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Eating Out: Berkeley

Hello Friends!

I've been meaning to post this for a while, but haven't got around to it. Without further ado, here is my review on Venus!

After many months of wanting to try Venus, I finally got the chance to try it out with one of my good friends, Debbie. (On a side note, I think it’s pretty funny to see how many restaurants and bars in Berkeley that are named after planets- Jupiter, Saturn and now Venus. I’m waiting for the other planets to open up!)

Venus is a cozy American fusion restaurant, situated on Shattuck and tucked into the walls of the street. They specialize in high quality farm-to-table cuisine and attract many street strollers in for a meal with their savory menu items. We headed in around 7:30PM and the place was packed! The restaurant is already limited in space with crammed tables and customers rubbing elbows with their strangers next to them. Despite the cramped space, the aroma from the kitchen was incredibly inviting and we took our seats without much complaint.

After looking at the menu, Debbie decided on the Mandarin Lemongrass Hoffman Farm Chicken and I chose the Butternut Squash Napoleon that I had been previously eyeing before I came into the restaurant. The great thing about the menu is that the items that are gluten free are marked clearly and so that took out much of the guesswork and questioning I usually have to do.

We waited around 15-20 minutes until we got our food. Here’s a look at our dishes:
Layered ricotta and parmesan cheese, spinach, shallots, and butternut squash with a pistachio and saffron cream

Chicken with basmati rice and wilted kale 

My dish was just perfection in my mouth! The butternut squash was sweet and tender, swimming in a sea of rich cream and melted cheese. The garlic roasted vegetables on the side were a nice touch in contrast to the heaviness of the main dish.

Debbie’s dish was a bit plain for the price. The chicken was tender, but without much flavor. The kale had minimal taste and was unimpressive. Of course, I venture to guess that the chicken dish is a healthier option in terms of calories, but I would order my squash dish again before I ordered this chicken.

All in all, I had a good time. The food was above average, the service well done, and our waters were consistently filled. The ambiance was decent enough, but still very crowded. The price is about $20 per person, which is not a typical college student type budget, so save Venus for a nice occasion. And as always, the company was the best part of my meal. J

Until next time,


Hello loves!

Happy (late) Valentine's Day! I hope all of you had a fantastic time celebrating and spending time with your loved ones. I was incredibly thankful and blessed to be able to spend mine with a good friend- nothing beats good conversation, good laughs and good company. Throw in some chocolate... and it's a party!

Today's post is another of my food adventures here in Berkeley. This time, my two friends from church decided that 1) we never spend time together and 2) we need to fix this. And so what do three friends do to remedy this situation? We eat.

As I was going through the innumerable list of restaurants in Berkeley that I have yet to try, I figured that there's got to be a place that I've overlooked. And sure enough there was! Pieology Pizza.

Pieology has just recently opened up a new branch here in Berkeley. I could tell it was a success because the line was almost out the door when we were there. Pieology offers unlimited toppings for a flat rate of $7.95. Adding in tax brings you to $8.64. Not too bad for a personal pizza. The gluten free crusts do tack on an extra $2 so just be aware of that.

Of course, the gluten free crust option on their menu and some other gluten free bread product got me super excited and ready to have a feast! One thing I do want to mention is that there is a high degree of cross contamination. They bake the wheat pizzas with the gluten free crusts in the same oven (because they only have the one ) and some of their gloves and utensils are contaminated with gluten because of application on the wheat pizzas. If you are sensitive, I would not recommend eating here. They were very nice about changing their gloves and I'm sure you could ask them to use different brushes to spread on the sauce and oils, but the bucket of toppings/sauces would still be a bit contaminated. I ate here and had no adverse reactions, so this level of gluten was okay for me. Still, be cautious and know how much your body can handle. They also mention the cross-contamination potential on their menu as a FYI for people who order the gluten free crusts.

Anyway, I ordered my pizza with the gluten free crust and got all of my favorite toppings. I mean, if it's unlimited, I might as well have a field day with it! Here was the finished pizza:

The thin crust was very nicely browned and caramelized on the sides. It was also the right amount of crunch on the crust and deliciously soft in the middle. The pizza had marinara sauce with the herb butter base and fresh basil, olives, juicy pineapple, sliced ham, soft red onions, mushrooms, chicken and mozzarella topped off with what the restaurant calls, "after bakes," which are sauces/toppings that you can put on your pizza when it's out of the oven. We topped ours off with a BBQ sauce after bake and it was SO SO good. Oh my gosh.

