Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Restaurant Review: La Riviera Trattoria (Clifton, NJ)

An Italian restaurant that really gets it! 

La Riviera Trattoria (421 Piaget Avenue (Rt. 46E), Clifton, NJ) is one of the area's best Italian restaurants.  I had just started eating there when I finally gave up gluten in 2006 and really never thought I'd be back.  Needless to say, I was thrilled (for me, not her) when the head chef/owner's daughter, Maria, showed up at the Northern NJ Celiac Disease Meetup last year.  I say not thrilled for her because she had just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  I say thrilled for me, because she worked with her father to put together a fantastic gluten free menu.  Oh, and I don't mean gluten friendly (you know, grilled chicken parmigiana, an entree without pasta, etc) they've got gluten free pasta (le veneziane), gluten free/dairy free bread crumbs, and gluten free flour.  (At first glance it isn't obvious from their posted GF Menu but most items are/can be dairy free as well.  They'll even do GF/DF Chicken, Veal or Eggplant Milanese!)

In the past year, Maria has hosted three Gluten Free dinners at the restaurant.  They open special on a Monday night since the crowd fills the whole dining room.  Not only that but the entire clientele these nights are on a gluten free diet (or there in support of someone who is) and we sit family style at large tables, so I got to meet and talk with a lot of new people. 

A platter of Chicken Milanese at La Riviera Trattoria in Clifton, NJ
While meeting new people is always nice, the real draw is the food.  This past dinner we started with Cold Antipasto (a selection of fine Italian hams and cheeses), Mussels Marinara, a Bean Salad, and giant Veal Meatballs.  [Note: this was two weeks ago at this point and if I close my eyes, I can still taste the meatballs!]  We even had oven warmed GF/DF dinner rolls.  This was followed by a pasta course (penne in La Riviera's amazing sauce).  Up next was a small salad.  And then the main event: each table received platters of Chicken Milanese, Eggplant Marinara, Veal Parmigiana, and poached fish.

For those of us who could manage to squeeze in just a touch more, dessert was a raspberry sorbet, fresh fruit and melon, and imported Italian GF cookies.  As always the entire meal was amazing (and with the exception of the antipasto, veal parmigiano and cookies) dairy free as well. 

Sadly, the gluten free veal meatballs aren't on the regular menu, but I wasn't the only one pestering Maria to add them at the end of the evening!
La Riviera Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 29, 2011

L. Lodico Walk for Celiac Disease - Sunday, June 5, 2011 in Bayside, NY

Next Sunday is the L.Lodico Walk for Celiac Disease at Fort Totten in Bayside (Queens), NY.  I went last year and am going again this year with a couple of gluten free friends of mine. All donations will go to the Celiac Sprue Association.  The website for the walk isn't the best, but here is the link for the forms you'll need (waiver, registration, directions, pledge form): Click here for walk forms and their main site is here: Click here for main walk site

The event opens at 10am and the walk starts at 11am.  I would recommend getting there on the earlier side as last year there was quite a bit of traffic between the Throgs Neck Bridge and the park and the parking area isn't the biggest.

In addition to the walk, they will have a number of gluten free vendors sampling and selling their products.

After the walk, my friends and I are going to drive down to Bellmore, NY and try the Bare Naked Bakery & Cafe - a 100% gluten free bakery/cafe!  (Oh, and about half of the menu is dairy free as well!)  I'll be sure to write a full review of both the walk and the food afterwards.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cheeseburger in Paradise to Offer Gluten Free Hamburger Bun

I just found out today that Cheeseburger in Paradise is going to be offering a gluten free hamburger bun.  A quick email to the company revealed that the buns are also dairy free (but to quote the response "...made in a bakery that has dairy products present."). 

