Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Atwater's Review

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Atwater's Bakery and Cafe is a Baltimore based farm-to-table restaurant that offers a daily selection of the freshest foods for its patrons to enjoy.  After their made in house gluten-free bread got on my radar thanks to a City Paper article (see that here), I knew I wanted to check out this truly local establishment. 

With locations across the city, I set my sights on the Belvedere Market location, as it's very easy for me to access, and allows me to peruse the other local-focused vendors that call the market home. I planned my visit to coincide with my mom's recent visit, to allow us to share a nice meal and get off campus for awhile. 

The menu at Atwater's does change daily, so definitely sneak a peek at it before you go (if it's available online) to check out what options are available. When available, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are noted. I've included in this review snapshots of gluten-free, vegan, or gluten-free vegan options from the menu the day I went.

From the information gathered in that City Paper article, the gluten-free bread is a seedy bread, which is produced in the main bakery with Atwater's other breads, but in a separate closed off room. The bread tests consistently below 20 ppm, but does not meet the 10 ppm cut off for GFCO certification. The bread costs $0.50 to order with a sandwich, and is available by the loaf for $6 a piece. A half dozen of the peanut butter cookies costs $4. 

Although I chose Atwater's with the intention of ordering a sandwich, it turns out that the bread is not safe for me. It contains eggs (which I can eat) as well as dairy (which I cannot). While I was disappointed by the dairy spoiling the fun, my waitress was quick to suggest other options, such as a a salad or soup (minus gluten or dairy toppings). This proved to be yet another lesson to call ahead before going to a restaurant, something I have grown lazy in doing after finding many places I can eat safely at. Note as well that the peanut butter cookies also contain dairy, which makes them safe for gluten-free diners only.

Because a sandwich was no longer an option, I opted for a bowl of the vegan gazpacho, minus croutons on top. The soup was a delicious blend of veggies, in a tomato-based broth. I loved how the chopped vegetables, including cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers, were fresh and bursting with flavor. The soup was seasoned with garlic and black pepper, which shone through with every spoonful. Although it was my backup option, I loved the soup, and in retrospect am really glad I got to try it. It was absolutely perfect on the last of summer's super hot days.

My gluten-eating mom ended up ordering a sandwich on the gluten-free bread, and remarked that the bread was hearty and supported her vegetarian tomato mozzarella sandwich nicely. Overall I really enjoyed my experience, and definitely think that Atwater's focus on keeping it local pays off. Next time I am in Belvedere Square, I will definitely stop by to see what soups they have on the menu, and window shop their dry goods market that has many niche prepared foods such as prepackaged soups, specialty mustards, bread and butter pickles and other foodie-focused products.

The Basics

Address: 529 E. Belvedere Ave, Baltimore, MD 21212
Cuisine: Farm-to-Table, American, Soups, Sandwiches, Salads
Ideal For: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Price: Varies, see daily menu on website.
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible.
Special Feature: Find Atwater's at the 32nd Street/Waverly Farmers Market on Saturdays from 7am to noon. Atwater's also attends other local farmers' markets in the DC and Maryland area, check their website for more information.

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.

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