Friday, June 26, 2009

Gluten Free Philly News & Notes

It was a busy week here at Gluten Free Philly. The site was flooded with hits this week after I wrote on Friday about the gluten-free ice cream sandwiches available exclusively at Whole Foods Markets through the end of July. The tasty treat, which is made by Julie's Organic Ice Cream and Glutenfreeda Foods, will be available at other stores and markets starting in August.

I wrote on Wednesday about a new find called Naked Nuggets - healthy chicken nuggets that are grilled, not fried. They're available for purchase at health food stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and online.

Yesterday, I posted about Dock Street Brewery's gluten-free beer that's available on draft for a limited time at the company's West Philadelphia restaurant.

Also this week, I added a link to a map of the gluten-free friendly restaurants, bakeries and markets in northern Delaware. I'm working on maps of similar places in southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey and I'll let you know when they're up and running. I'll be updating the maps at the same time as the restaurant and market/bakery lists.

Lots of people have inquired about the availability of Betty Crocker gluten-free dessert mixes at their local markets. While I haven't heard of any other stores in the Delaware Valley besides Wegmans currently carrying them, they are once again available for purchase (as of this writing) at The mixes have been so popular that the online merchant had run out of its initial supply.

Soffritto Italian Grill, located in my old college stomping grounds of Newark, Delaware, has posted its gluten-free menu on its website. Owner Giovanni Panza tells me that in addition to ordering from the restaurant's selections, diners can bring their own gluten-free pasta to be prepared by the kitchen using clean pots and separate utensils. Soffritto also serves desserts from Sweet Christine's Gluten Free Confections.

Bella Vida Café's Wildwood Crest, New Jersey location now offers sandwiches and other menu items with gluten-free bread. A reader wrote that Maui's Dog House in North Wildwood, New Jersey has gluten-free hot dogs and hamburgers (no buns) and french fries cooked in a separate fryer.

Seasons 52 at the Cherry Hill Mall has posted its Summer 2009 gluten-free menu.

One other restaurant note: I mentioned in last week's News and Notes that Sam's Pizza Palace in North Wildwood, New Jersey recently added gluten-free pizza from Still Riding Pizza to its menu. In a comment to the post, a reader wrote that she could not recommend the restaurant for gluten-free diners based on what she says was the owner's description of the preparation method for gluten-free pizzas. If you plan on eating there (or any restaurant, for that matter), be sure to ask about the kitchen's precautions taken to reduce the chance of cross-contamination. While it's great that more and more restaurants offer gluten-free menus and accommodate the GF diet, it's good practice to ask questions of the chefs and waitstaffs, as this reader did.

Back in May, I wrote about the Grind House Café in Haddonfield, New Jersey, which sells vegan gluten-free cookies made with vegan certified organic ingredients. It turns out these cookies are made by a bakery called Liz Lovely in Vermont. The company bakes six different kinds of gluten-free cookies, which can be ordered online or purchased at stores and markets in the Delaware Valley.

Sprecher Brewery's Mbege and Shakparo beers, which I mentioned in my March post on gluten-free suds, currently are in the bottled beer rotation at The Grey Lodge Pub on Frankford Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia. In addition, the Grey Lodge offers Ciderjack, a European-style hard cider that is naturally gluten free.

Pamela's Products has introduced a new line of ready-to-eat cakes and cheesecakes that will soon be in markets. The company's cheesecakes will available in 3” mini and 6” serving sizes and its chocolate cake and coffee cake in 6” and 9” sizes. Pamela's also announced the debut of a new cornbread and muffin mix and chocolate-dipped biscotti in vanilla and chocolate flavors.

Aunt Gussie’s is expanding its product line by introducing new gluten-free English muffins and focaccia bread. Aunt Gussie’s new gluten-free breads will be arriving in stores starting in July. The new items are produced at a dedicated gluten-free baking facility built last year to make the company's line of gluten-free cookies. The English muffins are packaged 6 muffins per bag with a suggested retail price of $7.50 for an 18-ounce package. Available in Original and Cinnamon Raisin, the muffins are individually wrapped and frozen. The focaccia bread, available in Rosemary Onion and Kalamata Olive flavors, also is individually wrapped and frozen. Packaged 6 pieces per bag, the suggested retail price is $7.50 for a 16-ounce package. The new bread products can be found in health food and grocery stores and online through the company's website.

French Meadow Bakery has launched new gluten-free tortillas. The tortillas are Certified Gluten-Free by The Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group. The product is made with rice flour and tapioca starch, with zero grams of fat. French Meadow makes other gluten-free products such as rolls, pizza crusts, brownies and chocolate chip cookies.

Whole Foods Markets has temporarily discontinued its Gluten Free Bakehouse sourdough bread and walnut brownies. I happened to like the sourdough bread - a nice alternative to sandwich-style bread.

Finally, one bit of housekeeping - I plan on posting future News and Notes on Fridays instead of Thursdays, so look for it towards the end of the week.

Whew! Hope there's enough info this week to satisfy your appetite. Keep the comments and tips coming to gfphilly[at]gmail[dot]com. Have a great weekend!
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