Tuesday, November 23, 2010

News & Notes: November 23, 2010

The supermarkets were buzzing this weekend with shoppers loading up their carts for their holiday dinners. For our older son, I picked up a Moondance mini pumpkin cheesecake, along with an apple pie and cornbread, at Whole Foods in Marlton on Saturday. Alas, the gluten-free stuffing was already gone from the shelf.

Meanwhile, in this space last week I featured locally made Better Butter, a peanut butter spread that is lower in fat and calories than typical nut butters because it's made with banana or pumpkin.

Bucks County seems to have taken the lead in the number of restaurants serving gluten-free pizza. In addition to pizza, Carlucci's Grill in Yardley (1633 Big Oak Road, 215-321-9010) has an entire gluten-free menu that includes pasta. The restaurant is participating in the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program. In neighboring Newtown, La Nuova Vita (12-14 Cambridge Lane, 215-504-0888) has pizza as well as pasta.

The Pop Shop in Collingswood has added to its menu gluten-free cupcakes (made a block away on Haddon Avenue by DiBartolo Bakery) and ice cream cones.

Also in Collingswood, Casona is now accepting New Year's Eve reservations, with separate seatings at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. The regular menu will be replaced with a specially prepared prix fixe menu featuring both gluten-free and vegetarian options. Separately, the restaurant is offering a $25 gift card to any customer that purchases $100 worth of gift cards during the holiday season.

Until January, Sazon in Northern Liberties is offering a traditional Christmas dish featuring Venezuelan corn meal tamales known as hallacas. Stay for dessert too, as the flan and exotic hot chocolates are sinful.

Charlie Brown's Steakhouse has closed 20 restaurants along the Eastern seaboard, including local spots in Langhorne and Blackwood.

Mt. Airy's Food For All Market has added My Dad's Cookies and Jovial brown rice pasta to its shelves. My Dad's Cookies, which are made by the owners of Mozzarelli's in New York City, are also sold at area McCaffrey's markets and Big Bear Natural Foods, The Market of Lafayette Hill, Water to Go in Pennsauken and Health Haven in Hainesport.

Edy's new limited-edition Touchdown Sundae is now available locally. It's vanilla fudge ice cream studded with caramel-filled chocolate footballs.

Schar's gluten-free panettone cakes can be ordered for the holidays from Quattrobimbi. If you place an order from that site, I highly recommend also getting some Le Veneziane corn pasta - it's the best gluten-free pasta we've tried so far.

To date, Schar's gluten-free products have been imported to the United States from Italy and Germany. Now, some of them will be produced right here in the Delaware Valley, according to the Gloucester County Times. The company will construct its first American manufacturing facility in Logan Township. The planned 60,000-square-foot complex is scheduled to open in early 2012.

By the way, Black Friday deals at Amazon.com are already up and running. There's no reason these days to wait in line outside the mall at 3 a.m. - unless, of course, you're into that sort of thing. Purchases made through that link will help support this site.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
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