Friday, February 27, 2015

News & Notes: February 27, 2015

South Philadelphia's newest restaurant is Bing Bing Dim Sum (1648 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-279-7702), where gluten-free selections on the menu include two kinds of dumplings, chow fun, lamb ribs and all vegetable plates.

Roberta's Banana Butter Topped Lamb Chops
with Crushed Macadamias
Reader Murray K. emailed several photos from his recent dinner at modern American Roberta's by Joe Muldoon in Northfield (1205 Tilton Rd., 609-677-0470), one of which is posted nearby. He raved about his meal and let me know that the chef and staff are extremely knowledgeable about gluten-free meals and preparation.

The Pop Shop's second location officially opens tomorrow in Medford (1 Bank St., 609-975-6888) with the same menu as the original Collingswood spot. Gluten-free items include grilled cheese, chicken fingers, French toast, pancakes, fries and sweets.

Brick House Tavern + Tap, with local outposts in Willow Grove (2402 Easton Rd., 215-675-5767) and just-opened Princeton (3569 Rt. 1 S., 609-520-9866), has a gluten-free menu.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Goodies Giveaway: Not Your Average Joe's Dining Gift Card

Contemporary American restaurant Not Your Average Joe’s continues to expand beyond its New England roots with the opening yesterday of its newest location at the Suburban Square Shopping Center in Ardmore (49 St. James Place, 484-708-1500), joining the brand's other Pennsylvania outpost in Glen Mills.

Not Your Average Joe's Smokehouse Jambalaya
The plentiful gluten-free menu options range from appetizers such as Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Forno-Baked Chicken Quesadillas to entrees like Smokehouse Jambalaya and Creamy Chicken Penne.

Burgers, turkey BLTs and grilled chicken sandwiches are served on gluten-free caramelized onion rolls. Each meal begins with a gluten-free version of Joe's bread and dip, and there's even carrot cake for dessert. Because each dish is made to order, the kitchen is able to accommodate many dietary sensitivities.

Friday, February 13, 2015

News & Notes: February 13, 2015

You'll need to breathe deep to absorb all the gluten-free product news from this week. The biggest is word from General Mills that five varieties of Cheerios will be labeled "gluten free" come July: Original, Honey Nut, Multi-Grain, Apple Cinnamon and Frosted.

The company says it has developed a way – years in the making – to sort out the small amount of wheat, rye and barley in its supply of whole oats that are inadvertently introduced at the farms where the oats were grown, or during transportation of the whole oats to the mill. This ensures that the oats used for Cheerios allow us to meet the FDA’s guidelines for gluten-free products, according to General Mills. As for the Multi-Grain variety, current wheat and barley ingredients will be replaced with sorghum and millet. The front of the cereal boxes will note the products' gluten-free status. Gluten-Free Living's blog has more information on the oats General Mills will be using for these cereals.

Meanwhile, General Mills' Pillsbury brand has introduced new gluten-free products of its own. Joining its all-purpose flour are Funfetti cake and cookie mixes and banana quick bread and muffin mix.

American Flatbread Pizza is introducing two new gluten-free pizzas: Cheese Trio & Tomato Sauce and Pesto & Cheese. The Cheese Trio & Tomato Sauce is a handmade flatbread topped with mozzarella, parmesan and Vermont Cookeville grana cheese, with homemade tomato sauce and fresh herbs. Pesto & Cheese is topped with pesto, made with fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, fresh minced garlic and parmesan. The pizzas retail for $8.99.

Friday, February 6, 2015

News & Notes: February 6, 2015

European-based gluten-free baker Schar will be bringing gluten-free croissants in the U.S. come March. While the idea of a gluten-free croissant is a novel one, what's more unique is that it's the first Schar product available in America to include certified gluten-free wheat starch - processed to remove gluten - as an ingredient. The wheat starch allows Schar to add a durability to the dough that is key to achieving the croissant’s trademark crust. The use of gluten-free wheat starch is allowed in gluten-free products according to the recently enacted U.S. Food & Drug Administration guidelines so long as the ingredient is disclosed on the packaging and the product tests to less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The croissants come in classic and hazelnut cream-filled varieties.

According to Pam Cureton, R.D., a Celiac Disease specialist at the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment in Boston, “Products made with gluten-free wheat starch are absolutely safe, even for people with particularly high sensitivity to gluten.”

Schar's Director of Nutritional Services, Anne Lee, R.D., told me by email that "first and foremost, we test all of our ingredients before they are allowed into the production facility and we test batches during production as well as the finished product to assure there is no gluten entering our production facilities and no cross-contamination of any kind anywhere along the production and packaging process."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Something Special

I can eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, dinner, late-night snack - it doesn't matter. As a kid, I studied cereal box packaging nearly every morning. (The prizes and toys that came in most boxes didn't hurt. Where have you gone, plastic Spider-Man watch?) More often than not - after the kids have devoured dinner and left nothing for their hungry dad by the time he gets home from work - I'll dig in to a heaping bowl of carbs surrounded by a moat of milk. Let me be clear: I love cereal.

So it was with great eagerness that I wanted to try Kellogg's new gluten-free version of Special K. Because Kellogg's seems to be going all in with the Special K brand - the name is now on everything from snack bars to chips to shakes - it didn't surprise me that a gluten-free cereal was in the cards.

Unlike Kellogg's gluten-free Rice Krispies, the company's gluten-free Special K bears no similarity to its traditional counterpart. Whereas the original Special K flakes are lighter and blander, the gluten-free version is a heartier flake that retains its crunchiness in milk. It's made with whole grain brown rice, whole grain sorghum and milled corn - providing the cereal with its darker hue - and is modestly sweetened with brown sugar and honey.

Though we usually have about 10 boxes of cereal in our pantry at any given time, there's no reason why the gluten-free Special K won't be a part of my rotation, no matter the time of day.