Breakfast of Champions, Nature’s Path Corn Flakes

It took me about 80 some days till I found an in store gluten-free cereal. Nature’s Path which is sold at every supermarket has a Honey’d Corn Flake that I has always been gluten-free. You would think that regular Kellogg’s or Rice Crispies would be fine, but they have Malt which is usually a barley or rye.

Having cereal in the morning makes being gluten-free so much better. Most breakfast foods just aren’t very friendly. I like a bagel or yogurt with granola but those can’t be had. Try it with the almond milk for even more sweetness.

Cafe Mariposa Bakeshop Sweet Sweet Gluten-Free

Chocalate chip and nutmeal cookies from Cafe Mariposa. I want more!

In a rare find I was taken to Cafe Mariposa, a gluten-free bakeshop in Oakland, California. What, a bakery with gluten-free breads, desserts, bagels, cookies and pizza??! How is this so? This bakeshop was in a brick flanked building in a quiet neighborhood. What seemed quiet on the outside with an excess of hybrid and bio diesel vehicles, became a busy and bustling little bakeshop cafe on the inside.

I felt like I found a lost treasure. I was so excited I bought cookies, a slice of pizza, frozen bagels and frozen pizza crust. I went a little crazy. The cookies purchased were the chocolate chip and nutmeal cookies. In comparison to regular flour cookies, I really couldn’t tell the difference. Good chewy soft texture with nice sweetness are still in my mind. Ahhhh. The pizza was good too, the crust was a rice flour and didn’t crisp the way a regular pizza does but the cheese and toppings were flavorful and satisfying. Remember the lumpy one from Pizza Amore and Conte’s slightly better version. This one was cooked fresh at noon and the cheese was real cheese.

I still have the bagels and the pizza crust to try at home. If you’re in the neighborhood whether you’re gluten-free or not stop by and pick up a dessert. I have heard rave reviews of their flourless cake from non-gluten free (wheat loving) people.

5427 Telegraph Ave
Ste D3
(at 55th St)
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 595-0955

www.mariposabaking.com

Dim Sum and Lose Sum
November 3rd, 2009

Dim Sum and Lose Sum

I made my way to a great little take-out Dim Sum place in Richmond area of San Francisco called, Good Luck Dim Sum. The problem is, I can’t really eat Dim Sum while being gluten-free. If you don’t know what Dim Sum is, they are like Chinese tapas, little bites, that include lots of bakery goods, dumplings and sides that you normally go to a restaurant and get from little carts that come around. Most of the little bites have a flour type dumpling wrapper and soy sauce as an ingredient. My friend can get all they wanted since they’re not gluten-free. Check out the pic of the box of goods they could eat. No steamed barbecue pork buns, no shu mai, no har gow, no nothing for me. I was giddy looking at it, but then sad that I couldn’t have any. So instead I ended up heating up my own items. Rice noodles, fried taro cake and duck egg and pork congee. This was a lot of rice product for me, but needless to say good. Not quite the same experience and I was soo tempted to break my vow. I  used the Braggs Liquid Aminos and still enjoyed my food.

Dim Sum that I can't have. Pork Buns, Egg Rolls, Dumpling buffet (har gow, sui mai and woi teep)

Dim Sum I can have. Duck egg congee, steamed rice noodles and fried taro cake

Acai is So Hot Right Now
October 27th, 2009

Acai is So Hot Right Now

I just picked up an Acai fruit blend juice because it has so many antioxidants and is really good. It’s the Lakewood Acai Amazon Berry, totally organic and gluten-free juice with no added sugars. Paid $5.19. You can tell by the picture it’s fairly thick and filled with naturally occurring Omegas – 3,6,9. Lots of them. That’s because not only does it have acai, it has pomegranate and even goji berry which is a redness reducing fruit. The vitamins in this are endless, from 280mg of Potassium to various Vitamin B’s and even 12% of Vitamin K.

I had acai last time I was in Brazil and it was crazy good there, probably because it was loaded up with sugar. Acai is really gritty, dark, thick and actually pretty bitter in its’ natural state.

Frozen Acai from Brazil last year.

At some point in the past I’ve had some of those other popular drinks such as Tahitian Noni Juice and XanGo Mangosteen Juice which both are similar in the effects that the acai fruit has. During those times I couldn’t tell if they did anything since nothing was really wrong with me then. Noni and XanGo are more concentrated so you only drink a shot or two of them daily. Also the price is about $18-$30 a bottle. I have yet to really analyze and compare each drink for total overall benefit.

