Review of Gluten-free Menu and Pizza at BJ’s Brewhouse in California +

February 9th, 2011 yum Posted in Bay Area, Ca, Oregon, Restaurant Review, Travel, Washington State 5 Comments »

BJ’s Brewhouse
10690 N. De Anza Blvd.
Cupertino, CA 95014
408.865.6970 TEL
Gluten-free menu including Pizza
11am-12am Monday-Thursday
11am-1am Friday
10am-1am Saturday
10am-12am Sunday

You can also find Locations in California (51), Texas (20), Arizona (6), Florida (6), Nevada (4), Colorado (4), Oregon (2), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (2) Washington (2), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), and possibly Lahaina Hawaii (with a limited menu).

The DH came back from a business trip to Israel and found himself in sunny California jet-lagged, starving, and awake on a certain Saturday morning. We decided the best course of action would be to take ourselves to a restaurant, post haste. But where to go? I have mentioned several times that a good friend of mine from our Gluten-free Support Group recently wrote an article recommending her favorite gluten-free pizza joints. One of her absolute favorites was the pizza at BJ Brewhouse. This is ironic. I’ve lived in Sunnyvale for several years and passed the BJ Brewhouse in Cupertino countless times and snubbed it. A microbrewery with a food menu? Those places usually have, at best, a salad or two that MIGHT be adaptable for a gluten-free vegetarian. Might, if they don’t coat the lettuce greens in breadcrumbs just so they match the rest of the menu. Every time the DH made noises about how it might be nice to stop and get a beer, I was less than enthused, so we’d always end up going to the nearby Outback Steakhouse, where at least I could get a Gluten-free Chocolate Thunder from Down Under and a hearty baked potato, not in that order but ordered by preference. But then my friend tells me, while our Gluten-free toddlers are toddling along on a playdate, that BJ Brewhouse has a fantastic gluten-free pizza baked on a Venice Bakery Crust. Who knew! They do, in fact, have a full gluten-free menu which includes salads, soups, omelettes (brunch menu) and protein bits in addition to pizza. The only thing they don’t have is a thrilling gluten-free dessert, unless root beer floats float your boat.

The atmosphere is a combination between a cleaner microbrewery and upscale family-style restaurant. The designers of the Cupertino location really like diverse lighting, as you will see if you just look up. Tract lighting, chandeliers, everyday lamps and hanging bistro lights add ambiance, as do the brewing vats behind glass in the corner. Ordering at BJ Brewhouse is remarkably painless. If you want just a pizza, the gluten-free option is listed on their regular menu. Otherwise you need to ask for their gluten-free menu. The first time we went we had a pizza with fresh basil and artichoke hearts. Excellent! The second time, I went with roasted red pepper and, yes, fresh basil. What can I say, I’m a basil girl. I also tried their highly tasty tomato soup, their California Omelet (which does not seem to include their gluten-containing potatoes), and most recently their Italian Market Salad. Everything has been good, and satisfying. And, while it isn’t exactly fine dining, the prices are quite decent. While I love going to unique family-owned restaurants, sometimes I really, really like the security of dining gluten-free with a chain; this is especially the case when they have gluten-free down to a science as they seem to at BJ Brewhouse.

The pizza has turned out to be my favorite, locally available pizza. I like Jina’s idea to order it with extra sauce, although we haven’t done so yet, and the pizza has been appropriately crispy both times I ordered it. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed their Italian Market Salad, ordered without salami to make it vegetarian. It had several kinds of lettuce, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, basil, artichoke hearts, olives, roasted red pepper, garbanzo beans, cucumbers, and more. Basically all my favorite things, in something that felt way too hearty to be a salad. Perfect!

BJ Brewhouse is a great place to go with Baby Yum. She loves the pizza, and the booths are very handy for babies and toddlers. She has tried and seemed to enjoy everything we ordered. And for our part, the DH and I are happy to have found another option where we can all eat safely and enjoy ourselves, without going bankrupt. I would definitely recommend BJ Brewhouse to others. I haven’t had so much as a tummy rumble after eating there, and that speaks for itself. Unless of course it was a tummy rumble for MORE PIZZA!

Have you eaten at BJ’s Brewhouse? What is your favorite thing on their gluten-free menu? Tell me in the comments!

