If I told you we were going to a gluten free restaurant for dinner tonight, you’d probably panic. Or roll your eyes. Those two little words easily incite visions of tasteless, unsatisfying cardboard- like foodstuffs. The first gluten free cupcake I ever bit into, for example, tasted vaguely of doorknob.
No longer necessarily so in 2015. Gluten free (albeit an important label for sufferers of Celiac disease, as well as followers of an ever-growing food trend) does not have to mean taste free. I am happy to report I learned this lesson firsthand, the easy way, a couple weeks back during a visit to Sassy Spoon with friends.
That delightful pink food truck with the yummy braised pork, you ask?
No, actually. Rather, that delightful pink brick-and-mortar restaurant with the yummy braised pork. In fact, owner Tamara Brown has permanently parked her mobile food fiesta in favor of a roof and four walls in south Minneapolis where she can now serve more of her food to more of her customers.
Trust me, that’s a good thing.
Nestled in the Nokomis neighborhood, Sassy Spoon is single-handedly shifting the gluten free paradigm by offering honest to goodness, delicious food that, oh by the way, also happens to be gluten free.
A lesson I learned from my very first bite.
Remember that yummy braised pork? The signature Sassy Spoon dish is unreal in its umami- laden unctuousness. And its sister on the plate, a fresh ginger garlic coleslaw, crisply cuts the richness of the meat, while adding a zesty zing most slaws don’t. Can’t. This is an everyday dish. As in, I could eat this dish every day. And not get tired of it.
Now, you could have the yummy braised pork and slaw, leave Sassy Spoon and be totally satisfied by your experience.
I said you could. But don’t. There’s much more I want you to try.
For starters, order the stuffed dates. Sure, everybody does stuffed dates. Sassy Spoon’s stuffed dates, however, deserve special mention. Where lesser versions of this appetizer tend toward the date heavy and bacon bare, Sassy’s serve up the perfect ratio of bacon to date to goat cheese. Don’t deprive your mouth of this salty, sweet, smoky treat.
In addition to the afore-worshipped braised pork, whether you’re brunching or having dinner (or, hopefully later this year, lunch) you’ve got several other solid entree options at Sassy Spoon.
The chicken curry, for example was a big comfort food hit. The spicy red coconut sauce smothers tasty chicken thighs like a big velvety blanket atop a steaming mound of cauliflower fried rice. You will covet this dish.
Quick show of hands: how many of you have forgotten everything we’ve eaten so far is gluten free? All of you. Good.
Then your next order of business is to order the flatbread pizza. Gluten free pizza, you sneer? Wipe those visions of cardboard from your mind right now. Order the pizza. And behold the power of the yucca crust. Yucca is a magical gluten free starch that makes a most munchy crust. Pair that pizza with a glass of wine, mead, cider or gluten free beer and you’re golden.
Now that I think about it, it was with my first few bites of that pizza, actually, when I knew Sassy Spoon lived up to its reputation and the vision of its owner Tamara Brown to serve up “wholesome food with attitude.” The pizza, like all of the dishes, isn’t some sad, hollow substitute for the real thing. It stands all on its own, confident in its ability to challenge and delight.
Before I forget, do not leave without letting the chocolate chip cookie dough challenge and delight you. Or any of the other scratch-made desserts on hand, for that matter.
Whether you have a gluten allergy, skew Paleo, avoid processed foods, or are just looking for healthier dining options, you’d do well to walk through the doors of Sassy Spoon sometime soon. If, on the other hand, you think gluten free is a passing fad, roll your eyes at the mere mention of Paleo and revel in processed foods on a regular basis, your trip to Sassy Spoon would be no less enjoyable.
Because, at the end of the day, good food is good food. And good food is to be had at Sassy Spoon.
5011 34th Ave S, Minneapolis