Friday, May 7, 2010

News & Notes: May 7, 2010

May is National Celiac Awareness Month. Among the highlights will be the Gluten-Free Pavilion and Educational Session at the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago, where many national chains will be able to learn about the needs of gluten-free diners and, hopefully, offer specialized menus in the future. These are exciting times, with restaurants introducing gluten-free items with greater frequency than ever. It's important, though, that these places understand that it's not simply about serving food that has no gluten, but also preparing the food properly.

This week, I reviewed the new Snyder's gluten-free pretzel sticks that will hit markets in July. Many consumers are looking forward to having an alternative from a mainstream national company and, after tasting the Snyder's product, I believe they'll be pleased.

Reader Sharon e-mailed me about New American restaurant Firecreek in Downingtown (20 East Lancaster Avenue, 610-269-6000), where the kitchen was "aware and willing to accommodate" her gluten-free requests.

Another reader posted a comment that the Washington House in Sellersville (136 North Main Street, 215-257-3000) takes care in serving safe gluten-free meals. The seasonal menu has many items that are, or can be made, without gluten.

The Melting Pot fondue restaurant chain, with five area locations in the Delaware Valley, just posted its gluten-free menu at its website. The menu was prepared in consultation with the Gluten Intolerance Group.

As part of an expanded menu, The Silverspoon in Wayne hosts a "World Tour Wednesday," a four-course prix fixe dinner with food from different world regions. Much of the menu items are naturally without gluten, and chef Ron Silverberg can also prepare gluten-free buckwheat pancakes and sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch.

The Drafting Room in Spring House has closed. The Exton location still has Redbridge beer on its drinks menu.

Limerick's Craft Ale House (708 West Ridge Pike, 484-932-8180) currently has Bard's beer and several varieties of hard cider available in bottles.

Brownies and cookie sandwiches from Sweet Freedom Bakery are now available at DiBruno Brothers' Rittenhouse Square location (1730 Chestnut Street, 215-665-9220). Also, the bakery will now ship goodies in the continental United States. Shipments will go out on Tuesdays and Thursdays for overnight delivery. Call 215-545-1899 for a quote.

As part of Celiac Awareness Month, is running a sale on lots of popular gluten-free products in May
  • Save up to 30% on select Betty Crocker gluten-free mixes: Save 15% when you enter code BCGLFREE at checkout and an additional 15% when you combine the instant rebate with your Subscribe & Save order
  • Save up to 25% on select Pamela's products: Save 10% when you enter code PMLAI822 at checkout and an additional 15% with your Subscribe & Save order
  • Save up to 25% on select Nature's Path and Envirokidz cereal and bars: Save 10% when you enter code ENVR9333 at checkout and an additional 15% with your Subscribe & Save order
  • Save up to 25% on select Namaste mixes: Save 10% when you enter code NMST7II9 at checkout and an additional 15% with your Subscribe & Save order
  • Save up to 30% on select Oskri bars: Save 15% when you enter code OSKRO5IO at checkout and an additional 15% with your Subscribe & Save order
If you're not familiar with the Subscribe & Save program, you select how frequently you want the receive the item when placing the original order, but you can skip intervals and cancel the subscription without obligation at any time. So if you just want the product once, combine a Subscribe & Save order with use of the code and then cancel the future orders after you receive the first shipment. Amazon also sends out reminder e-mails in advance of future shipments in case you forget to cancel right away.

The Whole Foods Market in Jenkintown hosts a gluten-free expo on Wednesday, May 12 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The store will have food samples and representatives of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness on hand. Meet at 6 p.m. in the café for a talk on living gluten free followed by a tour of the store. The guest speaker for the evening is Nancy Dickens, a Registered Dietitian who has twin teenage daughters with celiac disease.

On Sunday, May 16, the Children's Celiac Support Group will meet at CHOP's Specialty Care Center in Voorhees from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Parents are asked to bring their children's favorite gluten-free snacks to share with other attendees. Call 267-426-6822 to RSVP.

The next Chester County Gluten Intolerance Group meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 17 at Paoli Hospital. There'll be a vendor fair beginning at 6:30 p.m., with dietitian Nancy Patin Falini (author of Gluten-Free Friends: An Activity Book for Kids) set to speak at 7:15 p.m. E-mail Nancy Artus for more information. The events will be at the hospital's Potter Room (Zone B, Level 1).

Keep emailing me your restaurant news, product finds and events. Have a great weekend!
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