Quitting gluten was harder than quitting smoking. The results of both were beneficial, but when it came to cheating, the difference was significant: One made me cough a bit the next day, the other put me nearly out of digestive commission for a full 24 hours. And whereas avoiding a cigarette was pretty straightforward, gluten was everywhere, taunting me. Those wheat-filled menus. Those delectable scents.
Gluten-free options aren't bountiful in Seattle, but they're more plentiful than in Florida, where I used to live. Here, more places than not cater to people with food sensitivities or allergies, or to those abstaining for lifestyle or ethical reasons. I discovered Nuflours within the first month of living here and fell in love.
The first time I visited this dedicated gluten-free bakery, I spent upwards of $30. I wanted to feel a sense of normalcy, and Nuflours helped in my ongoing pursuit to eat like a regular person again, and get back those tastes I'd been missing since giving up wheat.
That's kind of the point, according to Nuflours owner Phebe Rossi. "The idea behind Nuflours is we have all of those classics you miss, like carrot cake and eclairs and tiramisu, things as a gluten-free eater you rarely see, or you give up."
Rossi went gluten-free in 2007 for health reasons, and after she started baking and cooking gluten-free, she realized she was not only good at it, but had a passion for it. She relocated from Portland (a "gluten-free mecca") to Seattle (where there seemed to be a need) in 2011.
She grew the business organically, from working out of a shared commissary in Lower Queen Anne, baking custom wedding cakes, selling her wares at farmers markets, and wholesaling to the chefs and cafe owners who found her there, to opening a brick-and-mortar shop on Capitol Hill in 2014. Five years later, she's still in the cozy 15th Avenue space, one of only three gluten-free bakeries in the city. (The other two are Flying Apron and Niche.)
NuFlours has an impressive variety of offerings—lemon bars, airy raspberry Danishes, cinnamon buns drenched in a gooey caramel glaze and drizzled with (dairy-free) icing, banana coconut muffins and rich dark-chocolate brownies (both crowd pleasers), a range of quick breads, regular breads, loafs and paninis, cookies, cupcakes, full cakes (I took home a cheesecake and a ginger spice cake with cream-cheese icing for Christmas dinner), and more.
I've tried their savory offerings, and the bacon potato cheddar quiche was one of the best I've had—crumbly yet creamy and topped with shredded Parmesan. I brought home a frozen premade pie shell to make my own pie. I even used a Nuflours gluten-free flour blend in some infused cookies I baked that turned out spectacular.
Nuflours also carries goodies that are dairy free, egg free, rice free, and corn free. "We try to hit as many of the large allergens as possible while still maintaining flavor and texture quality," Rossi explained. "I really do try to have something for everyone."
When I asked what her favorite part of her job was, she said without hesitation, "Feeding people cake." She sent me home with a brownie. I ate it within five minutes of walking out the door.