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
Don’t forget, you can also order their products online!
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
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
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!

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

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.

A simple and fun party appetizer!
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Best Gluten-Free Vegetarian Pizza in the San Francisco Bay: Mariposa Bakery

May 1st, 2008 yum Posted in Ca, California, Gluten Free On the Road, Gluten Free Product Review, Gluten Free bakery, Oakland 17 Comments »

pizza6.jpgmypizza.jpgMariposa Gluten-Free Bakery
5427 Telegraph Ave, Unit D3
Oakland, CA 94609

tel: 510.595.0955
fax: 510.595.0966

Monday – Wednesday 8am – 4pm
Thursday – Friday 8am – 6pm
Saturday 10am – 4pm
*starting May 18 Sunday: 10am-4pm* (Updated)
(Until May 18 Mariposa will be CLOSED Sunday)

pizzacrust.jpgMariposa Menu (prices current in March, 2008)
A Slice of the Vegetarian Pizza of the Day- 1 slice $3.75 (12-3 pm daily)
10″ frozen pizza crust $4.50
10″ frozen topped veggie pizza
10″ frozen cheese pizza $10
10″ hot topped pizza $14

Toasted bagel with cream cheese $2.25
Toasted bagel and butter $2
Toasted bagel and jam $2.25

mariposaoutside.jpg bagels.jpgI first heard about the Mariposa bakeshop a little over a year ago when they opened a cafe location in Oakland, California to serve freshly baked goods to accompany the fresh baked biscotti and brownies they had been selling nation-wide. I blogged about my first visit in june and reviewed their offerings at the time, but they promised to expand their menu, and I was thrilled to hear this Spring that they had added pizza and bagels to the menu. DH and I decided to go on a local gluten-free adventure and drove down to check it out.

mariposacounter1.jpg browniebars1.jpg

This visit, I was thrilled to find that not only did they have a delicious vegetarian pizza available daily, but that they had fresh baked bagels and sugar cookies in addition to muffins, lemon bars, and their killer brownies. The prices were generally reasonable, although given the price of food lately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some price increases in the future. They offered a variety of muffins, brownies, bread, and coffee cake. The muffins were $1.50 and the bagels were $1.25, and the cookies were a dollar each, and I couldn’t resist getting some to take home. The star of the show, though, was the amazing pizza. The crust managed to be crunchy and bread-y at the same time, and I loved the toppings. The daily special had a spinach, zucchini, onion, and roasted potato with mozzarella cheese topping. The roasted potato added surprising sweetness, and the zucchini was refreshing- and to think, I used to think I didn’t like zucchini! This was no overcooked, mushy, watery zucchini- this was zucchini in its best manifestation- roasted to sweet, fresh flavor and marrying perfectly with the green spinach and caramelized onions. Most gluten free pizzas underwhelm, either because of their toppings or a mediocre crust- but this pizza was wonderful on all counts. If you’re worried about the cheese, never fear. If you call ahead of time, they will make you a dairy free pizza! I think they use a soy cheese, but I’m not sure- you’d have to verify that with the owner.

halfbagel.jpgsugarcookie.jpgBeing me I couldn’t just have a slice of pizza (although that was really the reason we came all the way from Mountain View!), but had to order a toasted bagel with cream cheese. Honestly, can you imagine how cool it was, after years of ignoring bagels in shops like they were laced with rat poison, to actually order my own, safe, delicious-looking gluten-free bagel in a cafe? It was cool. The bagel didn’t disappoint, either, with a glossy exterior studded with poppy seeds and a bready interior that was satisfyingly dense without venturing into gluten-free hockey puck territory. The cream cheese was just as creamy and cheesy as it should be, and I thoroughly enjoyed my delicious little snack. The sweet butterfly-shaped gluten-free sugar cookie we had for dessert just topped off the meal. I actually only barely managed to score myself a cookie- as we were waiting for our pizza, a loyal customer came in and was about to buy ALL Of the cookies. I managed to wheedle him out of one cookie. There was no cookie auctioning involved, happily. I just mentioned to the nice man that I had been going to buy one and he said to go ahead. Yay! Let’s hear it for nice fellow gluten-free folk! And in case you’re wondering how many stomachs I have… the answer is TWO. DH and I shared everything, although I greedily ordered the whole rest of the veggie gluten-free pizza to take home. It was that good. And, since I was so impressed with the crust, I picked one up to take home. You can see my haul that I took home at the bottom of this post.

