by Tom Sims
Tom Sims searches the Valley for tips on eating healthy, buying healthy food, growing healthy food, and eating out healthy in the Valley, for this Healthy Eating in the Valley column. Feel free to share your suggestions of places and things to check out!
I honestly did not intend to love P*DE*Q (pão de queijo). I did not really intend or expect to like it. I don’t know why. I just didn’t. Maybe I did not want to fall for a bakery. Maybe I had too many bad memories of something I don’t remember. Maybe I have no idea what I am talking about.
I didn’t intend to love it, but I do. I did not expect to fall, but I did.
P*DE*Q is the abbreviation for the dish and the name of P*DE*Q LLC, a business, a gathering place, and bakery with two locations founded by Flavia Flores in the Tower District (P*DE*Q Corner) and in Clovis (P*DE*Q Bakery).
Back to falling in love: maybe it was prompted by the friendly greeting I received the minute I walked into the Clovis location which was later matched by the lovely friendly voice on the phone from the Tower. Maybe it was the extensive knowledge of the two young ladies who greeted me. One had only been working there for a week, but her working knowledge of the menu, grasp of the ingredients, and understanding of the mission of the bakery rivaled that of long term employees elsewhere.
Maybe it was the free sample of the signature item, a P*DE*Q jalapeno cheese ball made of tapioca flour and secret ingredients that really sealed the deal. I am now am adherent.
P*DE*Q is definitely a bread, but without the gluten. It is, as the official literature says, “crispy on the outside and warm and spongy on the inside.” It is comfort food without all the usual downsides of comfort food. It is not healthy at the cost of flavor or flavor at the cost of health. It is gourmet goodness. It is Flavia Flores’ dream, vision, passion, and drive. In Brazil, everyone knows this signature snack. It has been around for a long time. In the U.S., we are just catching on.
Flavia came to the United States decades ago, earned an M.B.A., and worked for a major corporation with a responsible, international position. She had a strong business background and a workable business model when she launched in 2011 at the Fresno Food Expo. Her vision was and is to create more than a local business and eating establishment. She is about birthing and nurturing a trusted brand in the world of gluten-free products.
She is well on her way. Her products are multiplying and being carried in numerous stores and outlets as well as online. Kristina’s Ranch Market, Sierra Nut House, Bella Fruita, Rio Grill, the Painted Table, and Fresno State all carry P*DE*Q branded items.
More than that, she desires to create community around her product, with her customers, and in the larger community itself. She exemplifies the theme that others have embraced of “doing well by doing good.” Therefore, she is a promoter of the arts and worthy causes in the Fresno/Clovis area and is engaged in the local “foodie movement.”
Her employees obviously “get it,” buy into it, and communicate it in their words and actions.
I had a vegetarian sandwich on some gluten free bread loaded with healthy seeds and fresh veggies. It was neither heavy nor bland, but vibrant, alive, and intriguing to the taste. I chased it with some “boba tea.”
“Boba tea,” sometimes called “”bubble tea” originated in the East and has various flavors and little tapioca balls added for fun and flavor. You can try and make it (http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-boba-and-bubble-tea-98067) but I am not sure it would come out as well. I am pretty sure that Flavia’s is healthier and has some secret ingredients. That being said, she is happy to share all the nutrition facts with you.
In a time when people are becoming more conscious of gluten sensitivity and more suspicious of highly processed and refined flours, the P*DE*Q options address the need for culinary satisfaction and guilt-free consumption.
P*DE*Q is an experience, a meal, and a healthy choice. It is tasty and it is fun. It is an easy transport between the old world and the new. It is something as timely as the latest trend and as traditional as a civilization older than ours here in the United States.
It is elegant and it is affordable. In short, it is a worthy addition to your repertoire and mine as we explore healthy eating in the Valley.
Visit P*DE*Q Corner!
1940 Echo Ave, Fresno
P 559 346 1722
P*DE*Q Bakery – Clovis
435 N Clovis Ave Clovis CA 93611
“P*DE*Q, Ice Cream, Coffee, Tea, Boba Tea, Soups, Salads & more. We cater too! P*DE*Q, Ice Cream, Coffee, Tea, Boba Tea, Soups, Salads & more. We cater too! “
You can order from P*DE*Q and have food delivered hot from this site: pdeq.net/express