Friday, December 19, 2014

News & Notes: December 19, 2014

Two of the biggest names in breakfast have a few more gluten-free options these days. While we wait for a gluten-free version of Special K cereal to hit shelves, Kellogg's classic Eggo waffles now come in two gluten-free varieties. The Original and Cinnamon waffles will be sold in 8-count and 40-count packages.

Meanwhile General Mills announced this week that the new year will bring new Chex Gluten Free Granola Mix available in two varieties: Honey Nut and Mixed Berry Almond. Under its Food Should Taste Good label, General Mills will debut the Real Good Bar featuring whole nuts, seeds and real fruit pieces. The GMO-free bars come in four flavors.

In Exton, the newly opened Red Star Craft House (146 Exton Square Mall, 610-524-5893) is the latest concept from Dave Magrogan, who owns Harvest Seasonal Grill and Kildare's. Along with pizza crust and burger buns, gluten-free items are noted on the menu. Two hard ciders are available from the bar.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

For Your Eyes Only

Within a few hours' drive from Center City Philadelphia, adults can responsibly sample gluten-free libations at cideries, breweries and wineries. You can add distilleries to the list with the opening of Lazy Eye Distillery, handcrafting vodka made from fermented grapes.

Based in Richland, New Jersey (in Atlantic County, about halfway between Vineland and Atlantic City), the family-owned Lazy Eye (1328 Harding Hwy.) is among the first in the Garden State to take advantage of a new law dramatically reducing the cost of a distillery operating license.

All of the distillery's spirits are gluten free, from the flagship Lazy Eye Vodka to two varieties coming in 2015: citrus vodka Lazy Eye Special and Raki, a spirit celebrating the Greek heritage of owners Nick and Carol Kafkalas.

Distillery tours and vodka tastings take place every Saturday by reservation only. The cost is $10 per person and includes three tastings. The namesake vodka is available for purchase at the distillery.

Friday, December 12, 2014

News & Notes: December 12, 2014

From the West Coast to University City in West Philadelphia comes Wahoo's Tacos & More (3180 Chestnut St., 267-737-9876), where tacos and enchiladas can be made with corn tortillas. The currently available proteins - chicken, pork, steak and fish - are gluten free, though the tortilla chips are cooked in a shared fryer.

Nearly the entire menu is or can be made gluten free at the newly minted SouthHouse in South Philly (2535 S. 13th St., 267-457-3682). Look for drunken onion soup (made with cider and gluten-free bread), salads, tacos and sandwiches.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wegmans Gets Fresh

As if we need another reason to love Wegmans, the Mid-Atlantic supermarket chain now has an assortment of fresh gluten-free treats in the Bakery departments of all stores. All of the treats are baked and packaged in a dedicated gluten-free facility to prevent any cross contact with gluten-containing foods or ingredients.

Friday, December 5, 2014

News & Notes: December 5, 2014

Two Cocco's Pizza locations in the western suburbs have expanded their gluten-free choices. The Springfield location (35 E. Woodland Ave., 610-544-6730) not only has pizza on the menu, but also fries, wings and sandwiches along with a dedicated fryer. The menu in Downingtown (260 Norwood Rd., 610-873-2088) has pizza, crab cakes, chicken tenders, hoagies and steaks - even Tonya's soft pretzels.

For South Jerseyans like myself who have only occasionally (if ever) enjoyed Jules Thin Crust's gluten-free pizza, change is nigh. reports that the newest Jules location will open next month at the Ellisburg Shopping Center in Cherry Hill (1558 Kings Hwy. N.). According to the story, a Newtown Square location is in the works. (You can read about the gluten-free crust and prep here.)

At Penn's Landing, the Blue Cross RiverRink (101 S. Columbus Blvd., 215-922-2386) has opened for another season and will be in operation seven days a week, including holidays, until March 1, 2015. Garces Events is providing a couple of gluten-free options at the venue: The Lodge Restaurant has a Village Burger with a gluten-free roll (something not currently available at Village Whiskey on Rittenhouse Square), while the Distrito Cantina Truck will serve assorted tacos and hot dogs on gluten-free rolls.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rockhill & Roll

When legendary Cherry Hill mainstay (and definitely-not-gluten-free) Big John's Steaks and Pizza closed its doors in 2012 after more than 30 years, local foodies were curious to see what would replace the once-popular shop. Nearly two years later, the answer is here.

