Friday, June 29, 2012

News & Notes: June 29, 2012

The signage has gone up and the butcher paper is coming down. At long last, Ocean City's Pure Tacos is set to open its Center City Philadelphia location (1935 Chestnut St., 215-496-9393) on Monday, July 9. In addition to having seating, the shop will offer take-out and delivery options for orders placed over the phone or online. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. You can follow Pure Tacos' Twitter feed or Like on Facebook for information on an upcoming free tacos giveaway.

Lots of reader recommendations to pass along this week. Jaime L. let me know that luncheonette Hannah G's in Ventnor (7310 Ventnor Ave., 609-823-1466) has five gluten-free menu items, which are prepared on a separate grill: blueberry pancakes, roasted vegetable cheese omelet, ranchero eggs on quinoa, spinach quinoa salad and a Cajun chicken platter. The kitchen also has a dedicated toaster on hand.

Thanks to Jared G. for sharing word that Cherry Hill's The Kibitz Room (100 Springdale Rd., 856-428-7878) is now serving its oversized deli sandwiches on gluten-free bread.

The new Alfredo's Italian Pizza Kitchen in West Chester (34-38 E. Street Rd., 484-315-8685) has a dedicated oven for gluten-free pizza and separate utensils and cookware for pizza and pasta. The restaurant is running a Living Social deal right now for $10 that'll net $20 worth of food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Out on Long Beach Island, North Beach Haven's The Maine Course (1301 Long Beach Blvd., 609-492-2328) has gluten-free crab cakes. (Thanks, Sophia K.)

Reader Tom P. let me know that there are gluten-free options available in West Cape May at the Cape May Organic Market (120 Park Blvd., 609-884-3200) and at Good Earth Organic Eatery (600 Park Blvd., 609-898-6161).

In more second-location news, Underdogs, the franks-and-fries joint in Center City, is planning to open at 1205 S. 9th Street in South Philly. The menu there, as at the original, will include gluten-free rolls. Expanding into Wilmington (2510 Foulk Rd.) this fall is Delaware's Two Stones Pub. The Newark spot offers four gluten-free beers.

Now that the lines have died down, Shake Shack is worth a trip for some gluten-free burgers, hot dogs, fries and custard, as I wrote in my review on Tuesday.

On the sweet side, Go Bananas Frozen Yogurt in Richboro (1057 Second St. Pike, 215-952-6083) marks its gluten-free yogurt flavors (hat tip to Jennie), as does Spoon Me in Voorhees (900 Haddonfield-Berlin Rd., 856-324-3544)(thanks again to Jared G.). All of the organic frozen yogurt at Yogo Sano in Wayne (1 West Ave., 484-580-8205) is gluten free.

El Rey, Melograno, Alma de Cuba and Pasta Pomodoro are just a few of the local restaurants that will be participating in Appetite for Awareness on September 23. There'll be lots of sampling too, from the likes of Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery, Blue Diamond, Crunchmaster, Bakery on Main, The Grain Exchange, Sweet Christine's and Butterfly Bakery. The event will be held in Center City at the Strawbridge Building from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are now available

If you aren't already doing so, you can follow Gluten Free Philly on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Tips, comments and suggestions are always welcome by email as well.

Have a great weekend and holiday too!

- Michael

* * *
My new 'Gluten Free Philly' Delaware Dining Guide is available as an e-book download. Featured in The News Journal, the guide provides hyperlinked listings for restaurants, bakeries, markets and attractions throughout the First State, including Wilmington, Newark and the southern resort towns like Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach. Updated editions published within 30 days of initial purchase will be emailed to purchasers free of charge.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Shake It Up

Philadelphians haven't been this excited about a New York food export since cheesecake. The opening earlier this month of Shake Shack near Rittenhouse Square (2000 Sansom St., 215-809-1742) brought the natives out in droves - perhaps out of curiosity, perhaps because of the burger joint's back story.

