Friday, January 27, 2012

News & Notes: January 27, 2012

Hooters is still looking for its proverbial 15 minutes of fame. The self-proclaimed "nearly world famous" chain, which has outposts locally in Bensalem, Glen Mills, King of Prussia, Wyomissing, Atlantic City, Lawrenceville, New Castle and Newark, now has a gluten-free menu focused on seafood and salads. has opened its second Philadelphia location in Center City (1901 Chestnut St., 215-569-9555). The kosher spot's gluten-free burgers (from beef to veggie) can be wrapped with lettuce and the fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer.

Also in Philly, the menu at new Mexican restaurant La Calaca Feliz (2321 Fairmount Ave., 215-787-9930) - a sibling of Cantina Feliz in Fort Washington - is largely gluten free through the use of corn masa and rice flour.

After a community fundraising effort, Food For All Market in Mt. Airy (7127 Germantown Ave., 267-297-7122), which specializes in serving gluten-free customers, will not have to close after all. (You can read owner Amy Kunkle's note at the market's website.) After taking some time to restock, the market and deli will reopen on February 10.

Reader Nadina F. (you can read her posts at the NFCA's Bits and Bites blog) wrote this week that at the Suburban Square Farmers Market in Ardmore Sushi Sei (120 Coulter Ave., 267-414-6226) can prepare special orders gluten-free sushi and has gluten-free ginger dressing and soy sauce available, while the expanded Di Bruno Bros. (484-416-3311) now carries Amaranth Bakery breads.

Besides Dogfish Head Brewery's new Tweason'ale, another new arrival to the gluten-free beer scene (in these parts anyway) is Colorado's New Planet Beer. Its three gluten-free beers - Off Grid Pale AleTread Lightly Ale  and 3R Raspberry Ale (bronze-medal winner at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival) - are now sold in Philadelphia at the Foodery (324 S. 10th St., 215-928-1111 and 837 N. 2nd St., 215-238-6077). The latter two are served at Wilmington's new Ernest & Scott Taproom (902 N. Market St., 302-384-8113).

Also in Wilmington, Ulysses American Gastropub (1716 Marsh Rd., 302-691-3456) has Redbridge in bottles and Original Sin Cider on tap.

Lots of new products to mention this week, including the new gluten-free/dairy-free granola from Philly's own Metropolitan Bakery, which I wrote about on Tuesday.

The best gluten-free pretzels (in my humble opinion) now come in a new style. Snyder's of Hanover has introduced traditional twisted mini pretzels. They are making their way to stores now; I picked up a few bags at Whole Foods in Marlton.

Dietz & Watson's latest addition to its gluten-free cold cuts line is Chicken Parmigiana, coated in corn flour crumbs, parmesan cheese, italian seasonings and topped with a marinara sauce.

The ShopRite markets in Marlton and Cherry Hill/Evesham now carry Katz Gluten Free's donuts (which I reviewed earlier this month) and pies, while the sister location at Garden State Pavilion in Cherry Hill will be expanding its gluten-free product selections. Coming soon to those stores will be Schar's new deli-style bread and multigrain ciabatta rolls.

If you're looking for late-breaking gluten-free news and area restaurant recommendations, like the Gluten Free Philly Facebook page and follow @GFPhilly on Twitter.

I'll leave you this week with a video from Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione, in which he talks about Tweason'ale.

Have a great weekend everyone!

- Michael

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Metro Section

Metropolitan Bakery's Original Granola took home top honors last summer in's nationwide taste testing. Practically the same recipe - featuring a blend of dried berries, toasted nuts, seeds, spices and a touch of honey and maple syrup - has been adapted for a new gluten-free, dairy-free version.

The new granola contains certified gluten-free oats, honey, canola oil, maple syrup, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, dried cranberries, pecans, almonds, dried cherries, dried blueberries, unsweetened coconut, dried strawberries, cinnamon, pure vanilla, and ground cloves.

All batches are tested for gluten levels prior to sale. The granola is sold in 24-ounce canisters ($12.95) and will soon be available in 12-ounce bags as well. It can be purchased at any of the bakery's locations around Philadelphia (Rittenhouse Square, Reading Terminal Market, Chestnut Hill, University City and the Parkway Central Library) or online.

