Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

(Photo Credit: Okie Dokie Donuts/Instagram)
Carol Ha has a secret, but she's happy to let people in on it. If you place an order with her made-to-order gluten-free donut business Okie Dokie Donuts, she'll give you the details on when (Saturdays) and where (somewhere in South Philly) to pick them up.

Ha changes the varieties of her small-batch, artisanal cake donuts monthly. Currently, she's offering chocolate, grapefruit honey cardamom, blueberries & basil, Vietnamese coffee, cherry vanilla pie and birthday cake. (Grapefruit honey cardamom and coffee were our faves but all were delicious.) Although Ha makes the donuts in a shared commissary, all equipment, including the fryer, are dedicated gluten free and the equipment and surfaces are cleaned before production.

Vietnamese coffee donuts are among the current options 
at Okie Dokie Donuts
(Photo Credit: Okie Dokie Donuts/Facebook)
So what are the ground rules to get in on the secret? Regular-size donuts are $12 per half-dozen minimum order and $20 for 12. Orders must be placed via phone (215-939-6585) or email at least two days in advance, with pick-ups on Saturdays and deliveries to Center City Philly by arrangement ($5 delivery charge).

Ha is exploring options for a storefront or food truck but, for now, pick-up and delivery are the only options for custom orders. Follow Okie Dokie on Instagram for menu updates and details on upcoming pop-ups in South Philly, including one at Primal Supply Meats (1538 E. Passyunk Ave.) this Saturday, June 23.
Enjoy $20 off your first Snap Kitchen meal plan!

Friday, June 8, 2018

News & Notes: June 8, 2018

Hometown snack purveyor Herr's Foods has introduced sweet and crunchy funnel cake-flavored snack balls that are gluten free.

Berks County's Sweet Street has added gluten-free brownies to its Manifesto line of baked goods. The individually wrapped brownies are made with a gluten-free flour blend, cage-free eggs and dark Honduran chocolate. The company's gluten-free chewy marshmallow bars are sold at Barnes & Noble bookstores.

Annie's Homegrown has debuted gluten-free Cheddar Bunny Tails snack crackers. The new cheese crackers will be making their way to stores this summer.

A few more Ocean City businesses are accommodating gluten-free customers. TJ's Ice Cream Plus in Ocean City (100 E. Atlantic Blvd., 609-398-5055) has gluten-free cones; all of the chocolate flavors have gluten but many others do not. On the Boardwalk, all of the fries at the new Frenchy's Fries (822 Boardwalk, 609-513-3144) are gluten free, as are the fresh-cut (but not spiral) fries at
Curly's Fries (944 Boardwalk, 609-398-1972).

Center City Philadelphia is primed for poké. At The PokéSpot in Rittenhouse Square (1804 Chestnut St., 267-541-2183), all bases and proteins are gluten free, as are most toppings. The sriracha aioli and tamari soy sauces also are gluten free. Opening this summer East of Market Street (1037 Chestnut St.) is the first of several area Pokéworks locations. The online allergen guide lists all proteins and mix-ins and all but one base as gluten free, along with many sauces and toppings.

At long last, my favorite fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant, CAVA, is coming to the Philadelphia area later this year with a location in Rittenhouse Square (1713 Chestnut St.). Most menu items are gluten free.

In Manayunk, Boostin' Bowls (100 Levering St., 267-331-8974) has açaí bowls with gluten-free granola as an available topping along with smoothies. Meanwhile, the rapidly growing Playa Bowls has new locations on Beach Haven on Long Beach Island (610 N. Bay Ave., 609-467-5818) and in Forked River (44M Manchester Ave., 609-994-2828). (Hat tip to Facebook follower Kevin K.)

Prohibition Taproom in the Spring Garden section of Philadelphia (501 N. 13th St., 215-238-1818) offers gluten-free fried chicken every Tuesday prepared in a separate fryer.

