This is the type of place where university students go to enjoy good food while pondering ideas for their next paper, the type of place us gluten free folks go to have a meal where we can sit and eat with some normalcy in our lives. It is precisely this type of place which is tucked away in a corner of Vancouver, the type that locals know about, of which we ventured out to visit yesterday, and what a cozy place it was.
My sister, my Mom (both GF) and I had the pleasure of sharing three meals here. Clearly our eyes were much bigger than our stomachs as finding so much GF food in one place compelled us to try a great abundance of food. We ordered the Macaroni and cheese, Vegetarian Lasagna and pizza, all GF of course. Both pasta dishes came with our choice of salad so we chose the roasted vegetable and fruit salad. We also ordered two of their enormous GF muffins- peanut butter chocolate chip and blueberry banana-- both excellent and both egg free (something which is very important for my Mom, for religious reasons).
It is important to mention here that everything is made in-house except for the pasta and wraps. For the pasta, they use the Rizopia brand. They take several measures to ensure a positive and safe eating experience for celiacs. This includes preparing their gluten free baking and entrees on a separate counter and using designated dishware, knives, cutting boards and toasters in the kitchen as well as baking their baked goods in a separate gluten free dedicated oven. However, they still can not 100% guarantee that there will not be any contamination (airborne) as they do bake gluten-filled things as well. They still happen to have a loyal following of gluten free customers who have eaten here safely without any complications.
In-house baked gluten free goods they offer include: cookies, muffins, bars, cakes, bread and tea loaves, all of which they offer on a daily basis. They offer one main type of bread which is a dark molasses with a 'rye' type flavour, without actual rye of course. They will also make a french bread and can make to custom order a lighter type of bread should a customer require it. As far as special ordering goes, they can pretty much make any kind of 'gluten free delight' you desire, so long as you give them advance notice, preferably 24 hours or longer. We were particularly excited to hear that My Local Cafe is in the works to distribute their baked goods throughout the city, so that even those who don't live near the cafe can enjoy them too. Oh yeah, did we mention that pretty much anything on their menu can be made gluten free. Sandwiches can be made on gluten free bread and their soups and salads are all gluten free, making My Local Cafe more than worth the trek to their location near Alma and 10th! Besides--being in that neighborhood always brings nostalgic memories of my years at UBC :)
First up--the vegetarian lasagne. We loved, I mean LOVED the vegetarian lasagne. It was full of spinach and garlic, mushrooms and other vegetables. It tasted healthy yet was very satisfying. It was not too 'saucy' which is something we not only noticed but really liked.
The pizza was also very good. The crust was nice and crispy--we detected some flax seed in the crust-yum! We custom ordered the pizza with sun dried tomatoes, pineapple, red onions, olives and mushrooms with a tomato sauce base and mozzarella cheese---it was sooo good. The crust was egg-free too. It was so nice to see so many options for my mom, who is both gluten and egg free. They also offer their pizza with a basil pesto sauce and vegan cheese, just so you know.
The macaroni and cheese was ok. Admittedly it was not to our taste, it was creamy in a light but not cheesy way. It tasted healthy somehow, but it also lacked flavour. I would probably not order this again--but I think it may have been vegan and thats why we did not enjoy this dish as much. What can I say--we LOVE our cheese!
My sister, who doesn't normally like store-bought muffins couldn't get enough of the Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin (left). The muffins were the perfect texture, they weren't dry and crumbly or too cakey. They were also really huge, which one can see from the picture. This really was a nice treat.
Not only did we have a fantastic time trying new foods in this cozy cafe on 10th Ave, but we found the employees at this cafe to be very knowledgeable and very accomodating. We couldn't have asked for better service. We give My Local Cafe a big thumbs up and we highly recommend for everyone to go there to try out their GF goods. It was so delicious and their muffins are to die for. They also carry GF sticky buns with icing, a daily GF loaf, GF cookies, and a great breakfast till 1 pm including quinoa porridge, eggs, and buckwheat waffles. If you are gluten free and are craving some good home-made cooking --seriously go to My Local Cafe. Every celiac should try this place and it will remind you that delicious wholesome food and gluten free food can be one and the same. Happy Eating!