Rockhill (1800 Rt. 70 E., 856-424-4455) is the concept of Andrew Welder, a Cherry Hill native whose family has long run a sandwich shop in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Welder had the Big John's building torn down and created a sleek, handsome structure in its place. He kept Big John's staples like pizza and cheesesteaks but modernized the menu, developing many celiac-friendly options.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Goodies Giveaway: Tate's Bake Shop Holiday Basket

It's been a while since I've offered a giveaway, but the wait was worth it. I've been a big fan of Tate's Bake Shop's gluten-free chocolate chip cookies since I discovered them a few years ago; they're thin and crunchy with large chocolate morsels studded throughout each and every one.

Tate's sent me a gluten-free holiday gift basket so that the Gluten Free Philly family could try some of their newer all-natural products like the Chocolate Chip Cookie Peppermint Bark and Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. (Tate's gluten-free products are made in a dedicated facility.) Amazingly, the "chocolate" chocolate chip cookies are even better than the original. I'm not a huge fan of ginger, but even the Ginger Zinger cookies were tasty. I love chocolate peppermint bark, and when you add in cookies? Sheer bliss, my friends.

Friday, November 21, 2014

News & Notes: November 21, 2014

Kellogg's this week announced plans for a gluten-free version of its popular Special K cereal. Hitting store shelves in mid-December, Special K Gluten Free "features multi-grain flakes (corn, sorghum and rice) with a touch of brown sugar," according to the company's press release. A customer-service rep I spoke with yesterday told me that the cereal complies with the FDA's gluten-free labeling requirements (tested to contain less than 20 ppm) though it is not manufactured in a dedicated facility. The new Special K joins gluten-free Rice Krispies in Kellogg's gluten-free cereal stable.

The new Cocoa Puffs-like Safari Cocoa Crunch cereal from Mom's Best is also gluten free.

Also on the gluten-free product watch, look for Entenmann's-style Rebecca & Rose branded chocolate covered donuts at Passover. My Tuesday post has details on that and other holiday items announced at last week's Kosherfest food show.

In local restaurant news, Norristown now has its own all-gluten-free restaurant, where the entire menu is also organic and vegan. Gangster Vegan (2454 W. Main St., 610-630-1600) serves juices, smoothies, raw food and desserts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday Cheer

With Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah approaching, it might seem premature to talk about Passover, which doesn't occur until early April. However, new gluten-free products announced last week at the annual Kosherfest food show in northern New Jersey merit a look ahead.

Kedem Foods announced several new gluten-free products that will be widely available for the Passover holiday next year, including additions to its all-natural, certified-gluten-free Rebecca & Rose brand. Chief among them are Entenmann's-style Chocolate Covered Donuts. Also new under the Rebecca & Rose name are brittle-like Brownie Crunch and Blondie Crunch as well as two cookie varieties.

Kedem is also adding a Cajun variety to its Jeff Nathan Creations line of Passover Panko flakes.

Also at the show, Manischewitz sampled new garlic & rosemary matzo-style squares and crackers, matzo ball mix, carrot cake macaroons (which won the event's Best New Kosher for Passover award) and a chocolate brownie mix.

The year-round artisanal gluten-free flour mixes from Blends by Orly won the Kosherfest award for Best New Mix. Each blend is optimized for different categories of baked goods; for example, London Blend is a cup-for-cup substitute in recipes for scones, cookies and biscuits. Other varieties include Tuscany Blend (breads and pizza crusts), Paris Blend (cakes and cupcakes), Sydney Blend (brownies, muffins and pies) and Manhattan Blend (brioche, challah and pastries). Currently, the mixes are sold in stores throughout northern New Jersey and New York, but can be purchased online.

