It's becoming easier to find gluten-free options for dining out, in Yamhill County, as in the nation. But county residents have a couple of special treats available to them: A dedicated gluten-free patisserie, in Yamhill, and a gluten-free bakery in McMinnville.
Bella Luna Gluten-free Patisserie and Pie Shop, at 185 S. Maple St. in Yamhill, offers a mouthwatering array of pastries, pies, cheesecake and even cakes. In addition, it includes a selection of take-and-bake entrees, also gluten-free, including pot pies, both vegetarian and meat lasagna, and more.
Angie's Gluten-Free Kitchen, at 214 N.E. 11th Street in McMinnville, is also strictly gluten-free, as well as dairy-free, with none of the gums often used in gluten-free baking. In addition, the bakery, which sources organic and local ingredients whenever possible, avoids soy products, oats, peanuts, bean flour, hydrogenated oils and “highly-refined sugars.” However, its products are not considered sugar-free. Many products are dairy-free; there are also vegan and some “paleo” options.
It produces a wide range of products: breads, bagels, tortillas, buns, muffins, pizza crust mix, pancake mix, pie dough and pastries. On Friday, it makes doughnuts. Learn more on its facebook page, at angiesgfkitchen.
For more take-and-bake options, the Blue Raeven, famous for pies and pot pies, makes gluten-free fruit pies, using the dough from Angie's Gluten-free Kitchen. Numerous restaurants around the county either offer gluten-free options on their menus, or work with patrons to ensure orders are free of problem ingredients.
Marna Porath of Amity recommends Thai Country Restaurant in downtown McMinnville, noting that “They do use soy sauce, but are happy to substitute with tamari.”
Porath also enjoys the gluten-free wrap offered by the 1882 Grille in downtown McMinnville.
Susan Chambers, president of Gluten-free Friends in McMinnville, said dining out as a gluten-intolerant person has been easier in general over the past 15 years, and that “Oregon is one of the greatest places to eat gluten-free.”
Chambers said McMinnville is definitely part of that trend.
“It's wonderful. Most people are amazed. My sister lives in Davis, California and loves to come visit and go out to eat; almost every restaurant on Third Street is super accommodating to a gluten-free diet. Especially because so many high end restaurants on Third know what the ingredients are, can tell you what has gluten and doesn't,” she said.
Chambers warned, however, that fast food restaurants can still pose a problem, in part because so many foods are prepared off-site for cooking on-demand, and so the staff may have no control over them, and may not know all of the ingredients.
However, she said, some pizza restaurants are now offering gluten-free crusts. It is particularly helpful, she said, when those crusts are made off-site, to reduce chances of cross-contamination.
Not only have people in general become more aware of the issue, she said, but a new federal regulation, passed in 2004, makes it easier to determine whether purchased items like sauces and salad dressings contain allergens. The law requires that the eight most common allergens, which include wheat, be specifically listed, and companies can no longer use the catch-all term “modified food starch,” a former pitfall for people studying ingredient lists.
The list includes any ingredients derived from milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soybeans.
However, it does not include barley, which is among the foods that people who have celiac disease or are otherwise gluten-intolerant, must avoid, Chambers warned. Barley malt is an ingredient to watch for, particularly in cereal, she said.
Chambers said she still takes care to talk with servers about her dietary needs, and to confirm, when served, that she is receiving a gluten-free meal.
“I always ask a lot of questions,” she said, particularly about the ingredients of sauces and dressings.
She said that when planning to eat at a restaurant you haven't tried, it may be helpful to call ahead and make inquiries.
Gluten-free Friends offers a handout on its website, www.glutenfreefriends.org, that also advises making sure that restaurant servers understand how gluten-free foods must not be placed on cutting boards or other surfaces used for bread or flour, cooked in the same oil used for foods containing wheat or breading, or cooked on the same surface used for wheat-containing foods.