Friday, December 22, 2017

Gluten-Free Road Trip: Eating Safely on the East Coast

Holiday travel and vacations can be fun but stressful, even without factoring in seeking out gluten-free-friendly places to eat. The fact that the East Coast has so many restaurants and bakeries that are entirely gluten free makes the trip just a little easier. I’ve joined forces this week with Andrea Tucker of Baltimore Gluten Free and Abby Kelly of Gluten-Free Connecticut to give you a round-up of 100% gluten-free spots from Maryland to Connecticut. Visit their websites for comprehensive information on these and other accommodating places in those areas.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy 2018 and safe travels no matter where you're headed!


Southern Maryland/Metro DC:

The Red Bandana Bakery (8218 Wisconsin Ave Ste. 101, Bethesda). The Red Bandana describes itself as a happy, healthy little bakery. It's a dedicated gluten-free facility that also specializes in vegan, dairy-free, low-fat and low-sugar baked goods.

Western Maryland:

Sanctuary Modern Kitchen (16 North East St., Frederick). Sanctuary Modern Kitchen creates classic comfort dishes, simply sans gluten.

A Better Choice Bakery (27 W Potomac St., Brunswick). A dedicated gluten-free, dairy-free bakery with a selection of corn- and soy-free products too.

One Dish Cuisine (8001 Hillsborough Rd., Ellicott City). Restaurant and bakery with special menu free of the top eight allergens including dairy and casein.

Eastern Shore:

Gluten Free Bakery Girl (116 N Talbot St., Saint Michaels). Bakery specializing in wedding cakes, cupcakes, pastries and gluten free baking. See website for other retail locations throughout Maryland.


Eat Deliche (1712 Fleet St.). Organic grab-and-go and meal prep.

Points South Latin Kitchen (127 W 27th St.). Serving traditional South American dishes and classic drinks in a heart of historic Fells Point.

Amano Taco (301 W. 29th St.). Authentic Mexican family cooking with a creative twist.

White Envelope Arepa Bar (301 W. 29th St.). Venezuelan street food at R. House food hall serving modern spins on the classic dish.

Sweet 27 Bakery and Cafe (127 W 27th St.). Bar, restaurant and bakery.

Harmony Bakery (3446 Chestnut Ave.). Bakery with a selection of vegan, dairy-free and vegetarian items. Savory offerings include soups, pizzas and tarts.

Heading North (Baltimore County):

Divine12 Café (10709 York Rd., Cockeysville). 100% gluten free, organic and non-GMO café serving a varied menu of nutritious, clean and hearty food. Don’t miss their gluten free fried chicken, crab cakes or filling soups.


Cafe at Good Earth Market (31806 Good Earth Lane, Dover, 302-537-7100). Organic food store and cafe featuring  food, a bar, and live music.

At Melissa’s Bed & Breakfast (36 Delaware Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 302-227-7504). Located just one and a half blocks to the ocean, circa 1910 beach cottage serves an extended all gluten free continental breakfast.



Agno Grill (2104 Chestnut St., 267-997-4524) Menu featuring fresh, healthy, nutritious Mediterranean Food.

Fox & Son (512 N. 12th St., 215-372-7935). Unique fare including corn dogs, poutine, fried cheese curds and funnel cake.

Farmers Keep (10 S. 20th St., 215-309-2928). Also free of dairy, egg, nuts and shellfish; most beers are not gluten free.

Pure Fare (119 S. 21st St., 267-318-7441; 1609 South St., 267-687-2292; 3417 Spruce St., no phone) Vegan options.

Real Food Eatery (207 S. 16th St., 215-608-8941). Vegan options.

Sweet Freedom Bakery (1424 South St., 215-545-1899). Menu is also free of dairy, soy, egg, corn, peanut and refined sugar; vegan; kosher.

Taffets Bakery (1024 S. 9th St., 215-551-5511). Kosher.

Yoku (119 S. 21st St., 267-318-7441). Vegan, egg-free and nut-free options.

Northern and Western Suburbs:

Gangster Vegan (2454 W. Main St., Norristown, 610-630-1600). Vegan.

Oasis Juice Bar (224 Sugartown Rd., Wayne, 610-254-9797) Vegan.

Sweet Freedom Bakery (1039 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, 610-527-7323). Menu is also free of dairy, soy, egg, corn, peanuts and refined sugar; vegan; kosher.

Sweet Megan Bakery (234 Holland Rd., Southampton, 267-288-5080). Free of major allergens; kosher.

The Happy Mixer (4275 County Line Rd., Chalfont, 267-663-7209; 32 S. Main St., New Hope, 267-664-4886; 12 Summit Sq. Shopping Center, Newtown, 215-860-1989). The menu is also free of tree nuts with dairy-free options.

New Jersey (Southern)

Philadelphia Suburbs: 

Sweet Freedom Bakery (577 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, 856-869-7322) Also free of dairy, soy, egg, corn, peanut and refined sugar; vegan; kosher.

Posh Pop Bakeshop (109 E. Kings Hwy., Haddonfield, 856-428-7674). Dairy and lactose-free options.