I will definitely be back here again. The food was great, inexpensive and the atmosphere of the store was bright and lively. Service was decent (I think it could be better when there are less people). There are other places in Berkeley that serve gluten free pizza (like Build on Shattuck), but they charge for each individual topping and brings the total to around $15 for a personal pizza. And that's not including switching over to a gluten free crust (at least I don't think!). However, Build's ingredients are fresher and of a better quality so you really cannot compare on that level. But, hey, I'm a college student with little money and a big appetite. So, Build's just going to be left in the background and Pieology moved up to center stage. Overall, if I want to satisfy my pizza cravings, I know where to go.

Up next, get excited for my future post on ALCOHOLIC BOBA! (:

Greetings my dear readers!

I hope your holiday season was lovely and full of tasty food, fun and other shenanigans. My last semester at Berkeley has already started and I must say I have a rather nasty case of senioritis and the work has not even begun yet!

Today, I wanted to share another foodie destination spot that most Berkeley folk have eaten at or passed by on the way to class near the Starbucks on Center and Oxford. I’m talking about Saturn Café. I was one of those students who always passed by the retro looking place and thought it too hipster for my taste even though it has the words “GLUTEN FREE FOODS” glaring at me from the shop windows. Saturn Café also is famous for serving vegan and vegetarian friendly foods as well.

I was back in Berkeley one week before classes started and my good friend, Jen, called me up and asked me if I would like to have dinner. And when someone asks me to go to dinner with them, I almost always say yes (well, unless it is an impromptu visit to Chez Panisse at which point I would run and hide my wallet!) As we were searching for dinner selections, Saturn Café popped up in my mind and I offered the suggestion. Next thing I know, I’m sitting down in one of those retro booths with colors screaming from every direction ready to try out this restaurant that I have always glanced at as a passerby but never found the will to go in.

Once Jen arrived and we received our menus, both of us unanimously decided that the Crunchy Potato Taco Plate was the best thing on the menu so we ordered two plates.

Close up shot of our Crunchy potato taco plate

I seem to always wear this shirt to go to new restaurants! 

I think now I know why I never had too much of an inclination to go to this restaurant beyond a minor interest. The food did not really impress me at all and reminded me of food I could easily make at home. The tacos were nice and crunchy but we were only given two small tacos (hardly could satisfy my rather voracious appetite that day), the black beans were simply opened from a can, scooped and warmed up, and the salad was fresh but without much substance. I could get more selection on my salad at the dining commons. One thing that was nice was that all the salad dressings are gluten free- I tried the cilantro lime dressing which had a pretty nice taste.

Overall, service was slow (although I didn’t mind as much because I was too busy chatting up a storm) but the waitress was nice and kept our waters filled. Food was average and they could really use some interior upgrading. I had to move booths because the one the waitress seated us at had a huge slash through the fabric revealing the yellow foam on the bottom. The price is also a bit expensive considering they didn’t give us much food- however, I understand why they have to mark it higher seeing as how they market themselves as a specialty diner.

Next food adventure, I think I’ll skip the glittery columns and the retro themed music and just save up for my long awaited trip to La Note, Gather or Chez Panisse. Although, I wouldn’t count Saturn Café out just yet because I found out they actually have seasonal gluten free cupcakes!

Many thanks to Jen for her company and the gorgeous pics! The pics make the plate look infinitely better.

Until next time,

Hello Everyone!

Sorry that I've been M.I.A. for a while now.. I've been battling final exams for my summer classes and getting ready to apply for dietetic internships for next year! It's funny to imagine that just 3 years ago I was a high school senior preparing for college and now in one years time, I'll be moving on to the next chapter of my crazy life. Where I'm going... I'm not really sure. All I know is that exciting things are coming up in the future and I can't wait to see where life takes me!

For this weeks post, we're going to yet another Mediterranean restaurant that I've personally always wanted to go to but never found time to visit: La Med!

La Med is one of the many restaurants and small stores up on College Ave toward Elmwood. The restaurant is cozy with a outdoor patio area and a decent size interior.

Okay, so moving onto the FOOD!!

La Med offers a gluten free and vegan menu and all the servers seem very knowledgeable and accommodating, which is always a plus in my book!

So, I heard from various classmates that the Pomegranate Chicken was the best dish in the house and that if you ever went to La Med, that was the go to. Luckily, the dish is entirely gluten free!! And so here it is in all its pomegranity glory!

The servers even threw in some gluten free crackers to go along with their very tasty hummus. :)
The gfree crackers are on the left! Too bad the flatbread isn't. 

