Friday, December 8, 2017

News & Notes: December 8, 2017

California Pizza Kitchen is planning an early 2018 roll-out of a gluten-free cauliflower crust at all of its U.S. restaurants. The cauliflower crust, which debuted late last month at several southern California locations, can be substituted for the standard gluten-free crust used in all four of CPK's certified-gluten-free pizzas: Margherita, BBQ Chicken, Pepperoni, and Mushroom Pepperoni Sausage. The new crust is an additional $2.50.

All but two items (tequeños (cheese-sticks appetizer) and tres leches cake) are gluten free at TartAreperia 18.64, a Venezeulan BYOB in Philly's Fishtown section (1204 N. Front St., 215-982-1150). That includes arepas, empanadas and fried plantains. The tequeños are fried in a separate fryer.

The corn flour empanadas at Lima Fusion (at the new Ferry Market) in New Hope (32 S. Main St., 267-644-8655) are also gluten free and prepared separately. Most other items on the menu are gluten free, as marked on the menu. As mentioned here in October, Ferry Market is the home of a new location for The Happy Mixer gluten-free bakery.

The arepas at Pala'a in Ardmore (18 W. Lancaster Ave., 484-413-2392) are gluten-free, though the empanadas and corn chips are fried in a shared fryer. (Thanks to reader Kristen S.)

At the Brazilian Churrascaria Saudades in Newark, Delaware (230 E. Main St., 302-355-5551), all meats except the chicken legs are gluten free, as are many sides and salad items.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

First Draft: Aurochs Brewing Co.

By Chris Betz

The first thing you'll notice about Aurochs Brewing Co.'s logo is the tenacious bull-like creature and the black-and-yellow color scheme. The colors represent Pittsburgh, where Aurochs is based, and the animal is an aurochs, an extinct super cow-like beast. As the brewery's founders explain: "We brew with ancient, untamed grains to impart complex flavors shaped by generations of growth in the wilderness. We develop our own unique, original recipes that hark back to a time when man and beast refused to give up a life of freedom."

Auroch Brewing Co.'s founders (from left) Doug and Ryan
Aurochs' founders, Doug (who has celiac disease) and Ryan (diagnosed with gluten intolerance), are passionate about brewing great gluten-free beer. They produce only gluten-free brews in a dedicated gluten free brewery located outside of Pittsburgh, in Emsworth, Pennsylvania. Their dedication to quality and uncompromising flavor comes through loud and clear in their beers.

Session IPA (4.6% ABV): After years of big, strong, high-alcohol beers serving as the go-to for craft beer lovers, session beers have been gaining popularity. As the name suggests, session beers are intended for drinkers to be able to enjoy more than one in a sitting without compromising taste or complexity. Aurochs Session IPA lives up to that promise. It has a great hop nose with a piney-citrus bite that cleans up nicely. This is in sharp contrast to many gluten-free IPAs that tend to be syrupy and thick. Enjoy this with your favorite gluten free pizza or BBQ.

Blonde Ale (4.6% ABV): Aurochs Blonde Ale is a light and citrusy brew that reminds me of a Belgian Blonde. Banana and sweet lemon flavors dominate. Mouthfeel is light, making this an extremely drinkable beer. This beer pairs well with any light food like chicken or salmon. If you're into spicy foods, this brew will cut through the heat and bring balance.

The Blonde Ale and Session IPA, Aurochs' first two bottle offerings, will soon be available in the Philadelphia area, including at the all-gluten-free Farmers Keep in Center City (10 S. 20th St., 215-309-2928). (Check the beer finder option on the brewery's website for all locations.) I hope to see more of their beers this side of Pennsylvania like their Cascadian Dark Ale and Porter, currently only on draft at their tap room in Emsworth.

Friday, November 17, 2017

News & Notes: November 17, 2017

Pure Fire Pizza in Collegeville (99 Market St. #4, 484-961-8442) and West Chester (30 S. High St., 484-887-8713) offers gluten-free pizza prepared by staff using separate gloves, utensils, baking sheets and squeeze bottles for sauce.

Haddonfield's newest restaurant is Leaf Eatery (6 Kings Ct., 856-528-5715). Most of the menu items at this vegan spot are listed as gluten free.

The forthcoming Bourse Food Hall in Old City Philadelphia (111 S. Independence Mall East) will feature Baltimore's Mi & Yu Noodle Bar. The Asian bistro serves pho with gluten-free rice noodles.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Maine Pie Co. Makes Holidays Taste Better

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Maine Pie Co., which has provided me with compensation. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the sponsorship of this post. [Disclosure policy]

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays - a time to reconnect with family, take a break from the daily work routine, and eat heartily. In the years since our son was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, we've found gluten-free replacements for everything from stuffing to gravy.

