I won't refer to punny headlines like "Merry Cliff-mas" and "Unbe-Lee-vable" (looks like I just did, didn't I?), but with the Phillies' signing of Cliff Lee I am more impatient than ever for the start of the baseball season. As I mentioned last week, the Phillies will have another Celiac Awareness night in July, but I'm hopeful that on the strength of the strong turnout for the one this past season that more gluten-free options will be available all season long.
I posted a DVR alert on Tuesday. The December 28th episode of the Food Network's "Cupcake Wars" will feature Philly's own gluten-free Sweet Freedom Bakery will be one of the combatants.
Congratulations to reader Amy C., who was the winner of the recent holiday giveaway hosted by Gluten Free Philly and nine other gluten-free blogs.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but word came on Monday that Ninety Nine Restaurants has closed its remaining Pennsylvania locations in Audubon, Bensalem and Warrington and its outlet in Deptford, New Jersey. The chain was an outlier in that it actually had gluten-free buns for its burgers. Elsewhere, reader Rich S. reports that Cafe Monterosso in Yardley, which offered gluten-free pizza, pasta and desserts, has closed. According to an outgoing phone message, the owner plans on relocating the restaurant.
On a brighter note, Sonata in Northern Liberties has updated its gluten-free menu.
Warminster's new BRE Bakery has picked up several varieties of My Dad's Cookies, which I reviewed last week. The bakery currently is carrying the Black & White, Raspberry Linzer, Chocolate Fancy, Chocolano and Italian Chocolate & Raspberry cookies.
Kim & Scott's Gourmet Pretzels just have to be sold in this area. The company announced this week that beginning in January the pretzels will debut at select Whole Foods stores, although information on ingredients and manufacturing protocols wasn't mentioned. Thanks to Gwinnett (Ga.) Gluten-Free Examiner Jennifer for the info.
a lemon-bar baking mix. Introduced by Marion's Smart Delights, the new mix is not only certified gluten-free, but also allergen-free, Kosher certified and made with all-natural ingredients. The mix is not yet available in the Delaware Valley but can be purchased directly from the company for $6.49 per box.
Made with gluten-free oats from Finland, instant apricot oatmeal is the first of several oatmeal products to be introduced by Simpli. The instant oatmeal is certified gluten-free and sells for $4.95 a box, which contains five servings. You can read about the company's harvesting and processing of its gluten-free oats at its website.
Fans of Snikkidy snacks can enter to win a product box from the company. Just fill out the form here between now and January 15, 2011 and write in Gluten Free Philly as the referring source. Two entrants will be randomly selected to win, and the blog that refers the most readers will receive snacks to award to a lucky reader. Also, 25 readers from the winning blog will receive a Snikiddy Snack Pack box, which will include three snack packs and a coupon.
The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free by Anne Byrn. The book contains 76 recipes, from Caramel Melted Ice Cream Cake to Southern Sweet Potato Pound Cake. The cool part is that all of the recipes call for packaged gluten-free cake and brownie mixes like those from Betty Crocker and Gluten Free Pantry. Using the Betty Crocker Yellow Cake Mix, he and my wife made the Fresh Orange Bundt Cake drizzled with an orange juice glaze - it was amazing! Amazon.com has the book on sale for just $8.69, a 42% savings off the cover price.
If you're looking for a fun parent-child activity for some upcoming school off-days, it may be worth a drive to Monmouth County, New Jersey, not too far off of Exit 8 of the New Jersey Turnpike. The Young Chefs Academy in Morganville is hosting allergy-free cooking workshops on January 17 (Gluten-Free National Candy Month) and February 21 (Gluten-Free Famous Dishes of the Presidents). There are other great-sounding workshops scheduled on Monday and Friday nights throughout the winter and spring seasons.
With the holidays approaching, I'll be posting less frequently through the end of December. Look for my year-end roundup highlighting the many good finds from the past 12 months. Keep e-mailing all your great restaurant and product finds and upcoming events. You can also follow me on Twitter @gfphilly, where I tweet items of interest, sometimes before the information gets posted here.
Thanks for joining me throughout 2010! I wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season and a prosperous new year.