Friday, January 29, 2010

News & Notes: January 29, 2010

Before I get to the week's news, I wanted to suggest the possibility of a meet-up among local Gluten Free Philly readers to take place in late February or sometime in March. I'm thinking Latin-influenced Casona in Collingswood, New Jersey, with its extensive gluten-free menus for adults and children (they can prepare a gluten-free "Cuban pizza"), would be a good spot for a weeknight dinner. If you are interested in attending, please complete a short survey through this SurveyMonkey link by Tuesday, February 9. If there's enough interest, I'll work with the restaurant to figure out the best date and announce details on the site.

Belated congratulations go out to reader Julie, who was the winner of the recent Goodies Giveaway prize - a Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Grocery Guide.

On Monday, I posted a review of the new Sweet Freedom Bakery in Philadelphia, which bakes a variety of allergen-free cakes, cookies and other sweets.

California Cafe, serving West Coast-style fare at the Plaza in King of Prussia, offers menu items that are, or can be made, gluten free.

Capt'n Chucky's Crab Cake Co. now makes a gluten-free version of their renowned Smith Island Crab Cake. The Newtown Square company (5159 West Chester Pike, 610-355-7525) uses corn meal as a binder. The crab cakes are sold frozen by the six-pack at $5.50 per cake. Hat tip to reader Kathy.

Tortilla Press Cantina in Pennsauken is now serving lunch. Both the Cantina and The Tortilla Press in Collingswood accommodate gluten-free diets, though only the Cantina has a dedicated gluten-free fryer.

The Drafting Room in Exton (635 N. Pottstown Pike, 610-363-0521) and Spring House (900 N. Bethlehem Pike, 215-646-6116) currently has Redbridge beer on its drinks menu (the Spring House location also offers Woodchuck Granny Smith hard cider).

The longtime gluten free-friendly Outback Steakhouse just introduced My Outback Rewards, a loyalty program that can earn diners a variety of rewards.

I ordered some Betty Crocker gluten-free chocolate-chip cookie and brownie mixes at Amazon.com this week after I saw the hefty discount being offered right now on the entire line of baking mixes. You save 15% by using code BETTYCGF at checkout (good through February 28, 2010) and an additional 15% (with free shipping) when placing a Subscribe & Save order, bringing the per-box price down to $2.78. If you're not familiar with the Subscribe & Save program, you select how frequently you want the receive the item when placing the original order, but you can skip intervals and cancel the subscription without obligation at any time. So if you just want the product once, combine a Subscribe & Save order with use of the code and then cancel the future orders after you receive the first shipment. Amazon also sends out reminder e-mails in advance of future shipments in case you forget to cancel right away.

I think the current cupcake craze has jumped the shark with the introduction of Post's new (gluten-free) Cupcake Pebbles cereal. Check out the hilarious, off-color review of the product posted at Popdose.

Take a tour of the Marlton Whole Foods Market on Tuesday, February at 6 p.m. and then stick around for a free gluten-free cooking demonstration to help you prepare for the Super Bowl. Plenty of product samples from all departments will be available. Space is limited, so register by calling 856-797-1115 or e-mailing Marketing Specialist & Community Liaison Jen Honovic.

The Delaware Celiac and Gluten Intolerant Group's next monthly meeting is scheduled for Sunday, February 7 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Christiana Hospital in Newark (Room 1000). The group will welcome Kristen Ippolito of Amaranth Gluten Free Bakery. Call 302-482-4882 for more information.

