Friday, February 25, 2011

News & Notes: February 25, 2011

If you've ever been to Fogo de Chão in Center City, you're no doubt familiar with the delicious Brazilian cheese bread known as pão de queijo. (Can't say I ever used two tildes in a lead sentence before now.) At Whole Foods, you can find StarBites' version of the bread in convenient appetizer portions, as I wrote on Tuesday.

At the crossroads of 18th and Sansom streets in Center City Philadelphia, two restaurants offer gluten-free options. Stephen Starr's new English pub, The Dandelion (124 S. 18th Street, 215-558-2500), has a menu annotated with gluten-free choices, while wine-and-cheese cafe Tria (123 S. 18th Street, 215-972-TRIA; also at 1137 Spruce Street, 215-629-9200) serves its cheeses with gluten-free crackers upon request. Many salads there are gluten free, as is the flourless chocolate espresso cake for dessert.

Across the street from Christiana Hospital, Potstickers Asian Grill in Newark (1247 Churchmans Road, 302-731-0188) has added a gluten-free menu with appetizers, salads, entrees, vegetables, fried rice and noodle dishes.

McCormick & Schmick's, the national seafood chain with local spots in Philadelphia (1 S. Broad St., 215-568-6888), Cherry Hill (941 Haddonfield Rd., 856-317-1711) and Atlantic City (777 Harrah's Blvd., 609-441-5579), can accommodate gluten-free diners. Thanks to reader Alicia C. for the tip.

LongHorn Steakhouse has opened in Cherry Hill (2301 Route 38, 856-482-2393) at the site of a former Buca Di Beppo location. The chain recently revised its gluten-free menu, adding rainbow trout as a selection.

Just down the road, Elevation Burger's third area location is now open at Moorestown Mall (400 Route 38, 888-291-4620). The patties and fries are gluten free.

The Bards Irish pub in Center City (2013 Walnut Street, 215-569-9585) now serves - but, of course - Bard's beer. Fox Chase's Hop Angel Brauhaus (7880 Oxford Avenue, 215-437-1939) currently has Redbridge.

My Dad's Cookies, which I raved about in my review in December, are on sale (20 percent off) today through Sunday at BRE Bakery in Warminster.

Next month, Glutenfreeda Foods will introduce its newest product, single-serve pizza wraps, in three varieties: Three Cheese, Sausage & Cheese and Pesto Chicken. Each package will retail for between $3.39 and $3.59. In addition, the company is adding a shredded beef version to its microwaveable burrito line.

Did you know that Irish potatoes are neither Irish nor potatoes? Of course you did. But were you aware that the candy has its roots (bad pun, I know) in Philadelphia? The confections, made of a coconut cream center that's rolled in cinnamon, show up every year around this time to commemorate St. Patrick's Day. The biggest purveyor of Irish potatoes is Oh Ryan's of Boothwyn, and their version of the candy is gluten free. The treats can be found through March at area markets such as Acme, Giant, SuperFresh, Pathmark and at BJ's Wholesale stores.

Photo credit: Gluten Free Appetite
Lots of online chatter this week about Kellogg's reported plans to introduce several gluten-free cereals later this year, including Rice Krispies. The company hasn't confirmed this yet, but word is that an announcement could come in May. The Gluten Free Appetite blog first shared this news. (Hat tip to reader Bethann S. for sending me the link.)

Bethann also let me know that Sesame Day Camp in Blue Bell, for children ages 3 to 7, is able to serve campers gluten-free meal.The camp has sessions this summer running from four to eight weeks.

The Raising Our Celiac Kids Bucks/Montgomery chapter has scheduled a bowling party on Sunday, March 13, from noon to 2 p.m. at Thunderbird Lanes in Warminster (1475 West Street Road, 215-674-8250). Families should bring a gluten-free dish to contribute to the potluck lunch. (Drinks must be purchased through Thunderbird Lanes.) The cost per lane, which includes two hours of bowling and shoe rental for up to six people, is $50; parties of less than six may be able to share a lane (and the cost) with others. RSVP by Tuesday, March 1 with the number of attendees and childrens' ages by calling Holly and Steve Staugaitis at 267-664-6425.

Sunday, March 27 is the date of this year's Pediatric Celiac Disease Education Day at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The free, family-friendly event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at CHOP's Abramson Research Building (34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard), and parking will be provided. There will be speakers (including yours truly), kids' activities, vendors and lots of gluten-free food, including lunch. Space is limited; register by calling 267-426-6822. 

