Friday, March 30, 2012


P.F. Chang's new Caramel Mango Chicken
(Photos courtesy of P.F. Chang's)
P.F. Chang's has long been a safe haven for diners with a yen for gluten-free Asian fusion cuisine. For example, all gluten-free items are served on special plates emblazoned with the restaurant logo and take-out orders are clearly labeled.

Two years ago, P.F.Chang's added entrees that included a gluten-free version of its Mongolian Beef. Come Monday, the menu will grow even larger. The restaurants will add seven gluten-free choices, for a total of 25 items. In addition to current favorites like the Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Singapore Street Noodles and Mongolian Beef, you'll find these new items available:
  • Vietnamese Crab Salad - Lump crab meat tossed with green papaya, mango, apple, fresh vegetables and herbs in a zesty Vietnamese Nuoc Cham dressing
  • Crab Fried Rice - Wok-fried rice with lump crab meat, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, egg, smoky bacon, zesty lemon and Sriracha
  • Caramel Mango Chicken - Tender chicken caramelized in a Southeast Asian glaze with mango, tomatoes, Fresno chiles and Thai basil
  • Asian Tomato-Cucumber Salad
  • Lemon Scented Brussels Sprouts - Thinly shaved, wok-charred with ginger, garlic, Thai basil and fresh lemon zest

Crab Fried Rice, new at P.F. Chang's

Back by popular demand are two classic entrees - the spicy Dali Chicken with sliced potatoes and our longtime favorite, Philip’s Better Lemon Chicken, served with broccoli in a citrus sauce.

Of course, the sinful Flourless Chocolate Dome is still available for dessert.

P.F. Chang's has local outposts in Collegeville (10 Town Center Dr., 610-489-0110), Glen Mills (983 Baltimore Pike, 610-545-3030), Plymouth Meeting (519 Germantown Pike, 610-567-0226), Warrington (721 Easton Rd., 215-918-3340) Atlantic City (2801 Pacific Ave., 609-348-4600), Princeton (3545 Rt. 1, 609-799-5163) and Marlton (500 Rt. 73 S., 856-396-0818).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Not Just Peanuts and Cracker Jack

April is the best month in sports. A college basketball champion is crowned. The pro hockey and basketball regular-season games take on more importance. And hope begins anew for the 30 Major League Baseball teams. After the two-game Opening Series between the Mariners and Athletics in Tokyo that begins tomorrow, the rest of the 2012 season starts on Wednesday, April 4 with the Miami Marlins hosting the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.

More baseball stadiums than ever have dedicated gluten-free concession stands and carts, including new ones at Pittsburgh's PNC Park and Marlins Park in Miami. Ballparks in Toronto and Houston have added gluten-free fare this season. Many offer more than just bunless franks and burgers; there's everything from grilled cheese sandwiches to fish and chips.  Here's where you can find gluten-free concessions at each of the 30 MLB ballparks:

