Friday, January 31, 2020

Gluten Free Education Evening at The Pop Shop Medford

Learn more about living gluten free deliciously at The Pop Shop's Medford, New Jersey location (1 S. Main St., 609-975-6888) on Thursday, February 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event will include a gluten-free buffet dinner, dessert by Bleu Bear Bakery, samples, coupons and more.

Yours truly will share tips for traveling and dining gluten free. Ravitz’s Family Market’s dietician, Ashley Cully, will offer advice and options for gluten-free shopping and cooking at home. All guests are encouraged to bring their favorite gluten-free recipes for a recipe swap.

This evening is excellent for people or caregivers with gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, and those who live with someone following a gluten-free diet.

Tickets are $26.95 per person and include tax and gratuity. Purchase them online at this link.

Friday, January 17, 2020

News & Notes: January 17, 2020

Pepperidge Farms has introduced its first gluten-free cookies in the brand's 75-year history. The thin-and-crispy Butter Crisp and Milk Chocolate Chip varieties will be sold beginning this month at Target, among other outlets, retailing for $3.89 per package.

Whole Foods is closing its gluten-free bakehouse in North Carolina as of early March. If you like the market's gluten-free breads, pies, cakes and other baked goods, be sure to stock up before supplies run out.

Armageddon Brewing's cider and mead tasting room is opening in Somerdale, New Jersey (900 Chestnut Ave., Building J) on January 31. All of the craft brewer's beverages are gluten free.

Dim Sum Mania in Media (17-19 E. State St., 610-557-8757) notes gluten-free options on its on-premises menu.

Down the street, Noodii Thai Chef (42 E. State St., 610-892-8710) can make a number of dishes gluten free, as listed on its lunch and dinner menus.

Arepas are among the many fried gluten-free options at Que Ricas
Que Ricas, which opened last month in Westmont (46 A Haddon Ave., 856-858-8500), has a dedicated fryer for gluten-free options such as empanadas, plantains and yuca fries. The arepas are gluten free as well.

The menus at the new Stove & Tap in Malvern (245 Lancaster Ave., 484-450-8890) list gluten-free choices and the kitchen has a dedicated fryer.

Malvern is the home of the area's first Bomba Taco + Bar (30 Liberty Blvd., 610-727-5253). Bomba, which is a sister restaurant to King of Prussia's Paladar Latin Kitchen, has a gluten-free menu, though there is a shared fryer. A second Pennsylvania location is opening this summer at The Village at Newtown.

In Atlantic City, all of the meats at Bourré Cajun BBQ (201 S. New York Ave., 609-246-6670) are gluten free, as are several "bayou plates." Note, however, that there is no dedicated fryer for fries and wings.

Avocado toast at GET Cafe (PC: GET Cafe/Instagram)
GET Cafe, a community coffee shop in Narberth (246 Haverford Ave.), has a gluten-free toaster and panini press.

In Medford Lakes, smoothie and juice bar The Honey Post (20 Trading Post Way, 609-451-5156) has gluten-free granola for its fruit bowls and smoothies and gluten-free cones for frozen yogurt.

2nd Street Tavern in Lewes, Delaware (102 2nd St., 302-645-7755) has a gluten-free menu that includes appetizers, salads and entrees.

In Souderton, the menus at Northbound (2 W. Broad St., 267-203-8076) note gluten-free options.

Diana's Cafe in Center Valley (4907 Rt. 309, 610-797-2525) can prepare gluten-free pancakes and toast separately.

Davio's in King of Prussia offers gluten-free pizza
Davio's in King of Prussia (200 Main St., 610-337-4810) serves gluten-free pizza at lunch and brunch. The pizza is prepared in a dedicated area and cooked in a separate oven.

KQ Burger's Wynnewood location at Whole Foods (15 E. Wynnewood Rd., 610-896-3737) has a dedicated fryer for fried chicken, fries and tater tots, though no gluten-free buns. reports that Peter McAndrews is reopening his popular Modo Mio in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia (705 5th St.) soon, while relocating his Paesano's Philly Style sandwich shop to Fishtown (1429 Marlborough St.). McAndrews has long accommodated gluten-free guests at his restaurants, as members of his family have celiac disease.

Sprouts Farmers Market is opening at the Concord Mall in Wilmington (4801 Concord Pike) on March 11.

Recent area closings of note include Morton's The Steakhouse and Sweet Freedom Bakery in Center City Philadelphia, Oink and Moo BBQ in Voorhees, and the Bryn & Dane's locations in Malvern and Center City Philadelphia.

CHOP's Celiac Support Group will have its next meeting at the Bucks Specialty Care Center in Chalfont (500 W. Butler Ave.) on Sunday, January 26 from noon to 2 p.m. Parents should bring Super Bowl snacks to share. RSVP to the Celiac Center with the number of people attending.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

With the always updated Gluten Free Philly app for iOS and Android devices, find more than 1,700 area gluten-free-friendly businesses on the go, search by cuisine or neighborhood, make reservations and more!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Gluten-Free Road Trip: California Adventure

It had been more than 20 years since I was last in San Francisco (for a late-summer work trip) and all I remember from that time was having to leave the Giants game mid-way through because it was brutally cold. I should have realized I was out of place in shorts and a t-shirt when I noticed most everyone else wearing sweatshirts and pants.