The menu at the new Rice & Curry in Ambler (521 Limekiln Pike, 215-390-1945) has several gluten-free options like pad Thai, chicken coconut soup and curry.

The newest tenant on the main drag at the University of Delaware is Peruvian restaurant Pachamama (76 E. Main St., 302-738-3800), which opened yesterday. (Thanks Beth S.). Although the signature rotisserie chicken is not gluten free, many gluten-free items are listed on the menu. Avoid the fried items like the banana chips, though, as there is no dedicated fryer.

Reader Melissa D. let me know that the menu at Arooga's in Allentown (327 Star Rd., 888-622-9464) is heavily annotated with gluten-free choices. The kitchen maintains a separate fryer for wings and tater tots.

The Lehigh Valley also has a gluten-free bakery in Kendra's Buttercup Bakery (484-226-0517). Based in Bangor, Northampton County, Kendra's is an made-to-order bakery offering pick up and local deliveries. Orders can be placed online or over the phone.

With yet another round of rainy weather on tap for the area, stay dry and have a great weekend!

- Michael

With the updated Gluten Free Philly app for iOS and Android devices, find more than 1,700 area gluten-free-friendly businesses on the go, search by cuisine or neighborhood, make reservations and more!

Friday, May 25, 2018

News & Notes: May 25, 2018

If you're one of the tens of thousands that will head down the Jersey Shore for some R&R this weekend, the entirely-gluten-free Heart Beet Kitchen has you covered. The Westmont-based bistro recently opened a second location, this one in Ocean City (801 8th St., 609-938-9786). The menu is also vegan, dairy free and peanut free.

Another new 100-percent-gluten-free restaurant in the area just opened. A&M Factory in Malvern (360 Lancaster Ave., 484-318-7537). A&M's menu includes sandwiches, salads and smoothies.

Also new to Malvern is the gluten-free-friendly fast-casual Mediterranean Zoes Kitchen (50 National Ave., 610-232-2010), which opened yesterday.

At last week's Greater Philly Gluten Free Expo, longtime reader Diane M. let me know that Alumni Grill has expanded from Wildwood and has opened a location in Rio Grande (1050 Rt. 47 S., 609-854-3444).  The gluten-free menu [scroll to bottom] has burgers, sandwiches, salads and fries prepped in a dedicated fryer. She also recommends Gecko's, serving Southwestern cuisine in West Cape May (479 W. Perry St., 609-898-7750) and surf-and-turf at The Surfing Pig in North Wildwood (231 W. 10th Ave., 609-522-0900) as accommodating shore restaurants.

Playa Bowls has opened two more Jersey Shore locations, one in Stone Harbor (261 96th St., 609-830-5492) and another in Ocean City (744 Boardwalk, 609-862-2500). Both will be running full hours by June 15. A Playa Bowls location has debuted in Wayne (150 E. Lancaster Ave., 610-687-2127) and one is opening this summer in Rittenhouse Square at 2116 Chestnut St. All locations have fruit bowls with gluten-free granola by request and smoothies.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

To Market, To Market


Opening this summer in Old City, Philadelphia's original commodities exchange will be transformed into an artisan marketplace in the style of New York's Chelsea Market and Washington, D.C.'s Union Market. The Bourse Marketplace (111 S. Independence Mall E.) will feature nearly 30 food and beverage tenants, including many with gluten-free selections. The list includes:

