Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pasta Pops Up in Philly This Week

Pasta Flyer, the fast-casual gluten-free pasta concept that's touring the Northeast U.S. this fall, stops in Philadelphia this Thursday and Friday. Pasta Flyer will serve Bene Boxes, or "good” boxes - like a Japanese bento box but for Italian food. Guests will get a portion of gluten-free pasta, salad, protein and a snack of the day for about $10, delivered in less than three minutes. Here's the schedule:
  • Thursday, Oct. 2: Pop-Up Lunch at High Street on Market (308 Market St., 215-625-0988)
    From 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Chef Mark Ladner of New York City's Del Posto (co-owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali) will offer one of his Pasta Flyer dishes alongside High Street’s lunch menu, serving gluten-free pasta with one of his signature sauces and toppings. 
  • Thursday, Oct. 2: Gluten-Free Dinner with Mark Ladner and Chef Eli Kulp at Fork (306 Market St., 215-625-9425)
    Chef Mark Ladner will join Chef Eli Kulp for a collaborative dinner. For $150 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, guests will enjoy five courses of gluten-free fare, including pastas, with seasonally inspired, locally sourced ingredients and wine pairings with each course. Seating begins at 5:30 p.m. Call the restaurant for reservations.
  • Friday, Oct. 3: Demo/Talk and Pop-Up Lunch at Drexel University (101 N. 33rd St. - 6th Floor, 215-895-2975)
    Following his demo and talk at the Paul Peck Problem Solving and Research Center, Chef Ladner will serve Pasta Flyer's lunch menu at the Academic Bistro. This event is open to the public. The demo/talk will begin at 11:30 a.m. and lunch will be served until 2:30 p.m.

Friday, September 26, 2014

2014 Expo East Recap (Part Two)

In Tuesday's blog post, I focused on new gluten-free pastas, pizza and hot entrees that were sampled at last week's Expo East products event. Today, the spotlight turns to other noteworthy items we discovered at the show.

The Toasted Oat [store locator] is a gluten-free chewy granola made in a dedicated facility. The product comes in four flavors: Peanut & Raisin, White Chocolate & Macadamia, Blueberry & Flax and Cashew & Apricot. The granolas are sold at retailers in Ohio but can be ordered online for shipping throughout the U.S. (New customers can use promo code GETURCANS for 30% off net of shipping costs.)

Harvest Stone Crispy Mix, from the makers of Crunchmaster crackers, is the first certified gluten-free snack mix in the market. They come in three varieties - Original, Cheese and Bold. Each mix combines five different snacks, such as pretzels, corn chips and multigrain crackers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2014 Expo East Recap (Part One)

Natural Products Expo East, held in Baltimore each September, is an opportunity for both emerging and developed companies to showcase their products for retailers and distributors. Here are some of the highlights in the gluten-free space that are either on their way to stores or seeking wider distribution.

GeeFree Foods [store locator] was one of the most popular gluten-free vendors at the event. The company’s hor d’oeuvres line includes savory Franks in Blankets, Spanakopita and new Cheeseburger Bites, Taco Bites, Buffalo Chicken Bites, Pepperoni Bites and Apple Pie Bites. GeeFree also makes Chicken Pot Pie and Puff Pastry Sheets.

Feel Good Foods [store locator], which was first to market with gluten-free egg rolls and dumplings, is coming out with several Asian entrĂ©es by year's end. The line includes Vegetable Brown Fried Rice, Stir-Fry Chicken & Vegetables (Mu Shu Chicken), Mongolian Beef with Asparagus & Scallions, General Tso’s Chicken, and Broad Noodles with Chicken & Chinese Broccoli (Pad See Ew).

Friday, September 19, 2014

News & Notes: September 19, 2014

Come November, P'unk Burger (1823 East Passyunk Ave.) will offer South Philly a modern-day twist on a classic Passyunk diner. The BYO will feature all-natural burgers (with gluten-free buns), fries and shakes.

The Pillsbury Best line of flours from General Mills now includes a multi-purpose gluten-free flour blend, made with rice flour, potato starch, pea fiber, tapioca starch and xanthan gum. Wal-Mart is among the stores carrying this product.

Reader Karen Z. let me know that Trader Joe's just came out with a gluten-free pumpkin pancake mix and will have stuffing in time for Thanksgiving.

Udi's Gluten Free is launching four new varieties of both breakfast and lunch burritos along with Italian-inspired skillet meals for two. The breakfast burritos include Egg, Sausage & Cheddar, Uncured Bacon & Cheddar, Chicken Apple Sausage and Egg White, Southwest Veggies & Cheese. The lunch burritos options include Bean & Green Chile, Chicken, Spicy Southwest Veggie and Steak. The burritos retail for $3.99 each. The Skillet Meals varieties ($11.99 suggested retail) are Chicken Parmesan, Ziti & Meatballs, Chicken Florentine and Chicken Alfredo.