Regional kitchenwares chain Kitchen Kapers is hosting a demonstration on gluten-free bread baking on Monday, March 22 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The instructor is Elizabeth Barbone, the author of Easy Gluten-Free Baking. For more details or for reservations, call 856-778-7705. The event will be held at the Kitchen Kapers Culinary Academy, located at the East Gate Square Shopping Center in Moorestown.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Philadelphia Freedom

Since Mr. Ritt’s pulled up stakes in Philadelphia several years ago, the city had been without a dedicated gluten-free bakery. The just-opened Sweet Freedom Bakery (1424 South Street, 215-545-1899) not only fills that void, but also hopes to satisfy the cravings of vegans and customers with other food restrictions. The p√Ętisserie is owned by Alison Lubert and Heather Esposito, both of whom are certified holistic health counselors. All of their products are also free of dairy, corn, eggs, peanuts, soy and casein.

Each item’s ingredients are listed on a prominently placed tag found in front of each tray of sweets. Lubert and Esposito bake with a variety of flours (brown and white rice, sorghum, garbanzo bean/chickpea and fava bean) and sweeten their treats with low-glycemic agave nectar, maple syrup and coconut sugar rather than with refined or artificial sweeteners. Available every day are assorted cupcakes, cookies, muffins, cake slices and two specialty items: a Magic Bar and a Blueberry Oat Crumble. Brownies, blondies, macaroons, thumbprints and other cookies and cupcakes appear weekly on designated days.

Everyone in my house loved the Magic Bar ($2.75 single/$30.25 dozen), with a graham cracker-like base under a layer of chocolate and topped with coconut shavings. My older son loved the coconut macaroons ($1 single/$11 dozen). I’d venture to say that the healthiest item on the menu is the Blueberry Oat Crumble ($3 single square/$33 dozen), studded with whole blueberries and coated with whole oats. Only the vanilla-frosted Vanilla Cupcake ($3.50 single/$38.50 dozen) seemed to be missing the richness prevalent in the other pastries.

Among my favorites were the Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich ($3.50 single/$38.50 dozen) and the Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcake, both with chocolate frosting, and the Cinnamon Sugar cake slice ($3.25 single slice/$26 whole loaf).

The airy, pastel-hued bakery, open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, has ample room for customers to sit and enjoy a sweet treat with a selection of teas, La Colombe coffee or VitaCoco water. Special-order double-layer round cakes in several sizes and a 12” chocolate chip cookie cake are available with 48 hours’ notice.

(Photography by Noelle Roberts courtesy of Sweet Freedom Bakery.)

Sweet Freedom Bakery on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 22, 2010

News & Notes: January 22, 2010

I welcome to Gluten Free Philly all of the new subscribers and site visitors that have stopped by recently. Monday's post featured the area gluten-free baker Cookies ... For Me? The company makes year-round and seasonal cookies and brownies that are not only gluten free, but also egg, nut and dairy free.

This week, I learned that Bensi, an Italian restaurant chain with area locations in Wyomissing and North Wales, Pennsylvania and Hamilton and Sicklerville, New Jersey has gluten-free pasta, which is cooked in separate pots. The restaurant's soups, salads and most grilled and sauteed dishes can be prepared gluten free.

I reported weeks ago that P.F. Chang's China Bistro was planning to add a gluten-free beef entree to its menu. Mongolian Beef and Pepper Steak dishes are the likely candidates.

KIND Healthy Snacks announced this week that on Friday, February 5, Starbucks will sample KIND Fruit & Nut Delight and Cranberry Almond+Antioxidants bars at all U.S. locations. KIND bars are among the gluten-free snacks at Starbucks I wrote about last week.

Virago Bakery & Cafe in Lansdale, Pennsylvania has gluten-free pizza by the slice on Fridays and Saturdays.

Joan's GF Great Bakes, whose bagels I reviewed last month, will be introducing bialys (to my knowledge, a gluten-free first). and corn bread soon.

The newest gluten-free pudding flavor from Kozy Shack is chocolate hazelnut.

Glutenfreeda GranolaGlutenfreeda's three varieties of gluten-free granola - Raisin Almond Honey, Apple Almond Honey and Cranberry Cashew Honey - are now available for purchase online at Amazon.com. Amazon ships an 8-pack for $30.77 (per-box price of $3.85).

