Tuesday, December 16, 2014

For Your Eyes Only

Within a few hours' drive from Center City Philadelphia, adults can responsibly sample gluten-free libations at cideries, breweries and wineries. You can add distilleries to the list with the opening of Lazy Eye Distillery, handcrafting vodka made from fermented grapes.

Based in Richland, New Jersey (in Atlantic County, about halfway between Vineland and Atlantic City), the family-owned Lazy Eye (1328 Harding Hwy.) is among the first in the Garden State to take advantage of a new law dramatically reducing the cost of a distillery operating license.

All of the distillery's spirits are gluten free, from the flagship Lazy Eye Vodka to two varieties coming in 2015: citrus vodka Lazy Eye Special and Raki, a spirit celebrating the Greek heritage of owners Nick and Carol Kafkalas.

Distillery tours and vodka tastings take place every Saturday by reservation only. The cost is $10 per person and includes three tastings. The namesake vodka is available for purchase at the distillery.

Friday, December 12, 2014

News & Notes: December 12, 2014

From the West Coast to University City in West Philadelphia comes Wahoo's Tacos & More (3180 Chestnut St., 267-737-9876), where tacos and enchiladas can be made with corn tortillas. The currently available proteins - chicken, pork, steak and fish - are gluten free, though the tortilla chips are cooked in a shared fryer.

Nearly the entire menu is or can be made gluten free at the newly minted SouthHouse in South Philly (2535 S. 13th St., 267-457-3682). Look for drunken onion soup (made with cider and gluten-free bread), salads, tacos and sandwiches.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wegmans Gets Fresh

As if we need another reason to love Wegmans, the Mid-Atlantic supermarket chain now has an assortment of fresh gluten-free treats in the Bakery departments of all stores. All of the treats are baked and packaged in a dedicated gluten-free facility to prevent any cross contact with gluten-containing foods or ingredients.

Friday, December 5, 2014

News & Notes: December 5, 2014

Two Cocco's Pizza locations in the western suburbs have expanded their gluten-free choices. The Springfield location (35 E. Woodland Ave., 610-544-6730) not only has pizza on the menu, but also fries, wings and sandwiches along with a dedicated fryer. The menu in Downingtown (260 Norwood Rd., 610-873-2088) has pizza, crab cakes, chicken tenders, hoagies and steaks - even Tonya's soft pretzels.

For South Jerseyans like myself who have only occasionally (if ever) enjoyed Jules Thin Crust's gluten-free pizza, change is nigh. Philly.com reports that the newest Jules location will open next month at the Ellisburg Shopping Center in Cherry Hill (1558 Kings Hwy. N.). According to the story, a Newtown Square location is in the works. (You can read about the gluten-free crust and prep here.)

At Penn's Landing, the Blue Cross RiverRink (101 S. Columbus Blvd., 215-922-2386) has opened for another season and will be in operation seven days a week, including holidays, until March 1, 2015. Garces Events is providing a couple of gluten-free options at the venue: The Lodge Restaurant has a Village Burger with a gluten-free roll (something not currently available at Village Whiskey on Rittenhouse Square), while the Distrito Cantina Truck will serve assorted tacos and hot dogs on gluten-free rolls.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rockhill & Roll

When legendary Cherry Hill mainstay (and definitely-not-gluten-free) Big John's Steaks and Pizza closed its doors in 2012 after more than 30 years, local foodies were curious to see what would replace the once-popular shop. Nearly two years later, the answer is here.

Rockhill (1800 Rt. 70 E., 856-424-4455) is the concept of Andrew Welder, a Cherry Hill native whose family has long run a sandwich shop in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Welder had the Big John's building torn down and created a sleek, handsome structure in its place. He kept Big John's staples like pizza and cheesesteaks but modernized the menu, developing many celiac-friendly options.