I spent the last day of 2015 in San Francisco, an amazingly Celiac-friendly city. When Kristopher asked me what I wanted to do that afternoon, of course the only thing on my mind was a gluten free foodie adventure! So we grabbed our favorite California adventure buddy (who was nice enough to drive us around in exchange for fabulous food), and we were off!
Pica Pica Arepa
A gluten free friend of mine in California sent me a list of restaurant recommendations and insisted that I consider Pica Pica Arepa my top priority. 100% naturally gluten free (and free of cross contamination!), Pica Pica is incredibly dedicated to the Celiac community. Direct from their website:
“Pica Pica participated in an onsite education program by the Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California to learn about the medical significance of cross contamination and how to prevent it, and to review our ingredient lists. We have also undergone the GREAT training program by the NFCA. Our corn flour has been tested by the laboratories at the University of Nebraska and contains fewer than five parts per million of gluten. We also offer bottled gluten-free beer.”
How much do I love them? SO MUCH!
They specialize in arepas, a Venezuelan dish composed of a flatbread (made from corn) filled with various combinations of flavors such as beans, avocado, tomato, chicken, and cheese. Kristopher chose a spicy chicken arepa while I opted for a spicy black bean version, and we shared a large order of garlic fries and cheese empanadas. Everything was incredibly tasty on its own, but then we began playing with their signature sauces – that spice took the dishes to a new level. Wow! We finished off the meal by sharing a Coconut Quesillo, a dessert described as Venezuelan crème caramel. It was so delicious that I wish we would have ordered four of them! But we still had the rest of our foodie adventure ahead of us….
Mariposa Baking Company
I was beyond excited to visit this 100% gluten free bakery. I’ll admit that I bought $50 worth of pastries that day, and I’m not sorry. I can safely say that it is one of my favorite gluten free bakeries ever (which says a lot – I live in NYC, a city flowing with fabulous gluten free bakeries, yet the Mariposa Baking Company takes the cake!). Kristopher and I tried:
- Baguette – so soft and chewy!
- Vanilla/Strawberry Cake – hands down the best vanilla cake I have ever tasted.
- Cinnamon Rolls – seriously, they were out of this world! I wish I had bought a dozen, but I wouldn’t have been able to fit them all in my suitcase.
- Fruit Danish – I’ve never experienced a gluten free pasty like this! I would not have guessed that this was gluten free. I’m still pinching myself.
- Ham and Cheese Pastry Pocket – It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten a croissant, but the flaky pastry of this pocket and the fruit danish reminded me of that texture – bravo, Mariposa. (They DO make croissants, by the way! I’ll have to try that next time!)
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Molasses Cookies
- Lemon Cake (still in my freezer – saving it for a rainy day!)
I cannot wait to go back next year. On my list for next time – bear claw, cheese danish, more cinnamon rolls and vanilla cake, pain au chocolat, mocha layer cake, pumpkin whoopee pies, kapcakes chocolate decadence, raspberry squares, donuts, quiche….Okay, maybe I’ll have to take more than one trip….
(By the way, Mariposa Baking ships! You can experience this deliciousness from your home!)
As I am on a search to find Kristopher the best gluten free sourdough bread, we of course had to sample Bread Srsly. I have always been told that there is something special about San Francisco sourdough bread and that sourdough made elsewhere doesn’t quite compare. Luckily Bread Srsly is based in San Francisco, is 100% gluten free, has an amazing reputation, and also ships nationwide.
I had never tried sourdough in my pre-Celiac days, so Kristopher (a sourdough connoisseur) is my best judge. We bought a loaf of Bread Srsly’s classic sourdough and shared a slice. I was instantly hit with a strong tanginess and Kris exclaimed “Wow!” The smile on his face said that we had found a winner! We will be sure to pick up a loaf on every San Francisco trip in the future.
I sadly didn’t make it to one of their larger stores, but luckily I was able to pick up a box of my favorite chocolate truffles at the airport!
Thus concludes my GF San Francisco foodie adventure – I can’t wait to go back for another!