I’m on vacation, for the first time since April. In addition to having a lot of work to do this summer, my mom turned 60 last weekend, so I figured pushing back my annual trek to the motherland until October made sense this year. And I made it, although slightly worse for wear.
I have a lot to say about California, but this is a blog about food, so I’m going to try to stay on topic. Also, fair warning: this has not been the most vegan week of my life. Lots of leisurely brunches = lots of egg eating. Sorry, chickens.* Anyway, the best thing about this vacation has been staying with my very best friend in the whole wide world (vbfitwww) for an entire, unscheduled week of relaxing, beaching and eating. We’ve had three rules to follow:
- Only do things we want to do;
- Don’t do anything we don’t want to do;
- If the sun rose, it’s a beach day.
The other awesome thing about my vbfitwww is that she knows all about my IBS, has seen me through better and worse phases and I don’t feel embarrassed about managing my IBS around her. I have a hard time taking care of myself when I travel, but I’ve been almost symptom-free the whole time I’ve been here, which is amazing. AND she had been saving up some gluten-free highlights in Oakland to check out with me.
Our first stop was Mariposa Baking Company, which has a couple of stores in the Bay Area. We visited the Oakland location. They. are. amazing. Awesome selection of gluten-free baked goods, most things are vegan or dairy-free and everything is well-labeled and made with simple ingredients. I had a hard time with self-control in Mariposa, but I managed to limit myself to a package of sandwich rolls (for our beach picnic Saturday), italian herb crackers (ostensibly for the picnic but I ate most of them before Saturday), and Polar Bears (vanilla frosting-filled cupcakes). Mariposa is pricey (those three items were $22) but their products are so very good.
We were on our way to Ikea, so we decided to have breakfast at Mariposa (the thought of Swedish meatballs at 10 am appealed to neither of us). Meleah had a gluten (and possibly dairy) free quiche, I had an everything bagel with earth balance, because I am a sucker for a bagel. While we were sitting outside eating, one of the bakers from Mariposa came outside to take a break and chatted with us. He informed me that they ship anywhere (because I said there’s nothing this good in DC) and said they would keep baking if we kept enjoying. I am currently wishing I’d bought about 10 more things (pizza crusts! 5-pack of bagels! more cupcakes!) but these products have a slightly shorter shelf life (unless you freeze them) and I do have to go back to DC eventually.
And maybe this is overkill, but here’s a photo of one of their sandwich rolls in action. These are super light, not at all crumbly and very flavorful (but not in an overwhelming way). We made egg sandwiches with them on day one, and my non-gf vbfitwww thought they were pretty darn tasty, too. Validation! We took them to the beach on Saturday and made tofu, hummus and avocado sandwiches, and they were amazing.
I guess since we’re on a roll here, I might as well include a photo of the gluten and dairy free cupcakes that I scored at Mariposa. The vanilla cupcakes are polar bears and the chocolate ones are penguinos. The polar bears are somewhat lemony with vanilla frosting, but not an overwhelming amount of frosting, which is nice. They come individually wrapped so you can pack them for lunches or picnics or whatever, but my four-pack didn’t last long enough to pack anywhere. These are gluten and dairy (but not egg) free. This experience somewhat validated my personal (abysmal) gf baking track record. Nothing I’ve baked without eggs has turned out very delicious, so if the fine folks at Mariposa are baking with eggs, maybe it’s a sign that it’s okay?
*To be clear, I have complex and ambivalent feelings about egg eating that I will probably discuss here in a future post. I don’t mean to be flip about this at all.