Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Goodies Giveaway: Tate's Bake Shop Gluten-Free Cookies and Brownies

The Hamptons have long been known as a summer getaway spot for New York's elite. I predict they will soon be famous for being the home of the best gluten-free chocolate chip cookies around. Based in Southampton - on New York's Long Island - Tate's Bake Shop is the vision of Kathleen King, who began baking cookies at age 11. Consumer Reports just rated Tate's chocolate chip cookies the best in a recent taste testing, noting the "big butter and chocolate flavors and smooth chocolate chips. . . . like a really good homemade cookie."

After being beseeched with customer requests, Tate's introduced gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and brownies earlier this year. The gluten eaters in our house conducted a "Pepsi Challenge" of sorts (for those of you old enough to remember that ad campaign), and actually preferred Tate's gluten-free cookies to the bakery's conventional ones. The ingredient profiles are practically identical, with semi-sweet chocolate chips leading the way in the thin, snappy cookies. (The gluten-free version contains rice flour.) The gluten-free sweets are made in a facility that processes gluten-containing foods, but are made separately from the bakery's other products.

In Philadelphia, Tate's gluten-free chocolate chip cookies are sold at Klein's Supermarket (2401 Pennsylvania Ave., 215-232-1120) and at Di Bruno Bros. (1730 Chestnut St., 215-665-9220). Young's Produce in Havertown (170 W. Eagle Rd., 610-449-2122) also carries the cookies. Both the cookies and brownies are available for online ordering directly from Tate's. Readers can save 15% on online orders through December 15 (at midnight Eastern) with discount code BLOGGER.

Tate's has offered one lucky Gluten Free Philly reader a prize pack consisting of three packages of gluten-free cookies and three gluten-free brownies. To enter, leave a comment to this post or on the Gluten Free Philly Facebook page about what other kind of gluten-free cookie you'd like to see from Tate's. Follow Tate's Bake Shop on Twitter or like the bakery's Facebook page (and mention that you've done so in your comment) and you'll get an extra entry.

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 not entering via Facebook. 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, December 4 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. I’ll select one winner the next day via random.org and will contact him or her by email or through Facebook, depending on method of entry. 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!

DISCLOSURE: Tate's Bake Shop is offering the prize pack. Neither I am nor any immediate family member is an employee, officer, director or agent of Tate's Bake Shop or its respective parent, subsidiary and affiliated entities, advertising and promotional agencies. My full Disclosure Policy can be found at the blog's Disclosure page.

Friday, November 18, 2011

News & Notes: November 18, 2011

If you're not making your own gluten-free desserts for Thanksgiving, be sure to get out this weekend and grab your favorites before the stores sell out. Local Whole Foods Markets have a variety of pies, stuffing cubes and cornbread along with delicious pumpkin cheesecakes from Moondance Heavenly Desserts.

Staying with the turkey theme (work with me here), the new Bobby's Burger Palace in Cherry Hill, which I reviewed this week, serves up gluten-free turkey, chicken and beef burgers. We brought our own gluten-free bun to sandwich the patty, but hopefully the chain will consider having them on hand in the future.

Square 1682, the New American eatery at the Hotel Palomar in Center City Philadelphia (121 S. 17th St., 215-563-5008), has a gluten-free dinner menu.

The area's only Roly Poly, in Mount Laurel (4070 Dearborn Circle, 856-231-0615), offers sandwiches made with La Tortilla Factory's gluten-free wraps.

Gluten-free items are noted on the menus at Doylestown's Knight House (96 W. State St., 215-489-9900). Thanks to reader Richard S. for the heads-up.

Levittown residents, Fiore's Paesano's Pizzeria (1253 Woodbourne Rd., 215-547-5353) has brought gluten-free pizza to your nabe.

Cheese ravioli and other gluten-free options are available at Romanelli's Garden Cafe in Galloway (279 S. New York Rd., 609-652-0179).

Marc Vetri's Amis trattoria in Philly's WashWest section (412 S. 13th St., 215-732-2647) now has a gluten-free menu.

In addition to pizza, the Seasons Pizza location on Route 202 in Wilmington (3901 Concord Pike, 302-478-2009) has expanded its gluten-free menu to include chicken and eggplant parmigiana, lasagna, baked ziti and cheese calzones.

Reader Dan let me know that the J.B. Dawson's location in Drexel Hill has closed.

Through the end of 2011, Sweet Christine's Gluten-Free Bakery in Kennett Square is offering free shipping on online orders of $25 or more.

Wegmans will be giving the Whole Foods in North Wales some competition for the gluten-free dollar, although it may not be until 2013. The family-owned supermarket chain plans to open at the Montgomery Mall at the site of the former Boscov's department store.

Amy's Kitchen has several new gluten-free products hitting stores next month: three vegan wraps made with rice flour and a broccoli & cheddar bake bowl.