Friday, November 14, 2014

News & Notes: November 14, 2014

Center City Philadelphia residents and office workers have new breakfast and lunchtime options at The Milk House, a grilled cheese and ice cream concept located at the Suburban Station concourse (1617 J.F.K. Blvd., 267-606-6757). All breakfast and grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu can be made on gluten-free bread using a separate grill, with staff changing gloves to avoid cross-contact. The tomato soup, fresh-cut fries and tater tots (from a dedicated fryer) and several ice cream flavors from Doylestown's Sweet Pea are also gluten free. Hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.

Across the river in Cherry Hill, Rockhill (1800 Rt. 70 E., 856-424-4455) opened last week serving a wide array of gluten-free options. The menu includes sandwiches, cheesesteaks and burgers on gluten-free rolls, salads and appetizers like onion rings, wings, cheese bites, fries and tots, all prepared in a dedicated fryer.

The Turning Point, the New Jersey mini-chain that serves breakfast, lunch and brunch, is opening its newest location in Cherry Hill (606 Haddonfield Rd., 856-988-1528) on Monday; it will be joined by a spot at the Mercer Mall in Lawrenceville (3371 Rt. 1) in early 2015. All locations have gluten-sensitive breakfast and lunch menus.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Giving Thanks

Gone are the days when Thanksgiving was a holiday where those eating gluten free had to do without. Here's a quick run-down of widely available products (as always, review ingredient labels for specific items):

Turkeys: Fresh and frozen unstuffed turkeys from Perdue, Butterball, Empire (kosher), Jennie-O and Shady Brook Farms are gluten free. Store-brand turkeys may also be gluten free; check the labels.

Hams: Hams from HoneyBaked and Wellshire Farms are gluten free.

Gravy: McCormick recently introduced a gluten-free turkey gravy mix, and Imagine Foods makes an organic gluten-free and non-dairy turkey-flavored gravy. (Imagine has a dollar-off coupon offer here.)

Stuffing: There are many gluten-free stuffing mixes and cubes on the market these days. Look for varieties from Glutino, Gillian's, Rudi's, Trader Joe's, Williams-Sonoma and Whole Foods.

Pies: Gillian's produces gluten-free pumpkin, blueberry and apple crisp pies, while Whole Foods bakes pumpkin, apple, cherry and pecan pies at its GlutenFree Bakehouse. (Look for a dollar-off coupon in the holiday edition of the Whole Foods' in-store circular.) There are too many manufacturers of gluten-free baking mixes and pie crusts to mention here, but those are also options.

Also check with your nearest gluten-free bakery for freshly baked Thanksgiving pies. Locally, Sweet Christine's in Kennett Square, and Sweet Freedom in Center City Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr and Collingswood are accepting holiday orders.

Friday, October 31, 2014

News & Notes: October 31, 2014

The Phil's Tavern in Blue Bell (931 Butler Pike, 215-643-5664) has rolled out a new gluten-free menu with appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees and more. Advise your server of your dietary request.

Reader Denise F. let me know about several other Montgomery County spots that offer gluten-free options. The Victorian Village Italian Bistro in Hatboro (420 S. York Rd., 215-394-5948) has gluten-free spaghetti and ziti plates, grilled chicken Parmigiana and other dishes on its menu. Just down the road, Hatboro Dish (102 S. York Rd., 215-347-0036) has breakfast sandwiches on gluten-free Sweet Note bagels and pizza, both of which can be prepared separately upon request. Ben & Irv's in Huntingdon Valley (1962 Country Line Rd., 215-355-2000) also has Sweet Note's bagels as well as bread, cookies and pancakes; request that the pancakes be made on a separate part of the grill.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

No Tricks, Just Treats

As we enter the fall and winter holiday seasons, the perennial question arises: What candy is gluten free?

