Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Goodies Giveaway: Betty Crocker and Bisquick Gluten-Free Baking Mixes

Betty Crocker wants to give you a chance to show off the creative solutions and tasty treats that you’ve created for your family and friends. Now through June 30, visit the Baker's Challenge page at GlutenFreely.com for the chance to win a grand prize of $5,000. The grand-prize winner will also have the chance to be featured on a Betty Crocker Gluten Free dessert mix or Bisquick Gluten Free baking mix package and/or be featured in a Betty Crocker publication. Just submit an original gluten-free holiday-themed appetizer, bread or dessert recipe using any Betty Crocker Gluten Free dessert mix or Bisquick Gluten Free baking mix.

Recipes will be judged on five key categories: taste, creativity, ease of preparation, consumer appeal and appearance. If you’re one of 10 selected finalists, you will receive a Betty Crocker Gluten Free Baking gift basket filled with baking items and Betty Crocker Gluten Free mixes. Finalists’ recipes will be featured on the Baker's Challenge page and voted on by the Gluten Freely community to determine the grand-prize winner.

In conjunction with the recipe contest, MyBlogSpark is offering one reader a prize pack consisting of each of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free dessert mixes (chocolate chip cookie, brownie, yellow cake and devil's food cake) plus a box of Bisquick Gluten Free. To enter, leave a comment to this post or on the Gluten Free Philly Facebook page about which supermarket or natural-foods store you frequent that offers the best selection of gluten-free groceries.

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, June 5 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: Betty Crocker, through MyBlogSpark, has provided me with product samples, product information and is offering the prize pack. Neither I am nor any immediate family member is an employee, officer, director or agent of Betty Crocker of 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.

Friday, May 27, 2011

News & Notes: May 27, 2011

Props to the folks working the concession stand at Section 128 of Citizens Bank Park. Our wait time on getting gluten-free hot dogs at a Phillies game this week was less than 30 seconds, a far cry from the early days when we had to hang out for more than 10 minutes. I hope this is the norm, rather than the exception, as a result of increased demand.

This week, I posted on the blog a review of Rudi's new gluten-free hot dog rolls and hamburger buns.

If you're a fan of his Throwdown show on the Food Network, you know that celebrity chef Bobby Flay has featured some local gluten-free-friendly eateries, including Paesano's Philly Style, run by Peter McAndrews. McAndrews has a new Sicilian BYOB in South Philadelphia called Monsù (901 Christian St., 215-440-0495), which garnered a respectable two-bell rating from Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan last Sunday. Monsù, like the chef's other sit-down restaurant Modo Mio, serves gluten-free pasta and bread and many other selections are gluten free or can be modified. McAndrews's children have celiac disease, and so he and his staff are well aware of cross-contamination concerns.

Most of the menu at the just-opened Fare (2028 Fairmount Ave., 267-639-3063), in Philadelphia's Fairmount neighborhood, will be gluten free, including desserts, chef Tim Bellew tells me. Fare, aiming to serve healthy, organic food, will have gluten-free bread on hand for dishes. According to Bellew, wheat will be used sparingly in the kitchen, and the staff will take care in prepping the gluten-free items. Fare features a full bar, with about 40 wines by the glass.

Thanks to reader Winnie C. for letting me know that Guiseppe's Pizza in New Hope (473 Lower York Rd., 215-862-1740) now offers gluten-free pizza, pasta and desserts.

Perhaps you're heading to Cape May for Memorial Day weekend or sometime this summer. The Union Park Dining Room (727 Beach Ave., 609-884-8112), which serves dinner Thursday through Sunday, has a gluten-free menu. The nearby Mad Batter Restaurant and Bar (19 Jackson St., 609-884-5970) notes gluten-free selections on its dinner menu.

Davio's in Center City Philadelphia (111 S. 17th St., 215-563-4810) has added Redbridge to its beer list to complement the restaurant's gluten-free menu.

Simply Fondue in Mays Landing, which accommodated gluten-free diners, has closed.

Through Saturday, the Gluten Free Deals half-off site is offering a discount for online-only orders at Wynnewood's Main Line Bakery. Buyers can spend $10 to get $20 worth of gluten- and dairy-free baked goods.

