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Silent revolution
Wednesday, 24 April 2013

ImageA pair of Santa Fe café/bakeries make the decision to go gluten-free

By Cristina Olds

Santa Fe is leading the local gluten-free revolution with not just one, but two 100 percent dedicated gluten-free (GF) café/bakeries. On behalf of those following special diets, hallelujah!

Revolution Bakery
Revolution Bakery was started by the previous owner, Dionne Christian, of The Teahouse on Canyon Road and opened its brightly-lit, hip location off Cerrillos in November 2011. More than just a bakery, Revolution offers salads, pizzas and sandwiches, with café beverages including coffees and teas.

They claim to bake as organically as they possibly can, and never add any artificial ingredients, preservatives or chemicals. And of utmost importance to those with celiac disease or a high sensitivity to cross contamination of gluten ingredients, the equipment and environment are exclusively GF.

But does it taste good? Again with the joyous shouting: heck-to-the-yes! Faithful Local iQ readers know I’ve been eating GF for more than 10 years now, so some of you may disqualify me as biased. That said, I stood in line on a recent Friday with many customers who chose Revolution over the plethora of gluten-filled bakeries and cafés in the City Different. On the tip of a repeat customer, I tried a lemon bar and a fruit bar, then died and went to heaven.

It was near breakfast time so I sampled the breakfast roll, an egg cooked in a biscuit smothered with cheese; bacon optional. A simple biscuit may not send your taste buds aflutter, but for one who’s not had a biscuit option for as long as I’ve been GF, I was at a loss for what that flakey dough was even called.

In subsequent visits, I’ve enjoyed the bakery’s gently sweet, crunchy-yet-soft scones, the traditional-tasting vanilla cupcake with moist sponge cake and a generous dollop of chocolate butter cream frosting and a large square of airy but dense herbed focaccia bread. Several sandwich breads, like quinoa and buckwheat, are baked daily to accompany the creative turkey pesto and roasted tempeh sammies, adding complex, nutty flavors.

ImageMomo & Co Bakery and Boba Tea Bar
Momo & Co was started by a self-proclaimed obsessed baker and a Boba tea aficionado who wanted to “be more mindful of what was going into our food.” Realizing the need for more natural options for adults and kids with food allergies, they offer GF and “mostly vegan” lunch and bakery menus. Their storefront near the plaza opened last fall.

Blended or on ice, Momo’s unique Boba tea starts with organic green, black or hibiscus tea with fruit hints and is available unsweetened or with agave or Truvia. My skeptical dining companion was converted to a tapioca-ball tea swilling fan after trying the Darjeeling black tea with mango on ice.

She dug into the hearty sweet potato and poblano corn chowder (the daily special), and enjoyed dipping the sorghum bread that came on the side. Before lunch, she warned me she was not a huge fan of the GF breads, but this one had a light flavor and springy texture that complemented the creamy soup.

ImageMy companion noted one of Momo’s chefs came from another Santa Fe restaurant, now defunct, where he was known for his expertise with raw foods made delicious. His presence fit with the café’s mission to showcase simple yet savory food in a family-friendly environment. The colorfully painted restaurant is cozy, with a corner dedicated to a children’s play area.

Other highlights from my Momo visits include specialty cupcakes such as red velvet with cream cheese frosting and chocolate chip cookies, both free of gluten, soy, dairy, egg and peanut ingredients. The veggie pizza came in a heart shape, clearly home-made, with red and green peppers, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes (cheese is optional). The crust was crisp, not doughy, and the sauce tasted as if the tomatoes were tomatoes. Texture is the big deal breaker when baking with GF flours, but when played just right, a light, spongy firmness can be achieved. Both cafes do this amazingly well, although results do vary. Samples abound at both, so customers can preview their sandwich bread or cookie before buying.

Revolution Bakery

1291 San Felipe, Santa Fe
Hours: 8a-6p, Mon.-Fri.; 8a-4p, Sat.

Momo & Co. Bakery

229A Johnson, Santa Fe
Hours: 8:30a-5p, Mon.-Fri.; 10a-5p, Sat.

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