Thursday, April 28, 2011

NJ Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Allergy Event List Created

I've created a page that lists all of the GF/DF/allergy events I'm aware of in NJ.  I've also included some big events over the border in NY.  If I've missed any, just comment in the comments on the list page:  NJ Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Allergy Event List

Friday, April 22, 2011

News Alert: Udi's Launching Gluten Free / Dairy Free Hot Dog Buns

Udi's Gluten-Free Classic Hot Dog Buns
Udi's New Gluten Free / Dairy Free Hot Dog Buns
I knew that Udi's was coming out with Hamburger Buns, but I just found out last night that they are also coming out with Hot Dog Buns as well (both products are Gluten Free and Dairy Free).  I haven't seen them in a store yet, but I will be heading to Whole Foods this weekend to check!
I'll be sure to post a review of them as soon as I can find them locally.

If you can't wait or can't find them locally, you can get them online at the Gluten Free Mall: Udi's Gluten-Free Hot Dog Buns (and Udi's new hamburger buns as well: Udi's Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns).

If you've seen them in NJ, let me know where in the comments below.

Updated 6/4/11

I found them and tried them out!  My review is here: Udi's Gluten Free Hot Dog Buns are Amazing!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Vending Machines Allows Users to Preview Ingredients

A just saw this in the May issue of Popular Science.  A vending machine with a touch screen display instead of a window.  I didn't really think much of it until I read that you can use the display to read the ingredients.  That means no more searching for the product online to check what's in it before buying.  We'll be able to see from the screen what the ingredient are.

Samsung Announces Diji-Touch Touchscreen Vending Machines

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Are French Fries Gluten Free?

Are French Fries Gluten Free?  Well, maybe.  Yes, potatoes themselves are gluten free but it depends how they are seasoned and just as importantly where they are fried.

For example, the battering on the French Fries at Popeyes contains wheat, while the coating on the Burger King fries do not.  Unfortunately, at most non-chain restaurants the staff usually doesn't know for sure what's in the coating or even if they use one. 

Even if the french fries aren't coated in wheat you still need to determine how they are fried.  Most restaurant use the same fryer for multiple items.  So your french fries could very well be fried with chicken tenders, onion rings, and any number of other gluten foods.  Those crumbs come off in the oil and . . .

So where can you get gluten free fries?  Basically, anywhere there is a dedicated french fryer and they don't batter their fries in wheat.  The list below includes local NJ restaurants, nation wide casual chains and even a few fast food chains with gluten free french fries.  Please keep in mind that formulas change and procedures aren’t always followed so make sure you inquire directly with each restaurant location to be sure. (All of the restaurants listed below are listed on my Gluten Free NJ Restaurant list or Gluten Free Fast Food / Chain list.)

In New Jersey:

6 Brothers Diner in Little Falls, NJ – they have a dedicated fryer for gluten free fries (and gluten free chicken fingers)!

Alumni Grill in Wildwood, NJ – has gluten free fries and gluten free sweet potato fries!

Biddy O'Malley's in Northvale, NJ – last I was here they were looking into installing a dedicated fryer. No word on if that is done yet.

The Cozy End in Upper Montclair, NJ – they have a dedicated gluten free fryer for lots more than just gluten free French fries! These are some of the best fries I’ve ever had.

Double S Diner in Sussex, NJ - before they burned down the offered pan fried gluten free steak fries.  No word yet on the menu at the rebuilt diner (should be open in late May 2012).

Janice A Bistro in Hohokus, NJ - Janice's has a dedicated french fryer.  This was the first safe non-chain I found of in NJ.(Restaurant Review: Janice A Bistro)

Kind Burgers in Sea Bright, NJ – offers gf fries.

Little Shanty in Warren, NJ (more coming soon) – has multiple fryers and offers gluten free french fries and gluten free onion rings. Warning: their sweet potato fries are NOT gluten free.

Opa Greek Cuisine in Wayne, NJ – has a dedicated fryer for their gluten free greek fries. (review coming soon)

Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ - recently installed a dedicated fryer for gluten free fries and gluten free chicken fingers.

