Cafe Booboo
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Cafe Booboo

Cafe Booboo's name has nothing to do with the gluten-free baked goods, snacks, and groceries on its shelves. "Well," owner Cindy Lam says, giving me a half-sheepish look. "I named it after my cat. Some people have already started to figure it out."

But alas, there's no other sign of the beloved cat in this bakeshop/grocery store, which opened less than one week ago on the ground level of a condo at Richmond and Portland. It's all about the treats and eats here, all of which are gluten-free.

Cafe Booboo

Cindy, a former tax accountant, tells me she does not suffer from Celiac disease or any type of gluten intolerance. Rather, she took an interest in gluten-free diets after learning about the potential benefits for people with diabetes.

Cafe Booboo

"I started experimenting," says Cindy, who is a diabetic, "and I found that a gluten-free diet helped to control my blood sugar." So she began trying out new recipes and gluten-free adaptations, and eventually decided she wanted to open her own cafe.

"I always wanted to own my own business," Cindy says. "And I wanted it to be about something I love." That explains the baking, and the naming after her cat.

Cafe Booboo

Cafe Booboo is still working on its menu (under the heavy duress of a malfunctioning air conditioner) but currently offers sweet treats such as mini cookies ($0.65 each) decadent chocolate cake ($4.50), and its own version of the whoopie cookie called the "Tuxedo Booboo" made of two layers of cake, a fruit layers, and a cream filling ($2.99).

Cafe Booboo

I try one of the cookies--a chocolate fudge cookie with white chocolate chips--and it has a great consistency, despite being made with rice flour. It's a little hard due to being kept in the refrigerator (a lesser evil than leaving it to weather the heat, I suppose) but it has a nice, rich flavour and keeps together fairly well for gluten-free.

Despite the non-cat part of its name, Cafe Booboo isn't really about the coffee and just offers a regular drip for those who are so inclined. It does, however, have a growing collection of gluten-free pantry items including cereals, sauces, and mixes, as well as freshly prepared parfaits, boxed salads, and crepes.

Cafe Booboo

Cindy says her upcoming plans for Cafe Booboo include rolling out a roster of homemade, gluten-free soups (though the cafe, at present, doesn't offer seating) and adding congee to the menu along with various self-serve toppings.

Cafe Booboo

Photos by Jesse Milns


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