Josie’s Corner Cafe & Bake Shop, Fargo ND


Josie’s Corner Café & Bake Shop
524 Broadway
Fargo, ND 58102
How nice was it to find this charming little place on a corner in Fargo after driving for hours in blinding snow all the way from Morris, Manitoba?  It was really, really nice.  And how much of a bonus was it to discover that Josie’s carries home made gluten-free cookies?  It was a HUGE bonus! 

On this cold and snowy day, to be able to get warmed up with hot tea in this cozy corner café was just wonderful.  We sat by the window, watching the snow and coddling our teas, enjoying our sweet cookie treats. 

The warm lighting, colorful artwork and stamped tin ceiling made for a lovely atmosphere.  Josie’s was a rejuvenating stop after a very stressful morning.


Namaste Foods Gluten-Free Baking Mixes

Howdy all,

Sorry I’ve been scarce.  I’ve been writing articles for  If you are looking for product suggestions and/or reviews, that site is extremely thorough.

Meanwhile, I’ve tried the Brownie Mix and Spice Cake Mix by Namaste Foods.  They are awesome:  moist, rich, and great flavor.  I didn’t even think the Spice Cake needed the gluten-free cream cheese icing I made.   Check out their website at

That’s my tip for today…eat well!

Feeling Kind of ‘Nutty…Franz Macaroons

I was in the grocery store on the hunt for a Gluten-Free nosh.  I was out of my usual stash of snacks, and wanted something satisfying.  Trying to stay gluten-free makes that next to impossible, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that.  The words ‘satisfying’ and ‘gluten-free’ are seldom used to describe the same item.

Curiously, Franz Macaroon Cookies jumped out at me.  I checked the package, and the ingredients:  Dessicated Coconut, Sugar, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Potato Starch, Dextrose, Egg Whites, Artificial Flavor, Soy Lecithin (Soybean), Nonfat Milk.  Those ingredients certainly didn’t seem dangerous to me, so I decided to purchase the package and check the Franz web site to see if I could get further information about the gluten content.

Their web site, did not have the answers I sought, however, a spokesperson for Franz Family Bakeries did reply to my inquiry with incredible speed:  “These cookies are produced in a bakery with other cookies that do contain gluten and on shared equipment.  We do have an allergen washout between production of the other varieties and the macaroon cookies, but there is never a 100% guarantee that there is no gluten present.   At this point, we don’t make the claim that they are gluten free.”

I do not believe I am as sensitive as most people to gluten, so I dug right in.  They are chewy, loaded with coconut, moist, tasty and sweet.  They are, in fact, satisfying when that quick snack urge rears its ugly head.  There are none of the tell-tale drawbacks that normally accompany gluten-free cookies like dryness or grittiness.  These are like the macaroons I enjoyed during my childhood.

Franz’ slogan on the package reads “The Good Cookie.”  And their macaroons certainly are good!

Franz is the largest family-owned independent bakery on the West Coast.  Their products are available primarily in the Pacific Northwest.  For more information, please visit their web site

©  K. S. Brooks – Gluten-Free Gusto

What Would Howard Jones Think?

“You can look at the menu but you just can’t eat” are the first words of the brilliant song “No One Is to Blame” by Howard Jones.  I loved the irony of the song back in 1985.  I never in my wildest dreams thought that twenty years later, it would become my food allergy anthem.

Later in the song, Howard goes on to sing “Doctor says you’re cured, but you still feel the pain, aspirations in the clouds but your hopes go down the drain.”  Every time I try a new treatment or doctor – that is exactly how I feel.

I enjoy helping others with food allergies by experimenting with new recipes, exploring different food combinations and venturing into purveyors of good eats for food allergy sufferers.  I remember how I felt when I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  All my efforts are in hopes of helping as many people as possible not feel the same panic and isolation I did.

But sometimes the discouragement is overwhelming.  Usually I don’t let it get to me, but in the past couple of weeks we discovered yet another food I cannot tolerate.  Now I’m up to seventeen.  At this rate, the food of choice for me will be ice. 

I mentioned to my acupuncturist that I thought it was odd how I could be outside doing physical labor in 100 degree heat without eating lunch, sweating profusely, and not be losing a pound.  “Oh, that’s because it’s not fat, you’re just bloated from all your food allergies.”

“Great!” I said, taking a minute to realize that just because that meant I wasn’t fat didn’t mean it was a good thing.

So I broke down and called the food allergist that had been recommended to me.  It sounded like a bunch of hocus pocus, but if it works, who am I to judge?  But if it really works, then why isn’t this guy world famous?  Are all those testimonials for real?  If it doesn’t work, I’m out a lot of money.  But if it works, it could change my life.  But if it doesn’t work, wouldn’t the medical board have shut him down?  And so on, and so forth.  If you have allergies, you understand where I’m coming from.

How do you think Howard Jones would feel about my twist on his song?  I think it’s kind of sad.

You can listen to Howard’s wonderful song here:

Gluten-Free Shopping in Scarborough, Maine

On 9-22-08 I discovered a fantastic store on Route 1 in Scarborough, Maine. It’s called Lois’ Natural Marketplace and I felt like a kid in a candy store!

If you would like to read the rest of this article, please click on – This column appeared last September as part of the ongoing CeliacChicks Around The World feature.

For other Gluten-Free food information and lifestyle tips, check out

K. S. Brooks is a guest blogger for, an author and photographer.  © 2008

Review – Woody’s on the Water

            “Almost heaven, West Virginia,” John Denver did say.  And that’s true, I have found some wonderful gluten-free food at the Press Room restaurant in Shepherdstown, WV.  But I found gluten-free heaven itself in Tacoma, Washington – at Woody’s on the Water.