Shake Shack originated as a hot dog cart in in Manhattan to support the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s first art installation. In 2004, restaurateur Danny Meyer won the bid to open a permanent kiosk in the Park, and from there he has added locations up and down the East Coast.

The chain has a gluten-free adjunct to the menu that includes bunless burgers and flat-top dogs, fries, frozen custard, shakes and wine. One of the managers at the Philly location has celiac disease, and she let me know that the fries are prepared in a dedicated fryer that is not connected to the same oil line as other fryers. Staff members also use a separate shake spinner and designated tins (black for malted, red for peanut butter) for shakes with allergens. Special custard flavors with cake batter (Boston cream pie, for instance) dispense from a separate machine and designated scoopers are used. The staff will also change gloves and use a fresh bin for toppings such as lettuce and tomatoes when a ticket is rung through with an allergy modification; just inform the cashier of the gluten-free request. The restaurant also is exploring the possibility of stocking gluten-free buns and rolls.

The Gluten Free Philly crew waited for the initial crowds to thin before checking out the Shack recently. The missus and younger son and I all went for the somewhat healthier Bird Dog - chicken, apple and sage sausage. I thought the split-top grilling method brought out the meat's spicy flavor, but my wife and son were underwhelmed.

A gluten-free double ShackBurger (the ShackSauce
was hastily applied to the sandwich!)
Our older son went all out, splurging for a double ShackBurger. With a Schar bun (brought from home), he assembled two beef patties, cheese, tomato, lettuce and a dollop of the tangy mayo-and-dill ShackSauce. After licking his lips, he proclaimed the burger a Top Three choice, just behind the offerings at New York's Friedman's Lunch and Shack Shack neighbor Village Whiskey.

The French fries were crinkle-cut - not my favorite style - but they were served hot and crisp, prerequisites for a solid fry.

Each of us finished the meal with a scoop of custard. I opted for the conservative, but nonetheless creamy, vanilla, and the others fancied the Buttery Caramel Cocoa Nib - the Sunday custard of the day throughout June.

At least during this early stage, seating at Shake Shack is at a premium. Best if you're in a group to have one member of the party stake out some stools or one of the few booths in the back.

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 22, 2012

News & Notes: June 22, 2012

Actress Jennifer Esposito (fifth from left) helps cut the ribbon at Schar's new
Gloucester County manufacturing facility, the company's first in the United States 
"Made in the USA!" That's the rallying cry for employees at Schar's first American production plant, situated in Logan Township in Gloucester County, New Jersey. Company executives, local dignitaries and actress Jennifer Esposito (Schar's new spokesperson) cut the ribbon yesterday to formally open the 60,000-square-foot facility.

Just off exit 10 of I-295, the plant will produce breads, rolls and the company's new plain and cinnamon raisin bagels for U.S. distribution. In addition to utilizing local contractors to build the structure, Schar has hired 50 full-time employees on the operations side.

Elsewhere in the Garden State, The Borgata in Atlantic City (1 Borgata Way, 609-317-1000) is stepping up its table games (pardon the pun) with the introduction of gluten-free menus at its restaurants. Modern Japanese restaurant Izakaya now has a gluten-free menu that includes sushi rolls and a rice noodle dish, while Italian spot Fornelletto's menu includes grilled chicken parm, eggplant parm and other specialties. Old Homestead's gluten-free menu and the gluten-free menu at Bobby Flay Steak feature traditional steakhouse favorites. SeaBlue's menu has a variety of appetizers, entrees, sides and a dessert, and the menu at Wolfgang Puck American Grille combines surf and turf.

On the casual side, The Metropolitan's gluten-free menu has a smaller array of choices, but there is also an oyster bar and gelato bar at the restaurant. Roma has several soups and salads on the menu, and diners can get fried rice and rice noodle dishes off the menu at Asian spot Noodles of the World. At The Water Club, lobby lounge Sunroom has small plates like salads, hummus platters and truffled french fries on its gluten-free menu.

