hey everyone! time for an OC field report from reader nicky tracy. in the following post, she explores a mostly vegan and gluten-free bakery called sensitive sweets in fountain valley. i can’t wait to check this place out!
Vegan dining options in Orange County aren’t exactly few and far between, but when you’re gluten-free and have an insatiable sweet tooth, that can be a whole ‘nother story entirely. Naturally when I got wind that an all gluten-free and vegan-friendly bakery had opened up in northern Orange County, I couldn’t wait to investigate. Sensitive Sweets, located off of Brookhurst and Slater Ave in Fountain Valley in a little strip mall next to Le V Cuisine and Golden Scorpion Tattoo, offers some of the best vegan gluten-free breads, cupcakes, cookies and muffins I’ve had yet, without charging an arm and a leg and without the nasty aftertaste typically left behind by garbanzo/fava bean-based baked goods.
Although not everything in the bakery is vegan (the lemon bars and fudge brownies both contain egg and the marshmallows they use contain gelatin), most of their sweets are vegan-friendly and those that aren’t are clearly marked otherwise.Tags: desserts, field report, gluten-free, orange county, vegan bakers
a couple days ago, i got an email from a vegan who lives in eagle rock telling me i had to check out corner pizzeria. he said they’d just started carrying daiya cheese and vegan sausage, and that the pizza was amazing. sure enough i headed out to corner over the weekend, and was delighted as i approached the building and saw a sign advertising vegan pizza.
but there was a catch…
Tags: daiya, eagle rock, gluten-free, pizza
December 8th, 2009vegan bakers
sometimes you want a dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth but not bog you down with loads of fat and sugar. enter tia’s bakery—a company focused on making healthy treats that are agave-sweetened and gluten-free, with plenty of vegan options.
recently, tia’s bakery hooked me up with a lovely lot of samples…and after being bummed out by some gluten-free food in the past, i was pleasantly surprised by how much i enjoyed their goods. they gave me a box of each of their cookie varieties—peanut butter, almond tea, and oatmeal raisin—all of which were delicious. the almond tea was my favorite, with a very unique and nutty flavor.
tia’s also supplied me with a box of vegan macaroons, which were absolutely awesome. these bite-sized balls are like yummy vegan crack rocks made of coconuts, dates, and agave. once i started, i couldn’t stop eating ’em.
now keep in mind, tia’s bakery does not make insanely decadent desserts, but scrumptious treats that taste great and light at the same time. these are the kind of healthful snacks i could eat a ton of and be satisfied, but never feel guilty. with a low calorie count, and pure simple ingredients that you can not only pronounce, but have used in a sentence, there is no reason not to make them a regular indulgence. i can’t wait to go get more of tia’s goods…especially the almond cookies and macaroons! oh, and they also make VEGAN CAROB TRUFFLES which i haven’t tried but sound so good.
and for those of you who can’t eat gluten, i can imagine these sweets are a godsend!
tia’s bakery products are available at wholefoods, santa monica co-opportunity, erewhon, rainbow acres, follow your heart, locali, earth bar and pc greens. yum time.
Tags: baked goods, cookies, gluten-free, macaroons
who said ice cream couldn’t be raw, vegan, and delicious? the folks over at mooifood have created tons of amazing flavors using ingredients such as coconut meat, agave, and soaked cashews—who would have though such tasty ice cream could come from such simple foods? mooifood’s ice cream is all raw, vegan, organic, soy-free & gluten-free, and is available at naturewell in silverlake by the scoop or half pint.
i was lucky enough to receive a sample of 6 of the 9 flavors, and each one was refreshingly tasty. this ice cream strikes the perfect balance between being decadent and healthy…tasting good and not making you feel like crap after eating it. the first flavor i tried was the blueberry cheesecake (pictured above). it was cool, creamy, and filled with tiny chunks of fresh blueberries. i ate it in one of mooifood’s homemade raw vegan cones, which was phenomenal—like a big, thick bendable cookie. i never realized raw food could be such a treat!