Heart Beet Kitchen (29 Haddon Ave., Westmont, 856-240-1106) Also free of dairy and egg.

Just outside of Atlantic City:

Kizbee’s Kitchen (734 W. White Horse Pike, Egg Harbor City, 609-553-3383). Wholesale and retail bakery sourcing local and organic ingredients.

Heading North:

WildFlour Bakery/Cafe (2691 Main St., Lawrenceville, 609-620-1100). Fresh-baked artisan breads, pastries and custom cakes. Serving breakfast and lunch daily made with freshly baked bread, Mary’s Organic Chicken and locally grown produce.


Along I-95:

NewBrook Kitchen & Artisan Market (37 Saugatuck Ave., Westport, (203) 557-6087). If you’re traveling along I-95 North, your first celiac-safe stop is in Westport, where NewBrook Kitchen, a 100% gluten-free and paleo café churns out amazing meals for dining in or to go. You can also pick up desserts, snacks, and other items from local artisans.

Izzi B’s Allergen-Friendly Bakery (22 Knight St., Norwalk, (203) 810-4378). If you’re in the mood for a treat, Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery comes up next on 95 North in Norwalk. They are dedicated gluten-free and top eight allergen-free as well. Check their website and place your order prior to arriving if possible, or call to see what they have in stock that day. They do not have a formal storefront, so you’ll be picking up your treats right in the kitchen!

Still Delicious Bakery (13 Boston Post Rd., Westbrook, (860) 552-4662). As you proceed north on  along the coast, you’ll eventually arrive in Westbrook, where Still Delicious cranks out amazing breads, bagels, and treats. Even if you’re not hungry, you must stop in and pick up one of their chocolate chip cookie lava cakes. We dare you to buy just one.

Shayna B’s By the Sea (247 Main St., Old Saybrook, (860) 339-3144). Continuing north, you’ll eventually hit Old Saybrook, where Shayna B’s by the Sea is located. You’ll find her dedicated gluten-free and dairy-free eatery right on Main Street where you can grab sandwiches, calzones, soups baked goods and more.

Along Route 84:

Swoon Gluten Free Bakery (109 Danbury Rd., Ridgefield, (203) 438-4326). If you’re up for a little detour, Swoon just might be the cutest bakery we’ve ever seen. Just swing south from Danbury to their adorably tiny little shop in Ridgefield. They may be small, but they make incredible treats worth bringing to your holiday hosts or hostesses. They have vegan and dairy-free options as well.

Pure Love Bakery (136 Simsbury Rd. #16, Avon, (860) 409-0302). Tucked away in the beautiful rolling hills of the Farmington Valley is Pure Love Bakery. They’re about 20 minutes off of Route 84, but if you have some extra time, this place is worth the detour. They make pretty much everything – breads, rolls, English muffins, cookies, cakes, brownies –  anything your little gluten-free heart desires. They always have fun stuff in their front case, but if you’re looking for something in particular, call ahead and place a special order. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a bag of the best gluten-free granola around!

Nature’s Grocer (81 East St., Vernon, (860) 870-0020). After you pass through Hartford and approach the border with Massachusetts, you’ll pass through Vernon, which is home to one of our all-time favorite spots, Nature’s Grocer. Their dedicated café makes all sorts of sandwiches, paninis, wraps, soups, pizzas, calzones and more, which you can eat in their adorable dining area or take to go (vegan cheese available). They also make an enormous number of baked goods, many of which are vegan as well. 

Along 91 North:

The Sweet Beet (498 Salmon Brook St., Granby, (860) 653-2338). If you’re traveling on 91 North through Connecticut, don’t miss The Sweet Beet in Granby. It’s a bit off the beet-en path, but if you’re gluten free and vegan, it’s worth every beautiful mile. They have cases full of prepared foods and they’ll make sandwiches to go. They also have soups and amazing desserts.

Friday, December 8, 2017

News & Notes: December 8, 2017

California Pizza Kitchen is planning an early 2018 roll-out of a gluten-free cauliflower crust at all of its U.S. restaurants. The cauliflower crust, which debuted late last month at several southern California locations, can be substituted for the standard gluten-free crust used in all four of CPK's certified-gluten-free pizzas: Margherita, BBQ Chicken, Pepperoni, and Mushroom Pepperoni Sausage. The new crust is an additional $2.50.

All but two items (tequeños (cheese-sticks appetizer) and tres leches cake) are gluten free at TartAreperia 18.64, a Venezeulan BYOB in Philly's Fishtown section (1204 N. Front St., 215-982-1150). That includes arepas, empanadas and fried plantains. The tequeños are fried in a separate fryer.

The corn flour empanadas at Lima Fusion (at the new Ferry Market) in New Hope (32 S. Main St., 267-644-8655) are also gluten free and prepared separately. Most other items on the menu are gluten free, as marked on the menu. As mentioned here in October, Ferry Market is the home of a new location for The Happy Mixer gluten-free bakery.

The arepas at Pala'a in Ardmore (18 W. Lancaster Ave., 484-413-2392) are gluten-free, though the empanadas and corn chips are fried in a shared fryer. (Thanks to reader Kristen S.)

