Friday, July 15, 2011

News & Notes: July 15, 2011

¡Hola, señoras y señores! I dusted off my high-school Spanish while spending some time last week in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The beach at our resort was beautiful and the water - so blue! I can't remember the last time I did so much . . . nothing. In this day and age, with e-mail, cell phones and the like, it's extremely hard to unplug and relax, but I largely succeeded.

Thanks to everyone who voted for the Readers' Choice Awards over the past two weeks. I'll announce the top choices in a post later this summer.

Ravioli - gluten-free duck ravioli, to be exact - was the subject of Tuesday's post. The new product comes from Berks County-raised ducks and is made at Conte's Pasta's gluten-free facility in Vineland, New Jersey.

Speaking of pasta, the Romano's Macaroni Grill chain of Italian restaurants now serves gluten-free penne pasta. Local spots are in Montgomeryville/North Wales (29 Airport Square, 215-368-4210), Oxford Valley/Fairless Hills (640 Commerce Blvd., 215-949-9990), Princeton/West Windsor (3569 Rte. 1, 609-520-9700) and Wilmington (4157 Concord Pike, 302-479-1800).

Gluten-free pasta is also served at Via Napoli in Northeast Philadelphia (2500 Welsh Rd., 215-934-7700) and Spampinato's in Conshohocken (16 E. 1st Ave., 610-825-3151). Thanks to reader Toni B. for the tip on Via Napoli.

Hat tip to reader Jaime L. for news that Maple Glen Pizza (641 Welsh Rd., 215-542-7720) serves gluten-free pizza.

The Institute gastropub in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia (549 N. 12th St., 267-318-7772) has gluten-free pasta, fish tacos, hard cider and other items, including an apple crumble for dessert. Co-owner Heather Derussy tells me that the kitchen takes dietary requests seriously.

Some info that is "shore" to please on Long Beach Island: Reader Susan A. let me know that Boulevard Clams in Surf City (2006 Long Beach Blvd., 609-494-9494) offers gluten-free crab cakes and other items, while Buckalew's (101 N. Bay Ave., 609-492-1065) in Beach Haven - which has offered gluten-free pasta - now has pizza as well. Calabria Ristorante in Beach Haven (1901 N. Bay Ave., 609-492-8001) also has gluten-free pizza and pasta.

In Ocean City, Bongo Cafe and Grille (1050 Bay Ave., 609-938-0680) serves sandwiches on gluten-free bread.

Purely Sweet Confections is a home-based bakery out of West Chester (610-883-3997) offering baked goods free of many common allergens (gluten, dairy, soy, egg, yeast and peanuts).  Products include cakes, cupcakes, cookies and pies.

Reader Ramona A. wrote on Facebook that My Little KupKake in Collingswood (685 Haddon Ave., 856-240-1097) now has gluten-free vanilla cupcakes.

Doylestown's A Taste of Philly (8 W. State St., 215-340-1575) scoops locally-made Sweet Pea ice cream served in gluten-free sugar cones. Thanks to reader Rich S. for the tip.

Warminster's BRE Bakery, which sold gluten-free cookies and other items, recently closed.

"Chef Moni" of Center City's 10Arts tweeted that Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery recently tapped its new gluten-free Tweason'ale, a sorghum-based beer made with fresh strawberries and honey. For now, it's available only at Dogfish's Rehoboth Beach brewpub but by year's end may be packaged for wider distribution.

Delaware's Grotto Pizza now serves gluten-free beer at its locations with a bar, including those on Main Street in Newark and on Concord Pike and Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilmington. As I mentioned in March, nearly all its First State locations serve gluten-free pizza.

Sesame Place in Langhorne (100 Sesame Rd., 215-752-7070) now offers three gluten-free, allergy-friendly snack packs from Rebecca & Devyn’s Gluten Free To Go. The variety packs can be found at Elmo’s Eatery in the coffee café area, the Snack Cart in front of the Dine with Me building and at the Popcorn Cart located behind Elmo’s Eatery, across from Cookie Mountain.

Kozy Shack has added several gluten-free desserts to its product line. The new Coffeehouse Blends pudding comes in three flavors: caffe latte, cappuccino and caramel macchiato. The company's SmartGels - in orange and sugar-free orange, strawberry and sugar-free strawberry, tropical and sugar-free tropical and cherry flavors - use a vegetarian-based ingredient as an alternative to gelatin-based desserts.

On Tuesday, July 19, GREAT-trained chef James Harris will lead a gluten-free cooking demonstration at the Cape May County Library in Cape May Court House (30 Mechanic St., 609-463-6350). The 1 p.m. event is open to library members.

The Bards Irish pub (2013 Walnut St., 215-569-9585) in Center City is hosting a Gluten-Free Day on Sunday, July 24 starting at 3 p.m. There will be pizza, burgers, chicken tenders and traditional Irish stew (made with Bards beer), Shepherd's pie and fish & chips. The owners are considering a permanent gluten-free menu - they're installing a dedicated fryer in time for the event - so come out and show your support.

Have a great weekend!
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