Gluten Free Grub—Where To Get The Good Stuff

[UPDATE: This story was originally published on December 12, 2011.]
Between diet pill ads, workout fads, and insane celeb fitness plans, finding wellness truth these days can be daunting. And, perhaps you've been duped by one of the same misconceptions as we have—the only way to conquer the battle of the bulge is to punish your taste buds and eat cardboard, three meals a day. Au contraire! Gluten-free foods are not only associated with major weight loss (without sounding too Suzanne Somers, we've seen friends shed serious pounds on this regime), but they can also be just as delectable as their deviant counterparts. From wheat-free Girl Scout cookies to hearty pizzas, we scoured the city to find 10 magical chefs that whip up gluten-free food with oomph. So, amuse your bouche at one of these local restos because, as it turns out, you can still eat muffins without worrying about that pesky muffin top!
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Breakaway Bakery : Are you as bummed as us when Girl Scout cookie season ends? No need to hoard your thin mints anymore, we found a tastier and gluten-free option at Breakaway Bakery. The Lil' Mint Scouties, along with their cupcakes and scones, definitely deserve a "yummiest treat" badge.
Breakaway Bakery, 5264 West Pico Boulevard (Near South Dunsmuir Avenue); 310-968-9380.
Buttercelli Organic Bakery: Pop Tarts, carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, double chocolate brownies...do we really need to go on? A little homey and nostalgic, but inventive and tasty too, Buttercelli is the hotspot for gluten-free treats in the Valley.
Buttercelli Organic Bakery, 13722 Ventura Boulevard (Near Woodman Avenue); 818-387-8538.
M Café: Kale with spicy peanut dressing and scarlet quinoa salad will have your mouth watering at M Café, where you might catch a skinny star sighting, too (Jessica Alba and Jake Gyllenhaal were recently spotted).
M Café, 7119 Melrose Avenue (Near La Brea Avenue); 323-525-0588.
Flore Vegan Cuisine: For a gluten-free brunch with all of the trimmings, Flore's orange or blueberry buckwheat pancakes are a must-try.
a href="http://florevegan.com/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Flore Vegan Cuisine, 3818 West Sunset Boulevard (Near Hyperion Avenue); 323-953-0611.
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The Sensitive Baker: This Culver City neighborhood spot is kosher, too, so be sure to pick up some butterscotch blondies for your next holiday party.
The Sensitive Baker, 10836 1/2 Washington Boulevard (Near Spad Place); 310-815-1800.
Babycakes: Everyone's favorite gluten-free and vegan bakery is everyone's favorite for a reason. The donuts are baked, not fried, the perfect healthier twist on an American classic.
Babycakes, 130 East Sixth Street (Near South Main Street); 213-623-5555.
Photos: Courtesy of (above, clockwise from right) Café Gratitude, Babycakes NYC, Buttercelli Bakeshop, M Café.
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Cafe Gratitude: A favorite on Larchmont, this delicious lunch spot serves up a mean homemade veggie burger in a gluten free wrap with lettuce, tomatos, pickles, onions, and spicy cashew mustard sauce and coconut bacon.
Cafe Gratitude, 639 North Larchmont Boulevard (Near Melrose Avenue); 323-580-6383.
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Shojin: With the December onslaught of cold weather, a bowl of kale carrot miso soup is the ultimate of winter comfort. Fresh, macrobiotic fare makes this a delicious lunch spot.
Shojin, 333 South Alameda Street Suite 310 (Near East Fourth Street); 213-617-0305
Osteria La Buca: Known for their addictive pasta and crispy pizza, you wouldn't think gluten-free would pass Chef Jason Neroni's lips, but any of his pastas can be made gluten-free to order. Try the gnudi, a ricotta stuffed pasta that is to-die-for.
Osteria La Buca, 5210 Melrose Avenue (Near North Wilton Place); 323-462-1900.
Interim Cafe: How good does an open-face grilled sandwich with Manchego, torn basil, olive oil, artichoke and sliced tomato with a cup of soup (for under $10!) sound? We thought so. Delicious, organic, and a great lunch spot, you can enjoy most of Interim cafe's dishes gluten-free, plus, they have vegan soft serve. Yum!
Interim Cafe, 530 Wilshire Boulevard (Near Sixth Street); 310-319-9100.
Photos: Courtesy of (above, clockwise from left) Breakaway Bakery, Molly Cranna Photography, The Sensitive Baker, Café Gratitude.
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