  • TaKorean: With four locations in metro D.C., TaKorean will bring a combination of Korean inspired flavors with a Latin-American twist. In addition to their signature Korean tacos made with corn tortillas, the gluten-free options will include Korean rice and salad bowls. They also offer a customizable menu comprised of two gluten-free proteins (tofu and cauliflower), romaine and spiced kale slaws, as well as several toppings and garnishes.
  • Prescription Chicken: The first brick-and-mortar location for this acclaimed D.C.-area soup purveyor will offer their signature made-to-order chicken-based soups. All broths are gluten free and they even have gluten-free matzoh balls!
  • Mi & Yu Noodle Bar: This fast-casual spot based in the D.C. region will offer artisanal bowls with gluten-free pho rice noodles and several gluten-free broths: spicy "kimchi style," vegetarian and savory miso. Avoid fried proteins since they are cooked in a shared fryer.
  • Ka’moon: Fast-casual, Halal-prepared Egyptian cuisine from the folks behind The Taza Truck in Easton, Pennsylvania. Look for build-your-own gluten-free rice bowls.
  • Abunai Poke: From Hawaii by way of D.C., this quick-service shop will have a selection of poke and various Hawaiian dishes. The gluten-free proteins include plain tuna, plain and marinated salmon, lobster, octopus, shrimp and tofu. Also gluten free are the mixed greens, all mix-ins and toppings, chili pepper aioli, wasabi aioli and miso dressing.
  • Rebel Taco: A Mexican taco purveyor from D.C.-based Social Restaurant Group, Rebel Taco will serve tacos made with gluten-free tortillas.
  • Chaat and Chai: The Indian street food stand will have gluten-free options like curries and soups.
  • 3rd & Ferry: A new concept from Easton's acclaimed fish market will boast an expansive raw bar in addition to a full-service bar serving up oyster-friendly wines, cocktails and more.
  • Break Juicery: Boasting locally sourced and organic fruits and vegetables, Break Juicery will offer a variety of juices and smoothies as well as açaí bowls.
  • Chocodiem: With the exception of certain seasonal varieties, the hand-crafted, artisanal truffles at this Easton-based Belgian chocolatier will be gluten free, as will all of the macarons. Also gluten free will be the house-made gelato, frozen chocolate drinks, chocolate cocktails and selected desserts and confections.
  • Olive With a Twist: A gourmet pantry originating in Easton, Pennsylvania offering a curated selection of cheeses, pâté, charcuterie, olive oils, balsamics, sauces and more.
  • TAPS Fill Station: Philadelphia will be the second outpost from the Baltimore-based concept specializing in draft booze with a solid focus on eco-friendly and sustainable practices. Virtually everything served will be sourced from within a 250-mile radius. Five lines will hold hard cider, two will be stocked with kegged cocktails, six more will be split between red and white wines, and mead also will make an appearance.
  • Scoop DeVille: A Philadelphia institution since 1989, Scoop DeVille offers several gluten-free ice cream and yogurt flavors and dozens of toppings.

Friday, May 11, 2018

News & Notes: May 11, 2018

May is Celiac Awareness Month, which means that Aldi markets expand their usual variety of private-label gluten-free products and add some limited-time offerings. New this year under the liveGfree label are beef, chicken and vegetarian empanadas and two cake mixes, Key lime and Meyer lemon. Under the market's Never Any! brand, look for ancient grain-crusted tempura chicken bites with sweet chili and orange sauces. The crust is made with a blend of rice, amaranth, millet and quinoa.

Freschetta is expanding its gluten-free frozen pizza options with Tuscan style chicken and Spinach & Roasted Mushroom varieties.

Photo Credit: The Impulsive Buy
Stouffer’s frozen foods brand has gone upscale with its new Urban Bistro line of single-serve, culinary-inspired meals. One of them, Chicken & Cheddar Grits, is gluten free.

Last time out, I mentioned the new Nature's Path turmeric cereal that turns milk golden yellow. The company also has gluten-free Purple Bam! cereal, a blend of baobab, açaí and maqui that naturally colors milk - wait for it - purple. For more traditional tastes, Nature's Path has also introduced organic Cheetah Chomps Berry Blast cereal.

Conte's Pasta, based nearby in Vineland, New Jersey, has debuted gluten-free skillet meals - Chicken Alfredo and Chicken Florentine - made with penne pasta. The new meals can be ordered directly from the company's website.