During the holidays, our go-to gluten-free desserts come from The Maine Pie Co., which we discovered two years ago at the Expo East gourmet food show and have been on our Thanksgiving dessert table ever since. Situated in rural Maine, the bakery crafts its artisanal pies and tarts in a designated gluten-free facility. All desserts test to less than 5 ppm using the ELISA method.

Founder Jill Miller has more than a decade of baking experience. She owned The Runcible Spoon in Nyack, New York and Port Bakery in Kennebunkport, Maine, where she perfected her baking skills and developed her award-winning gluten-free pie recipe.

The Maine Pie Co.'s Apple Crumb Pie is topped with
gluten-free oats, brown sugar and cinnamon
We recently savored The Maine Pie Co.'s delicious apple crumb pie, blending locally grown apples with a buttery crumb topping made with gluten-free rolled oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Preparation was a snap, following directions on the package: I baked the pie at 425°F for 20 minutes, then for another 40 minutes at 350°F. (The other pie varieties have similar baking instructions.) The crumb topping turned a golden brown and the aroma of warm apples and cinnamon wafted through our kitchen. I particularly liked that the pie was chock full of sliced apples, with none of the cloyingly sweet pie "goop" that's found in many traditional versions.

Among The Maine Pie Co.'s most popular pies are apple, blueberry and pumpkin. The apple pie combines cinnamon, nutmeg and clove with the flavor of fresh, locally sourced apples that are peeled, cut and made into pies the same day. For the blueberry pie, the company uses Maine wild blueberries, while the pumpkin is packed with fresh pumpkin puree and seasonal spices.

Other varieties include Pecan, Threeberry (made with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries), Strawberry Rhubarb (summer seasonal) and new Sour Cherry pies and Lemon Curd (think TastyKake Lemon Pie!) and Chocolate Tarts. Maine Pie Co. also has pie shells for do-it-yourself bakers.

The Maine Pie Co.'s pies can be shipped nationwide when ordered online through Gluten Free Mall (order by Nov. 13 for guaranteed holiday delivery) and are also available at stores throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest U.S. [store locator].

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Jersey Mike's Subs Introducing Gluten-Free Rolls Nationwide

I can report exclusively that after receiving positive reviews in several test markets, Jersey Mike’s Subs is introducing gluten-free sub rolls at all 1,300-plus U.S. locations beginning Dec. 4. Jersey Mike’s has partnered with Udi’s Gluten Free after testing the bakery's sub rolls in several markets, including stores in Denver, Los Angeles and West Palm Beach.

“The idea of offering gluten-free rolls came from a franchisee whose daughter had celiac disease,” explained Michael Manzo, Jersey Mike's Chief Operating Officer. “Before going national, we decided to try a pilot in several markets and we are happy to report success: customers loved the taste and they were excited to be able to eat a Jersey Mike’s sub sandwich again - or for the very first time.”

Gluten-free rolls from another company, Wild Flour Bakery, had been tested in the Philadelphia region, New Jersey and North Carolina as part of the pilot program. Manzo said that while many customers responded well to Wild Flour's version, which came proofed and were baked in house, from an operational standpoint it will be easier for stores to serve the Udi's product. (Locations that had been using Wild Flour rolls have already switched over to Udi's.)

To prepare for the national launch, Manzo said the company has produced an instructional video for employees and is training staff how to carefully incorporate the new product into sandwich preparation. The Udi’s rolls arrive at each store individually wrapped and fully baked. Because the packaging is not opened until the sub is ordered, Manzo says there is little risk of cross-contamination with other subs. Additionally, employees wear new gloves when handling the rolls and use dedicated knives and other utensils that haven’t touched other bread products. They also prepare each sandwich on parchment paper to avoid contact with gluten and will utilize separate condiment containers. Customers can request that toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes and onions be taken from stock in the stores’ walk-in refrigerators. Jersey Mike's is working with the Gluten Intolerance Group to obtain certification. The company is also considering adding a gluten-free dessert option.

The Udi’s roll can be used for most hot or cold subs on Jersey Mike’s menu (some contain gluten, such as Meatball and Cheese, Chicken Parmesan and Teriyaki Chicken). The additional charge for gluten-free sandwiches may vary from store to store, but is likely to be between $1 to $2 for regular sizes and $3 to $4 for giant sizes.