Holistic health counselor Maura Shenker will speak on celiac disease and gluten intolerance at the Whole Foods on Callowhill Street in Philadelphia on Tuesday, January 28. The free program runs from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Stop by the store's customer service desk or call 215-557-0015 to sign up.

Jessica at BucksMontMom.com wrote to tell me that she is hosting an event at the Ann Taylor Loft at Valley Square in Warrington, Pennsylvania on Friday, January 29 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. A $5 donation at the door will go to benefit Kids With Food Allergies. Attendees will receive 20 percent off their purchase (not including sale items), plus an additional 15 percent off if they open a store charge. The first 75 people to attend will receive a goody bag.

And that, my friends, is all for this week. Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Joy of Cookies

If you shop for gluten-free foods at Wegmans or Whole Foods in the Delaware Valley, you’ve likely seen the gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free and dairy-free cookies and brownies from Furlong, Pennsylvania-based Cookies...For Me? But you probably don’t know how the company got its name.

After one of their twin boys, Matthew, became extremely sick at 9 months old. Jamie Enders and her husband Ross were told that their child was not only anaphylactic to peanuts and eggs but also severely allergic to wheat, barley, rice, peas, oats, among other things. Matthew went through speech therapy, feeding therapy and was put on a nutritional supplement.

In a story familiar to many of us whose young children were diagnosed with celiac disease, by the time Matthew was 2 years old, he was considered “failure to thrive.” He was afraid to try new foods, let alone eat any foods he knew. At that point, Jamie and her husband added foods containing gluten back into his diet in the hope that this would widen the food spectrum for him. Matthew would always ask “For me?” before eating a treat, making sure the food would not make him sick.

At age 3, however, Matthew still was not on the growth charts. Finally, his parents got the answer – a finding of celiac disease. They eliminated gluten again and within three weeks Matthew was gaining weight.

Jamie wanted to be able to provide people with celiac disease and other dietary restrictions the opportunity to buy cookies at their local supermarkets. She started by creating a recipe for sugar cookies. Many batches and tastings of cookies later, her concept became real. “If you could have seen Matthew’s face light up when he saw a decorated sugar cookie that he could eat, your heart would have melted,” says Jamie. “He ran upstairs to tell his dad, ‘Mom made cookies for me!'”

In addition to having brownies, brownie bites and cookies such as chocolate chip, snickerdoodle and black-and-whites available year-round in stores, Cookies...For Me? offers seasonal-themed treats. Heart-shaped sugar cookies are now available leading up to Valentine’s Day, while cookies shaped as shamrocks will commemorate St. Patrick’s Day. In the spring, Cookies...For Me? plans on baking cookies styled as flowers and butterflies. The company also makes personalized cookie and brownie cakes on a special-order basis. Soft gluten-free oatmeal cookies may be a part of the company’s product line in the future.

The cookies and brownies are also available in Pennsylvania at None Such Farms in Buckingham and Jules Thin Crust Pizza in Doylestown, Newtown and Jenkintown. In New Jersey, they can be found at Cup of Joe in Pennington, New Jersey. Customers can place online orders at the company’s website or at The Gluten-Free Mall.

Friday, January 15, 2010

News & Notes: January 15, 2010

A spirited debate followed in the comments to my Monday post about Starbucks' new gluten-free "healthy" snack options. Readers differed on whether Starbucks deserves praise or criticism for offering these products without also bringing back a gluten-free pastry.

This week brought a couple of firsts to Philadelphia. The long wait for gluten-free pizza in Center City Philadelphia ended this week, as the Italian eatery Giorgio on Pine (1328 Pine Street, 215-545-6265) began serving pizza using Still Riding crusts. Giorgio already has gluten-free pasta on the menu.

