As of the beginning of January, gluten-free/vegan bakery SPECIAL REQUEST has opened in the 331 Cortland marketplace in Bernal Heights, and owners Vanessa Morales and Freddie Colombani are excited to be part of the 331 concept and the unique neighborhood. They’ve taken over Wholesome Bakery’s space (Wholesome is now selling out of La Victoria).
Vanessa and her husband Freddie started Special Request a year and a half ago. A savory chef of over 13 years at places like the Ritz Carlton San Juan, Joël Robuchon Las Vegas, and LarkCreekSteak, Vanessa was disappointed to find she could never eat any sweets because of her gluten and dairy intolerance. Then she started getting so many special requests from clients for vegan desserts that she took matters into her own hands and began developing a repertoire of gluten-free and vegan desserts, so Special Request naturally became the name of their new business.
Freddie tells us that one of the biggest challenges to starting the business was sourcing gluten-free ingredients, but with over 60 taste-tested items now in their repertoire, you can expect to see new, seasonal desserts rotating in every few weeks with an emphasis on great flavor, good textures, and presentation.
At the moment, their offerings include a coconut tapioca pudding with pineapple salsa ($4; the ladies at Carried Away are reportedly in love with this creation); rocky road, Meyer lemon, and spiced ginger cupcakes ($3); brown rice crispy treats ($1.50); chocolate caramel pecan and fresh fruit tarts ($5); pumpkin and double-crust apple pies ($5); and mango cheesecake ($4.50). And yes, they’re happy to take orders for special requests with 2-3 days notice. (You can also get their desserts at Lilah Belle’s.) 10am-5:30pm daily, open until 6pm Sat, closed Thu. 331 Cortland Ave. at Bennington, 650-630-7452.