At the Brazilian Churrascaria Saudades in Newark, Delaware (230 E. Main St., 302-355-5551), all meats except the chicken legs are gluten free, as are many sides and salad items.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

First Draft: Aurochs Brewing Co.

By Chris Betz

The first thing you'll notice about Aurochs Brewing Co.'s logo is the tenacious bull-like creature and the black-and-yellow color scheme. The colors represent Pittsburgh, where Aurochs is based, and the animal is an aurochs, an extinct super cow-like beast. As the brewery's founders explain: "We brew with ancient, untamed grains to impart complex flavors shaped by generations of growth in the wilderness. We develop our own unique, original recipes that hark back to a time when man and beast refused to give up a life of freedom."

Auroch Brewing Co.'s founders (from left) Doug and Ryan
Aurochs' founders, Doug (who has celiac disease) and Ryan (diagnosed with gluten intolerance), are passionate about brewing great gluten-free beer. They produce only gluten-free brews in a dedicated gluten free brewery located outside of Pittsburgh, in Emsworth, Pennsylvania. Their dedication to quality and uncompromising flavor comes through loud and clear in their beers.

Session IPA (4.6% ABV): After years of big, strong, high-alcohol beers serving as the go-to for craft beer lovers, session beers have been gaining popularity. As the name suggests, session beers are intended for drinkers to be able to enjoy more than one in a sitting without compromising taste or complexity. Aurochs Session IPA lives up to that promise. It has a great hop nose with a piney-citrus bite that cleans up nicely. This is in sharp contrast to many gluten-free IPAs that tend to be syrupy and thick. Enjoy this with your favorite gluten free pizza or BBQ.

Blonde Ale (4.6% ABV): Aurochs Blonde Ale is a light and citrusy brew that reminds me of a Belgian Blonde. Banana and sweet lemon flavors dominate. Mouthfeel is light, making this an extremely drinkable beer. This beer pairs well with any light food like chicken or salmon. If you're into spicy foods, this brew will cut through the heat and bring balance.

The Blonde Ale and Session IPA, Aurochs' first two bottle offerings, will soon be available in the Philadelphia area, including at the all-gluten-free Farmers Keep in Center City (10 S. 20th St., 215-309-2928). (Check the beer finder option on the brewery's website for all locations.) I hope to see more of their beers this side of Pennsylvania like their Cascadian Dark Ale and Porter, currently only on draft at their tap room in Emsworth.

Friday, November 17, 2017

News & Notes: November 17, 2017

Pure Fire Pizza in Collegeville (99 Market St. #4, 484-961-8442) and West Chester (30 S. High St., 484-887-8713) offers gluten-free pizza prepared by staff using separate gloves, utensils, baking sheets and squeeze bottles for sauce.

Haddonfield's newest restaurant is Leaf Eatery (6 Kings Ct., 856-528-5715). Most of the menu items at this vegan spot are listed as gluten free.

The forthcoming Bourse Food Hall in Old City Philadelphia (111 S. Independence Mall East) will feature Baltimore's Mi & Yu Noodle Bar. The Asian bistro serves pho with gluten-free rice noodles.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Maine Pie Co. Makes Holidays Taste Better

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Maine Pie Co., which has provided me with compensation. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the sponsorship of this post. [Disclosure policy]

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays - a time to reconnect with family, take a break from the daily work routine, and eat heartily. In the years since our son was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, we've found gluten-free replacements for everything from stuffing to gravy.

During the holidays, our go-to gluten-free desserts come from The Maine Pie Co., which we discovered two years ago at the Expo East gourmet food show and have been on our Thanksgiving dessert table ever since. Situated in rural Maine, the bakery crafts its artisanal pies and tarts in a designated gluten-free facility. All desserts test to less than 5 ppm using the ELISA method.

Founder Jill Miller has more than a decade of baking experience. She owned The Runcible Spoon in Nyack, New York and Port Bakery in Kennebunkport, Maine, where she perfected her baking skills and developed her award-winning gluten-free pie recipe.

The Maine Pie Co.'s Apple Crumb Pie is topped with
gluten-free oats, brown sugar and cinnamon
We recently savored The Maine Pie Co.'s delicious apple crumb pie, blending locally grown apples with a buttery crumb topping made with gluten-free rolled oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Preparation was a snap, following directions on the package: I baked the pie at 425°F for 20 minutes, then for another 40 minutes at 350°F. (The other pie varieties have similar baking instructions.) The crumb topping turned a golden brown and the aroma of warm apples and cinnamon wafted through our kitchen. I particularly liked that the pie was chock full of sliced apples, with none of the cloyingly sweet pie "goop" that's found in many traditional versions.

Among The Maine Pie Co.'s most popular pies are apple, blueberry and pumpkin. The apple pie combines cinnamon, nutmeg and clove with the flavor of fresh, locally sourced apples that are peeled, cut and made into pies the same day. For the blueberry pie, the company uses Maine wild blueberries, while the pumpkin is packed with fresh pumpkin puree and seasonal spices.

Other varieties include Pecan, Threeberry (made with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries), Strawberry Rhubarb (summer seasonal) and new Sour Cherry pies and Lemon Curd (think TastyKake Lemon Pie!) and Chocolate Tarts. Maine Pie Co. also has pie shells for do-it-yourself bakers.

