The Washington Post

The muffin makeover at Blue Duck Tavern

Blue Duck Tavern’s Tori Kramer whipped up this assortment of gluten-free goodies. (Blue Duck Tavern) Blue Duck Tavern’s Tori Kramer whipped up this assortment of gluten-free goodies. (Blue Duck Tavern)

The four worst words a doctor can tell a pastry cook? “You have celiac disease.”

When Tori Kramer, who works in the kitchen at Blue Duck Tavern (1201 24th St. NW,, got that diagnosis a year ago — along with a recommendation to find a new career — she reacted the way you might expect: “I cried a lot.”

But Kramer refused to abandon the kitchen. The self-described “huge nerd” hit the library to research wheat-flour alternatives and study popular gluten-free baking techniques.

“What I found was that in most of what’s out there, to make up for the flavor, they’ve added sugar and fat,” Kramer says. That didn’t sound like a way to appease her doctor, so Kramer played around with proportions until she could whip up feel-good, taste-good treats.

The results of a year of experiments are now available at Blue Duck Tavern as part of its new heart-healthy menu ($6-$15). The lineup includes an agave-sweetened granola bar studded with cherry, chocolate and almond as well as Kramer’s favorite: a carrot-apple muffin that relies on the natural sweetness of its ingredients instead of refined sugar.

For her next feat, Kramer plans to develop a healthy croissant. Just what the doctor ordered.

No Gluten Allowed

If you’re avoiding gluten, happy hour is the last place you want to be — unless you’re hanging out at The Hour (, a new monthly meet-up that celebrates the gluten-free “lifestyle.” The first event is Wed., 6-9 p.m., at Meeps Vintage (2104 18th St. NW). The $25 admission includes a store discount, Omission Beer and nibbles from Goldilocks Goodies, Kate Bakes and Baklava Couture.

Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.
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