Since drinking the Lakewood Acai, I have been sleeping better and just slightly less itchy, but still not doing the trick. In the mornings now I have less than a glass of the acai and sometimes almond milk on the side. I’ve really realized that vitamins cannot replace the vitamins that occur naturally within what we eat. There is just something different about eating living food.

PS. I just noticed freaking Oprah posted about this too! She has to stop copying me! Click Here for more.

New York Part II: Casual Eats, Bakeries and Snacks

Sweet and tasty, it's on my bday list

Part II: These establishments are the lighter side of eating in New York. I really loved them and though I couldn’t eat everything there, they were just great places to check out. In the end I spend lots of cash on food, but what better souvenir is there than putting it in your belly.

Van Leeuwen – Roaming ice cream truck that is tracked via twitter. We happen to come across it in Soho. Mint Chip Ice Cream was the BEST I’ve ever had. Yes BEST! I never say that. Go get yourself some. Cute truck and great website too.

Rice to Riches – Rice pudding, rice pudding and more rice pudding. Oh happy I was. Mascarpone with cherries….heaven. Pure bliss. I once heard someone getting this delivered and apparently it costs like $80 to ship. It could be one of those crazy birthday requests I have one day. I’m going to have to look up some recipes. Gluten-Free Hooray! SF needs one.

Momofuku Milk Bar – The Ssam Bar’s neighbor sells desserts, especially their cookies and frozen milk custard. I couldn’t have the cookie so I had the plain milk custard with fried rice. It really was like deep fried rice on the frozen treat. Good but not as good as rice pudding or the way that cookie looked. You can also order a drink over here if the menu makes it to you.

Halal Food, Lamb Plate – One of those carts on the street in Soho we stopped at while shopping. I had a lamb plate with rice, salad and yogurt dressing. Mmmm soo good and only $5 for the plate I was loving it. Filling, cooked on the spot and after I ordered the line got line, so everyone else must have liked what they saw as I scarfed it down on the sidewalk.

Levain Bakery – Women with bandanas tied around their head, cooking and serving up breakfast breads and cookies in the Upper West Side. New York Times and Oprah love em. Now you think why I’m here, but in truth I couldn’t eat anything here. I picked up some cookies for my friends whom I crashed with for a day. I repay them with a couple of $3.95 cookies. New York likes to rob people in exchange for sugar and flour.

Shake Shack – After visiting the Natural History Museum we walked over to this burger joint where the line was out the door and around the corner. I didn’t get the full experience since I only had the meat and the veggies and Shake Shack sauce. Now it was good and fresh, but I’d prefer the regular In-N-Out. I think NY is crazy about this place is because California holds their weakness of In-N-Out.

Katz's Deli. Again only a little taste of the meat and no bread

SobaKoh – Soba, made from buckwheat is gluten-free. Yeah news to me to. This place makes fresh noodles, while we were there we caught the master making it in the window. Very cool. Dinner dishes all shared included Soba risotto, octopus carpaccio (yum yum, the citrusy lite sauce went so well with it), soba with mushrooms and for dessert, green tea ice cream with red bean. This place is the bomb and I’ve heard it’s better than Soba-Ya.

Katz Deli – Ultra jewish deli in the Lower East Side, with $15 pastrami sandwiches. I couldn’t eat much here. Had some fries a little taste of meat and some house made pickles. Harry and Sally went here and things worked out for them, so it was worth the trip. The history here is more amazing than anything.

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New York Gluten-Free Food Marathon, I’m Stuffed

What an amazing week of eating. All gluten-free. What started as a concern of not being around my kitchen all weekend and in the land of Kosher delis and bagels, became a really fantastic marathon of top shelf New York food. I did miss the following foods dearly and gawked at ever stand that sold these…

Bagels – I couldn’t have my favorite breakfast food and New York bagels are the best. I was continually sad about it Hot Dogs – Now the meat themselves in Nathan’s are fine, but not able to eat the bun just ruins the whole hot dog stand idea. Pretzels – Also a cart food I had to skip. They’re everywhere and I’d see kids eating them and I’d be so tempted to snatch it from them, but I refrained from being that creepy person Cookies and cake desserts – There are cookie and cupcakes everywhere and I had to say no. Pizza – New York is notorious for their pizza joints and every place claiming to be the original something. Again I turned an eye to all of them. It hurts a little inside and I mask it with the following star studded and Iron Chef type eating.

Le Bernardin Monkfish

Now that I’ve gotten all the things I couldn’t have, here is the crazy list of places and things I had. Hold on to your hats it’s a wild ride. I’m fooded out and remember this all fit into a total of less than 6 full days.

