Mariposa Baking Co. in San Francisco – Gluten-Free Goodness

Posted on March 10th, 2014 by Alison | Posted in Bakeries, Dining Out, SF Bay Area, Travel | ADD A COMMENT »

I can’t believe it’s been 6 years since I first wrote about Mariposa Baking Company At that time (2008), they were located only in Oakland, CA, and the next year made the move to a kiosk in the historic Ferry Building of San Francisco. Now they reside in a permanent spot in the Ferry Building, and with more room they can offer toasted bagels, sandwiches, and other gluten-free breakfast and lunch items in addition to an array of gluten-free baked goods.

On a beautiful day in February, I boarded the ferry in Larkspur, CA with my two daughters. We loved every minute of the ferry ride, with awesome views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island and San Francisco. We arrived at The Ferry Building, which is known for its amazing food, offering Mexican, Vietnamese, Japanese, Italian and Americana, in addition to its gourmet meats, cheeses, oysters and other fresh foods.

We passed up these options, however, as some were gluten-ful, and I just didn’t feel like asking so many questions (my daughter has multiple food allergies). That day was about spending time with my girls and not having to worry about a thing, so we headed straight for Mariposa Baking Company, where we could get great food and feel relaxed.

Mariposa Baking Company San Francisco

Mariposa Gluten-Free San Francisco

I ordered “the gobbler” sandwich: organic turkey with swiss, organic spinach, tomato and red onion, cranberry sauce, and mayo on toasted Faux “Rye” bread – 2 slices of bread from a round loaf of light bread with caraway seeds added. It came with a side salad and delicious croutons! I loved it! Other menu items were “cheddar hammy sammy,” “mediterranean panini,” “tuna melt,” and “empanada plate.” All are marked whether they are also vegan, dairy-free or nut-free. You can create your own sandwich if you prefer. One of my daughters ordered a toasted cheese sandwich and the other had a plain turkey sandwich, both on their Sandwich Bread, which is egg, dairy and nut-free.

Mariposa Gluten-Free Sandwich San Francisco

After lunch we walked to the new Exploratorium and then of course we had to return to Mariposa get treats and some items to take back home. We tried a few sweets and then purchased some loaves of bread — the Faux Rye was $7 per loaf and the Sandwich Bread was $6 per loaf, great prices for gluten-free bakery bread!

Mariposa Gluten-Free Bread

Whether you are visiting the Bay Area, or a native, I highly recommend my itinerary above, with a stop at Mariposa!


Gluten-Free Clam Chowder at Hog Island Oyster Co.

Posted on January 9th, 2013 by Alison | Posted in Dining Out, Restaurants/Stores, SF Bay Area | ADD A COMMENT »

I often get asked for gluten-free food recommendations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Well, I got a nice surprise recently at Hog Island Oyster Co. Bar, which has two locations. One is in the Ferry Building in San Francisco and the other is in Oxbow Public Market in Napa. (The actual Hog Island Oyster Farm in located on Highway 1 in Marshall).

A friend had picked this spot and at first I was a little wary because it didn’t seem like there were a lot of gluten-free options. When we were told that the clam chowder was gluten-free, I was sold! Doesn’t it look fabulous, piled high with fresh clams, and surrounded by potatoes and other vegetables, and bacon? It was delicious. (For those new to the gluten-free diet, you should know that most clam chowder is made with flour.)

There are other gluten-free options on their small menu – the salad I had was really good and fresh. And there are, of course, the oysters. Other than raw, I was told that the steamers are sometimes steamed with beer, sometimes white wine, but it’s no problem for them to accommodate. The baked oysters and the oyster stew are also gluten-free. On Sundays, they serve a gumbo, which is NOT gluten-free and there may be other specials that contain gluten. As always, be sure to double check for yourself. Don’t forget to pair with some nice California wines, and if you go to the Ferry Building location, grab a gluten-free baguette from Mariposa Baking Company to dip in the chowder… heaven.

For more information, see the Hog Island Oyster Bar sample menu and visit their website.


zpizza – gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free

Posted on August 19th, 2012 by Alison | Posted in Dairy Allergy, Dining Out, Egg Allergy, Restaurants/Stores, Soy Allergy | ADD A COMMENT »

Most of America takes for granted the ability to go out for pizza or have it delivered. Most families I know have pizza at least once a week and it is the standard food for birthday parties and sports team outings. If you have to avoid gluten, finding pizza gets a little more challenging, but there are more and more options out there. If you also have to avoid eggs and/or dairy, however, it becomes almost impossible to find a good, safe pizza.

zpizza, a pizza chain started in southern California, offers not only a gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free crust (made by Venice Bakery), but also offers Daiya cheese for those who want a non-dairy cheese option (it is also soy-free). They offer a gluten-free menu online and in the stores, as well as a vegan menu.

I really liked the pizza. The crust was crunchy but not crackery, and the toppings were really fresh. The meats are nitrate-free, the tomato sauce is organic and the veggies options are interesting, like arugula, shitake mushrooms, caramelized onions and capers.

But the best part of all was that my gluten-free egg-allergic daughter could order a pizza. It’s the little things!

Note: zpizza states that they are not a gluten-free environment. While I was at the Petaluma, CA location they seemed very careful and used dedicated pans in the oven, but please dine at your own risk. If you have nut allergies please note that they use peanuts and pine nuts in some of their sauces.

