Freeland’s WiFire Café — local, fresh and now gluten-free

Posted in Culinary, Feature

PENNY WEBB
Whidbey Life Magazine contributor
Feb. 14, 2013

WiFire Café in Freeland has some new treats in store — goodies so delicious this reporter had no clue they were gluten-free. Espresso brownies, almond bread, salted, peanut butter cookies and hazelnut drop cookies (affectionately called “Ugly-But-Goods”) top the list of new additions to the already bursting pastry case at the café, located adjacent to Whidbey Telecom’s headquarters.

Barista Matthew Gregory and specialty coffee consultant Dawn Pinaud are happy to offer gluten- free items on the menu at WiFire in Freeland. (Jan Shannon photo)

Barista Matthew Gregory and specialty coffee consultant Dawn Pinaud are happy to offer gluten- free items on the menu at WiFire in Freeland. (Jan Shannon photo)

Since its opening in September of 2011, WiFire has made its name pulling potent espresso shots and serving up fast, healthful fare in a cozy setting. Specialty coffee consultant Dawn Pinaud looked for the freshest, locally-sourced ingredients when she created the menu with the help of Kyle Henney, formerly of Gordon’s of Blueberry Hill. Panini sandwiches on Essential Bread, and some sporting WiFire’s own chipotle sauce, are grilled to order. Soups are made fresh daily and all baked goods are made in-house. The coffee is WiFire’s own private blend created by Mukilteo Coffee. The WiFire signature chocolates are made by Langley’s own Sweet Mona’s Chocolate Boutique.

Pinaud came to WiFire with many years of experience in the specialty coffee trade and was given carte blanche when envisioning the café.  Her focus has been to make the café “as healthy as possible and as local as possible.” Under her watchful eye and the capable management of Jessica Reed, WiFire has become a true neighborhood hangout; its cozy seating area by the fireplace full of happy patrons daily. Additional seating in the Whidbey Tel lobby and tables outside, add extra places to perch and enjoy lunch, a tasty treat or a cup of joe.  Of course, WiFire has WiFi, and welcomes patrons with their laptops.

Recently, when baker Maureen Reiser brought in some of her own gluten-free almond bread, Pinaud and Reed got to thinking — what else can we do gluten-free and, of course, do it well? That prompted the staff to try new recipes and perfect the winners. As with all the café’s baked goods, the gluten-free offerings feature the best ingredients available, such as pastry chef-grade Callebaut chocolate and Tahitian vanilla. Freshly ground almond flour and rice flour are substituted for wheat flour, and egg whites are used for binding.  Truly, this reporter could not tell that the delectable brownie melting in her mouth was anything out of the ordinary — except that it was extraordinarily yummy.

WiFire is located at 1651 Main St. in Freeland.  It’s open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday;  and  8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.  Phone in orders to 360-321-WIFI. Visit the website at http://www.wifirecoffeebar.com.

Penny Webb is a writer, musician, and mom.  She is currently working on a memoir, “Come Back to Me, A Widow’s Journey.”

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