Baked! - Gluten Free, Vegan, Portland Restaurant Review

The sun has finally made its long awaited presence in Portland. Look, I know people talk about the weather just to make conversation, but for about 6 months weather has made its way into every conversation. It's pathetic. It had been so gloomy, gray, cold and wet this past winter (and spring), that it just had to be discussed. People needed to vent. People needed sunny vacations and vitamin d. What does this have to do with a food post? Not much, I suppose. Except that I for one, don't exactly enjoy eating outside during the soggier months.

However, in the last few weeks the skies have cleared and the sun has been absolutely glorious. We've been taking advantage of this by spending more time outside. We spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon on NE Alberta and had fun looking through the shops, getting groceries at the Alberta Co-op and locating all the places that offer the Supportland card. We were strolling along when all of the sudden the words gluten free and vegan jumped out at me, with macaroni and cheese following. We stopped to read the sign and discovered Baked! They're serving up made-to-order macaroni and cheese from a window in a building on Alberta. It's like a food cart... only it's a food window.

Baked offers gluten free noodles, as well as a vegan cheese sauce (also gluten free). I ordered the standard mac and Andrew ordered the margherita (basil, tomatoes and garlic). There were a bunch of other selections and add-ins as well. The mac & cheese was inexpensive and the guy at the window was friendly. We also found out you can go into the bar next door (they share an indoor service window) and order from inside and they will bring you your food. We decided to go inside, Andrew ordered a beer and we sat on the back patio on picnic tables. There were people playing ping pong in the sun and other people playing games, but I didn't enjoy it because I have a sensitive nose and it was really smokey.

Our food came out fairly soon. We knew it would take a bit longer for our special orders. It was piping hot and as soon as we took the lid off we knew we were in for a treat. It was a huge portion, smelled so good and looked oh, so, very cheesy. I immediately wished I had ordered the same as Andrew's because the basil smelled delicious. The top of the baked mac was a little crispy and crunchy - which is why I love baked mac and cheese. My gluten free noodles were perfectly cooked and that sauce - that "cheese" sauce - was ridiculously good. It was nutritional yeast based but had some gluten free tamari in it that gave an awesome salty, smokey flavor. It was one of the best vegan/gf macaroni and cheese dishes I have ever had.

You really should not debate whether to give this place a try. Go to Alberta, spend something around $7 for a huge helping (enough for left overs) of some of the best mac and cheese ever and your tummy will thank you.

Vegan Baked Margherita Mac

GF/Vegan Standard Mac