It is estimated 1 in every 100 Americans has celiac disease and as a growing number of people are diagnosed or choose to live gluten-free, more restaurants have begun to create menus or even specialize in gluten-free cuisine.
If you are new to living gluten-free, a good place begin your is adventure is at the Gluten-Free Girl’s blog (glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com). Based out of Seattle, Shauna Ahern is a prolific blogger, writing regularly about having celiac disease and her relationship with the local cuisine. The anecdotes and recipes on her site are a good resource for information, recipes, and gastronomic fun. Not surprisingly, Shauna recently published a book on the subject called Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found Food That Loves Me Back…And How You Can Too. Shauna is also coincidentally married to Chef Daniel Ahern of the Impromptu Wine Bar Café located in Madison Park. From the inspiration of his wife, Chef Ahern has created a complete menu of French inspired gluten-free offerings.
The majority of restaurants, and even chains, in Seattle have gluten-free items available or gluten-free substitutes available if requested. To plan ahead check online with the Seattle based Innate Health Foundation at www.innatehealthfoundation.org for a list of restaurants that offer gluten/dairy/egg-free dishes.
It’s no surprise too, that many restaurants have also begun to offer gluten-free menus as an alternative to their standing menu. Three restaurants in Seattle are of note in this regard. Lombardi’s Neighborhood Italian located in Ballard has a full gluten-free menu that includes potatoes or polenta as substitutes for pasta with their main dishes, and also offers gluten-free crackers with their bruschetta sampler. Ten Mercer in downtown also has a very large and varied gluten-free menu available upon request. While both of these restaurants are a bit more expensive than a casual restaurant, they demonstrate that establishments are beginning to offer a full spread of gluten-free dining that is expansive in flavor as well as being easily accessible. Finally, Café Flora in Madison Valley, well-known for its cookbooks and its focus on vegetarian dining, also identifies both wheat and gluten-free items on its menus.
For baked goods, Seattle offers a variety of sources for gluten-free pastries and breads. The most readily accessible sources are the PCC and Whole-Foods locations throughout the city. There are specifically marked brands such as Bakehouse and Mariposa available in their bread sections as well as specially labeled products throughout the stores. Whatever you’re looking for, there is probably a gluten-free version of it. Furthermore, the Wow Baking company, located in Seattle,
distributes gluten and wheat-free cookies and dough throughout the city and outside the state.
There are two specialty gluten/wheat-free bakeries in Seattle: the Flying Apron Bakery and the Da Vinci Bakery. The Flying Apron is located in Fremont and has a large menu of pastries: cookies, cakes, bread, scones, in addition to fresh salads and coffee. The bakery is set up much like a coffee house so the environment pulls you in to stay and enjoy. The Da Vinci Bakery along Greenwood is similar in its coffeehouse façade, but the bakery offers much more in the way of
practical baked goods such as a variety of bread loafs, pizza dough, and small items like croutons. So come to get some gluten-free shopping done, or hang out and enjoy a cappuccino while nibbling on a tea cake, either way, you’re in good health.
What & Where:
Da Vinci Bakery (10003 Greenwood Ave N; 206-782-5785)
The Flying Apron: 3510 Fremont Ave N; 206-442-1115)
Impromptu Wine Bar Café: (4235 E Madison St; 206-860-1569)
Café Flora: (2901 East Madison St; 206-322-3626)
Wow Baking Company: (8314 Greenwood Ave N #1100; 206-816-5200)
Lombardi’s Neighborhood Italian: (2200 NW Market St; 206-783-0055)
Ten Mercer: (10 Mercer St; 206-691-3723)
Corey Kahler is a cook and writer living in Seattle.