In terms of the chicken, I thought the flavor was interesting- it was lightly flavored with a slight sour taste because of the pomegranate but I thought it wasn't mind-blowing. The taste was mediocre for all the positive reviews it got but hey, some nights the chicken could be better or worse, right? The chicken was also a bit dry in the middle which also got it dinged a few points.

For sides, they offer soup, green salad, or Armenian potato salad. I decided to try something different and go with the potato salad. It was pretty disappointing- it was all sour and I ended up throwing most of it out. Don't order the potato salad unless you enjoy sour tastes.

The rice pilaf (all gluten free) and the hummus were amazing though! I could have gone with more rice and hummus to replace the icky potato salad.

The crackers were similar to those grainy rice crackers sold at Whole Foods. Not too tasty but decent with the hummus.

Overall, the experience was good. I was impressed with the service although bummed by the food. I would probably try this place again if someone really wanted to go, but I wouldn't be back here once a week.

Alright! That's it for this week and look forward to more posts coming soon!


Helloooo everyone!!

I hope all of you are well and are enjoying summer as much as I am! Speaking of summer, one of my favorite beverages to drink during this hot season is bubble tea or boba. For those of you who are unfamiliar with bubble tea, let me give you a quick introduction!

Boba was first invented in one of Taiwan's tea shops around the 1980s and has skyrocketed in popularity since then. Bubble milk tea is a sweet tea base mixture typically accompanied by milk or fruit. Tea flavors can range from the classic black to green/jasmine to Thai etc. Milk tea can be served hot or cold and can have different consistencies depending on what toppings you put into your drink and if you have a fruit flavored tea vs a milk tea. Most of these teas are also accompanied by small, chewy and sweet tapioca balls otherwise known as "pearls" or the name we mentioned earlier, "boba." The best part of all? Most bubble teas and tapioca are gluten free! I must confess that these drinks are a guilty pleasure of mine- chalk full of sugar and calories but oh so delish... :)

This post will be your guide to discovering the world of boba and all the selection we have in Berkeley I have personally tried or want to try! Enjoy!
The Classic Pearl Milk Tea

Bubble Tea Sample Menu      
1) TEAS*
Fruit flavored tea (pomegranate, passion fruit, peach, mango, strawberry etc)
*Powder or brewed tea. Most fruit flavored ones contain syrup.

Tapioca balls
Pearls (tapioca balls)
Small pearls
Fruit flavored jellies (apple, mango, rainbow etc)
Coffee flavored jellies
Sweet red beans

Rainbow jellies!!

1) Moccaccino Cafe
A great place if you're first starting out drinking boba. The drinks are cheap especially if you get the drink special of $3.15 for 2 drinks. With this place, you get what you pay for- cheap drinks have a more watery consistency, less tea flavor and a lots of sugar. But considering the price, if you love it you will think its a steal, if you hate it, then you wouldn't have wasted much money. It's a win-win.
Rating: 2.5/5

2) Honeyberry
Famous for its boba bar and freshly baked roti buns (a type of sweet Asian pastry-not gfree though..), Honeyberry can stand as a competitor against Moccaccino. The featured boba bar allows you to load up on toppings while paying a standard price. The drinks are a decent price but definitely more than Moccaccino's. I like the concept of the boba bar, but since the toppings are left out they get somewhat dry and hard. Not my idea of a good boba. Also, the teas are a bit artificial tasting although not watery. I would only come here if you like toppings more than tea. If that's you, look no further!
Rating: 2.75/5

3) Quickly's
Quickly's is a chain store so their tastes are very chain store like. Their milk teas sell at a decent price (around $3), but Moccaccino stands on top with the lowest prices in Berk for milk teas. Quickly's uses a soy based powder that makes their drinks taste a bit funky if you're not into soy flavors, but the creamy taste is not objectionable. Quickly's is another Berk student favorite for those late night boba cravings.
Rating: 2.75/5

4) Sweethearts
Let me just say, I can't give a non-bias review for this place because my experiences here were just dreadful. On two separate occasions, my friend and I somehow got dead insects in our drinks (flies and ants) and the lady who worked the front register tried to convince us it was tapioca or a tea leaf. Since then, I have never gone back and I have told everyone not to give them your business. Unless you're in dire need for some protein in bug form, then by all means, I won't hold you back. But, just so you know, there are cleaner ways to fulfill your protein needs.
Rating: 1/5 (I want to give it a zero, but I guess the tea was bearable).

