Friday, February 15, 2019

News & Notes: February 15, 2019

Trader Joe's has introduced two new gluten-free cereals: Neapolitan Puffs and Cocoa Crunch. The Puffs are made with a blend of bean and rice flours, while the Crunch is made with rice and sorghum.
Snyder's of Hanover's newest snack food addition is a cinnamon brown sugar version of their gluten-free pretzel pieces. We found these at Wegmans in Cherry Hill - they're in the chip and pretzel aisle - and they are amazing! Not too sweet.

Elsie's opens today in Haddon Township (803 White Horse Pike, 856-858-7041), offering gluten-free pickle sandwiches. Guests can build their own breadless sandwiches served on kosher pickles or roll-ups made with cucumbers or pickles instead of wraps.

Reader Bethann S. let me know that M2O Burgers & Salads, in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia (701 S. 5th St., 267-930-8388), has gluten-free burger buns and a dedicated fryer. M2O is opening a location at the former home of Elevation Burger in Wynnewood (50 E. Wynnewood Rd.) later this year.

In Aston, Wolf's Superior Sandwiches (4417 Pennell Rd., 484-480-3181) has gluten-free bread for sandwiches and lists on its website which sandwiches, burgers and tacos are gluten free. (Thanks to reader Mark K.)

Wahlburgers has finally opened its Atlantic City location at the Ocean Resort (500 Boardwalk, 609-783-8868). Gluten-free guests will find burger buns, fries and salad croutons.

Also in A.C., Hayday Coffee (131 S. Tennessee Ave., 609-350-6475) offers sweets from the all-gluten-free bakery Kizbee's Kitchen.

Sadia's Tea & Coffee in Egg Harbor Township (6106 E. Black Horse Pike, 609-277-7455) lists gluten-free options like salads, soups, wraps and sandwiches on its menu.

At Tonic Bar & Grille in Wilmington (111 W. 11th St., 302-777-2040), gluten-free options are noted on the lunch and dinner menus, though there is no dedicated fryer.

Everyone's favorite stand at the Reading Terminal Market, the entirely gluten-free Fox & Sons Fancy Corn Dogs, is hitting the road - literally. The RTM stand isn't going anywhere, but the owners hope to launch a 100% gluten-free food truck this summer that will serve up many of the same fried deliciousness that's is available in Philly.

The Gluten Intolerance Group of Chester County is hosting a meet-up at the all-gluten-free A&M Factory in Malvern (360 Lancaster Ave.) on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. RSVP by calling 484-798-5371 or 610-724-5497.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

With the updated Gluten Free Philly app for iOS and Android devices, find more than 1,700 area gluten-free-friendly businesses on the go, search by cuisine or neighborhood, make reservations and more!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

'Tis the Sazon

By Sara Blank

With the polar vortex still fresh on the minds of many in the Philadelphia area, I maintain that the only cure for heating up is soul-warming comfort food. For gluten-free diners, look no further than Sazon (941 Spring Garden St., 215-763-2500), in the city's Northern Liberties neighborhood. I discovered that Venezuelan food was mostly gluten free when in Las Vegas last year, so I was excited to indulge in homestyle arepas closer to home. Sazon's menu is nearly entirely gluten free, with a dedicated fryer in the kitchen to boot.

The vegetarian la guacamaya arepas at Sazon
I recently dined at Sazon with two friends, and together we decided to share several dishes. Our eyes were much bigger than our stomachs - and everything sounded delicious - so we ordered a hearty sampling of dishes. We began with the yuca frita and platanos fritos con queso rallado - fried sweet plantains with shredded queso fresco on top. For our entrees, we split two varieties of arepas, or stuffed corn patties: la guacamaya (grilled eggplant, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, spinach and avocado with sun dried tomato basil pesto) and the pabellón (shredded beef, black beans, sweet plantains and queso fresco). Thinking that we had room for another dish, we chose the pabellón vegetariano (grilled tofu, mixed with portobello mushrooms, seasoned with tomatoes salsa, and served with brown rice and black beans and sweet plantains).

Sazon's yuca frita are fried in a dedicated fryer
Every bite we took was flavorful and so different from other cuisines that the region offers. Our server, who also happened to be a co-owner of the restaurant, emphatically explained Sazon’s dedication to gluten-free safety and the tendency for Venezuelan food to be naturally gluten free. Sazon is also BYOB. Including tip, each of us only paid $36, which not only is extremely reasonable for a night out, but also included lots of leftovers. (The restaurant is cash only, so leave your credit cards at home.)

Sazon truly is a mom-and-pop shop, with authenticity, coziness and character that enhance the experience. The restaurant clearly is a labor of love of the married owners, Robert and Judith; they manage to create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere that make guests feel as though they're over at a neighbor’s house for dinner.

The pabellón dish is hearty and flavorful
Even though, with the addition of restaurants such as Puyero Venezuelan Flavor, it can no longer claim to be the only Venezuelan restaurant in the city, Sazon holds its own as a neighborhood favorite and a hidden gem. Tucked away from trendier dining locales in Center City, Sazon offers the flexibility of prime-time seating without the city's bustle.

The most exciting part of dining at Sazon is the seeming paradox of eating fried, filling, comfort food that is safe for those with Celiac Disease and won't have you checking your phone for the number of steps you took that day. During our visit, our only regret was not saving room for the drinking chocolates prepared by the Robert, a.k.a. The Chocolate Alchemist. That alone is enough to prompt a return visit before winter is over.

