Thursday, January 19

{2Good2B Bakery & Cafe}

Delicious food for all? For those of us in the gluten-free community options are growing, but for those with more than just gluten-free needs it's difficult to find food that is (what I like to call) everything-free.  How often have you wished for a bakery, deli or even coffee shop where you could completely relax, perhaps even eat and drink everything on the menu? Not possible, right?  Well, I am excited to announce that such a place has emerged.

2Good2B is the name and everything-free food is the game. Located in the heart of San Diego's own seaside town of Encinitas, 2Good2B is an appropriate name for the quality and variety provided by this lovely cafe and bakery.  All items listed on their menu are gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, peanut-free and occasionally dairy-free and egg-free.  Started by self proclaimed foodies Mike Barbanti and Diana Mourato Benedek, this place brings deliciousness to another level.  Their standard is not limited to the gluten-free or allergy-friendly crowd, but to all.  Their breads and desserts rival and I would say even trump those filled with gluten, soy, corn and many other typical ingredients.  See their website for more about their personal health journeys and the creation of 2Good2B.

Options are wide and favorites have already been established.  With freshly baked choices like chocolate pecan cranberry oatmeal cookies and vanilla bean passion fruit muffins, how could anyone resist? Everything goes quickly, so early orders and pick-ups are recommended.  
I heard about 2Good2B last week and headed straight over! As my husband and I drove up I immediately noticed the beautiful "gluten-free" writing in the window and practically bounded out of the car with excitement.  Entering the cafe we were immediately engulfed by the mouth-watering aroma of freshly baked bread.  In cases near the door, rows and rows of beautiful cupcakes and brownies quickly drew my eye.  I glanced at the menu and my excitement heightened.  Quiches, pizzas, sandwiches, paninis, and salads?  All GF? Really? Then I saw it, the origin of the lovely smell: a case full of fresh breads and gorgeous baguettes.  As I stood staring at the case, a kind voice greeted me and asked if I needed anything.  I introduced myself and met the assistant manager, Jack, who turned out to be one of the most gracious individuals I have ever met.  He sent us home with many tasty treats to photograph and try.  His passion for helping others find safe food is obvious.  The atmosphere he provided clearly stemmed from the heart of 2Good2B's creators, Mike and Diana.

2Good2B focuses on high quality foods, drinks and desserts, using many local and organic ingredients.  You can enjoy a tasty, moist muffin with a steaming loose leaf tea with the knowledge that you're eating well while sustaining your local community! When picking their vendor for coffee and tea 2Good2B chose Virtuoso: a local, certified organic company that carries products known for being easier on the stomach.  Once again, a clear sign that Mike and Diana have thought carefully about every detail, creating the perfect environment for people with sensitive stomachs!

Our lunch that afternoon consisted of many personal recommendations from Jack.  We decided on a delicious panini with the artisan rosemary bread made fresh that morning (which he paired perfectly with vegetable chips) and two refreshing and invigorating drinks, the Moroccan Mint tea with honey over ice and the spicy Virtuoso Chai tea.  We followed the panini with Mike's famous baguette and lemon cupcake.  My favorites were the baguette and rosemary bread.  I felt transported to Paris with each moist and buttery slice.  Heaven on earth.  Needless to say, we savored each bite and devoured every last morsel!

My only hesitation with the breads lies in the teff and millet flours.  I have a sensitivity to these flours.  Even though I can't eat too much, the flavor of the breads is still amazing.  If I may, I would like to put in a request.  I would love to try artisan breads from Mike that incorporate other gluten-free flours. He may even be up for creating the treat I miss the most: the croissant!  He is quite an artist in the kitchen, so perhaps such options will come in the near future!

There are so many varieties and specialties available that I could expand on!  You will just have to discover them for yourself! The menu alone should get you out of your seat, but honestly the atmosphere was what made the entire experience golden.  I hope you all jaunt over to 2Good2B as soon as you can.  It's everything you dreamed it would be.

{Heads Up}
The bakery and cafe will be undergoing a renovation from Jan 22nd to February 4th.  Menu options will be increasing to include such delights as pot pies, soups, mac and cheese dishes, meatball subs, calzones, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon breads.  Make sure to stop by before they close and then head over after Feb 4th for all the new treats! I'll be there! 

{All photos taken and provided by Sweet and Salty Life}

Wednesday, January 11

{Sweet Herb Bread & Deux Potato Soup}


Happy 2012 to you all! It's a fresh new year for us and I am excited to see what's in store.  More opportunities to create, capture and write seem to be in the near future for me, so I have a feeling this may be an extra enjoyable year!

I am beginning this year as a happy newly wed learning to cook for two.  It's a bit different to cook for a husband that can eat just about anything....I'm quite the opposite!

This past weekend we hosted our first little party in our new apartment and it was a ball.  The people were lovely, the atmosphere was cozy and the food was tasty.  All in all, a wonderful evening! I served two savory soups, two freshly baked breads and hot dinner rolls.  One of the soups was a particular hit, the Deux Potato soup.  The bread I paired with it was also a favorite, so I decided to share!

Both original recipes are from a wonderful cookbook called Welcoming Kitchen: Delicious Allergen & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes by Kim Lutz.  Her recipes are simple, easy and flavorful.  I altered each of them to suit my tastes, but follow the link to get a hold of her book and the originals if you are interested.  

{Sweet Herb Bread}

3 Cups of Bob's Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 1/2 tsp Gluten-Free Baking Powder 
1 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Raw Organic Cane Sugar

1 Bottle (12oz) Gluten-Free Beer
1 tbsp Italian Herbs Seasoning (Oregano, Thyme, Paprika, Garlic, Marjoram, Basil, Rosemary, etc)
Olive Oil
Sprinkle of Rosemary

In a large bowl whisk the first 5 ingredients together.  Pour and mix in the GF Beer. Stir your Italian Herb Seasoning into the batter and then pour it into an oiled bread pan.  Drizzle Olive Oil lightly over the top, spreading it evenly with a small spatula.  Sprinkle with Rosemary to your desired amount.  Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes (depending on the consistency of your oven!).  Remove once the loaf has risen and is slightly golden.  If you are uncertain, test it by inserting a toothpick or butter knife into the loaf.  If it comes out clean your loaf is ready. Allow it to cool for 30-45 minutes, then serve!

{Deux Potato Soup}
4 Medium Sweet Potatoes or Yams
8 Gold Yukon Potatoes
3 Vegan and GF Bouillon Cubes

To taste:
Freshly Ground Pepper
Sea Salt

To thin or add creaminess:
Vanilla Almond Milk

Peel Sweet Potatoes and/or Yams.  Chop all Potatoes into chunks.  Dump into a large stockpot.  Fill pot with water until Potatoes are covered and add Bullion Cubes.  Bring the water to a boil, cover pot and then reduce heat to a simmer for around 20-30 minutes.  Continue until Potatoes are soft. Place 3/4th of batch into a food processor and blend until a thick soup. Pour back into pot with other 1/4th of chunky Potatoes.  Stir until thoroughly mixed, then add the Spices and Almond Milk to your preferred taste.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Serve soon after with a slice of Sweet Herb Bread! 



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