            Upon our arrival in Tacoma, I searched online for a restaurant nearby where my gluten mongering spousal-type unit, David, could get fish and chips, and I stood a fraction of a chance to find something free of wheat, soy, and the fourteen other foods that I can’t tolerate.  I didn’t go into it feeling very hopeful.  Most of the restaurants I found were extremely pricey, and the menu selections were certainly not geared to my dietary needs.  Then I found the Woody’s on the Water website – and saw, right in the left-hand side navigation bar that they had a gluten-free menu.  “This is the place!” I told David.  Finally, I was looking forward to eating out somewhere – but of course, I had a tinge of skepticism. 

            Off we went.  We followed the signs to Woody’s and arrived quite easily at the Thea Foss waterway.  Woody’s was next to the stunning waterfront Museum of Glass.  The outside of the restaurant is modern, with a large dockside patio.

Woody's on the Water, Tacoma, WA

Woody's on the Water, Tacoma, WA

            The inside is sophisticated yet still cozy, with a trendy atmosphere.  If I hadn’t seen the prices on the online menu myself, I would have thought this was a place at which I couldn’t afford to dine.

The Bar at Woody's

The Bar at Woody's

            We were greeted by a cordial hostess at which time I requested the gluten-free menu.  It’s not part of the regular menu – it is completely separate.  The table was clean, nicely set, and intimate.

Intimate Booth at Woody's on the Water, Tacoma

Intimate Booth at Woody's on the Water, Tacoma

            One of the owners, Thomas, came over.  We discussed the gluten-free menu at which time he told me his daughter was gluten intolerant, so he understood the dilemmas of finding good restaurant food.  He even offered us two different gluten-free beers.  It was the first time, that I felt relaxed and confident ordering gluten free food in a restaurant.  That was a really nice feeling.

            I had the House Salad to start.  The Balsamic Bleu Cheese dressing was an excellent and harmonious combination of flavors.  David had the clam chowder, which he said was the best he’d had since our stop in Newburyport, Massachusetts three years earlier.

             A huge plateful of Smoked Salmon Pasta arrived before me.  Perfectly cooked rice pasta, salmon, onions and cream sauce graced my palate with flavors which rivaled the best of New York City Italian cuisine.  David thoroughly enjoyed his monstrous serving of Fish and Chips as well.  We shared a Crème Brulee for dessert, although Woody’s offered a few other gluten-free specialty desserts.  Including our micro-brewed root beers, this entire meal was under fifty dollars. 

             The next morning our business meeting ended at eleven.  We needed to be in Vancouver that night.  It was a no-brainer:  Woody’s for lunch.

             I had the Smoked Salmon and Fresh Blueberry Salad.  The portion was enormous, and delicious.  Although I did enjoy it – I frankly preferred the Balsamic Bleu Cheese dressing from the evening before.  David got a bowl of the clam chowder.  I had to sneak a taste of it – it really was as good as he raved.  And I grew up in New England, so I should hope that I am a good judge!

             My opinion in a nutshell:  Woody’s on the Water is loaded with atmosphere at an elegant location, serving gourmet level food at affordable prices.  Their Gluten-Free menu offers an excellent selection of entrees, appetizers, desserts and even beer.  We were only in town eighteen hours, but we managed to eat at Woody’s twice.  That’s really how good it is.

K. S. Brooks is an author, photographer and guest blogger for 

Gluten-Free menu:

The Crunch Factor

If you have food allergies, you know that little things can make a big difference.  Many foods, especially salads, have been ruined for me.  So when I found two alternatives to croutons for people with gluten- and/or wheat-intolerance, I got excited.

Since I have always been a fan of croutons, it was time to take the dive and try these.

The first type I invested in was the Olive Oil & Garlic Gluten-Free Croutons by the Gluten-Free Pantry.  They do contain eggs, corn and yeast.  They do also contain a lot of flavor.  I located my first package of these wheat free croutons in the gluten- free section at an NRG Organic Supermarket on the East Coast.  They were so good that I went back for more and they were already out.  They never got more in.  A couple of years later, I gave in and ordered some online.  The consistency of this package was different, in fact, they were rock hard.  I’m uncertain if they changed the recipe, or if it was just a lot inconsistency, but for some reason they weren’t as enjoyable.  The flavor of the first package was good enough, however, that I would give these a try again sometime.

One afternoon I was in the produce section at Safeway when I discovered the Fresh Gourmet Tortilla Strips Lightly Salted.  It states “Naturally Gluten Free” right on the front of the package.  I like these “Crunchy Toppings for Salad” for a number of reasons.  The list of ingredients is literally this short:  corn masa flour, safflower and/or sunflower oil, salt, trace of lime.  I like things simple.  I also like that they are easy to break up, and that they add a great crunch to salad.  I have even use them on top of soup instead of oyster crackers. 

Either way, if you are missing the crunch or that little extra substance to your salad, either of these products should fit the bill.


Gluten-Free Croutons

Gluten-Free Croutons

Product Information:

Olive Oil & Garlic Gluten-Free Croutons by the Gluten-Free Pantry – 5 oz. ~ $4.99

Ingredients:  corn starch, tapioca starch, water, liquid whole egg, chickpea flour, canola oil, sugar, extra virgin olive oil, xanthan gum, garlic powder, yeast, salt, spices, cream of tartar.

Tortilla Strips by Fresh Gourmet – 3.5 oz ~ $2.00 on sale.

Ingredients:  corn masa flour, safflower and/or sunflower oil, salt, trace of lime.

For other Gluten-Free food information and lifestyle tips, check out

K. S. Brooks is a guest blogger for, an author and photographer.  © 2009