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Posana Cafe's gluten-free cuisine continues to impress diners

Gluten-free pimento cheese and bacon burger with parmesan truffle fries
Gluten-free pimento cheese and bacon burger with parmesan truffle friesJennifer Harris

I made my second pilgrimage to Posana Cafe in Asheville, NC with my daughter and Jojo, our exchange student from Italy with celiac disease. Jojo leaves for home on June 2, so I had to get in a trip to this fabulous 100% gluten-free restaurant. This was a first for Jojo, who has never been able to order whatever she wanted off the menu and not be concerned with cross contact, or a lack of knowledge about the gluten-free diet. Jojo asked, even the bread is gluten free, really?

A little background is in order. Posana is owned by Peter Pollay whose wife was diagnosed with celiac disease when she was pregnant with their daughter, which is why they only offer gluten-free fare at the restaurant. When it first opened, they didn't advertise that their menu was gluten free because of the stigma associated with gluten-free food. Three years after they established a loyal customer base, they started to advertise their gluten-free fare and today the restaurant remains a hot spot in downtown Asheville.

Posana offers local, sustainable, high-quality fare. A number of their menu items are also free of dairy, soy, and there are vegan/vegetarian options as well. Their staff is well versed on their seasonal menu, so be sure to tell them about any allergens you need to avoid.

We ate at Posana for two meals this visit. Friday night we enjoyed a meal at the bar because the restaurant was packed. Jojo had a pimento cheese and bacon topped burger with parmesan truffle fries and housemade pickles. I opted for the gnocchi lobster mac and cheese, which is the first gluten-free gnocchi I have ever had that is light and pillow-y and not gummy. The pickles served with Jojo's dinner were noteworthy. They were sweet with a spicy finish, which I learned came from black peppercorns and chili flakes.

Of course we saved room for dessert. Jojo had the lemon olive oil cake, honey caramel, lemon thyme ice cream, ricotta cream, and Lucero cherries, while I had the apple bread pudding with brown butter ice cream, hazelnut crumble, and apple brandy sauce. The crumble topping added an interesting texture of crust to both of the desserts.

The next day, we stopped by for brunch and stayed for a bit. The locals were lining the streets in anticipation of the Caleb Johnson (an American Idol finalist) parade. Jojo had a chicken sandwich on homemade focaccia with sweet potato fries and I had the curry chicken salad. We ordered a cookies and cream scone and a sticky bun to nosh on before our lunch arrived. Jojo couldn't get over the spread of muffins, sweet breads, and scones available. I still think about that scone packed with flavor and its luscious textures. We also got to try my daughter's biscuit, which was huge and moist with a nice rise.

Another great time was had by all and I can't thank Peter and his talented staff enough for making our visit so special. I think Jojo may have traveled the farthest to enjoy the gluten-free fare at Posana. From Italy to North Carolina by way of Georgia.

Have you been to Posana Cafe? How was your experience?