Halloween is Friday night and the kids will bring home pounds of sweets from their neighborhood rounds. Before the kids get that sugar rush, be sure to read ingredient labels to see whether the candy they're interested in is safe. The Celiac Disease Foundation has published a handy gluten-free treats list covering major brands like Hershey, Mars, Tootsie Roll, Just Born and NestlĂ©. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2014

News & Notes: October 24, 2014

The High Point Cafe locations in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia (602 Carpenter Lane, 215-849-5152; 200 W. Allens Lane, 215-248-1900) and in Brewerytown (2831 W. Girard Ave., 267-519-0984) offer gluten-free breads like quinoa loaves and soda bread and sweets such as berry oat bars, macaroons, and cranberry orange muffins. The items are baked and packaged in a separate gluten-free kitchen. High Point's gluten-free products are also sold at other locations, including Weaver's Way in Chestnut Hill, Manayunk Brewing Company, and the Trolley Car Cafe in East Falls.

We spent last weekend in downstate Delaware for a youth baseball tournament and spotted a number of new gluten-free-friendly restaurants. Gary's Dewey Beach Grill (2000 Coastal Hwy. - Suite 105, 302-227-8519) offers gluten-free crab cakes. The restaurant is open on the weekends through the fall.

The small plates/tapas menu at 14 Global in Bethany Beach (14 N. Pennsylvania Ave., 302-616-1035) notes gluten-free options like pan-seared snapper, drunken PEI mussels and crispy pork belly. New Planet Pale Ale is usually available from the bar. During the fall season, the restaurant offers dinner service on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Revolution Calling

If Jax Peters Lowell's Against the Grain and The Gluten-Free Bible are the gluten-free community's Old Testament, then The Gluten-Free Revolution (Holt Paperbacks) completes the canon. Lowell, herself a Philadelphian, has tapped into the city's vast gluten-free resources in Revolution, the newest version of her handbook that's being readied for national release.

Friday, October 17, 2014

News & Notes: October 17, 2014

Grub Burger Bar has opened its first Philadelphia-area location this week in Willow Grove (159 York Rd., 215-800-0699). Gluten-free burgers are served on buns from Local Oven, and the sweet potato fries are prepped in a dedicated fryer.

Many of the menu items at Blue Bell's El Sarape (1380 Skippack Pike, 610-239-9466) are gluten-free-friendly or can be prepared accordingly.

An all-gluten-free "juice" truck is coming to Philly courtesy of The Juice. For now, owner Katie Rodger will deliver her superfood smoothies and desserts throughout the area, while juices are available for pick-up at various locations on the Main Line. Email her for ordering information.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Festival of Bites

Ravitz Family Markets is hosting its semi-annual Gluten-Free Festival at ShopRite of Marlton (307 W. Route 70) this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be over 60 different products available for sampling, including items from local businesses like Sweet Megan's Bakery and The Little Bakery of Blue Bell (sweets), Sweet Note Bakery (bagels), Tonya's Gluten-Free Kitchen (soft pretzels), Caesar's Pasta, Bill’s Best BBQ Sauce, Snyder’s of Hanover and Brad’s Raw Foods and national brands such as Chex, Dole Soups, Kikkoman, Udi's, Dannon, Cabot Creamery, Dr. Praeger's, Pamela's, Absolutely Gluten Free and Kinnikinnick.

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, the Southern New Jersey chapter of the Celiac Support Association, the South Jersey Health & Wellness Center and ShopRite's Registered Dietitian Ashley Cully will also be on hand with gluten-free and wellness information.

Friday, October 3, 2014

News & Notes: October 3, 2014

Forage American Brasserie is a relative newcomer to the Shops at Main Street in Exton (120 Woodcutter St., 610-524-3334). The menu at this suburban BYOB features many gluten-free and vegan plates. Executive Chef Ralph Fernandez has chosen to showcase gluten-free cooking because his wife has Celiac Disease.