Friday, January 20, 2012

News & Notes: January 20, 2012

Benvenuto! Today's roundup is heavy on the garlic, so to speak, with new places to enjoy gluten-free pizza and pasta around town.

Let's start in the First State. Caffé Gelato in Newark (90 E. Main St., 302-738-5811) offers gluten-free pasta, which is cooked to order in a separate sauté pan. Most of the restaurant's gelatos are safe as well, save the cookie-flavored ones.

Still Riding's gluten-free pizza crusts are now available at - where else? - Crust in Bryn Mawr (872 W. Lancaster Ave., 610-525-7300).

Queen Village's Ulivo (521 Catharine St., 215-351-1550) offers at least one gluten-free option per course, including pasta.

Several spots mentioned before in this space have expanded their gluten-free options. The Tomato Bistro in Philadelphia's Manayunk neighborhood (102 Rector St., 215-483-2233) developed its own-recipe dough for gluten-free pizza, made with separate sauce and cheese and baked on a disposable tray. The pizza will soon be available its downstairs sibling Couch Tomato Cafe, and coming soon will be gluten-free panini.

Not only can you get pizza and pasta at Carola Family Pizzeria in Woodbury Heights (564 S. Evergreen Ave., 856-579-4844), but wings, wraps, sandwiches, steaks and hoagies also are on the gluten-free menu. A dedicated fryer is used for fried gluten-free items and separate sauce and cheese is set aside for the pizza.

Another option for University City denizens is New Delhi (4004 Chestnut St., 215-386-1941), with gluten-free items noted on the menu. Thanks to reader Tom P. for the tip.

Redstone Grill, with area locations in Plymouth Meeting (512 W. Germantown Pike, 610-941-4400) and Marlton (500 Route 73 S., 856-396-0332), has updated its gluten-free menu, adding BBQ chicken and ribs.

Also recently swapping some menu items on and off its gluten-free menu is local chophouse chain Charlie Brown's.

Chinatown's own Joseph Poon (1010 Cherry St., 215-928-9333) can once again prepare his New Year's Banquet with gluten-free selections. Guests should notify the kitchen of the request when making a reservation. The dinner is available through March 31.

Cheers to reader Pat L., who got the manager at Red Robin's Langhorne location to bring in Redbridge beer to go with the burger joint's gluten-free burger buns and fries.

If you want to know more about Dogfish Head Brewery's new gluten-free Tweason'ale, last Tuesday's Q-and-A with founder Sam Calagione has the scoop.

Next Saturday, January 28, Weaver's Way Co-op in Chestnut Hill (8424 Germantown Ave., 215-843-2350) will host a Gluten Free Day from noon to 4 p.m. In addition to product demos and samples, the hot bar and salad bar will be completely gluten free for the entire day. The event will also feature a raffle of a basket of gluten-free items, with proceeds going to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Gluten-free Warrior Genevieve Sherrow is leading several several courses next month at the Mt. Airy Learning Tree. Wednesday, February 1 is Gluten Free 101; February 15 is an intro cooking course; and February 29 is an intro baking course. Each class runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Have a great weekend -


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dishing With . . . Sam Calagione

Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery has long been an innovator in America's craft beer movement, so when the company announced last summer that a new certified gluten-free beer would be released in 2012, the gluten-free community took notice.

Tweason'ale - which will begin to hit shelves nationally later this month - is the brewer's first 12-ounce four-pack in nearly five years and will retail for about $9.99, comparable to the company's other four-packs.

In this "Dishing With..." segment, Dogfish Head's founder, Sam Calagione, talks about the development of Tweason'ale, its taste profile, and how to enjoy this seasonal release throughout the year.

What prompted Dogfish's development of a gluten-free beer?
The number-one request we got last year was for an off-centered gluten-free beer that didn't taste like it was a standard lager beer base ingredient approach.

Dogfish is known for its non-traditional beers. What makes Tweason'ale different from other gluten-free beers?
The recipe. I think we are the first company to combine buckwheat honey - which is super dark and malty and in that way boosts the complexity and beer-essence - strawberries, sorghum and a bit of hops.

How did you settle on Tweason'ale's profile? 
We wanted to make something complex, fruity, malty (but not made with malt) and champagne-esque that also just happens to be gluten free.

How much of a learning curve was there to develop a beer that doesn't contain gluten? 
A bit more elaborate than our normal R&D [research-and-development] process. We made three test batches before we did the first big production batch.