The Maine Pie Co.'s pies can be shipped nationwide when ordered online through Gluten Free Mall (order by Nov. 13 for guaranteed holiday delivery) and are also available at stores throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest U.S. [store locator].

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Jersey Mike's Subs Introducing Gluten-Free Rolls Nationwide

I can report exclusively that after receiving positive reviews in several test markets, Jersey Mike’s Subs is introducing gluten-free sub rolls at all 1,300-plus U.S. locations beginning Dec. 4. Jersey Mike’s has partnered with Udi’s Gluten Free after testing the bakery's sub rolls in several markets, including stores in Denver, Los Angeles and West Palm Beach.

“The idea of offering gluten-free rolls came from a franchisee whose daughter had celiac disease,” explained Michael Manzo, Jersey Mike's Chief Operating Officer. “Before going national, we decided to try a pilot in several markets and we are happy to report success: customers loved the taste and they were excited to be able to eat a Jersey Mike’s sub sandwich again - or for the very first time.”

Gluten-free rolls from another company, Wild Flour Bakery, had been tested in the Philadelphia region, New Jersey and North Carolina as part of the pilot program. Manzo said that while many customers responded well to Wild Flour's version, which came proofed and were baked in house, from an operational standpoint it will be easier for stores to serve the Udi's product. (Locations that had been using Wild Flour rolls have already switched over to Udi's.)

To prepare for the national launch, Manzo said the company has produced an instructional video for employees and is training staff how to carefully incorporate the new product into sandwich preparation. The Udi’s rolls arrive at each store individually wrapped and fully baked. Because the packaging is not opened until the sub is ordered, Manzo says there is little risk of cross-contamination with other subs. Additionally, employees wear new gloves when handling the rolls and use dedicated knives and other utensils that haven’t touched other bread products. They also prepare each sandwich on parchment paper to avoid contact with gluten and will utilize separate condiment containers. Customers can request that toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes and onions be taken from stock in the stores’ walk-in refrigerators. Jersey Mike's is working with the Gluten Intolerance Group to obtain certification. The company is also considering adding a gluten-free dessert option.

The Udi’s roll can be used for most hot or cold subs on Jersey Mike’s menu (some contain gluten, such as Meatball and Cheese, Chicken Parmesan and Teriyaki Chicken). The additional charge for gluten-free sandwiches may vary from store to store, but is likely to be between $1 to $2 for regular sizes and $3 to $4 for giant sizes.


Friday, October 27, 2017

News & Notes: October 27, 2017

The Philadelphia region can finally claim its own gluten-free brewery. Blueprint Brewing Co. opened last weekend in Harleysville (1571 Gehman Rd., 267-649-7006) with its hoppy Blue Skies IPA on tap and cans in the near future. Read more about Blueprint in my April 2017 post.

Not to be outdone, Original 13 Ciderworks in Kensington (1526 N. American St., 215-765-7000) has just opened Philly's first cider tasting room. The menu there lists a number of gluten-free options, including duck fat fries prepped in a gluten-free fryer. Incidentally, the Gluten Free Philly restaurant app [iOS/Android] now has a cuisine category for "Breweries" that includes Blueprint, Original 13 and other adult-beverage makers in the region.

Pizza Hut's certified-gluten-free cheese and pepperoni pizzas can now be found at stores in Mt. Ephraim (710 N. Black Horse Pike, 856-219-3323) and Clementon (1448 Blackwood-Clementon Rd., 856-346-2104).

White Elephant, a Thai restaurant in Huntingdon Valley (759 Huntingdon Pike, 215-663-1495), can prepare many items on its lunch and dinner menus (any dishes not noted with a "G" noted can be made gluten free). Thanks Mom!

In Cherry Hill, Hong Kong Fusion (1998 Marlton Pike E., 856-751-3888) can prepare gluten-free mei fun noodles, as well as many protein dishes with white sauce or gluten-free soy sauce. I highly recommend the sticky-rice cookies, one of several gluten-free desserts.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hand On My Pocket

The trusty microwave. It's a time saver for meals in a snap yet a shortcut for truer-tasting meals. That quandary arose recently when I prepared the latest creations from GeeFree Foods. The company's newest novel products - which are just now making their way to stores and online outlets - are sandwich pockets. The pockets come in three savory varieties, Sausage, Egg & Cheese, Buffalo Chicken and Cheese Pizza, with each package of two having a suggested retail price of $6.99.

Baked Buffalo Chicken pocket sandwich
If you're not familiar with GeeFree Foods, you should get to know it. The company created a niche with its initial offerings, which include gluten-free puff pastry dough, pigs in blankets and spanakopita - all of which are unique to the gluten-free marketplace. The sandwich pockets are made with the same flaky pastry dough used for the other products.

