Friday, October 13, 2017

News & Notes: October 13, 2017

Choolaah's Chicken Tikka Masala Bowl
Indian food is extremely gluten-free-friendly, so it comes as no surprise that many area Indian restaurants can accommodate special diets. The fast-casual Choolaah Indian BBQ recently opened its first Pennsylvania location at King of Prussia Town Center (155 Main St., 484-674-6316). Guests can choose from dozens of gluten-, dairy- and egg-free options (sortable via the online menu), anything from BBQ bowls to dishes, salads and sides - even dessert.

Monsoon's second New Jersey location is now open in Cherry Hill (1409 Rt. 70 W., 856-528-2526) offers many gluten-free menu items. The restaurant maintains a list of gluten- and nut-free options on site.

Manam Indian Cuisine in Malvern (124 Lancaster Ave., 610-400-1133) lists gluten-free items on its menu.

Angeline's Michael Symon
In Atlantic City, Angeline - the new Italian restaurant at the Borgata from celebrity chef and "The Chew" co-host Michael Symon - has a stand-alone gluten-free menu that includes pasta dishes (1 Borgata Way, 609-317-1000). At Bally's (1900 Boardwalk, 609-340-2000), Guy Fieri's Chophouse has a number gluten-free options, noted on the menu. They also include the Black and Blue Burger and Tatted Up Turkey Burger with buns and Caesar and wedge salads without croutons.

Reader Tania F. let me know that most of the menu at New Habana in Narberth (232 Woodbine Ave., 610-660-0160) is gluten free.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Going for the Gold

Saturday saw two repeat winners and a local newcomer triumph in the gluten-free beer category at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival in Denver. For Ground Breaker Brewing, Saturday was another "dark" day in its history. That’s when the Portland gluten-free brewery was awarded a gold medal for its Dark Ale for the second year in a row at the Festival, the largest commercial beer competition in the world. While the popular event is now in its 36th year, the Gluten-Free Beer category was added just 10 years ago. Since then, the number of entrants in the sector has grown significantly - this year, 33 beers were submitted for consideration, up from eight in 2007. Here are the three award winners:

Gold: Ground Breaker Brewing’s Dark Ale
For their Dark Ale, Ground Breaker’s brewmasters use espresso-like roasted chestnuts and lentils along with dark Belgian-style candi for a roasty flavor and aroma with notes of chocolate and dark fruits. This is the sixth consecutive year that Ground Breaker has medaled at the Festival, though its first two awards came under a different name. Previously known as Harvester Brewing, the brewery changed its name to avoid a dispute with a California winery several years ago. (Read more about Ground Breaker's offerings in our beer review column.)

Ground Breaker offers its beers at the Portland gastropub next to its brewery on an all-gluten-free menu that features the likes of pizza, Cubano sandwiches and brownie sundaes. Outside of Oregon, Ground Breaker beers are distributed elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest as well as in New England and California. The Dark Ale and other varieties are also sold online through Bring on the Beer to residents of 34 states (including New Jersey and Delaware) and the District of Columbia.

Silver: Ghostfish Brewing Co.'s Meteor Shower Blonde Ale
Seattle's Ghostfish, which took bronze a year ago for its Grapefruit IPA, won for one of its two year-round beers introduced in 2017. The Blonde Ale is brewed with malted millet and California-grown brown rice, with Noble German Perle hops added for a light bitterness and floral aroma. (Read more about Ghostfish's offerings in our beer review column.)

All of Ghostfish’s beers are sold at its gluten-free taproom in Seattle, where the current menu includes mac-and-cheese, fish and chips, and pretzel-crusted strawberry cheesecake. The beers are also available at retailers throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Many of the company’s beers, including Meteor Shower Blonde Ale, can be ordered online from Marina Market and shipped to 28 states, plus the District of Columbia (though not Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware).

Bronze: Revelation Craft Brewing Co.'s Co-Conspirator Apricot Sour
Revelation, from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, collaborated with Ghostfish to produce a sour with a base of quinoa, buckwheat, millet and rice. Co-Conspirator has a smooth, honey-like malt character, a bright sourness, and a hint of fruity hop aroma from Palisade hops. Kettle-soured with cultures from Goodbelly coconut probiotics, apricots were then added at the end of fermentation. Co-Conspirator is available on tap at Revelation's Rehoboth Beach taproom as well as at Ghostfish's Seattle brewpub.

The festival’s Gluten-Free Beer category includes only beers made from fermentable sugars, grains and converted carbohydrates. Gluten-reduced beers are not considered part of this grouping because their gluten levels - derived from malted barley - have been reduced by enzymes or other processes.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Expo East 2017 Recap

What do seaweed, vinegar and beets have in common? Products featuring those ingredients were among those trending at the annual Expo East natural-foods show in Baltimore earlier this month. The show features new and emerging gourmet, natural and gluten-free products from across North America whose manufacturers are seeking wider distribution in supermarkets and grocery stores.

This year's show was larger than ever, with more than 1,500 exhibiting brands and more than 450 first-time vendors. In no particular order, here are some of the highlights among gluten-free products at this year's event (not all items are currently available in area stores):

Mikaela's Simply Divine Biscotti Cookies: These are more "cookie" than "biscotti," given that they're light and crunchy. The all-natural, certified-gluten-free cookies come in five flavors: Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Mint, Luscious Lemon and new Butterscotch Toffee Pecan and Chocolate Brownie, . They'll soon be available in bite-size portioned pouches in addition to the currently available boxes and single-serve versions. Mikaela's cookies can be purchased via the company's Facebook page and are also available at markets in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and in northern New Jersey and New York.