(Photo credit: Rat's Restaurant/Facebook)
French-influenced Rat's Restaurant in Hamilton (16 Fairgrounds Rd., 609-584-7800) - located near the famous Grounds For Sculpture - lists gluten-free choices like lobster crepe, pan-roasted black bass and Scottish salmon on its current dinner menu.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pasta Pops Up in Philly This Week

Pasta Flyer, the fast-casual gluten-free pasta concept that's touring the Northeast U.S. this fall, stops in Philadelphia this Thursday and Friday. Pasta Flyer will serve Bene Boxes, or "good” boxes - like a Japanese bento box but for Italian food. Guests will get a portion of gluten-free pasta, salad, protein and a snack of the day for about $10, delivered in less than three minutes. Here's the schedule:
  • Thursday, Oct. 2: Pop-Up Lunch at High Street on Market (308 Market St., 215-625-0988)
    From 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Chef Mark Ladner of New York City's Del Posto (co-owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali) will offer one of his Pasta Flyer dishes alongside High Street’s lunch menu, serving gluten-free pasta with one of his signature sauces and toppings. 
  • Thursday, Oct. 2: Gluten-Free Dinner with Mark Ladner and Chef Eli Kulp at Fork (306 Market St., 215-625-9425)
    Chef Mark Ladner will join Chef Eli Kulp for a collaborative dinner. For $150 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, guests will enjoy five courses of gluten-free fare, including pastas, with seasonally inspired, locally sourced ingredients and wine pairings with each course. Seating begins at 5:30 p.m. Call the restaurant for reservations.
  • Friday, Oct. 3: Demo/Talk and Pop-Up Lunch at Drexel University (101 N. 33rd St. - 6th Floor, 215-895-2975)
    Following his demo and talk at the Paul Peck Problem Solving and Research Center, Chef Ladner will serve Pasta Flyer's lunch menu at the Academic Bistro. This event is open to the public. The demo/talk will begin at 11:30 a.m. and lunch will be served until 2:30 p.m.

Friday, September 26, 2014

2014 Expo East Recap (Part Two)

In Tuesday's blog post, I focused on new gluten-free pastas, pizza and hot entrees that were sampled at last week's Expo East products event. Today, the spotlight turns to other noteworthy items we discovered at the show.

The Toasted Oat [store locator] is a gluten-free chewy granola made in a dedicated facility. The product comes in four flavors: Peanut & Raisin, White Chocolate & Macadamia, Blueberry & Flax and Cashew & Apricot. The granolas are sold at retailers in Ohio but can be ordered online for shipping throughout the U.S. (New customers can use promo code GETURCANS for 30% off net of shipping costs.)

Harvest Stone Crispy Mix, from the makers of Crunchmaster crackers, is the first certified gluten-free snack mix in the market. They come in three varieties - Original, Cheese and Bold. Each mix combines five different snacks, such as pretzels, corn chips and multigrain crackers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2014 Expo East Recap (Part One)

Natural Products Expo East, held in Baltimore each September, is an opportunity for both emerging and developed companies to showcase their products for retailers and distributors. Here are some of the highlights in the gluten-free space that are either on their way to stores or seeking wider distribution.

GeeFree Foods [store locator] was one of the most popular gluten-free vendors at the event. The company’s hor d’oeuvres line includes savory Franks in Blankets, Spanakopita and new Cheeseburger Bites, Taco Bites, Buffalo Chicken Bites, Pepperoni Bites and Apple Pie Bites. GeeFree also makes Chicken Pot Pie and Puff Pastry Sheets.

Feel Good Foods [store locator], which was first to market with gluten-free egg rolls and dumplings, is coming out with several Asian entrĂ©es by year's end. The line includes Vegetable Brown Fried Rice, Stir-Fry Chicken & Vegetables (Mu Shu Chicken), Mongolian Beef with Asparagus & Scallions, General Tso’s Chicken, and Broad Noodles with Chicken & Chinese Broccoli (Pad See Ew).

Friday, September 19, 2014

News & Notes: September 19, 2014

Come November, P'unk Burger (1823 East Passyunk Ave.) will offer South Philly a modern-day twist on a classic Passyunk diner. The BYO will feature all-natural burgers (with gluten-free buns), fries and shakes.

