A taste of gluten-free heaven en route to Tahoe: Tsuda’s

Tsuda's café, Auburn Old Town

Tsuda's café, Auburn Old Town

I just love happy accidents. It’s one of those reminders in life that everything happens for a reason – or, some things are just meant to be.

This happy accident happened one morning while we – naively – decided to head up to Tahoe to ski on a day that was supposed to be the coldest/worst weather in the Bay Area in the 70′s. Snow was supposed to be falling at sea level around the Bay, but we were grimly determined to beat it and to join our friends in their lovely new house in North Star, where they’d spent the entire Presidents week skiing.

The weather forecast led us to believe that the highest winds were going to be on Thursday night and so we set the alarm for 5am on Friday morning and somehow, after a few hits of the snooze button, were miraculously (very miraculously for us) on the road by 6.30am, having packed up the car, fed the dog etc etc.

The rain beat down on us as we drove and the winds picked up, desperately trying to push our Jeep across lanes. We drove on grimly determined that a bit of ‘weather’ wasn’t going to stop us.

That is until we got to a gas station just outside of Auburn. I took the boys to the bathroom and came out to hear the lady behind the check-out warning M that driving to Tahoe would be utter madness right now and that these were the worst weather conditions she’d ever seen. Mmm.

We decided to make a pit-stop in Auburn. Check the weather and road conditions and make a decision from there. As we pulled into old town Auburn, we asked the usual “where will we be able to eat gluten-free?” question. Mine and M’s need for coffee drove us into the local cafe/bakery. We were resigned to the fact that gluten-free would not be an option and carried in our box of gluten-free cinnamon rolls that we’d bought with us from the Mariposa Bakery, over in Oakland.

Tsuda's café card

Tsuda's café card

As we ordered, M declared “we have a gluten-free child with us”. More to explain the cinnamon rolls, than anything. We couldn’t quite believe our ears when the lady said “that’s fine. We have gluten-free bread and gluten-free brownies today”. Wow. She proceeded to put on rubber gloves and made the sandwich in a way as to avoid cross contamination. I was impressed. These folks knew what they were doing. The result was delicious too. Boars Head ham on a lovely warmed gluten-free bread roll. C thought he was in heaven. We’ve been striking pretty lucky in that department of late.

Tsuda's wheel

Tsuda's wheel. The boys were allowed to spin for prizes - gluten-free brownies.

The café itself was a great place to hang out, as we waited to see if the roads would clear and anticipated spending a night in Auburn – not such a terrible option with a new favorite gluten-free eatery in town. Sunset Magazine declared it the “Best stop for Tahoe Travelers” in May of 2010. I’m inclined to agree. Go Tsuda’s!


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  1. Cindy Harman says:

    Never knew gluten-free could taste sooooo good! Thanks Tsuda’s! Can’t beat the friendliness here either! :o)

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