We've tried to address our most asked questions here, but we're sure we've missed some things. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Phone, email, messenger pigeon, whatever works for you. Your safety and peace of mind are our highest priorities.
Allergen Facts and Safety Protocols
ARE ALL OF YOUR PRODUCTS REALLY TOP 10 ALLERGEN FREE?
Yes! Absolutely everything that we make is free of every one of the top 10 food allergens: gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, mustard, and sesame. If you have any allergies or intolerance beyond what's listed please look over our ingredient list or call us at 619 328 0500. One of our team members would be happy to go through our ingredient list with you to ensure you make safe selections.
MY CHILD IS HIGHLY ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS. HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE NONE OF YOUR INGREDIENTS ARE CONTAMINATED BEFORE THEY REACH YOUR BAKERY?
That's a fantastic question. One our biggest issues with allergen free kitchens today is that we don't believe they're really taking into account all the ways they could unknowingly be offering contaminated food. At Starry Lane every single ingredient we use is sourced from suppliers that can provide us with official allergen statements that meet our stringent safety protocols. In the case of peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, rye, and barley, if any of those ingredients are present anywhere in the facility where our ingredient is being processed/packaged, we won't use it.
If you'd like more information about the brands we use (you can never be too careful), we're happy to supply the name and contact number of our suppliers. Please email us at email@example.com.
I BROUGHT MY STARBUCKS COFFEE INSIDE WITH ME WHILE I WAS BROWSING AND ONE OF YOUR EMPLOYEES ASKED ME TO LEAVE IT OUTSIDE. WHY IS YOUR POLICY SO STRICT?
Starry Lane is a dedicated top 10 allergen free facility, and we take your safety very seriously. The signs that we've placed on our door and around our shop asking guests to leave all food and drink outside are there to ensure everyone's safety.
We know it's inconvenient. We're all used to being able to bring our latte` with us as we run our errands. Or finish up the last of our sandwich as we pick up dessert. Our policy can seem intrusive. It can seem excessive. We've absolutely had guests turn around and walk out after hearing it. Most of our negative online reviews are from people complaining about this policy. We've been yelled at, scolded, and insulted for asking guests to leave their food and drink outside.
We're okay with that.
We can't over state this. Your safety is our number one priority, and we'll do anything in our power to ensure it. The truth is that 95% of the guests who walk through our doors would never know if the guest before them spilled almond milk laced coffee on their table. They would have zero problems with wheat crumbs dropped on the floor, or peanut oil fried potato chip grease smeared on our chairs. For most food establishments that's enough. Their concern is the comfort of that 95%. Our concern is the lives of the other 5%.
The 3 year old with a peanut allergy who doesn't know not to put his hands in his mouth after touching things like that oil smeared chair. The 10 year old who put his cookie down on that almond milk splattered table before eating it. Those children are our concern.
Everyone with a food allergy has at least one horrible story about eating at a restaurant. It's a risk, we all know it. Living life with food allergies can make even the simplest things terrifying. If we can take away some of that terror. If we can make one place in this entire city safe for you and your children. If we can give you 5 minutes of feeling like everyone else instead of "that person with allergies". If we can do any of that, then it's all worth it.
You're worth it.
I'M ALLERGIC TO SOMETHING THAT ISN'T LISTED AS A TOP 10 FOOD ALLERGEN. CAN I STILL EAT SOMETHING AT YOUR BAKERY?
Maybe. Unless we know exactly what foods you’re avoiding we won’t know which items are safe for you and which aren’t. Please review the ingredient list located on the menu page of our website, or the ingredient lists available in our shop. For extra safety please consider calling us at (619) 328-0500 or stopping in so that one of our team members can review the ingredient list with you.
We understand how dangerous cross contamination can be, and we make every effort to avoid contamination between ingredients in our kitchen, however as long as an ingredient is present there is always a small chance of cross contamination. If you are severely allergic to any of the ingredients we use in the bakery we cannot guarantee that any of our products will be safe for you to eat.
I NOTICED THAT YOU DON'T LIST ANY ALLERGEN FREE CERTIFICATION ON YOUR WEBSITE. WHY IS THAT?
Certification is a process where a company pays a certification agency (these are independent businesses and not government run) to come and make sure that there hasn’t been any cross contamination in their facility, and that they meet the FDA standards for being free of whatever allergen is being tested for. It’s a very good idea for any company who runs the risk of cross contamination to get themselves certified, but please be aware that just because a company is certified doesn’t mean that you’re not at risk.
Different certification agencies have different sets of policies and testing limits. Some of them consider a product gluten free if it has less than 20ppm of gluten, others 15ppm, and some even go as low as 10ppm. Unfortunately many people with gluten allergies or Celiac disease can have severe reactions to that amount of gluten in their food.
Until the certification process is standardized, and the FDA regulations regarding allergen contamination are improved so that they keep individuals with severe food allergies safe, we prefer to stick to our own incredibly strict allergen protocols instead of offering the false sense of security that a certification can provide.
WHAT SAFETY PROTOCOLS DO YOU ENFORCE TO ENSURE THAT THE BAKED GOODS YOU PRODUCE ARE REALLY TOP 10 ALLERGEN FREE?
