Friday, May 31, 2013

News & Notes: May 31, 2013

Ocean City shorebirds can order breakfast and lunch off of the gluten-free menu at Arlene's on Asbury (624 Asbury Ave., 609-399-3639). Notable breakfast options include pancakes, French toast and breakfast sandwiches. The kitchen keeps a separate toaster for gluten-free breads.

At the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel in Atlantic City (Boston Ave. and The Boardwalk, 609-347-7111), Patsy's Trattoria serves gluten-free spaghetti.

Vino Volo is at PHL's B/C Connector (above) and
three other airport locations (Photo courtesy Vino Volo)
If you're biding time at Philadelphia International Airport or looking to bring food onto the plane, another dining option besides Legal Sea Foods is Vino Volo, with four locations (B/C Connector, D/E Connector, Terminal B - Gate B9 and Terminal A West - Gate A17). Among the gluten-free items on the current menu are all of the "Small Bites" without bread, roasted chicken breast salad, braised pork tacos, and chickpea & chorizo chili. While not a dedicated gluten-free kitchen, the general manager tells me that the staff does their best to minimize cross contamination. Vino Volo is also looking to source a gluten-free bread to complement the cured meats, cheese plate and salmon rolls.

Noodles & Company's pad Thai dish
The Noodles & Company chain has planted its flag in the area with a location at the Concord Mall in Wilmington (4737 Concord Pike, 302-477-1018). There are nine noodle dishes on the gluten-free menu that can be made with either gluten-free fusilli or rice noodles, along with three salads. A second Delaware spot is coming to the Christiana Mall in Newark.

New American Vernick Food & Drink on Rittenhouse Square (2031 Walnut St., 267-639-6644) can accommodate gluten-free guests. The menu changes frequently, but look for most of the fish choices to be safe. (Thanks to reader Sara T. for the tip.)

Reader Jared G. let me know that many items can be prepared gluten free at The Library 2 steakhouse in Voorhees (306 Rt. 73 N., 856-424-0198)

After recently opening in Collegeville (121 Market St.), The Lite Choice is set to dish out its gluten-free soft serve dessert at a second Philadelphia location beginning today (1428 Walnut St.). The new locations have gluten-free cones, cookie wafers for sandwiches, and dedicated blenders.

NBC10 reporter Nefertiti Jáquez was profiled in the latest "Dishing With" segment, posted on Tuesday.

Ian's has unveiled new packaging across its entire product line and introduced several new allergen-friendly options. Coming soon are fruit- and sausage-filled Pancrepes and Supreme French bread pizza.

Because all of the products at Trader Joe's are sold under its own name, you never know when something new is coming out. So it came as a surprise when reader Hope D. wrote on the GFP Facebook page this week that TJ's now has a gluten-free version of its Joe-Joe's creme-filled sandwich cookies. These are made with chocolate wafers and vanilla creme and sell for $3.99 a box. Fingers crossed for a peppermint variety come winter!

Just in time for the summer grilling season, local meats purveyor Dietz & Watson has launched a line of all-natural chicken sausages. The seven varieties are Buffalo-style, Jamaican jerk, Asiago spinach, Andouille, Santa Fe-style, Italian, and Oktoberfest Black Forest recipe brats.

If you're shopping at Wegmans, "look to the cookie." The Cookie Connection's pillowy black-and-whites are available in the bakery section by the three-pack for $6.99. They are worth every calorie.

Spots are filling up quickly for Be Well Philly's Boot Camp on Sat. June 8 in Philadelphia. At this women's-only health and fitness event, I'll be speaking at the "Gluten Free Guide" session. Tickets are available online.

CHOP's children's celiac support group will be meeting for dinner at Pasta Pomodoro on Mon. June 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Call 856-782-7430 for reservations.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dishing With ... Nefertiti Jáquez

NBC10's Nefertiti Jáquez
(Photo credit: Joseph Kaczmarek) 
When there's breaking news in the Philadelphia area, you'll frequently find Emmy-nominated reporter Nefertiti Jáquez on the scene. Jáquez joined NBC10 in January, but's she's a familiar face to Delaware Valley news watchers, having worked at FOX 29 from 2007 to 2009. In our latest "Dishing With ..." profile, Jáquez talks about a few of her favorite restaurants for dining gluten free, a typical (busy) work day, and the person she'd most like to interview.

Friday, May 24, 2013

News & Notes: May 24, 2013

As Jimmy Buffett would say, "It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere." As of today, it'll be time to eat at his newest Margaritaville restaurant, located at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City (1133 Boardwalk, 609-431-4100). Although it's not yet posted on the restaurant website, there's a gluten-free menu consisting of entrees, sandwiches (with buns), fries prepped in a separate fryer, desserts and beer.

