Roses Are Red Velvet

Since becoming a gluten-free gal, the most frustrating thing has been eating out without being relegated to a salad ("but without croutons/wontons/tortilla strips/etc., please") and protein. Luckily, it seems restaurants have drastically improved their offerings in the past year (especially in Vermont - more on that later), but I can't say the same for the local bakeries. I don't blame them, though: in order to be Celiac-friendly, it must be an entirely gluten-free facility.

Enter By the Way Bakery, a completely gluten- and dairy-free bakery that recently opened its doors in Greenwich. (It turns out they already had three locations in New York, but I'm absolutely thrilled they ventured out to the 'burbs of Connecticut and opened up a local shop.) Though my diet is not dairy-free, the artisans here have definitely broadened their potential customer base as it's a common request, especially among those who can't tolerate gluten. More importantly, I couldn't taste the difference...

My goody bag contained some of their St. Valentine's Day offerings, each one more heavenly than the last: red velvet roses, heart-shaped sugar cookies, and a couple of must-have cupcakes made the perfect little bundle of holiday sweets. My appreciation only increased when I noticed the care taken in packaging it all up: hang-tags and hand-stamped brown paper pouches scream old-fashioned. Yup, this shop is right up my alley... 

Red velvet roses: moist with a perfect crumb and oh so sweet!

A cupcake that surprised my tastebuds with a hint of citrus...

And one that satisfied the essence of my chocolate craving.

Truly, the perfect pair:

Delicately flooded and sweetly decorated cookies lack any sign of being gluten- and dairy-free.

If one thing's for sure, it's that the absence of traditional ingredients at BTW Bakery doesn't point to a lack of flavor or perfect texture. I only have one remaining question: do they make croissants?