Gluten Free Goat Review, Pittsburgh, PA

Traveling! Whether for work or athletics, whether planned or unplanned, I love dashing off like Bilbo without his pocket handkerchief. In Pittsburgh last week -- and that's a hike from Boston -- I found myself with colleagues celebrating a birthday, and my graduation from grad school.

And the plan was to get brunch.

But where? Having celiac, I hit the road with a hamper and a cooler in my passenger seat: 'Tis called the snack seat, and it contains snacks enough to make multiple square meals, and then some.

One can't take a snack-seat into restaurant though. But one can take a phone, an app, and a single-mindedly stubborn sleuthing: calling, emailing, researching down to the bloody crumb any eatery suggested. The sleuthing takes time and energy. It turns out good health though -- and it turns up some unexpected jewels, like The Gluten Free Goat, on Penn Ave.

Brunch is not a traditionally naturally gluten-free option in the Western world.

Gluten Free Goat however, a lovely little minimalist cafe whose Ikea-furnishing and white wood interior make the ambience as pleasing as the locally-sourced organic fare, is dedicated gluten free.

Nothing on the menu includes wheat. Better yet, the founder and chef is hyper-aware of other allergens, and the ethically-based choice to eat sans animal products, and her menu is gluten-free plus mostly vegan (with the exception of the occasional egg dish). She uses nuts, but keeps all meals clearly labeled, and kitchen tools cleaned and segregated.

All that is background though -- the negative, the sleuthing necessary if you have celiac.

On to the enjoyable bit: Gluten Free Goat's brunch.
The Goat keeps a simple menu, a simple menu that was simply brilliant. A waffle may always be novel to me, celiac-gluten-free-kid that I was (and am). But a good waffle is a wonder.

From Housemade Nutella-slathered belgian waffle, to simple vegan-buttered-and-syruped, The Gluten Free Goat makes an ancient-grained puff-and-crunch of a plate that bowls over any wheat-based I've ever had.

I had the Almond Butter and Banana Waffle, while our intern picked up a Nutella, and another colleague and I split the unique -- but lovely and savory -- Falafel Waffle (with Tzatzki Sauce).

Oy, a pity -- but the Falafel vanished before photography. I wasn't terribly keen on the size (it was palm-sized compared to the belgian-style), or the Tabbouleh (although my colleague devoured it). Falafel itself was a nutty, hearty little bloke, whose earthiness was lightened beautifully by the sauce.

Oh those waffles though.

"CJ, you really could have eaten 12, couldn't you?"

This remark came from our intern, after I'd said something of the sort two or three times.

But the truth is, I probably could have eaten 6 waffles, at least. And it wasn't just because I have celiac, and the waffle was a rarity for me. Those waffles were wicked good: thick, crisp on the outside, with a good soft interior, and no midgets when it came to filling a plate.  For the quality and size of the portions, GF Goat is also surprisingly friendly to the wallet, with Waffles (of each variety) priced at $9-10, including toppings.

GF Goat also makes a wide and rotating array of baked goods -- organic, locally-sourced, naturally sweetened (the base is usually maple syrup).  Two cupcakes went home with us. A Lavender Blueberry and something Chocolate, which I missed noting the flavour; and we almost took home slices of the Mint-Chocolate and Vietnamese Coffee Cocoa Vegan-GF Cheesecake.

All in all, I ate safely.  Sometimes, that's all one can get out of the somewhat arduous task of celiac-sleuthing. In the case of gluten-free goat, the time and energy spent sleuthing gave back more than safety -- it lead me to one of the loveliest, most pleasant meals I've had in my life while traveling.

Gluten Free Goat, Pittsburgh, PA


GF -- vegan -- organic -- local -- non-gmo

Anyone ever found a jewel while traveling like this?

Tumbling Free,



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