Agno Grill's coconut-flour flatbread with fillings
The owners of Rittenhouse Square's Pure Fare are set to open their second all-gluten-free eatery nearby on May 29. Agno Grill (2104 Chestnut St., 267-997-4524) is styled as modern Mediterranean, serving items like flatbreads, baked falafel, quinoa tabbouleh and grilled, marinated chicken with harissa sauce. Thanks to reader Sherrie C. for the tip.

Readers Elly A. and Heather H. wrote me about New American Ela in Philadelphia's Queen Village section (627 S. 3rd St., 267-687-8512), where gluten-free options are starred on the frequently rotating menu. Heather recently enjoyed a kale salad with sautéed onions, green apples and whole mustard vinaigrette, a short rib entree with whipped mashed potatoes and broccoli gremolata, and strawberry-rhubarb cobbler (poached strawberries with cheesecake ice cream, minus the cobbler) for dessert.

Manakeesh Cafe, a Middle Eastern spot in University City (4420 Walnut St., 215-921-2135) has a gluten-free platter that's made up of hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel (fried in a dedicated fryer), fattoush and grape leaves.

Hearth, a new addition to the New Hope dining scene (7 E. Ferry St., 267-714-7400), is a BYOB featuring seafood and vegetarian selections. Gluten-free options such as baked polenta, salmon niçoise and tuna steak salad are noted on the menu, while others can be made gluten free on request.

5 O'Clock Brew Co. plans an IPA called "Blue Skies"
Speaking of the 5 o'clock hour, contributing writer Dori wrote this week about Philly's 5 O'Clock Brew Co. and New Jersey's Departed Soles Brewing Company. Both are finalizing plans to launch gluten-free beers in the area by the end of the year.

Amazon.com's gluten-free grocery sale is still live, ranging from up to 15% off Glutino and Pamela's products to up to 25% off Betty Crocker mixes (with a $6 instant coupon, you can get a six-pack of BC's yellow cake mix for less than $3 a box) and GoPicnic. You can get automatic free shipping with the Subscribe & Save option. (I get a small commission when you purchase items through the above links.)

Greensgrow Farms is hosting a gluten-free cooking class featuring Vietnamese cuisine, being held at noon tomorrow at St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Philadelphia (2139 E. Cumberland St., 267-283-6787). Tickets are $35.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness are sponsoring a free celiac disease educational event and cooking demo on Tues. May 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Katz Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill (1301 Springdale Rd.). Speakers include Dr. Anthony DiMarino, Jr. from Jefferson, the NFCA's Alice Bast and Jefferson dietitian Emily Rubin, while Pasquale Masters of Pasta Pomodoro in Voorhees will run a cooking demo and food sampling. Call 1-800-JEFF-NOW to register or use the online form.

Have a great holiday weekend!

- Michael

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Brews Brothers

By Dori Molozanov

The nationally recognized Philly Beer Week kicks off next week, and while there are no gluten-free breweries participating this time out, next year could well be different. Two area brewers are busy finalizing plans to slake the thirst of gluten-free beer drinkers.

Friday, May 17, 2013

News & Notes: May 17, 2013

Photo credit: Chickie's and Pete's
Although its famous Crabfries have long been gluten free, Philly-area sports bar titan Chickie's and Pete's has just put together a full gluten-free menu for its full-service locations that also includes all styles of wings, nachos and many seafood choices. The wings and fries are prepared in their own fryers. The chain has outposts throughout the Delaware Valley, with its newest spot slated to open this summer at the Tropicana in Atlantic City.

Another area casual-dining chain, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, will be adding Udi's burger buns to its gluten-free menu. The expanded menu is being tested for now in West Chester and will extend to Maple Shade in early June before launching company-wide in August. Iron Hill, which has locations stretching from Lancaster to Newark, Delaware, is set to open its 10th restaurant in Voorhees this summer. News of the addition was first reported by the Burlington County Times.

Collingswood's IndeBlue, a modern Indian restaurant that serves gluten-free items (even naan), is close to opening a second spot, this one in the Midtown Village section of Philadelphia (205 S. 13th St.). The target date is June 1.

If you've been wondering whether there are gluten-free options on any of the food trucks roaming around town these days, Gluten Free Philly contributor Dori has the answer in Tuesday's post, "Streets of Philadelphia."

Citronelle cake from Aux Petits Delices
Reader Daria D. sent along the latest e-mail newsletter from Aux Petits Delices in Wayne (162 E. Lancaster Ave., 610-971-0300), which has a photo I couldn't resist running here. The pastry shop, which has a number of gluten-free selections, recently designed a gluten-free wedding shower cake made of gold-dusted layers of lemon mousse and decorated with chocolate, mocha and almond macarons.

