A new gluten-free bakery has arrived to Portland (commence jumping up and down with joy)! In the building that formerly held the conventional yet not-so-successful Sweet Thing Bakery, now holds a solution for people with mean allergies and a meaner sweet tooth. The location is a bit odd – coming from the parking lot into the building, I find myself in the lobby of a gym for It’s About ME Fitness. If I had less self confidence, that alone might deter me from continuing on my dessert quest. It’s almost as if one has to choose between a workout (good!) or a dessert (bad!). I realize later that there is, in fact, a side entrance if you would like to surpass any hint of workout guilt. Already in the gym lobby, I ignore my conscience and follow a very small paper sign labeled, “Bakery This Way!”
Inside, I look intently at a shelf full of lumps of dough to find that they are loaves of bread and bake at home pizza dough! Both are vegan. To my left are two large cases of desserts and I am faced with many choices. Lemon blueberry tarts, zucchini loaf, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and muffins glisten on their platters. Immediately I ask the barista how to tell which ones are vegan. He explains that each item clearly marks contained allergens, and points to some swirly stamps individually marked “egg, dairy, corn, soy, and tree nuts.” The stamps are so beautiful and artistic that I ignore them entirely, thinking they are a quaint illustration next to the dessert label, but if you look closely, they hold all the answers. I select a Lone Pine (Oregon coffee!) Chocolate Coffee Cake with a chocolate espresso glaze and a Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookie along with a soy cappuccino.
The chocolate cake has a moist interior and is very sweet with a deliciously dark chocolate glaze. I sample a bite of the cookie and taste brown sugar immediately. I love that there are not too many chocolate chips, but dislike the amount of sea salt on top (easily solved by brushing it off a bit). Unlike some gluten free cookies, this one is large, chewy, and not doughy.
Despite the strange location near a gym as well as near a busy MLK bus stop filled with unfortunately dressed people, Tula is the ideal place to go for a satisfying treat or snack. They offer pizza, panini, salad and seasonal soups, as well as a full espresso and tea menu. The inside is clean and spacious, staff is peppy, and they have a very large selection of items to choose from, no matter what your allergies may be. After all, I can only go to New Cascadia so many times before I have the taste of their vegan cupcakes burned in my brain. I’m ready for new dessert options and here they are!
4943 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd Suite 101
503 764 9727