Microwaved Sausage, Egg & Cheese pocket sandwich
So how are these gluten-free counterparts to Hot Pockets? It depends. Each pocket comes wrapped in a microwaveable wrapper. If you want to save time, snip the corner of the casing and heat for 2 minutes, 15 seconds. It's quick, but we found the pockets to be "doughier" out of the microwave. The better - and tastier - option is to bake one in the oven at 350ºF for about half an hour. The dough comes out crispy and flakier, and the pocket has a more consistent taste from bite to bite out of the oven. We thought the Buffalo Chicken and Sausage - with a bit of zing cooled with a hint of cream cheese - and the Sausage, Egg & Cheese were the top two. I'd definitely keep a box or two in the freezer for lazy weekend days when there's more time to prepare these in an oven and enjoy an occasional splurge.

GeeFree's products are available in supermarkets and specialty stores throughout the country (product locator) and can also be ordered online directly through the company ($9.99 flat-rate shipping for six or more items) or through Gluten-Free Mall.

DISCLOSURE: While GeeFree Foods provided product samples for me to review at no cost, such compensation did not influence my review. Neither I am nor any immediate family member is an employee, officer, director or agent of GeeFree Foods or its respective parent, subsidiary and affiliated entities, advertising and promotional agencies. Click here for my complete Disclosure.

Friday, October 13, 2017

News & Notes: October 13, 2017

Choolaah's Chicken Tikka Masala Bowl
Indian food is extremely gluten-free-friendly, so it comes as no surprise that many area Indian restaurants can accommodate special diets. The fast-casual Choolaah Indian BBQ recently opened its first Pennsylvania location at King of Prussia Town Center (155 Main St., 484-674-6316). Guests can choose from dozens of gluten-, dairy- and egg-free options (sortable via the online menu), anything from BBQ bowls to dishes, salads and sides - even dessert.

Monsoon's second New Jersey location is now open in Cherry Hill (1409 Rt. 70 W., 856-528-2526) offers many gluten-free menu items. The restaurant maintains a list of gluten- and nut-free options on site.

Manam Indian Cuisine in Malvern (124 Lancaster Ave., 610-400-1133) lists gluten-free items on its menu.

Angeline's Michael Symon
In Atlantic City, Angeline - the new Italian restaurant at the Borgata from celebrity chef and "The Chew" co-host Michael Symon - has a stand-alone gluten-free menu that includes pasta dishes (1 Borgata Way, 609-317-1000). At Bally's (1900 Boardwalk, 609-340-2000), Guy Fieri's Chophouse has a number gluten-free options, noted on the menu. They also include the Black and Blue Burger and Tatted Up Turkey Burger with buns and Caesar and wedge salads without croutons.

Reader Tania F. let me know that most of the menu at New Habana in Narberth (232 Woodbine Ave., 610-660-0160) is gluten free.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Going for the Gold

Saturday saw two repeat winners and a local newcomer triumph in the gluten-free beer category at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival in Denver. For Ground Breaker Brewing, Saturday was another "dark" day in its history. That’s when the Portland gluten-free brewery was awarded a gold medal for its Dark Ale for the second year in a row at the Festival, the largest commercial beer competition in the world. While the popular event is now in its 36th year, the Gluten-Free Beer category was added just 10 years ago. Since then, the number of entrants in the sector has grown significantly - this year, 33 beers were submitted for consideration, up from eight in 2007. Here are the three award winners:

Gold: Ground Breaker Brewing’s Dark Ale
For their Dark Ale, Ground Breaker’s brewmasters use espresso-like roasted chestnuts and lentils along with dark Belgian-style candi for a roasty flavor and aroma with notes of chocolate and dark fruits. This is the sixth consecutive year that Ground Breaker has medaled at the Festival, though its first two awards came under a different name. Previously known as Harvester Brewing, the brewery changed its name to avoid a dispute with a California winery several years ago. (Read more about Ground Breaker's offerings in our beer review column.)

Ground Breaker offers its beers at the Portland gastropub next to its brewery on an all-gluten-free menu that features the likes of pizza, Cubano sandwiches and brownie sundaes. Outside of Oregon, Ground Breaker beers are distributed elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest as well as in New England and California. The Dark Ale and other varieties are also sold online through Bring on the Beer to residents of 34 states (including New Jersey and Delaware) and the District of Columbia.

Silver: Ghostfish Brewing Co.'s Meteor Shower Blonde Ale
Seattle's Ghostfish, which took bronze a year ago for its Grapefruit IPA, won for one of its two year-round beers introduced in 2017. The Blonde Ale is brewed with malted millet and California-grown brown rice, with Noble German Perle hops added for a light bitterness and floral aroma. (Read more about Ghostfish's offerings in our beer review column.)

All of Ghostfish’s beers are sold at its gluten-free taproom in Seattle, where the current menu includes mac-and-cheese, fish and chips, and pretzel-crusted strawberry cheesecake. The beers are also available at retailers throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Many of the company’s beers, including Meteor Shower Blonde Ale, can be ordered online from Marina Market and shipped to 28 states, plus the District of Columbia (though not Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware).