General Mills has issued a press release about the new Pillsbury gluten-free refrigerated pizza, cookie and pie/pastry doughs. The release relays the research done by the company in developing the doughs and also contains the news nugget that there may be as many as three more gluten-free Pillsbury products in the next year or so. (Can I get a show of hands for crescent rolls?) The Gluten-Free Living magazine blog has some info on the products' "stringent" manufacturing protocols, while General Mills has also posted ingredient and nutrition information on its website.

Stella Artois Cidre, a Belgian hard cider, is now available in 26 states, with nationwide U.S. distribution planned for next year. According to the pitch on the brewer's website: "The taste of red apple and peachy, apricot accents complement the subtle flavor of orange, giving it a refreshing taste with a pleasing wood finish." Cidre (pronounced "CEE-dra") is naturally gluten free, contains 170 calories and is 4.5% alcohol by volume. It's being sold in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles and in single 24-ounce bottles.

New York's Steadfast Beer Co. will soon have its two gluten-free beers distributed throughout New Jersey.  The company's new Golden Blonde Ale is brewed with sorghum, honey, traditional White Ale spices and a Belgian yeast strain, while aggressively dry and hoppy flavors define the company’s flagship Sorghum Pale Ale.

Meanwhile, Colorado gluten-free brewer New Planet Beer is expanding its national beer portfolio by two. The year-round Amber Ale has lightly toasted caramel notes and subtle citrus hints on the finish. The Belgian Ale, available April through August, has subtle spice and honey notes. Look for the new packaging for the entire line and new names for the existing beers: “Tread Lightly Ale” is now Blonde Ale; “Off Grid Pale Ale” is now Pale Ale; and “3R Raspberry Ale” is called Raspberry Ale.

I'll be among the panelists (and one of the few with the XY chromosomes) at Philadelphia magazine's second annual Be Well Boot Camp, a ladies-only health-and-fitness event on Sat. June 8 at the Drexel University Recreation Center in University City (3301 Market St.). Attendees can try a new fitness class, get access to the region's best doctors and trainers, have their strides assessed at a running clinic, pick up health tips at cooking demos, and talk to the experts at the Marketplace. At 11 a.m., there'll be a "Gluten-Free Guide" session, featuring Nancy Ginter of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, health coach Jennifer Fugo, and yours truly. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a happy hour to follow. Early registration is $25, with a buy-3-get-1 free offer for a girls' day out.

I've written two stories for the next issue of Gluten-Free Living magazine. Through Sunday, Gluten-Free Saver has a half-off deal for new subscribers: one year/six issues for $17, which starts off with the next issue (July/August). If you purchase through this link, You'll support Gluten Free Philly via a small commission.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Streets of Philadelphia

By Dori Molozanov

It’s lunchtime in the city, and you want to run out for a quick bite between meetings. As your co-workers head to their favorite food trucks, you politely tell them you aren’t that hungry and you’ll just grab a salad - as your stomach rumbles unforgivingly. As awkward as this scenario can be, the growing number of Philly food trucks accommodating gluten-free customers are helping to broaden the lunchtime options.

Photo courtesy of Delicias
Don’t be deceived by the small menu at Delicias, which can be found on Market St. between 34th and 35th and on 40th between Locust and Spruce. The Venezuelan arepas - stuffed corn patties - are naturally gluten free and prepared on their own grill on the truck. The fillings vary, and many are gluten free and vegan, so there’s something for everyone here. According to new owner Lynette Guiets, many customers come to Delicias because it’s one of the few places in the area to get a quick gluten-free lunch on a budget.

Photo courtesy of Yumtown USA
If you’re hankering for Indian food on the go, look no further than Lovash. This Indian restaurant’s storefront at 236 South St. is almost entirely gluten free, as is the truck located at 37th and Spruce streets. Lanie Belmont of Yumtown USA, which often can be found in the Temple University area, not only uses locally sourced ingredients in her soups, stews and main dishes, but has food allergies and knows how to accommodate the frequent gluten-free requests at her truck.

Lil Dan's, which frequents Love Park and other Center City stops, usually has Maglio sausage or another gluten-free item on the menu. Local 215 and vegetarian-friendly Magic Carpet Foods – a food-truck veteran that’s been serving Middle Eastern food in University City for 30 years – are no strangers to serving customers with food sensitivities.

Kalua pork taco with pineapple habanero salsa
(Photo courtesy Poi Dog Snack Shop)
The new, Hawaiian-themed Poi Dog Snack Shop can usually be found on the campus of Temple University at 13th St. and Montgomery Ave. The smoky Kalua pork and tofu poke plates are gluten free, as are the Kalua pork tacos served on torn tortillas. On the sweet side, Poi Dog's coconut butter mochi is made with rice flour.