Photo credit: The Impulsive Buy
Tootsie Roll's Andes candy brand has a new snackable gluten-free Mint & Cookie mix made with chunks of crème de menthe candy and chocolatey cookies.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Greater Philly Gluten Free Expo Returns on May 19


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for the Greater Philly Gluten Free Expo, which has provided me with compensation. [Disclosure policy]


With the tremendous increase of gluten-free products and restaurant options in the Delaware Valley, the third annual Greater Philly Gluten Free Expo no doubt will be bigger and better than ever this year. The expo is scheduled for Saturday, May 19 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks (100 Station Ave.).

The event will once again include local and national exhibitors, educational presentations, door prizes and, of course, plenty of gluten-free samples and concessions. The expo will be open to the public from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Hall C. VIP tickets are sold out, but general-admission tickets are still available. General-admission tickets are $10.00 each in advance ($15 at the door), with kids 12 and under free, and can be purchased by phone at 1-800-827-6397, at any Wegmans service desk or online. Free parking is available at the Expo Center. 


More than 90 exhibitors will be sampling, selling and promoting products there. Many companies participating have carved out a niche by producing products that are difficult to replicate or find in a gluten-free form, such as the soft pretzels made by Tonya's Gluten-Free Kitchen and The Greater Knead bagels. Local restaurants at the event include Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar, The Melting Pot, Wildflour Cafe and True Food Kitchen, and there'll be baked goods from The Happy Mixer and others. Attendees over 21 can also try beverages from Aurochs Brewing Co., Blueprint Brewing Co.Stateside Urbancraft Vodka and Boardroom Spirits.

Featured speakers include baking expert, author and celiac advocate Jules Shepard as well as Marla Gold, M.D., Professor of Health Management and Policy at Drexel University. There will also be a session on the art of “Traveling When Gluten-Free.”

The advocacy organization Beyond Celiac, with headquarters in Ambler, is an expo partner and will be promoting the need for celiac disease testing at their booth. I'll be at the Beyond Celiac booth for most of the event (and will also be a part of the VIP meet-and-greet, which starts at 8:45 a.m.), so be sure to say hello.

The event is social-media friendly; follow the expo on Twitter (@PhillyGFExpo), Facebook (/PhillyGlutenFreeExpo) and Instagram (@PhillyGlutenFreeExpo) and share your favorite photos and products from the event.

The event organizers are giving my blog readers a chance to win two pairs of general-admission tickets to the expo (one pair per winner). To enter, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter box below. Entries are being accepted through 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, May 6. The winners will need to respond to a notification email within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway. Good luck!

Friday, April 27, 2018

News & Notes: April 27, 2018

Snyder's of Hanover, now owned by Campbell Soup Company, has released new gluten-free snack flavors across several product lines. Gluten-Free Hot Buffalo Wing Pretzel Pieces are the first offering in the popular Pretzel Pieces line free from gluten, soy, dairy and eggs. Snyder's collection of certified gluten-free baked crackers, Wholey Cheese!, have two new flavors: Spicy Pepper Jack and White Cheddar & Chive.

Crunchmaster is introducing two new gluten-free product extensions. The company's Vegetable Cheese Crisps are made with seven vegetables - spinach, kale, carrot, red pepper, pumpkin, beet and onion. The cheese varieties include white Cheddar, Asiago and Parmesan Romano. The new Protein Brownie Thins come in three flavors: homestyle Milk Chocolate, Chocolate with a hint of cherry, and Dark Chocolate.

Reader Marie S. let me know that Royal Asia's Boom Boom Shrimp, sold at Whole Foods in the seafood freezer section, is gluten free. The appetizer is similar to Bonefish Grill's fried Bang Bang Shrimp.

If you haven't already noticed, the tumeric herb is the latest ingredient that's trending in the food world. Nature's Path's new gluten-free Golden Tumeric cereal is made with corn flakes and is spiced with tumeric, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. It's currently available at Costco.
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New from Katz Gluten Free are Chocolate Creme and Lemon Creme cupcakes. Use promo code WELCOME20 for 20% off your entire order; there's also free shipping for orders over $50. (Your purchase through these affiliate links will support Gluten Free Philly).

