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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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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