Deal-a-day sites like Groupon and Living Social occasionally have discounts for meals at gluten-free-friendly restaurants. The new Gluten Free Deals site, however, focuses exclusively on offers for a gluten-free audience. Beginning next Monday, February 28, the site will officially launch with the first of five consecutive weekly deals. There's no charge to sign up, and you'll receive an email whenever a new deal is announced. If you enroll through any of the Gluten Free Deals links on this site and later buy an offer, you'll be supporting Gluten Free Philly, which receives a small portion of the purchase price.

Finally this week, you can watch Comcast SportsNet's recent interview with Phillies outfielder Raúl Ibáñez, who recently was diagnosed with a gluten (and dairy) allergy and has since switched to a gluten-free diet. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

There's an App for That

Brazilian cheese bread, known as pão de queijo, is made with manioc starch, derived from the cassava (yucca) plant. According to legend, European colonists settling in Brazil improved the natives' bread by adding cheese to it.

Virginia-based StarBites was formed in August 2008 by a group of Americans and Brazilians who wanted to offer an alternative to traditional party-style appetizers, incorporating multicultural influences such as pão de queijo. The company's gluten-free, all-natural frozen product line includes cheese breads and truffles. Though these items are not made in a dedicated gluten-free facility, the company has established protocols to prevent cross-contamination.

StarBites' Cheese Bread
The Gluten Free Philly staff recently sampled the products, and agreed that most are worthy of being served to party guests. The traditional bread, made with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and the version stuffed with cream cheese and French herbs were our favorites. (In third place was bread with apricot jam that seemed out of place inside the dough.) To prep, each bite-sized appetizer is placed in a foil cup (provided) and heated at 450°F for about 12-15 minutes until browned.

StarBites' Brigadier and Yin & Yang Truffles
On the sweet side, two of the three truffles were winners: the Brigadier (chocolate truffles of German and Swiss influence) and the Yin & Yang (dark and white chocolate sprinkled with coconut flakes). However, none of us liked the sugar-covered coconut Kisses.

The company's traditional cheese bread is available at Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods markets, including those in the Delaware Valley, and at Harris Teeter stores on the East Coast. (At last check, Whole Foods was selling a 16-piece box for $8.19). All of the products can be ordered directly from StarBites through its online store. (Customers can save 10 percent off an order of $80 or more through this link.)

DISCLOSURE: StarBites provided me with product samples at no cost. Neither I am nor any immediate family member is an employee, officer, director or agent of StarBites or its respective parent, subsidiary and affiliated entities, advertising and promotional agencies. My full Disclosure Policy can be found at the blog's Disclosure page.

Friday, February 18, 2011

News & Notes: February 18, 2011

With Spring Training underway, tickets are going fast for Phillies tickets this season. Single-game tickets went on sale yesterday and the entire season is likely to sell out soon. With that caveat, if you've been thinking about attending Celiac Awareness Night on July 8, I encourage you not to wait much longer to make your purchase.

My post earlier this week featured The Little Bakery, a new gluten-free bakery operating out of Blue Bell.

This week's additions to the restaurant list all came from recent comments posted at the Gluten Free Philly Facebook page. Reader Michelle F. mentioned that Brothers Pizza in Cinnaminson (1105 Route 130, 856-829-0712) now has gluten-free pizza, while Whitney J. wrote that she had a safe meal at Baby Blues BBQ in University City (3402 Sansom St., 215-222-4444). The ribs, meats, chicken and barbeque sauce are gluten free and Redbridge beer is available. An gluten/allergy listing is available upon request.

In West Chester, Mas Mexicali Cantina (102 E. Market Street, 610-918-6280) has gluten-free options (thanks, Heather D.). Joanne R. posted that takeout-friendly Panda Chinese Restaurant, in Philadelphia's Mayfair section (7105 Frankford Ave., 215-543-9088) has gluten-free General Tso's chicken, chicken with broccoli, sweet-and-sour chicken, chicken with garlic sauce and moo goo gai pan, all served with white or brown rice.

Red Mango, serving certified gluten-free frozen yogurt, is now open at the Cherry Hill Mall (2000 Route 38, 856-662-8198). 

Jell-O has a new line of Temptations desserts that are gluten free, which come in the following flavors: Strawberry Cheesecake, French Silk Pie, Double Chocolate Pie, Apple Custard Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie and Raspberry Cheesecake.

Since there are many Udi's fans out there, I thought I'd share the news that the company now makes three varieties of soft-baked gluten-free cookies: chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and snickerdoodle. (Hat tip to For the moment, though, the cookies are only being sold at the Kroger family of supermarkets, located outside the northeast United States.