5) Lotus House
This is a Chinese restaurant that sells boba as a part of a drink special for ordering one of their meals. The drinks are as terrible as their food. I can't believe this place is still running (no offense to those of you who dig this place). The tapioca is hard as hell when you let it sit even for 30 minutes. The tea is unspectacular and clearly, not memorable.
Rating: 1/5

6) Sheng Kee Bakery
Ahh, Berkeley finally came to their senses and built a Sheng Kee right in the heart of student activity. I mean with the school housing more than 50% Asian, you know that this was a right move when you see hordes of Asians lining out the door enticed by the familiar scents of sweet Asian pastries. Unfortunately, Sheng Kee does not offer any gluten free products (save for naturally gluten free foods), BUT they do serve boba that is not half bad. The tea is pre-made, dispensed out of containers and you have an unlimited choice of toppings but the amount of the toppings is left up to their discretion. SK boba is a bit too sweet for me and the ratio between tea and boba is 3:1 so I always end up drinking all the tea and have a mountain of boba left on the bottom of my cup. For the price of $2.99, and some interesting tea blends, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and leave by saying their boba is not too shabby.
Rating: 3.5/5

7) Tea Fever
If anyone who comes to Berkeley asks me to recommend good boba places, I'll tell them to go to Tea Fever. Tea Fever ranks among one of the top boba places in my book to have a pleasant tasting boba for a relatively pleasant price. Their boba sells for around $3.15 and they offer some fun flavors like almond and lavender for example. They don't have different jellies but their tea is the highlight, not the add ins.
Rank: 4/5

8) Asha Tea House
The one place everyone tells me to go to, but I haven't gone yet. I've been dying to try this place out because I'm a huge fan of authentic and strong teas and I heard that they really deliver in this department. If the tapioca is good, then that's another plus in my book. Let me know if any of you have tried this place and what you recommend!
Rating: TBD

And that's it! I hope this guide to Berkeley boba was helpful and I really encourage everyone gives this list a try except for the ones that got a 1 star rating. Those I would religiously avoid.

Treat yourself to this delicious Asian drink during this summer and keep one piece of advice in mind: when you're drinking boba, calories don't exist! =) Have fun boba drinking!


I have a confession to make: I think I'm obsessed with Mediterranean food! I have yet another place to share with all of you.

Turkish Kitchen, on Shattuck Ave, is one of the only places in Berkeley where tasty Med food is combined with great deals. Plus, lots of their platters are gfree since most of them consist of rice and meat with some salad on the side.
Mural on a corner 

Wall menu

Chicken Doner

I ordered the Chicken Doner (a pretty safe choice for a gfee eater). The plate came with chicken carved from a giant hanging slab of meat together with steaming rice, fresh greens and dipping sauce. In terms of taste, I would say, you get what you pay for. The chicken was a little too salty for me and the greens had no dressing so it felt like I was eating leaves... But overall, the taste was decent for what I paid (which wasn't much) so I didn't feel like I was cheated. Perhaps, other plates would be more tasty, but I'm not sure if I'm 100% willing to go back and try. Ambiance was pleasant and service was attentive. If you're looking for cheap Med food I would try here. Just ask ahead of time for the sauces and if you have any questions about particular dishes that you're not sure are gfree or not.

Onto a totally different place! I recently went to try a Nepalese/Indian place, called Mt. Everest, with a good coworker of mine for my last day of work before heading home. The restaurant was located on a street corner on Telegraph. The outside looks unspectacular but the food more than made up for the lack of outdoor decor.

Since this was my first time trying Nepalese food, I decided to ask the wait staff what they would recommend to order. They sure weren't expecting that I was going to give them the extra challenge of picking something that was gfree! Even though the wait staff were unaware of what gluten was and gluten free dishes, I kindly explained to them what I could and could not eat and based on that, they were able to recommend some dishes for me to order.

I ended up ordering one of Mt.Everest's monthly specials, a delicious and exploding-with-flavor mango chicken swimming in a sea of sweet mango chutney with a side of basmati pea rice with cumin. I must say my taste buds were VERY happy with this dish! Did I forget to mention this dish was organic too? I'm sure that could be one of the reasons why it tasted so good! :)  Also, one more thing I wanted to add was that the waitstaff gave our table some free appetizer! The appetizer were these lightly salted crispy rice chips called, Papadum, which I later researched are traditional crackers that usually accompany a meal in India. The crackers are made from chickpeas, rice flour, black gram, and lentils; all gfree! Props to the waitstaff for making my first experience here great! I will definitely be back to try some new dishes!
My beautiful dish 

Our free appetizer: gfree Papadum!