Many of the Mexican specialties at Wayne's Xilantro (103 N. Wayne Ave., 484-580-8415) can be made with corn tortillas. The chips are prepared in a separate fryer too. (Thanks to reader Bethann for the tip.)

Center City's modern Asian bistro Sampan (124 S. 13th St., 215-732-3501) has updated its gluten-free menu.

Seasons 52 Fresh Grill, with mall locations in King of Prussia (160 N. Gulph Rd. - Suite 101, 610-992-1152) and Cherry Hill (2000 Rt. 38, 856-665-1052), has changed up its gluten-free menu for the summertime. The chain plans to open a third area spot at the MarketFair in Princeton in Spring 2014.

In Tuesday's post, I reviewed our recent meal at the Cherry Hill outpost of The Capital Grille, which also has local spots in Philadelphia and King of Prussia.

A gluten-free addition to Ocean City's Boardwalk is Laura's Fudge (932 Boardwalk, 609-399-0616), where all fudge flavors except for cookies-and-cream are safe. The owners recently began stocking other gluten-free treats like chocolate-covered pretzels, gummy bears and cookies. The fudge, which was voted Best Fudge in 2007, 2008 and 2009 by the Press of Atlantic City, is also available at Laura's other Ocean City locations at 935 Asbury Avenue and 34th Street & West Avenue (609-398-5293).

Camden County-based Caesar's Pasta has expanded its line of gluten-free frozen Italian dishes. The company's new gluten-free entrees include Beef Cannelloni - Florentine Style in Marinara Sauce with hormone- and antibiotic-free beef and cheese and Chicken Lasagna - Cacciatore Style with rBGH-free and cage-free chicken. The ravioli selections include Beef Ravioli with hormone- and antibiotic-free beef and Cheese Ravioli with hormone- and antibiotic-free cheese. All of Caesar's gluten-free products - including the new items - will be on sale next week at the Cinnaminson ShopRite (141 Rt. 130 S., 856-303-7676) for $3.99 each.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

* * *
My new 'Gluten Free Philly' Delaware Dining Guide is available as an e-book download. The guide provides hyperlinked listings for restaurants, bakeries, markets and attractions throughout the First State, including Wilmington, Newark and the southern resort towns like Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach. Updated editions published within 30 days of initial purchase will be emailed to purchasers free of charge.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Capital Fill

With our older son's elementary school commencement, Father's Day and my birthday all within a week of each other, we had many reasons to celebrate with a luxury meal at The Capital Grille in Cherry Hill (2000 Rte. 38, 856-665-5252) on Sunday.

Fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil with
12-year aged Balsamic
When making the reservation, I noted that one member of the party would be eating gluten free. I was impressed that the information was conveyed to Anthony, our server, who reassured us that he'd be in touch with the back of house. After double-checking with the staff in the open kitchen, Anthony let us know that several of the salad dressings and steak sauces were not safe but recommended alternatives.

Bone-in Kona crusted dry aged sirloin
I began the meal with two hearty slices of fresh mozzarella layered atop handsome heirloom tomatoes. Our graduate started with a chopped salad - a mixture of greens and vegetables - that came out the first time adorned with croutons. Anthony realized this as soon as he set the plate down, removed the offending dish, and retrieved a new salad that our son drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. As he began to eat his appetizer, our older son repeated what I'm sure every 11-year-old says at the dinner table: "Ooh, chickpeas."

Going outside his comfort zone, our younger son enjoyed the seared citrus-glazed salmon, while the lemony breast of chicken confit I had was moist and flavorful. Our older son - ever the adventurer - carved up the medium-well bone-in Kona coffee-crusted dry aged sirloin sans shallot butter; my wife added the Kona rub to her filet mignon. The steaks were perfectly done, and the addition of the coffee flavor to the preparation made them even more piquant.

