Sunday, March 25, 2012

Portland

Portland is a city of many options for the gluten free. I tried to squeeze in as many experiences as I could in my short stay, but you could easily eat at a different place everyday for a month and still try something new. In this post, I'm not going to save the best for last, but I'm going to start with what I loved most about my visit. Believe it or not, it was my visit to SUBWAY!
I haven't eaten a Subway sandwich in over 5 years, and I have missed them. In the era of fast food restaurants on every corner, I used to rely on Subway for something convenient and healthier than the other options around me. Now fast food is just not an option for us gfreers. I don't know about you, but I have to plan ahead to make sure both myself and my son will have gfree meals throughout our day, and especially on a road trip. I heard a few months ago that Subway was test marketing a gfree bun at their Portland locations, and I just couldn't pass that up! In the meantime, they have expanded their test to all Oregon locations. On this rainy day in March, we found ourselves closest to the university district location in downtown Portland. As soon as we entered, I saw posters listing the gfree sandwich options, which was a nice touch. We ordered 2 gfree sandwiches, one for me and one for my little man. Right away, the staff showed their training, and set right to work to make the environment as safe as possible for us. They communicated with each other that there was a gfree order coming up, cleaned and flipped the boards on the entire sandwich line, and set to work.
Each round bun comes individually wrapped, and they use a separate plastic knife that is again, individually wrapped. The bun is placed on a piece of parchment paper, and stays on that paper the whole time. They slice the bun, toast it, top it to your liking, and toast it a second time. This held up the line behind me quite a bit, but I appreciated the extra efforts. My son ordered a black forest ham and I had the turkey bacon avocado sandwich.
I also got a gfree brownie for my son. Finally, it was time to eat! I was hopeful, but not too optimistic about this prewrapped bun. Well, I was blown away by the taste. The texture was perfect, and it was the best bun I've had since being diagnosed, bar none! It tasted just like the subway I remembered.
My wee man loved it too. We ended up eating at Subway twice during our visit. I can only hope that they bring their sandwiches to Canada! (Send your emails now!) The brownie was delicious as well as testified by both my son and my husband. Well done Subway!!! Subway on Urbanspoon Now, on to some more of our gfree experiences in this great city. We had pizza one night at BELLAGIO'S.
It is mostly a take out/delivery place, but they do have a small seating area. This chain offers a 10 inch gfree crust, and you can also order the crust to top and bake at home. I have to say the crust was only average, and they were chintzy on the toppings. I wouldn't rush back, but its nice to have the option at more and more pizza places in the states.Bellagios Pizza on Urbanspoon On another night, we decided to check out PASTINI'S, another chain which offers a corn pasta and a gfree tiramisu on their menu.
I'm liking seeing more and more restaurants offer the corn pasta, as a nice and preferred alternative to the rice pasta. I really enjoyed the Bolognese sauce, and the pasta was cooked to perfection. All gluten free meals have an Italian flag stuck on the top, so as to eliminate any confusion.
Nice touch, and another job well done! Pastini Pastaria on Urbanspoon CORBETT fish house offers something I haven't had in a very long time: fish and chips!
You don't need to worry about cross contamination with the deep fryers, as everything on their menu is gfree unless otherwise noted. That means all their fish is cooked in the same rice flour batter. I appreciated this.
The fish was a hit with our family, which begs the question: why don't all restaurants use a rice batter, and make dining out a stress free and equal opportunity for all?Corbett Fish House on Urbanspoon Now, on to the bakeries. There are several gfree bakeries in Portland and its surrounding areas, but due to lack of time, and google maps getting me lost several times on this trip, I was only able to make it to three of them...LOL.
NEW CASCADIA Traditional Bakery is on the other side of Hawthorne bridge from downtown Portland, and they have a sit-in bakery with many options. Pizza crusts, many different types of bread, pastries, and treats to satisfy. My son loved his chocolate cupcake, and I enjoyed the lemon galette and cinnamon bun.
The sourdough loaf was pretty good, albeit quite hard on the outside, and difficult to cut.New Cascadia Traditional on Urbanspoon
TULA bakery and cafe has a nice seating area, and just a few gfree treat options. I got a currant scone and a lemon loaf to go.
The scone was really nice, and we enjoyed the lemon loaf over several days, and it stayed fresh the whole time. It was very tasty.Tula Gluten Free Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon We also made a trip to KEANA'S Candyland, a unique little home decorated like a gingerbread house.
Every square inch of the place is decorated to thrill children of all ages, including pies and candy on the ceiling! Keana's is another dedicated gluten free facility that boasts over 1, 500 gluten free baked goods, as well as serving gfree breakfast and lunch items.
I had heard about their gluten free elephant ears...say what? and couldn't resist trying those. They were very similar to a cinnamon sugar dusted mini donut, but on a much larger scale.Delish!
Keanas Candyland on Urbanspoon Finally, we made a trip to BOB'S Red Mill.
They offer a tour of their mill, and just down the road is their store slash restaurant. This is a great place to check out, with great prices. There is a huge seating area, and all kinds of items for cooking and baking, including an awesome section with all my favourite gfree cookbooks.
I love his all purpose flour, and use it whenever I make banana loaf. I stocked up on all the flours I use in my baking, and we got some sandwiches to go. I got a corned beef which I hadn't had in years, and my son ordered a grilled cheese. Its funny, but now Bob is a celebrity in our house. Forget Ronald McDonald, just mention the name Bob, and my son lights up.Bob's Red Mill on Urbanspoon So, all in all, a very productive trip to Portland. If you are ever in the area, make sure to stop in at this land of gluten free!

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