Mayra, my lovely coworker who gladly accompanied me!
A very happy me :)

I can't wait to share more of these gfree adventures with all of you! 

Eat well and live happily!


Hello everyone!
I hope that all of you were able to read up on what the three of us did on Day 1 and more importantly, what yummy gfree food we ate! Needless to say, at the end of Friday, we were exhausted from all the walking around, but we were certainly happy and very full. :) 

Now onto Day 2! 

Waking up and seeing sunshine on Saturday morning already put us in a cheerful mood to explore more of what Berkeley had to offer! 

On Saturday, we had an additional friend come along to visit (actually, my sister's boyfriend) and so we decided to take a drive down to the 4th street shopping district. The shopping district was simply charming with all its small boutique shops and eateries! Here, the streets are crowded with more dogs than people and the air was less polluted than in the city. We stopped by a couple shops that piqued our interest, including the one that is shown below of us holding some cool mini succulent plants! 

After perusing through the shops and snapping some pics, we were all feeling like it was time to grab lunch! Now here's where the food adventure begins!
Berkeley has many unique ethnic restaurants that are an absolute must to try if in the area. One such restaurant is, without a doubt, Brasil Cafe. 

Brasil Cafe is a small space (and by small, I mean you walk in and it's literally a square!) Despite the small space, the flavor is certainly not small in size! When you first walk in, the atmosphere makes you feel as if you have been transported out of the city and into a colorful, vibrant Latino world. Paintings of parrots and rainbow tablecloths adorn the room making you feel as if you really are in some part of Brazil! 
Since I've been here before, I already knew their signature dishes, in particular, their tri-tip. Per my suggestion, our table ordered the tri-tip rice bowl, a chicken rice bowl, and a pork carnitas rice bowl. (So much rice!! haha). We also ordered something extra special called, pao de queijo, which are these deliciously crispy but soft cheese puffs made of tapioca flour, that are, you guessed it, absolutely gluten free! 
Pao de queijo- cheese puffs!
Brasil cafe, besides being well known for its delicious tri-tip, is also known for its creamy cilantro dipping sauce which is in virtually every dish. To me, it really helps to accentuate the flavors in the already very flavorful food and adds that extra kick, if you know what I mean! 
T's chicken rice bowl with grilled onions, creamy cilantro sauce, and ricotta cheese  sitting on a bed of  rice. 

My very flavorful pork carnitas rice bowl! 
If you are interested in trying this place, I would double check with the chef or waiter about the sauces if you are very sensitive. T and I didn't seem to have any major problems after eating it, but you should always exercise caution, like I always say!
We are happy campers! :)

Lunch was super filling and rich and so we were definitely up for some exercise to burn off some of that food!

Our next destination was to get dessert! I had heard of a gourmet bakery in the Gourmet Ghetto area called, Masse's Pastries. (For those of you confused as to why we have a district called Gourmet Ghetto... it's basically an area that is filled with gourmet shops and eateries of all kinds. As to why they call it a ghetto is beyond me, especially since it is quite the opposite!) Of course, when we got there, the bakery was so full that the line was practically out the door! (If this isn't an indicator as to how good these desserts are, then I don't know what is!) 

If there was any downside to this bakery, I would say that it's a bummer that not all of its baked creations are gfree. However, there are still options that us gfreer's can enjoy and hopefully if more and more people request for gfree items, they may start making more! 

Out of all the baked items that they had, the only gluten free desserts were the pistachio sandwich cake with wild strawberries and pistachio flavored cream, a flourless chocolate cake, and the macaroons (made with almond flour). The macaroon flavors included cool flavors like salted caramel, pistachio, raspberry, and violet! We ended up ordering everything except the chocolate cake since we had tried something similar to it before. 
They had ribbons!! 

Here are pics of what we ordered! Oh it looks so good even now as I'm typing this!
MACAROONS! taste the rainbow :)

Pistachio cake with wild strawberries and pistachio cream!
Aerial shot of desserts

In terms of price, Masse's can get expensive especially if you're on a budget. I was overzealous and was won over by all the pretty colors that I had to just try one of each macaroon and the pistachio cake. The macaroons were $1.25 each and the pistachio cake was $5.50. Pricey, definitely; but the taste was worth it and that's what counts!