Flourless chocolate espresso cake
Many of the sides are gluten free, and we shared the creamy Red Bliss mashed potatoes and the Parmesan-and-truffle oil fries.

There was little room left for dessert, but we felt obligated to end the celebratory dinner on a sweet note. My wife and younger son shared scoops of the mango and pineapple sorbets. Our older one and I were more indulgent, cleaning off the plate that once had a dense flourless chocolate espresso cake on it.

There's no doubt that without an expense account to cover the tab, dinner at The Capital Grille makes for an expensive evening. You live only once, though, and this was a meal that was worth the money.

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 15, 2012

News & Notes: June 15, 2012

Pappone's Pizzeria in Media (1145 W. Baltimore Pike, 484-442-8782) is now serving gluten-free pizza. The crust comes in its own baking tin and the sauce and cheese used for those pies haven't yet been used for wheat pizzas.

Kitchen Bar
 in Abington (1482 Old York Rd., 215-576-9766) can prepare many items gluten free, including all salads and various appetizers and entrees.

Joe's Crab Shack has brought its steampots and other gluten-free menu choices to Bala Cynwyd (555 City Ave., 610-949-0391), the seafood chain's third area location.

With the presence of Sweet Freedom Bakery, Rex 1516 and Quick Fixx, South Street West is quickly becoming Philadelphia's Gluten-Free Restaurant Row. Now Pure Fare, which serves all of its sandwiches on gluten-free bread at its original spot on 21st Street, is opening a second location at 1609 South.

Pure Tacos' Center City location is about two to three weeks away from opening. Vote for them at Mission: Small Business by June 30 to keep them in the running for a $250,000 grant to continue their good work. They need about 70 more votes to make it past the first round. Just search for "Pure Tacos" on the Mission home page after you login with your Facebook ID.

It took forever, but Frito-Lay has finally removed the wheat from nacho cheese-flavored Doritos. Old formulations are still on some shelves, so be sure to read the ingredient labels.

Crunchmaster has announced its new line of kid-friendly Cheddar Cheezy Crisps and Cinnamon & Sugar Grammy Crisps. Both items are made with 100% whole grains and are certified gluten and peanut free. The snacks have a suggested retail price of $2.48 and will be available for shipment to supermarkets and club stores nationwide starting in August.

New from Ian's Natural Foods is gluten-free Italian panko breadcrumbs, made with rice flour.

You can print a coupon for $2 off a box of Wegmans' new gluten-free mixes good through August 4.

Wegmans now stocks Immaculate Baking Co.'s all-natural ready-to-bake gluten-free cookie dough in the refrigerated case. I picked up a package of the chocolate chunk dough (there's also fudge brownie cookie dough) for $2.99, the same price as the glutenous counterparts.

Tuesday's post featured Uniquely Greek feta spreads, made locally in Delaware County and sold at area Whole Foods Markets.

Whole Foods stores have begun carrying gluten-free baked goods from England's Livwell, including pita bread, English muffins, rolls and pancakes.

On Saturday, June 23 at 11 a.m., the new Glen Mills Whole Foods is hosting a gluten-free store tour that includes samples. Sign up at Customer Service or email Meredith Lubking to reserve your spot.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

* * *
My new 'Gluten Free Philly' Delaware Dining Guide is available as an e-book download. The guide provides hyperlinked listings for restaurants, bakeries, markets and attractions throughout the First State, including Wilmington, Newark and the southern resort towns like Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach. Updated editions published within 30 days of initial purchase will be emailed to purchasers free of charge.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's Greek to Me

Salsa? Yawn. Artichoke dip? So '90s. If you're looking to dress up your chips and veggies with something different, check out locally made feta spreads from Uniquely Greek

Jessica Gill, who co-owns Grecian Delights at the Booth's Corner Farmers Market in Boothwyn, was working to develop another spread to sell at her family's restaurant. She began mixing feta cheese with different food combinations and came up with a feta, cream cheese and baby spinach spread, mainly sold as a dip for large catering parties. From there, she experimented with other fresh produce and developed a line of gluten-free spreads that includes Kalamata Olive, Red Pepper and Creamy Buffalo, all made in Boothwyn.