Bronze: Revelation Craft Brewing Co.'s Co-Conspirator Apricot Sour
Revelation, from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, collaborated with Ghostfish to produce a sour with a base of quinoa, buckwheat, millet and rice. Co-Conspirator has a smooth, honey-like malt character, a bright sourness, and a hint of fruity hop aroma from Palisade hops. Kettle-soured with cultures from Goodbelly coconut probiotics, apricots were then added at the end of fermentation. Co-Conspirator is available on tap at Revelation's Rehoboth Beach taproom as well as at Ghostfish's Seattle brewpub.

The festival’s Gluten-Free Beer category includes only beers made from fermentable sugars, grains and converted carbohydrates. Gluten-reduced beers are not considered part of this grouping because their gluten levels - derived from malted barley - have been reduced by enzymes or other processes.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Expo East 2017 Recap

What do seaweed, vinegar and beets have in common? Products featuring those ingredients were among those trending at the annual Expo East natural-foods show in Baltimore earlier this month. The show features new and emerging gourmet, natural and gluten-free products from across North America whose manufacturers are seeking wider distribution in supermarkets and grocery stores.

This year's show was larger than ever, with more than 1,500 exhibiting brands and more than 450 first-time vendors. In no particular order, here are some of the highlights among gluten-free products at this year's event (not all items are currently available in area stores):

Mikaela's Simply Divine Biscotti Cookies: These are more "cookie" than "biscotti," given that they're light and crunchy. The all-natural, certified-gluten-free cookies come in five flavors: Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Mint, Luscious Lemon and new Butterscotch Toffee Pecan and Chocolate Brownie, . They'll soon be available in bite-size portioned pouches in addition to the currently available boxes and single-serve versions. Mikaela's cookies can be purchased via the company's Facebook page and are also available at markets in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and in northern New Jersey and New York.

Otto's Cassava Flour: This paleo flour, made with Brazilian yucca root, can be used as a one-to-one substitute for traditional wheat flour. We were impressed with the taste of sample chocolate chip cookies made with Otto's. The flour can be found locally at Whole Foods and Wegmans, and online at Amazon and through the company's e-store.

Unreal chocolate candies: This upstart natural candy company has obtained GFCO certification for its dark chocolate peanut butter cups, crispy dark chocolate peanut butter cups (made with quinoa bits) and dark chocolate almond butter cups. All ingredients are fair trade and sustainable. Unreal's candies are sold at Whole Food, Target and other stores, and look for a special holiday-themed 20-treat-pack of the cup varieties.

The Good Crisp: With a cleaner (and shorter) ingredient list than Lay's Stax, The Good Crisp stacked potato crisps come in three varieties: Original, Sour Cream & Onion and BBQ. The crisps have no artificial colors or flavors and are made with sustainable palm oil. The Good Crisp products can be found at Wegmans and other markets throughout the Northeast, Midwest and Western U.S.

Ethel's Baking Co.: This Michigan-based gluten-free bakery produces delectable, buttery brownies, blondies and shortcake-topped "dandy" bars. All of the them were great, though our favorite was the raspberry dandy. The entire line can be ordered through the company's website or via Amazon (which has either $10.00 flat-rate shipping or free shipping depending on the amount ordered).

The Soulfull Project: The Camden-based, Campbell Soup-backed The Soulfull Project will be introducing gluten-free hot cereals in single-serving-size packets early next year. For every serving of The Soulfull Project’s hot cereal purchased, the company donates a serving to a regional food bank. The flavors will include Hearty Grains & Seeds, Cinnamon Spice Multigrain and Irish Oatmeal. Currently, the gluten-free Hearty Grains & Seeds (14 oz. pouch) and Brown Sugar Pecan Multigrain cups are sold at Wegmans and through the company's website.

Other news from the expo: The Toasted Oat Bakehouse has changed the packaging for its soft gluten-free granola, switching from canisters to pouches; it can be found at Wegmans . . . Mi-Del will have limited-edition gluten-free Maple Ginger Creme cookies available for the winter holidays . . . Lundberg Family Farms was sampling its new line of gluten-free arancini (rice balls); the gouda & mozzarella ones were a hit . . . Smart Flour Foods sampled its new pizza snack bites, and they're worth waiting for . . . Camden County's Caesars Pasta has refreshed the look of its gluten-free pasta meals like lasagna, ravioli and gnocchi and brought them under the Gluten-Free Gourmet line  . . . Goodie Girl teased its new Caramel Apple cookies made with crunchy toffee and dried apple bits . . . Barbara's Bakery is adding a new gluten-free protein-focused Puffins cereal, Berry Burst; look for the Pumpkin variety to return this fall.

Disclosure: I receive a commission from purchases made through the Amazon affiliate link in this post. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

You Say You Want a Revolution

Whether or not you dunk your donuts, there's a new option for the sweet treats in the Philadelphia area. After much planning - including a change in location - Donut Revolution just opened for business in Barrington, New Jersey (131 Clements Bridge Rd., 856-546-0900).

Owner Tiffany Pesyna has set up shop a stone's throw off of Exit 29 of Route I-295 in Camden County, serving fresh "made without gluten" cake donuts alongside traditional ones. Pesyna explained that she doesn't call them "gluten free" only because she makes donuts with wheat flour in the same facility. However, she makes the without-gluten donuts first thing in the morning using a dedicated fryer and maintains a separate topping/dipping bar. When gluten-free customers order their made-to-order donuts, the staff washes their hands and changes their gloves before preparing them.

