Cafe Flora

polenta at Cafe Flora

When I find a restaurant where I can eat, with no fears of growing sick, I’m overjoyed. It felt almost impossible for awhile.

In June, after four months of not eating anything outside of the house, my dear friend Meri took me to Cafe Flora for dinner. We sat in the back, near the large windows pouring forth the light of late spring. Outside, a little courtyard, with Tibetan prayer flags stretched between the trees, waving in the breeze.

I had been there before, in years past, for family brunches, and the occasional lunch. It’s a vegetarian/vegan gourmet restaurant, with an open space for seating, including one large side room with a burbling fountain. I always liked the peaceful feeling of the place, but I mostly remembered eggs. Before, I had not thought of it when friends wanted suggestions as to where to eat.

But Meri had read somewhere that Cafe Flora was friendly to gluten-free diners, so she suggested we try it. She was about to leave for New York, and I was about to finish school for the year. Time for a celebration.

Our waiter came to the table with menus, filled our water glasses, and left. I opened my menu, then I nearly fainted. Behind the descriptions of nearly half the menu items, I saw this: (gluten-free). What? Oh my god. A restaurant where the waiters not only know what gluten is, but also care enough to label it for me? And the food isn’t merely a small salad with no dressing, and a piece of plain meat? I couldn’t believe my eyes. I really did start to cry, a little.

And then, when the meals arrived, I could only moan. Roasted polenta with spicy tomato sauce. Gorgeous cheeses. And a creme brulee creamy-crunchy-sweet enough to make me break down and weep. Truly great food, not rushed or thoughtless, not something I could have made myself, but truly great food, gluten-free, made for me.

And as an unexpected benefit, Meri treated me to the entire meal. What more could a gluten-free girl want?

Cafe Flora
2901 East Madison Street
Seattle, WA 98112