The Pillsbury Best line of flours from General Mills now includes a multi-purpose gluten-free flour blend, made with rice flour, potato starch, pea fiber, tapioca starch and xanthan gum. Wal-Mart is among the stores carrying this product.

Reader Karen Z. let me know that Trader Joe's just came out with a gluten-free pumpkin pancake mix and will have stuffing in time for Thanksgiving.

Udi's Gluten Free is launching four new varieties of both breakfast and lunch burritos along with Italian-inspired skillet meals for two. The breakfast burritos include Egg, Sausage & Cheddar, Uncured Bacon & Cheddar, Chicken Apple Sausage and Egg White, Southwest Veggies & Cheese. The lunch burritos options include Bean & Green Chile, Chicken, Spicy Southwest Veggie and Steak. The burritos retail for $3.99 each. The Skillet Meals varieties ($11.99 suggested retail) are Chicken Parmesan, Ziti & Meatballs, Chicken Florentine and Chicken Alfredo.

Dole has introduced an all-gluten-free Garden Soup line in five varieties: Carrot Ginger, Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil, Southwestern Black Bean & Corn, Sweet Corn and Tomato Vegetable. The soups do not contain MSG and are made with non-GMO ingredients. You can download a coupon good for $1 off one carton.

The State College Celiac Support Group is once again hosting the Central PA Gluten-Free Expo. This year, it will take place on Sunday, Nov. 9 at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, Pennsylvania. Vendors include Wegmans, Tonya's Gluten-Free Kitchen, Goldbaum's and Against the Grain Gourmet. Dr. Alessio Fasano of the Center for Celiac Research in Boston will be the headlining speaker. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door; children 16 and under are free.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

With the Gluten Free Philly app for iOS and Android devices, find more than 1,400 area gluten-free-friendly businesses on the go, search by cuisine or neighborhood, make reservations and more!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Mybread is to gluten-free bread what the iPhone is to mobile devices - a veritable Swiss Army knife. Mybread is sandwich bread, it's flatbread, it's pizza, it's pita. And unlike most gluten-free breads, it's chewy and stretchy.

The versatile bread is sold frozen, and so there are three recommended preparation methods: microwave, stove top and oven. I found that heating it in a skillet for about three minutes made for a toasty pita bread, cut into wedges to scoop up some red pepper hummus. For sandwiches, the skillet and microwave both work well but personal pizzas are best prepared in the oven.

Rice flour, tapioca starch and water are the top three ingredients; each piece clocks in at 260 calories and 4.5 grams of fat (no saturated fat).

The bread, which is made in a dedicated gluten-free facility and is also dairy, nut and soy free, sells for $7.99 per six-pack at Whole Foods markets throughout the country, including all stores in the Philadelphia region.

Friday, September 12, 2014

News & Notes: September 12, 2014

Noodles & Co. has opened a location in Moorestown (1540 Nixon Dr., 856-780-1987). Gluten-free fusilli, pad Thai and several salads are options. My family and I just ate there last weekend and were told that the rice noodles are prepared in advance in separate water.

Most of the menu at Cambodian restaurant Daly Angkor in Bryn Mawr (845A W. Lancaster Ave., 484-380-2642) is gluten free and the kitchen staff takes care to avoid any cross contact. (Thanks to Shari S. for the tip.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pasta Flyer Lands in Philly

Gluten-free shells, tomato, cheese
and herbs dish at Pasta Flyer
Mark Ladner, the executive chef at Manhattan's Del Posto, will be bringing his Kickstarter-funded Pasta Flyer concept (see my June 2014 post) to town on October 2 and 3.

On Thursday, Oct. 2, Chef Ladner will serve his quick-serve gluten-free pasta bowls from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Old City's High Street on Market (308 Market St., 215-625-0988), recently named by Bon Appetit magazine as one of 2014's 10 best new U.S. restaurants. The next day, Pasta Flyer will be on Drexel University's campus for an all-day pop-up. At both locations, Pasta Flyer will serve Bene Boxes, or "good” boxes - like a Japanese bento box but for Italian food. Inside these convenient, compact and compostable boxes, guests will get a portion of gluten-free pasta, salad, protein and a snack of the day for under $10, delivered in less than three minutes.

