This past weekend I was in one of my favorites places in the universe – Portland! I was there for the Portland Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest brought to you by my favorite magazine (not just because I work for them) Living Without’s Gluten Free and More Magazine. While my Friday was less-than-ideal dealing with a room that wasn’t ready, and a hotel courtesy van that forgot about me at the airpot – it all returned back to its normal awesomeness that night. I went to WOW Burger – a local chain of burgers that understands gluten-free (and celiac-friendly gluten-free dining at that). They have buns made from a local gluten-free bakery, change their gloves, and have a separate fryer for fries. I was in heaven – if only my dysfunctional stomach would have allowed me to eat more!
I’ve been writing for My Life With Food Allergies about my favorite picks from the expo – so find my two festival posts here if you’d like to read more. Since I’m sure you’ve been following my Instagram and have seen some of my favorites, I’ll keep this brief for you.
1. My people. Being in Portland just feels like home to me – even though I’ve only been there a few times. There’s something about the positivity, the liberal values, the gluten-free bakeries, the indie bookstores, and all the bearded men. I’ve also got a great collection of friends from here and I feel like every show it just keeps growing. While I hung out with some pretty radical people during the show (like Cybele the maker of the most amazing vegan cookies and Peter the man who can barefoot run the mountains like a goat), huge shout-outs to Portlandia-locals – Annie Proctor of Annie’s Gluten Free Grub, Laura B. Russell, Kyra Bussanich, and Dr. Samantha Brody. If you don’t have Brassicas by Laura, buy it here (seriously, do it and get a new-found love affair with kale). If you don’t have Sweet Cravings, you’re doing it wrong – buy it here.
2. New Products, New Packaging, and Beer – Oh My! Jules updated to gF jules and make some killer new packaging. Her new branding is just perfect – a little adorable, a little sassy, and still one of the best brands in the gluten-free world! Buy a new box of her gluten-free flour and tell gluten, “Dear gluten, it’s not me, it’s you!” Harvester Brewing changed its name to Ground Breaker Brewing and is updating all of their branding. But, it makes sense because their beer made from sorghum, buckwheat, oats and chestnuts. This is some of, if not the most, inventive gluten-free beer I’ve seen. Plus, it tastes great (and you can buy it online here).
Speaking of beer, I was very happy to see Merchant du Vin out with their Green’s beers (another favorite brand). There were a few other liquor brands there with handcrafted gin and vodka. Kids had Schar’s Millie coloring station, and we had beer samples. Adults need to have their fun at expos too!
But what would a gluten-free expo be without cupcakes, cookies, and breads? Don’t worry, there was a lot of that too. Kyra from Kyra’s Bake Shop showed us some 3-times Cupcake Wars winner secrets and of course, came with some cupcakes. I had some delicious brownies from Julie’s Original (and bonded with the amazing Julie). I ate some mulberry pecan granola from Nana Joe’s, and went home immediately to order lbs. of their granola. Another favorite was New Cascadia Traditional – a gluten-free dairy-free-friendly dedicated bakery that I visited a few years ago. I go cuckoo for their everything bagels. I might have to find a gluten-free bagel dealer willing to overnight me some bagels on the regular (here’s looking at your Annie). My sweet tooth and my carb tooth (that’s a thing) was so happy.
I love Portland and I can’t wait to come back! And as for the Living Without Gluten Free and More festivals – you can find the list for 2015 here including Austin, Columbus, and Minneapolis!
Want to win some swag from the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest in Portland? All the details are in the Rafflecopter below in the “terms & conditions” section! US ONLY!