OK, folks. Baked goods. In this edition of Pizza Tried to Kill Me, we’re specifically talking gluten-free breakfast breads, snack breads, muffins and pastries; baked desserts like cakes and cookies will come later, as there are too many options around the city to roll them into one column. Besides, cake should have its own spot on the nutrition pyramid — it has tremendous mental health benefits.
Grabbing a muffin and a coffee is a right and a privilege for all harried, workaholic Americans, but if you’re gluten-free, you have to know where to look to find something belly-approved. Use this list as your treasure map.
1. WPA Bakery. WPA is a gem. A haven. A unicorn amongst ponies. Its gluten-free selection and quality cause such intense cravings that I am compelled to make a 30-minute drive to Church Hill at least weekly. Fresh fruit-filled muffins, delicate little custardy canelés, English muffins with egg and cheese, cinnamon-sugar-striped coffee cake, doughnuts on Sundays; it’s a gluten-free breakfast feast. Eat there because it’s charming, but don’t make the mistake of forgetting a few to-go items — you’ll regret it deeply.
2. Cheese Roll Brazil Bake Shop. This Patterson Avenue spot isn’t exactly a secret, but I like to think of it as one. I go there to secretly eat my weight in cheese rolls. Never had one? Take it very literally: It’s a roll made of cheese, with a little bit of starch to bake it up nice and puffy. You can get plain rolls, or rolls flavored with jalapeño, garlic, black olive, onion or bacon. You can get cheese rolls stuffed with more cheese — creamy, gooey Catupiry, to be specific. You can even get a sandwich on a cheese roll. Since discovering it, my body has become approximately 30-percent cheese roll.
3. annaB’s Gluten Free. annaB’s doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar shop of its own, but you can find its gluten-free muffins, bagels and breads all over town; tons of restaurants stock those products. As for the breakfast/snack options, I like to hit up Ellwood Thompson’s for an early morning blueberry muffin with fresh juice, Urban Farmhouse for biscotti (seriously, gluten-free biscotti) and coffee or Crossroads for a bagel with cream cheese.
4. Sefton Coffee. Sometimes the need for gluten-free granola, coffee and a cool away-from-home workspace presents itself. When this happens, I head to Sefton, which partnered with Nettie’s Naturally to offer a fantastic gluten-free selection that includes granola, of course, as well as Nettie’s friands (semi-sweet mini-cakes filled with raspberry, blueberry, pecan cinnamon, orange poppy or chocolate goodness) and Super Snacks, which are crunchy little cacao-chia-hemp energy bombs.
Now that you have the knowledge, go forth and bite into some gluten-free baked goods. You've earned it.