Friday, June 28, 2013

News & Notes: June 28, 2013

You don't have to go to northern California to check out how wine is made. Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City offers daily tours of the property, which also houses a gold course, hotel and two restaurants. The more casual of the two, Joseph's Restaurant (72 Bremen Ave., 609-965-2111) notes gluten-free options on its lunch, dinner and vegan/vegetarian menus.

The Victoria Freehouse, a British gastropub in Old City (10 S. Front St., 215-543-6089), has gluten-free options like bangers and mash, chicken tikka masala, vegetable curry and shepherd's pie. Hard ciders, meads and wines are among the safe drinks. The Freehouse shares ownership with The British Chip Shop in Haddonfield. (Thanks to reader Bill L. for the tip.)

Reader Amanda C. let me know that Eulogy Belgian Tavern (136 Chestnut St., 215-413-1918), also in Old City, serves up gluten-free wings, frites prepared in a dedicated fryer, and many mussels dishes. You'll also frequently find a gluten-free beer or two, along with several hard ciders, on the drinks menu. The grilled wings at the nearby Khyber Pass Pub (56 S. 2nd St., 215-238-5888) are also gluten free.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Keeping It Real

By Dori Molozanov

Shopping for and preparing practical meals that are nutritional, creative, flavorful and diverse enough to keep your taste buds interested can be challenging - especially while eating gluten-free. “It’s hard, it’s a lot of work,” says Lucinda Duncalfe, founder of Philadelphia-based Real Food Works. “It took me a solid year to cook well.”

Real Food Works, a meal delivery service offering customizable meal plans for health-conscious diners, is working to make healthy gluten-free dining more accessible with the addition of its new gluten-free option. The company partners with local restaurants to create dishes especially for Real Food Works customers.

Friday, June 21, 2013

News & Notes: June 21, 2013

The new Midtown Village gastropub Pennsylvania 6 (114 S. 12th St., 267-639-5606) has a gluten-free menu with raw bar selections, salads, entrees and sides. (Reader Jennifer S. gets a hat tip.)

Cheu Noodle Bar, in Philadelphia's Washington Square West neighborhood, serves gluten-free and vegan rice noodles in a lemongrass-coconut broth. (Thanks to reader Sherrie C. for the lead.)

At the Voorhees Town Center, Elena Wu has opened on Restaurant Row (12106 Town Center Blvd., 856-375-2289). The restaurant can prepare many dishes with gluten-free soy sauce or otherwise accommodate guests.

Turning Point, a New Jersey mini-chain serving breakfast and lunch, recently opened its first South Jersey location in Marlton (300 Rt. 73 N., 856-988-1528). The "gluten-sensitive" menu on hand includes egg dishes (omelets and skillets), appetizers and salads. Customers can bring in their own bread for French toast and sandwiches.

In Princeton, the gluten-free menu at traditional American restaurant Winberie's (1 Palmer Sq., 609-921-0700) includes fries from a dedicated fryer.

Underdogs has closed up its South Philly location but it's business as usual at the original Rittenhouse Square spot, says Underdogs has gluten-free buns available for its franks.

P.F. Chang's new summer menu additions include one gluten-free entree. The Summer Vegetable Quinoa "Fried Rice" is made with wok-toasted quinoa with sunburst squash, mango, tomatoes and snow peas, topped with a sunny-side egg. also reports that upstate New York BBQ staple Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is scouting a location on the 1500 block of Chestnut Street in Center City. There are wings, sides and, of course, a lot of 'cue on Dinosaur's gluten-free menu.

The Cheesecake Factory will be adding a gluten-free menu come August with about 70 options.

Tuesday's post featured a review of La Pasta's delicious gluten-free ravioli, sold at Whole Foods in the refrigerated case.

With a successful test run in Massachusetts and Florida, Dunkin' Donuts will soon be selling a gluten-free cinnamon sugar donut and blueberry muffin nationwide. The products are made in a dedicated facility and are already packaged by the time they're delivered to stores.

Sinfully Safe's double chocolate brownies
Sinfully Safe is a Trenton-area gluten-free bakery that distributes brownies and cookies at markets and stores throughout Bucks and Mercer counties and the surrounding area. Chef Maggie Bauer's sweets can also be ordered online.

*ndulge Cupcake Boutique has opened a second location in Manayunk (4373 Main St., 267-297-8214). As at the Bryn Mawr location, gluten-free cupcakes are available via special order.

Gluten-free peanut butter cup and black & white cupcakes are sold on Sundays at Sublime Cupcakes in Wyomissing (72 Commerce Drive, 610-898-4183) and coming next month to Collegeville (141 Market St.). Bakers there prepare gluten-free cupcakes before the day's baking and rewash all equipment before making the batter. They're then stored in a covered rack while the traditional baking is done.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fill in the Blank

First, there was the rice versus corn pasta debate. (Corn for me.) Then there was the fresh versus dry pasta debate. (Fresh, hands down.) It's hard to believe that the gluten-free marketplace has such varied products that we now have a choice between fresh corn-based flat pasta and fresh corn-based filled pasta. 