Reader Maureen O. emailed me about a local Meetup group that focuses on gluten-free potluck dinners. You can visit the group's Meetup page for more information.

On Saturday, February 26, the Whole Foods Market in Princeton is hosting a free, one-hour gluten-free store tour at 9 a.m., followed by an interactive gluten-free cooking class with Moonlight Bakers at 10 a.m. ($25 fee). Participants will prepare after-school snacks such as brownies, cupcakes and fruit bars. 10 percent of the class' income will be donated to Dress for Success Mercer County.

The Chester County chapter of the Gluten Intolerance Group is hosting its own gluten-free/dairy-free cooking class on Sunday, February 27 at the Fern Hill Wellness Resource Center in West Chester. The 2 p.m. class ($30) includes a small meal; a vendor fair will take place at 1:30 p.m.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Little Bakery That Could

With 30 years in the food business, John Rorer was looking for something new. The owner of Rorer's Market in Ambler found it when he opened The Little Bakery, a gluten-free bakery just down the road in Blue Bell (921 Penllyn-Blue Bell Pike, 267-708-0984).

Rorer's baked sweets include lemon squares, cookies (chocolate chip, sugar, lemon sugar and almond sugar) and brownies (chocolate fudge, mint iced, raspberry iced, walnut iced, and cheesecake). The bakery will also make special-order tortes, cheesecakes, cupcakes and mousse pies, and Rorer plans to introduce bread and rolls later this month.

All of the products are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility. Orders placed locally can be picked up at the kitchen in Blue Bell, while customers elsewhere can opt to have the goods shipped. In addition to being sold at Rorer's Market, assorted cookies, brownies and lemon squares also are available in Ambler at Jo-Jo's Java Joint and Toto's Gelateria, Ruth's Bakery at the Flourtown Farmers Market, Weaver's Way Co-op in Chestnut Hill, Anne's Kitchen Table in Glenside, Gladwyne's Green Bean Coffee and Gianni Bros. in Blue Bell.

Friday, February 11, 2011

News & Notes: February 11, 2011

Leading off this Friday is news of a Philly-centric fundraising auction hosted by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. There are four items up for bid, including a group gathering at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which rolls into town next week. That package includes 14 tickets in a private suite and three parking passes for one show of your choice between February 16-20. The other items at auction are for Flyers memorabilia (stick autographed by Danny Briere and jersey signed by Kimmo Timonen) and Flyers tickets (four box seats, dinner for four in a private dining room at the arena, and one parking pass for a game of your choice this season). Act quickly, though, because the circus package auction ends Monday, February 14, while bidding for the other items closes on Saturday, February 19.

I wrote earlier this week about DeIorio's gluten-free pizza shells, which have been featured at the last two Appetite for Awareness events.

Congrats to reader Karin A., who is the winner of the recent ShopRite gift card giveaway.

September 2011 is the target date for the opening of southeastern Pennsylvania's first Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. (The other area location is in Newark, Delaware.) The steakhouse chain, which offers a gluten-free menu, plans an outpost at the Garnet Valley Plaza Center in Chadds Ford (91 Wilmington West Chester Pike).

New at the Shops at Liberty Place food court in Center City is Zaffron, a Mediterranean grill and hummus bar (1625 Chestnut Street, 1-855-ZAFFRON). Culinary director Seth High says that only four items on the menu, which offers kabobs, salads, rice dishes and falafel, are off-limits due to wheat: the breads, shwarma, za'atar vinaigrette and baklava. In handling fresh items on the line, the staff uses dedicated utensils through service and washes and sanitizes each implement between uses, according to High. 

Apple-Stuffed French Toast
(photo courtesy of The Pop Shop)
First it was gluten-free grilled cheese sandwiches. Then came gluten-free ice cream cones. Now, The Pop Shop in Collingswood has created gluten-free apple-stuffed French toast.

Laura, a Scotland native who blogs as the Gluten Free Traveller, recently wrote about the Philly cheesesteak-style sandwich she ate at the Girard Avenue Paesano's.

Cantina Feliz in Fort Washington, which I mentioned in this space a couple weeks ago, is now open for lunch. Thanks to Michael Klein of the Philadelphia Inquirer for the news.

Sweets from Doylestown's The Grain Exchange will be available at the Philadelphia Zoo beginning on March 4.