Today marks the opening of Sweet Freedom Bakery, the city's first allergen-free bakery (1424 South Street, 215-545-1899). Cupcakes, cookies, muffins, brownies, cake slices and other baked goods on the menu are offered daily, while some specialty items appear once a week. The Gluten Free Philly household got to sample a few of the treats and unanimously recommends the chocolate chip cookie sandwich with chocolate frosting and the "Magic Bar"! What's a "Magic Bar," you say? I'll have the, um, skinny in an upcoming post.

Green Eggs Cafe in South Philadelphia (1306 Dickinson Street, 215-226-3447) offers several gluten-free breakfast choices: quinoa porridge sweetened with agave nectar, customized omelets and "Eggs Your Way."

K. Taylor's Holy Smoke barbeque restaurants in Quakertown, Pennsylvania and Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, which will serve gluten-free ribs, wings and other foods, are slated for a Spring 2010 opening.

Lone Star Steakhouse, with area locations in King of Prussia and Pottstown, Pennsylvania and New Castle and Wilmington, Delaware, has a revamped gluten-free menu.

Sister restaurants Austin's in Reading, Pennsylvania and J.B. Dawson's in Drexel Hill and Langhorne, Pennsylvania now have gluten-free Redbridge beer. J.B. Dawson's is planning a Fall 2010 opening for a new location in Delaware's Christiana Mall.

Whole Foods Markets opened its newest Delaware Valley location in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania (500 W. Germantown Pike, 610-832-0010) this week.

Snikiddy's new gluten-free All-Natural Baked Fries will hit store shelves next month. The crunchy snacks have 50 percent less fat than regular potato chips. The new product comes in Original, Cheddar Cheese, Parmesan Garlic and Classic Ketchup flavors. The Baked Fries are available in Sharing Packs, which contain four to five servings per container, at a suggested retail price of $2.49. Snikiddy Snacks can be found at Whole Foods, Fresh Market and Toys"R"Us nationwide.

Wegmans' Rice Squares cereal, the store-brand version of Rice Chex, is now labeled gluten free. Wegmans' market in Malvern, Pennsylvania is targeted for a June 2010 debut, while a planned location in King of Prussia is still in development. Glutenfreeda's gluten-free burritos can be sampled at Wegmans markets in Pennsylvania next Saturday, January 23.

As I mentioned in November, the January 19th hockey game between the resurgent Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets will spotlight celiac awareness. Tickets for this event at the Wachovia Center are still on sale through the Flyers online box office. To get discounted tickets, enter 154CELIAC as the promotion code.

The newly-formed Chester County Gluten Intolerance Group is holding its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, February 10 from 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Chester County Hospital's Fern Hill Resource Center, located at 915 Old Fern Hill Road, Building B, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. A vendor fair will precede the meeting at 6:30 p.m. For more information, e-mail Nancy Artus or call 610-518-5572.

The Children's Celiac Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is hosting its annual Pediatric Celiac Disease Education Day on Sunday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will take place at CHOP's Abramson Research Building, located at 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard in Philadelphia. Parking will be provided. Call 267-426-6822 to register, as space is limited.

Be sure to follow Gluten Free Philly on Twitter for the latest gluten-free news and deals. Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Starbucks Redux

After Starbucks discontinued its gluten-free Orange Valencia Cake last year less than three months after introducing it in U.S. stores, many in the gluten-free community expressed disappointment at not having a pastry option. The coffee purveyor has since offered KIND snack bars as a gluten-free selection.