NL East:
Kozy Shack gluten-free stand at Citi Field
  • Atlanta Braves (Turner Field) - Hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwiches, chips, popcorn, brownies, cookies and Redbridge beer at gluten-free cart (Aisle 106)
  • Miami Marlins (Marlins Park) - Hot dogs, nachos, sandwiches, apple chips, muffins and Redbridge beer at gluten-free cart (Section 2); Greek and Caesar salads, buffalo wings, popcorn and caramel apples at the Clevelander
  • New York Mets (Citi Field) - Hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages, puddings and beer at Kozy Shack Stand at World's Fare Market (Section 104)
  • Philadelphia Phillies (Citizens Bank Park) - Hot dogs, snacks, Redbridge beer and Woodchuck hard cider at South Philadelphia Market stand (Section 128); Hot dogs, salads and Redbridge beer at Market Express (Section 321); cheesesteaks at Elfreth's Alley Grill (Section 109) and Germantown Grill (Section 126); pizza at Seasons Pizza stand (Ashburn Alley); Redbridge beer at Brewerytown stands (Ashburn Alley and Sections 139, 204 and 323); Woodchuck hard cider at Brewerytown stand (Section 108); all meat products, rolls, barbeque sauce, cole slaw and beans at Bull's BBQ (Ashburn Alley); Chickie's & Pete's Crabfries and cheese sauce (Section 102)
  • Washington Nationals (Nationals Park) - Hot dogs, chili cheese dogs, nachos, loaded nachos, popcorn, potato chips and Redbridge beer at gluten-free cart (Section 136); soft pretzels and Redbridge beer at Curly W pretzel stands (Sections 105 and 319)
NL Central:
  • Chicago Cubs (Wrigley Field) - Hot dogs, hamburgers, snacks and Redbridge beer at Sheffield Grill (Section 140); Redbridge beer at various beer stands; Lifeway frozen kefir at Starfruit Café (next to main entrance)
  • Cincinnati Reds (Great American Ball Park) - Bunless hot dogs, wursts, sausages, brat burgers and soft-serve ice cream at various stands; sushi, fruit and salads at United Dairy Farmers Market stands (Sections 125 and 522); Skyline chili (Sections 103, 114, 130, 519 and 534)
  • Houston Astros (Minute Maid Park) - Hot dogs and beer at Goya Latin Café (Section 119); made-to-order salads (Section 116); baked potatoes at Spuds Crossing stands (Sections 125 and 409)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (Miller Park) - Turkey sandwiches, chocolate tortes, brownies and chips at Grab & Go stand (Section 123); bunless hot dogs, bratwursts and sausages, chicken taco salads, chicken nachos, cheese fries in a helmet, popcorn, kettle corn, peanuts, Cracker Jack, cotton candy, Minute Maid frozen treats and soft-serve custard at various stands; New Grist beer (Sections 110, 126, 212 and 224)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (PNC Park) - Kosher hot dogs, panini sandwiches, nachos and salsa, salads, sweet potato chips, fruit and Redbridge beer at Just4U stand (Section 128); Chickie's & Pete's Crabfries and cheese sauce (Section 132); Rita's Italian Ices (Section 103/105)
  • St. Louis Cardinals (Busch Stadium) - Chicken and beef bowls at Asian Cafe (Gate 1); sandwiches, chef salads and Redbridge beer at Farmer's Market (Section 136); bunless hamburgers at Hardee's (Sections 135 and 358); salads at Red Bird Club; bratwurst, hot dogs, grilled chicken, sausage, hamburgers, beef brisket and pulled pork (all without bun or sauce) vended throughout stadium
NL West:
  • Arizona Diamondbacks (Chase Field) - Hot dogs, nachos, snacks and Redbridge beer at gluten-free cart (Section 106)
  • Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) - Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, chips, cookies, brownies and Redbridge beer at gluten-free stand (Section 147)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodger Stadium) - Snacks and Redbridge beer at Healthy Plate carts (Sections 7 and 12)
  • San Diego Padres (PETCO Park) - Hot dogs, hamburgers, hummus and vegetables, salads and beer at gluten-free stand (Section 104)
  • San Francisco Giants (AT&T Park) - Hot dogs, chips and Redbridge beer at Budweiser Brew Pub (Promenade Section 112)
AL East:
  • Baltimore Orioles (Oriole Park at Camden Yards) - Beef, pork and turkey sandwiches at Boog's BBQ (Eutaw Street); cheese pizza at Seasons Pizza (Sections 33, 220 and 372)
