My Kids are Bakery-Deprived

We just returned from a spending a week in Florida to celebrate Easter with my grandparents. As we were flying back I asked my 3 oldest kids what their favorite part of the trip was, expecting that the one thing they’d agree on would be “playing at the beach,” “exploring the park with four playgrounds,” or “going to the Easter egg scramble.”  Instead, they all agreed that their favorite experience was actually going to a bakery. On our very first day in Florida we went to a gluten-free restaurant and bakery in Melbourne Beach called The Bald Strawberry. Since it was just a few days before Easter, the glass display cases at The Bald Strawberry were filled with cupcakes, and cookies, tortes, and macaroons, and we let each of the kids pick out a treat to take home.

bald strawberry

We somehow ended up with an extra chick cupcake, which I gladly ate, but since I’m not used to eating sugar anymore, found to be very sweet.

Although I had spent my entire childhood going to bakeries with my mom, for my kids the Bald Strawberry was a novel experience. I realized that since my celiac diagnosis 4 years ago, all of my GF bakery experiences (Sweet Marie’s, Pip’s Place, Happy Bellies Bakeshop) have been when traveling without kids. As far as I know, my kids had not even stepped foot in a bakery since our entire family went gluten-free in 2012.

So, I am asking for your help. This summer we plan to travel to Boston, NYC, Cleveland, Madison, WI, and Chicago. Do any of you have dedicated GF bakery recommendations for any of these cities? I appreciate your help in advance, as do my 4 little ones, as you will help them to overcome their bakery deprivation.

Also, as a total aside, my grandparents are celebrating their 67th wedding anniversary this summer! Congratulations G&G!


13 thoughts on “My Kids are Bakery-Deprived

  1. Vik

    Hi Jess, doesn’t Jennifer Esposito have a dedicated gluten-free bakery in New York City? It seems like I read about it. I know what you mean about how the kids must’ve enjoyed visiting a bakery like that. We have a dedicated bakery, plus free of any other allergens, that is also vegan, in our area, and it is a good thing that it is about 25 minutes from here, or I would go more often than a few times a year.

    1. Jess Post author

      Hi Vik,
      Yes, she does have a bakery called Jennifer’s Way in the East Village. We are hoping to visit stop in as a family when we’re in NYC this summer. I was Jennifer’s Way last spring, shortly after it opened, but only had time to walk in and out because I was late trying to get somewhere. I’ll let you know how it is after having a proper visit to try it.

  2. Dana

    Those Easter cupcakes look adorable! So interesting about the bakery being their favorite part… Makes sense though since it’s such a novelty. We rarely go to bakeries, but when we do, we kind of go nuts! Our favorite so far in NYC is Tulu’s in the East Village, conveniently located around the corner from Smac, which has gluten free (and gluten) Mac and cheese! It’s a pretty awesome double play.

    1. Jess Post author

      Hi Dana,
      I’ve been to Tulu’s once with my best friend and her kids, but it was when I was in NYC alone last year. It’s one of the places that I want to bring my kids this summer to get their bakery fix. It’s helful to know that it’s your favorite. Jamie from Gluten-Free Mom just profiled it on her blog as well.
      Now that I know we can get GF mac and cheese nearby, it will be a no-brainer. We are pretty sure that Claire, our youngest who just turned 2, has celiac (official testing to be done soon), and mac and cheese is one of her absolute favorite foods. It’s easy to make it GF for all of us at home, but it’s been challenging to find it made safely GF at restaurants, at least in our neck of the woods. Thanks for the suggestions.

  3. Molly (Sprue Story)

    We have so many GF bakeries in New York now that we’re considering a cupcake crawl this spring with the Celiac Meetup Group. Erin at Gluten-Free Fun has listed them all in this post.

    Crumbs GF is awesome for novelty cupcakes in every flavor, filling, and frosting combination you can imagine. And as Vik mentioned, there’s Jennifer’s Way, which is gluten-free and vegan with a health bent, too (so your cupcakes will probably have some pureed fruit binding them together—I liked J-Way, especially the cozy atmosphere, but felt like I tasted banana in a lot of the treats, which is too bad for me since I am NOT a banana fan). And Tu-Lu’s is quite good too. However, I think By the Way Bakery is my favorite out of the ones I’ve tried; partially, I’m biased because it’s so much closer to my apartment than most of the others, but also, they have suuuch good GF (and DF) brownies.

    There’s no excuse for being bakery-deprived here in the Big Apple! :)

    1. Jess Post author

      Hi Molly,
      Thanks for sharing Erin’s list and giving your personal recommendations. I’ve been to Pip’s and TuLus, and briefly to Jennifer’s Way, but I didn’t even know that the others existed.
      Since I’ll have the kids with me in June we will probably have to try Crumb’s, because they love cupcakes. Then we’ll have to do a LOT of walking to burn off the calories and sugar, but what better place to explore on foot than NYC.
      Now I just need suggestions for all of the other cities (Boston, Cleveland, etc.) I’ll have to start Googling…

    2. Vik

      I so applaud the people who have these dedicated bakeries. Something that I have really noticed is the very wide variety of what degree of tolerance/acceptance that we celiacs have regarding cross contamination. Some are fine with processed food made on shared equipment, and within that, some only ok with that if it is certified GF. And some are ok with bakeries–that make both regular and GF products. I’ll read reviews that say for instance: “yay this bakery makes one kind of GF cupcake that I can have!” I myself fall into the Extremely Paranoid camp. I was undiagnosed and then misdiagnosed for such a long time that If I read or hear the words shared equipment or shared facilities, a company can give all the “stringent cleaning” info– and I mentally check out, fingers in the ears going “da da da don’t wanna hear it, forget it”. As you can imagine I don’t go out to eat much anymore, only when forced by necessity, like when traveling. Maybe this will ease up, as time goes on. I know that people do it all the time, I know the questions I need to ask….still, at this point, I’m really nervous and uncomfortable about it.

  4. Patti Gillespie

    Do NOT miss The Risotteria in NYC. Amazing desserts with pizza, delicious breadsticks, risotto, and others. :)

    1. Jess Post author

      Hi Patti,
      I love the Risotteria. I was there for the first time last April and my friend and I ate there to carb-load the night before we ran a half marathon.
      I was so excited about being able to eat the breadsticks that I actually started to cry…
      Probably more than you want or need to know about me, but it was a great experience and I am looking forward to returning for the 2nd time this summer.

  5. IrishHeart

    Hey Jess!
    So happy the Bald Strawberry worked out for you!
    Those cupcakes look awesome. (I think my pants got tight just looking at them) lol
    Good thing it’s a bit of a drive for me or I’d be visiting daily.

    Here’s article about Boston for you

    My mom has been in the one in Arlington and Belmont.

    Happy traveling! Please keep me posted on anything new and exciting that happens this summer!

    1. Jess Post author

      Hi Irish,
      It’s good to “see” you. My favorite thing at the Bald Strawberry was the GF waffle pizza, which now that I think about, I probably should have mentioned in my post too. I’m looking forward to returning.
      Thanks so much for the GF bakery link. My in-laws actually live right in Arlington, so my kids are going to be over the moon to check out a bakery in “Nana and Pop’s” hometown.
      I was in Boston last weekend too, and I had my first GF dinner in the North End since being diagnosed. We ate at Benevento’s. They have a dedicated GF pasta pot and the Penne alla Vodka (I am pretty sure it was made for me over fusilli) was fabulous. I was with a bunch of gluten eaters and felt “normal.”
      I’ll let you know how the GF bakery experience goes and I’ll definitely keep you updated on summer happenings.

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