Friday, March 25, 2016

News & Notes: March 25, 2016

Firebirds' Sorrento Chicken Salad
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, with area locations in Collegeville (51 Town Center Dr., 484-902-1860), Chadds Ford )91 Wilmington-West Chester Pike, 484-785-6880), Moorestown (400 Rt. 38, 856-380-0604) and Newark (1225 Churchmans Rd., 302-366-7577), has launched its Spring Features menu, featuring seasonal gluten-free items JalapeƱo Deviled Eggs, Maple Mustard-Glazed Duroc Pork Medallions, Chicken Sorrento Salad and Chile-Lime Grilled Swordfish. The Spring specials are available until May 3. The restaurant's regular gluten-free menu offers dozens of options, including a flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

The Angelo's Pizza locations in Berlin (2 Rt. 73 S., 856-768-7222) and Voorhees (2999 Evesham Rd., 856-528-2999) offer gluten-free pizza made with separate ingredients and bakeware. Each pizza comes in its own tray with a plastic cutter. (Thanks to reader Jared G. for the tip.)

Insomnia Cookies will be adding a vegan and gluten-free chocolate chip cookie to its menu beginning April 6. The cookies will be prepared in a shared kitchen, although employees will be trained to prepare them separately from other products, including using separate pans and utensils. The college-centric cookie delivery service has six locations in Philadelphia, one in Bryn Mawr, and one in Newark.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Born on the Bayou

You know "hard" root beers have reached critical mass when The King of Beers enters the market with its own version. Unfortunately, most of the big brewers' formulations - like Not Your Father's Root Beer and Coney Island Root Beer - are not gluten free.

Enter Louisiana's Abita Brewing Company, which has released an alcoholic version of its famous root beer. It's the first product in the brewery's line of "Bayou Bootlegger" hard sodas.

Bayou Bootlegger Hard Root Beer is based on the same root beer formula Abita has been craft brewing with pure Louisiana cane sugar for more than 20 years, and brewed to achieve a 5.9 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). The brew is all natural, caffeine free, and gluten free. Its flavor profile delivers aromas of wintergreen, vanilla and sassafras, with hints of clove and anise.

Abita currently produces more than 14,000 barrels of root beer annually in its state-of-the-art brewing facility. Its root beer is made with a hot mix process using Abita Springs’ natural spring water, herbs, vanilla and yucca. 

Locally, Bayou Bootlegger Hard Root Beer is available throughout New Jersey, though not Pennsylvania or Delaware at the moment. (Check Abita's website for a store location near you.)

Another gluten-free hard root beer, Row Hard Root Beer, hasn't yet made it to the Philadelphia region. However, since I first wrote about it, the beverage is now distributed in New York and several New England states in addition to the Midwest U.S.

Friday, March 18, 2016

News & Notes: March 18, 2016

Before I get to this week's news, I want to extend a heartfelt thank-you to all of Gluten Free Philly's readers and followers. This past Tuesday marked the 7th anniversary of my very first blog post. Way back in March 2009, as a parent of a child with Celiac Disease, I figured others were going through the same challenges. Creating a blog was the best way to share our family's experiences and information we had gathered. I get immense satisfaction from hearing from readers when they tell me they loved a new product I've written about here or a gluten-free-friendly restaurant that didn't know about until I mentioned it. I appreciate your continued support and kind words.

Rita’s Italian Ice has debuted All-Natural Italian Ice in time for the 2016 season. The new Italian Ice line extension is made with natural ingredients and comes in four flavors: Pineapple, Strawberry, Banana and Orange. Each of the new flavors are made fresh daily without artificial coloring or artificial flavors and are - like the rest of Rita’s fruit-flavored ices - free of trans fats, cholesterol and gluten. Get a free Italian ice at your local Rita's location on the first day of Spring - this Sunday - from noon to 9 p.m.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

2016 Expo West New Gluten-Free Products Roundup

Natural Products Expo West, the industry’s largest trade show, took place last weekend in Anaheim, California with more than 3,000 exhibiting companies and 70,000 attendees. As usual, there were plenty of new gluten-free products announced at the event.

