Rebecca's Gluten Free Blog

Gluten Free in the Upper Midwest

Bittersweet Bakery March 16, 2010

Bittersweet Bakery is my favorite gluten free bakery in the Minneapolis/ St Paul metro! it’s a completely gluten-free, dedicated bakery, with many of their items marked as dairy-free as well. and they’re the most reasonably priced gluten free bakeries that I’ve come across~ the portions are normal sizes, and the prices aren’t much more than their gluten-containing counterparts available elsewhere, which is impressive to do while baking gluten-free!

it’s located in Eagan, between I-35E and hwy 77 on Cliff Road, so it’s a straight shot from and not too far south of the Mall of America. (if you’re not from the area, and make the trip, you could make an afternoon of it by visiting the bakery, and then heading further south on hwy 77 to the Red Robin in Apple Valley (eventually on the left in the same lot as the movie theater).

I absolutely love their cakes/ cupcakes~ they usually keep their chocolate cupcakes on hand in the freezer, so if you want the white ones or any other flavor, you have to order them ahead, for at least a half dozen. most of the cakes/ cupcakes (including the white and chocolate) are dairy-free as well, as are their white and chocolate frostings. and for cakes, they have a ton of sizes and shapes available. sometimes people will even have a small gluten-free side cake made for their wedding~ they’re very flexible. and if you need a cake in a pinch, I think they sometimes keep little square chocolate cakes with white frosting on hand.

they also have a wide variety of cookies and muffins (the chocolate cherry is unbelievable). they also have various bars (if you want the pumpkin bar with dairy-free frosting, again you need to call ahead. and of course they make a few different breads (Crumb Deli uses one of Bittersweet’s breads for their GF sandwiches).

they make their own pizza crusts, which are used in various restaurants across the metro. unlike Cooqi’s pizza crusts, Bittersweet’s do contain dairy. one of the unique things they do (for the gluten-free world) is going one step further and making take-n-bake pizzas! I’m pretty sure they offer both cheese and pepperoni, and perhaps more.

if you want to order their products, but find that Eagan is too far to drive, many of the co-ops around town sell their muffins, cookies, pizza crusts, and breads. and now there’s a huge selection of their products at Coborn’s Delivers (the local grocery store that makes deliveries) for the Twin Cities and St Cloud metro areas.

I just ordered Bittersweet’s banana bread from Coborn’s and was amazed at how good it tasted. I have a really good gluten-free banana bread recipe of my own, so I never bothered to try Bittersweet’s before. but it was so light and airy! I immediately ordered more :)

that’s how I feel about most of their products~ very light and airy (and moist!), and I would contend that it would be difficult for a “normal” person to figure out that it’s gluten-free unless they were told.

 

Madwoman Foods Bakery January 26, 2010

I haven’t actually written about Madwoman Foods yet, but I have a somewhat urgent request that they’ve sent out, that I thought I’d relay.

first I’ll explain who they are and what they do. they’re a gluten free bakery, and most, if not all the products are also dairy-free. they also try and cater to the diabetic community, as their products are low glycemic. their bakery has many varieties of cupcakes, with some more unique varieties (the chocolate cupcakes with mint frosting is a favorite of mine).  another fun thing that they have is caramel rolls. I’m not sure if they carry them everyday or just on certain ones, but it’s rare to find somewhere to get fresh gluten free caramel rolls! they also make brownies, bars, cakes, etc.

a special treat (particularly in the summer) are the ice cream cones! they keep fresh gluten and dairy free ice cream in a little freezer case, and they even have gluten free ice cream cones to put them in for us! what a treat!!

I haven’t been there since I saw this recently in their newsletter, but I believe they started making (gluten-free) sandwiches for lunch or any time.

they also have a website that you can order various products from, including GFCF pizzas, flatbread, tea cakes, granola, etc.

beyond their bakery items, they also have a small retail grocery section. it was at Madwoman where I found my first bag of gluten free gnocchi in the freezer section! in fact, I hadn’t seen many of the items in their grocery section before, so it’s worth checking out.

this brings me to their urgent request… apparently times have been tough, especially this month, and they’re trying to win a grant that’s available to local businesses. it would give them the money to advertise and hopefully drum up some more business. if you would like to help them, it’s basically a popularity contest. so just go here:  http://lovealocalbusiness.intuit.com/ and enter Madwoman Foods as the business name and Minneapolis, MN as the city, and then nominate them.

another obvious way to support them would be to go check them out.  gluten free bakeries are a rarity, so it’s nice to hold on to the ones we already have. they’re located in Minneapolis, pretty far south of downtown on 35W, near the Pizza Luce in Uptown. the address is 4747 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. and if you you don’t want to make the trip, or it seems a little far for you to go, they do take mail-orders online for some of the items mentioned above. between the fresh baked goods, deli sandwiches to order, the homemade ice cream, the grocery section, and the internet orders, please find a way to at least check them out. I think you’ll find it worthwhile, and will hopefully help save them in the process!

 

French Meadow January 6, 2010

I like to go to French Meadow when I feel like eating something fresh. they have lots of fresh and organic ingredients on their menu, which is written on giant chalkboards, but is also available on pamphlets that you can take with you. they have a little symbol to designate the gluten free items. (they also designate vegan items, if that appeals to you.) there may only be a handful or two of items designated as gluten free, but the salads are almost all easily made gluten free as well.

in fact, this is one of the only restaurants I go to, where I don’t get a specially designated GF item. my favorite is the French Meadow salad. it’s just basic greens with cherry tomatoes, a house dressing, and shredded beets (another first for me~ I usually hate beets, but the shredded ones on this particular salad are great). the only adaptation to make it GF is to get it without the bread.

if you decide to order this salad, you should know a couple of things. first, it’s really tasty~ I’ve gotten lots of people hooked on it. secondly, the small salad is plenty big. the supposed increased size of the large salad is indecipherable, the small is the best value in my opinion. finally, the best way to get it is with a side of salmon on it. (they grill it in olive oil). actually, a good tip is that any of their pan-fried fish is amazing. I don’t know what their trick is, but it’s cooked absolutely perfectly almost every time. I’ve never had such amazing fish at a restaurant. and of course, when ordering, I make sure to tell them about the “allergies”, to use clean pans and equipment, and to please let the chefs in the back know. they also make home fries, omelets, and other items gluten free.

one of the fun things about French Meadow is that they carry gluten/dairy/peanut free brownies, cookies, muffins, and cupcakes in boxes of 4 at the restaurant, so we can even have dessert!

they actually sell the cookies and brownies in the freezer section of grocery stores, along with several types of breads (cinnamon raisin, multigrain, and sandwich bread), and best of all~ gluten free flour tortillas! the tortillas taste very similar to regular wheat flour ones, but like a slightly staler (tougher) version . still a treat though! it’s best to either eat them right away or throw them in your freezer to eat them slowly over time. other than the tortillas, my next favorites are the chocolate chip cookies (which are in the grocery stores in the form of frozen cookie dough). in fact, I usually just eat the cookies in dough form :)

it’s fun to see them constantly developing new products for the gluten free crowd. in fact, in reviewing this post a day later, I see that there’s already new items than what I knew about: Italian dinner rolls, pizza crusts, brownie bites, and cakes.

hopefully, over time, they’ll integrate the gluten free breads and GF tortillas into their restaurant menu.

 

 
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