Friday, July 17, 2009

Gluten Free Philly News & Notes

If you're reading this on Friday, there's a few hours left to enter the latest Goodies Giveaway, this time sponsored by Erewhon cereals. Just leave a comment to the post about the giveaway with the three Erewhon gluten-free cereals you want to try, along with your T-shirt size, before midnight Eastern time tonight. Two winners will be randomly chosen this weekend.

While the baseball season is more than half-way through, professional (and, in my house, fantasy) football is about to start up again. On Wednesday, I wrote about the many gluten-free dining options close to where the Philadelphia Eagles hold training camp at Lehigh University.

You can get your fix of European football (of course, that's soccer to us Yanks) at the Iron Abbey Gastro Pub in Horsham, Pennsylvania. The new restaurant has gluten-free items designated on its lunch and dinner menus and also serves Redbridge beer and Woodchuck cider. Iron Abbey is now listed on the Gluten Free Philly restaurant list and the Pennsylvania restaurant map.

I wanted to give props to another eatery on the list - the Greenhouse Cafe in Ship Bottom, on New Jersey's Long Beach Island. On Sunday, we spent the day at the beach in a neighboring town and stopped at the restaurant for an early dinner. Our older son ate the homemade gluten-free pizza, which is prepared separately and baked on its own pan. We were too full for dessert, but were pleased that there were individually-wrapped gluten-free brownies and chocolate chip cookies from French Meadow Bakery on the menu.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro is offering Warrior Card holders 10 percent off their guest checks for the remainder of 2009. To sign up for the card, go to the Warrior Card FAQ page on the restaurant's web site.

Dock Street's gluten-free Sudan Grass Sorghum Ale is still available on tap at the West Philadelphia brewery. According to the beer notes listed on Dock Street's web site, the "slightly tart and fruity" ale is brewed with Pennsylvania-sourced wildflower honey and is spiced with hibiscus, lemon grass, rooibos and rose hips.

Another week, another new cereal from General Mills. This week I spotted Trix Swirls, a limited-edition version of Trix with fruit-flavored sweetened corn puffs. The ingredients do not contain any wheat, barley, rye or oats, although the cereal is not specifically labeled "gluten free." Here's the list:

Whole grain corn, sugar, corn meal, corn syrup, salt, canola and/or rice bran oil, tricalcium phosphate, trisodium phosphate, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1 and other color added, natural and artificial flavor, sodium citrate, citric acid, malic acid. BHT added to preserve freshness.

Also new are ciabbatine rolls from Schar, which we found at Wegmans. We warmed the rolls, which are partially baked, for 10 minutes in the oven before serving. The rolls look and taste like ciabbata-style bread and especially work well for sandwiches. They are also available at the Gluten Free Mall.

San-J International, which makes our family's favorite gluten-free soy sauce, has introduced Asian cooking sauces that are safe for celiacs. The line includes Thai Peanut Sauce, Szechuan Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce, Sweet & Tangy Sauce, and Asian BBQ Sauce. I found several varieties at the Whole Foods Market in Marlton, New Jersey, but San-J products are available in the Asian/International foods section of most area supermarkets. Be sure, though, to check the labels for the "gluten free" designation, as several sauce varieties that previously contained wheat may still be on store shelves. Last night, my wife made delicious marinated chicken skewers using the Thai Peanut Sauce.

On the same visit to the Marlton Whole Foods, I discovered individually-wrapped chocolate chunk brownies and crumb buns from Shauna's Baked Goods, a small gluten-free-only bakery in Virginia. Right now, the Marlton store is the only one in the area carrying these products, but owner Shauna Brown tells me she is looking to expand in the Delaware Valley. Interested customers can contact her through the company's website for individual deliveries.

Some disappointing news: Starbucks has decided to discontinue its recently introduced gluten-free orange cake. According to a tweet posted Wednesday on its Twitter feed, the company is doing so because it "heard [from customers] that it was too much of a treat, and not a nutritious snack." KIND Fruit + Nut bars will replace the cakes as a gluten-free offering. Frankly, I never associated Starbucks with offering "nutritious snacks" - to wit, a 680-calorie Venti Mint Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino blended creme with Chocolate Whipped Cream with 21 grams of fat. But, hey, that's just me.

Finally this week, I wanted to report that I attended a teleclass presented by Ali Shapiro, a nutritional counselor in Center City Philadelphia and a frequent health contributor to the local NBC 10! show. Her class on transitioning to a gluten-free diet is geared to the newly-diagnosed celiac and those who suspect that they may have celiac disease. [Full disclosure: in the class, Ali recommends Gluten Free Philly as a web resource :-)] The one-hour, 30-minute seminar is available for download at Ali's web site for $30.

Enjoy your weekend!
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