- Absolutely no outside food or drink is permitted inside Starry Lane at any time, by either employees or guests. There is zero chance that stray crumbs or drips from a person’s lunch or snack will contaminate our products.
- All of our cleaning and maintenance supplies are checked to ensure that they do not contain any of the top ten food allergens. Many cleaners contain soy protein and nut oils that we don’t allow inside our facility.
- All of our ingredients come from suppliers who have provided us with official detailed allergen statements. We won’t use any ingredient where there is even a small chance of cross contamination.
- We have the most sensitive protein testing kits available on hand so that we can do on the spot allergen testing if we have even the slightest chance that something may have gone wrong
I NOTICED THAT ALL OF YOUR RECIPES USE SUGAR. WHAT KIND DO YOU USE? IS IT ORGANIC?
All Starry Lane Bakery products are made using processed C&H sugars. They are not organic. We are currently on the lookout for a good organic sugar that will suit our needs but unfortunately we haven’t found one yet. Organic sugar is still a fairly new industry, and many of the companies that produce a somewhat suitable product are doing what is called co-packing in order to save money. Co-packing is when a product is processed and packaged in a facility where other products belonging to other companies are also handled. This practice presents a very dangerous chance for cross contamination, and Starry Lane won’t use any ingredients that have been co-packed.
We are constantly searching for an organic sugar that will be safe and cost effective to use in the bakery, and once we find one we plan to make the switch immediately.
ARE YOUR INGREDIENTS GMO FREE/ORGANIC?
Whenever possible we do try to purchase GMO free and organic ingredients. However your safety is our number one priority. Often the choice comes down to an organic or GMO free version of an ingredient that has been subject to cross contamination during processing or packaging, and a non-organic, or GMO version that has not. In that instance we always go with the version of the ingredient that has not been subject to cross contamination. For this reason we cannot guarantee that all of our ingredients are organic or GMO free.
ARE YOUR BAKED GOODS VEGAN?
We do not use any dairy, eggs, gelatin, honey, or other animal products in any of our baked goods. We do use processed sugar which some vegans choose not to eat. We believe in 100% transparency when it comes to our ingredients, and we would never want someone to eat something that made them feel uncomfortable. We are constantly on the lookout for an organic sugar that is safe to use in the bakery, but unfortunately we haven’t found one yet.
I'VE TRIED BAKING EGG FREE AT HOME AND IT NEVER TURNS OUT RIGHT. WHAT KIND OF EGG REPLACER DO YOU USE?
That’s a very good question, and one that we get a lot. We actually don’t use any commercial egg replacers at Starry Lane. Egg replacers work well if you have other classic baking ingredients to hold up the rest of your recipe, but with the ingredients we use (and don’t use), they just fall flat. Instead we analyze what exactly the eggs would be doing in a specific recipe (and that can be anywhere from one to six different things), and then we design the recipe using alternate ingredients tailored to that recipe. What works for cupcakes for example, would never work for our brownies. Every time we develop a new recipe we’re essentially starting from scratch.
WHAT KIND OF FOOD DYE DO YOU USE?
Even though artificial food dyes are not considered one of the top food allergens, a lot of our guests are choosing not to eat them. That’s why at Starry Lane we use only all natural vegetable food dyes, and ingredients that are made with all natural vegetable food dyes. Our sprinkles for example come from a company that doesn’t process any of the top 10 food allergens, use gelatin, or artificial food dyes in their sprinkles. Even our maraschino cherries are made with natural vegetable food dye. You never have to worry that any Starry Lane Bakery ingredient or product contains artificial chemical dyes.
If you’re allergic to any fruits or vegetables we have a list of which ones are used to make our food dyes posted on our menu pages.
Why are you open so few days a week?
In early 2020, Starry Lane was open 8-10 hours a day, 6 days a week. Then the great San Diego restaurant shut down of 2020 happened. Out of an abundance of precaution, we shut our doors for 3 months. Unsure of what the new food service culture was going to look like, when we reopened, we did so with reduced hours on only our busiest days of the week (Thursday through Sunday).
Now, as tourism has picked up, and people feel more confident eating out and exploring the area, we are planning on expanding both our open days and hours. Our current operating schedule will remain in place for the time being, but expect to see changes as soon as we can manage.
Everywhere else has curbside pickup. Why won't your employees bring my order to my car?
In the Summer of 2020 the city of Hillcrest generously allowed us to claim the parking spot directly in front of the bakery as a curbside pickup spot. We kept this program going until March of 2021, when our permit was revoked in order for the city to build a bike lane where the street parking used to be. Since that time additional parking spaces have been added onto the street, but our curbside parking permit has not been reissued.
Without a designated curbside parking spot, we are unable to provide curbside pickup. 4th avenue is a busy street, and it simply isn't safe for our team members to walk into the street to approach cars that are double parked, or to walk out of site of the bakery security cameras to deliver orders to cars parked farther up or down the street.
We take the safety of our team members just as seriously as we take the safety of our guests. With that in mind, we are unfortunately unable to bring orders out to our guest's cars at this time. We're very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.