After Masse's, we decided to head back to the apartment but we were stopped by the urge to drink bubble tea. Darn, these food cravings! We decided to go to this great bubble tea place I know called, Tea Fever, to get some refreshing cold drinks for the walk back. As you all know, bubble tea or boba, is a very popular drink among Asians and if you're in Berkeley, chances are you'll probably see lots of people carrying this drink. Boba, if you don't already know, are basically tapioca balls that are seriously addicting. It's both chewy and sweet if you go to a good quality place and it of course accompanies whatever flavored tea you get. Of course, most boba is naturally gfree; just stay away from any barley milk teas and what not! 
T's Lychee green tea w/ tapicoa! That white thing is a whole lychee! YUM! 

I seriously have tea fever when I walk by this store. Thus, I presume it is appropriately named.

We bought drinks and of course, instead of walking straight back to the apartment as planned, we ended up taking a tangent to the weekly Farmer's market where they sell all sorts of fresh produce and also, if you look around, lots of gluten free items. I highly encourage everyone to check out the Farmer's Market here for gfree items as well as cool little trinkets they have on sale!

And that pretty much concluded our weekend gfree adventure! It was so much fun and I hope that T can come down again and we can try even more gfree places. We would love to hear from people who know of any gfree places in Berkeley or the Bay that we can try out or if you've tried any places and would like to share your experience, we welcome your comments!

Until next post,


Hello all!

It's been a long time since either of us have last posted... So to make it up to all of you, we have this extra special entry prepared! :)

After months of planning and rescheduling, T finally got the chance to spend the weekend with me in Berkeley! I had been dying to have her come and try all the delicious gfree restaurants and bakeries in the area as well as to give her a tour of Cal.

After walking around the campus for a couple hours, T and my older sister were ready to eat an early dinner. Needless to say my empty, growling stomach also agreed to this decision!

Our first destination was a cozy Greek restaurant called, Troy. Located on College Ave, Troy was quite a trek for us on foot, but the walk was definitely worth it! Troy has a warm, welcoming interior with two levels: the bustling, loud entryway and the more private upstairs seating. Arriving at the restaurant, the three of us opted to sit upstairs near a table by the open balcony. The gentle breeze blowing in from outside, the mouthwatering smells rising up from the kitchen as well as the jovial Greek folk melody playing in the background put us all in the mood to eat!
Kris @Troy!

T and I ordered Chicken Souvlaki, a naturally gfree dish with grilled chicken cubes on a skewer, grilled zucchini and eggplant, a roasted tomato, yellow rice, and a deliciously creamy tzatziki yogurt sauce. The dish originally comes with pita bread, but of course, we had to opt out of it. Nevertheless, the food was amazing and the waitstaff were all very attentive!

The Chicken souvlaki!
Now that the three of us were happy and full, we had to, of course, top the evening off with some gourmet ice cream from Ici's. Every student at Berkeley knows or has made the trip to eat Ici's gourmet ice cream at least once. With their "Flavors of the Day", you can be sure to never try the same flavor twice! Ici's boasts interesting flavors like candied bacon, pink peppercorn, and earl grey but also classics like chocolate, pistachio, and vanilla. For fruit lovers, they also serve Santa rosa plum and melon. The best part is that most if not all of their flavors are completely gluten free! Plus, they also have handmade gluten free cones  with a chocolate plug at the bottom. Ice cream               
really can't get better than this! 

Inside Ici's

Homemade ice cream cones

An interesting flavor!

Kris&T's Ici ice cream! 

Look forward to Day 2 of "Gfree in the City: Berkeley Adventure" with even more gfree goodies! Coming soon! :)



I had a very pleasant surprise today when my coworker decided to take me along with her to a gluten free bakery! I was practically jumping up and down in my seat with excitement!

Traveling out of Berkeley and into Oakland, we finally arrived at a rustic brick building that had all the feel of an old-time bakery. Mariposa is what I like to call a "hidden gem." Unless you're looking for it, the shop is easily hidden among the streets of Oakland. But to those making the trek there, Mariposa is definitely worth the drive.
Outside of Mariposa! 
Inside Mariposa

Mariposa is a strictly gluten free bakery that serves freshly made bread, baguettes, pizza, pasta, cakes, and pastries. They also serve various gfree food items for breakfast and lunch as well as offer grab n' go sandwiches if you just want to pop in and get out for a quick on the go lunch. These sell quickly though, so if you're planning to stop by and grab some lunch, it's best to come early! They also have a bread schedule so if you want a particular type of bread you can either come in that day or pre-order what you want. Breads include: baguettes, sandwich rolls, sandwich bread, focaccia, multi-grain bread, hot dog buns, rosemary rolls, and cinnamon raisin bread.