the next type of ice cream i tried was the seasonal pumpkin, which was by far my favorite. this was the richest flavor of them all, and tasted like a frozen version of pumpkin pie. it even had a crunchy swirl in the middle, YUM. i don’t know how long the pumpkin ice cream will be around, so you must rush over and try it ASAP! it will totally get you in the mood for the holidays.
the chocolate peanut butter swirl variety is pretty decadent as well, made with cacao and sunflower seeds. the creamy chocolate ice cream is filled with big chunks of salty, nutty patches. if you are a peanut butter fan, this really won’t disappoint. and i am definitely a peanut butter fan.
again in a raw cone, i tried gingersnap cinnamon flavor, which was packed with big chunks of delicious cookie dough. epically scrumptious!
the maple cornbread ice cream was a blend of unique tastes that worked really well together. the real maple syrup flavor was strong throughout and added a perfect sweetness to the cornbread.
lastly, the peppermint chocolate chip was delicious—ice cream flavored with peppermint oil and littered with cacao nibs. extra minty with just enough chocolate flavor.
you can find all these mooifood ice creams as well as strawberry banana, vanilla and chocolate at naturewell in silverake. right now they are priced out at $2.25 for one scoop, $3.75 for two scoops, or $4.99 for a half pint. i don’t know if you are used to raw ice cream prices or not, but that is CHEAP compared to other places. if you want even more, you can contact mooifood and get 16oz for $8.99 or 32oz for $14.99!
if raw food is your thing, you will absolutely love this ice cream. and even if you aren’t much of a raw foodie, this stuff is really impressive…and fairly good for you. it sure won me over. definitely get to naturewell and try some—i suggest pumpkin flavor! 🙂
naturewellTags: gluten-free, ice cream, mooifood, organic, raw, silverlake, soy-free
3824 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
August 31st, 2009vegan bakers
i’ve got good news, los angeles! it is with great pleasure that i announce there is yet another vegan baker on the scene, and i can vouch for the goods. sugar plum vegan is bakery from sacramento that was selling treats to the local whole foods and co-op up there. lucky for us, they recently moved to LA and are in the process of getting food available in stores around town.
over the weekend, i was fortunate enough to sample several of sugar plum vegan’s creations, and they were all excellent. pictured above, starting at the back with the cookie and going clockwise, we have the peanut butter creamie, an orange goji scone, a cinnamon bun, a sticky bun, gluten-free carrot cake, the entertainer, and in the middle is a red velvet cupcake.
the peanut butter creamie was one of my favorite things i tried from sugar plum vegan. the sweet sandwich was made of two chocolate chip, chocolate dipped cookies with peanut butter frosting in the middle. this thing was rich and decadent, and didn’t taste vegan at all. the soft cookies and smooth chocolate went great with the thick and creamy frosting. five stars.
my other favorite treat was the sticky bun, a delicious breakfast pastry with a caramel nut topping. the bun was filled up with gooey sugary goodness, and the nuts on top were so sweet, they tasted like candy. once i took a bite of this thing, i couldn’t stop.
all the other sugar plum baked goods i tried were great as well—the cupcakes were moist and flavorful, the cinnamon bun was soft and covered in delicious frosting, and the goji scone was perfectly fruity. oh, and the gluten-free carrot cake didn’t taste gluten-free…or vegan for that matter.
for info on how to order these goodies for yourself, contact sugar plum vegan through their website. and starting today, you can also find some of sugar plum vegan’s goods for sale at locali. melissa sugar, the baker behind all this, tells me locali will be offering the following items: the entertainer cupcake (a chocolate cupcake with cream cheese filling), gluten free carrot cake, sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, and gluten free/soy free pumpkin chocolate chip walnut muffins.
so try some sugar plum vegan stuff when you have a chance, it’s all really tasty. damn, we are getting spoiled in los angeles with all these talented vegan bakers popping up!
sugar plum veganTags: bakery, cookies, cupcakes, gluten-free, hollywood, locali, sugar plum vegan
Gluten intolerance must be a really difficult thing to live with, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Even if you’re an omnivore, so many delicious foods that gluten-tolerant people eat are completely off-bounds if you can’t digest the base ingredient in flour – indeed, the very thing that holds most baked goods together and turns crumbs into something chewy and tastily edible.