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Gluten Free Friendly Restaurants and Health Food Stores in Eugene, Oregon: Cafe Yumm Review

May 5th, 2009 yum Posted in Eugene, Gluten Free Dining, Or, Oregon, Vegetarian 12 Comments »

yummbowlLast year when I wrote about gluten-free restaurants in Portland, a reader told me about a great restaurant in Eugene with many naturally gluten free options called Cafe Yumm. This Spring when we drove from San Francisco to Portland, we stopped in Eugene for a tasty and healthy lunch at the Cafe Yumm. They have locations in Beaverton, Bend, Corvallis, Springfield as well as Eugene.

The Cafe Yumm menu is based around healthy rice bowls with beans, but the inspiration for the name comes from what they call Yumm sauce- a creamy sauce made from nutritional yeast, soy, and chickpeas that happens to be gluten-free. The sauce contains no wheat, dairy, gluten, eggs or sugar, so it works well for additional allergies as well as a vegan diet. Unfortunately the Cafe does not have a gluten-free menu as such, but they do have a book at the counter with all of the ingredients of each dish, and the servers are really helpful about looking through the book with you and helping you find a dish that will work for your diet.

When we walked up to the counter, I was a little nervous and had no idea what to order, but the really sweet girl at the register helped me look through the book. The Yumm rice bowls are most suitable for a hearty gluten-free meal, and the DH and I chose the Original bowl as well as the Smoky Bowl. All bowls come with Tillamook® cheddar, diced tomato, fresh avocado slices, sour cream, black olives, & cilantro as a topping. The Original bowl has brown rice and organic black beans with Original Yumm! Sauce® and organic salsa. The Smoky bowl has Organic brown rice, Original Yumm! Sauce, house-made chipotle chili, and organic salsa. The DH considered getting tofu skewers, but we couldn’t find them in the ingredient book and the server said they were made off site, so we didn’t order them as they seemed likely to not be gluten-free.

What did we think when the bowls came? I was quite hungry, and it was really nice to get a big bowl of brown rice with lots of yummy tasting, fresh toppings. I liked the fact that almost all of the ingredients were simple and fresh, and I knew that the one ingredient that was more complex (the yumm sauce) was confirmed gluten-free. That being said, I did find the original Yumm bowl to be a little plain for my taste, and the DH and I both preferred the Smoky bowl with the added kick of chipotle chili sauce. The restaurant did make a great, hearty and gluten-free food stop, and best of all, I felt great after eating there. I’ve always enjoyed the health food stores and cozy college atmosphere in Eugene, and now I have one more reason to stop there- Yumm Cafe. The Yumm sauce IS one that is based in a vegetarian or vegan flavor palate, so not everyone may love it, especially if they aren’t use to the flavor of nutritional yeast. I thought it was great, though, and was happy to purchase a bottle of the Yumm Sauce to take home with me to make my own tasty rice bowls and to use as a topping for baked potatoes. The only thing I wish was that the cafe had a gluten-free menu or easily accessed gluten-free menu chart as it would make it faster and easier to find an appropriate dish. Also, even though the sauce IS gluten-free and is advertised as such on their website and in their literature, the serving girl did not know that it was gluten-free, so I actually had to tell her that it was safe- but I really did appreciate how helpful and patient she was, even untrained, at helping me find something safe to eat from the menu.

Have you eaten a gluten-free meal at Cafe Yumm? Tell me about it in the comments!

List of Gluten-Free Restaurants in Eugene, Oregon
*of special interest: Chinese restaurant Lok Yaun has a Gluten-free Menu*

List of Natural Health Food Stores in Eugene, Oregon

One of my favorites is
748 E. 24th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97405
7am -11pm

While they don’t have an especially fancy gluten-free selection of prepared baked goods or anything, they do have a good vegetarian, mostly vegan deli that “features many raw foods entrees. The prepackaged cooler is available from 7 AM until closing time at 11 PM. The soup, green salad, raw entrée, and prepared salad bar is open from 9 AM until 9 PM, and the hot buffet is available from 11 AM until 9 PM”. (from their web site, confirmed in person) Offerings are generally labeled with ingredients and staff is great about helping you confirm ingredients. Some offerings are from local places, so they might have to call them to confirm some things- and that will require them to actually be open and answer the phone. However, I’ve gotten some very tasty and safe vegan/vegetarian meals from Sundance that I thoroughly enjoyed.

What are your favorite gluten-free stops in Eugene? Tell us about it!

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