When it comes to gluten-free friendly grocery stores in Baltimore, there’s quite a few to choose from, which makes shopping a treasure hunt of sorts. One of my favorite places to shop though is Mom’s Organic Market, an independent chain of stores whose focus on food includes a lengthly list of ingredients they have banned from their shelves (see those here) and a commitment to stocking locally produced items and a 100% dedicated produce department.
Typically I shop at the Lutherville location north of Baltimore, but is definitely not their best location in the area. While it has an pretty darn good selection, it’s a bit on the smaller size. When Mom’s announced that their newest Baltimore area location would be coming to the recently renovated Rotunda shopping center in Hamden, it was practically Christmas morning in my world, and I eagerly anticipated it’s grand opening. This past April, the magical day finally arrived, and I got to check out the new store- including Naked Lunch, an organic cafe offering in-store eats. Naturally, I had to check them out to see if they were just as amazing as the new grocery store.
What’s really cool about Naked Lunch is that most everything is gluten-free, save for the pilaf, which is not. Dairy also makes a sparing appearance in the form of cheese, and non-dairy substitutes are used to keep the items plant-based and vegan-friendly. Naturally, the staff are willing to make substitutes to avoid whatever ingredients are off limits to you, so make sure to speak up and let the staff know your dietary restrictions.
Naked Lunch also offers fresh-made juices, which are either pre-planned or DIY variety.
I ended up ordering the vegan cauliflower nachos, which were actually the weekend special. How could I not? The dish, once made was absolutely beautiful, consisting of cauliflower with a non-dairy cheese sauce topped with fresh cilantro, guacamole, and blackens over a bed of brown rice. Everything was really fresh, and I really liked the cauliflower nachos, which is a feat given that I rarely enjoy vegan cheese. It wasn’t cheese-like per say, but had a nice creamy texture and slightly spicy flavor. The guac was clearly homemade and chunky- exactly my favorite form of the spread, and the black beans and rice were prepared well, not overly dry or flavorless as is often the case with beans and rice.
While the new Mom’s Organic Market is a destination in it of itself, Naked Lunch is definitely a cherry-on-top feature that makes shopping a delicious affair.
Overall, I am head over heels for Naked Lunch, and definitely look forward to adding it to my rotation of restaurants and cafes I frequent in Baltimore. Although the price of $8.75 might seem a bit steep, it’s worth every penny to get real, fresh food that actually nourishes your body.
Update 9/12/16: On repeat return visits, my go-to is the cauliflower steak, which is absolutely incredible and filling with so much vegetable goodness. A roasted cauliflower steak sits atop a bead of grape tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and brown rice in a chimichurri dressing. Lemon juice, dill, olive oil, and garlic provide flavor accents that round out the flavor profile. The ingredients may seem simple, but the effect is downright comfort-food-esque and earned my two thumbs up.
Address: 711 W. 40th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211
Website: Mom’s Organic Market Website
Cuisine: Farm-to-Table, Vegetarian, Vegan
Ideal For: Lunch, Dinner
Price: See prices on menu above.
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible
Disclaimer: This review is based upon the information I have at the time of the review and does not reflect changes in ingredients or availability of items. Please contact the restaurant directly for up-to-date information and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.