Friday, October 30, 2009

News & Notes

There's been a lot of interest in the current Goodies Giveaway - a copy of Jacqueline Mallorca's Gluten-Free Italian cookbook, just published this month - but there's still time get in your entry. Just write a comment to the post on your favorite Italian food, along with a way for me to contact you if you're the winner, by Sunday, November 1.

On Wednesday, I wrote about Pei Wei Asian Diner's gluten-free menu and the cool option to place a take-out order online. Now all they need to do is offer a delivery option!

I added a slew of dining establishments to the blog's restaurant list this week. I'll start in my home state of New Jersey, where Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey (777 Harrah's Boulevard, 609-441-5165) has several eateries that accommodate gluten-free diets: Reflections Café, Waterfront Buffet, Polistina's Italian Ristorante and The Steakhouse. Polistina's serves gluten-free pasta upon advance notice, so request it when making a reservation.

In Lawrenceville, New Jersey, Chuckles Pizza & Pasta Restaurant (160 Lawrenceville-Pennington Road, 609-895-6660) recently added pizza, pasta and desserts to its menu. The pasta includes ravioli, gnocchi and stuffed shells served with gluten-free bread, with brownies and carrot cake for dessert. The owner told me that he uses dedicated pans and slicers for the pizza and separate pots and utensils to prepare the pasta.

In Wilmington, Delaware, Fresh Thymes Cafe (1836 North Lovering, 302-656-2026) offers gluten-free bread at breakfast and lunch.

Last but not least are some new spots in Pennsylvania. Melodia Grill in Souderton (664 East Broad Street, 215-721-4000) is a contemporary Asian-influenced BYOB. The other restaurants, all in Philadelphia, participated in the recent Appetite for Awareness event: Agiato, a soon-to-be-opening Italian located in Manayunk (4359 Main Street); City Tavern, a colonial-style American (138 South 2nd Street, 215-413-1443) and Beneluxx Tasting Room, a Continental restaurant with Belgian influences (33 South 3rd Street, 267-318-7269), both in Old City; El Camino Real, a barbeque and Tex-Mex joint in Northern Liberties neighborhood (1040 North 2nd Street, 215-925-1110); Chifa, a Jose Garces-helmed Latin-Asian fusion in Washington Square West (707 Chestnut Street, 215-925-5555), fish, the sister of Mike Stollenwerk's Little Fish located near Graduate Hospital (1708 Lombard Street, 215-545-9600); Sauté, a New American BYOB in Queen Village (775 South Front Street, 215-271-9300); and Time, a self-described "restaurant, whiskey bar & tap room, and Bohemian absinthe lounge" in Midtown Village (1315 Sansom Street, 215-985-4800).

The just-opened Bella Sera Cafe in Philadelphia’s Fishtown section (2146 East Susquehanna Road, 267-939-5178) sells gluten-free cheesecake among its other menu items. Thanks to Grub Street Philadelphia for the tip.

Bella’s in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania (by appointment only, 484-467-1538) specializes in baking "celebration" cakes for weddings, birthdays and the like. Owner Lauren Cortesi's walnut dacquoise with milk chocolate buttercream and flourless chocolate cake are naturally gluten free, and she also offers vegan chocolate, vanilla and carrot cakes and cupcakes with gluten-free ingredients. Although Lauren does bake desserts that are not gluten-free in the same kitchen, she uses separate utensils and equipment for her gluten-free varieties.

On the other side of the Delaware River, Diane’s La Patisserie in West Berlin, New Jersey (405 Bloomfield Drive, 609-560-4111) also bakes gluten-free special occasion cakes. While the bakery uses the same equipment for gluten-free and wheat products, owner Diane Nussbaum tells me that she cleans everything before preparing the gluten-free cakes and takes care to prevent cross-contamination.

I've also added several area gluten-free friendly caterers in the Delaware Valley to what was previously the listing for Bakeries and Markets.

Joe Palumbo's Mirabella Cafe in Cherry Hill, New Jersey is sponsoring another cooking class with Chef Tammy Hughel. The gluten-free three-course tasting menu will be available at the class, to be held on Tuesday, November 12. The class starts at 6 p.m. and costs $40. Reservations are suggested.

With Fall in full swing, Moondance Heavenly Desserts has released its seasonal pumpkin cheesecake, spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, in both 6-inch and mini versions. All of the cheesecakes and brownies made by Moondance, which I wrote about in May, are gluten free. They can be found locally at Whole Foods.

Pei Wei's sister restaurant P.F. Chang's China Bistro is offering 20 percent off to members of its Warrior Card loyalty program on Saturday, October 31, whether dining in or taking out. Just show your card at time of purchase.

GoPicnic has its gluten-free SafariMunch on sale at its online store through Sunday, November 1 for $2.99 each. The ready-to-eat meal comes with tortilla chips and salsa, sunflower seed crunch, strawberry applesauce, snack mix and snickerdoodle cookies. Use code GLUTENFREE at checkout to get 20 percent off your order.

Triumph Dining is offering free standard shipping through November 11 on the newly revised third edition of its Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide ($19.95), the fourth edition of its Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide ($23.95) and its Gluten-Free Dining Cards ($18.95), which come in 10 languages for use in many ethnic restaurants. We've used the dining cards successfully for many years in American, Japanese, Thai and Chinese eateries. Just visit Triumph Dining's website, add your items to the shopping cart, enter coupon code NEWS389 in the shopping cart area and click the "Apply" button. All of the items come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Finally this week, I wanted to share the link to a post from Lisa at Gluten Free Foodies, who is a Phillies fan living in the state of Washington. Celebrating the Phillies' World Series appearance, she wrote this week that she convinced the owner of her local pizza shop to create a gluten-free Philly Cheese Steak pizza. From the picture she posted on her blog, the pizza looks like a winner!

Have a great weekend!
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