free goods. In fact… I might just have to bake one of those gluten-free pizzas for dinner tonight. :)

Did you go to the Mariposa Cafe One Year Anniversary party? Tell me about it in the comments!

Mariposa Tomato Bruschetta Recipe
Ingredients
Topping:
1 container Trader Joe’s refrigerated Bruschetta Sauce
lots of finely diced Roma tomatoes
olive oil to taste
a dash of sea salt and white pepper
a smile while it was being prepared. (Food always tastes better when made with a smile! :-))

*Sea’s note: a little fresh basil would be tasty, too!

Base:
1 Gluten-free baguette (Mariposa’s or your favorite homemade baguette recipe- I often make Bette Hagman’s rapid-rise french bread, but Mariposa’s baguettes are more nutritious), sliced and toasted (if bread is not fresh out of the oven) A

Directions
Combine topping ingredients in a medium or large bowl, tasting as you go to adjust seasonings. When it tastes perfect let it sit for a few minutes (or half an hour) to let flavors marry and then serve on toasted baguette slices OR let guests spoon their topping onto fresh slices to taste.

Notes
A simple and fun party appetizer!
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