Click HERE to purchase tickets!
North Italia, a Western U.S.-based Italian concept from the owners of Zinburger, is coming to King of Prussia (350 Mall Blvd.) this summer. The menu includes gluten-free pizza and pasta that's prepared separately to avoid cross-contact.

The menu at Lil Saigon in Linwood (2110 New Rd., 609-904-2778) indicates which items contain gluten. Most boxes and soup bowls can be prepared gluten free.

Urbano Mexican Kitchen & Bar in Bethlehem (526 Main St., 610-419-1736) offers gluten-free tacos and rice bowls on its dinner menu. Stella Cidre hard cider is available from the bar.

Delaware Online reports that Wilmington's Cupcake Heaven is closing next month. The 10-year-old bakery has offered gluten-free cupcakes since its inception.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is hosting a support group meeting this Sunday at the Specialty Care Center in King of Prussia (550 S. Goddard Blvd.) from noon to 2 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring a gluten-free snack to share. RSVP with the number of children and caregivers attending via email.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

With the updated Gluten Free Philly app for iOS and Android devices, find nearly 1,700 area gluten-free-friendly businesses on the go, search by cuisine or neighborhood, make reservations and more!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Fielder's Choice: 2018 Gluten-Free Guide to Major League Baseball Ballparks

Tater Kegs are one of many gluten-free options at Yankee Stadium
Another baseball season brings even more gluten-free options. Many Major League Baseball ballparks have dedicated gluten-free concession stands and carts, while others have expanded their offerings.

Here's where you can find gluten-free concessions at each of the 30 MLB ballparks for the 2018 season (bookmark this post and check back throughout the season for updates; you can email me with any additions/changes that you find).

Incidentally, the Seattle Mariners are hosting a gluten-free night at Safeco Field on Tuesday, May 3 with a menu that includes hot dogs, burgers, meatball sandwiches, potato salad and Caesar salad.

Friday, April 13, 2018

News & Notes: April 13, 2018


Trader Joe's has a new gluten-free cereal on the shelf: Crunchy Maple Ladders. It's likely that the product is made by Australia's Freedom Foods, as the ingredient label pairs closely to the latter's Maple Crunch cereal.


Sweet Loren's is expanding its line of gluten-free place-and-bake cookies to include Sugar, Fudgy Brownie and Oatmeal Cranberry, joining original Chocolate Chunk.The gluten-free varieties are manufactured in a dedicated facility. The company is offering a $1-off coupon at its website.


Two of the four new LoveTheWild microwaveable seafood bowls coming this fall to Whole Foods, Wegmans and Target are gluten free. The Hawaiian Style Tropical Bowl and Baja Style Taco Bowl both feature barramundi, also known as Asian sea bass.


Among the new products added to SeaPak's Selections line is a gluten-free Thai Coconut Shrimp soup, available at select Walmart stores nationwide.

After reading Tuesday's post about the new gluten-free stand at Citizens Bank Park, many readers commented via email and Facebook that they were less than impressed with the changes they encountered while attending games during the Phillies' recent home stand. I shared these views with Aramark and the company has decided to bring back the concourse-level stand-alone cart with dedicated prep area. Stay tuned for the new location and menu options, along with a look at gluten-free options at MLB ballparks around the country.

Most of the menu at Oink & Moo BBQ in Voorhees (910 Haddonfield-Berlin Rd., 856-282-7630) is gluten free. Safe options include all meats (brisket, pulled pork, chicken, wings and ribs) and sauces, tacos on corn tortillas, assorted sides (cole slaw, greens, baked beans, black bean salad, potato salad and sweet potato) and chili. There's currently a Groupon offer for Oink & Moo: $10 for $20 worth of food. (Disclosure: I get a small commission for purchase as a Groupon affiliate.)