Safeway, which owns local supermarket chain Genuardi's, is now offering three gluten-free breaded frozen seafood products under its Waterfront Bistro label. The breading on the Panko-Style Cod Fillets ($7.99 a box) and the Panko-Style Butterfly Shrimp and Panko-Style Honey Spice Butterfly Shrimp ($8.99 a box) is made with rice flour, corn starch, yellow corn flour, seasonings and other ingredients. The products carry a seal of approval from the Celiac Sprue Association. (You can get free grocery delivery from with code EASY7.) In addition to Genuardi's, the products also are available at Safeway's other markets nationwide, which include Vons, Dominick's, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Pavilions and Carrs. Thanks to Ginger of Gluten Free in Georgia ... Finally, who announced this news.

Under its 365 Everyday Value line and priced at $3.99, Whole Foods has introduced a personal-size Roasted Vegetable Pizza made with a rice crust. You can read a review of the pizza by Jennifer at the Gwinnett (Ga.) Gluten-Free Food Examiner, who wrote about it last week.

You can also find Against The Grain's new ready-to-bake gluten-free pizzas at Whole Foods. The pizza comes in two varieties: Three Cheese and nut-free Pesto. The products sell there for $11.99 each.

The list keeps growing: Feel Good Foods' gluten-free dumplings are now available locally at Food For All Market in Mt. Airy, Earth Foods in Holicong (near Lahaska), DeLiteful Foods in Lawrenceville and Bonterra Market in Egg Harbor Township.

Children up to age 8 are welcome at Food For Me, a local allergen-free playgroup in Merion Station. There are kosher gluten/dairy/egg/nut free snacks, guest speakers, cooking activities, music, games and more. Open to the public, Food for Me is held on Tuesday afternoons from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Adath Israel (250 North Highland Avenue). A donation of $5 per family to cover the cost of food expenses is appreciated. For more information, contact Sharon at 617-710-2519.

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the CheapFinally this week, allow me to shamelessly plug a just-published gluten-free cookbook written by the wife of a longtime friend of mine. With the relatively high cost of many gluten-free foods and the downturn in the economy, Nicole Hunn started the Gluten-Free on a Shoestring blog in 2009, posting family-friendly recipes that could be made with ingredients on a budget. Her blog got a mention later that year in a New York Times article on celiac disease, which ultimately led to a book-publishing deal. The cookbook contains 125 recipes and includes favorites such as pancakes, blueberry muffins, soft pretzels, wontons, sandwich bread, chicken pot pie, macaroni and cheese and chocolate chip cookies. It's now available at and other bookstores.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Shell Out the Dough

DeIorio's gluten-free pizza-dough line Tasti-Grain recently completed the requirements to qualify its gluten-free pizza shell for the Celiac Sprue Association’s Recognition Seal Program. The use of the CSA five-crossed grain seal on packaging means the manufacturer has agreed to adhere to CSA’s standards in representing their product to be free of wheat, barley, rye, and oats, their derivatives and crosses in product, processing or packaging.

The 9", 10" and 12" shells also can be used to make foccacia, bruschetta and bread sticks. Interested customers can contact DeIorio's for ordering information. They can also ask their local pizza shops to inquire about volume orders.

Friday, February 4, 2011

News & Notes: February 4, 2011

For those of you looking for information on the go, Gluten Free Philly now comes in a handy mobile-friendly version. Just bookmark the link and you'll find it easier to view posts, menus and everything else the site has to offer on the road, whether you're at the supermarket or out for dinner.

The ShopRite gift card giveaway I posted this week runs through Sunday. Just leave a comment to that post or at the Gluten Free Philly Facebook page.

Maybe soon enough they'll add pizza, but for now California Pizza Kitchen (locally in King of Prussia, Main Line Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, Cherry Hill and Newark) has a gluten-free menu that includes soups and salads, two seafood entrees, and ice cream for dessert.

In Center City, Stephen Starr's Latin restaurant Alma De Cuba (1623 Walnut Street, 215-988-1799) also has a gluten-free menu.

The Philadelphia Gluten-Free Pasta Company has opened its retail shop in Media (415 East Baltimore Pike, 610-529-0122). Hours are Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Customers who stop in and purchase ravioli or gnocchi will receive free samples of the company's new dried orzo and mini shells, which are launching later this year. Martindale's in Springfield is carrying the current products.

Pennsauken's Water to Go is now carrying all four varieties of the gluten-free dumplings made by Feel Good Foods.

If you're looking for a Valentine's Day sweet treat, The Grain Exchange is offering a heart-shaped box filled with gluten-free mini cupcakes (in chocolate, vanilla or red velvet) decorated with handmade chocolate roses for ladies and tuxedos for men. The red cupcake box will be placed in a gift box with a clear lid, wrapped with ribbon. Each gift contains 18 mini cupcakes, which have a filled center and are also peanut and nut free, and costs $36.99. Customers can call 215-531-1261 to place orders, which will need to be picked up in Doylestown.