Starbucks is now set to expand its selection of healthier snack options. Beginning tomorrow in participating U.S. stores, customers will find additional choices with 220 calories or less per serving, many of which are gluten free. In addition to the KIND bars, the safe products include:
  • Lucy’s Cookies: Available in Chocolate Chip, Sugar and Cinnamon, these cookies also are free of dairy, eggs, casein and nuts ($1.50 for Grab & Go Packs and $5.95 per box)
  • FoodShouldTasteGood: Available in Multigrain and Sweet Potato, the all-natural chips are made primarily of corn ($1.50 per bag)
  • Peeled Snacks: No-sugar-added dried fruit snacks in much-ado-about-Mango, Apple-2-the-core, and Cherry-go-round varieties ($2 each bag)
  • Peter Rabbit Organics: Organic fruit snack pouches sold in Apple & Grape and Mango, Banana & Orange varieties ($1.95 a pouch)
  • Two Moms in the Raw: Blueberry and gojiberry granola mixes ($3.95 a bag)
  • Sahale Snacks: Nut blends and glazed nuts available in Pomegranate Cashew and Soledad Almond varieties; it's not yet known whether a third offering, a Chipotle/Ranch Almond blend, is gluten-free, as it is a new-to-market Starbucks exclusive ($2.50 per package)
  • Stretch Island Fruit Company: All-natural portable fruit "leathers" available in Harvest Grape, Autumn Apple and Summer Strawberry varieties ($0.75 each)

Friday, January 8, 2010

News & Notes: January 8, 2010

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! I wanted to give a shout-out to a couple of places we stopped last weekend while visiting friends and family in New York. We got to sample a great assortment of gluten-free goodies from Brian Fishman's Sweet Karma Desserts in East Meadow, Long Island, including a fabulous Banana Foster Dome. Tuttoriso in Staten Island has gluten-free everything, from french toast and pancakes for breakfast to meatball sandwiches and panini for lunch and dinner.

My first post of the new year introduced the first Goodies Giveaway of the year - a copy of the newly revised Triumph Dining Grocery Guide. You can enter through Sunday, January 10 by adding a comment to the post with your contact information along with the product you most enjoyed trying for the first time in 2009.

On Wednesday, I reviewed many of Schar's gluten-free products. The company's pastas and rolls are among the favorites at home.

Onto the restaurant news. Pop Pop's Pizza and Pasta in Warminster, Pennsylvania (216 West Street Road, 215-441-8217) now offers Still Riding's gluten-free pizza. As a reminder, Still Riding's referral offer continues through the end of March. If you get your local restaurant to carry the company's pizza, you can get a $100 bonus. Be sure to read the details in my November post.

Also on the pizza watch, Seasons Pizza in Cherry Hill, New Jersey (450 Route 70 East, 856-428-4441) opened this week. This is the chain's second location - the other being in Stratford, New Jersey - to offer gluten-free pies. Reader Hellana wrote to say that she ate at the new spot with her family this week and thought the pizza was "fantastic." I'll have more to say about Seasons in a future post.

The Philadelphia outpost of Chima Brazilian Steakhouse (1901 J.F.K. Boulevard, 215-525-3233) accommodates gluten-free diets. According to a manager I spoke with at the restaurant, all of the rotisserie meats are gluten free. The only items on the salad bar containing gluten are the tuna pasta salad, Caesar salad, tabouleh and French rolls, according to a list on file at the restaurant. The other salads, fruits and vegetables, cheeses, meats and mousses are listed as safe.

There's a lot of anticipation for the opening of Philadelphia's Sweet Freedom Bakery (1424 South Street, 215-545-1899). The owners are planning to open the doors next Friday, January 15. Incidentally, the gluten-free bakery got a shout-out in a recent article about area gluten-free dining posted at Philadelphia magazine's website.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries
is now open in Cinnaminson, New Jersey (127 G Route 130, 856-829-5200).

Asian-influenced Melodia Grill in Souderton, Pennsylvania recently posted a separate gluten-free menu on its website.

GF at PHL? Michael Klein of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week that Legal Sea Foods is setting up shop at Philadelphia International Airport this spring. The seafood chain, with its other area location in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, has long offered a gluten-free menu. A check with Legal's guest services confirmed that two of the eatery's locations in Boston's Logan Airport have gluten-free options.

Reader Reyna e-mailed me about her great New Year's Eve gluten-free meal at Philadelphia's Chifa, from "Iron Chef" Jose Garces. She was kind enough to let me reprint her comments here:
I ate there with a friend who is also GF on New Year's Eve, and I can't say enough things about how much I loved it.

