Friday, August 24, 2012

News & Notes: August 24, 2012

I'm back from a great family vacation to southern California, where among my favorite gluten-free finds were a donut shop in Los Angeles and a pan-Asian restaurant in Santa Monica serving dumplings. With a couple of exceptions (and a bit of research), it was extremely easy to find gluten-free options. I'll be writing about the trip in an future "Road Trip" post.

I attended Tuesday's Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park and got a first-hand look at the dramatic improvements that Aramark has made since the Celiac Awareness night last month. Various concession stands clearly advertise gluten-free options and there's increased signage throughout the ballpark. I sampled a terrific gluten-free cheesesteak that was at least a foot long and overflowed with meat. If all goes according to plan, there'll be a dedicated gluten-free concession stand next season.

The modern American restaurant Sbraga in Center City (440 S. Broad St., 215-735-1913), helmed by Top Chef Season 7 winner Kevin Sbraga, offers a gluten-free prix fixe menu that changes frequently. (Thanks Kristin V.)

Out in Reading, the menu at Jimmie Kramer's Peanut Bar Restaurant (332 Penn St., 610-376-8500) notes gluten-free and gluten-free-available options, including chicken tenders and pizza. The restaurant's new executive chef is Andrea Heinly, who appeared on Season 5 of Fox's Hell's Kitchen cooking competition show. The Berks County Gluten-Free Meetup Group is planning dinner there on Thursday, August 30.

The Cocco's Pizza locations in Primos (540 Oak Ave., 610-622-4147) and Downingtown (261 Norwood Rd., 610-873-2088) have gluten-free pizza made with separate sauce, cheese, utensils and bakeware. (Thanks to Dana M. for the tip.)

Gluten-free sandwiches at Center City's Brodo (31 S. 18th St., 215-977-7766), which is now GREAT-trained, can be made with Taffets bread. Many soups and salads are also options there. Brodo will be participating in Appetite for Awareness next month.

I posted a review of Rex 1516 on Tuesday. The South Street newcomer has house-baked gluten-free burger buns and a sinful a la mode dessert.

Fresh gluten-free bagels are no longer a dream - at least in the Delaware Valley. Michelle MacDonald's Gluten Free Bagel has plain, everything, sesame, poppy and cinnamon raisin varieties available at Redhouse Bagels in Bensalem (1542 Bristol Pike, 215-244-0776) and at all Green Line Cafe locations in West Philadelphia (4239 Baltimore Ave., 215-222-3431; 4426 Locust St., 215-222-0799; 3649 Lancaster Ave., 215-382-2143). While the bagels are made in a shared facility, MacDonald uses dedicated racks and baking sheets. The gluten-free bagels are prepped in a separate area and aren't made at the same time as wheat versions. Best bet is to call ahead to confirm availability and to place large orders.

On tap this weekend at Beer Cakes Philly (517 S. 5th St., 267-940-7264): Gluten-free strawberry cupcakes made with Dogfish Head's Tweason'ale. Owner Lexi Malmros bakes these separately from her other wares, and she's looking to expand the gluten-free line.

Ardmore's new Tired Hands Brewing Company (16 Ardmore Ave., 610-896-7621) is brewing Nuendo, a gluten-free Saison made with white sorghum and wildflower honey. Some of the gluten-free menu items include locally sourced meats and cheeses, house-made pickles and salads. (Thanks to Kristen B.)

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey (1 Six Flags Blvd., 732-928-1821) has finally made gluten-free food available at the park. Gluten-free (and also gluten-free/dairy-free) pizza, brownies and blueberry muffins are sold at the Main Street Pub, while fresh fruit can be found there and at Granny's Chicken and Ichiban's Tea House. The salads at Best of the West and Granny's Chicken are also safe. Great Adventure is open daily through September 3, then weekends in the fall.

New from Kozy Shack is a line of "Soda Shoppe" puddings. The first two flavors released are Orange Cream Pop and Root Beer Float.

If you're interested in gluten-free cooking, there are several upcoming classes in the area. Check out the Events page at the blog for more information.

I'm planning to take next week off, with posts to resume after Labor Day. I'm always active on Twitter and Facebook, though, so be sure to follow me there. Have a great weekend!

- Michael

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  1. Was at the Phillies game last night. Cheesesteaks are already "Outa here". I was at the right stand 'cause everyone knew of the GF rolls for cheesesteaks... but I simply received a "Sorry we dont have them anymore".

    My polite "Anymore? Did you even have them a week".

    They sent me to the 128 stand to see if they had them... I am very familiar with the stand as its the GF Hot Dog stand, and I already knew there wasn't a grill for cheesesteaks over there. But I tried... no luck.

    So the Phillies weren't lying as you have proven they had the GF cheesesteaks/rolls. But they never said how many they would have!

    I give Aramark and the Phils a TON of appreciation for having the options that they do... but this was very disappointing.