  • Boston Red Sox (Fenway Park) - Hot dogs, pizza, beer and snacks at gluten-free stand (Big Concourse)
  • New York Yankees (Yankee Stadium) - Nathan's hot dogs and Premio sausages on Udi's buns, Kozy Shack pudding and Redbridge beer at gluten-free stand (Great Hall - Gates 4-6); pizza at Famous Famiglia (Section 125); Nathan's hot dogs, Premio sausages and Boar's Head deli meats (without buns or bread) elsewhere throughout stadium; Kozy Shack pudding at Highlanders (Sections 110, 232, 305, 318, 321, 324 and at the Bleachers); Carvel soft-serve ice cream (Sections 112, 125, 207, 232, 307, 318, 324 and at the Bleachers); vegetable and fruit salads at Melissa's Farmers Market (Gate 4); Redbridge beer at Beers of the World (Sections 110, 205, 224, 312 and 321)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (Tropicana Field) -  Hot dogs, pretzels and beer at GF! stand (Center Field Street)
  • Toronto Blue Jays (Rogers Centre) - Sandwiches (Barq's BBQ beef brisket, Big Smoke jerk chicken, T.O. chopped pork and Market Burger), traditional butter chicken with fresh greens, three-bean chili and fruit at Muddy York Market (Section 109); beer at King Club (Level 100)
AL Central:
  • Chicago White Sox (U.S. Cellular Field) - Sandwiches and cookies at Triple Play Carvery (Section 110) and at All-Star Stand (Section 522); hot dogs at Comiskey Dog (Sections 105 and 544); nachos and toppings at TexMex (Sections 122, 152 and 523); nachos at portable locations located around the ballpark on the 100 and 500 levels; soft-serve ice cream at Winning Ugly is Sweet (Section 144) and at All-Star Stand (Section 538); Lakefront beer and Crispin cider at Midwest Brews (Sections 108 and 530)
  • Cleveland Indians (Progressive Field) - Hot dogs, sausages, veggie burgers, cookies, snacks and beer at Spuds and Suds (Sections 163 and 541)
  • Detroit Tigers (Comerica Park) -  Turkey legs, fruit platters and hummus plates at Brushfire Grill (Section 131); hummus plates at Labatt Blue Light Jungle (Gate B); bunless hot dogs, sausages and grilled chicken, french fries, peanuts, popcorn, nachos without cheese and frozen Minute Maid treats throughout stadium; Redbridge beer at Beer Hall (Section 131)
  • Kansas City Royals (Kauffman Stadium) - Bunless hot dogs and sausages, popcorn and Cracker Jack throughout stadium; barbequed meats, house-made BBQ sauce and potato salad at Royals All-Star Barbeque (Outfield Experience and Sections 219 and 423); Redbridge beer at Pine Tar Pub (Sections 210 and 245)
  • Minnesota Twins (Target Field) - Shrimp skewers, veggie kabobs, turkey legs and pork chops on a stick (Section 133); turkey legs (Section 311); fruits, vegetables and snacks at Farmers Market (Section 141); bunless hot dogs and grilled chicken, Angie's Kettle Corn, Rachel's Kettle Chips, Fruichi smoothies, nachos and cheese, Cracker Jack, Land O'Lakes soft-serve ice cream, Push Up Fruit Bars, cotton candy, popcorn and Killebrew Root Beer vended throughout stadium; Talenti Gelato (Sections 141 and 302); Redbridge beer (Sections 116, 124 and 325)  
AL West:
  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Angel Stadium of Anaheim) - Veggie dogs, black bean burgers, sweet potato fries, salads and hummus at Melissa's Fresh For You stand (First Base and Third Base food courts); beer throughout stadium; pizza on suite menus
  • Oakland Athletics (The Coliseum) -  Special dietary needs accommodated upon request
  • Seattle Mariners (Safeco Field) - Hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, snacks and Redbridge beer at The Natural (Section 132); halibut and chips and Redbridge beer at Sound Seafood (Section 248); beer at Good Hops (Section 330)
  • Texas Rangers (Rangers Ballpark) - Hot dogs, cookies, pretzels, chips, salads, fruit and Redbridge beer at Centerfield Market (Section 50)
In addition, several teams are sponsoring Celiac Awareness Nights this season. They include the New York Mets (May 4), Arizona Diamondbacks (May 25), Colorado Rockies (June 9), Seattle Mariners (June 15), Philadelphia Phillies (July 20), San Diego Padres (July 21) and Los Angeles Dodgers (August 25).

