Friday, June 24, 2016

News & Notes: June 24, 2016

Bravo! Cucina Italiana has expanded its gluten-free menu to include five salads and five pasta dishes (up from three each) as well as several entrees. New items include shrimp scampi pasta, tomato basil pasta and grilled chicken with sun-dried tomato goat cheese. The chain has locations in 23 states, including Pennsylvania. Area outposts are in Willow Grove (2500 Moreland Rd., 215-657-1131) and Whitehall (950 Lehigh Valley Mall, 610-266-4050).

Snap Kitchen's new Beef Sweet Potato Scramble
Healthy to-go chain Snap Kitchen, which recently landed in the area with locations in Philadelphia (Old City, Midtown Village, Rittenhouse Square and Fairmount), Villanova and Malvern, has updated its menu for the summer. Newly added choices - all gluten free - include slow-roasted brisket tacos, brisket hash, Thai coconut curry beef, turkey picadillo stuffed peppers and beef sweet potato scramble.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

America Runs on Duncan Hines

Duncan Hines is set to roll out new gluten-free baking mixes,
seen here at a Publix market in Nashville (Photo Credit: Ann H.)
I know. You're thinking, "Do we really need more gluten-free baking mixes?" In this instance, the answer is yes, since the brand is Duncan Hines and the mixes are different from all of the others. Next Monday, Pinnacle Foods, the maker of Duncan Hines products, will formally begin distributing the mixes to stores nationally, though packages are already showing up in some places. There are two different Decadent-labeled products: Vanilla Creme Cake and Chocolate Lovers' Brownie. The cake is similar to a Boston Cream Pie, with vanilla creme filling and chocolate glaze mixes included with the flour mix. A chocolate glaze mix is also included with the brownies as a suggested topping. (Incidentally, all of Duncan Hines-branded cake frostings are gluten free.)

The introduction of Duncan Hines gluten-free mixes furthers a change in Pinnacle's business strategy. As recently as 2014, Pinnacle had no plans to introduce any gluten-free baking mixes. However, last year's purchase of Boulder Brands, which owned gluten-free-friendly Udi's, Glutino and evol, marked a shift in the company's approach to the gluten-free market.

Friday, June 10, 2016

News & Notes: June 10, 2016

The Delaware Valley's newest comedy club, Punch Line Philly in Fishtown (1004 Canal St., 215-309-0150), has announced its inaugural summer lineup beginning with shows on July 8. The showroom's menu includes celiac-friendly gluten-free pizza and a veggies-and-hummus plate.

The Goat's Beard has gone beyond Philadelphia for its second location. The New American bistro has just opened in Wayne (103 N. Wayne Ave., 484-584-4979). Gluten-free options are noted on the menus, which are the same as those offered in Manayunk.

Glenside's Keswick Tavern (294 N. Keswick Ave., 215-886-4277) offers gluten-free rolls for its chicken sandwiches and burgers.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Serious Cereals

Gone are the days when store-brand foods came in generic packaging and tasted just as bland. Today, non-name-branded products sold under supermarkets' own names are big business, with improved taste and lower prices than national brands.

With ready-to-eat cereals a large part of the boom in private-label products, it only makes sense that several varieties are being made gluten free. At Wegmans, ShopRite and Aldi, for example, this includes the house versions of Corn Chex and Rice Chex cereals. ShopRite even has a gluten-free version of Crispix, combining corn and rice flavors and using molasses. (Other market chains, like Weis, Hy-Vee and Hannaford, call these Crispy Hexagons; at Giant stores in Pennsylvania, they're Crispers.)

Kellogg's recent venture into making gluten-free Rice Krispies did not last long, but a great substitute is the Crispy Rice cereal at Wegmans and Aldi. That cereal is made with toasted white rice, providing it with a better taste profile than Kellogg's attempt, which used brown rice. In fact, the Wegmans and Aldi crisped rice cereal is comparable in taste to Kellogg's traditional version, which still is made with malted barley.

Other Wegmans' gluten-free cereals include versions of Post's Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles. Like the store brands, Post's varieties also are gluten free.

As many of these cereals are made by the same private-label manufacturers, check your local store to see whether their store-brand varieties of these cereal types - whatever the name - are gluten free.