I also found that Mariposa (now?) offers gluten-free cakes made to order by Kapcakes, so they are the perfect place to order a gluten-free cake for any birthdays coming up! According to their April newsletter, “for Passover this year we offer[ed] Torta Regina cakes. Fragranced with cirtus zest, these 8″ cakes are a wonderful blend of chocolate, almonds and hazelnuts. Made by Hanna at Kapcakes, the Torta Regina is suitable for Passover as well as gluten-free and dairy-free with no added fats or oils. Yum! Also from Kapcakes, we offer[ed] a variety of cookies, including nut macaroons, which are also suitable for Passover.” It seems like a wonderful collaboration that will benefit everybody involved, including their happy customers!

Altogether, we had a great experience over at Mariposa Bakery in Oakland. There are so many fun things to do in the area it’s a great place to make a day trip, but of course, the gluten-free bakery was the highlight of our trip! Here’s my entirely subjective review of the products I sampled. I was going to give numbers like I usually do, but it got too hard, so I’m listing them in order of preference with descriptive awards. Hope it helps when you’re deciding how many dozens to order! ;)

Vegetarian Gluten-Free Pizza- Almost perfection! I suppose there COULD be a better pizza, but I haven’t had it yet, and that’s saying a lot after 28 years of living gluten-free! And the fact that it is made in an entirely gluten-free environment… PRICELESS.
lemonsquarepack.jpgGluten-Free Lemon Bars- Addictive DF Heaven in bar form!I love, love, love these lemon bars. Chocolate doesn’t always agree with me, and I’m not always sure about dairy, and I can’t BELIEVE there is no dairy in these puppies. They are sooo sweet (sometimes half of one is plenty) and so… coconutty… and soooo good. I put them in the freezer when I stock up (last time they were 3/$5) and they vanish embarrassingly quickly.
browniebars1.jpgGluten-free Brownies- An awesome Death by Chocolate! I’ve raved about these brownies before as the perfect, fudgy brownie, just like I like ‘em. I have one in my freezer right now… hmmm…. They have the added bonus of being sold in some Bay area stores like Whole Foods. They have some markup, but are worth it. Love this treat in all its permutations.
bagels2.jpg Gluten-Free Bagels- best of the savory breads, after the pizza crust! (You got the gist above, I assume.) Love them!
Gluten-Free Coffeecake, Pumpkin Muffins- Tasty Treat! Let me just say I’m not a huge coffee cake person. But, both the coffee cake and muffins were good and I love that they offer it.
Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies- Lovely for the novelty! The best part? Not having to roll out the dough and make them myself. I do have my own favorite recipes, so I’m not sure I’d buy them again. They were fun, although slightly dry.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies- Good and dairy-free! I love being able to buy them and they are worlds better than processed GF cookies like Ians. (I won’t eat Ians, for the record, but I did enjoy this cookie.) But, both DH and I thought they tasted a little “gluten-free” and have our own favorite recipe at home. However, Mr. Cookie buying man bought them all up, so they definitely have their fans! And, they are dairy free as well, which is definitely a plus.
Gluten-Free Bread - Better than many processed breads. This is always unfair, because I make some gluten-free breads that I love and I’ve tried many great recipes. This bread was good, but a little “gluten-free.” Not my favorite of their products. But so handy to be able to buy it, yes? Love that!

Can I just say that after crushing disappointment at other facilities (like, say, Sunny Valley Wheat Free in Seattle that didn’t serve pizza on the weekends, or at Da Vinci where they didn’t have any vegetarian pizza that day) it was such a joy to be able to order a delicious vegetarian pizza that was… dare I say it and leave my ego intact… better than I can make at home. If I could go every week, I would. It’s just a darned shame we live such an inconvenient drive away. So please, I beg you, let’s help support this wonderful gluten-free company that just keeps getting better and better! If you live in the area, you absolutely MUST run, not walk, to try this gluten-free pizza of legends that I personally think is the BEST GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA IN THE BAY. ,In fact, consider it your mission, as of now, to try it and then come back over to the Book of Yum and tell me all about it in the comments! I’d love to hear about your favorite gluten-free products at Mariposa, or about your experience in general.


*Oh, by the way, I have no connection to this business or its owner. I just like her product! There were no shady deals involving envelopes under apartment doors or anything like that, although that sounds highly entertaining. Maybe next time I’ll pretend there was one so I can “tell you” about it. haha*

Another beauty shot...


Check out a photo from Joe’s recent visit, taken the day after I posted. (Yay!)

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