Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gluten Free Philly News and Notes

Tops this week was the announcement about a special gluten-free dining event that will take place at five South Jersey restaurants on June 2. Joe Palombo's Mirabella Cafe and Andreotti's Viennese Cafe in Cherry Hill, The Tortilla Press and Blackbird in Collingswood, and blueplate in Mullica Hill will showcase "made-to-order" cooking without gluten ingredients. To avoid cross-contamination, the chefs will be making their kitchens entirely gluten free for the evening. Reservations are recommended and can be made through the restaurant's websites or by phone.

On Sunday, I posted my review of delicious cheesecakes and brownies made by Moondance Heavenly Desserts. The company's cheesecakes are now being carried locally by Whole Foods.

Last Thursday, I mentioned that the area outposts of the Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chain will be participating in the Chef to Plate National Awareness Campaign throughout the month of May. The Gluten Intolerance Group is sponsoring a national awareness campaign for gluten-free living through restaurants that offer support to people with celiac disease.

Since the last News and Notes post, several more celiac-friendly restaurants were added to my list, including Davio's, an upscale Italian steakhouse in Philadelphia offering varied gluten-free menus for both lunch and dinner.

Tuesday, May 5 marked the debut of a new gluten-free orange cake at all U.S. Starbucks locations. The cake, which is individually wrapped, is moist and has a not-too-sweet citrus flavor. At several Starbucks in Center City Philadelphia, the cake is selling for $1.95 each. The company has posted a "behind-the-scenes" look at the manufacturing process behind the cake at its Ideas In Action Blog.

In late April, I attended a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park and can happily share the news that hot dogs on gluten-free buns are available at the concession stand behind Section 128. I'm told that treats from Good Eatz Bakery will be added there soon. A Gluten Free Philly reader reports that Redbridge beer is available at the stand behind Section 202. I should mention that the bun was crumbly and had to be eaten while being held together with the foil wrap. However, it is a good first effort - hopefully, Aramark, the concessionaire, can improve the preparation method so that the bun stays intact.

Speaking of gluten-free beer, I visited the South 10th Street location of Philadelphia's The Foodery this week and found that the store carries brews from New Grist, Redbridge and Green's in addition to several "hard" ciders that are safe for celiacs.

General Mills has launched a new website to promote the upcoming release of its new gluten-free dessert mixes. The site includes product information and recipes. The brownie, chocolate chip cookie, devil's food cake and yellow cake mixes, which are made in a gluten-free processing facility, are set to hit supermarket shelves on June 1.

Local Wegmans markets recently began carrying gluten-free cakes and pies from Sweet Sin Bakery, based in Baltimore. On a recent visit to the Cherry Hill Wegmans, I found a Cookies & Cream cake, an apple pie and "mini" lemon meringue and key lime tarts, among other items. Owner/chef Renee D'Souza told me that her desserts will also be in area Whole Foods stores by June.

Blueberry and flax muffins, sugar and oatmeal raisin cookies, and vegan chocolate-chip cookies from Sweet Christine's Gluten Free Confections are now available at Benna's Cafe and B2 in South Philadelphia, according to an post on the Philadelphia City Paper's food blog.

Elizabeth Barbone, the author of the recently updated Easy Gluten-Free Baking cookbook, will be making several local appearances later this month. Elizabeth, who also offers recipes at, will be teaching at the Wegmans in Downingtown, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, May 26 (Gluten-Free Baking 101) and Thursday, May 28 (Gluten-Free Bread Baking 101). Both events run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Registration and ticket information is available by calling (610) 518-7800. She will also be cooking at Everything But the Kitchen Sink in Hockessin, Delaware on Wednesday, May 27 (Spring Comfort Foods) and Friday, May 29 (Gluten-Free Baking 101). Call (800) 731-7066 for more information and to register for the Delaware events.

As a housekeeping note, if you don't already have Gluten Free Philly bookmarked on your favorite web browser, you can simply go to to access the site.

Tune in next week for an exciting gluten-free product giveaway. As a teaser, I'll tell you that the prize - and a sweet one, at that - is from a company that's been mentioned before at Gluten Free Philly. Have a great weekend!
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