Play ball!

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    News & Notes: March 23, 2012

    As much as I think Philadelphia is the friendliest gluten-free city in the country, I must acknowledge that New York City has its fair share of excellent gluten-free restaurants. Last week I met my old friend Brian (whose wife Nicole, coincidentally, is a gluten-free cookbook author and blogs at Gluten Free on a Shoestring) at Mozzarelli's on 23rd Street in Manhattan. It's a restaurant in name only - the place is really a gourmet pizza parlor. And that's just fine. You want a slice of gluten-free barbeque chicken pizza? No problem. How about Margherita? You got it. The varieties rotate daily, but there's always several choices available. (They're kept on the top shelf of the counter and the staff is aware of proper prep.) The proprietors of Mozzarelli's also created My Dad's Cookies, which can be purchased at the shop. There's freshly made gluten-free cheesecakes and specialty cakes sold by the slice too.

    Back home, everything on the menu at the new juice-and-raw cafe Jar Bar (113 S. 12th St., 215-923-1600) is gluten-free. Thanks to reader Adriana Z. for the tip.

    At Velvet Sky Bakery in Jenkintown (307 Leedom St., 215-884-0254), all cakes, cupcakes and cookies can be made without gluten. The bakery offers gluten-free cupcakes in the store every Wednesday and Thursday, frosted to order, and takes special orders for other days. The gluten-free products are made separately after the kitchen and bakeware are cleaned. A tip of the hat to reader Rachel S. for the heads-up.

    The Big Fish Grill in Glen Mills (981 Baltimore Pike, 484-842-1757) offers a gluten-free menu.

    St. Joseph's University on the Main Line now has a dedicated gluten-free section at its Campion Dining Hall, complete with separate toasters and a microwave oven, according to The Hawk student newspaper.

    I picked up Schar's new Bonta d'Italia ("The Goodness of Italy") gluten-free frozen cheese pizza at Whole Foods in Marlton for $7.99. The thin-crust brick-oven pizza also comes in a pepperoni version. Our son thought this was among the best home-baked pies he's had.

    Amazon is stocking a new cereal line - well, new to the United States anyway. Australia's Freedom Foods produces several gluten-free cereals, including Fruit Loop-like Tropico's (with natural colors and flavors), Ultra Maple Rice Crunch and Rice Flakes. The cost of a pack of five boxes comes to about $4 a box, a bit less if you order via Amazon's Subscribe & Save option.

    As a reminder, you can help support the blog by making Amazon purchases through the links above or the banner at Gluten Free Philly. If you like what you get here, you can also contribute to the "tip jar."

    As I mentioned in Tuesday's post, on Sunday, April 22, Pasta Pomodoro in Voorhees (700 Haddonfield-Berlin Rd.) will be host a gluten-free dinner event with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.The restaurant's extensive gluten-free menu will be available. Reservations can be made for seating anytime from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Call chef-owner Pasquale Masters at 856-296-1268 or email him with the time and number of your party.

    Sur La Table will be presenting gluten- and lactose-free baking classes at many locations next month, including King of Prussia (April 23) and Marlton (April 25). The fee is $69 per person.

    Have a great weekend!

    - Michael

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    April Flours

    On April 22, diners at Pasta Pomodoro in Voorhees (700 Haddonfield-Berlin Rd.) will be able to support the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness just by enjoying a fabulous gluten-free meal. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. that evening, the BYOB restaurant will be hosting a gluten-free dinner event and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the NFCA. Diners will be able to choose from Pasta Pomodoro's extensive gluten-free menu in its entirety - from garlic bread to pizza, from mozzarella sticks to tempting dessert selections. Reservations are a must, though, so call chef-owner Pasquale Masters at 856-296-1268 or email him with the time and number of your party.

    It's not the reunited Van Halen, but another tour will hit the Philadelphia area less than a week after the Pasta Pomodoro dinner. The Celiac Awareness Tour is a series of national events dedicated to providing education and entertainment for those on a gluten-free diet. On April 28, the Tour will be at the Crowne Plaza Valley Forge Hotel in King of Prussia (260 Mall Blvd.) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Full disclosure: The Celiac Awareness Tour is an advertiser at the Gluten Free Philly blog.) Besides meeting medical experts, you can watch live cooking demonstrations on the Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery Stage and enjoy gluten-free food samples from dozens of local and national companies, including French Meadow Bakery, Nature's Path, Kinnikinnick, Food For Life, Glutino and Udi's Gluten Free Foods. Presenters include NFCA founder Alice Bast and local health coach Jennifer Fugo, and there will be raffles and prizes. I will be at the NFCA booth from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Through April 14, early-bird tickets can be purchased for $9 per person online; thereafter and at the door, it's $10. Kids under 12 are admitted free.

    I hope to see you at both events!

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    News & Notes: March 16, 2012

    The creative force behind Philadelphia's Modo Mio, Monsu and Paesano's is at it again. Gluten-free-friendly chef Peter McAndrews has just opened Popolino (501 Fairmount Ave., 215-928-0106), a Roman trattoria in Northern Liberties featuring a lavish antipasti bar. As noted on the menu, accommodations can be made for gluten-free diners. McAndrews, whose children are celiacs, raved about Toté Bakery's gluten-free bread to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which featured the bakery in the Food section of yesterday's edition.

    If all goes well today during inspections, Jules Thin Crust - with its fabulous gluten-free pizza - will open its Wayne location (114 E. Lancaster Ave.) for business tomorrow at 4 p.m.

    Goodies from Pure Sweets, featured here a few weeks ago, are now available at Ultimo Coffee (1900 S. 15th St., 215-339-5177) in South Philadelphia and Northern Liberties' One Shot Coffee (217 W. George St., 215-627-1620).