Otto's Cassava Flour: This paleo flour, made with Brazilian yucca root, can be used as a one-to-one substitute for traditional wheat flour. We were impressed with the taste of sample chocolate chip cookies made with Otto's. The flour can be found locally at Whole Foods and Wegmans, and online at Amazon and through the company's e-store.

Unreal chocolate candies: This upstart natural candy company has obtained GFCO certification for its dark chocolate peanut butter cups, crispy dark chocolate peanut butter cups (made with quinoa bits) and dark chocolate almond butter cups. All ingredients are fair trade and sustainable. Unreal's candies are sold at Whole Food, Target and other stores, and look for a special holiday-themed 20-treat-pack of the cup varieties.

The Good Crisp: With a cleaner (and shorter) ingredient list than Lay's Stax, The Good Crisp stacked potato crisps come in three varieties: Original, Sour Cream & Onion and BBQ. The crisps have no artificial colors or flavors and are made with sustainable palm oil. The Good Crisp products can be found at Wegmans and other markets throughout the Northeast, Midwest and Western U.S.

Ethel's Baking Co.: This Michigan-based gluten-free bakery produces delectable, buttery brownies, blondies and shortcake-topped "dandy" bars. All of the them were great, though our favorite was the raspberry dandy. The entire line can be ordered through the company's website or via Amazon (which has either $10.00 flat-rate shipping or free shipping depending on the amount ordered).

The Soulfull Project: The Camden-based, Campbell Soup-backed The Soulfull Project will be introducing gluten-free hot cereals in single-serving-size packets early next year. For every serving of The Soulfull Project’s hot cereal purchased, the company donates a serving to a regional food bank. The flavors will include Hearty Grains & Seeds, Cinnamon Spice Multigrain and Irish Oatmeal. Currently, the gluten-free Hearty Grains & Seeds (14 oz. pouch) and Brown Sugar Pecan Multigrain cups are sold at Wegmans and through the company's website.

Other news from the expo: The Toasted Oat Bakehouse has changed the packaging for its soft gluten-free granola, switching from canisters to pouches; it can be found at Wegmans . . . Mi-Del will have limited-edition gluten-free Maple Ginger Creme cookies available for the winter holidays . . . Lundberg Family Farms was sampling its new line of gluten-free arancini (rice balls); the gouda & mozzarella ones were a hit . . . Smart Flour Foods sampled its new pizza snack bites, and they're worth waiting for . . . Camden County's Caesars Pasta has refreshed the look of its gluten-free pasta meals like lasagna, ravioli and gnocchi and brought them under the Gluten-Free Gourmet line  . . . Goodie Girl teased its new Caramel Apple cookies made with crunchy toffee and dried apple bits . . . Barbara's Bakery is adding a new gluten-free protein-focused Puffins cereal, Berry Burst; look for the Pumpkin variety to return this fall.

Disclosure: I receive a commission from purchases made through the Amazon affiliate link in this post. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

You Say You Want a Revolution

Whether or not you dunk your donuts, there's a new option for the sweet treats in the Philadelphia area. After much planning - including a change in location - Donut Revolution just opened for business in Barrington, New Jersey (131 Clements Bridge Rd., 856-546-0900).

Owner Tiffany Pesyna has set up shop a stone's throw off of Exit 29 of Route I-295 in Camden County, serving fresh "made without gluten" cake donuts alongside traditional ones. Pesyna explained that she doesn't call them "gluten free" only because she makes donuts with wheat flour in the same facility. However, she makes the without-gluten donuts first thing in the morning using a dedicated fryer and maintains a separate topping/dipping bar. When gluten-free customers order their made-to-order donuts, the staff washes their hands and changes their gloves before preparing them.

Customers can combine their favorite dips, toppings and drizzles: we preferred the vanilla over chocolate, but there's also coffee, rum and a daring sriracha chocolate dip. Toppings include M&Ms, Fruity Pebbles, chocolate chips, marshmallows and bacon, but if you want to "go naked" the plain donut was delicious on its own. Pesyna uses Bob's Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour as part of her recipe.

Prices for these gourmet donuts are reasonable: $1.75 for one; $7 for a four-pack; and $19 per dozen.

Friday, September 8, 2017

News & Notes: September 8, 2017

New Jersey-based GeeFree Foods has launched a line of gluten-free, all-natural microwavable sandwich pockets in three varieties: Sausage, Egg and Cheese; Buffalo Chicken; and Cheese Pizza. The pockets are made of GeeFree's signature gluten-free puff pastry dough also used for the company's franks in blankets and chicken pot pie. The sandwiches come two per box (suggested retail price of $6.99 per box) and are free of antibiotics, hormones, nitrates, corn and soy. The products will be in stores in the latter part of the fall.

Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders has kicked off the autumn apple season with Artisanal Blend. The new flavor is made with heirloom cider apple varieties and is available in 6-pack bottles, variety 12-pack, variety 24-pack, and limited-edition mini-can 4-packs. Meanwhile, Woodchuck has brought back its Fall Harvest Seasonal Cider, flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg and American white oak.

Route 20 IPA, a single-hop India Pale Ale, returns at Oregon's Ground Breaker Brewing. Named after the longest continuous road in the United States, this gluten-free IPA clocks in at 50 IBU and 6% alcohol by volume. The beer was designed to get all of its bittering, flavor and aroma from late additions of Santiam hops, which carry hints of peppery spice. Ground Breaker beers, including Route 20 IPA, can be shipped to addresses in Delaware, New Jersey (but not Pennsylvania) and other states through Bring On the Beer.