Sara Blank is a 26-year-old agency copywriter living in Center City Philadelphia. She was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at age 18, right when "gluten free" entered the zeitgeist. Follow her on Instagram at @SarBlank.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

CHOP Celiac Education Day Set for March 31


The Center for Celiac Disease at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia strives each year to provide children and caregivers with Celiac Disease a one-day, state-of-the-art multidisciplinary education program. Their annual education day centers around the mission of the Celiac team at CHOP to promote community awareness by providing families with evidence-based lectures provided by respected experts within the field. This year, the event will be held on Sunday, March 31 at the Colket Translational Research Building (3501 Civic Center Blvd.) in Philadelphia.

Both the clinical implications of Celiac Disease and the importance of adhering to a gluten-free diet, as well as future therapeutic treatments, will be discussed. Children in attendance are provided the opportunity to attend interactive age-specific lectures and to learn through play with CHOP's child-life specialists.

Registration for this event is free, but is limited to the child with Celiac Disease and one caregiver per family. RSVP online by March 27, 2019. On the day of the event, registration/breakfast begins at 8:15 a.m., and the program begins at 9 a.m. CHOP will offer complimentary gluten-free meals for lunch, and attendees can sample gluten-free products from several vendors.

Complimentary parking is available in the Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care parking garage (3500 Civic Center Blvd.). Bring your parking ticket to the registration desk for validation.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact the Celiac Center at 215-590-3076 or email Melinda Nichols.

Friday, January 25, 2019

News & Notes: January 25, 2019

Chicken skewers from Nunu in Fishtown are gluten free
Nunu, a Japanese izakaya in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia (1414 Frankford Ave., 215-278-2804), notes gluten-free options on its menu and has a dedicated fryer. Be sure to tell your server that you are ordering gluten free. The bar has sake, wines, cocktails and hard cider.


Cava, a fast-casual, Chipotle-like Mediterranean chain that's corporate siblings with Zoës Kitchen, opened its first area location yesterday in Rittenhouse Square (1713 Chestnut St.). Most menu items are gluten free.

Playa Bowls has another South Jersey outpost with the debut of a store in Cherry Hill (2010 W. Rt. 70, 856-320-2133). Most bowls and smoothies are gluten free and there is gluten-free granola available by request.

Another recent opening in the area is Whole Foods' newest store, this one a long-awaited location in Newtown Square (3737 West Chester Pike, 610-848-7200)

Thanks to reader Beth S., who let me know that Drip Cafe's two Delaware locations have gluten-free options. Both cafes - in Newark (60 N. College Ave., 302-565-4685) and Hockessin (144 Lantana Dr., 302-234-4430) - have dedicated fryers for options like chips, potatoes and polenta. While the menus vary seasonally, many items can be prepared gluten free.

Bright Spot Cafe in Exton (541 Wellington Sq., 484-909-3284) notes gluten-free options on its breakfast and lunch menus and serves gluten-free bread made by Rose's Gluten Free Bakery.

Southampton's allergen-friendly Sweet Megan Bakery has made it big. Its edible, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough will be sold in single-serve packages at all Wawa Markets beginning the week of Feb. 11.

Posh Pop Bakeshop, the gluten-free bakery in Haddonfield (109 Kings Hwy. E.), abruptly closed last week, with word on its social media accounts that it is relocating as of mid-February. As of this writing, however, there's no information on the new site.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Celiac Center will be hosting a Pre-Super Bowl party this Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. at the Voorhees Specialty Care Center (1012 Laurel Oak Rd.). Today is the deadline to RSVP; email celiaccenter@email.chop.edu with the number of attendees and children's ages and bring a snack to share.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

Friday, January 11, 2019

News & Notes: January 11, 2019

With a new year comes new products. Caulipower has launched a frozen, gluten-free cauliflower tortilla line with Original and Grain Free varieties. The Grain Free Cauliflower Tortilla features chickpea flour with 7 grams of protein and only 8 net carbs per tortilla. Both varieties will be available on Amazon and at select retailers this February.

Annie's new gluten-free cookie dough protein bars, with 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, come in two flavors: peanut butter and chocolate peanut butter.

No information is available on Udi's Gluten Free's website, but the company has released brownie and chocolate-flavored mug cake mixes.

Quinn Snacks' new gluten-free peanut butter-filled and dark chocolate peanut butter-filled pretzel nuggets are available exclusively at Whole Foods. They’ll be in all stores by January 29th.

As I mentioned last summer, the Girl Scouts are introducing a new gluten-free cookie for the 2019 season. The chewy caramel chocolate chip cookie is made with semi-sweet chocolate chips, sea salt, caramel and gluten-free oat flour. Not all troops will have them and they are in limited quantities, so ask around early.

Katz Gluten Free has debuted mini muffins - blueberry, chocolate chip and fudge brownie. By ordering any of Katz's gluten-free baked goods through this link, you'll be supporting Gluten Free Philly through a small affiliate commission - thank you!

Del Frisco's Grille (225 S. Broad St., 215-309-1154) opened on the Avenue of the Arts in Center City Philadelphia last month. Lunch, dinner and brunch menus note gluten-free items.