Friday, December 18, 2015

News & Notes: December 18, 2015

The Philadelphia-area based National Foundation for Celiac Awareness this week announced that the foundation has changed its name to Beyond Celiac. The new name and brand reflect the evolution of the organization from its early focus on awareness to its expanded role today in increasing the rate of diagnosis, improving care for the community and expanding research of new treatments, ultimately to find a cure for celiac disease by 2025.

The name Beyond Celiac was chosen to embody the spirit of the community and inspire hope and passion for living well despite having a serious genetic autoimmune disease. Beyond Celiac intends to move beyond the acceptance of lifestyle and diet as treatment and move forward toward advancing research for innovative, groundbreaking medicines.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Shore Thing

The last time we tried to get into Izakaya, the Japanese pub at the Borgata in Atlantic City (1 Borgata Way, 609-317-1000), was at the end of the summer, when the wait was over two hours long. We ended up that night eating at the hotel at the more casual Metropolitan  - which, on account of the service, I don't recommend.

Taking advantage of the magnificent late spring-like weather this past weekend, we spent a few hours in Atlantic City to celebrate our teenage son's birthday. His restaurant of choice: Izakaya. This time, we made a reservation earlier that day and were seated without a wait.

Izakaya's executive chef, Michael Schulson, also runs Center City Philadelphia's Sampan, another gluten-free-friendly Asian spot. Like his sister restaurant, the New Jersey outpost also specializes in Asian tapas. Like many tapas-style restaurants, the plates are brought to the table as soon as they are prepared, so there's no particular order of courses.

The gluten-free menu at Izakaya is diverse, We ordered an array of small plates - from edamame to robatayaki (grilled skewers) of Wagyu beef, chicken and Maine lobster - all excellent. Our teen had to himself the freshly prepared salmon avocado roll, served with Kari-Out gluten-free soy sauce, while we shared two orders of shrimp fried rice.

Our server demonstrated familiarity with the pub's gluten-free menu and we felt comfortable with the food preparation.

While Izakaya's main options are plenty, there are no gluten-free dessert choices. We finished our culinary tour at fondue restaurant The Melting Pot (2112 Atlantic Ave., 609-441-1100). We opted for a table with double burners so that our teen could have his own dipping pot of creamy, melted milk chocolate without worrying about cross-contact. The chain no longer has gluten-free cake and brownies, but he nonetheless was able to dip marshmallows and a variety of sliced fruits. The sweet ending was a balanced complement to our savory dinner.

Friday, December 4, 2015

News & Notes: December 4, 2015

The California-based, classic-rock themed Yard House chain opens its first area location tomorrow at the Moorestown Mall (400 Rt. 38, 856-722-5620). The from-scratch (CYA) "gluten sensitive" menu includes appetizers, salads, steaks and seafood. Drinks include four different hard ciders.

South Philly BYOB L'Angolo Ristorante (1415 W. Porter St., 215-389-4252) offers gluten-free fusilli (prepared in separate water) and can make several entrees gluten free.

Touch of Italy, with two locations in Southern Delaware - Rehoboth Beach (19724 Coastal Hwy., 302-227-3900) and Lewes (101 Second St., 302-827-2730) offers a gluten-free menu that includes gluten-free pasta dishes.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Southern Comfort

Don't let the small, whimsically decorated dining room - as in two tables small - at Waffles & Wedges deter you from savoring two of America's favorite comfort foods. This corner spot in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square neighborhood (1511 Pine St., 215-309-3222), which opened in April, specializes in baked potato wedges and homemade waffles that can be topped with dozens of options.

For gluten eaters, the shop offers traditional buttermilk and Belgian-style Liege waffles, but the kitchen maintains an entirely separate waffle iron for gluten-free versions made with rice flour. Toppings run the gamut, both sweet and savory. During a recent visit, my son and I indulged in one of my childhood favorites: waffles à la mode with local favorite Bassetts ice cream. He ordered his with a scoop of vanilla and a dollop of Nutella, while mine was crowned with chocolate marshmallow ice cream. I took great pleasure in listening to him rave over his waffles and ice cream, which he had never eaten before our visit there.

All of the starches - plain potato wedges, sweet potato wedges and waffle cut fries - are gluten free and can be ordered with a variety of dipping sauces for a nominal charge. The creamy horseradish sauce were a fine complement to our order of plain potato wedges.