The last taste test is made possible by La Pasta, a Maryland company that produces refrigerated gluten-free four-cheese, mushroom, and spinach & cheese ravioli sold at Whole Foods markets. for $6.99 a package. The pasta is made from a blend of corn starch, eggs, potato starch, sea salt, tapioca starch, water and xanthan gum.

La Pasta's cheese ravioli was the family favorite. It's rich - made with ricotta, Romano, Swiss and Fontina cheeses - and paired nicely with Wegmans-branded Grandma's Pomodoro sauce, our current favorite. As we kept it fresh rather than freezing, the ravioli cooked in a pot of boiling water in just two minutes.

Emily Buckley, La Pasta's sales and marketing manager, says that the company uses dedicated machines for the gluten-free products, which are made on separate days from the company's traditional pasta. In addition, she says, an ELISA test is used before production to validate the gluten-free environment.

As for the outcome of the last comparison, I'd cite the old advertising slogan for Almond Joy and Mounds candy bars: Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. No question that filled pasta is a more indulgent option - in taste and price - than spaghetti or another "plain" noodle. La Pasta's ravioli is well worth it though; it's better than any other filled gluten-free pasta product on the market.

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

Friday, June 14, 2013

News & Notes: June 14, 2013

Gluten-free Goldfish? Well, they're Goldfish-ish. Pepperidge Farm has begun distributing three varieties of its new Goldfish Puffs - all gluten free - at Target stores nationally. Made mostly with corn meal, the Puffs are more like cheese puffs than traditional Goldfish crackers, but it's good to see another gluten-free Pepperidge Farm product on the shelf, particularly one with the famous Goldfish name on it.

General Mills continues to roll out new gluten-free products. The company's newest cereal flavor is Vanilla Chex, the seventh variety of Chex to bear a "gluten free" label.

There's more at the shore to report this week. The newest restaurant at the Revel in Atlantic City (500 Boardwalk, 609-225-9906) is Yubōka Noodle Bar, part of the Jose Garces culinary empire. The opening menu has two gluten-free "small plates": Dragon Vegetable Salad and Mouth Watering Cold Chicken.

Meanwhile, Paesano's Philly Style sandwich shop is stocking gluten-free rolls at its new location at Memories in Margate (9518 Amherst Ave., 609-823-2196). The Downbeach location is open Wednesdays through Sundays over the summer, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Though Pure Tacos is no longer on the Ocean City Boardwalk, you can get gluten-free sausages and fries from a dedicated cooker at Botto's Sausage Express (984 Boardwalk, 609-938-0004). (Thanks to reader Danielle F. for the tip.)

Gluten-free options at French-Thai BYO Nadia in Lansdale (113 Walnut St., 215-855-3256) are featured on the menu. (Thanks, Alicia A.)

In Exton, sister restaurants Brickside Grille (540 Wellington Square, 610-321-1600) and The Drafting Room (635 N. Pottstown Pike, 610-363-0521) list gluten-free options on their menus. I'm told, though, that the wings and fries are not prepared in separate fryers.

Although not posted online, Carlucci's Waterfront in Mt. Laurel (876 Centerton Rd., 856-235-5737) has a gluten-free menu on hand.

Riverton's Milanese Pizza (519 Howard St., 856-786-1414) prepares 12" gluten-free pizzas with separate sauce and cheese, baked on individual pans.

Amani's BYOB in Downingtown (105 E. Lancaster Ave., 484-237-8179) has undergone restaurant training through the Gluten Intolerance Group. Down the street, gluten-free-friendly Firecreek will be closing on Sunday.

Bonefish Grill, a GIG-trained chain, has opened a location in North Wales (27 Airport Square, 215-361-2932), off of Route 309 across from the Montgomeryville Mall. Bonefish's gluten-free menu was updated in April.

GFP contributor Jason reviewed area grilled-cheese sandwich chain Melt Down in Tuesday's post.

Reader Amanda C. pointed me to an recent news story about the efforts of Oregon's Widmer Brothers to have its gluten-removed Omission Beer labeled as "gluten free." Current law prohibits beers like Omission and Estella Damm Daura from being labeled as gluten free because they start out with glutenous barley malt as an ingredient. This is significant because there are restaurants, locally and elsewhere, listing these beers on their drink menus as "gluten free." There is much debate about whether the gluten-removed beers can be accurately measured for gluten content with the testing that is currently available.

Reader Bethann K. let me know that gluten-free sandwich buns are available at the concession stands at this week's U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore.

Some minor league ballpark news for you: Allentown's Coca-Cola Park, home of the Phillies' AAA-affiliate Lehigh Valley IronPigs, has gluten-free pizza at the concourse pizza stand near Section 204, while gluten-free cookies from The Grain Exchange and Yogen Fruz are sold at the "Healthy Plate" stand at Arm & Hammer Ballpark, home of the Yankees' AA Trenton Thunder farm team.

Have a great weekend and Happy Fathers' Day!

- Michael

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

No Crumb Left Behind

By Jason Hewett

Investing in a restaurant dedicated to humble comfort food may not be at the top of hedge-fund manager wish lists, but they might reconsider after eating at Melt Down Grilled Cheese.