Spice Market - Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant creations that is fancy asian street food with a twist. It’s located in the trendy Meatpacking District and close to lots of good bars and other restaurants. Overall food was pretty good, not great, but the decor and the service itself were great. Gorgeous interiors, tasty yet weak drinks and items I had were a lobster spring roll, curry and cod. It’s a great place to meet up with friend like I did and to have a good time.

Le Bernardin – Eric Ripert does fine fine dining of seafood perfectly prepared with almost too perfect of dining service. I had  the Hamachi sashimi and Monkfish as entree and it was delicious. Dessert hazelnut with Gianduja cream, hazelnuts and brown butter ice cream was amazing, so much technique in the ice cream presentation. Cooked so nicely and with excellent saucing. Located right in Midtown near Rockefeller center it’s a gem in the middle of total hustle bustle. No gluten fillers here. The service was a bit too finicky for me though. They were  adjusting the plates, silverware and glasses to much, it became distracting.

Babbo

Babbo Sardines with Lobster Oil

Babbo – Mario Battali does it again. It’s Italian and food that preceeds the Mozza line in Los Angeles. His food lived up to all the expectations. We were lucky to walk in and grab the last table. People behind us waited at least an hour before being seated so this was a blessing. Anyways here’s the gluten-free dishes I had, Marinated Sardines great way to start and nicely oiled with lobster oil and carmelized fennel, Gnocchi with braised oxtail (out of this world!), and Beef Tongue (I had to, how many places have this on the menu). It was a thorough meal with wine and unpretentious foods. Our waitress was totally whack, she was flustered and got Amaro and Amaretto mixed up. Come on, hurmph, as if!

Momofuku Ssam Bar – David Chang’s team stirs up some really interesting fusion asian foods in the East Village. Don’t confuse this place with the Noodle bar. Dark interiors and a wait at the Milk Bar sets the proper mood for the clean ingredients here. Assorted pickles (I’m loving pickles lately, these are great), Steamed buns (I couldn’t eat the bun but the meat was crazy tender and fatty), Grilled Branzini (clean and solid dish). Overall the food was good and the place was fun. More on the lighter side and they made asian food really show the seasons of food and great use of vegetables.

wd-50 – So now onto Wylie Dufresn, the whacky guy on the Top Chef Masterswho is filled with molecular gastonomy to make his dishes. Pretty much using science and methods to create his food and flavors. The dishes were hit and miss. Some were great and some just confused me a bit. Shrimp noodles (noodles needs more flavor and the yogurt didn’t go with it), Wagyu Skirt Steak (now this was awesome, great sauce and extremely tender meet) and for dessert Soft Chocolate with peppermint ice cream (very good, but the chocolate looked like little weiners). I think the tasting menu might be worth the try. Overall xcellent service and I actually saw him in the kitchen working! Yes famous chefs actually cook and sauce occassionally. Oh and Jean George is venture partner, so you know this place isn’t going anywhere.

Jean Georges – My favorite restaurant of them all, of course it happen to be last of the fine dining. Opted for the lunch that was only $26 for 3 courses! Crazy I know. Started with Hamachi Sashmi…(ohhh soooo good, the citrus in it was perfect), Red Snapper crusted with nuts (normally I would never get a crusted fish, but I thought this would be the place, ultra fine crust and sweet sour jus oh yeah). Ended with the Late Harvest dessert which had an assortment of cranberry jellies, sorbet and beet pasta and pear. Tastes I haven’t had and a beautiful dining room in a Trump Tower. Oh and the Ginger Lemonade is the best. I believe it’s a simple syrup made from candied ginger with sparkling lemonade. I want it now. ahhhh.

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Read the next post for the casual eateries, snack and bakery foods that were in this gluten-free New York trip.

Hobbit Ener-G Tapioca Bread
October 3rd, 2009

Hobbit Ener-G Tapioca Bread

Ener-G Tapioca Bread

I think I found hobbit elvan bread. I picked up some Ener-g Tapioca Bread from Whole Foods since I’ve been craving bread lately. Everyone else is having their Acme baguettes, sandwiches and toast. I’m getting jealous. Take a look at this picture, the bread is about half the size of Oroweat bread which I use to eat. The texture is dense and much tougher than the fluffy regular stuff.

To warm it through, I gave it toast and it goes for a little less time. The line between nicely toasted and burnt is very fine. There is also this scent of the bread that isn’t too pleasing. I guess it’s the tapioca, but I keep smelling it trying to figure out what it is. Anyways this isn’t really doing the trick so I might try either rice bread or a completely different brand. I feel like a little hobbit eating this.

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