Friday, January 31, 2014

News & Notes: January 31, 2014

Credit: Posh Pop Bakeshop/Facebook
The Philadelphia region's newest gluten-free bakery debuts today in Haddonfield. Posh Pop Bakeshop (109 Kings Hwy. E., 856-428-7674) opens at noon with free mini cupcakes (one per customer) all day long. The bakery has relocated from its original site in central New Jersey. Cake pops and cupcakes are among the specialties there. According to the bakery's Facebook page, operating hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 7 p.m. on Sundays.

The Yankee Doodle Tap Room at Princeton's historic Nassau Inn (10 Palmer Square, 609-688-2600) has gluten-free options for all meals, including pancakes at breakfast. The lunch and dinner menus are annotated with gluten-free and vegetarian selections. The kitchen advises that the wings are not prepared in a dedicated fryer.

Also in Princeton, Tre Piani (120 Rockingham Row, 609-452-1515) serves gluten-free pasta and has starred gluten-free options on its lunch and dinner menus, while Eno Terra in nearby Kingston (4484 Rt. 27, 609-497-1777) offers Italian-made gluten-free pasta.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

First Draft: Winter Ciders

By Chris Betz

During the long, cold winter months you may not think to reach for a cold, crisp hard apple cider. Truth is, there are many excellent seasonal ciders that make their appearance this time of year. Much more complex in taste, these gluten-free ciders generally have interesting spices added to more traditional recipes.

Woodchuck Winter Cider (5.0% ABV): Vermont-based Woodchuck uses a combination of Premium French and Traditional American Oak to give this cider its complexity. Like other Woodchuck offerings, this cider is on the sweeter side, but oak and vanilla flavors give it a seasonal balance. Try this one with heartier winter meals like chili or stew.

Angry Orchard Iceman (10.0% ABV): Angry Orchard uses a traditional method of freezing the juices of apples to create this ice cider, part of the Boston Beer Company-owned cidery's Cider House Collection. This results in a much richer flavor and density, as well as a higher alcohol content. Sold in a corked and caged 750 mL bottle, this is meant to be shared with others. Like the Woodchuck cider, there are hints of oak and vanilla along with mild toffee notes. This hearty cider goes well with a steak, pork or other meats.

Angry Orchard Cinnful Apple (5.0% ABV): I was expecting strong flavors in this one, and indeed the initial tartness quickly led to an overwhelmingly cinnamon essence. Due to the spice level, Cinnful Apple pairs best with vanilla ice cream or gluten-free carrot cake.

J.K.’s CuvĂ©e Winterruption Farmhouse Hard Cider (6.9% ABV): Spiced with cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup, this is an extremely well-balanced cider that I would drink year round if available. With each sip, I managed to taste something different. While complex, this organic cider from Michigan was still quite crisp and drinkable. I savored the cider cold but it could also be warmed up with some cinnamon sticks. Enjoy this with a slice of gluten-free pie, cheeses, or spiced pecans or walnuts.

Friday, January 24, 2014

News & Notes: January 24, 2014

A new addition to Philadelphia's Chinatown is Simply Shabu (1023 Cherry St., 267-273-0354). Shabu is an Asian-style fondue that involves cooking meat, seafood or vegetables over broth in a hot pot. All of the broths are gluten free, as are the meats, seafood, tofu, produce and rice. (Thanks Beth C.)

Reader Shari S. let me know of two more local restaurants that can accommodate gluten-free guests: Sang Kee Asian Bistro in Wynnewood (339 E. Lancaster Ave., 610-658-0618) has gluten-free soy sauce on hand, while Casselli's in Roxborough (7620 Ridge Ave., 215-483-6969) can modify many Italian dishes as needed.

The Elephant & Castle location at the Sonesta Hotel in Center City (1800 Market St., 215-751-9977) now serves burgers on gluten-free buns.

