Sanctuary is defined as "a place of refuge or safety." When it comes to food for someone with Celiac Disease, the one "safe place" for eating is usually resigned to being your own home. Any place else turns into a long list of questions, feeling like all eyes are on you as a "picky eater," and ultimately a large step in trust.
That is why restaurants who choose to be 100% gluten free are such a beautiful thing. I was recently made aware of a quaint little restaurant in New Baltimore, Michigan called The Little Mustard Seed Cafe and Shoppe. This small cafe is not only 100% gluten free and peanut free, but also organic. Much of their menu is also vegan and therefore dairy free.
I spoke with the owner, Kathy, at length about her reasons for starting her business. Her daughter was experiencing leaky gut and health issues, and therefore needed to eat gluten, corn, soy and dairy free. Finding items in the store that not only met these needs but also were healthy and delicious was a bit of challenge, and Kathy felt that she could do better.
Finally came the day that Kathy felt it was time to open her own establishment. And despite early discouragement from others that didn't share her passions, her restaurant has been embraced by the community. She said 50% of their customers don't even realize that their entire menu is gluten free. And the environment is so inviting. Each of the tables are inscribed with a inspirational quote. I wish I would have taken a picture of each one.
Kathy was gracious enough to share some of her delicious food with me. I settled on the Mediterranean sandwich and a bowl of their quinoa chili. The sandwich, made on homemade bread, was loaded with chicken breast, hummus, lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber and Mediterranean dressing. The hearty quinoa chili was so filling I almost couldn't finish my lunch. (That may be partly due to the Funky Monkey dairy free chocolate and banana smoothie that I had alongside it!)
And then her staff brought out a fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon roll. Although I was stuffed, I definitely took a bite. She was nice enough to give me a box to take the rest of it home.
While their prices may be higher than other restaurants ($8.95 for the sandwich and $3.95 for the chili), this is comparable to other organic cafes. When you know that you have food that is thoughtfully prepared, better for you, and meets your allergen needs, it's worth spending more.
One of the other great things about this restaurant is the location. Take a leisurely stroll a few blocks and you end up at Lake St. Clair. The view is breathtaking and serene.
51111 Washington, New Baltimore, MI 48047.
***While I was given a meal for free, my thoughts and opinions are my own. ***
Labels: restaurant review