They offer yucca rolls with Sriracha sauce and they are so much like real rolls! Plus, even though it was a prix fixe menu, they were able to provide every dish GF for us. They use GF soy sauce as a matter of course. Basically, I think they are amazing and would highly recommend your giving them some love on the blog!

The one downside is that it's pricey . . . but they are one of the featured restaurants for Restaurant Week, so that might be a great time for any of your readers to try it without paying too much.
P.F. Chang's initial Warrior Card loyalty offer for 2010 is 10 percent off the bill for customers when dining in.

A number of people have searched this website in recent weeks for information on where they can buy Paskesz gluten-free chow mein noodles. The product is seasonal and will be available in the weeks leading up to Passover in late March. However, readers can buy the wide and fine noodle varieties directly from the company in the meantime. The minimum order is for three bags ($4.79 each) plus shipping; the noodles have an 18-month shelf life. To place an order, call Saralee at 718-832-2400 extension 109. I tried the wide noodles last year and thought they were delicious, with a nice crunch.

Look for the repackaged boxes of Kix cereal from General Mills, with the labels listing all gluten-free ingredients.

The retail versions of Nathan's Famous skinless beef franks are now labeled gluten free, with hydrolyzed corn protein (yum!) replacing wheat protein. Interestingly, the Nathan's cheddar-flavored hot dogs I spotted at a local Acme had the words "gluten free" on the wrapper crossed out with black marker because they still contain wheat.

The Delaware Celiac and Gluten Intolerant Group is holding a potluck dinner in Newark on Sunday, January 10 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Attendees should bring a homemade or pre-made gluten-free dish for 4-6 people, the recipe and information on whether the meal meets other dietary needs (i.e., vegetarian, nut-free, kosher). RSVP through this link; the exact address will be e-mailed to those who register.

The Whole Foods Market in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania is hosting a gluten-free store tour on Monday, January 11 at 7 p.m. Participants will get to sample items from Whole Foods' own Gluten-Free Bakehouse and other products. To sign up for a tour, call 610-896-8134, e-mail Ruth Harp, or stop by the customer service desk in the store.

For readers that aren't close to Acme, Wegmans or ShopRite - three area markets carrying S'Better Farms gluten-free corn dogs, chicken strips and other products - you can now order them directly from Kosher.com. First-time customers can get 20% off their order of $100 or more using code SuperSaver, while using code ShopSave can net returning customers 15% off on orders over $100. Back in September, I wrote about the corn dogs, which are a staple in our house.

Amazon.com has a sale on few gluten-free items this month:
  • Up to 25% off on GoPicnic meals (4-packs): save 10% using code GOPC6725 at checkout and save an additional 15% when placing a Subscribe & Save order
  • Up to 25% off on Amy's Organic chilis and soups: save 10% using code AMYS9376 at checkout and save an additional 15% when placing a Subscribe & Save order
  • Up to 30% on thinkThin bars and snacks: save 15% using code THNK8563 at checkout and save an additional 15% when placing a Subscribe & Save order
  • Up to 35% on Mrs. May's snacks: save 20% using code MAYS7438 at checkout and save an additional 15% when placing a Subscribe & Save order
Please show your support for Gluten Free Philly by making your Amazon.com purchases through this fine website, whether it's gluten-free groceries or anything else (um, does anyone need a Kindle?) Just get to Amazon.com by clicking on any of the product links above or on the Amazon.com banner ad on the Gluten Free Philly home page to start your shopping. I get a small commission from Amazon, and there's no cost to you.

I trust this is enough information to make up for my absence over the last couple Fridays! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An All-Schar Lineup

Among gluten-free food companies, Schar's variety is perhaps the most diverse of all. Italy-based Schar opened its North American headquarters in Lyndhurst, New Jersey in 2007. Since then, the company has introduced stateside a number of products that contain other grains in place of wheat.

