In another lifetime as an intrepid young vegetarian college student, I came to this vegetarian cafe restaurant with my significant other. I didn’t have a food blog at the time, needless to say, so I didn’t document the experience and had forgotten entirely about the place until I found myself standing in a parking lot and then an atrium that was eerily familiar. At that time, I don’t think they had a gluten-free menu, so I had to navigate the place for myself with the help of the waitress. This time, I went specifically because of two phrases that turned up in a google search; “Gluten-free menu” and “Vegetarian.” Those two little phrases don’t come up much together, with a few exceptions. After spending the morning with my Dad at the Pike Place Market, gluten-free vegetarian fare sounded pretty good.
But as usual, when confronted with too many options I waffled. Everything sounded good.
I was going to be sharing with Toddler Yum, so I wanted to find two things to order. I was excited by the prospect of gluten-free sweet potato fries, until I found out that they were fried in a shared vat of oil with gluten stuff. Oops. The waitress helped by suggesting their seasonal pizza, which had heirloom tomatoes, corn, macadamia nuts and cheese. Their description sounded better than mine, but I can’t find it on their current menu, so you will just have to trust my possibly faulty memory and eyeball the pizza to see what I might have left out. There was something green and herbal, I do believe. Cilantro? Basil Pesto? Who knows. The important thing was, when the pizza arrived, it WAS good, and beautiful too. Those tomatoes looked and tasted like they could have come straight out of my prized heirloom tomato garden.
The second menu item was a no-brainer. I was so smitten by the description of their Pesto Potato Quiche that I couldn’t help but order it.
“Caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese baked in the traditional custard with a thin crispy potato crust and topped with fresh basil pesto; served with wild greens dressed in balsamic vinaigrette.”
Um, yes please. We got the order in right in time, too, before they took the breakfast items off the table.
Just as I expected from that luscious description, the quiche was divine. Actually, I would have to say that it is probably the best darned quiche that I’ve ever had. That thin potato crust was perfect, and had me questioning if it was really gluten-free. (It was, but I had to reassure myself by neurotically questioning the waitress.) The filling was truly what took the quiche over into the realm of the heavenly, though. The sophisticated flavor of the cheese… the onions… the pesto… all the flavors melded together and showed me just how amateur the other quiches I’d had (and made myself at home) truly were. Oh, it was so good, and even Toddler Yum agreed. However, once she saw my Dad’s portabella mushroom “burger” and fries, she was too busy stealing his fries* to eat much of my good food. *Toddler Yum is not eating fully gluten-free right now. In fact, we’re trying to feed her gluten regularly so she can have the Celiac bloodwork done. I even had her try some of his gluten bread, although she did not like it.*
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Cafe Flora. The food and the ambiance is equally lovely. We started out in the atrium with waterfall, but moved because they have a kids play area that Toddler Yum became obsessed with on sight. Once she had seen it and gasped in rapture “Oh. My. Goooodness!” I knew keeping her out of it was going to be impossible. We moved closer to the play space. Nice play area and awesome food that didn’t hurt my tummy, even 3 1/2 hours afterwards. Even my hardcore carnivore Dad seemed to enjoy it, and kept the “where’s the beef” comments to a minimum. For him, this is big, so I was happy.
I would definitely recommend Cafe Flora and their sophisticated vegetarian menu for gluten-free folks in the area looking for a tasty meal. I just wish there was a similar place closer to me that I could go to regularly! They even have a cookbook which I assume you can purchase on Amazon for those who can’t make it to Seattle or want to recreate their favorite dishes at home. Sounds good to me!