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Finding Gluten-Free food in Sitka, Alaska

Posted Mar 16 2011 12:00am

harbor in Sitka, Alaska

As promised, here is my report on the gluten-free foods one can find at the local Sitka, Alaska stores. This is all from memory so I’m certain there are things I will forget – there are just *that* many options!

Sea Mart Quality Foods
http://www.seamart.com
1867 Halibut Point Road
phone: (907)747-6266
fax: (907)747-6001

Sea Mart offers the greatest variety of breads and frozen foods as well as pastas and other shelf-stable items. When you walk into the store, if you go to the far left you’ll find the bread section. Within this plethora of gluteny breads and cakes, cinnamon rolls and croissants you’ll find a small rack. On this rack are a number of Udi’s products. I was able to (gleefully!) choose from 2 different bagels (plain and cinnamon raisin), several different loaves of bread, 3 different muffins, and cinnamon rolls. The prices on these were only marginally more than what I find when I go to Central Market in Poulsbo, WA. And let me tell you – there is nothing like having an Udi’s chocolate chip muffin on hand when the craving for bread hits. YUM!

The other items were spread throughout the store, not in any one section. There were several different pastas in the pasta aisle. Prices on these were as good as or better than the local Super Walmart. I was amazed. In addition, they had a good number of options for dairy-free milk, like the rice milk I use here (also at comparable prices).

I was able to find GF Bisquick as well as multiple GF cereals, chips, etc. The Betty Crocker GF cake mixes are there as well as the frosting that is now gluten-free for us to enjoy. Yes, homemade is certainly better but when your luggage is already straining the zipper, it’s just not feasible to be hauling along an additional 10 pounds of flour and other assorted baking items. And besides that, the frosting in the jar is really yummy. Not for daily consumption, but every few months it makes for a nice treat.

The freezer had many different Amy’s choices as well as GF waffles and other Van’s products. Really, there was more in this one store than I can find in my entire hometown. Shocking and it makes me a bit angry that I’m 2 hours from Seattle and yet I feel as though I’m living in a GF desert.

Lakeside Grocery
705 Halibut Point Road
Phone: (907) 747-3317

Lakeside is a smaller store than Sea Mart and according to my sister, it’s cheaper and where she does most of her shopping. I didn’t really pay too much attention to pricing as I was too giddy with excitement over everything I was finding.

When you enter the store, stay to the right in the produce section. At the end of that area you’ll find their health food shelves with any number of gluten-free products. Cake mixes, flours, soups, cereals, etc. It’s very comparable to a well-equipped Safeway but with a few more options. They happened to have a white cake mix on sale so I scooped that up the first day I was there and made a cake that I enjoyed over the next few days.

I’m not really sure exactly how many other products this store carries – after I discovered the motherlode at Sea Mart I didn’t go back to Lakeside except for a few minor trips. I believe they also have pastas and other mainstream (ie: Bisquick, Betty Crocker) mixes and of course cereal options like the line of Chex.

I did see a few items in the freezer but I didn’t purchase anything so I can’t say with certainty what is available there. For sure, it’s more than what the local Albertsons and Safeway offer here, so it’s a great stop in your quest for food.

Evergreen Natural Foods
google search results for Evergreen Natural Foods
1321 Sawmill Creek Rd # D
(907) 747-6944

This is a small but well stocked health food store in Sitka. As far as I know, it’s the only one. They have a number of gluten-free options including pastas, flours, and a good variety of Bob’s Red Mill mixes and products.

They also have a nice variety of dairy-free products, but no rice milk. When I asked about this I was told that since Lakeside and Sea Mart carry it, he didn’t sell too many so he stopped. That was fine with me – so long as I was able to get it somewhere!

There is a nice freezer and cold section with different meals and the usual frozen products from Kinnikinnick. It could be that I purchased a box of gluten-free maple glazed donuts.. but I’ll never tell. (They were super yummy and totally hit the spot!).

Being a health store, the prices are a bit high but that’s to be expected and I didn’t find them outrageous or panic-inducing. And on my way out the door I spotted a bag of plantain chips. YUMMY! They were just thin-sliced and fried plantains with salt. A bit nutty and very crunchy. I despise most GF crackers as they usually are made with nuts (gag me) or just taste burnt or nasty. Blech. These plantain chips would make a great everyday cracker. Their mild flavor would go perfect with a dip or cheesy spread. I should have saved the bag so I could locate them again.

I hope that this helps anyone who is thinking about making the trip to Sitka, Alaska. I just love it there. Truly one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been and now with such a bounty of gluten-free products available… well, if it were up to me we’d be moving there! Unfortunately, my husband has a say in the matter and he’s not quite convinced that’s where he’d like to go.

Oh, one more note. I don’t typically eat dinner or lunch out unless there is a defined gluten-free menu. Too many restaurants just don’t have a clue and there is nothing on the menu that I would feel safe eating. Buying a bowl of lettuce for $15 doesn’t make sense and unless I see the ingredients on the dressing, I’m probably in for a glutening.

But, I do eat breakfast out. I find that eggs, bacon, hashbrowns are (for the most part) safe and my “poisonings” are few and far between. There are a few places in town here that I’ll eat at for breakfast and they know me now and know what I can/not have, so I’ve had pretty good luck in enjoying a meal out in the gluten-free wasteland that is Port Angeles.

And up in Sitka, I wanted breakfast one day so we went to the airport and to a restaurant located there. The Nugget. One thing I had found in looking at reviews of this place was that they had a good customer service record. So I felt that I would be able to enlist their help in making sure my meal was safe.

I ordered a veggie omelette with a side of hashbrowns and bacon. After clarifying that no pancake batter was used in the omelette (yes, IHop… really swell idea there.) and explaining what I was avoiding, the waitress wrote everything down and I enjoyed a delicious meal with no ill effects. We ate there a total of 3 times, the last time an hour before our flight left. BIG risk as who wants to be on a tiny plane when the gluten hits? Yeah, me neither!

But after my first 2 visits there and with no sign of glutening, it was worth the risk. I’m happy to report that I wasn’t sick that time either (except for the terrible cold I came home with, but that’s a different story). Now of course, this is NOT a gluten-free restaurant and your experience may differ from mine. But being someone who is very easily glutened and having eaten there 3 times w/out any issue, I would definitely go there the next time I’m back in town. They have great food and it’s always nice to get a break from cooking 3 meals a day.

Nugget Restaurant
600 Airport Dr
(907) 966-2480

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