Schar sent me several of its products to sample: tagliatelle and spaghetti, pizza crust, bread crumbs, breadsticks, shortbread cookies and ladyfingers. Most of these items, like some others I've tried from the company, are first-rate, although a few come up short.

We keep handy in our house Schar's rolls, both the ciabatta and sandwich kind. The textured and grainy ciabatta bread is par-baked, requiring about 10 minutes in a pre-heated oven to bring out the flavor. We pop a frozen sandwich roll into the microwave for a minute whenever hamburgers are on the menu, whether at home or at a restaurant.

Other standouts from the company include the chocolate hazelnut bars, chocolate-dipped cookies, ladyfingers, pastas (made from corn and rice flours) and new snack crackers, which formerly were produced by Glutano.

I was less impressed with the pizza crusts and breads, which come in vacuum-sealed packaging. Even after topping with sauce and cheese and baking, the crust was dry and not particularly pliable. The same can be said about the white and multigrain bread loaves. The shortbread cookies lacked the buttery taste this variety is known for, while I found the Italian breadsticks lacking zest.

Overall, most of Schar's gluten-free products are worthy of consideration, especially the unrivaled items like the ciabatta rolls and chocolate hazelnut bars. Many products are available locally at Wegmans and natural foods stores (click here for a store locator), and online at Amazon.com, The Gluten-Free Mall and Schar's own e-store.

(DISCLOSURE: While Schar provided products to me at no cost, such compensation did not influence my review. My full Disclosure Policy can be found toward the bottom right of each page on Gluten Free Philly.)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Goodies Giveaway 8: Triumph Dining Grocery Guide

UPDATE (1/13/10): Congratulations to reader Julie, who is the randomly selected winner of the guide.

When my family and I dine out, we often try to patronize restaurants that have gluten-free menus or are gluten-free-friendly. Sometimes, however, we don't always have the option of choosing such a place. We were early adopters of the Triumph Dining restaurant cards, which we've had since 2005. (In 2005, co-founder Ross Cohen started the company in Philadelphia.) Triumph makes laminated cards in many languages that explain ingredient and cross-contamination concerns so that diners' meals can be prepared gluten free. Whenever we're at a restaurant that isn't familiar with the diet, we share our cards with our server and the kitchen.

In recent years, Triumph has introduced two other portable products: a restaurant compilation and a grocery guide. The restaurant guide, in its 4th edition, lists over 5,000 restaurants covering all 50 states. The newly released 3rd edition of Triumph's grocery guide is organized by grocery store aisle, with dairy products all listed in one place, frozen foods grouped together, and so on.

The grocery guide, covering over 30,000 products, is the only one available that shows which manufacturers disclose information about cross-contamination risks, dedicated production lines and facilities, and gluten testing of their products. Recognizing the high costs of gluten-free foods, Triumph has included store brands from some of the larger grocery chains to help shoppers stretch their budgets.

Triumph Dining has been kind enough to offer a copy of its new grocery guide, a $19.95 value, to one lucky Gluten Free Philly reader. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment to this post about the best gluten-free grocery item you discovered in 2009. The restaurant cards and the guides (and discounted combo packs) can be purchased through Triumph's website, while the guides are available through Amazon.com.

Some brief guidelines: (1) please do not enter unless you or a family member is on a gluten-free diet; (2) one comment per person; (3) U.S. residents only.

Most important is to make sure your comment provides a way for me to contact you. If your comment does not link back to an email address, blog or website through which I can get in touch with you (some past entrants have blocked their Blogger profiles), post your email address in the comment in the following format: "name[at]domain[dot]suffix."

The giveaway runs now through Sunday, January 10 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. I’ll randomly select one winner the next day and will contact him or her by email. If I don’t hear back from the person with his or her mailing address by the following Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern, I’ll select another name.

Good luck!