    The all-gluten-free Little Bakery in Blue Bell (921 Penllyn-Blue Bell Pike, 267-708-0984) now sells bake-eat-home chocolate chip cookie dough and brownie dough by the pound.

    Last weekend, many companies announced new gluten-free products at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California. Udi's Gluten Free Foods is launching classic French and whole-grain seeded dinner rolls and vanilla cupcakes that will debut in July. The company's previously announced frozen pizzas and muffin tops are on the way to stores now.

    Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery's new gluten-free tortillas are made with whole grain flours and have a soft, pliable texture. The tortillas, which will retail for $5.99 a package, are available in plain, spinach and fiesta flavors.

    The Pop-Tart-like gluten-free toaster pastries from Eco-Planet should be in stores by May, reports Jennifer H., who writes a gluten-free blog out of Georgia and who attended the Expo. Eco-Planet will also have a new line of gluten-free granola bars and bites, says Jennifer.

    Jennifer also provided some other info via her Twitter feed. Hain Celestial's Gluten Free Cafe line of soups has three new additions: Chicken Orzo, Beef Noodle and Vegetable Quinoa. In September Van's Natural Foods is relaunching a version of gluten-free pancakes, which will also be dairy and egg free.

    The Celiac Center at Paoli Hospital is sponsoring a seminar on the neurologic manifestations of celiac disease on Wednesday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m. The event will take place at Paoli Hospital's Potter Room (255 W. Lancaster Ave.) Call 1-866-CALL-MLH to register.

    "Nourished Together" is a four-session nutrition and cooking course being held next month in University City. The course fee of $180 is inclusive of all instruction, ingredients, course materials and dinner. You can save $36 (20%) through Tuesday, March 20 by mentioning that you read about the course at Gluten Free Philly. Call 215-872-5521 for registration.

    The Flavor Festival at Phoenixville will take place on Saturday, April 21 from noon to 5 p.m. at Franklin Commons (400 Franklin Ave.). Most of the wineries at this food-and-drink event will have gluten-free crackers and local gluten-free-friendly vendors such as Cupcake Wars victor Dia Doce, Mompops, FreshaPeel Hummus and Chile Spot will be participating. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the gate.

    My "Dining Out Philly" giveaway celebrating the blog's 3rd birthday runs through Sunday. (I very much appreciate all the birthday notes received this week!) Food For All in Mt. Airy has generously offered a $30 gift certificate as one of the prizes, so there will be seven winners in all. Other prizes are from Zavino, The Tomato Bistro, Pure Tacos, THE QUICK FIXX, Sweet Freedom Bakery and Toté.

    Have a great weekend!

    - Michael

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Goodies Giveaway: Dining Out Philly

    It's been three amazing years since I started Gluten Free Philly. I offer my heartiest thanks to everyone who has come along for the ride. Your feedback, compliments and tips have been invaluable.

    To help me celebrate the blog's third birthday, six gluten-free-friendly Philadelphia restaurants and bakeries are offering you, dear readers and followers, the presents - six gift certificates as part of my "Dining Out Philly" giveaway. There will be six different winners in all (limit one gift certificate per winner).

    Participating restaurants are the [NEWLY ADDED] Food For All Cafe and Market (7127 Germantown Ave., 267-297-7122) offering a $30 gift certificate, THE QUICK FIXX [GF pasta] (1511 South St., 267-273-1066), The Tomato Bistro [GF pizza] (102 Rector St., 215-483-2233), Zavino [GF pizza] (112 S. 13th St., 215-732-2400) - each of which is furnishing a $25 gift certificate - and Pure Tacos [all GF] (coming this Spring to 1935 Chestnut St.), where one winner can enjoy lunch every day for a week, a $50 value (two tacos and one drink per day for five days).

    The all-gluten free Toté Bakery (1024 S. 9th St., 215-551-5511) and Sweet Freedom Bakery (1424 South St., 215-545-1899) are also offering $25 gift certificates.

    To enter up to three different ways, follow the instructions below. Be sure to let me know of your top three choices; although winners will be randomly selected I will try to accommodate specific requests if possible.

    Good luck!