Did you speak with gluten-free beer drinkers along the way?
Just incidentally, as we did the test batches and put them on at our pub for feedback. We have never done focus groups or formalized outside tasting panels. We trust the palates of our co-workers and our regular customers more than we would a room full of MBAs.

What kind of response did you get when you had Tweason'ale at the brewpub last summer?
Really good. The first batch was a bit too bitter because we didn't expect the sorghum itself to contribute bitterness, so we dialed back the hops.

Will Tweason'ale appeal to beer drinkers that don't have to avoid gluten?
So far it does seem to appeal to a really broad range of people, both wine and beer drinkers alike. It doesn't have a lot of hop character but it has malty notes and fruity notes and great complexity. It also pairs very well with spicy foods and chocolate.

Why did Dogfish decide to pursue gluten-free certification?
It cost us many thousands of extra dollars to certify but we want customers to have confidence we did this the right way.

What's the idea behind releasing Tweason'ale at various times of the year?
It comes in four-packs and every bottle has the date it was packaged inked onto the the neck of the bottle. We believe this beer is best drunk within four months of the bottled-on date. By releasing it quarterly, people who dig it can stock up four times a year and never run out. We don't have the ability to brew it any more frequently because demand for our other beers is so much higher than our brewing capacity and our ability to supply.

How will you measure whether Tweason'ale is successful?
We encourage people to give us feedback online, when visiting at our pub [in Rehoboth Beach] and brewery [in Milton], and events throughout the country where we pour this beer. We hope people will use the Fish Finder page on our website and hunt down Tweason'ale and give it a try!

Friday, January 13, 2012

News & Notes: January 13, 2012

The in-bin is overflowing with so much info this week that I didn't have enough time to get it all in. I have plenty to carry over to next Friday's post.

On Tuesday, I reviewed South Street's The QUICK FIXX, which served us some excellent gluten-free pasta dishes at a recent meal there.

The biggest news of the week is word that fast-fooder Chick-fil-A has added gluten-free grilled chicken nuggets to its kids' menu, although adults certainly can order them as well. The four count is 80 calories and 1 gram of fat, while the six count contains 110 calories and 1.5 grams of fat.

The chain is enhancing its side choices as well, adding Buddy Fruits applesauce - also gluten free - as a complement to the fruit-cup option. Although not as healthy a side, the waffle fries are also safe, as they're prepared in dedicated fryers.

About 90 percent of the menu at the new Hickory Lane Bistro in Philadelphia's Fairmount section (2025 Fairmount Ave., 215-769-2420) is gluten free, according to general manager Jack Anderson, and the other items can be modified accordingly. The chef there, Matt Zagorski, was GREAT-trained when he worked at Rouge. Thanks to reader Marcella P. for the restaurant tip.

Lunch café Buds & Bowls at the Lawrenceville Inn (2691 Main St., 609-896-0569) serves a variety of gluten-free soups, quiche, salads, sandwiches, burgers and desserts.

In Feasterville, Toscana 52 (4603 Street Rd., 215-942-7770) has gluten-free pasta available (prepared separately) and can modify entrees that otherwise call for flour.

Seasons 52 Fresh Grill's two local outlets at the malls in King of Prussia (160 N. Gulph Rd., 610-992-1152) and Cherry Hill (2000 Route 38, 856-665-1052) have set their Winter 2012 gluten-free menu.

Tutto Fresco in Wilmington (514 Wilmington Pike, 302-762-9094) is the new name of the former Lamberti's Italian Grill & Bar at that location. The restaurant serves gluten-free pasta.

Reader Rich S. dropped me a note about YogoMix, a fledgling fro-yo business with spots in Yardley (15 S. Main St., 215-369-YOGO) and Lawrenceville (3257 Quakerbridge Rd., 609-587-YOGO). All flavors except those with cookies are gluten free.

The official second anniversary is Sunday, January 15, but the ladies of Sweet Freedom Bakery (1424 South St., 215-545-1899) will be celebrating Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, they'll be raffling off prizes such as Sweet Freedom gift cards, T-shirts and cookie cakes as well as gift cards from other local businesses. On Sunday, customers can enjoy a free treat while supplies last, plus they'll be offering an in-store "twofer" day, with two items for the price of one (one per customer and excludes some items).