For just desserts, try Cookie Confidential on Temple’s campus at 12th and Norris. Owner Melissa Torre, who eats gluten free herself, occasionally serves gluten-free options. The mobile version of Little Baby’s Ice Cream is another reliable place if you have to satisfy a sweet tooth – most flavors are gluten free, and all flavors and toppings have their own designated utensils.

The trucks' websites, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages provide the latest location updates. The ChowSpotter and Food Truck Philly websites also track locations.

Friday, May 10, 2013

News & Notes: May 10, 2013

Yes, you can get grilled chicken nuggets and waffle fries on the go at Chick-Fil-A, but what about at a former KFC? Check out Farmer's Road Drive Thru in Chadds Ford (210 Wilmington Pike, 610-558-2220), in the space once occupied by the fast-food chain. In addition to the drive-through, there's  indoor and outdoor seating at this "fresh" casual restaurant. All of the breakfast and lunch/dinner sandwiches can be served on a gluten-free wrap or bread, there's gluten-free chicken fingers for the kids, and gluten-free baked goods are available. The menu also includes salads and smoothies.

Burger 21 in Voorhees (12109 Town Center Blvd., 856-528-2990) is now open, serving burgers on French Meadow gluten-free buns, fries prepared in a dedicated fryer, salads and shakes, which are made using a separate blender. For adult refreshment, there's Redbridge beer and Angry Orchard hard cider.

Quinoa coconut pancakes and French toast made with Udi's bread are among the new gluten-free items on the Spring/Summer menu at Silver Diner in Cherry Hill (2121 Rt. 38, 856-910-1240).

At Le Pain Quotidien's Center City locations (1425 Walnut St., 215-751-0570; 801 Walnut St., 215-253-3114), you'll find a gluten-free, organic Caravan Mix, a blend of nuts, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds and cacao nibs. Thanks to reader Heather H. for the tip.

I'm disheartened to report that Pure Tacos, the all-gluten-free taqueria in Center City, closed this week after less than a year in operation. The summer location on the Ocean City Boardwalk won't reopen this year either.

Trader Joe's is constantly adding new gluten-free products, and this one is of the fresh kind. Reader Gabrielle G. sent me a photo of TJ's gluten-free chocolate cupcakes topped with buttercream frosting. The price is right too - just $3.99.

Over the weekend on Facebook and Twitter, I broke the news that Pillsbury will be coming out with gluten-free refrigerated pizza dough, cookie dough and pie/pastry dough. The products will be available on a limited basis beginning late May, with a larger, um, roll-out in the summertime.

Tyson Foods has matched Perdue with its own version of gluten-free breaded chicken nuggets and tenders. The breading is made with rice flour, yellow corn flour and corn starch.

Post Foods has discontinued the Cocoa Pebbles version of its gluten-free marshmallow treats but has introduced a limited-edition Fruity Pebbles Extreme cereal.

You can also get your gluten-free chocolate-flavored cereal fix from new Mom's Best's Crispy Cocoa Rice.

In celebration of Celiac Awareness Month, Amazon.com has a wide-ranging gluten-free grocery sale, ranging from up to 15% off Glutino and Pamela's products to up to 25% off Betty Crocker mixes (with a $6 instant coupon) and GoPicnic. You can save even more with the Subscribe & Save option. (I get a small commission when you purchase items through the above links.)

A celiac support group meets the third Tuesday of every month at Atlantic Gastroenterology Associates in Egg Harbor Township (3205 Fire Rd, 609-822-0190) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. A different speaker is featured each month. There is no cost and it’s open to everyone. Call or email for more information.

The next GIG of Chester County meeting will be on Wed. May 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Malvern Wegmans. Dietitian Nancy Patin Falini will speak about bone health and the group will tour the store's expansive gluten-free section.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

Monday, May 6, 2013

Gluten-Free Doughboy

General Mills has hit the trifecta. First the company reformulated many Chex cereals to be gluten free. Then GM introduced a line of Betty Crocker-branded gluten-free baking mixes. Now comes Pillsbury's brand new gluten-free refrigerated pie and pastry dough, thin crust pizza dough, and chocolate chip cookie dough.

Caramel apple pie made with Pillsbury's gluten-free
pie and pastry dough
Pillsbury's website has recipes for each of the new products, from chicken pot pie and spinach mini quiches to chocolate chip peanut butter cups.

Look for a limited national release at the end of May, with wider distribution later this summer. There's no pricing or ingredient information available as yet.

Update (5/15/13): General Mills has issued a press release about the new doughs. The release relays the research done by the company in developing the doughs and also contains the news nugget that there may be as many as three more gluten-free Pillsbury products in the next year or so. The Gluten-Free Living magazine blog has some info on the products' "stringent" manufacturing protocols, while General Mills has also posted ingredient and nutrition information on its website.

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