    Friday, March 9, 2012

    News & Notes: March 9, 2012

    If Chipotle merged with Starbucks, the result might be something like Center City's Odd Fellows Cafe (1201 Spruce St., 484-897-0633). The Latin American BYOB restaurant and coffee bar has a gluten-free menu and the kitchen and service staffs are knowledgeable about safe prep and handling.

    Reader Melanie H. recommends another Philly BYOB, this one in University City. At Marigold Kitchen (501 S. 45th St., 215-222-3699), the chef at this contemporary American can make appropriate menu adjustments. A parade of amuse-bouche is a highlight of the meal, reports Melanie.

    In Wilmington, Ulysses Gastropub (1716 Marsh Rd., 302-691-3456) offers a gluten-free menu and beer.

    You can find gluten-free pasta, bread and desserts at Buonissimo in Blue Bell (700 Dekalb Pike, 610-270-9100).

    On the heels of opening a location in Mt. Laurel, Miller's Ale House has received approval to proceed with another area spot in Springfield at 1618 Baltimore Pike. No word on a projected opening date.

    Healthy Bites Cafe and Market, near Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia, is closing on March 18, but owner Katie Cavuto-Boyle will continue offering nutrition services, meal delivery, catering and cooking classes.

    Joe Palombo's Mirabella Cafe in Cherry Hill, which underwent GREAT Kitchen training from the NFCA and served gluten-free pasta, has closed, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    The new Sweet T's Bakeshop in Haddonfield (7 Kings Court, 856-428-0222) offers a variety of gluten-free cupcakes. Owner Toni Walton, who appeared on Seasons 1 and 2 of TLC's Cake Boss, takes precautions to avoid cross-contamination when making gluten-free items.

    Chester County cupcakery Dia Doce will appear on Food Network's Cupcake Wars this Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern. My son tried one of owner Thais da Silva's gluten-free cake pops this week (thanks Daria!) and couldn't stop raving about it.

    The latest additions to the JELL-O product line are S'more and Strawberry Sundae pudding snacks. There's no gluten in either product.

    New to the refrigerated section at Whole Foods is Alpina Foods' Restart yogurt packaged with Udi's gluten-free granola. It's available in strawberry, blueberry, vanilla and peach flavors.

    Pamela's Products is debuting new gluten-free baking products this month: Pizza Crust Mix, Artisan Flour Blend, Biscuit & Scone Mix, Oatmeal Cookie Mix and roll-and-cut Sugar Cookie Mix.

    The new microwaveable Smart Ones three cheese omelet, which comes with a side of Ore-Ida potatoes, is gluten free. Hey - it's convenient!

    My annual Passover gluten-free product roundup went up at the blog on Tuesday. New items are making their way into stores now.

    Upcoming events in the next week include a gluten-free/dairy-free tasting event tomorrow at Deliteful Foods in Lawrenceville (4110 Quakerbridge Rd., 609-799-7756) from noon to 3 p.m. The event will feature products from Udi's, Katz, Namaste and others. While there, look for the fabulous Tonya's gluten-free soft pretzels.

    On Sunday, the Berks County Gluten-Free Meetup Group will have a potluck lunch at 1 p.m. at the New Apostolic Church in Reading.

    Trader Joe's in Ardmore (112 Coulter Ave., 610-658-0645) will host a gluten-free store tour on Tuesday, March 12 at 9 a.m. Thanks to Sherrie S. for the tip.

    Don't forget to visit the blog next Tuesday, when I'll be celebrating the third anniversary of Gluten Free Philly with a multi-prize giveaway for my readers and followers.

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

    - Michael

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    The "In" Holiday

    I love Passover, and not just because I'm a fan of old Charlton Heston movies. The holiday commemorating the biblical Jewish exodus from Egypt, which begins this year in the evening of April 6, is a time when many more gluten-free products are available at supermarkets. This grew out of the observance of certain segments of the Jewish population to refrain from eating wheat products at all during Passover.

    The packaging of many gluten-free products is expressly labeled as such, while others have a "non-gebrokts" notation. (As always, read the ingredient label before buying and consuming a particular item.)

    Some stores carry only the basics, such as Manischewitz noodles, while those with larger Kosher sections tend to have more options. The ShopRite markets on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia and on Route 70 in Cherry Hill have a wide selection of gluten-free items on the shelves, from chow mein noodles and Gefen cake mixes (some even sugar free) to Osem loaf cakes, cereals, pizza bagels and matzoh ball mixes.

