The Monday of my trip to San Francisco was my East Bay day. I met some Miami friends who attend law school at Cal for lunch at Pieology in Berkeley, had early dinner plans in Oakland with another Miami friend who now is back home in the Bay, and then was going to do trivia night and drinks with a college friend and her sister.
After lunch I walked around Cal’s campus with my friends for a little bit and then had a few hours to kill before my early dinner. The plan for my early dinner was Homeroom in Oakland, which has gluten-free macaroni and cheese! It’s about 3 miles down Telegraph Ave from Cal’s campus, so I just decided to start walking. Along the way I stopped for some water and a gluten-free grilled ham and cheese at Mariposa Baking Company before ending up close to Homeroom.
Unfortunately I hadn’t realized that Homeroom was closed on Mondays… That was a major disappointment, but my own fault for not checking. Luckily I didn’t feel like the walk was wasted (I wasn’t that far from where I would be meeting my college friend for trivia later). I did a few more searches for gluten-free around me and Roam Burgers in Lafayette came up. Roam Burgers had already been on my list and it probably would have been my lunch the next day at one of their locations in the city. My friend was down to try and it and didn’t live too far from Lafayette, so I was checking one off my list earlier than expected!
My friend picked me up and we drove up Highway 24 to downtown Lafayette. I have tons of college friends who grew up in Lafayette and Moraga, so the drive and Roam Burgers’ location brought back a lot of memories. It’s in LaFiesta Square right across from Chow, where I’ve had several meals with friends on past trips.
At Roam you can pick the type of patty you want (beef, turkey, bison, veggie, and sometimes elk as a special) and then the toppings (either one of their styles or custom). In the past I’ve tended to do a lot of custom burgers, but I’ve found that usually a restaurant’s specialty burgers or styles are the way to go. I quickly zoomed in on their French and Fries style- truffle Parmesan fries, Gruyere, avocado, caramelized onions, watercress, and dijon mustard. With a name like Roam it seemed predestined that I’d get the buffalo burger (“Oh, give me a home where the buffalo ROAM… Home, home on the range…”). I went for the French and Fries style bison burger with a side of truffle Parmesan fries (there is no such thing as too much fries!). My friend went for the same style for a veggie burger in a lettuce wrap and a side of sweet potato fries.
We sat outside and since it was sheltered it was very pleasant and wasn’t too cold for this Miami guy (luckily the East Bay is a lot warmer than the city). Our meal was a very good one of upscale burgers. I thought the gluten-free bun was very solid (it looked quite impressive and taste and texture were pretty good). I did like all the different flavors in the burger from the Gruyere cheese, avocado, and caramelized onions. The fries on the actual burger added some extra flavor and fun texture. I do think all the flavors kind of overshadowed the bison burger unfortunately though (I wasn’t able to tell much of a difference from a regular beef burger). Only other minor issue was it was a little too much of a loaded burger for a slightly smaller gluten-free bun, so it was a little hard to eat without things falling out or becoming a mess (only a minor issue though).
I was a big fan of their truffle Parmesan fries. It seemed to have some of the best coverage of truffle oil and Parmesan cheese that I’ve found from fry places. I also liked that the Parmesan cheese didn’t just fall off the fries when you picked them up (a common problem at other places). Sweet potato fries were alright, but I’d certainly recommend the truffle Parmesan over them.
My friend truly raved about her veggie burger. She loved it! I certainly was happy to take her word for it. I don’t foresee myself sampling their veggie burger anytime soon (read: never), but would definitely want to try their elk and regular burgers next time (and maybe their bison burger with less toppings).
Roam Burger was a favorite for the chance to be back in Lafayette, but it also has some delicious gourmet burgers and gluten-free buns! Anyone looking for burgers should make a visit when they’re nearby a location and gluten-frees I would say it’s worth considering a drive if you’re craving a gluten-free bun on a good quality burger (bonus if you’re also craving good truffle Parmesan fries). There are also two locations in the city as well (one on Filmore Street in Lower Pac Heights and one on Union Street between Russian Hill and Cow Hollow). A fry-full picture below of my dinner!
Roam Artisan Burgers- 23 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette, CA 94549