As a vegan by choice I know how having minority dietary requirements can be a real problem for eating out, but to be gluten intolerant, and therefore have NO choice but to avoid many foods (or get sick) must be a real bind, to say the least. I was pleased to see on a recent trip to Locali some tiny (a little under 6”) vegan, gluten-free pizzas in the freezer all wrapped up in a bag. Being a pizza fan of the highest order I grabbed a bag of four and headed to the cash register. When the gentleman rang up $25, I assumed it was a mistake, and jokingly said “hey! Don’t want to break the bank!”, to which he replied “Oh, this is a special price. They’re normally $7 each but four are only $25.”. I headed straight back to the freezer with them, and settled for a bag of wasabi peas instead.
I did some research when I got home, and it turns out the pizzas are made by The Sensitive Baker in Culver City, and are sold on their website for the exact same price. I love a challenge to discern the value of something expensive, so I was delighted when, on another trip to Locali, they were selling the pizzas individually. I threw down $14+tax of hard earned cash, and headed home with two frozen pizzas in hand.
Now, I’m used to eating pizza by the slice with a good crust and hearty toppings – and, as anybody that’s seen my girth lately can tell you, several slices at that. When I got home I unpacked the pizza to expose something that really wasn’t much bigger in diameter than one of those large chocolate-chip cookies they sell at the checkout of Whole Foods, only a whole lot thinner. By thin, I mean the thickness of a couple of stacked quarters.
I’m commenting on the size (or lack thereof!) of the pizzas because I had just spent so much money on two, and wishing I’d bought four to feed two people — clearly, the “four in a bag for $25” deal should be what you’d go for, assuming money is no object. Anyways, I popped the pizzas in the oven per the directions and wolfed one down in about 30 seconds, taking eight bites to do so. I then immediately made myself a boca burger with salsa on top as I was so hungry.
And, after checking the nutrition information I was SHOCKED to learn that each pizza was 450 CALORIES — that’s as much energy as in three bags of potato chips. No, not the healthy “baked” kind, but the good, old-fashioned “Lay’s Classic” that makes one feel bloated after eating. This pizza is a source of concentrated calories of about the same as a three slices of a Pizza Hut 12” pizza, but a whole lot less satisfying.
From the bottom up, this was not an exceptional pizza, and certainly nothing special for the price. The crust was hard and crispy with no soft interior (I’ve been told that can be a side-effect of poorly designed gluten-free dough — after all, I’ve had gluten-free burger buns that are perfectly crispy and soft in all the right places). The sauce was watery – like somebody opened a can of tomato puree, diluted it and brushed it on the ‘crust’. There were about two tablespoons of cashew/tahini “cheese” which tasted decent (only because it was fattening enough to meet the nutritional requirements of 5 people in one day) right on top of the aqueous tomato puree.
So, a pizza that was this unimpressive (I’m a-telling you: a piece of dough with watered-down tomato puree and some Follow Your Heart cheese would be an equal match) begs many, many questions….
So, help me out here. Are you gluten intolerant? Do you know anybody that is? Have you ever made a gluten-free pizza… Or a gluten-free anything? Should a gluten-free pizza be nasty yet cost almost 90 cents a bite? Are gluten-intolerant people so desperate for a pizza that this is actually a god-send and value for money?
If this is the state of the art of gluten-free cooking, and it’s value for money I’d love to know – please leave a comment. If not, there has to be a better way to feed our gluten-free friends (some of whom are vegan: that requires a lot of dedication and courage).Tags: gluten-free, pizza, sensitive baker