Friday, August 21, 2009

News & Notes

I hope you enjoyed the recent posts about my family's recent trip to Boston and my older son's week at Camp Celiac in Rhode Island.

Incidentally, Reader Bethann wrote to tell me that she recently spoke with one of the owners of Tall Pines Day Camp in Williamstown, New Jersey, who assured her that the camp is food allergen-friendly and can accommodate gluten-free diets.

I reported yesterday the cool news that gluten-free hot dogs and beer (and probably snacks as well) will be available at Philadelphia Eagles home games this season at Lincoln Financial Field. If you get down there in the next few games, post a comment to let us know what else is available and how it compares to Citizens Bank Park.

If any of you have sought out a gluten-free hot dog at a Phillies game this season, you were probably told that you have to return to the concession stand (behind Section 128) a few minutes later or wait close by because it takes longer to prepare. Well, I ordered one for my older son at Wednesday's game against the Diamondbacks. Since it was crowded at the stand, we walked briefly in a less-congested area of the concourse. When I returned, the hot dog was wrapped and ready for pick-up. What's wrong with that, you ask? Until I arrived, the hot dog was being kept warm at the bottom of a nearby SuperPretzel case that had lots of pretzel crumbs and salt in it. After paying for it, I removed the hot dog from the outside foil - it was double-wrapped - and cleaned my hands with a wipe before taking it out of the inner wrapper and putting in on a cardboard tray for my son. I appreciate that the vendor wanted to keep the hot dog warm, but the pretzel warmer was not the place to do it. (I'm not sure the employees at the stand even understand why someone might be ordering a gluten-free frank - on two different occasions, the woman from whom I ordered asked me if I was getting the "gluten" hot dog.)

I can report that this time out the roll, while on the burnt side, did stay intact. At a game earlier in the season, the bun was crumbly. My son was disappointed, though, that there were no gluten-free snacks available, notwithstanding what the Phillies have posted on the team website.

Congrats go out to reader Tammy for winning the recent Betty Crocker Gluten-Free dessert mixes giveaway. Thanks to everyone for entering!

P.F. Chang's China Bistro has updated its gluten-free menu, adding such items as fried rice. The revised menu is posted at my restaurant page.

A reader wrote to tell me that Mugshots, a coffeehouse with locations in Philadelphia's Fairmount and Manayunk sections, now sells gluten-free vegan cookies made by Liz Lovely.

Another reader is seeking recommendations on gluten-free/dairy-free-friendly restaurants in Sea Isle City, Avalon or Stone Harbor, New Jersey. If you have any good experiences with eateries in those towns, please post a comment or email me and I'll update this post.

There are lots of new products to mention this week. First, Barbara's Bakery has introduced a version of its popular Puffins cereal that is labeled gluten free. The company's Multigrain Puffins are made from gluten-free oats, brown rice and corn. Here's the ingredient list:
Corn Flour, Dehydrated Cane Juice, Brown Rice Flour, Whole Oat Flour, Fructan (NutraFlora® Natural Dietary Fiber), Oat Hull Fiber, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavor, Baking Soda, Natural Caramel Color, Sea Salt, Ascorbic Acid, Iron, Annatto, Vitamin D, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols [Soy])
I found the product at the Cherry Hill Wegmans, where all Puffins cereals are on sale this week for $2.50 a box. The Multigrain Puffins label contains the following additional information:
No peanut ingredients used in this facility. Made on equipment that also manufactures products containing soy, wheat, milk, almonds, and hazelnuts.
In light of its testing to ensure the exclusion of gluten in its Multigrain and Honey Rice Puffins (which does not contain oats), Barbara's Bakery considers both cereals gluten free. I spoke with the company's Technical Services Coordinator, who told me that the lines are cleaned before production of the gluten-free varieties and that the cereals are tested to ensure that gluten levels are below 20 ppm.

Blackwood, New Jersey's Caesar's Pasta announced this week that it has added two more pastas to its line of gluten-free frozen entrees: potato gnocchi and spinach-potato gnocchi. Both of these new pastas are vegan and all natural.

Be on the lookout at Whole Foods and other markets for gluten-free BBQ Chicken Pizza from Glutino.

French Meadow Bakery, which not long ago introduced gluten-free tortillas made with rice and tapioca flours, is, um, on a roll. (I couldn't pass that one up.) The company has just added two new gluten-free bread loaves to its product line - white sandwich and cinnamon-raisin. Both breads are also free of casein, lactose and peanuts. You can receive 20 percent off of your purchase from the bakery's online store by entering code fmb423ss34 at checkout. You can also print a "$1 off" coupon from the company's website for in-store purchases.

Jessica at emailed me about a new gluten-free snack called GoGo Squeez. It's 100% fruit squeezable applesauce that comes in a resealable pouch. GoGo Squeez comes in five flavors: apple, peach, banana, strawberry and cinnamon. The product has no added sugar and is also dairy-free, gelatin-free and Kosher-certified. The snack is available nationwide at Whole Foods.

Bella Monica's gluten-free flatbread pizzas will be available in all Wegmans markets this fall.

I wrote in June about an reformulated oat-free version of original Kix cereal from General Mills. While shopping for groceries last weekend at Wegmans, I found the 10-ounce box in the cereal aisle.

Van's International Foods issued an allergy alert this week and is voluntarily recalling the 12.4-ounce packages of its frozen Van's Wheat Free Homestyle Pancakes with the lot number "200060629B1" because they contain undeclared wheat, gluten, milk and egg in the product. The 118 cases of the product may have been distributed in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Idaho and Hawaii, through retail outlets that include but may not be limited to Whole Foods, Wegmans, Giant Carlisle, Sprouts and Martins. The recall follows on the heels of the company's inclusion of barley malt in its original formulation of the pancakes.

Save the date: the Whole Foods in Wayne, Pennsylvania will be holding a "Gluten-Free Italian Food Fest" on Saturday, October 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If you've read this far, thanks! Tune in next week for a review of the gluten-free offerings at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant. Don't forget to email me at gfphilly[at]gmail[dot]com with news of upcoming events, new products and menu additions.

Have a great weekend!
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  1. Hi there,

    I'm not sure if you are aware of the Delphi Online Celiac support group or not, but I'd love to see it listed on your sites of interest list. My 6 year old daughter was diagnosed last year after 5 yearsof symptoms and this group has been invaluable to me... especially when I was completely lost the first few months. It is a sign up to post forum but the people are phenominal.

    Take Care


    p.s. Guess I should include the link :)

  2. Nice blog. Lots of information. I visit the Montgomery county area so this will be handy.

  3. Wow, you sure pack in the information. I'm really missing the Philly area.