Julian's Recipe, founded by the creator of Alexia Foods and Terra Chips, has rolled out a line of gluten-free microwaveable frozen pancakes - so new that the company's website hasn't yet been updated to include them. The pancakes, which are certified gluten free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization, come in Buttermilk, Belgian Chocolate and Wild Blueberry varieties. I spotted these bad boys at Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting, where they sell for $3.99 per eight-pancake box. (Convenience has a price, you know.)

Udi's Gluten Free Foods is developing a frozen pizza to add to its growing line of gluten-free baked goods, according to a blog post by the company's CEO.

A California pasta company is bringing innovation to the refrigerated pasta section with gluten-free ravioli. Certified gluten free by the GFCO, Pasta Prima's new line, made with a blend of corn and rice flour, will launch this summer with two flavors: Gluten Free Butternut Squash, blended with parmesan cheese and sage, and Gluten Free Five Cheese, made with fresh ricotta and mozzarella mixed with imported parmesan and Romano, and aged Asiago.

Murry's new frozen boneless chicken Wing-Its, in buffalo and honey barbeque varieties, are gluten free.

Want to learn how ice cream and iced tea are made? (Better that than sausage.) Check out the Turkey Hill Experience in Lancaster County, set to open on June 4. Turkey Hill Dairy, of course, produces many gluten-free ice cream flavors.

There are a few gluten-free-themed events in the weeks ahead. On Thursday, June 2, Sur La Table is hosting a Gluten-Free Dinner Party class at its King of Prussia location. That same night, La Cucina at Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market will be the site of nutritionist Genevieve Sherrow's gluten-free cooking class. She will also be leading a second class there on Saturday, June 25.

Have fun and be safe this holiday weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rockin' Rolls

When 18th-century English poet William Cowper wrote that variety is the spice of life, he certainly could have been referring to food. In the early days of our son's gluten-free diet, we'd often serve him a hamburger or hot dog wrapped in a piece of square bread. Today, however, many gluten-free bread companies offer alternatives for different occasions.

Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery has expanded on its original three-variety sandwich bread line with the introduction of multigrain hot dog rolls and hamburger buns. The new products (with four rolls or buns to a package) are made with all-natural ingredients and, like the breads, are certified gluten free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization.

The flaxseed, millet and sorghum flour used for the rolls and buns create a flavorful, nutty taste, with a hint of sweetness from the molasses and honey. Although the ingredients are largely the same as those used in the company's multigrain bread, our son preferred these new products to the bread. Since we stored the buns and rolls frozen, it took about 25 seconds in the microwave to have them ready to go.

Rudi's products are carried by local Whole Foods, Genuardi's and Safeway markets and smaller natural-foods stores. (Check the store locator at Rudi's website for the store nearest you.)

DISCLOSURE: While Mambo Sprouts provided product samples for me to review at no cost, such compensation did not influence my review. Neither I am nor any immediate family member is an employee, officer, director or agent of Mambo Sprouts, Rudi's or its respective parent, subsidiary and affiliated entities, advertising and promotional agencies. Click here for my complete Disclosure.

Friday, May 20, 2011

News & Notes: May 20, 2011

Highlighting the week that was, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness founder Alice Bast accepted The Philadelphia Award, presented to a citizen of the Philadelphia region who, during the preceding year, acted and served on behalf of the best interests of the community. The award includes a $25,000 prize, which Alice graciously donated to the NFCA.

Surely not as significant, but nonetheless interesting, was my Tuesday feature on Revolution Cider, a homegrown, gluten-free hard cider that is served in Philadelphia-area bars and restaurants. Since then, The Pub on Passyunk East - better known as The P.O.P.E. (1501 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-755-51245) - has picked up the drink, so now you can enjoy an alcoholic beverage with a gluten-free sandwich.

Shoo Mama's Farm Fresh Cafe in West Chester (66 E. Street Rd., 484-315-8431) offers sandwiches on gluten-free bread or a bagel, chicken fingers, brownies and other items. The kitchen uses a separate cutting board for gluten-free items and has a dedicated fryer.