We were able to try some samples, provided very generously by the owner and founder of Mariposa, and I can tell you now that the samples were so good, you can't tell it's gfree! Let me just say, their bread is INCREDIBLE! The texture is just like regular gluten filled artisan bread and the dough is soft and chewy-the way artisan bread should be. Their chocolate chip cookies are to die for. Seriously. We heard from the owner that the chocolate chip cookie recipe was being continuously tweaked for 5 years until they finally got the right balance of chewy and crunchy. That was probably the best chocolate chip cookie I've ever had!

The sumptuous samples! shown: whoopie pie, choco chip cookie, bread 
Inside the bakery!
I will say that price wise, Mariposa has decent prices for some items while others were on the higher end. For example, pastries usually start from $3.50 up while bread is from $7 up. In contrast, ravioli and bagels were on the higher end ranging from $10.50 and up. I took home 2 bags of dinner rolls (I just couldn't resist!) and I enjoyed them mightily for my evening supper. :)
Mariposa dinner rolls. aka: my dinner :) 

Needless to say, I will definitely be back with my gfree buddy, T, so she can also experience the sheer awesomeness of this bakery and so we can try more of their delicious baked goods. And the best part is that because its all gfree, we can totally indulge ourselves. Maybe a bit too much!

Hope my fellow gfreers also check this place out! Trust me, you won't regret it!! :)


More Info on Mariposa:
tel 510 595 0955
5427 Telegraph Ave, unit d3
Oakland, CA 94609

We've also partnered with "Find Me Gluten Free" to spread awareness and share all the gfree love with everyone. Please check them out!


So whenever I'm on campus and then I hear my stomach growling at me to feed myself, I find myself heading to Free Speech Movement (FSM) downstairs from Moffit library.

I actually just discovered that they have some delicious gfree salads when a couple of my lab mates decided to eat there for dinner and I happened to tag along. Ever since then it was a weekly salad at FSM before my night lab.

So, FSM has several nice salad selections. I've tried all but one. The selection is:
1) Southwestern Chicken salad
2) Cobb salad (my personal fav!)- ask for without bread
3) Chinese Chicken salad- ask for them to remove crispy noodles
4) Mediterranean Salad
5) Caesar salad- ask for no croutons

Just ask the people at the front to take out the gluten, and you've got yourself a great salad! Portion sizes are also decent and most salads except for the Caesar are flavored with vinaigrette. Prices are a bit more ($7.95) for the salads but that's just because its a campus owned cafe!   

Lovely Cobb salad. Minus the bread of course! :)
FSM is a great place to eat and drink some coffee especially during the spring time since the sun is out and they have an outdoor seating area that has a great view of VLSB as well as other buildings on campus. You'll most likely observe some curious squirrels as well as hordes of Berkeley students going in and out as well!


Hey all!
Today, this post will be about Asian food, in particular, Korean food! :)

If there's one thing that T and I can agree on besides kpop music is how amazing Korean food is!
What I love about Korean food is that it has a really homey kind of feel since everything is warm and filling. Plus, there are so many awesome gfree selections!

Whenever I have a hankering for Korean food, and I don't have much cash to spare (which is most days!), I find myself heading towards Kimchi Garden which happens to be a little down from our famous Berkeley Asian ghetto. Kimchi Garden is run by a family of Koreans whose restaurant, when you step inside, makes you feel as if you went home. The place is spacious and the smells from the kitchen are just incredible. Besides the great prices, the portion sizes are also huge so you could have a meal for dinner and then save the other half for the next day's lunch.

So, the sad thing about Asian restaurants is that they really don't know about gluten or its existence in the food allergy world. In fact, most are unaware of food allergies in general. I'm Chinese and I can definitely say that Asian cultures are rather indifferent about food allergies and don't see it as a major illness. But now with the rise of food allergies, especially with more and more people getting diagnosed with celiac disease, I hope that they will know more about it and start to treat it as a serious issue.

One thing to be really cautious about with Korean food is that they like to use trace amount of soy sauce in their dishes such as japchae and perhaps even the fried rice. Also, certain chili sauces like their red pepper paste most likely contain wheat. Kimchi usually has the red pepper paste incorporated in it (either prepared by the chef or store bought) so it is probably not 100% safe to eat. Koreans also like to put fish cakes into their dishes and from last time I checked most fish cakes from the Korean market also contain wheat.

So, you must be wondering, what can I eat then?

