I've thrown in the towel and concede that winter has defeated me. Of course, no one can see the towel as it is buried somewhere under the piles of snow outside my house. On the bright side, though, Phillies pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in a mere 16 days from now.
With Spring comes Passover and, as I wrote this week, there are new gluten-free cereals, baking mixes and even matzo-style crackers that should be readily available when the holiday rolls around. Typically, Passover products begin trickling into markets about a month ahead of time, so I expect that these and other gluten-free items will first show up in mid-March.
Virtually the entire menu at Fort Washington's new Mexican restaurant Cantina Feliz (424 South Bethlehem Pike, 215-646-1320) is gluten free. In addition, the BBQ Chicken Huarache and the Cantina Wedge Salad can be made gluten free if ordered without the Cabrales blue cheese, according to executive chef Tim Spinner. The grouper used for the Baja Fish Tacos is battered with rice flour and coated with a plantain and nacho crust, and the fryer is 100 percent gluten free. For dessert, there's the Mexican Chocolate Crema (sans malted milk mousse) as well as assorted ice creams and sorbets.
Sampan, a pan-Asian restaurant in Center City (124 South 13th Street, 215-732-3501), now has a gluten-free menu. Just be sure to ask that the fries accompanying the filet mignon be pan-fried in clean cookware and not deep-fried (or request another side).
Ry's Bagels' second location in Glassboro (800 North Delsea Drive, 856-270-2575) has Udi's bagels.
I've added a link to the current gluten-free menu for Tinto in Center City on my restaurants page.
All Marathon Grill locations in Philadelphia serve Green's Discovery gluten-free beer, while Fairmount's Lucky 7 Tavern (747 North 25th Street, 215-232-7736) and Chelsea Tavern in Wilmington (821 North Market Street, 302-482-3333) have Redbridge beer.
Updating some earlier product mentions, Feel Good Foods' chicken dumplings are now sold locally at Water to Go in Pennsauken, $7.49 for a box of eight. They steamed up nicely in a skillet and tasted great. The dumplings need to be tended to in preparation so that they don't stick to the pan; just follow the directions on the package.
Ian's onion rings are now at Whole Foods, and on their way there are Kim & Scott's soft pretzels.
Utz's new Rice Crisps at your local market. The brown rice tortilla chips come in three varieties: Sea Salt, Sweet Chili and Salsa Fresca.
Schar broke ground this week on its new gluten-free production facility in Gloucester County. The plant is set to be online in March 2012 and will turn out, among other items, bagels. Thanks to reader Mark M. for the heads-up.
Don't forget to join the new Gluten Free Philly Facebook page and follow my Twitter feed for late-breaking information. Have a wonderful (hopefully snow-free) weekend!