The Philadelphia Gluten Free Pasta Ravioli Company will debut its new gnocchi mixes at Di Bruno's (1730 Chestnut St., 215-665-9220) with a sampling this Saturday, November 19, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A gnocchi shaping tool is free with purchase.

After you've finished all of the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers, head to The Bards Irish Pub on Rittenhouse Square (2013 Walnut St., 215-569-9585) on Sunday, November 27 for a gluten-free dinner event beginning at 3 p.m. Brian Kovalchuk, the president and CEO of Bard's Beer, will be on hand for a meet-and-greet.

The Philadelphia Gluten-Free Supper Club will reconvene for dinner and a holiday cookie exchange at The Silverspoon in Wayne on Thursday, December 8. For more information, email reader Daria D.

Have a great weekend and a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Sultan of Sling

The Cherry Hill Mall has come a long way from the days when Houlihan's was the signature restaurant. The oldest indoor shopping center east of the Mississippi River is now ringed by eateries of many stripes, from a high-end steakhouse to a faux Caribbean hideaway.

The newest addition to the mix is Bobby's Burger Palace (2000 Route 38, 856-382-7462), serving comfort food from celebrity chef Bobby Flay. The Cherry Hill location is the chain's eighth (a spot in University City opened last year) and sits alongside Seasons 52 and Bahama Breeze.

As customers snake their way through the ordering line, an oversized menu on the wall provides the list of options. Burgers, whether beef, ground turkey or chicken, can be made "topless" - without bread - and fashioned with cheese, vegetables and condiments of choice. Ordering a sandwich "crunchified" nets you kettle-cooked potato chips atop the burger.

Despite pleas from other members of our Philadelphia sports-loving family, our older son went for a medium-well Dallas Burger ($7.75), crusted with spices and crowned with coleslaw, Monterey Jack cheese, BBQ sauce and pickles. (Rest assured there is a Philadelphia Burger, made with provolone cheese, grilled onions and hot peppers.) We brought along an Udi's gluten-free burger bun, and he simply ported the ingredients onto the bread. The manager we spoke with assured us that the kitchen is familiar with gluten-free food preparation and takes care to avoid cross-contamination.

The partially open kitchen has three separate fryers, one each for the gluten-free, thin-cut french fries and sweet potato fries ($3.00) and one for onion rings. The sweet potato variety is served with a spicy honey-mustard horseradish sauce, while the old standbys come with a ramekin of creamy fry sauce.

While the Palace also serves up milkshakes to chase the burgers, they're made in the same blenders as malteds, so we stayed away from those.

Seating was at a premium when we went - less than a week after opening day - and given that the food is both tasty and relatively inexpensive, I expect that to be the case for a while. I recommend that if you're in a party of multiple people, at least one group member should stake out a table while others stay behind to place the order.

Bobby's Burger Palace (Cherry Hill) on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 11, 2011

News & Notes: November 11, 2011

To market, to market to buy a . . . gluten-free bread? The target date is December 1 for the opening of the region's newest gluten-free bakery, located at Philadelphia's venerable Italian Market. Toté (1024 S. 9th St., 215-551-5511), taking over the spot formerly occupied by Mexican luncheonette Loncheria Lupita, will focus at the outset on items like fresh breads, rolls and pizza pies. The owners also plan to offer hard-to-find packaged gluten-free products. To boot, it's a few doors down from Paesano's Philly Style, where you can grab a gluten-free sandwich.

Earlier this week, I shared the news that Wegmans markets will carry gluten-free Christmas sweets from Schar, including panettone. Several readers set me straight that spekulatius - the spiced windmill cookies also being offered by Wegmans - are Dutch, not German. The windmill part should have clued me in, but in my defense Wikipedia distinguishes between German Spekulatius and Dutch Speculaas. The German variety is made with baker's ammonia, which is used in the Schar product.

Redstone American Grill in Marlton (500 Route 73 S., 856-396-0332) and Plymouth Meeting (512 W. Germantown Pike, 610-941-4400) now has a gluten-free menu. My wife and kids ate at the Marlton spot yesterday and had a great meal there.

In West Chester, i-Pasta (134 E. Gay St., 484-887-0760) has gluten-free pasta.

Mama Palma's is the latest restaurant to bring gluten-free pizza to Center City Philadelphia (2229 Spruce St., 215-735-7357). Hat tip to reader Kathryn M. for posting the news on Facebook.

Jules Thin Crust, which makes a phenomenal gluten-free pizza in Jenkintown, Newtown and Doylestown, announced that a new location will open on the Main Line in Wayne next Spring.

Gluten-free cookies and cupcakes from allergen-friendly bakery Sweetness are now available at Christopher's in Wayne (108 N. Wayne Ave., 610-687-6558).

Princeton Soup & Sandwich Company (30 Palmer Square E., 609-497-0008) has picked up The Grain Exchange's gluten-free desserts.

InFusion Coffee & Tea in Mt. Airy (7133 Germantown Ave., 215-248-1718) has gluten-free baked goods from Main Line Baking Company and The Little Bakery. Thanks to reader Annsley K. for the tip.