Uniquely Greek's Creamy Buffalo Spread
To - ahem - spread the word, she recruited her brother Jon to help market her creations. The siblings began sampling the products at area Whole Foods, which eventually picked up the line at its Mid-Atlantic stores.

The all-natural spreads work great as dips, but they can also be used as part of a sauce or a base in other recipes. They're sold at Grecian Delights as well as at Whole Foods Markets throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. If you want to try before you buy, follow Uniquely Greek's Twitter feed for the lead on sampling events nearly every weekend.

Friday, June 8, 2012

News & Notes: June 8, 2012

Iron Hill Brewery isn't the only suburban brewpub that has a gluten-free menu these days. McKenzie Brewhouse, with locations in Berwyn (324 W. Swedesford Rd., 610-407-4300), Malvern (240 Lancaster Ave., 610-296-2222) and Glen Mills (451 Wilmington-West Chester Pike, 610-361-9800), has appys, salads, steaks, seafood and desserts on its menu, along with Green's Endeavor Dubbel ale.

Also in Glen Mills is Pig Out BBQ Pit (138 Glen Mills Rd., 610-361-8200). All of the ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, beef brisket and sauces are gluten free, and rolls from the all-gluten-free Sweet Christine's Bakery are available. The gluten-free items also can be shipped nationally.

The Home Grown Cafe on Main Street in Newark (126 E. Main St., 302-266-6993) which has a gluten-free menu, is currently offering a $20 Living Social deal for $10. Over at Groupon, the GREAT Kitchens-trained Tomato Bistro in Manayunk has a choice of two offers: $15 for a small plate, salad and pizza (including gluten-free pizza) or $29 for two small plates, two salads and two pizzas. (As an affiliate, I get a small commission on purchases at no additional cost to you.)

The Swarthmore Co-op (341 Dartmouth Ave., 610-543-9805) - the third-oldest co-op in the country - stocks gluten-free products from many brands.

Manahawkin's Gluten Free Goodies Galore bakery will have baked goods for sale at the Ventnor International Farmers Market, which runs every Wednesday afternoon (3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) through September 12.

This summer, the Arts Camp at Appel Farm Arts & Music Center in Elmer, New Jersey (457 Shirley Rd., 856-358-6513) will have gluten-free menu options.

Schar's new Honeygrams graham crackers have started shipping to stores, and later this summer look for the company's plain and cinnamon raisin bagels that are made at the new Swedesboro production facility.

General Mills has brought back "Dora the Explorer" cereal. While the cereal is not specifically labeled as being gluten free, there are no gluten-containing ingredients.

This week, the Gluten-Free Saver deals site is offering a variety pack of products from Enjoy Life for $19 (shipping included). The pack includes four boxes of different allergen-free cookies, a box of snack bars, one bag of granola and one bag of seed-and-fruit mix. (I am an affiliate, but there's no additional cost to you.)

On Tuesday, I wrote about two new beers from Oregon's Widmer Brothers Brewing under the Omission Beer brand. The beers, which are made with barley but test under 10 ppm as a result of the brewing process, will be available throughout the East Coast beginning June 11. There's a beer finder page on the company's website, although there are no listings as of now.

If you or your child has been diagnosed with celiac disease through a biopsy in the last 12 months, the University of Chicago Celiac Center will send you a free care package that includes product samples. Call 773-702-7593 for more information.

The Philadelphia Gluten-Free Supper Club will meet for dinner at Cantina Feliz in Fort Washington on Wednesday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m. The three-course dinner including tax and gratuity (alcoholic beverages are available for purchase) is $35 per person. RSVP to Daria D. by June 18.