Dole has introduced an all-gluten-free Garden Soup line in five varieties: Carrot Ginger, Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil, Southwestern Black Bean & Corn, Sweet Corn and Tomato Vegetable. The soups do not contain MSG and are made with non-GMO ingredients. You can download a coupon good for $1 off one carton.

The State College Celiac Support Group is once again hosting the Central PA Gluten-Free Expo. This year, it will take place on Sunday, Nov. 9 at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, Pennsylvania. Vendors include Wegmans, Tonya's Gluten-Free Kitchen, Goldbaum's and Against the Grain Gourmet. Dr. Alessio Fasano of the Center for Celiac Research in Boston will be the headlining speaker. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door; children 16 and under are free.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

With the Gluten Free Philly app for iOS and Android devices, find more than 1,400 area gluten-free-friendly businesses on the go, search by cuisine or neighborhood, make reservations and more!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Mybread is to gluten-free bread what the iPhone is to mobile devices - a veritable Swiss Army knife. Mybread is sandwich bread, it's flatbread, it's pizza, it's pita. And unlike most gluten-free breads, it's chewy and stretchy.

The versatile bread is sold frozen, and so there are three recommended preparation methods: microwave, stove top and oven. I found that heating it in a skillet for about three minutes made for a toasty pita bread, cut into wedges to scoop up some red pepper hummus. For sandwiches, the skillet and microwave both work well but personal pizzas are best prepared in the oven.

Rice flour, tapioca starch and water are the top three ingredients; each piece clocks in at 260 calories and 4.5 grams of fat (no saturated fat).

The bread, which is made in a dedicated gluten-free facility and is also dairy, nut and soy free, sells for $7.99 per six-pack at Whole Foods markets throughout the country, including all stores in the Philadelphia region.

Friday, September 12, 2014

News & Notes: September 12, 2014

Noodles & Co. has opened a location in Moorestown (1540 Nixon Dr., 856-780-1987). Gluten-free fusilli, pad Thai and several salads are options. My family and I just ate there last weekend and were told that the rice noodles are prepared in advance in separate water.

Most of the menu at Cambodian restaurant Daly Angkor in Bryn Mawr (845A W. Lancaster Ave., 484-380-2642) is gluten free and the kitchen staff takes care to avoid any cross contact. (Thanks to Shari S. for the tip.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pasta Flyer Lands in Philly

Gluten-free shells, tomato, cheese
and herbs dish at Pasta Flyer
Mark Ladner, the executive chef at Manhattan's Del Posto, will be bringing his Kickstarter-funded Pasta Flyer concept (see my June 2014 post) to town on October 2 and 3.

On Thursday, Oct. 2, Chef Ladner will serve his quick-serve gluten-free pasta bowls from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Old City's High Street on Market (308 Market St., 215-625-0988), recently named by Bon Appetit magazine as one of 2014's 10 best new U.S. restaurants. The next day, Pasta Flyer will be on Drexel University's campus for an all-day pop-up. At both locations, Pasta Flyer will serve Bene Boxes, or "good” boxes - like a Japanese bento box but for Italian food. Inside these convenient, compact and compostable boxes, guests will get a portion of gluten-free pasta, salad, protein and a snack of the day for under $10, delivered in less than three minutes.

Friday, September 5, 2014

News & Notes: September 5, 2014

Grub Burger Bar is targeting the end of this month for its Philadelphia-area debut in Willow Grove (159 N. York Rd.) Look for gluten-free buns and sweet potato fries cooked in a dedicated fryer. A second Delaware Valley branch is coming to North Wales in June 2015 (230 Montgomery Mall).

The just-opened Bareburger in the Washington Square West section of Philadelphia (1109 Walnut St., 215-627-2273) serves traditional and exotic proteins on gluten-free buns (baked by Free Bread) along with four salad varieties. The fries are prepped in a separate fryer and all of the shakes are gluten free. A flourless chocolate cake and a vegan carrot cake headline the dessert options. Owner Daniel Kemelman stresses that the kitchen takes every precaution to avoid cross-contamination.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Common Core

By Chris Betz

Ahead of the current boom in the market for hard cider, Kensington's Philadelphia Brewing Company expanded its product line two years ago by creating Commonwealth Ciders. In addition to being gluten free, the company's ciders are all natural - free of any artificial colors, preservatives or colors. Commonwealth does not add any additional sweeteners, relying only on the apples' natural sugars. The traditional dry fermentation technique, incorporating some non-traditional ingredients like ginger, make for some unique and must-try ciders.