The Smith & Wollensky steakhouse at the nearby Rittenhouse Hotel (210 W. Rittenhouse Square, 215-545-1700) has an allergen-friendly menu that includes gluten-free options.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sesame Place

If you've been to Zahav, the Israeli tapas restaurant that's one of Philadelphia's best places to dine, you know all about the silky hummus. Its not-so-secret ingredient? Soom Foods' tahina, a puree derived from sesame seeds. Tahina's use is not limited to being blended with mashed chickpeas, though; it can be used in sauces, marinades, sweet spreads and even baked goods.

Soom was started in 2012 by the Zitelman sisters, two of whom - Shelby and Amy - make their home in Philadelphia. Their sister Jackie had moved to Israel, eventually marrying tehina expert Omri Horvitz, who introduced the three to tehina made from Ethiopian sesame seeds.  They loved it, and realized the “tahini” in the United States was misrepresenting the true product.

Choosing an internationally established factory in northern Israel, Soom Foods' all natural, gluten-free tehina is imported stateside and used in dishes at the all-gluten-free Pure Fare and Agno Grill in Center City and other area restaurants, including Eat-A-Pita (which serves gluten-free pitas), Vge Cafe, North Bowl, Sprig & Vine and Citron + Rose.

It's available for purchase locally at Swarthmore Co-op, Weavers Way Co-op, Milk & Honey Market, Essene Market, Green Aisle, Bunn's Natural Foods, Big Bear Natural Foods and Martindale's Natural Market.

Friday, January 17, 2014

News & Notes: January 17, 2014

Lansdale's longstanding Chinese restaurant Yantze Gourmet (2333 Welsh Rd., 215-361-7600) now has a gluten-free menu that includes noodle and fried rice dishes and other options can be modified. (Thanks, Abby S.) All orders are prepared from scratch.

All dressings and most salad ingredients at Sweetgreen in University City (3925 Walnut St., 215-386-1365) and in Ardmore (68 Coulter Ave., 610-642-9400) are gluten free.

Wayne's Oasis Juice Bar (224 Sugartown Rd., 610-254-9797) has a 100% gluten-free menu that includes shakes, smoothies, juices and desserts.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Creative Evol-ution

Amy's Kitchen has long been the dominant manufacturer of gluten-free frozen meals, but its reign may soon be challenged by Evol Foods. Having just been acquired by Udi's and Glutino owner Boulder Brands, Evol is poised to expand its reach and product line throughout the United States.

In fact, Evol's roster of all-natural gluten-free items, which currently includes burritos and quesadillas, has just grown with new microwaveable meals, including two savory mac-and-cheese entrees.

Friday, January 10, 2014

News & Notes: January 10, 2014

With a focus on fish, legumes and vegetables, Mediterranean cuisine is among the easiest to make gluten free. In Philadelphia's Washington Square West section, Greek-Cypriot kitchen Kanella (1001 Spruce St., 215-922-1773) can accommodate gluten-free guests with appetizers, salads, entrees and dessert. (Thanks, Kristen S.) Reader Shari S. advises that Estia, along nearby Avenue of the Arts (1405-07 Locust St., 215-735-7700) can also prepare gluten-free dishes. Yianni's Taverna in Bethlehem (3760 Old Philadelphia Pike, 610-867-8821) notes gluten-free options on the menu.

The majority of the appetizers, entrees and sides at Indian-Thai BYOB Spice in Newtown Square (4843 West Chester Pike, 610-356-5262) and West Chester (113 W. Market St., 610-431-0113) are gluten free. Although the menu doesn't call out those items, the waitstaff at both restaurants are familiar with the gluten-free options. ( has a discount offer for the West Chester location.)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fortune Favors the Bold

Photo courtesy Stella Rossa
As great as Philadelphia restaurants are in accommodating gluten-free diners, there is a dearth of pizza options in the city. (Don't get me started on the lack of a gluten-free soft pretzel in town.)

Leave it to Dave Magrogan to set out to improve that. The owner of Kildare's and Harvest has added a gluten-free menu at his new modern Italian wine bar Stella Rossa (929 Walnut St., 215-644-9074) across from Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. (The original location in Downingtown has been open since August.) The property was once a Marathon Grill and, most recently, Square Peg.