Cocoa & Joe Cafe: G-free gem in Oshawa, Ont.

Rating: 5 out of 5

A couple weeks ago I was in Oshawa, Ont. to attend an event at which my husband was a guest speaker. It was around lunchtime when the event was over, so naturally we were hungry. My husband’s father worked in the area and was meeting with us for lunch, and he found a small cafe that boasted an impressive gluten free menu.

The owner, Sharon, was a delight to meet. She recommended a number of specials, introduced me to a variety of gluten free dressings, dips, and marinades, as well as a gluten free bread that I actually enjoyed (for the first time ever, actually). Most of the breads I had tried up until that point have been tasteless, crumbly, or stiff. This one was so good I ended up buying a loaf to take home with me. I would love to buy this bread on a more regular basis, but the company, Redman’s Farm & Country Market, is situated in Port Perry, Ont. — quite a distance for this Toronto gal. The good news is that the Cocoa & Joe Cafe sells their bread and bagels, and since I have a few friends who live in Durham, I’ll be in the area from time to time.

Cocoa & Joe's delicious gluten free roasted red pepper and black bean soup. A definite must-have

Cocoa & Joe’s delicious gluten free roasted red pepper and black bean soup. A definite must-have

I’ve always been a fan of roasted red pepper soup, so I ordered the roasted red pepper and black bean soup. It was smooth, hearty, and so delicious I really didn’t want to let my husband, Jonathan, try any. I did, though, and he loved it too. I’m all for trying new things, but I think I’ll order this dish again the next time I’m at Cocoa & Joe’s.

Another must-have: Cocoa & Joe's avocado and tomato sandwich on Redman's gluten free bread

Another must-have: Cocoa & Joe’s avocado and tomato sandwich on Redman’s gluten free bread

Jonathan ordered the avocado and tomato sandwich on gluten free bread and couldn’t get enough. He, too, was reluctant to share a bite with me, but he, too, gave in. The sandwich was incredible. Sharon had put a dash of dressing she unfortunately does not sell to customers, but she does sell the following…

Island Grove & Southern Groove salad dressings, marinades, and dips. Photo courtesy: Cocoa & Joe Cafe

Island Grove & Southern Groove salad dressings, marinades, and dips.
Photo courtesy: Cocoa & Joe Cafe

The café carries an array of (gluten free!) Island Grove & Southern Groove salad dressings, marinades, and dips. I didn’t buy a bottle the day I was there, but I think I will next time so I can add a zangy flavour punch to my own homemade meals.

Tasty dish: Cocoa & Joe's egg salad sandwich on Redman's gluten free bread.

Tasty dish: Cocoa & Joe’s egg salad sandwich on Redman’s gluten free bread.

My father-in-law looked at me in utter disbelief after biting into his egg salad sandwich. You see, I had been complaining about gluten free bread, saying the ones I’ve tried weren’t very enjoyable. But his sandwich bread was from Redman’s as well, so naturally his first experience with g-free bread was a more positive one than mine!

Upon leaving the café, Sharon provided me with a couple brochures on celiac disease and going gluten free; this was just one more example of the personable and warm environment of the eatery. If you find yourself in the Durham area, I definitely recommend you stop by the Cocoa & Joe Café.

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2 Comments

Filed under Food critic's corner

2 responses to “Cocoa & Joe Cafe: G-free gem in Oshawa, Ont.

  1. That roasted rep pepper and bean soup looks amazing

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