At Andale Latino Grill in Marlton (1041 Rt. 73 N.,609-535-3000) and Feasterville (144 E. Street Rd., 215-494-9505), the only non-gluten-free protein is the fried tilapia. Otherwise, gluten-free options include all bowls, tacos on corn tortillas, patacones and arepa sandwiches, and all sides (including chips and empanadas).

Snap Custom Pizza, which offers personalized gluten-free pizzas prepared separately from their traditional counterparts, is now open in Bala Cynwyd (35 E. City Ave., 484-270-8636).

DiBartolo Bakery in Collingswood (667 Haddon Ave., 856-869-3565) can bake gluten-free cakes, from strawberry shortcakes to Italian rum cakes to wedding cakes. Gluten-free cake layers are made first thing in the morning before traditional cakes and are assembled in a flourless area of the shop. All equipment and utensils are washed before gluten-free orders are made.

Sprouts Farmers Market is coming to Philadelphia this fall with a location at 1000 S. Broad St. in the new Lincoln Square development.

According to Philly.com, Shake Shack is opening a third Philadelphia storefront later this year at 1132 Chestnut St. at the former Philly Cupcake location. The New York-based better-burger chain has gluten-free burger buns.

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!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Eating Gluten Free at Citizens Bank Park


Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies, has added a number of new features for the 2018 Major League Baseball season, including a wiffle ball field for kids. One new concept from last year, Zoom Food, is where gluten-free options can now be found. Zoom Food, located in Section 126, has a Wawa-style touch-screen ordering system. Gluten-free options at Zoom include cheesesteaks, hot dogs, pizza, chicken tenders, soft pretzels, brownies, cookies, chips, peanuts and Redbridge beer. Additional options will be added throughout the season.

In addition, gluten-free Cobb salads, loaded nachos, vegetarian chili and brownies are now available at Harry the K's, while the Ashburn Alley Chickie's & Pete's Crabfries stand prepares only fries in dedicated fryers. There are several Rita's stands throughout the ballpark serving gluten-free water ice (Sections 106, 116, 132, 208, 220, 316 and Ashburn Alley), and Redbridge beer, Stella Cidre hard cider and Spiked Seltzer are available at various stands, including at Brewerytown (Sections 113, 139, 204, 209, 318, 323, 229).

UPDATED 4/12/18: Due to popular demand, the dedicated stand has returned as a dedicated portable cart on the concourse level (Sections 125/126).

Friday, March 30, 2018

News & Notes: March 30, 2018


Grainful has reformulated its frozen entrées by incorporating a new gluten-free grain blend of whole oats, quinoa and sorghum and layering on more vegetables, proteins, and sauces. Grainful also transitioned to using a bowl in the packaging. They come in eight varieties, including Tuscan Bean & Kale, Unstuffed Pepper, Vegetarian Chili and Porcini Mushroom Chicken. The revamped products have already started hitting shelves at leading retailers across the nation including Wegmans, ShopRite, Safeway, HEB, Giant Eagle and Whole Foods. The entrées will also be available for purchase online on the Grainful online store and at Amazon.com this month.

Nona Lim’s new instant noodle bowls come in three non-GMO, gluten-free varieties: Thai Coconut Lime, Chicken Pho and a vegan Green Curry. Each 14.5-ounce bowl is cold-shipped for freshness and sold in the refrigerated aisle for a suggested retail price of $6.99.

Kidfresh will introduce its first gluten-free product, a new White Mac 'n Cheese, later this spring. Kidfresh offers a line of children's favorites enriched with hidden vegetables and without any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The line of frozen meals is nationally distributed and available in over 10,000 stores.


Truly Spiked & Sparkling has debuted its newest gluten-free alcoholic sparkling water: Truly Wild Berry, with a hint of natural juiciness and sweetness from California strawberries, raspberries and Marion blackberries. Truly Wild Berry will be sold in six-packs and featured in a new Berry Variety Pack with two other exclusive flavors, Blueberry & Acai and Raspberry & Lime, along with Pomegranate.

