Shhh. I am sitting in Wild Wood Bakehouse, a cafe/bakery/catering company just north of UT (on 31st St., 1/2 block west of Guadalupe, park free in the garage), and I am experiencing something so unusual, I have to share.
I don’t know why I feel like whispering, but I do. Maybe because it’s such a revelation.
I could eat anything on the menu here and nothing would make me sick. I don’t have to ask about a single thing, “Is that gluten-free?” Because here, everything is. That’s right. It’s a totally gluten-free restaurant. And I have not had this experience for about 6 years. And it’s a pain in the ass to always have to be asking what’s gluten-free.
I just threw caution to the wind and ordered a club sandwich on a focaccia bun made with garbanzo bean flour. Ha!
And now it’s arrived, and the bread looks beautiful and tastes like, well, bread. You know, it holds the sandwich together and makes it easy to eat with your hands. It’s doing its job pretty well, just a little bit more crumbly than wheat bread (it’s the wheat gluten that makes regular bread “spongy”). Next time I will try a sandwich with a rice flour or sourdough bun.
And…I could have ordered — get ready for it — chicken fried steak with white gravy, fried calamari with sweet potato chips, a chicken tender basket, onion rings, beef lasagna, eggplant parmesan, grilled chicken pasta, pizza, a burger (natural Angus beef, bison, natural chicken, wild-caught salmon), and a delightful variety of sandwiches.
Not to mention French toast or Belgian waffles for breakfast. And all manner of baked goods like cookies, cupcakes, pies, cakes, brownies, dinner rolls, bread, buns, and more.
Hmm. This could be dangerous. I’m glad that this place is a bit out of my way so I won’t overindulge! I can combine weekly shopping at Wheatsville Coop, hydrating myself healthily at Juiceland (next to Spiderhouse on Fruth), and stopping here for a meal or treat.
The prices seem reasonable too. My sandwich was $8. A 9-inch pizza is $8.99. The chicken fried steak is $10.95. The most expensive item is a rib-eye steak for $18.
The menu lists what is vegan and dairy-free.
For thirst, Wild Wood offers beer (GF and non-GF), wine, sodas, coffee, tea, cocoa, fizzy water, and more.
The ambiance isn’t quite what I’d call “fine dining,” but it’s not a typical “cheap student food” campus-area eatery either. There are flowers on each table, piped-in music, cloth napkins, a friendly waitstaff, and all the bakery stuff is at the front, with the cafe in a side area.
The hours are Mon-Sat 8 am-9 pm, and Sun 8 am-3 pm. Happy hour is Mon-Fri 4-7 pm, with $3 GF beer and half-price appetizers.
If you are eating gluten-free, or at least desire to eat less gluten (which could probably benefit everyone), or someone special to you has to eat gluten-free, this is a great place to eat, pick up food or dessert to-go, or have cater your next event. Austin is very lucky to have this choice!