Friday, August 19, 2016

News & Notes: August 19, 2016

After operating a food truck in the area for better part of a year, the Mark Wahlberg-backed Wahlburgers burger chain has finally opened its brick-and-mortar location in Northern Liberties (1033 N. 2d St., 215-278-8989). Gluten-free options include burger buns, fries, tater tots and even salad croutons.

Paesano's Philly Style has opened an on-campus location at Temple University (2012 N. Broad St., 267-639-3159), offering gluten-free bread for sandwiches. The Paesano's in Northern Liberties is temporarily closed pending a move down the block to 148 W. Girard Ave,

Sweetgreen will open another Philly-area location, this one in King of Prussia (350 Mall Blvd. - Suite 3035, 610-265-5727), next Friday. The farm-to-table restaurant is part of the King of Prussia Mall's new Savor dining area.

Uno Pizzeria & Grill locations throughout the country are switching to a new gluten-free crust (from California's Venice Bakery) that has a deep-dish style thick crust.

Ruby Tuesday restaurants in Exton, Malvern, Northeast Philadelphia and Willingboro, New Jersey have closed, four of 95 nationally that are being shut down by corporate due to under-performance.

The relocated Whole Foods market in Wynnewood (15 E. Wynnewood Ave., 610-896-3737) opens on September 14, while the relocated Philadelphia location in Fairmount (500 N. 21st St., 215-557-0015) opens on October 14. In addition, a new Whole Foods is opening in Allentown (750 N. Krocks Rd.) on September 28.

Angry Orchard has debuted Easy Apple, a less sweet session cider. The unfiltered cider will be introduced in six-packs in select states beginning this month and will also be available nationwide in the Angry Orchard Fall Orchard Sampler Variety Pack. Easy Apple (4.2% ABV) is crafted with a blend of culinary apples including Braeburn, Fuji, Gala and Granny Smith, and bittersweet apples like Bisquet, Dabinett, Frequin Rouge and Harry Masters Jersey.

Pepperidge Farm has discontinued its gluten-free Goldfish Puffs cheese-flavored snacks. The first varieties were introduced back in 2013.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

With the Gluten Free Philly app for iOS and Android devices, find more than 1,500 area gluten-free-friendly businesses on the go, search by cuisine or neighborhood, make reservations and more!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Shopping Spree

With many imitators out there, Chipotle isn't content sticking to fast-casual Mexican cuisine. From quick-fired pizza (Pizzeria Locale) to burgers (Tasty Made), the company has slowly expanded into other concepts. The largest is ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, with locations in Southern California, Illinois and metro Washington, D.C. - they even had the chutzpah to open an outpost in the capital's Chinatown section! The best part about ShopHouse is that it's extremely gluten-free-friendly.

It took a couple years for us to get to ShopHouse, but we had an opportunity last weekend on the way to D.C. when we stopped at the Columbia, Maryland location for lunch. Similar to Chipotle, guests can build a bowl with various ingredients, all of which are gluten and dairy free. (ShopHouse recently added non-gluten-free spring rolls, but they are prepared and handled separately.) Base options include jasmine rice, brown rice, chilled rice noodles or a salad topped with grilled chicken satay, pork & chicken meatballs, grilled steak laab or organic tofu, From there, diners may customize their bowls with a choice of vegetables, sauces of varying spice levels (my favorite was the peanut sauce, but our younger son's red curry was tasty too), garnishes and toppings such as fresh chilies and toasted rice.

The friendly staff prepared our orders quickly and even gave us a two coconut rice & mango parfaits on the house.

Our younger son, who's as big a fan of Chipotle as anyone, thought that ShopHouse was even better. I have to agree, especially since Asian cuisine is my favorite. I'm not suggesting that you plan a trip around ShopHouse, but if you just so happen to be in one of the aforementioned areas, I urge you to try to dine at one. In the meantime, I'll be waiting with fingers crossed, hoping that ShopHouse is one day nearly as ubiquitous as Chipotle.

Friday, August 5, 2016

News & Notes: August 5, 2016

Sabra has announced the launch of Sabra Spreads, a line of refrigerated sandwich spreads made with hummus. The condiment, which comes in a squeezable bottle comes in three flavors: Garlic Herb, Honey Mustard and Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper. Sabra Spreads will launch nationwide beginning September 1st (with limited retail availability late summer) and will be available in the refrigerated deli section of grocery stores and supermarkets. All three products are kosher, gluten free, and non-GMO. The suggested retail price is $3.99 per bottle.

Nut-butter maker Justin's has introduced the first extension of its Snack Pack product line. Justin's Peanut Butter and Banana Chip Snack Pack comes in two flavors: Classic Peanut Butter + Banana Chips and Honey Peanut Butter + Banana Chips. One side of each pack features Justin's Peanut Butter and the other organic banana chips. Available exclusively at Target for $1.99, the gluten-free snack contains 5-6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and over 200 milligrams of potassium, all for just 200-210 calories per serving.

Nabisco has added to its line of Good Thins crackers with the addition of a sea salt variety made with corn masa flour.
My son spotted several frozen entrees from Beetnik Foods in the gluten-free frozen aisle of the ShopRite in Cherry Hill, including Grass-Fed Beef Bolognese and Chicken Cacciatore. All of the meals are gluten free and organic.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ride to Rhode Island

Having covered much of the region from New York to D.C. on weekend family getaways over the years, we looked to expand our geographic footprint this summer. It had been quite some time since my last visit to Newport, Rhode Island's famed coastal town - 25 years to be exact. A return trip, even if a bit farther than our usual domain, was in order.

After a washed-out false start two weeks earlier, we set out in the end of July for a two-night stay over a weekend coinciding with the renowned Newport Folk Festival. In addition to the Folk Festival and its jazz festival counterpart, Newport is perhaps best known as the longtime home of the America's Cup yacht race as well as hundreds of Gilded Age-era mansions.

On the trip north, we stopped in Mystic, Connecticut, a quaint fishing village made famous by 1988's Mystic Pizza, which featured Julia Roberts in one of her first film roles. Though it likely wasn't an option back then, the original Mystic Pizza (56 W. Main St., 860-536-3700) offers gluten-free pizza, which our son described as one of the best he's ever eaten.