Erin at Gluten-Free Fun is co-hosting a Gluten-Free Gourmet Weekend June 21-24 in Vermont. The retreat includes transportation from New York City and all meals and activities. Today is the last day for a $100 discount. Get the details at the Good Commons retreat website.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

* * *
My new 'Gluten Free Philly' Delaware Dining Guide is available as an e-book download. The guide provides hyperlinked listings for restaurants, bakeries, markets and attractions throughout the First State, including Wilmington, Newark and the southern resort towns like Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach. Updated editions published within 30 days of initial purchase will be emailed to purchasers free of charge.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Addition by Subtraction

Update: Note that under current federal law (October 2013), this beer cannot be labeled gluten free due to the fact that it is made with barley malt.

Although it's not being released in time for Philly Beer Week this week, Omission Beer will be available throughout the East Coast beginning June 11. Produced by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Oregon, Omission Lager and Omission Pale Ale are brewed using a proprietary process to reduce the gluten levels to below the Codex gluten-free standard (used in Europe) of 20 parts per million for food and beverages.

According to federal guidelines, the brewer isn't legally allowed to claim that Omission is gluten-free because the beers - like Spanish import Estrella Damm Daura - are brewed with malted barley, a prohibited grain for those on a gluten-free diet.

Given that some consumers understandably may be skittish about the fact that the production includes barley, the brewer has disclosed its brewing and testing methods. All brewing equipment downstream from fermentation is cleaned and sanitized for every batch of Omission beer. During the brewing process - which includes the use of low-protein barley - the brewery adds an enzyme called Brewers Clarex. The enzyme, which has been used by craft brewers as a clarifying agent, works to break down proteins - including gluten - in the beer. All batches are tested by an independent lab, Eurofins Scientific, using the R5 Competitive ELISA method to check that gluten levels are less than 20 ppm. (Read more about the pros and cons of the R5 Competitive ELISA testing method in this article by dietician Tricia Thompson.) Every batch is also tested by the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program at the University of Nebraska. Tests are also conducted internally by the brewery at various stages in the brewing and packaging processes using the R5 Competitive ELISA. Beer is not released until test results are received and after an extended quality assurance hold.

Each bottle is stamped with a date code indicating when it was brewed and bottled. Consumers can enter the code from their bottle at and view their beer’s R5 competitive ELISA test results. For example, the batches of the Pale Ale and Lager that Omission sent to me - bottled on March 2 - tested at less than 5 ppm [lager results/pale ale results]. To date, all released batches have tested at less than 10 ppm. (By way of comparison, gluten-free products eligible for certification from the Gluten-Free Certification Organization must test at less than 10 ppm.)

According to the tasting notes, Omission Lager is brewed in the traditional lager style with an aromatic hop profile. Omission Pale Ale is a hop-forward American Pale Ale, brewed to showcases the Cascade hop profile. Amber in color, Omission Pale Ale’s floral aroma is complemented by caramel malt body. To my surprise, I liked the Pale Ale better than the Lager but both tasted better than sorghum-based beers like Redbridge and Bard's.

Omission Lager and Omission Pale Ale have a suggested retail price of $9.99 per six-pack and will be available in 12-ounce bottles.

A short YouTube video provides more detail about the beers and the testing process, and in it you'll also hear from two people involved in developing the beers about their personal connection to the product.

The beer may not be for everyone, particularly those who are concerned about the mere introduction of barley into the brewing process. At the least, it should foster discussion and further study of these types of beers.

DISCLOSURE: While Omission Beer 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 Omission Beer or its respective parent, subsidiary and affiliated entities, advertising and promotional agencies. Click here for my complete Disclosure.

