Corbett Coffee Plant
5911 SW Corbett
Next Door to Corbett Fish House!!!
Open Sun 8 – 4; Mon 7 – 6
Tue – Sat 7 – 9 serving dinner!
In the process of researching gluten free restaurants in Portland, Oregon I happened upon a review of a coffee shop next door to the Corbett Fish House. Reportedly this place had begun serving gluten free baked goods along with their coffee some time back, and they even had a dedicated kitchen. I was intrigued, and thought that since we were going to Corbett Fish House anyway we could pick up snacks for the road from them. I was hopeful, but I’d been disappointed before by lackluster “gluten free” coffee shops. Spica in Mountain View comes to mind. But when we walked up to this charming, neighborhood coffee shop and saw the adorable sign out front with “Gluten Free” written inside a heart, I had a good feeling about this place. I never know sometimes how gluten free a place really is until I get there. Often we’re lucky to have a shelf set aside for special baked goods, and sometimes those goods are simply pre-packaged things. In this case, the more I looked around and asked questions, the more excited I became. First off, there was a menu by the cash register with the following things available that day:
Quiche: Feta, Calamata Olives, Pine Nuts, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Carrots (note: sells out early in the day)
As you can imagine, I was thrilled by the quiche, but alas, it had already sold out that day. Doh. But the menu listed sandwiches. Really? Sandwiches? “Are they gluten free?” I asked nervously. “Oh yes, everything baked here is gluten free,” the barista said calmly, no doubt used to the incredulity of giddy gluten free shoppers. I wanted to interrogate the poor guy more, but instead gazed dizzily around. The sandwiches were neatly tucked away inside a refrigerator case, just like “Real” sandwiches. Since we were planning to drive all the way home to Mountain View that night, a packed sandwich to go sounded perfect. And best of all, they had a veggie sandwich. I am always depressed by places that offer tons of gluten free meat dishes and no savory vegetarian offerings. I looked around the shop. There was a shelf with packaged gluten free snacks- bumblebee bars, ener-g pretzels, that sort of thing. By the register there was also a lovely little glass display of GF baked goods with a blueberry coffee cake, apple scone, apple coffee cake, and rich chocolate cookies. YUM, YUM, YUM. Because I have no willpower, I bought one of each to try! (Not to eat all at once, silly. I planned to take them home to Mountain View.)
DH lovingly set up my purchases in the dimly lit coffee shop for a photo. So sweet! So badly lit! Oh well. Hopefully you can feel the warm, groovy coffee shop vibe in the photo. From left, the edge of a pumpkin pie. I didn’t take a very good photo of it, but it ended up being my least favorite treat, so I suppose it’s all right. I found the crust to be too thick, and it was the only thing that tasted “gluten free” to my scrupulous taste buds. I do love that they offered a seasonal pie, though, as I know first hand what a pain gluten free pie crust can be. Front and center you can see a huge, chocolate cookie. Poor little cookie never stood a chance. It got gobbled before we were even fully out of Portland. All I can say is YUM, YUM, and SUPER YUM! Congrats to the brillig baker at Coffee Plant for single handedly creating the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie. Can I give a 10/10 again? Is that bad? It was a darned tasty cookie. To the right, the only “oops” of my purchase- an apple crumble scone/cake that looked super delish but turned out to be topped with gluten-free oats. I’m sure it was fab. but because I didn’t really want to test out oats for the first time while on the road (or even just back from a road trip), I ended up exchanging it for the blueberry coffee cake that was topped with almonds. Did I mention that the barista at Coffee plant was really nice? And when I called them on the phone to ask a few additional questions before writing this post, they were really nice again. Gosh, I love people in Portland. Anyway, just one more reason to give them your business. (Products topped with oats are not labeled, so ask if you don’t want something with oats.) Note the beautiful latte in the background, decorated with a lovely leaf squiggle. *sigh* It was darned fine coffee as well as pretty coffee, being made from Portland’s own pride and joy Stumptown Coffee, a local company that hand roasts its coffee in small batches.
I think I mentioned the veggie sandwich already, right? I loved the fact that they even had a veggie sandwich, much less one with cheese, mustard, grated carrot, red pepper, tomato and greens on perfectly sliced bread and wrapped in tidy saran wrap for the Celiac on the go. I’ve had a few veggie sandwiches in my time- Spica has a processed cheese melt, and The Farmer’s Cafe has a portobello sandwich with pesto that is pretty tasty. But this sandwich blew them all away. First off, the bread looked so good I was honestly afraid there had been a mistake and it contained gluten. Eating bread that I didn’t make is always a bit intimidating, especially without a label of ingredients to read and read again. But, with the assurances of the cafe barista ringing in my ears, I braved it and took a bite. That was one DELICIOUS sandwich. I offered DH a bite, saying anxiously, “Gluten free, right?” He took a bite and paused. “Um, I don’t know,” he said. Yes, you heard it right. The glutenoid COULD NOT TELL it was a gluten free sandwich. And, if you’re worried- it WAS! I felt no ill effects after gobbling the whole thing down as my dinner later. The smokey cheese, mustard, plentiful veggies- awesome bread… It may be the best sandwich I ever had, even including my homemade creations. That puppy was made by someone who 1) understands gluten free baking 2) understands vegetarian flavors and 3) made my tummy happy! Sorry, couldn’t resist the last bit. Yum. I want another, please. I immediately wanted to know what flours they used. Bean flour? Sorghum?? I called the cafe later and asked about flours, and was told they use a combo of rice flour, tapioca, and potato starch. Awesome. I think the secret to their bread may be that they bake their products every day. Good gluten free bread is generally palatable un-toasted the first day it is baked- and this bread was Very, Very palatable. Mmm. 10/10 for the best gluten-free veggie sandwich EVER, thank you very much.
Later I enjoyed some blueberry coffee cake at home, and I was impressed with the spongy texture, delicious apples baked into the batter, and the excellent flavor. I’m not that huge on cake, actually, so I would give it an entirely subjective 7.5/10 but if you love apple coffee cake you will love this cake!
And last, but definitely not least, was the absolutely scrumptious apple scone that I enjoyed. I don’t know how much butter/ oil/yum making ingredient was in there, and I don’t think I want to know- but it was darned tasty, and exactly how I imagined a scone could be. And… hold on to your hats here- it was better than any scone I’ve made at home. Shocking, I’m sure, but there you have it. A billion kudos and kisses thrown to the master baker at the Coffee Plant. She (?) has surpassed the baked goods sold at many gluten free bakeries, and certainly surpassed most packaged products. I hope they hang on to her for dear life, ’cause her gluten free creations are simply brilliant. And I can’t wait to be back to have another sandwich and… fingers crossed… try that oh so yum sounding quiche. Ah yes, and a 9.5/10 for the scone. I would give it a 10, but took off half a point for the caloric guilt I felt after consuming it. Gotta be stingy with those tens or they might lose all meaning… ;)
So what are you waiting for? Clearly Portland is THE Gluten-Free Destination of the Northwest. If you haven’t been there lately, you haven’t been there- ’cause according to reports the Coffee Plant just keeps getting better and better. Oh, one word to the wise- the Corbett location is the only one offering all these fab. GF items. You will be sad, sad, sad and hungry at the downtown branch of the Coffee Plant- I believe they do not carry any gluten-free goodies, so you’ll have to console yourself with a tasty latte if you go there. I’m already planning my return, so…See you in Portland!