I knew that they had a gluten friendly menu (ordering things without the bun) but never really looked at them closely before.  (I suspect it is my aversion to anywhere with one of my major allergens in the title: Cheesecake Factory, Panera Bread, Macaroni Grill, etc.)  However, in reading their menu and poking around on the internet a bit, I see that they also have a dedicated fryer for their french fries!  They don't really have many dinner options but now that they have a bun, I'll go just for a burger (or even a chicken sandwich).  Their website doesn't list dairy ingredients but it doesn't look too hard to work around that.

Anyhow, here is a link to the press release:  http://eon.businesswire.com/news/eon/20110525006162/en/Gluten-free/gluten-free-bun/burgers

I sent a follow up email to find out exactly when the buns will be available in NJ but haven't heard back yet.  The press release says "late May", but I'd call first to make sure they've got them.  There are three Cheeseburger in Paradises in NJ:

625 South US Highway One
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: 732-636-3767

700 Plaza Drive
Secaucus, NJ 07094
Phone: 201-392-0500

344 Route 46 East
Wayne, NJ 07470 (although Google claims this address is in Little Falls, it really is Wayne)
Phone: 973-237-9091

I've got a friend who has been looking for a place that serves both a GF bun and GF fries so I'll be sure to let you know how it was as soon as we try it out!

Updated 7/29/11

I finally got a chance to try these buns and they are amazing!  Read the full review here:  Restaurant Review: Cheeseburger in Paradise

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Restaurant Review: Bonefish Grill (Multiple NJ Locations)

I recently had dinner at Bonefish Grill.  I've eaten there plenty of times before (usually either in Pinebrook or Paramus) so I knew what to expect.  For those unfamiliar with them, they are a nicer chain restaurant specialising in grilled fish. 

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Chilean Sea Bass with Mango Salsa,
Herbed Jasmine Rice and Steamed Asparagus at Bonefish

While a large number of chains have their gluten free/allergen menus online, Bonefish has an actual printed copy available.  This menu has a large GF next to any items that do not contain gluten or can be ordered without gluten.  Most of these items are (or can be prepared) dairy free as well.  Even though they were very busy, our waitress was very attentive and made sure to double check everything.

As you can see at the right, I had the Chilean Sea Bass with Mango Salsa, steamed asparagus, and herbed jasmine rice.  Since most restaurants put butter in the entire pot of rice while it is cooking, this is one of the few places I can eat rice out!  They also have three different steamed vegetable options: asparagus, broccoli, and mixed.  It's nice to have side options that aren't just a dry baked potato.

If you've never been to a Bonefish Grill I highly recommend them, they've got ten locations in NJ as well as over a hundred more in 27 other states.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stein's Deli No Longer Gluten Free (Montvale, NJ)

I stopped into Stein's Bagels and Gourmet Deli (106 Chestnut Ridge Road, Montvale, NJ 07645) two weeks ago and was surprised to find that they no longer had any gluten free products (neither bread for sandwiches nor anything in the dedicated GF freezer case).  It was lunch time and busy, so I didn't fully question them on it, but I did send them an email on their website later that day.  They never replied.  I think I've given them enough time to reply and today I see that their website is gone as well.

They had previously had a dedicated gluten free sandwich shop on Broadway in Westwood, Livin' Gluten Free, but that closed up about two years ago.  Then Peter Wong's in Montvale closed earlier this year and now Stein's main location isn't serving GF Bread anymore.  Ah, my lunch options are dwindling.  I don't eat out for lunch very often, but when I do luckily both Janice's and the Chik-fil-a in Paramus are close enough from my office.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eating Out Gets Easier for Celiac Patients - NY Times

I was at the dinner at La Riviera in Clifton last night and some one had brought this article along.  A friend emailed the link to me this morning and I figured I'd share.  (Don't worry, a full review of the dinner and La Riviera is coming soon - the food last night was, as always, amazing!)


