Friday, November 22, 2013

News & Notes: November 22, 2013

I'm proud to announce the launch of the Gluten Free Philly mobile app for iPhone and iPad users. (Fear not Android users, a similar version is in the works.) You can search for more than 1,200 curated gluten-free-friendly restaurant, bakery, market and attractions listings in southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and all of Delaware. You can see what's closest to your location and make use of other great features like turn-by-turn directions and menu links. More screen shots and the full description of the app can be found at the Apple App Store. The cost is $2.99.

Delicias will serve gluten-free arepas at its new location
(Photo credit: Delicias)
Philadelphia is getting two more gluten-free-friendly restaurants that will be among the dozens already listed in the app. Latin food truck Delicias is setting up a brick-and-mortar spot at 526 S. 4th St. in the next week or two with an all-gluten-free menu featuring grilled arepas. You can read about Delicias and other gluten-free food truck options here.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

First Draft: Glutenberg Beer

Publisher's Note: Today's post is the first in an new, occasional series covering the growing variety of gluten-free beers, ciders and meads.

By Chris Betz

I first heard of Glutenberg last year after the Canadian brewer swept the World Beer Cup, medaling in all three places in the Gluten-Free Beer category. Based in Montreal, Quebec, Glutenberg is a 100% gluten-free brewery. The brewery has broadened its reach beyond several New England states and recently found distribution throughout New Jersey. Here's my take on their award-winning beers, Blonde (Bronze), American Pale Ale (Silver) and Red (Gold), which are available in 16 oz. cans in the U.S.:

Glutenberg's three award-winning beers are available in New Jersey and
three New England states (Photo courtesy Glutenberg/Facebook)
Blonde (4.5% ABV): Crisp and dry, this brew is thirst quenching while maintaining an interesting profile. There are nice citrus notes in both the aroma and taste. This beer should delight drinkers that are new to the world of beer as well as those with more experienced palates. Glutenberg's Blonde will not overwhelm lighter foods like chicken or salmon dishes.

Friday, November 15, 2013

News & Notes: November 15, 2013

The former Winberie's in Wayne has been refashioned as Black Powder Tavern (1164 Valley Forge Rd., 610-293-9333). The New American restaurant has a gluten-free menu that includes grilled pork wings, salads, vegetarian chili and protein dishes. Angry Orchard hard cider is currently on tap and Strongbow cider is served in bottles.

Reader Chris M. let me know that Crêperie Béchamel, also in Wayne (11 Louella Ct., 610-964-9700), serves gluten-free sweet and savory crepes made with buckwheat batter. The kitchen has a protocol in place for preparation of the gluten-free crepes, though there isn't a separate griddle.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fly Like an Eagle

Local Tavern opened last month at Philadelphia International Airport
(Photo courtesy OTG Management)
This year nearly 15 million travelers will fly out of Philadelphia International Airport, which, like most U.S. gateways, will see heavy traffic during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Business and leisure fliers using PHL lately have seen upgraded dining options, including several added as part of the Terminal F makeover.

(Photo courtesy Legal Sea Foods)
With the improved restaurant choices at the airport, gluten-free options are more accessible than ever. The gluten-free menu at Legal Sea Foods (Terminal B/C Connector, 267-295-9300) has many grilled fish and seafood choices, but the kitchen also maintains a dedicated fryer for the restaurant's fried clams and popcorn shrimp appetizers. Salads can be ordered with gluten-free croutons and warm Gillian's rolls are served upon request.

Not only does Vino Volo (Terminal A West - Gate A17, 215-365-8696; Terminal B - Gate B9, 215-365-8600; Terminal B/C Connector, 215-365-8600; Terminal D/E Connector, 215-365-8686) have several gluten-free menu options, a curated wine list is available. Among the gluten-free items are braised pork tacos, cured meats, a cheese plate and salmon rolls. The D/E location serves gluten-free crackers to accompany several dishes.

Friday, November 8, 2013

News & Notes: November 8, 2013

Posh Pop Bakeshop's cupcake assortment
(Photo courtesy Posh Pop
Another all-gluten-free bakery is set to open its doors in Camden County this month. On the heels of Sweet Freedom Bakery's imminent debut in nearby Collingswood, Posh Pop Bakeshop is taking over a Haddonfield storefront last occupied by a Chinese restaurant at 109 East Kings Highway. Owners Matthew Pytel and Krizha Bautista are relocating their bakery to the Philadelphia area from Red Bank, Monmouth County. Their all-natural, organic sweets include signature cake pops, cupcakes, brownies, cookies and pies. (Thanks to reader Regina L. for the tip.)

A month-old addition to the Montgomery County dining scene is Huntingdon Valley's Simpatico! BYOB (2519 Huntingdon Pike, 215-938-9600), which has gluten-free pasta (made in a separate pot) and other Italian dishes like chicken marsala. One of Simpatico's owners is gluten free. (Hat tip to reader Christine O.)

In the Fairmount section of Philadelphia, Rembrandt's (741 N. 23rd St., 215-763-2228) has introduced a gluten-free menu featuring wings and calamari appetizers, steak with house-made tater tots and sauteed mussels entrees, and flourless chocolate cake and cheesecake for dessert. The kitchen maintains a separate fryer for gluten-free items and the bar stocks a variety of hard ciders.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Seeing Red

Move over Nathan's - there's a new name-brand bake-at-home fry to try. Fans of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers are familiar with the chain's Bottomless Steak Fries, which are gluten free at the many locations that maintain dedicated fryers. Red Robin's fries are now available in frozen food aisles nationwide, prepared with the burger chain's signature seasoning salt blend.

Over the weekend, I baked half a bag in a pre-heated oven (at 425 degrees) for about 25 minutes, turning them over about half-way through. So how do they compare to the deep-fried restaurant version? A tasty facsimile. They'd be ordinary steak fries without the seasoning salt, and it's the spices (a combination of salt, garlic, onion and paprika) that make the difference here. The fries were cooked throughout and had that typical "fry bite," save for the smaller, crispy pieces that were well done. 

Unlike at the restaurants, the retail version of Red Robin's fries aren't bottomless. The bake-at-home fries, which are produced by ConAgra Foods, are sold in 22-ounce packages for a suggested retail price of $3.19. (I paid $3.99 at a local Acme.) 

Friday, November 1, 2013

News & Notes: November 1, 2013

The Philadelphia region's strong gluten-free community took a blow last week with the closure of Latin BYOB Casona in Collingswood after almost eight years in operation. With many options on the menu and a kitchen staff educated on proper food preparation, Casona was a favorite of many.

Despite that loss, Collingswood continues to be a bastion of gluten-free-friendly businesses. Sweet Freedom Bakery is planning a mid-November opening at 577 Haddon Ave., and El Sitio Grill & Cafe (729 Haddon Ave., 856-240-1217) can accommodate guests looking for South American cuisine. The kitchen maintains a dedicated fryer for appetizers like empanadas and plaintains, and the menu also includes salads and grilled meats.

Most area Cheeburger Cheeburger locations are carrying gluten-free burger buns. Diners can find them at New Jersey outlets in Hamilton (549 Rt. 130 N., 609-585-8899), Lawrenceville (3349 Brunswick Pike, 609-799-2222) and Princeton (182 Nassau St., 609-921-0011) and at two southeastern Pennsylvania spots in Frazer (235 Lancaster Ave., 610-296-8858) and Oaks (180 C Mill Rd., 484-392-7005). Note that fries and shakes may be prepared using shared equipment.