Customers can combine their favorite dips, toppings and drizzles: we preferred the vanilla over chocolate, but there's also coffee, rum and a daring sriracha chocolate dip. Toppings include M&Ms, Fruity Pebbles, chocolate chips, marshmallows and bacon, but if you want to "go naked" the plain donut was delicious on its own. Pesyna uses Bob's Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour as part of her recipe.

Prices for these gourmet donuts are reasonable: $1.75 for one; $7 for a four-pack; and $19 per dozen.

Friday, September 8, 2017

News & Notes: September 8, 2017

New Jersey-based GeeFree Foods has launched a line of gluten-free, all-natural microwavable sandwich pockets in three varieties: Sausage, Egg and Cheese; Buffalo Chicken; and Cheese Pizza. The pockets are made of GeeFree's signature gluten-free puff pastry dough also used for the company's franks in blankets and chicken pot pie. The sandwiches come two per box (suggested retail price of $6.99 per box) and are free of antibiotics, hormones, nitrates, corn and soy. The products will be in stores in the latter part of the fall.

Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders has kicked off the autumn apple season with Artisanal Blend. The new flavor is made with heirloom cider apple varieties and is available in 6-pack bottles, variety 12-pack, variety 24-pack, and limited-edition mini-can 4-packs. Meanwhile, Woodchuck has brought back its Fall Harvest Seasonal Cider, flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg and American white oak.

Route 20 IPA, a single-hop India Pale Ale, returns at Oregon's Ground Breaker Brewing. Named after the longest continuous road in the United States, this gluten-free IPA clocks in at 50 IBU and 6% alcohol by volume. The beer was designed to get all of its bittering, flavor and aroma from late additions of Santiam hops, which carry hints of peppery spice. Ground Breaker beers, including Route 20 IPA, can be shipped to addresses in Delaware, New Jersey (but not Pennsylvania) and other states through Bring On the Beer.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Beyond Celiac Launches Digital Community

Beyond Celiac, the national non-profit celiac-advocacy organization based in the Philadelphia suburbs, today announces the launch of Go Beyond Celiac, a digital community that will enable the group to accelerate treatment options by engaging people with celiac disease, creating an online portal to curated qualitative data about the experience of living with celiac disease, the path to diagnosis and disease management.

Go Beyond Celiac is designed to make it easier for people with celiac disease to share their stories at a population level with researchers and participate in research, including clinical trials. "Each person's experience of celiac disease is unique, from the symptoms a person has before diagnosis to how the disease responds to the gluten-free diet. A rich dataset of patients' journeys would help researchers focus on the important questions whose answers could ultimately improve the lives of those with the disease," notes Jake Hughey, Ph.D., a researcher at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who has celiac disease himself.

Go Beyond Celiac will capture patient data, including:
  • Experiences before, during and after diagnosis
  • Past and current symptoms
  • Psychosocial and economic impacts of living with celiac disease
The program also provides personalized interaction between community members and creates opportunities for dialog to identify unmet needs and opportunities for improved diagnoses, treatments, and to help our community live life to the fullest.

Go Beyond Celiac will also include a secure, one-of-a-kind celiac disease registry that will keep the community up to date on the latest in medical research and available clinical trials for which they qualify and in which they may wish to participate. In addition, the Go Beyond Celiac registry will be used to assist researchers in pre-screening and recruiting potential participants, reducing a barrier to successful research, accelerating opportunities to improve diagnosis rates, and helping people with celiac disease cope with this serious genetic autoimmune disorder.

Interested participants can get more information at the Go Beyond Celiac portal, which includes a FAQ section. Participant information is private and secure; Beyond Celiac has technology and processes in place to keep participant information private and secure. Before any information is shared with researchers, any information that identifies individuals is removed (like name and email address, for example).

Friday, September 1, 2017

News & Notes: September 1, 2017

Glutino has introduced Milano-like fudge and mint fudge Italian creme cookies as well as a version of graham crackers. Glutino parent Boulder Brands is offering shoppers a $7 rewards e-card when purchasing three Udi's, Glutino, evol, Gardein or Earth Balance products at one time. The rebate can be submitted up to three times per person through October 15.

Goodie Girl Cookies' new gluten-free fudge striped cookies are now available exclusively at Walmart. A 75-cents-off coupon is available at the company's website.

Schar's two newest crackers sold in the United States are sea salt snacker thins and European-made Italian crostini.

In addition to no added sugar, KIND's new Fruit Bites do not contain any juices, purees, concentrates, preservatives or genetically engineered ingredients. Each snack has three ingredients or less and is made with real fruit, like cherries, apples and mangoes. The suggested retail price is $4.99 per five-pack box.

In time for the fall, Whole Foods has debuted gluten-free pumpkin spice bites, pumpkin pie spiced apple-filled snacks.

Friday, August 18, 2017

News & Notes: August 18, 2017

Let's get the bad news out of the way first. The Jules Thin Crust location in Cherry Hill (1558 Kings Hwy. N., 856-448-4275) is closing on Sunday, August 27, leaving one less place in the area to order gluten-free pizza. The other Jules locations are not affected. reports that Washington Square West's Pennsylvania 6 has closed. The gastropub offered a number of gluten-free options.