 


California Pizza Kitchen stops serving gluten-free pizza … for now

Posted on September 12th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Dining Out, Restaurants/Stores | Read 2 Comments - Add Your Own »

Two months ago I reported that California Pizza Kitchen had started serving gluten-free pizza and mentioned that I hoped they were fully trained in how to safely serve the gluten-free diner. Since then, there has been a firestorm of angry comments, accusations and blog posts surrounding the safety of the pizza for those with celiac disease. (I was even accused on Twitter of “purposely cpkmisinforming” my readers about CPK!) The crust itself was never the issue, but rather the practices of the individuals making the pizzas which led to cross-contamination. The training of the staff varied from store to store, according to gluten-free people who were sampling the crust all over the country.

Well, it seems that the complaints have resonated with California Pizza Kitchen, as they have now stopped serving the crust, according to their website (pointed out to me by a reader) and a phone call I made to their marketing department.

Here is the statement CPK has on their website regarding this issue:

“We sincerely appreciate the very valuable feedback we have received from our guests regarding our Gluten-Free pizza crust, which we have temporarily stopped serving in all of our restaurants. To assure our gluten-free guests that we are able to provide an enjoyable, safe dining experience, we are working closely with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) to review our Gluten-Free pizza crust preparation processes, procedures and training materials. GIG’s experts have inspected our kitchens and are in the process of providing us their feedback. Once the review process is completed and any recommended improvements are fully implemented, we will once again offer the Gluten-Free pizza crust.”

Additionally on the phone I was told that it is still a goal of CPK to provide customers with a gluten-free crust option and they anticipate being able to do it — right this time — by the end of November. The marketing person I spoke with recommended that people follow California Pizza Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter or check back on their website for the re-launch of the gluten-free pizza crust.

I personally am pleased that they will still pursue the gluten-free crust and that they are working with GIG to make it safe for everyone.


California Pizza Kitchen offers gluten-free pizza

Posted on June 29th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Dining Out, Restaurants/Stores, Travel | Read 7 Comments - Add Your Own »

California Pizza Kitchen has officially launched a gluten-free crust. In an email sent to me today, it was announced:

“The wait is over! Today California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) has launched gluten free pizza crust, making 29 of their original pizzas available gluten free.

cpkCPK has taken notice of the increased demand with more than 3 million Americans affected by Celiac Disease and created a specialty menu with various gluten free items. Among the 29 different gluten free pizzas available is America’s favorite, The Original BBQ Chicken pizza, the Pear & Gorgonzola pizza and the Wild Mushroom pizza. CPK also offers other gluten free appetizers, soups, salads, specialties, kids items and desserts to choose from on their current menu.”

On their website, it states “Gluten-Free crust available upon request” and that the pizzas that not gluten-free are the Thai Chicken and Roasted Artichoke + Spinach.

There are over 230 CPK locations in the U.S., so hopefully there is one near you! I have no idea if they are fully trained in how to safely serve the gluten-free diner. Let’s hope so, and that they are aware of the emotions of the gluten-free diner! If you go, be sure to report back here about your experience!


The emotions of dining out gluten-free

Posted on June 15th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Dining Out, Emotions, Restaurants/Stores | Read 22 Comments - Add Your Own »

Dining out on a gluten-free diet can be challenging because gluten is present in a lot of foods, but something that doesn’t often get addressed with the topic of dining out is what is happening before the gluten-free diner even walks into a restaurant. I’m talking about EMOTIONS.

eat1Our emotions are something that set us, the gluten-free diners, apart from other diners. While other customers are thinking about their dates, or admiring the art on the walls, or taking in the smell of fresh bread as they walk in the door, I’m hoping there’s something at the restaurant I can eat. I’m wondering whether or not this restaurant is going to understand what gluten-free means. If I’m with a group, I’m dreading having to once again explain that I can’t share dishes with everyone.

Gluten-free diners come in to the restaurant with a variety of emotions:

  • Anxiety – Will there be something I can eat?,
  • Nervousness and Fear – Will I get sick (again)?
  • Embarrassment – Will my friends think I’m a pain? Will they say sorry to me every time they eat a bite of something I can’t have?
  • Sadness or Anger or Resentment, depending on when they were diagnosed or how well they are dealing with their new diet — Why can’t I enjoy the freedom that everyone else can? Why can’t the restaurant make this easier for me? Why me?
  • And let’s not forget Hunger! The hungry gluten-free diner may have to wait even longer if everyone at the table is eating bread. There have been times when I am so hungry that by the time my dinner comes, I eat everything on my plate — and people look at me at the end of the meal as though I’ve eaten so much! They’ve forgotten that they’ve eaten a half a loaf of bread before the meal even started.

All these emotions just to go out to eat! While most people find it easier to go out to eat than cook at home, the gluten-free diner often chooses to stay at home because it is easier than dining out.

Our love of good food and dining and socializing can triumph, however, and when we do find restaurants we trust, restaurants that have a gluten-free menu, and restaurants that understand our needs, we can begin to let go of the anxiety and those other negative emotions, and truly enjoy our food and our entire dining experience. This is what we want restaurants to understand about us: If they can make us feel comfortable and can earn our trust, we will be there and we will be loyal, and we will bring our family and friends too, and we will spread the word.

What emotions do you have when dining out gluten-free?