Rutherford Pancake House in Rutherford, NJ - they also have gluten free fries. (Restaurant Review: Rutherford Pancake House)

Your Way Cafe in Westwood, NJ – they have a dedicated fryer for gluten free French fries and gluten free chicken fingers. (review coming soon)

NY Restaurants:

97lake in West Harrison, NY – they have gluten free onion rings and gluten free fries. As a matter of fact their kitchen is mainly gluten free, they just bring in gluten containing bread for other diners! (Restaurant Review: 97lake)

Mama’s Italian Restaurant in Oakdale, NY (Long Island) – has a dedicated fryer for gluten free fries and a multitude of other gluten free fried items. (Review coming soon.)

Market Cafe (NYC, NY) – has a dedicated fryer for their gluten free seasoned fries. (Review coming soon.)

Perfecto Mundo in Commack, NY (Long Island) – they have a dedicated fryer for all of their gluten free options (potato frites, sweet potato frites, yuca frites, chips for salsa and guacamole, etc.) (Review coming soon.)

Nationwide Casual Dining / Fast Food:

Applebee's - they list their french fries on their gluten free menu but they are fried in a common fryer and therefore contaminated. I would (and do) avoid them here.

Burger21 (mostly in FL, but expanding) - they offer gluten free french fries and gluten free sweet potato fries!

Burger King - ingredient-wise Burger King fries do not contain wheat (they are coated with rice flour).  They are also supposed to be fried in their own fryer (there is a separate fryer for the onion rings and others for the chicken/fish products).  However, in most Burger Kings I've visited, the fries and onion rings are kept under the same heat lamps in a large metal trough with a divider between them.  Sadly, it's not uncommon for an onion ring to escape to the other side!

Cheeseburger in Paradise - has a dedicated fryer for their gluten free fries. (Restaurant Review: Cheeseburger in Paradise)

Chick-fil-A - according to their corporate website they only fry french fries in their french fryer, everything else is fried in another device.  Since they also offer breaded chicken products, you should double check with the local staff.  (Restaurant Review: Chick-fil-A)

Elevation Burger - their gluten free shoestring fries are fried in olive oil in a dedicated fryer. (Restaurant Review: Elevation Burger)

Energy Kitchen - they bake their fries so no worries about a gluten contaminated fryer! (Restaurant Review: Energy Kitchen)

Five Guys Burger and Fries - the only thing fried at Five Guys are their fries. [WARNING: Five Guys uses peanut oil and serves peanuts in their restaurant.  If you have a peanut allergies, do not eat here!] (Restaurant Review: Five Guys Burger and Fries)

Glory Days (no NJ locations) – has a dedicated fryer. (review coming soon)

In-N-Out Burger (no NJ locations) - the only fried item on their menu are their french fries.

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Restaurants – offers a dedicated fryer for gluten free fries!

Joe's American Grill - at least in the one by me, they will pan fry fries in fresh oil to make them gluten free. (Restaurant Review: Joe's American Grill)

Joe's Crab Shack - they used to list french fries on their gluten free menu but have removed them. I've eaten here and the boiled potatoes that come with their steam pots are gluten free but we all know potatoes were meant to be fried not boiled!

McDonald's - Are McDonalds Fries Gluten Free?  Unknown.  The fries at McDonald's are flavored with both wheat and dairy flavorings.  McDonald's claims these are protein free and therefore shouldn't cause a reaction.  They are almost always fried in a dedicated fryer so if you decide to risk it, make sure that is the case.

Mon Ami Gabi (no NJ locations) – they have gluten free French fries at this French Bistro.

Red Robin – some locations now have a dedicated fryer.

Shake Shack (no NJ locations) - they fry their gluten free fries in a dedicated fryer but warn that their oil recycling efforts may lead to cross contamination.

Ted’s Montana Grill (no NJ locations) – has gluten free fresh cut fries! (review coming soon)

Wendy's - states on their website that their fries are likely cooked in the same fryer as breaded items.  However, this isn't always the case so you'll have to check with the individual location.

White Chocolate Grill (no NJ locations) - they have gluten free shoestring fries. I ate at their AZ location years ago and enjoyed it quite a bit.

What if you don't have a reaction?  If you are avoiding gluten for medical reasons, just because you don't have a reaction doesn't mean you aren't damaging your intestines.  In the end the decision is yours (with advice from your doctor) but I would rather be safe than sorry.

If you know anywhere else in NJ that serves GF french fries, please let me know using the contact me form at the left and I'll update this list.

Updated 5/10/12

I've consolidated all of the restaurants I know of serving gluten free fries into this one list.  I will continue to update it as I find more.

If you are looking for other places to eat, check out my list of Gluten Free Chain Restaurants and Fast Food Options.