South Jersey-based Caesar's Pasta debuted a new line of frozen entrees under the Caesar's Kitchen brand that will hit store shelves this summer. The new "Gluten-Free Gourmet" meals include Buffalo Style Chicken Mac & Cheese and 3 Cheese Herb Rigatoni & Meat Sauce.

popchips announced an entirely new product line called Ridges, after spending several years experimenting with its process of combining heat and pressure to create a ridged chip. The new Ridges line rolls out to retailers nationwide in June in four flavors: salted, tangy barbeque, cheddar & sour cream and chili cheese. Ridges will be available in both a single-serve bag and a share bag. In addition to the four new Ridges flavors, original popchips come in nine varieties: sea salt, barbeque, crazy hot, sour cream & onion, sea salt & vinegar, sweet potato, cinnamon twist sweet potato and organic kettle corn.

Friday, March 11, 2016

News & Notes: March 11, 2016

Philadelphia sports fans can soon grab a gluten-free seafood sandwich before and after games in South Philly. Neon Lobster, which opens Sunday in Pennsport (2101 S. 3rd St., 215-800-1067), offers lobster, crab, and shrimp salad rolls on gluten-free buns. Lobster bisque, chowders, salads and sides round out the gluten-free menu. The kitchen staff is knowledgeable about cross-contamination and takes precautions to make many of the menu choices gluten free - there is a dedicated gluten-free oven and fryer. Show a game ticket and get $1 off a lobster roll order.

The majority of options at Los Camaradas, a contemporary Mexican near Graduate Hospital (918 S. 22nd St., 215-309-3727), are gluten free. Avoid items made with mole, which contains gluten, and flour tortillas. The corn tortilla chips are gluten free, as they are not prepared in a shared fryer. Philadelphia magazine awarded Los Camaradas a 2015 "Best of Philly" award for its nachos.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Return of the Expos

Contrary to wishful thinking, the Washington Nationals baseball team is not reverting back to the Montreal Expos (I do love that logo, though). Rather, Saturday, May 21 marks the long-awaited return of a community gluten-free event to the Philadelphia region.

The first annual Greater Philly Gluten-Free Expo will take place at the Greater Philly Expo Center in suburban Oaks, Pennsylvania (100 Station Ave.) and include local and national exhibitors, educational presentations, door prizes and gluten-free samples. The expo will be open to the public from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

I will be speaking at the event, along with Wegmans nutritionist Marda Heuman, author Jennifer Fugo, and a representative from Beyond Celiac.

Expo exhibitors will be sampling, selling and promoting products at the event. Over 50 exhibitors are expected, including Enjoy Life, Wholly Wholesome, The Happy Mixer, Tonya's Gluten-Free Kitchen, Schar, Garden Lites and Spiked Seltzer.  The presenting sponsor of the expo is Wegmans.

A limited number of early-entry VIP passes are now available online and by phone (1-800-827-6397) for $22 per person and include expo entry 45 minutes before the general public, guaranteed goodie bag and exclusive samples. Advance tickets will be available beginning March 24 at the service desks of area Wegmans markets, by phone (1-800-827-6397), and online for $10 per person, with ages 12 and under free. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $15. Parking is free. Get event updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Expo producer Sentinel Events has hosted gluten-free expos in State College, Pennsylvania since 2013. This year's Central Pennsylvania Gluten Free Expo is slated for Saturday, November 20.

Friday, March 4, 2016

News & Notes: March 4, 2016

One of our favorite places for breakfast in Florida, First Watch, is at long last heading to the Philly area. Monday marks the grand opening of a First Watch location in Wynnewood (31 E. Wynnewood Ave., 610-649-1059). All omelets, seasoned potatoes and protein sides, among other options, are gluten free. Another area outpost is planned for Villanova early this summer.

The chef behind Philadelphia's Sampan and Izakaya in Atlantic City has added a new restaurant to his portfolio. Michael Schulson has just opened Double Knot in Midtown Village (120 S. 13th St., 215-631-3868) next to Sampan. The main level houses a cafe, while downstairs is a Japanese pub that serves dinner. In a twist, the menus list what cannot be prepared gluten free.

New to Philly's Fishtown section is Martha (2113 E. York St., 215-867-8881). Gluten-free items at this neighborhood bar are noted on the menu and there are plenty of wines and spirits, as well as Commonwealth hard cider.

The Latino-influenced BYOB Under the Moon Cafe in Bordentown (210 Farnsworth Ave., 609-291-8301) lists gluten-free tapas and other options on its in-house menus. Be advised although several fried options are noted as gluten free, the kitchen utilizes a shared fryer.