Of the other restaurants listed in the article, A Taste of Asia and Park & Orchard are on my GF/DF Restaurant List.  I have to look into the others, I believe one of the bake shops uses dairy in everything.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Celiac Support Group in Lyndhurst, NJ

I just found out tonight that the Lyndhurst Health Department just started sponsoring a Celiac Disease Support Group.  Their next meeting is Wednesday night, May 18th at 7pm at the Health Department (253 Stuyvesant Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ).  If you'd like to go you must pre-register by calling 201-804-2500.  They also have a facebook group here:


According to the town website:

The guest speaker at the May 18th meeting will be Margaret Weiss Masiello, a registered dietitian who specializes in the nutritional needs of people with Celiac Disease. She is the Clinical Coordinator for at the Kogan Celiac Center of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System.

They'll be taking the summer off and then starting meetings again in September.  I'll be sure to add their meetings to the NJ Gluten Free Event Calendar.

Don't forget, if you'd like to go you must pre-register by calling 201-804-2500.

Check out this article:

How to Find a Celiac Disease Support Group

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Allergen Free Girl Scout Cookies Petition

I just saw this on the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group page.  One of their members started a petition to ask the Girl Scouts of America to consider selling an allergen free cookie so that her daughter (and anyone else with a food allergy) can enjoy them as well.  I signed the petition and figured I would share it here as well:

Petition to Encourage the Girl Scouts to Sell an Allergen Free Cookie

If you would purchase a cookie like this, please click the link above to add your name to the petition.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Updated NJ Gluten Free Restaurant List (16 new restaurants, 14 new chain/quick serve/fast food restaurants listed)

I have found a large number of additional restaurants to add to my Gluten Free / Dairy Free Restaurant List

Single Location Restaurants:

Alfonso's  (99-101 West Main Street, Somerville, NJ) - They have GF pizza on their menu but I'm not sure about other allergens.  I included them because they flagged items with nuts on their menu. I've never been.

Antoinetta's Restaurant (523 Cedar Run Dock Rd, West Creek, NJ) - They have a gluten free menu with limited dairy free options.  I have never been.

Artisan's (1171 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, NJ ) - I've never been.  They have a GF menu on their website that lists the things they can modify to be GF.  They also list GF pasta for +$2.50.

Backyard Bistro (732 Jefferson, Hoboken, NJ) - I have never been; the only GF item on their menu is GF linguini for an extra $3.

Belzano (3495 Route 1 South, Princeton, NJ and 1060 Cedar Bridge Avenue, Brick, NJ)  - they have a GF menu that includes pizza, pasta, and panini's?  I'm not sure on other allergens in the pizza/panini's.  I have never been.

Casona (563 Haddon Avenue • Collingswood, NJ) “Cuban & Nuevo Latin Cuisine” - I have never been but their Gluten Free menu is extensive!

Europa South (521 Arnold Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ) - GF items on their menu have a GF in front of them.  They appear accommodating on other allergies as well.  I've never been.

Go Lightly (4 South Fullerton Str, Montclair, NJ)  - There isn't much information on their website and they appear to be a store rather than a restaurant.  However, there is a write up here: http://www.veggiegirl.com/2011/04/18/vegan-ice-cream-at-go-lightly/ that talks about them having DF/GF icecream for the summer!  They also have a facebook page.  I've never been.

Greenhouse Cafe (Corner of 6th Street & Long Beach Blvd, Ship Bottom, NJ) - I have never been but they appear to have quite the menu including: pizza pasta, rolls, pancakes, etc.  Not sure on other allergens but they seem really up on healthy eating.

Il Capriccio Reistorante (7 West Main Street, Mendam, NJ) - They have multiple types of GF pasta. I have never been.

Mama's & Cafe Baci (260 Mountain Ave, Hackettstown, NJ ) - I can't believe I missed this one on the first draft of this list.  A great pizzeria/Italian restaurant with a good GF selection.  They even have a GF/DF dessert option.  (If you are only GF, check out their amazing dessert menu!)

Modello's (557 Englishtown Road, Monroe, NJ)  - They appear to have a decent sized GF menu which includes pasta, pizza and entres.  I have never been.

