there’s no place like Bunner’s

Supersonic Gypsy cookies

 

I had one of these crispy, chewy cookies from Bunner’s Bakeshop for breakfast yesterday. Before you judge me, read this, from the Bunner’s website: “Packed full of organic protein-rich seeds, plump cranberries and rich dark chocolate, the Supersonic Gypsy stands its ground when there’s just no time for a full breakfast.” There you go! No guilt. Just me, my wholesome Supersonic Gypsy cookie and a cup of toasted walnut green tea from DAVIDsTEA. (Dunking the cookie in the tea…not a bad idea.)

How cute are the his and hers cupcake characters?

 

 

Bunner’s Vegan and Gluten-Free Bakeshop – Toronto’s first bakery of its kind – is a sweet little spot in the Junction. We discovered it last March when I was looking for a gluten-free birthday cake for Lily. She wanted a “real” cake (as
opposed to an ice-cream cake). She wanted chocolate. Well, she had her cake and ate it too! Who knew that something free of gluten, eggs and dairy could taste so heavenly, so moist, so fluffy?

Our first time at Bunner’s, picking up Lily’s birthday cake.

 

Since then, we’ve become Bunner’s devotees. And we’re not the only ones. This little bakeshop has a big following. Like my friend Bonnie, whose daughter is lactose intolerant. She was blown away by how “unexpectedly moist” the baked goods are. “You don’t have to be gluten- or dairy free to enjoy Bunner’s,” she says. “The brownies are equal opportunity scrumptious!”

What follows is some R-rated gluten-free goodness, just warning you.

Toronto Underground Market (aka TUM)

After waiting in line at the Brick Works for half an hour, we’re in! Let the feast begin. Here are some gluten-free highlights from our inaugural TUM adventure.

 

 

I had the chickpea and fava bean stew on a bed of hummus topped with pickled beet turnip and parsley and drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice with a sprinkle of sesame seeds (on the left). Like its description, it was a heavenly mouthful of Middle Eastern gluten-free goodness (minus the pitas). On the right is the carnivore version: braised beef rib and hummus.

 

Then we hit up Neptuno Oysters for a little aphrodisiac appetizer with a kick of horseradish and cocktail sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

 

My man inhales a tasty oyster!

 

To cleanse our palates, we paid a visit to Janet & Mel at Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops.

 

“Killer ice pops made with freshly squeezed juice and love.” What more does a gal need on a hot summer night?

 

How to choose from all these juicy flavours? I went with the concord grape + key lime…so refreshing, sweet and tart at the same time!

 

Next stop, yummy gluten-free taco stand Santo Pecado.

 

Note the small print at the bottom of the sign! (I ate the vegan combo before I could photograph it.)

 

For dessert we made a beeline over to the Bix Bakery booth, where we met owner Christy Conte, whose coconut milk ice cream is both gluten and dairy free…and simply divine! (And how cute is their sign??)

 

We ended the evening with a scoop of maple roasted banana ice cream (it was a toss up between that and blueberry basil) topped with orange balsamic berries. And we couldn’t resist the chocolate salted caramel truffles from Laura Slack Chocolates. We took two to go and they literally exploded in our mouths! Sweet dreams! And thanks to all for the TUM-my love!

random act of kindness

If you live in Toronto and you don’t know about Pimlico Gallery, you’ll be thanking me for the introduction! This colourful little haven on Dupont at Christie was named after famed London design district Pimlico Road. You may be asking: What does a boutique that sells home design accessories have to do with living la vida GF? The answer is serendipity.

Last week I stopped in to buy a birthday gift for a good friend who loves to cook. Pimlico has some really unique pieces for the kitchen, objets that are both beautiful and functional. It’s a fantastic place to buy a special something for a special someone. Like these blown-glass tumblers by Finnish glass artist Mervi Haapakoski that we bought as a wedding gift for our friends last summer.

Add wine or juice and sip pretty out of these rippled hand-blown glasses that come in a rainbow hue of popsicle shades.

 

Or any of the handmade treasures by Tahir Mahmood, below.

Crush your herbs with Mahmood’s colourful mortar and pestles made from hand-turned Indian rosewood and organic resin. Or just admire these sculptural pieces on your shelf.

 

Roll out the gluten-free dough with Mahmood’s rolling pins made from Indian rosewood with hand-painted tips. Or take a spin with Mahmood’s playful tops.

 

The gallery-like space itself is so welcoming: vibrant, colourful and filled with light. And then there’s owner/curator Tanya Velasevic, an interior designer by trade who is incredibly passionate about what she does. She’s also incredibly generous.

Inside her eclectic boutique, Tanya introduces my daughters to Colette, her adorable and child-friendly Portuguese waterdog.

After Tanya helped me find the perfect present for my friend (a citrus-orange hand-blown glass salt cellar with a walnut lid by a company called a+j from Montreal), we got to talking and I told her about the Gluten Free Garage. And then she told me that her husband was recently diagnosed with celiac disease.

Well, that led into a whole discussion about – what else – food, and Tanya raved about the homemade gluten-free bread that she and her husband bake. For her husband, not enjoying fresh bread was the hardest part about being gluten free, and so he worked hard to perfect a gluten-free loaf. Tanya then kindly offered to bake some bread for us and told me to come back on
Monday to pick it up. As I have not even attempted to make my own gluten-free bread, I was not about to turn down this offer.

Fast-forward to the following week…

more…