Locally, Bridget's Steakhouse in Ambler (8 W. Butler Pike, 267-465-2000) notes gluten-free options on its dinner menu, as does the refreshed Bar 1929 at Woodcrest Country Club in Cherry Hill (300 E. Evesham Rd., 856-439-4300).

Not only is the all-gluten-free Real Food Eatery planning to open a second Center City location this spring at 1700 Market St., one in the Fairmount section (4040 City Ave.) is coming soon.

Chickie's & Pete's opened its newest sports bar this week in Marlton (25 Rt. 73 S., 856-452-5126). The bone-in wings and Crabfries are gluten free, prepared in separate fryers from breaded items.

Pasta Pomodoro, the longtime gluten-free-friendly Italian restaurant in Voorhees, has lost its lease. Elsewhere, the Rittenhouse Square outpost of grilled-cheese and shake purveyor MilkHouse has closed, but it's business as usual at the Suburban Station and 30th Street Station locations.

Have a great holiday 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!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Raising the Steaks

Butcher and Singer is located at a one-time financial brokerage
Restaurateur Stephen Starr has Philadelphia's gluten-free dining scene covered. For Asian, Buddakan, Pod and Morimoto check that box. For Mexican, there's El Rey. Latin? Alma de Cuba. But how does he handle the classic American steakhouse? Quite well, I can report.

At a recent media dine, my wife and I had the opportunity to enjoy a lovely dinner at Butcher and Singer near Rittenhouse Square (1500 Walnut St., 215-732-4444). The restaurant, named for a former financial brokerage there, is located in the former home of the famed Striped Bass seafood restaurant. With its high ceilings and dim lights, the dining room has the look and feel of a 1940s-style clubhouse. 


Most of the traditional menu carries over to the gluten-free version, with a few exceptions. For starters, I ordered the maple bourbon bacon ($12), a thick slab of Nueske's pork that pulled apart like ribs. My wife's wedge salad ($13) was sprinkled with bacon bits and crumbled blue cheese.


I'm sure it offends the purists, but we enjoy our steaks well done, and the perfectly charred filet mignon ($42) did not disappoint. (The fact that they steaks were marinated in butter didn't hurt either.) My wife opted to get hers Oscar-style, with jumbo lump crab meat on asparagus on top and Bearnaise sauce alongside.


The beef was rivaled, however, by the stuffed hash browns we shared as a side, which, unlike the French fries, don't go in a shared fryer. The pan-fried shredded potatoes ($15) are loaded with Vidalia onion strings, sour cream and even more (cubed) spuds. The salty, savory dish was a worthy accompaniment to our main course.


Despite our best efforts, we couldn't resist the sweet siren call of dessert; we substituted vanilla ice cream for butter pecan in the butterscotch sundae ($7). The kitchen omitted the blondie square from the glass to keep it gluten free.

The drinks menu has a variety of wines and spirits, and even a Green's gluten-free amber ale ($22).

Like those in Chicago, Atlanta and other major cities, steakhouses in Philadelphia have their own styles; Butcher and Singer is classy without being stuffy. Ambience aside, though, it's the food that guests are going for, and it's the food that will bring us back to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion.

DISCLOSURE: Starr Restaurants provided us with a complimentary meal. However, the opinions expressed in this review are mine and were not influenced in any way by the compensation.

Friday, March 16, 2018

News & Notes: March 16, 2018

Before digging in to the news of the day, I want to thank all of my readers - new and old - for supporting my passion in publishing this blog. Yesterday marked the 9th anniversary of my first post, which was a simple "Welcome." Since then, the gluten-free world has grown tremendously. It's so much easier now for my son to eat gluten free, whether in the kitchen or out of the house, than it was when I first started this endeavor. Though we've made much progress, our voices must continue to be heard.