    Wegmans stores plan to carry a number of gluten-free products, including Klein's Viennese Ice Cream Cake and Passover Flats (great for making pizza and sandwiches), Macabee Passover Pizza, and - to mark the famous "10 Plagues" - Zelda's Locusts and Frogs chocolate-covered marshmallows.

    Of course, what would Passover be without matzoh? This year Yehuda has introduced a Toasted Onion flavor to complement its original gluten-free variety. This matzoh is reasonably priced (between $5 and $6), as compared to the gluten-free oat matzoh that also is available this time of year.

    Among the new gluten-free products for 2012 are Manischewitz chocolate and yellow cake mixes, Jeff Nathan Creations panko flakes, and four flavors of Sweet Goodies licorice.

    If you want to try "Mexican Coke" (made with sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup), Passover Coca-Cola will be available in the Philadelphia area. Look for bottles with a distinctive yellow cap.

    About a week or so before the start of Passover, markets receive their shipments of fresh gluten-free cakes and cookies from New York bakeries such as Oberlander's, Shabtai Gourmet, and Schick's. Look for sandwich and rainbow cookies, cake rolls and layer cakes.

    Prices of some Passover foods tend to be higher than their non-holiday counterparts, so I suggest buying one of a particular item to see if you like it before stocking up. Keep an eye on Passover sections after the second night of the holiday, when markets tend to cut prices on whatever products are left.

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    News & Notes: March 2, 2012

    Gourmet hot-dog stands are the new fancy burger joints. That's the only explanation why there are two new eateries in Center City Philadelphia dedicated to the frankfurter. Underdogs (132 S. 17th St., 215-665-8080) serves Dietz & Watson hot dogs on Toté Bakery's gluten-free buns; the fries and a variety of dipping sauces are safe as well.

    At the Bellevue Food Court, Maui's Dog House (200 S. Broad St., 215-735-1533) has gluten-free franks and burgers (sans buns) and fries.

    Still on the subject of hot dogs, you'll be able to get them at Bright House Field, the Phillies' Spring Training home in Clearwater, Florida. The wieners will be sold at the hot dog stand behind third base and look for other options at the home plate stand.

    At Philadelphia Chutney Company (1628 Sansom St., 215-564-6446; 1932 Liacouras Walk), all of the Indian dosas and uttapas (made with rice batter), fillings and chutneys are gluten free, along with the steamed rice lentil cake appetizer and the Indian stew.

    Village Belle, an Italian restaurant in Philadelphia's Queen Village neighborhood (757 S. Front St., 215-551-2200), serves gluten-free pasta and has a dedicated menu. (Tomorrow is the last day to snag a Living Social deal for the restaurant; it's $40 worth of food and non-alcoholic drinks for $20.)

    At Lawrenceville's Varsity Pizza & Subs (1296 Lawrenceville Rd., 609-882-4100), the gluten-free pizza is made with separate ingredients, cooked on a dedicated pan and cut with a dedicated knife.

    Casa Bella Trattoria in Haddonfield (51 E. Kings Hwy., 856-429-2885) has gluten-free pasta.

    New in Mt. Laurel is Miller's Ale House (554 Fellowship Rd., 856-722-5690), which has a gluten-free menu mainly comprised of steaks, seafood and salads.

    In Tuesday's post I featured local bakery Pure Sweets, which makes unique gluten-free, organic and vegan sweets sold in area markets.

    You can now bake Sweet Freedom Bakery's chocolate chip cookies at home. Packaged mixes are available for purchase at the bakery (1424 South St., 215-545-1899). In addition, Sweet Freedom's goodies are now sold at The Sweet Spot Cafe in Northern Liberties (1040 N. 2d St., 267-639-9588).

    Look for The Grain Exchange's baked goods at Whole Foods in Wynnewood and the new Jules Thin Crust Pizza, opening this month in Wayne.

    Well-known baking mix brand Krusteaz has added gluten-free frozen waffles to its product lineup. A two-waffle serving is 200 calories and 7 grams of fat (1 gram of saturated fat).

    Tomorrow at noon I'll be at the gluten-free cooking demo at the Marlton ShopRite (307 W. Route 70, 856-983-7370), where you can sample foods from Italian Gluten Free Foods and O'Doughs; the event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's a great chance to double dip, as you can also pick up gluten-free Passover foods like cake and cookie mixes, loaf cakes, cookies, and matzoh. I hope to see you there.

    Have a great weekend!

    - Michael