May is celiac disease awareness month. To kick it off, raise money and awareness, and ok, have some fun in the process, I joined forces with Pica Pica Maize kitchen (my favorite 100% gluten-free restaurant) and Dishcrawl SF to organize a gluten-free dinner crawl through San Francisco’s Mission District. Find Me Gluten-Free, a free app for iPhone and android phones, also helped to sponsor the event by making a donation to The Taylor Family Foundation. Part of the proceeds from the event are also being donated to the foundation.
The group met at Grub restaurant which is located at 758 Valencia Street. Grub has been open for over 2 years and specializes in upscale comfort food. They are well known for their macaroni and cheese but what I didn’t know is that they offer a gluten-free version! The chef makes a special cheese sauce and the pasta is cooked in its own pot. It was a big hit. They also served a delicious salad as well as brown sugar coated kale chips. These were just slightly sweet; a great appetizer.
Once we were done with the first restaurant, we made our way over to Osha Thai at 819 Valencia where everyone had a seat on some very unusual chairs! The group was treated to an assortment of wonderful Thai food including green papaya salad, lemongrass chicken, stir-fry veggies with tofu and jasmine rice (oh, soo good!). The manager talked about the story of Osha Thai and how it was started by two women. There are 7 locations in San Francisco. The focus is fresh food with wonderful ingredients. We made sure the dishes were free of soy sauce (watch out for that in Pad Thai) and MSG (in case anyone was sensitive to that). The environment was lively and fun.
Lastly, we “crawled” down to Pica Pica Maize Kitchen. They served a “little bit of everything” plate; a mini arepa, yucca fries, plantain and taro chips with their version of guacamole. We heard from the CEO, Tom, about how Pica Pica came about and what they are doing moving forward. If you haven’t had a chance, they just opened their third location in the Castro. I’ll be heading there soon!
Also in attendance was Kim Rice from GFCF Living. Besides being a friend and fellow blogger, Kim has been very supportive of me, attending events and cooking classes. That is me with her in the black. Since I was running around making sure everyone was happy, I forgot to take a lot of food photos. Check her blog for her article and more photos. Although I don’t have any pictures, I also really appreciate the support of Gluten-Free Grocery located at 234 Townsend Street in San Francisco. I was happy to see owner Topher Delaney there attending the event. They are another group that is so important for the gluten-free community.
Pica Pica was the perfect place to end the evening. We were then treated to amazing gluten-free and dairy-free treats from Zest Bakery, another one of my favorite gluten-free establishments in the bay area. Justine brought us some amazing coconut cake and brownies which were the perfect ending. Thank you very much to Justine and Zest for providing the dessert. You know I love you guys.
Lastly, I have to thank my amazing co-organizers, Adriana Lopez Vermut of Pica Pica and Kristin Wyke (see below) of Dishcrawl. If it had not been for these lovely ladies, this event would not have happened. I had the initial idea but they were the ones who executed. I think the consensus was that the event was a huge success and the first of (many?) gluten-free dishcrawls. Thank you everyone!