I was saddened to learn this week that Food for All Market in Mt. Airy (7127 Germantown Ave., 267-297-7122) plans to close. The store will remain open until all of the stock and equipment are sold. All grocery items are being sold for 20 percent off.

New fully-cooked gluten-free chicken tenders and nuggets from Golden Platter are on sale this month at Acme markets.

Feel Good Foods' new gluten-free egg rolls are now available at Whole Foods in Marlton (940 Route 73 N., 856-7997-1115), according to a company tweet.

If you love cars, consider going to the Philly Auto Show's Black Tie Tailgate on Friday, January 27. Proceeds benefit CHOP's Division of Gastroenterology and the food will be catered by Stephen Starr Events. Check out the gluten-free options listed on the menu, including a milkshake bar at the dessert station!

‎The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is working with St. John’s University College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions to study the effect on people who follow a gluten-free diet if they take medicine that contains gluten. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is funding this research study. The study has two parts. First, the NFCA will conduct this survey, and then will test some medicines to see if they contain gluten. The results of this survey will help them learn more about people’s experiences, and will help them decide which medicines to be tested for gluten. Together these findings could help the medical and scientific communities see that more research and investigation are needed. This survey will take between four and 15 minutes to complete, depending on your responses. It closes on February 28.

Jovial Foods has organized a gluten-free getaway in Lucca, Italy from May 27 to June 2. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from room sales will go to the NFCA.

And if all of that is not enough for you, I'm thrilled to be talking baseball again. The Phillies game on Friday, July 20 against the San Francisco Giants will be Celiac Awareness Night. I'll pass along ticket information as it becomes available. Hey, pitchers and catchers report in just five weeks!

Wishing you a great weekend -


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In a Fixx

With apologies to distance runners, I imagine that roaming the maze that is an IKEA showroom floor is much like doing a marathon, only more torturous. It helps to load up on carbs in both cases, which is why we stopped at The QUICK FIXX on South Street last weekend before shopping for a bunch of Swedish-designed home goods like the Klappsta, the Klippan, and the Klobo.

The QUICK FIXX (1511 South St., 267-273-1066), which opened the first week of January, serves made-to-order “chef-inspired cuisine at takeout pricing,” as proudly stated on the restaurant’s website. The concept is the brainchild of Matt Levinson, who cut his teeth in hospitality management at A.C.’s Borgata. The eatery offers neighborhood delivery and take-out, but can also seat as many as 16 diners. The attractive interior brick décor and chalkboard menu hanging behind the counter wouldn't be out of place at a restaurant in Manhattan's trendy Meatpacking District.

Pasta Fresca
While the menu is limited by design primarily to pastas, salads and (non-gluten-free) flatbreads, the options are not. Our older son went with the Pasta Fresca from the Chef's Signatures section of the menu ($8), opting for the gluten-free spaghetti tossed in a spicy tomato sauce with a sauteed shrimp add-on ($4 extra), and mixed with cherry tomatoes, diced mozzarella, fresh basil, garlic and oil.

I was intrigued by the Smoky Roman (pasta with cream sauce, smoked bacon, lemon zest and cheese) ($11), but was plenty pleased with the Build-Your-Own gluten-free penne dish ($7), cooked perfectly - not al dente, not mushy. (Gluten-free ravioli also is available.) The pasta was dressed with a tangy tomato gravy (one of many safe sauces) and grilled chicken ($3 extra).

Levinson, who has designs on other locations, is in the process of updating The QUICK FIXX’s printed menus to note every item that’s gluten free. The kitchen, with Charles Reinhardt at the helm, takes precautions in preparing the gluten-free orders separately to avoid cross-contamination.

The QUICK FIXX on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 6, 2012

News and Notes: January 6, 2012

Welcome back to Gluten Free Philly for what promises to be an exciting year ahead. I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday and New Year's Eve celebrations.

If you're just getting back to the grind from some down time, you may have missed some recent posts. In my final one for 2011, I recapped the last year's worth of features and news as chronicled at this page. Earlier this week, I reviewed Katz's new gluten-free donuts, which include jelly- and vanilla custard-filled varieties.

One housekeeping note: By popular demand I have revived the map of gluten-free-friendly Philadelphia restaurants, the link for which is posted at the blog's Restaurants page.

