Last Sunday, my mother and I did something that I have never done in my life and may never do again. We walked out of a restaurant. I mean, straight up walked out. We had taken a 3 hour drive down to Portland, Oregon for the day and we were both feeling rather tired and hungry so in our fatigued state, we wandered into the first hipster cafe we could find that had the words “gluten-free” on its’ posted menu. I’ll just say that the moment we went in, I automatically had a bad feeling. The waiting staff was not very helpful and they were very slow moving, which was tough on our now growling bellies. I ordered an omelette with feta cheese and tomato, hoping to goodness that it was gluten free as it should naturally be, and got some fresh fruit as a side. We ordered at 1:00. At 1:40 my mom asked the server if our food would be coming soon. I peeked back at the (teeny tiny) kitchen and saw nothing but bread crumbs flying everywhere, knives cutting bread then cutting vegetables, and un-gloved hands. I swear, I could almost hear the Psycho theme song playing in the background as I stared, wide-eyed at all the contamination occurring right in front of me. Long story short, between the meal taking FOR-EV-ER and my disbelief that the meal would be at all safe for me to eat, we simply up and left. I felt really bad for not giving the people a chance to win me over, but in all truth, I’m glad we did it. Not just because I avoided inevitably getting sick but also because we ended up eating lunch at a 100% gluten free gem that we would have missed had we settled for the first place.
Enter Tula’s Gluten Free Bakery.
We were literally about to flee the city in our hungry rage when I turned my head and caught a glimpse of the words “gluten-free bakery”, as if it was under a spotlight from God himself. (I swear, since I’ve been GF, the term “gluten-free” sticks out to me like a sore thumb no matter how discrete it is- anyone else this way)? I desperately yelled “GLUTEN-FREE BAKERY, MOM TURN AROUND”, following which we performed a very dangerous and desperate car maneuver in order to park in front of this beautiful place called Tula’s Gluten Free Bakery & Cafe. We walked in and I almost wanted to cry. Food everywhere-and it was all gluten free! I felt like a kid in a candy store and I had to refrain from asking for “one of everything, please!”. I decided to order a tomato basil panini, and my mom and I bought the softest loaf of banana bread that was still warm from the oven. As I crunched into the panini, I tried to remember the last time I had a really good grilled sandwich. It’s definitely been a while. And let me tell you, this was a REALLY good grilled sandwich. The focaccia bread was crispy and flavorful and held together the entire time while I was eating. The cheese was melted to perfection, and the overall flavor achieved was perfection. I cleaned my plate, feeling absolutely satisfied, my hunger satiated and the shame of walking out on the first place– a thing of the past. Of course, I couldn’t leave this place without getting some dessert! I ordered a vegan ice cream cookie sandwich filled with sea salt vanilla ice cream. Holy cookie. The ice cream was the perfect balance between salty and sweet and slightly reminded me of sea salt caramel. The two cookies sandwiching the ice cream honestly tasted like the chewy Chips-Ahoy cookies I grew up eating. I ate the thing in about 5 minutes flat, and happily drove the rest of the way home to Washington with my fingers nostalgically sticky with ice cream.
If you are in the Portland area, do not miss Tula’s Gluten Free Bakery and Cafe. You won’t regret it.
Today’s freebie MP3’s-inspired by ultra-groovy Portland!