Not that December is warm in California either, but I've always wanted to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and see more of the sights throughout the state. With the family's winter break schedules aligning, we were able to spend four days in San Francisco and the surrounding area last month before driving through Big Sur and ending our vacation in Newport Beach.

My takeaways: California is beautiful, expensive and extremely gluten-free and celiac friendly. Out of all of our meals, we had only one occasion where the restaurant (not mentioned here) provided us with bad information, which we were able to straighten out prior to ordering.

House-made gluten-free blueberry coffee cake
at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco
Our hotel in San Francisco, the Marriott Marquis, is within walking distance of the famous Union Square. I communicated with the kitchen staff prior to the trip and felt confident that our son would be able to eat breakfast at the M Lounge. The eggs and bacon were gluten free, as was the separately baked blueberry coffee cake. Each night, there were several gluten-free hors d'oeuvres at the lounge and on one occasion, the chef brought him a gluten-free dessert.

Among the amazing baked goods at Mariposa Baking Co.
are pain au chocolat and savory "hot pockets"
We spent time in San Francisco taking tours of Oracle Park (the home of the Giants) and Alcatraz and seeing the rest of the city via the on/off Big Bus Tour, which includes stops at Fisherman's Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown and the Embarcadero. Our son had safe gluten-free meals at the all-gluten-free Mariposa Baking Co. in the famed Ferry Building and at Oriental Pearl in Chinatown (gluten-free dumplings and more). At the Ferry Building, you can also find sweet and savory options at Dandelion Chocolate, G.L. Alfieri Fruits & Nuts and Humphry Slocombe ice cream. Also look throughout town for the famous See's Candies, where every item is gluten free except for the candy canes. The company recently debuted soft and chewy red licorice medallions, which are extremely difficult to find in a gluten-free version.

C Casa in Napa is entirely gluten free
Nicholson Ranch was among the vineyards we visited in Sonoma
We took a day tour of Napa and Sonoma through Green Dream Tours, visiting three area wineries. For lunch, we stopped at Oxbow Public Market, home of the all-gluten-free C Casa taqueria and Gott's Roadside, which has gluten-free soft-serve ice cream.

On Christmas Day, we departed San Francisco and headed south, spending the evening at the Monterey Marriott. Monterey has its own Fisherman's Wharf, and we had dinner that night at Old Fisherman's Grotto. The kitchen was easily able to accommodate our son and - to his surprise - he was able to enjoy a slice of gluten-free double chocolate cheesecake, made with an almond crust.

The Big Sur region has incredible views
The redwood trees at Henry Cowell State Park
are among the tallest in the world
The next morning, we walked around Cannery Row in Monterey before departing for the gorgeous sights in Big Sur, the mountainous Central Coast region that offers amazing vistas. We stopped for lunch at Nepenthe, a 70-year-old cliffside eatery, where our son had soup and salad. We ended the day at the all-new beachfront Vespera on Ocean in Pismo Beach - one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed at. The house restaurant, Somerset Grill, had many gluten-free options for dinner (our son had the local salmon filet made with a tamari glaze) and the following morning at breakfast, including gluten-free granola.

No trip to California is complete without a stop at In-N-Out Burger, the West Coast chain that is extremely careful preparing gluten-free orders. Gluten-free options include burgers protein-style in lettuce wraps, fries and shakes.

As we headed toward southern California, we ran into the notorious traffic but plowed through past Los Angeles and spent two nights in Newport Beach at Lido House. This beautiful hotel in Orange County blends perfectly into the seaside town and offers bike and surfboard rentals, among other amenities. We rode bikes along the beachfront boardwalk on a perfect 62-degree afternoon. The house restaurant, The Mayor's Table, has a dedicated gluten-free toaster in the kitchen; one morning, the kitchen prepared our son toast with eggs, the next day, avocado toast. We had lunch at Malibu Farm Lido, along the waterfront in Lido Marina Village, and dinner in town at Wild Taco, which has a dedicated fryer for tortilla chips.

Flying American Airlines, we didn't have to look far from our departure gate at Los Angeles International Airport to find a safe gluten-free meal. Lemonade is a fast-casual chain with locations throughout California. Most salad and bowl ingredients are gluten free, as indicated by signage. There's even a packaged gluten-free s'mores brownie.

We love traveling west of the Mississippi, where the scenery and food are so different from the East Coast. I was glad to finally check off a bucket-list vacation and was even happier that we were able to enjoy nearly every meal without hassle.

For information on more gluten-free options in the San Francisco area, visit the Wheatless Wanderlust blog.