Meanwhile, Sweet Freedom Bakery has heart-shaped cookie cakes and pink frosted sugar cookies, along with Valentine's-themed cupcakes. The bakery will be open on Valentine's Day Monday. Call 215-545-1899 to place orders.

Amazon Grocery has the following gluten-free product sales this month (add another 15% off with a Subscribe & Save order):
As always, any purchases at made after clicking the Amazon links at Gluten Free Philly support the site. My thanks to those of you who have expressed your appreciation in this fashion.

New at Whole Foods are frozen meals-in-a-bowl from Colorado-based Evol Foods. They come in four varieties: Bean & Cheese Enchilada (vegetarian), Chicken Enchilada, Fire-Grilled Steak and Chicken Teriyaki, all of which are gluten free. The meals are made with all-natural ingredients and are high in protein and fiber.

Chips are dippable, but popcorn - not so much. That all changes with Popcorn, Indiana's new chip'ins all-natural popcorn chips. The snacks come in four varieties: Sea Salt, White Cheddar, Jalapeno Ranch and Hot Buffalo Wing. The chips are available nationwide at Walmart, Walgreens, BJs, select Whole Foods and Costco retailers.

10 Arts Bistro & Lounge pastry chef Monica Glass will be leading a cooking class on gluten-free desserts at Sur La Table in King of Prussia on Thursday, February 17. On the menu are Chocolate Hazelnut Tarts, Brownies, Yogurt Ginger Panna Cotta Verrines, Chickpea Shortbread, Marsala Poached Pears with Almond Streusel and Whipped Crème Fraiche.

Tickets are now on sale for Celiac Awareness Night at the Phillies game against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, July 8. A portion of the proceeds from purchases using the code CELIAC will benefit celiac awareness efforts.

With thanks to reader Mark M., I'll leave you this week with the recently debuted commercial touting the gluten-free status of most Chex cereals (posted on YouTube by Gluten Freeville). Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Goodies Giveaway: ShopRite Gift Card

With ShopRite’s “Shop Once. Give Twice.” program, your food shopping can help local participating schools through Box Tops for Education and the ShopRite Partners in Caring Fund., a community-based, hunger fighting initiative that works to provide $2 million annually to charities that aid those in need.

Now through September 30, 2011, visit to register your ShopRite Price Plus Card and check back each month for participating General Mills products. When you purchase any five participating products on or before the end of the month using your Price Plus Card, you'll earn five Bonus Box Tops to be electronically added to your designated school and 55 cents will be donated to the Partners in Caring Fund. (This program does have some restrictions and limitations; visit to obtain all of the details.) The eligible gluten-free items for February include Corn Chex, Cinnamon Chex, Kix, Honey Kix, Fruit Gushers, Fruit by the Foot and Fruit Roll-Ups.

You can also enter the ShopRite “Shop Once. Give Twice.” Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of 10 grand prizes of 5,000 Bonus Box Tops for the school of your choice. (No purchase is necessary to enter the sweepstakes; go to for details about the sweepstakes, prizes, and instructions on how to enter.)

In conjunction with the program and sweepstakes, MyBlogSpark is offering one reader a $25 ShopRite gift card. To enter, leave a comment to this post or on the Gluten Free Philly Facebook page about which General Mills gluten-free product is your favorite.

Some brief guidelines: (1) please do not enter unless you or a family member is on a gluten-free diet; (2) one comment per person; (3) U.S. residents only. Most important is to make sure your comment provides a way for me to contact you, if not entering via Facebook. If your comment does not link back to an email address, blog or website through which I can get in touch with you (some past entrants have blocked their Blogger profiles), post your email address in the comment in the following format: "name[at]domain[dot]suffix."

The giveaway runs now through Sunday, February 6 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. I’ll randomly select one winner the next day and will contact him or her by email or through Facebook, depending on method of entry. If I don’t hear back from the person with his or her mailing address by the following Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern, I’ll select another name.

Good luck!

DISCLOSURE: General Mills and ShopRite, through MyBlogSpark, have provided me with a $25 ShopRite gift card and program information, and are offering an additional $25 ShopRite gift card as a giveaway. Neither I am nor any immediate family member is an employee, officer, director or agent of General Mills, ShopRite or MyBlogSpark or their respective parent, subsidiary and affiliated entities, advertising and promotional agencies. My full Disclosure Policy can be found at the blog's Disclosure page.