The Cheeseburger in Paradise chain has long offered a gluten-free menu - including fries - but will dramatically improve that list with the addition of gluten-free burger buns. They'll be in all locations by mid-June, with the roll-out now underway. CIP has local spots in Exton and Langhorne, Pennsylvania and in Newark, Delaware.

I wouldn't make it my first choice for dining out, but in a pinch Houlihan's may do. The American chain has a list of gluten-free menu items posted at its website. (Celiacs and sensitive individuals should avoid the fries unless there's a dedicated fryer.) Houlihan's has area outposts in Bala Cynwyd, Plymouth Meeting, Cherry Hill and Lawrenceville.

Cock 'n Bull, at Peddlers Village in Lahaska, has rolled its gluten-free pasta option into new lunch and dinner menus. Among the choices are a BLT sandwich on whole-grain bread, chicken parmigiana and a brownie for dessert. Thanks to reader Robert H. for the tip.

I've posted updated gluten-free menus from several Jose Garces restaurants - Chifa, Tinto, Amada and Distrito - at the Gluten Free Philly restaurant page.

Joy Cone - the company that produces ice cream cones found at many stands and parlors - now makes gluten-free cake and sugar cones. They are manufactured in the same facility as the wheat-based cones, but the lines are cleaned in preparation for making the gluten-free versions. I found the cake cones at ShopRite in Cherry Hill.

Reader Megan E. let me know that Costco carries Rudi's gluten-free multigrain bread, while Danielle T. wrote on Facebook that Whole Foods in Marlton also has Rudi's. Tina S. found Udi's products at ShopRite in Delran.

The Chester County Gluten Intolerance Group meeting on Thursday, May 26 in West Chester will include a gluten-free potluck dinner. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.

Next Saturday, May 28, Jules Thin Crust in Jenkintown will host a gluten-free pizza party and book signing from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Kids will be able to make their own pizzas, while local author Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer will be available for questions from parents. Her book, The Kitchen Classroom, is a cookbook offering 32 visual gluten-free, casein-free recipes to aid developmental skills.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

You Say You Want a Revolution

Unlike gluten-free beers, hard ciders come in many varieties and are more readily available in bars and restaurants. Adding to the diversity is a new Colonial-style cider made right here in the Delaware Valley. Brothers Jonathan and Gideon Gradman have created Revolution Cider, a small-batch alcoholic beverage based on historical recipes.

The Gradmans make their cider in Northeast Philadelphia and use orchard apples fresh-pressed within 48 miles of the cidery. The cider's only ingredients - both gluten free - are apples and yeast. (The brothers are working at obtaining a gluten-free certification for the cider.) By using a unique fermentation method, the Gradmans have created a cider with a dry finish that avoids a sticky, overly sweet taste.

Revolution Cider is currently sold by the bottle ($6-$8) in Philadelphia at TriaBibaSupper, MidAtlanticSouth Philadelphia Tap Room and Watkins Drinkery and in Coatesville at The Whip Tavern. Cases are available ($54) directly from the cidery.

Friday, May 13, 2011

News & Notes: May 13, 2011

Imagine dining out and being able to choose from 25 varieties of gluten-free pizza. Hold that thought until June 29. That's when the California Pizza Kitchen chain will begin offering gluten-free pizza nationwide. (Local outlets are in Philadelphia on City Line Avenue, and at the King of Prussia Mall, Plymouth Meeting Mall, Cherry Hill Mall and Christiana Mall in Delaware.) The company has been test-marketing the new crust in Alabama, where only five pizza options aren't gluten-free because of gluten in other ingredients: Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Tostada, Thai Chicken, Roasted Garlic Chicken and Artichoke & Spinach. I'm told that the gluten-free versions are made using separate ingredients and on dedicated pans to avoid cross-contamination. At least in the test-marketing phase (and hopefully for the nationwide roll-out), diners do not incur an extra charge for the gluten-free crusts. There's a email-list option on CPK's homepage that gets you a $5-off coupon.

