Gluten-Free In Napa: Cate & Co. Bake Shop

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The order station…yes, it’s all gluten-free.

While in the Napa area, we had to do a wine tour. It was one of the reasons for our stop there. But because we stayed in Vacaville, we had to drive in and meet the tour bus rather than be picked up at our hotel. That meant getting up earlier and finding breakfast. Luckily, Chaz scored again with a 100% gluten-free find: Cate & Co. Bake Shop in the Oxbow Public Market.

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The breakfast menu and what’s that? They ship nationwide? Customer for life!

Doughnuts people.


And here is where I have to go back on what I said about Capitol Cider on Instagram when I said they were the best doughnuts ever.

Cate & Co.’s doughnuts were sponge-y, hands down the best I’ve ever had, gluten-full or gluten-free. They weren’t overly sugary sweet either. I didn’t have that immediate sugar shock I tend to get with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome if I have something with too much refined sugar.

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Chocolate glazed and Meyer lemon rosemary glazed doughnuts. We split them.

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Scrambled egg & Applewood smoked bacon panini.

It was so good, we stopped back after the tour to see if they had any doughnuts left and bought the last glazed doughnut before going to Kitchen Door for dinner. Yes, the doughnut was dessert. I have no regrets.

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Glazed doughnut

Later, we realized we had more day in Napa than we thought we did. So what did we do?

If you guessed we went back to Cate & Co., you win a million fictional dollars!

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Prosciutto & Manchego melt

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Apple fritter. I need more of these in my life.

One of the first things I did upon our return home was place an order for some of the breads. As much as I wanted to buy everything they had at the counter, along with their tea cakes that aren’t pictured, it wasn’t feasible with the traveling.

And then what did I do? I joined their Bread Club. And it’s not just their many types of bread you get. They have delicious tea cakes (the Meyer Lemon one is perfect with a cup of Earl Grey), cinnamon rolls, crostini, and croutons. Every month an assortment of four different goodies arrives on my doorstep and because of this, I buy less gluten-free breads at the grocery store. Also, we have sandwiches for dinner more now, which helps me out when I’m busy writing and get caught in the zone.

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My first Bread Club delivery: Cinnamon Raisin bread, White Cheddar & Black Pepper Boule, crostini, & Chocolate Peppermint tea cake.

I may have tried to convince Chaz to find clients in Napa so we could move to wine country with amazing gluten-free doughnuts in town. Wouldn’t you?


Gluten-Free In Berkley: Mission Heirloom

Mission Heirloom

We left Portland and headed south for Arcata, California. My best friend went to Humboldt State and I loved visiting her there. We intended to hike the Redwoods and Fern Canyon. My body had other plans and by the time Arcata was in sight, the back of my throat was scratchy. Other than going out for our first meal there (dinner), I was in bed the whole time.

We moved on to Napa where I was moderately better and more medicated with cough syrup for the cough that would not leave.

One of my friends from church during my college years lives in Berkeley now. We interact a lot on Facebook these days, but back in college, I hung out with his brother and another friend more than him. If you can believe it, they were the troublemakers and I was the one reining them in. Oh, the antics from young adulthood!

We drove into Berkeley and met up with him for lunch at Mission Heirloom – a market/restaurant with an edible garden. It is the type of place you would see on Top Chef. In fact, it’s within walking distance from Chez Panisse. The only difference is, Mission Heirloom is gluten, grain, legume, and soy-free.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Thankfully, my friend is adventurous and up for a new food experience.

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I had to order the Belgian waffle. It was drizzled in honey and dusted with cinnamon. It was delicious with the crispy crunch Belgian waffles are supposed to have. And just look how gorgeous that presentation is. Gluten-free food can be fancy too.

I don’t know what the usual is like at Mission Heirloom, but going for lunch they couldn’t fix a sous vide egg for me to have on the side because it would take too long (it’s on the menu). And Chaz ordered the Fried Chicken & Waffles, but they were out of the fried chicken (no, we didn’t go late). They were able to use another type of chicken for him, but he didn’t care for it. I would love to go back to see if it was just a one-off and we went on a rough day.

Heck, I’d love to go back to Berkeley just to go to Chez Panisse. The food scene in Berkeley is where it’s at.

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Of course I’d go back to see this guy too. I might be mean, but I’m not heartless!

Gluten-Free In Portland: Ground Breaker Brewing

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Awards and cookbooks on display

This post is the post I’ve been wanting to share with you since our road trip last fall. THIS post is the post I keep thinking, “I need to get to that.” With my editor working on The Downward Spiral and my rotator cuff healing, I’ve finally gotten to it. I have to credit Chaz on finding this gem that we went to for a late lunch that turned into early dinner too. It was our last day in Portland and I spent much of it doing our laundry before heading south to Arcata, CA and the redwoods.