Friday, June 1, 2012

News & Notes: June 1, 2012

With an opening set for Thursday, June 7, Center City Philadelphia's fast-casual Honeygrow (1601 Sansom St., 215-279-7679) will be a haven for gluten-free diners. The sleek yet warm interior has stations for preparing stir-fried rice and rice noodles, chopped salads and healthy shakes. Allergen listings for inclusions such as salad dressings and sauces will be displayed on the touch-screen menu used for ordering, and clean woks, utensils and the like will be used for each order. Owner Justin Rosenberg, who hired local chef Shola Olunloyo as a menu consultant, is on the hunt for future locations.

Michael Klein of reports that high-end surf-and-turf chain Ocean Prime will open at 15th and Sansom streets in Center City in space last occupied by Roy's. The restaurant, with locations mainly in the Southeast and Midwest, features a gluten-free menu. Projected opening is in Spring 2013.

New NFCA-designated GREAT Kitchens at Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City (777 Harrah's Blvd.) include Bill's Bar & Burger (609-441-5800), Dos Caminos (609-441-5747), Luke Palladino (609-441-5576), Sammy D's (609-441-5402), The Steakhouse (609-441-5575) and the Waterfront Buffet (609-441-5000). Incidentally, the NFCA has suspended the GREAT Kitchens' intermediate Amber designation (applicable to the Domino's and its gluten-free pizza crust) so that the program's only credential is for those restaurants that have undergone training and can accommodate diners with celiac disease.

Reader Eileen V. recommends two Mexican restaurants in South Philly: The Adobe Cafe (1919 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-551-2243) and Cantina Los Caballitos (1651 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-755-3550), both of which can accommodate gluten-free requests.

The inaugural beer menu at the new Morgan's Pier at Penn's Landing (221 N. Columbus Blvd., 215-279-7134) has gluten-free American pale ale Fox Tail in cans and Crispin cider on tap. The list is good through June 9.

New York-based soft serve chain The Lite Choice just opened its first area location in Sea Isle City (4201 Landis Ave.). The all-natural vanilla and chocolate dairy desserts and the 80 different organic flavorings are gluten free, as are most toppings; gluten-free cones also are available and gluten-free sandwich wafers are coming soon. Future locations are planned for Philadelphia, Collegeville and West Chester.

Reader Heather H. let me know that a new beer called Glutenator is available at Canal's in Hainesport (1500 Route 38 E., 609-518-1000). Produced by Epic Brewing in Salt Lake City, the beer isn't sorghum-based, but instead is made with millet, brown rice, sweet potatoes and molasses along with American hops. According to the tasting notes, the beer has a "golden color, aromas of hops and sweet potatoes with a sweet grain flavor and a clean, sorghum-free finish."

I picked up a gluten-free Orchid Vanilla Macaroon ice cream sandwich from Jeni's at the Whole Foods on Callowhill Street in Center City. The company's other gluten-free sandwiches are Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroon and Salty Caramel With Smoked Almond Macaroon.

The Delaware County Gluten-Free Meetup Group will get together for brunch at Sazon in Philadelphia this Sunday (a perfect time for churros!) and for dinner at Ariano in Media on Friday, June 15. Interested readers can sign up via the group's events page.

Tickets are still available for Celiac Awareness Night at the Phillies game on Friday, July 20 against the San Francisco Giants. Purchases made through this link using code CELIAC will support awareness efforts.

Also available are tickets for Appetite for Awareness on Sunday, September 23 in Center City. The NFCA currently is enlisting participating vendors and local restaurants for the event, which will feature a Gluten-Free Cooking Spree, beer garden, chef demos and a children's pavilion.

Sunday is the last day to enter my latest giveaway, with prizes from Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery. You can enter to win some Rudi's swag, free-product coupons and a cookbook.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

* * *
My new 'Gluten Free Philly' Delaware Dining Guide is available as an e-book download. The guide provides hyperlinked listings for restaurants, bakeries, markets and attractions throughout the First State, including the southern resort towns like Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach. Updated editions published within 30 days of initial purchase will be emailed to purchasers free of charge.