Several Lamberti's-owned restaurants in the tri-state area have gluten-free choices. Tutti Toscani in Cherry Hill (1491 Brace Rd., 856-354-1157) serves pasta, while the menus at Lamberti's Italian Grill & Bar in north Wilmington (514 Philadelphia Pike, 302-762-9094) note acceptable options. Several readers have mentioned that Lamberti's Cucina in Feasterville (1045 Street Rd., 215-355-6266) can accommodate special dietary requests.

Christine's, an Italian BYOB in Yardley (385 Oxford Valley Rd., 215-369-2930, has gluten-free penne and fusilli pasta.

Gluten-free pasta also is available at Katie O'Donnell's in Northeast Philly (4501 Woodhaven Rd., 215-637-5151).

The gluten-free menu from The Broad Axe Tavern (901 W. Butler Pike, 215-643-6300) is now posted at the Gluten Free Philly Restaurants page.

BRE Bakery in Warminster (700 York Rd., 215-821-8462) is carrying baking mixes from recipes created by Mr. Ritt's. The mixes, which are free of gluten, dairy and egg, include Quinoa Bread and Soft Pretzel Mix, Italian Baguette/Pizza Crust Mix and Buckwheat Bread Mix.

Dock Street Brewing Company in West Philadelphia (701 S. 50th St., 215-726-2337) once again has its gluten-free Sudan Grass Ale on tap. Thank to reader Vic B. for the tip.

Campbell's Place in Chestnut Hill (8337 Germantown Ave., 215-242-1818) serves Redbridge beer and Magner's hard cider.

Kids have more gluten-free choices when visiting area museums and amusement parks. The DEcafe at the Delaware Children's Museum in Wilmington (550 Justison St., 302-654-2340) serves Wellshire Farms' gluten-free chicken bites, which are baked and prepared separately.

Dorney Park in Allentown (3830 Dorney Park Rd., 610-395-3724) has posted a gluten-free food list at its website, while a customer-relations rep at New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure (1 Six Flags Blvd., 732-928-1821) let me know that gluten-free food can be purchased at Carnegie Deli (chicken salad, garden salad), Best of the West (grilled chicken sandwich without the bun) and Panda Express (Smiley fries). Fresh fruit is available at Carnegie Deli, Granny’s Country Chicken, Best of the West and Yummy Yummy Café.

My latest snack-food addiction? Bachman's Toasted Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips. Go get them. Now.

Rita's newest water ice flavor is Juicy Pear Ice, and it's gluten free. I'm looking forward to trying that one.

The Gluten-Free Philadelphia Supper Club's next get-together won't be dinner, but brunch instead. Food For All Market in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia will host the group on Saturday, June 11 at 1 p.m. Gluten-free waffles, sandwiches, soups and salads will be available. For more information about the club or plans for the brunch, e-mail reader Adriana Z.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 6, 2011

News & Notes: May 6, 2011

With the start of Celiac Awareness Month this week, it was appropriate that the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness recognized five U.S. cities, including Philadelphia, in a new report for being especially "celiac aware." You can access the report, and read about the other cities that made the list, by "liking" the NFCA's Facebook page and clicking on the "Celiac Aware Cities" tab on the left-hand side.

In my Tuesday post, I reviewed Fogo de Chão, a Brazilian steakhouse in Center City Philadelphia. Given the cost and the amount of food served (both large), Fogo is more of a special-occasion restaurant than a place you'd visit on a regular basis but still shouldn't be missed by gluten-free diners.

I'll begin the restaurant roundup this week in the Garden State. In Atlantic City, Cafe 2825 (2825 Atlantic Ave., 609-344-6913) offers guests gluten-free pasta and can modify other menu items. A bit further from the sea and surf is Naples Pizzeria in Little Egg Harbor (425 W. Main St., 609-296-1313), which offers gluten-free pizza.

Reader Beth S. wrote on Facebook that Piccolina Toscana, an Italian tapas restaurant in Wilmington (1412 N. DuPont St., 302-654-8001) is hosting a Gluten-Free Night every Tuesday.

