First the Gauls sacked Rome. Then Attila the Hun laid waste to all he surveyed. Then gluten became a scourge that swept celiacs and gluten-intolerants alike into a digestive battle where there can be no winners.
Or can there? San Francisco has long been a safe haven for dietary refugees, from vegetarians and vegans to locovores and bacon freaks. There are more gluten-free dining options popping up every day (take this Kickstarter campaign to create a shared gluten-free kitchen in San Francisco, or this pop-up brunch serving exclusively gluten-free entrees). But a meal does not have to be specifically gluten-free to rescue gluten-fearing diners from peril. We consulted resident gluten-free expert Carlee Gomes to get the lowdown on her top 5 favorite GF dishes in the city.
1. Jalapeño Popper on house-made gluten-free bread at The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. All grilled cheese, all the time, and they know that non-gluten eaters want to get their grill on too.
2. Gnocchi at Ristorante Bacco. This spot is extremely GF-friendly, and they will even serve a gluten-free bread basket so you can snack on bread and olive oil like a normal person! Just ask about their GF menu to make sure you’re getting the business.
3. Buñuelos de Platano at Poquito. Latin American tapas naturally include a lot of gluten-free options, but their menu denotes items that are specifically GF, and these plantain dumplings with powdered sugar are traditionally not at all gluten-free, making it that much more delicious to get your fry on. (Word to the wise, there’s half off at Poquito waiting for you on your handy-dandy Scoutmob app.)
4. Meat Cone from Boccalone and Gluten-Free Parisian Baguette from Mariposa Baking Co. Head to the Ferry Building and create your own portable french brunch. Bonus points for grabbing some Cowgirl Creamery cheese and really going at it.
5. Gluten-Free Mr. Pestato Head pizza on Still Riding's GF Pizza Dough at Extreme Pizza. Yes, an out-the-door pizza place that serves GF pizza to go. We’ve heard of a secret system whereby you order from the Fillmore location and sneak your pizza into a movie at Kabuki, but you didn’t hear about that from us.
Many thanks to Carlee Gomes for her insights. You can follow her gluten-free adventures on Twitter at @Carlee_Gomes.