On the plus side, reader Joe M. let me know that M.A.T.T.'s Gourmet Sliders has opened a storefront in University City section of Philadelphia (3601 Market St., 215-222-0195), serving burgers with buns (from a designated area of the grill) as well as wings and fries prepped in a dedicated fryer.
The two Delaware locations of Matt's Fish Camp - in Bethany (28635 Coastal Hwy., 302-539-2267) and Lewes (34401 Tenley Ct., 302-644-2267) - have gluten-free menus [Bethany/Lewes]. The Bethany location has gluten-free crabcakes, but note that both utilize shared fryers. (Hat tip to reader Melissa Y.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Cape Crusader

Andrea Tucker of Baltimore Gluten Free, a South Jersey native, has been dining at the Jersey Shore her entire life and eating gluten free there for the last seven summers. Her recent gluten-free finds in Cape May County include everything from bakeries to BBQ:


Fiesta Bowl at The Juice Pod in Avalon, New Jersey
The Juice Pod (2001 Dune Dr., 609-961-3404): Popular juice and smoothie bar that specializes in acai bowls. Gluten-free granola is available for a bowl topping. For lunch try the gluten free Fiesta Bowl (think Chipotle rice bowl with chicken and avocado) or Mediterranean Bowl, made with a quinoa base. They also sell gluten-free snacks like chips and crackers by the register.

Avalon Barbeque Co. (224 21st St., 609-967-8222): All BBQ proteins and sauces are gluten free.

Tortilla Flats (2540 Dune Dr., 609-967-5658): Mexican food landmark in Avalon with large selection of gluten free options marked by a sombrero on the menu. Gluten-free items are prepared in a separate work area.

Isabel’s Bakery & Cafe (2285 Dune Dr., 609-967-5776): Sweet Christine's gluten free cookies and muffins individually wrapped by the register.

Sundae Best (2900 Dune Dr., 609-368-1121): Delicious homemade ice cream, including gluten-free flavors and cake and sugar cones. Upon mentioning gluten free, they will scoop your ice cream from a new container with a clean scoop.

Stone Harbor

Chill (224 96th St., 609-368-8500): Outdoor dining in a cool rooftop setting. Chill has a separate gluten-free menu that includes Kinnikinnick bread with a separate toaster, and burgers and pancakes are made in a separate pan. BYOB (bring your own burger bun).

Shore Juice (261 97th St., 609-610-1700): Real fruit smoothies, veggie smoothies and acai bowls with gluten-free granola available for the bowls.

Café Noir (261 97th St., 609-553-7080): European-inspired coffee shop and café serving individually wrapped gluten-free muffins and bagels. There is a separate toaster for bagels and staff will open a new cream-cheese container to avoid cross contamination.

Read about more of Andrea's favorite gluten-free-friendly spots in Cape May and Atlantic counties in her latest blog post at Baltimore Gluten Free.

Friday, August 4, 2017

News & Notes: August 4, 2017

During our recent vacation in Spain, France and Italy, we discovered so many gluten-free options nearly everywhere we went, from restaurants and gelaterias to coffee shops and pharmacies. I'd venture to say that Western Europe is at least 10 years ahead of the United States when it comes to accessible and safe gluten-free foods - even McDonald's has gluten-free burgers in Spain and Italy (among other countries):

We found Kit Kat-like candy bars and chocolate-covered palmiers (elephant ears) in Barcelona:

Madeleines in Nice, France:

Brioche bread in Capri, Italy:

Back on American soil, Amy's Kitchen has debuted a number of new gluten-free frozen entrees, including a vegetarian paella bowl, pesto pizza and spinach pizza made with rice flour crusts, Mexican breakfast bake with black beans, bell peppers and roasted potatoes and a country-style breakfast bake with meatless sausage.

Reader Lesley F. recommended Caulipower pizza, which she purchased at a South Jersey ShopRite. She wrote that the crust was fluffier than most gluten-free frozen pizzas. Varieties include Margherita, Three Cheese, Veggie and plain crust.

Reader Christin S. suggests two area restaurants being added the growing number of listings on the Gluten Free Philly restaurant app: Victor Cafe in the Bella Vista section of South Philadelphia (1303 Dickinson St., 215-468-3040), which can make its protein entrees gluten free in addition to those noted on the dinner menu (and where the servers sing!) and Kitchen 519 in Glendora, New Jersey (200 E. Evesham Rd., 856-312-8629), which has a separate gluten-free menu.

The Elevation Burger locations in Collegeville (201 Plaza Dr., 610-831-1360) and Willow Grove (3945 Welsh Rd., 215-659-1008) now offer gluten-free burger buns for a $2 surcharge. (Thanks Brian H.) Other area locations can prepare burgers in lettuce wraps, while all have separately prepared fries.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

With the updated Gluten Free Philly app for iOS and Android devices, find more than 1,600 area gluten-free-friendly businesses on the go, search by cuisine or neighborhood, make reservations and more!