Last week's Expo West gourmet and healthy foods trade show brought word of a number of new gluten-free products that are just out or will be soon. For starters, you can pretend you're back in college with Lotus Foods' rice ramen noodle soup. Organic brown rice noodles are blended with vegetables and spices to create three certified-gluten-free varieties: Masala Curry, Tom Yum and Spicy Miso.

Bobo's is adding to its line of gluten-free snacks with TOAST’R pastries, baked oat crusts filled with jams and nut butter. TOAST’R will launch nationally starting at Whole Foods Market in May.  Each box will retail at $2.49 and will come in four flavors: Blueberry Lemon Poppyseed, Strawberry Jam, Chocolate Almond Butter and Chocolate Peanut Butter. Bobo's products are certified gluten free by the GFCO.

Quinn Snacks announced two new additions to its gluten-free pretzel line, Maple Oat Twists and Deli Rye Style Pretzel Rods. All Quinn pretzels use Kansas-grown sorghum flour.

Birch Benders is launching of a new line of frozen toaster waffles in four flavors, including a gluten-free Paleo variety made in Belgium.

Friday, March 2, 2018

News & Notes: March 2, 2018

Hoping to turn around its reputation for "holey" bread, Udi's Gluten Free has sought to improve two of its best-selling loaves. The Multigrain and Soft White Sandwich breads have larger slices and a softer texture. The Multigrain variety is sold in 12-oz. loaves, while the white comes in 12- and 24-oz. versions.


In addition to puff pastry dough, Schar is also importing several other gluten-free frozen items to the U.S. this year, including kaiser rolls and pain au chocolat pastries. Like Schar's croissants, the pastries are made with certified gluten-free wheat starch, which is more commonly found in gluten-free products in Europe. You can read about certified gluten-free wheat starch at Schar's website as well as Gluten-Free Living and Gluten Free Watchdog; consuming products with certified gluten-free wheat starch is a personal decision for those with Celiac Disease; such products are not appropriate for those with wheat allergies.


Available in Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut varieties, Simple Mills’ new gluten-free soft-baked cookies are made with whole-food ingredients like almond flour, honey and coconut sugar. They have no refined sugars or preservatives. Each package contains eight cookies and retails for $4.99.


RP’s Gluten-Free Pasta is rebranding to become Taste Republic. The new Taste Republic pasta line will continue to be certified gluten-free, Kosher, and include fresh pasta favorites such as fettuccine, fusilli and lasagna as well as new items like plantain linguine. Look for the new line to be on retail shelves by May.

Locally, Snap Custom Pizza has opened its newest location in Jenkintown (1621 The Fairway, 215-935-6348), where guests can order custom-made gluten-free pizzas.

Turning Point just opened another southern New Jersey location in Moorestown (1690 Nixon Dr., 856-840-6167. The local breakfast/lunch cafe chain offers a gluten-free menu.

IndeBlue has closed its original location in Collingswood; its Philadelphia outpost in Midtown Village (205 S. 13th St., 215-545-4633) remains open.

Stephen Starr's Philadelphia restaurants have long been accommodating for gluten-free diets. I was able to gather (and have linked to) the current gluten-free menus at Pod, Jones, El Rey, Continental in Old City, Butcher & Singer, Buddakan, Barclay Prime and Alma de Cuba; others, like Morimoto, The Dandelion and Talula's Garden, have lists on site. Note that some restaurants, like Buddakan, do not have dedicated gluten-free fryers; if you're considering ordering fried items, be sure to check with management in advance or when you arrive.

Registration for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's annual Celiac Disease Education Day on Sunday, March 25 is now open. The 13th annual event will take place from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Colket Translational Research Building on CHOP’s campus. Children in attendance are provided the opportunity to attend interactive age specific lectures and to learn through play with CHOP child life specialists. Complimentary gluten-free meals are provided, and attendees can sample gluten-free products from several vendors. I'll be at the Beyond Celiac table, so feel free to stop by and say hello.

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!