Reader Heather H. emailed me about the gluten-free options on the menu at Center City Philadelphia's Le Pain Quotidien (1425 Walnut St., 215-751-0570). The made-to-order breakfast omelettes, salads such as quinoa and goat cheese & arugula, appetizers like roasted cauliflower and hummus, and certain dinner entrees (roasted herb lemon chicken with arugula, sweet potatoes and shaved parmesan) are organic and gluten free. The cafe's six-vegetable quiche is made with a gluten-free buckwheat crust, but is prepared off-site in a facility where wheat products are made. Heather, who has celiac disease, told me that her husband Scott is a manager there and has educated the staff on proper food-handling protocol to avoid cross-contamination. Scott will be also working with the staff at a second location coming this summer to 801 Walnut Street.

Reader Jaime K. let me know that Italian Delite in Broomall (2052 Sproul Rd., 610-353-5885) serves gluten-free pizza.

Food blog Foobooz reports that the Naked Chocolate Cafe in Center City, which carried gluten-free confections, has closed. The shop is looking to relocate.

Chick-Fil-A is test-marketing sweet potato waffle fries at many Delaware Valley locations through August. A consumer relations representative advised me that the fries are gluten free.

No Whey Health Foods in Pitman, New Jersey (3 2nd Ave., 856-582-1115) is a new store selling gluten-free and allergy-friendly groceries. Thanks to readers Thomas P. and Sue R. for the tip.

Reader Chris P. sent me a link to product information for Kellogg's new gluten-free Rice Krispies, which will be available in June. There's even a recipe for Rice Krispie Treats.

If you weren't able to find Shabtai Gourmet's new mini Swiss cake rolls at Passover (or maybe you just want more), the cakes can now be ordered at the company's website.

Amazon.com is offering up to 30% savings on gluten-free groceries for Celiac Awareness Month through May 31. All deals can be combined with a Subcribe & Save offer to add an additional 15% savings. The products on sale are as follows:

The Center City branch of Maggiano's Little Italy (1201 Filbert St., 215-567-2020) is hosting a gluten-free dinner on Wednesday, May 25 beginning at 6 p.m. Cost is $40 per person plus tax. The menu is posted on the restaurant's website (click on the "Events" tab), and there will be a silent auction to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A portion of the proceeds from the dinner will also go to that organization. Thanks to reader Felicita M., who let me know about this event.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Go Fo Fogo

The immense salad bar notwithstanding, vegetarians may feel a bit uneasy as the gaucho chefs at Center City Philadelphia's Fogo de Chão (1337 Chestnut St., 215-636-9700) breeze through the dining room with cut after cut of barbequed meats. Fogo de Chão (pronounced "fo-go dèe shoun") is a Brazilian churrascaria, or steakhouse, and at a recent weekday lunch, we enjoyed a savory, if at times overwhelming, gluten-free dining experience.

With more than 10 kinds of beef, pork and chicken, a 30-item salad bar, and side dishes of addictive pão de queijo (warm cheese bread), crispy hot polenta, garlic mashed potatoes and caramelized bananas, Fogo is a gluten-free paradise. The amiable manager told which items were not safe - just a few items such as the tabbouleh and bread on the salad bar and the beer-marinated chicken on the main menu. (As selections may vary daily, check with a manager when dining.)

Diners start their meal with offerings from the salad bar, loaded with a variety of vegetables, cheeses and sliced meats. When you return to your table, make sure your dining card (green for "go" and red for "stop") is red-side up, or else you'll never get to finish your starters. Once you flip the disc over, the meats come fast and furious. (So fast that I wasn't able to snap any pictures of my own.) My favorites were the tender filet mignon and the juicy picanha, but there were many others from which to choose.

There are gluten-free dessert options such as flan and crème brûlée for those that somehow still have room left in their stomachs.

Fogo serves lunch Monday through Friday ($32.50 - which includes salad bar and sides - and $22.50 for the salad-bar-only option) and dinner seven days a week ($49.50; $24.50 for salad bar only). Children 5 and under are complimentary, and kids 6 to 10 are half price. There are other locations throughout the United States, in cities such as Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Scottsdale, Houston and Miami.

Fogo de Chão Churrascaria on Urbanspoon