Reader Shari S. let me know that gluten-free sugar cones are now at Benjamin's Best in Old City (401 Chestnut St., 215-829-9510).

Philly's own Monica Glass, the pastry chef at Center City bistro 10 Arts, is leading a gluten-free holiday cooking class at Sur La Table in King of Prussia on Monday December 5. The menu includes brown butter bourbon biscotti, chocolate crinkle cookies, shortbread thumbprints and gingersnaps. Registration is available on the store's event page.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Holiday Cheer

Now that the monthly calendar is turned to November, neighborhood jack-o'-lanterns have been replaced with signs commemorating the next major holiday . . . Election Day. I kid, I kid. (Do go vote today, though.) Soon enough, many of us will be decking the halls with boughs of holly and shopping for the perfect Christmas tree.

If you grew up celebrating Christmas with relatives from "the old country," then you probably remember homemade sweets like Italian panettone bread or German Spekulatius cookies. Wegmans markets are now exclusively featuring gluten-free versions of these and other European holiday favorites made by Schar:
Customers can find them in the Nature's Marketplace section of the store while supplies last.

Friday, November 4, 2011

News & Notes: November 4, 2011

The Delaware Valley's gluten-free bakeries got some great publicity in the Philadelphia Inquirer's Food section yesterday, with a feature on the improving variety of breads and gourmet sweets available in the area.

The logical extension to putting your favorite design on a birthday cake is having it on your pizza. As I wrote on Tuesday, Pizza Prints that feature cartoon characters, NBA teams and holiday images are available for gluten-free pies at several local pizza shops.

Congrats to reader Kate M., who was the winner of the recent Robert Mondavi Wine Tour giveaway. I'll have another giveaway - a tasty one at that - coming up soon.

Naked Pizza in Ewing (1400 Parkway Ave., 609-771-6100) and soon in Princeton (180 Nassau St.) has gluten-free pizza. A video on the chain's website shows the prep methods to avoid cross-contamination.

A stone's throw from Rittenhouse Square in Center City is Pure Fare (119 S. 21st St., 267-318-7441). All of Pure Fare's salads are gluten free except wheatberry and falafel, and most soups are safe as well. Also gluten free are the quinoa skillet bread, veggie quiche, quinoa porridge, all pastries and the soft-serve frozen yogurt.

Comings and goings: Reader Rich S. let me know that Bonefish Grill is opening soon in Langhorne at the Plaza at Oxford Valley (500 Oxford Valley Rd., 215-702-1312). The debut is set for November 14. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay has opened his newest Bobby's Burger Palace location at the Cherry Hill Mall (2000 Rte. 38, 856-382-7462). Meanwhile, gluten-free-friendly JayBee's Cafe in Skippack has closed, as has L'Oca, an Italian BYOB in Philadelphia's Fairmount section that offered gluten-free pasta.

Look for Udi's gluten-free burger buns at participating Red Robin locations. Reader Jodi F. posted on the Gluten Free Philly Facebook page that the Langhorne location has them.

Pei Wei Asian Diner is offering a buy-one-get-one entree voucher redeemable through November 15 by watching a video at its new Pei Wei Market website and submitting your email address.

Philadelphia's own gluten-free Sweet Freedom Bakery (1424 South St., 215-545-1899) has plenty of items for fall, including pumpkin pies, cookies, cupcakes, donuts and more. The bakery is taking advance orders for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday by phone.

Finally, an ice cream cake without those gluteny chocolate crunchies. I spotted an M&Ms-themed cake with no gluten ingredients at ShopRite in Marlton.

Trader Joe's has added some new gluten-free products since my last visit there. Among the offerings are packages of masala dosa, chicken tikka masala and beef pho soup.

The CHOP children's celiac support group will next meet in Princeton on Sunday, November 13 to celebrate Thanksgiving. The meeting will take place at the CHOP Specialty Care Center (707 Alexander Rd., Suite 205) from noon to 2 p.m. Guests can RSVP with their last name and number and ages of children by November 9 by calling 215-590-2985. Bring your favorite gluten-free side dish along with the recipe.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top This

Most people don't need much more of an incentive to dig into a slice of piping hot pizza than the aroma of tomato sauce, melted cheese and spices, or maybe some green peppers or sausage to boot. For those that do, though, there's something unique to put on your pie.

Featured in Food Network magazine, gluten-free Pizza Prints are edible designs that are applied to baked and sliced pizzas. The prints come in lots of different images, from pro basketball and college teams to Nickelodeon characters. There are also more generic designs to celebrate birthdays, holidays and other occasions. A number of local eateries that offer gluten-free pizza carry Pizza Prints, including Mannino's in Morrisville, Kembleville's Village Pizza & Subs, Giuseppe's in New Hope, Tony's Pizza in Haddonfield and Pietro's Pizza in Manahawkin. Various prints can be ordered directly from the company by calling 1-800-806-2595.