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Decisions, decisions

Ground Breaker Brewing & Gastropub is in the same neighborhood as New Cascadia Traditional, and they use bread from New Cascadia Traditional in the restaurant – fortuitous since we weren’t able to get back there to try more of their goodies. The brewery and gastropub are dedicated gluten-free. Craft beer…gluten-free. Not the “popular” watered down stuff forced on us at the grocery stores. Not the faux gluten-free beers that are not really “gluten-removed.” Real beer that will stand up to any gluten-full beer on the market – I’m saying that as a fan of Guinness and of microbrews BGF (before gluten-free). Green’s Dubbel Dark Ale is my preferred gluten-free beer, but if it were readily available here, I would choose almost any of the brews from Ground Breaker.

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Front l-r: Fresh Hop Pale Ale-Meridian (30 IBU, 5.8% ABV), Olallie (30 IBU, 4.5% ABV), Cancellation Schisandra (30 IBU, 5.5% ABV), and Nitro; Pale Ale (30 IBU, 5.5% ABV). Back l-r: IPA No. 5 (70 IBU, ~5.6% ABV), Strawberry IPA (70 IBU, 5.6% ABV), Elderberry Pale Ale (60 IBU, 5.6% ABV), and Fig Pale Ale (60 IBU, 5.6% ABV)

I couldn’t decide which beer I wanted so I noticed that they have tasting trays. I was a little bummed thinking I was going to be limited until I saw a tray for all eight beers they had on tap while we were there. DEBI WINS! I proudly ordered it and the waiter asked, “Are you sharing?” “No,” I answered. He eyed me dubiously, “You know it’s almost two pints.” I think to myself, “Ha! That’s nothing, you should’ve seen me in college!” But what I really say is, “Bring it on!” I would love to tell you all about each one of them, but I forgot to take tasting notes and I’ll tell you why in a minute. What I can tell you is other than the Strawberry IPA, I would drink any of them again. It’s not that the Strawberry IPA is bad, strawberry beers are just not my thing. I try and try and try again and I still don’t care for them. The fig pale ale was pretty tasty. That was a limited seasonal brew though, so don’t expect them to have it if and when you go.

Ground Breaker Brewing 2Chaz isn’t a beer drinker. He has liked a few brews from another restaurant/brewery chain, but it’s not a regular occurrence. So he chose their “guest tap.” Nectar Creek mead.

Ground Breaker Brewing 3When perusing the menu and I realized they used bread from New Cascadia Traditional, I got excited. Like, can’t sit still excited. So of course we ordered bread to start with. It was crusty on the outside and pillow-y soft on the inside. I won’t lie, Chaz let me eat most of it.

Ground Breaker Brewing 4And now the reason why I forgot to take tasting notes. Fried chicken. Fried. Chicken. FRIED CHICKEN. I GOT TO ORDER FRIED CHICKEN! *fans self* Whew, sorry about that. Okay. Fried Chicken Bowl. It’s on their lunch menu but not their dinner menu. It’s buttermilk fried chicken. To. Die. For. You chose three different sides. Rice or greens, and two of cabbage slaw, pickled vegetables, kimchi, or collard greens. I chose rice, cabbage slaw, and pickled vegetables. Back home, when something is really good we say, “Broke da mouh.” This was broke da mouth all da way.

Ground Breaker Brewing 5It didn’t end there though. I ordered the September Sweet Peach Bread Pudding for dessert. And yes, the bread is from New Cascadia Traditional. After a few bites, I had to ask for a to-go box, but the deliciousness! It wasn’t overly sweet like many desserts and I like that. It helps me savor every component of the dessert without feeling like I’m getting a cavity as I’m eating it…or worry about a possible sugar crash. That’s the thing about Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, even when you feel functionally normal, sometimes your adrenals will remind you that you’re not. Mine likes to remind me if I have too much sugar and when I used more spoons than I should have.

My friend, Johnna of In Johnna’s Kitchen, did a beer tasting with some friends at her place. Ground Breaker was one of the company’s she contacted while seeking out good gluten-free beers. You can read her post on the beers and tastings notes here. Needless to say I was ready to jump on a plane as soon as I found out she manged to procure Ground Breaker’s tasty goodness.

It was sad leaving Portland the following day, but after a good breakfast at a cafe I directed Chaz to my old house and my old school.

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The house was newly built when we moved in. We were living in an apartment while it was being finished. We didn’t have as much greenery in the front and the trim was yellow back then. That living room window is where I sat and watched the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption. That evergreen in the back…it was just a sapling when we moved in.

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Of the many elementary schools I attending, Reedville is the one I went to for the longest stretch of time, 2 1/2 years. I made many friends here and I was devastated when my parents moved us to California. I was able to keep in touch with one of my classmates after leaving, even getting to meet up with him while he was attending Annapolis while I was in D.C. on vacation in college. And more recently, through him on Facebook, I reconnected with a few other classmates. Gosh we’re all grown up now!

Next up on this road trip series…tamales in Fresno.