Let me just say right off the bat… I was skeptical. A gluten free restaurant with baked goods and regular food? Could this possibly be any good? As someone who doesn’t shun gluten at all and doesn’t have food allergies, I wasn’t sure how this whole experience would go down. But since I got invited to come in and check it out, I was willing to take the risk. And I have to say… I was pleasantly surprised.
[inside the cafe]
2Good2Be is a cute little cafe inside of one of the strip malls in Encinitas, CA. It’s a fast casual restaurant with lots of beverage options (coffees, teas), baked goods (cupcakes, brownies, cakes) as well as regular food – all gluten-free, corn free, corn syrup free and soy free.
[case of gluten free cupcakes]
The cupcakes that greet you when you walk in also very tempting looking – all pretty and decorated!
Jake and I ordered a few things from the menu to get an overall feel for their food and then, of course, saved room for cupcakes at the end.
My initial beverage choice was rejected by Jake and he went up and got us some bottled sodas. I told him to surprise me and he got me this Cock ‘n Bull ginger beer which wasn’t too bad. I don’t normally drink full sugar sodas anymore but this one was decent with a good ginger flavor. Surprising to me, I actually liked the Cheerwine a little bit more. I thought it would be full on in-your-face-tastes-like-cough-syrup flavored cherry.. but it actually kind of reminded me of Dr. Pepper.
We started off by sharing a cheese pizza. I really liked the HUGE dollops of ricotta on top. Ricotta makes me really happy, so this put a smile on my face.
This also had tomato sauce, mozzarella and just a touch of basil. I would have enjoyed a wee more bit of basil, but it was fine. The crust was a gluten free crust that was quite thin (like NY style thin) and quite a bit chewy. The outer edges of the pizza were kind of burnt which I did not like since it made the other edge too hard to eat. But overall the crust wasn’t bad – you could tell this wasn’t a normal crust, but it didn’t deter too much from the pizza (except for the burnt edges). Overall good flavor and good distribution of cheese.
[macaroni and cheese]
Our other shared item was the macaroni and cheese, something we’ve really taken a liking to order whenever we see it on a menu.
The macaroni and cheese really put the “oomph” in the cheese portion of this dish – it was quite cheesy and very creamy. The pasta was a good consistency and the cheese and sauce adhered well to it. There was a crumbly bit of something on top making for a little bit of crunch. My biggest complaint about this dish though was that it tasted too salty. It was the predominant flavor in my opinion and while I really like my salt, it was just a little too much. The creaminess of the sauce though was really excellent and this ended up being Jake’s favorite dish.
[blta… minus the “a”]
I also got a sandwich – I mean, I had to try the bread, right?
I wanted a BLTA – pretty standard for a sandwich – but sadly they were all out of avocados. It was near the end of their opening hours though so I suppose I can’t begrudge them. Hmm hmm hmm.
I got the sandwich anyway – it’s still got bacon in it and that counts for a lot in my book.
It comes with a little side salad which I chomped right up before starting in on my sandwich. The bread had the consistency of cornbread and I really couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. I ate a whole half of the sandwich so I guess it didn’t bother me too much, but I kept thinking my sandwich was on the verge of falling apart – but actually, it never did. Overall a surprisingly good sandwich, despite the sort-of-crumbling consistency of the bread.
Jake ordered the meatball cosi which came with marinara sauce, asiago cheese and meatballs on a baguette. I’m not 100% sure, but I think these were turkey meatballs. The meatballs were quite flavorful and tasty. Jake thought the sandwich did not have nearly enough sauce on it and that “the bread was weird, but good”. Again, the bread was not really heavy and strangely chewy. It was bread-like without the same texture, but not in a bad way. Just different from what we’re used to as heavy gluten eaters.
Last but not least – cupcakes!
This is my lemon cupcake. I didn’t see until we left that they had pumpkin flavored stuff and I was sad I didn’t try that instead.
The lemon cupcake was pretty cold – the frosting was a bit hard and I felt like it was a huge chunk of frosting confronting my teeth instead of a velvety, soft frosting. The texture of the lemon cupcake was also extremely crumbly and reminded me too much of cornbread. The lemon flavor also seemed very much on the mild side. I didn’t enjoy the lemon cupcake and gave up after eating about half of it.
[red velvet cupcake]
Jake on the other hand got his usual Red Velvet flavored cupcake. This was vastly better than the lemon – this one was closer to room temperature already giving it the advantage of an easier to consume product. The cupcake was smooth and moist with a nice slightly chocolate flavor. The cream cheese frosting was also good and complemented the cupcake well.
Overall Jake and I were surprised and impressed by the variety of offerings at this gluten free bakery and cafe. I’m happy to say I’d try the food here again and am happy to see a gluten-free restaurant that caters to all people – not just though who can’t have gluten.
2GOOD2BE Bakery Cafe
204 N. El Camino Real, #H
Encinitas, CA 92024
Monday – Saturday 7am-7pm
Disclaimer: I was invited to come in to the restaurant by PR group Alternative Strategies. Our meal was complimentary. I was not paid for this review and all opinions are my own.