Friday, September 5, 2014

News & Notes: September 5, 2014

Grub Burger Bar is targeting the end of this month for its Philadelphia-area debut in Willow Grove (159 N. York Rd.) Look for gluten-free buns and sweet potato fries cooked in a dedicated fryer. A second Delaware Valley branch is coming to North Wales in June 2015 (230 Montgomery Mall).

The just-opened Bareburger in the Washington Square West section of Philadelphia (1109 Walnut St., 215-627-2273) serves traditional and exotic proteins on gluten-free buns (baked by Free Bread) along with four salad varieties. The fries are prepped in a separate fryer and all of the shakes are gluten free. A flourless chocolate cake and a vegan carrot cake headline the dessert options. Owner Daniel Kemelman stresses that the kitchen takes every precaution to avoid cross-contamination.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Common Core

By Chris Betz

Ahead of the current boom in the market for hard cider, Kensington's Philadelphia Brewing Company expanded its product line two years ago by creating Commonwealth Ciders. In addition to being gluten free, the company's ciders are all natural - free of any artificial colors, preservatives or colors. Commonwealth does not add any additional sweeteners, relying only on the apples' natural sugars. The traditional dry fermentation technique, incorporating some non-traditional ingredients like ginger, make for some unique and must-try ciders.

Friday, August 22, 2014

News & Notes: August 22, 2014

There are more gluten-free options in Mercer County, New Jersey this week. Princeton Pi (86 Nassau St., 609-924-5515) offers a 12" pizza, as does the Massimo's mini chain down the block in Princeton (110 Nassau St., 609-924-0777) and in Robbinsville (1035 Washington Blvd., 609-448-2288). Massimo's Hamilton location (1633 Hamilton Ave., 609-586-3777) is currently closed for repairs. Separate bakeware and cutters are used; request that sauce and toppings be taken from the back-up supply.

Princeton mainstay Alchemist & Barrister (28 Witherspoon St., 609-924-5555) lists gluten-free options on its menus and can modify other items.

In Wilmington, River Rock Kitchen (818 Shipyard Dr., 302-654-2900) serves gluten-free French toast for breakfast. Guests should request that their orders be prepared in a separate pan.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gotta Have a Wawa

(Photo credit:
Let's answer the burning question first: Wawa still doesn't offer gluten-free sandwiches. What the popular convenience-store chain does have, though, are an expanding array of packaged to-go options along with a mix of chips, yogurt and other snacks.

Unlike at a restaurant, where you typically choose a soup or salad, you can choose both at Wawa, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Three prepared salads contain no gluten ingredients - Garden Salad, Summer Berry Salad and Turkey BLT Salad. The black bean soup, baked potato soup, cheddar & bacon soup and seafood chowder are gluten free.

Friday, August 8, 2014

News & Notes: August 8, 2014

Photo credit: Robek's Philly/Facebook
In advance of opening its first area location in the coming weeks, California-based smoothie and juice chain Robeks has hit the road with an mobile version of its brick-and-mortar store roaming the streets of Philadelphia. Follow Robeks Philly on Twitter and Facebook to keep tabs on the truck's locations and look for a late summer/early fall opening at 1035 Chestnut Street near Jefferson Hospital. All of Robeks' smoothies and fresh juices are gluten free.

In Old City, La Scala's (615 Chestnut St., 215-928-0900) serves gluten-free gnocchi and ravioli as well as pizza. I'm told that the pasta and crust are made off premises and prepared separately in house.

REX 1516's Fruit Soup
(Photo credit: Danya Henninger)
The newest edition of the gluten-free menu at REX 1516 near Rittenhouse Square (1516 South St., 267-319-1366), which again includes a half-pound burger on a house-made bun, features a fruit soup made with strawberry-rhubarb jam, lemon curd, vanilla ice cream, strawberry mint tea and Champagne.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Scoring a Touchdown

The coming football season will mark the first time that all of the facilities at the South Philadelphia sports complex have dedicated gluten-free concession stands. For the Eagles' 2014 season, Lincoln Financial Field will have portable carts in Sections 120 and 216.