Well, here are some dishes that I know about and have tried that are probably the safest to eat if you ever find yourself at a Korean restaurant:
1) Bibimbap- a rice, meat and vegetable dish that is traditionally served in a stone hot pot. Eat this without the chili sauce they give you. The vegetables are mostly stir fried with salt and sesame oil so these components should be fine.
2) Kimbap- a type of Korean sushi. Everything is gfree except the fish cakes and perhaps BBQ meat (soy sauce contaminant). If you're not highly allergic you can do what I do and pick them out and eat everything else. I've been fine every time I've ordered it.
3) Tofu stew- eaten with rice and contains soft tofu, vegetables or meat. You can order the non spicy version at most Korean places and it won't contain chili or red pepper paste (if the dish even has it!). If it is spicy, it may or may not contain the red pepper paste.
4) Japchae- potato based clear glass noodles that are 100% gfree except if they decide to season with soy sauce and add fish cakes. If you're not highly sensitive, the little bit of soy sauce won't affect you.
5) Omelet rice- A huge omelet stuffed with fried rice. Be wary of soy sauce in the fried rice.
The giant omelet rice dish!! 

There are other meat or vegetable dishes that should be relatively safe to consume if you're not highly sensitive. If you are, it would probably be better to make your own Korean food.

Some key points to take away from this:

  • Korean food has many great, tasty selections, but I would not recommended it to people who are highly allergic to gluten. People who can stand a little bit of soy sauce and cross contamination are okay to eat Korean food. 
  • Be wary of soy sauce, red pepper paste, and fish cakes! These are gluten red flags! 
  • Be also wary of side dishes; when in doubt, ask or simply don't eat it. 
I hope I haven't scared all of you away from trying Korean food, since it really is a shame to miss out on such delicious food but that's often the thing about eating out for celiacs is that you have to be really careful about what you ingest. 

All in all, Kimchi Garden has great prices, great food, and amazing portion sizes. I highly recommended you check this place out if you're super hungry! ^^ 


Hey everyone!
It's been a while since I've last posted, but now that the stress of finals is FINALLY over I can spend the summer updating my gfree food adventures that I have collected! :)

This is my first food blog entry!! Exciting, right? I hope you find it useful to your own gfree dining experience and perhaps even take a visit if it suits your fancy.

The place I would like to share with you all is a cute little brick restaurant called, Jupiter. Jupiter is mostly known for its beer and pizza, but as all gfreers know, those two things are to be avoided like the plague unless they happen to don a bright neon sign that screams GLUTEN FREE on it.

So the story behind this visit: I actually was invited to a friend's birthday lunch and she had already made plans and reservations at this restaurant. I was worried that they wouldn't have any food for me to eat and then I would have to starve through lunch sipping iced water and make my friend feel bad. Luckily, when I opened up the menu, a miracle happened!!

THERE WAS A SALAD SECTION! I was seriously saved. Now, I know, I know, gfreers have a limit to how much "salad without croutons" they want to eat at these types of restaurants, but holy moly, the salad I ordered was soooooo amazing that my hate for eating salads vanished into thin air.

The salad I ordered was the Salmon Salad which on their website menu describes this dish beautifully: "wood roasted atlantic salmon served chilled on a salad of spinach, roasted red bell peppers, feta cheese, pine nuts with honey-chipotle vinaigrette." Oh this is making my hungry again, and I just ate...

Anyway, some tips:
-If you're ordering a salad, ask them to take out the croutons if the dish specifies that it has it.
-Most vinaigrettes are usually gfree, but if its a creamier based sauce then you might want to check with the chef first to ask if there is any gluten/wheat in it.

Now I want to make a disclaimer for this blog entry as well as future eating out food entries:
If you are extremely sensitive to gluten byproducts and cross contamination, please eat out with the utmost caution!

If you're not sure if something is 100% gfree, please don't eat it. Do a favor for your poor gut and not send it to a living hell (you guys know what I mean). Most likely, restaurants always have a small amount of cross contamination even if the dish is essentially gfree. They can't help that because they must serve a large customer base that cannot cater to only gfree consumers (although it would be nice if they did!) For me I'm not that sensitive, so small amounts of trace gluten don't aggravate me. But if you have a more severe case of celiac disease, please, please exercise caution. I don't want you to get sick!

Anyway, long story short, I enjoyed the dish very much and my friend had a wonderful birthday. I encourage you to visit if you have a hankering for an absolutely delish gfree salad!

More info on Jupiter
Website: http://www.jupiterbeer.com/jupiter/index.htm