Before heading to Sweet Freedom Bakery for some gluten-free sweets, you can get your main course a block away at The QUICK FIXX (1511 South St., 267-273-1066). This new restaurant, which offers take-out and sit-down service, can prepare made-to-order dishes with gluten-free ravioli, spaghetti or penne.

 is a crêperie in Haddon Heights (531 Station Ave., 856-546-4611) offering savory gluten-free crepes made with buckwheat flour.

Thanks to reader Debbie M. for the news that Ruby's Diner - with area spots in Ardmore (5 Coulter Ave., 610-896-7829), Glen Mills (919 Baltimore Pike, 610-358-1983) and King of Prussia (160 N. Gulph Rd., 610-337-7829) - has Udi's gluten-free buns for its beef and turkey burgers.

All menu items except for the fish tacos at Guapos Tacos, the roving Mexican food truck from Jose Garces, are gluten free. You can follow the truck on Twitter to see its daily location.

The recently opened Sang Kee Noodle Cafe in Cherry Hill (1601 N. Kings Hwy., 856-310-2388) keeps soy sauce on hand to prepare gluten-free dishes.

In addition to gluten-free pizza, Seasons Pizza's New Jersey outlets in Cherry Hill (450 Route 70, 856-428-4441) and Stratford (1014 N. White Horse Pike, 856-783-9333) now serve eggplant parmigiana, chicken parmigiana, lasagna and calzones.

Iron Hill Brewery's newest location in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia (8400 Germantown Ave., 215-948-5600) just opened, while Ted's Montana Grill's spot on Broad Street in Center City has shut its doors.

Also closed is gluten-free friendly BYO Manna, down the shore in Margate. Hat tip to Renee B. for the info.

Adriana Z. dropped me a line to let me know about two area markets stocking gluten-free groceries: Food & Friends Market near Rittenhouse Square (1933 Spruce St., 215-545-1722) - which carries Tate's gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, among other items - and Princeton's Whole Earth Center (360 Nassau St., 609-924-7429).

New at Wegmans markets are frozen sugar cookie and chocolate chip cookie dough, frosted occasion cakes, and blueberry, pumpkin and apple pies from Gillian's Foods.

Golden Platter Foods' new GFCO-certified, all-natural chicken tenders, nuggets and patties are on sale this month at Acme markets. Thanks to Lena M. for the news.

The Gluten-Free in Delaware County Meetup group will have lunch at Uno Chicago Grill in Newtown Square this Sunday at 2 p.m. You can RSVP for the event at this page.

The NJY camps are offering a Gluten-Free Family Camping Weekend June 1-3 in the Poconos, in partnership with the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. It's an opportunity for a family getaway with a private cabin, including pools, lakes, ropes courses, art workshops, family entertainment, kosher gluten-free meals from a dedicated kitchen, day camp for kids, and programming for adults. It's $250 per adults, with kids under 18 free, and is open to families of all religions.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Katz Meow

The universe of store-bought gluten-free donuts has been confined largely to glazed versions from Glutino and Kinnikinnick, with an occasional cameo from the latter's cinnamon-sugar treat. Katz Gluten Free has aimed to fill a hole, so to speak, with new powdered jelly- and cream-filled donuts, along with a classic confectioners' sugar variety.

Knowing that these wouldn't be in stores immediately, we ordered all three versions directly from Katz before the holidays. Compared to renditions from, say, Dunkin' Donuts or Krispy Kreme, the amount of filling in the Katz donuts is relatively spartan. Perhaps that's a casualty of the manufacturing process, but I'd prefer a more balanced distribution to the crucial per-bite filling-to-cake ratio. (Katz's filled varieties also are smaller and rounder than traditional donuts.) That aside, both are tasty enough to buy again. Long a fan of jelly donuts, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself (along with our 11-year-old) preferring the custard pastry. I particularly liked the mouthfeel of the dusty powdered sugar donut sans filling.

The jelly and custard donuts ($7.49; $5.99 introductory price) come four to a package, six for the regular powdered donuts ($7.99; $6.49 intro price). The company recommends two-day shipping since the donuts should be stored frozen; standard-shipping orders to most Delaware Valley neighborhoods - free for orders over $30 - fall within this time frame. Katz also produces breads, cookies, pies and other baked goods in a dedicated gluten-free facility. A store locator can assist in finding a local market that carries the brand.