New items provided by concessionaire Aramark include cheesesteaks (in Sections 121, 138, 205 and 221), black bean burgers (in Section 216) and buffalo wraps made with mixed greens, roasted onions and peppers, buffalo falafel and vegan blue cheese dressing. Also at the dedicated carts are hot Italian sausages, all-beef hot dogs, tortilla chips and salsa, locally-made cookies and brownies from Sweet Christine's, and beers and hard ciders. Popcorn at the stadium is gluten free, as are Chickie's & Pete's Crabfries.

Friday, July 25, 2014

News & Notes: July 25, 2014

Filet Mignon at Sullivan's Steakhouse
(Photo credit: Sullivan's Steakhouse)
Carnivores have a few more gluten-free options in the Philadelphia area this week. Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House in Center City (1426 Chestnut St., 215-246-0533) and sister restaurant Sullivan's Steakhouse in King of Prussia (700 W. Dekalb Pike, 610-878-9025) and Wilmington (5525 Concord Pike, 302-479-7970) mark their menus accordingly.

The menu at Irish-influenced steakhouse Cattle 'n Clover in Wildwood (3817 Pacific Ave., 609-522-3800) also notes gluten-free items, and includes buns and pasta.

Atlantic City institution Angelo's Fairmount Tavern (2300 Fairmount Ave., 609-344-2439) serves pasta and lists other dishes that can be made gluten free on its on-premises menu.

In Ocean City, Clancy's By The Sea (1244 Boardwalk, 609-398-3344) has gluten-free options like steamed clams, mussels, broiled flounder, ribs and salads listed on its dinner menu. The kitchen can accommodate breakfast requests as well.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

An All-Inclusive Vacation

Philadelphia tradition, meet Canadian know-how. Among the products in the All But Gluten line, from Toronto's Weston Bakeries, are Chocolate and Vanilla Snack Cakes. One look at these indulgent treats reminded me of Tastykake's legendary Kandy Kakes. The All But Gluten versions, which are made in a dedicated facility, are a bit larger than Kandy Kakes (a touch smaller than Hostess Ding Dongs) but are moist, creamy and chocolaty. The cakes are kosher and certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (endorsed by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness). I liked both of them, but have a fondness for vanilla. They were even better out of the fridge.

Friday, July 18, 2014

News & Notes: July 18, 2014

Modern Mediterranean Carmel Kitchen just opened its second area location in Warrington (1613 Main St., 215-279-9607) Diners can view photos and descriptions of all gluten-free menu items on tableside iPads.

The historic Smithville Inn in Galloway (1 N. New York Rd., 609-652-7777) notes gluten-free and gluten-free-adaptable options on its dinner menu.

In nearby Egg Harbor Township, A Touch of Italy (6629 Black Horse Pike, 609-646-1855) also marks gluten-free choices on the dinner menu.

Reader Elizabeth R. emailed me about Elcy's Cafe at the Glenside SEPTA Station (1 W. Glenside Ave., 215-884-5600) which offers gluten-free bread for sandwiches and soups.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Apple Store

After a sell-out debut in 2013, the Second Annual Pour the Core: A Hard Cider Festival will be returning to Philadelphia on Saturday, Sept. 27 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at The Navy Yard (4747 S. Broad St.). Pour the Core will showcase dozens of gluten-free hard ciders, including local favorites from Frecon’s Cidery and Good Intent Cider. Two area cideries will be making their festival debut - Kurant and Original 13. National best sellers like Angry Orchard and Woodchuck - a festival sponsor - will also be sampling. Plus, guests will be able try a variety of imported ciders and perries from Spain, England and elsewhere, including Maeloc, also making its debut. Gluten-free beers from Steadfast and Redbridge and meads from local meadery Haymaker will also be on hand. Attendees receive a 5 oz. souvenir tasting glass with a 2 oz. pour line.