Friday, May 3, 2013

News & Notes: May 3, 2013

The owners of Doylestown Italian spot Cafe Alessio have doubled down on gluten-free dining, recently opening Alessio's Seafood Grille in nearby Warrington (827 Easton Rd., 267-483-8500). Diners can enjoy fried scallops and crab cakes, sides like mozzarella sticks and French fries, and flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

A hat tip to reader Jaime L. for letting me know that Em J's Cafe in Berwyn (814 Lancaster Ave., 610-644-8275) has gluten-free pancakes, French toast, waffles (served all day) and bread. There is a separate waffle iron and a dedicated toaster, while the pancakes and French toast are prepared on a cleaned grill.

West Chester Italian BYOB Avalon (312 S. High St., 610-436-4100) is now serving gluten-free pasta.

Charlie Brown's Steakhouse has been rechristened Charlie Brown's Fresh Grill and has a new, seasonal gluten-free menu that includes a garlic shrimp appetizer and entrees like mango swordfish, lobster tail and pork ribeye. Area locations are in Springfield, Pennsylvania and in East Windsor, Hamilton, Maple Shade, Westampton and Woodbury, New Jersey.

Bake 425, a take-and-bake pizza shop that sold gluten-free pies in Bryn Mawr, has closed.

Danishes from Lawrenceville's WildFlour Bakery/Cafe
(Photo credit: WildFlour Bakery/Cafe)
There are a few 100% gluten-free storefront bakeries on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, but now there's one in the Garden State. WildFlour Bakery/Cafe in Lawrenceville (2691 Main St., 609-620-1100), opening Sat. May 11, will serve quick breakfasts, brunches and lunches of made-to-order savory crepes, house-made soups, salads and smoothies, as well as a line of breads and desserts.

Betty Crocker has extended its line of gluten-free baking products with a new sugar cookie mix and an all-purpose rice flour blend. The entire line has been given a face lift with new packaging. All of the products are processed in a dedicated facility. (Disclosure: General Mills, through MyBlogSpark, provided me with this information along with a baking set.) The new mixes should hit stores by early July.

With May being National Celiac Awareness Month, there are many events on the calendar locally. The ShopRite in Marlton (307 W. Rt. 70, 856-983-7370) will be hosting free gluten-free grocery tours throughout the month. The store's registered dietitian, Ashley Cully, will lead the tours, which are scheduled for Mon. May 6 (12 p.m. to 2 p.m.), Fri. May 17 (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), Sat. May 18 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), Tues. May 21 (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and Wed. May 29 (10 a.m. to 12 p.m.). At the May 18th event, there will be free samples from dozens of companies - Caesar's Pasta, Absolutely Gluten Free, Snyder's and Tastykake, to name a few - and volunteers from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness will be on hand to share the latest information on celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

The Little Bakery in Blue Bell (921 Penllyn-Blue Bell Pike, 267-708-0984) is holding a gluten-free cooking workshop on Wed. May 8 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. On tap is a discussion of flour mixes, substitutions, breakfast menus, soups, salads, dinner menus, desserts, and party hors d'oeuvres. The cost is $40 per person; call to RSVP.

The Celiac Awareness Tour returns to Philadelphia on Sat. May 18. This year it's being held at The Franklin Institute (222 N. 20th St.) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event includes a gluten-free food expo with the likes of national vendors Udi's, Rudi's and Feel Good Foods and local companies such as Brulee Bakery, Sweet Megan and Gluten Free Labels (which I wrote about on Tuesday). There will also be speakers and a cooking demo from Chinatown's own Joseph Poon. Tickets can be purchased online for $9 through May 10 and $10 thereafter or at the door.

If you live, work or vacation in Delaware, my tablet-friendly Delaware gluten-free dining guide is a must have. In it, you'll find updated listings for restaurants, bakeries, markets and attractions throughout the First State, including Wilmington, Newark and resort towns like Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach. It's selling for $4.99, and updated editions published within 30 days of initial purchase will be emailed to purchasers free of charge.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

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