Pasta Pomodoro (700 Haddonfield-Berlin Road, Voorhees, NJ) - A good sized GF menu including bread, pizza, pasta (unknown other allergens).  I have never been.

The Tortilla Press (703 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood, NJ 08108) - They have a good sized GF menu including corn tortillas.  I have never been.

Tuscan House (1250 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, NJ) - They have GF pasta and their GF items are flagged on the menu.  I have never been.

Via 45 (45 Broad Street, Red Bank, NJ) They don't appear to have a website, but I found their menu here: http://www.gardenstatemenu.com/pdf/via45.pdf  They look very accommodating to dietary concerns.  I have never been.

Via Roma (2360 Lakewood Road, Toms River, NJ) - One of the best GF/DF menus I've seen.  They even have Vegan items as well.  According to the website, they use Daiya non-dairy cheese.  Can't wait to try this one!


99 Restaurants (Deptford, NJ only) - They have GF menu on website including GF buns.  I'm not sure whether they are dairy free or not.  (Rumor has it, FF no longer in dedicated fryer.)  Pretty sure I ate in one of these out west a couple years back.

Fleming's (90 The Promenade, Edgewater, NJ and 500 Route 73 North, Marlton, NJ)  - I have never been but they have a sizable GF menu.

Iron Hill Brewery (124 East Kings Highway (Rt41), Maple Shade, NJ) - I have never been but they have a two page GF menu.  Not sure on other allergens. 

Joe's American Grill (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills, NJ, 298 Garden State Plaza, Paramus, NJ) - They have GF pasta and will serve a hamburger without a bun.  They also have GF pizza crust but I don't know about other allergens.  I haven't been since becoming Gluten Free.

Joe's Crab Shack (Clifton, Lawrenceville, South Plainfield) - I have never been.

Longhorn (lots of locations) - GF menu is on the nutrition page.  I have never had trouble getting around dairy and they are very attentive to dietary concerns.

(Romano's) Macaroni Grill (lots of locations) - They have separate menus for all 8 major allergens (wheat/gluten combined).  However, they don't claim to have gluten free pasta, so eating GF here involves skipping the pasta (not that exciting in a restaurant with the word 'macaroni' in the title)!

Melting Pot (7 NJ locations) - A little clunky to navigate their website to get to the GF menu.  They have pots of broth for a dairy free option.

Olive Garden (lots of locations) - I haven't been since before I was GF.  They have a small GF menu including GF pasta and some grilled items.

Papa Razzi (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills, NJ, 298 Garden State Plaza, Paramus, NJ) - menu states they have GF pasta and pizza (same parent company as Joe's American Grill). 

Pei Wei (400 Rt38 in Moorestown and 2050 Rt 70W in Cherry Hill) - They have a small GF menu on their website and their Nutritional information includes the eight major allergens (wheat/gluten combined) plus corn, sulfites, Sesame, and Legumes.

Salt Creek Grille (1 Rockingham Row, Princeton, NJ and 4 Bingham Avenue, Rumson, NJ) Gluten Friendly items on menu marked with a (g).  I've never been.

Quick Serve/Fast Food:

Fresh City (Livingston, others?) - For some reason they don't list their NJ location on their website.  In addition to having a Gluten Free menu, they also list out all of the ingredients of their sauces, dressings and spreads on their website.  I haven't been here yet.

Pure Tacos (1138 Boardwalk, Ocean City, NJ . . . so far) - According to their website, the entire location is GF!!!

So those are all the new restaurants I found.  Don't forget to check out the full listing here: Gluten Free / Dairy Free Restaurant List.  If you think I'm missing a restaurant let me know in the comments below.  But keep in mind, they need to have a GF menu on their website and there need to be options for those of us who need to be dairy free as well.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

2011 Chef to Plate Campaign by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG)

Every year the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) sponsors a campaign to help participating restaurants raise Celiac Awareness during the month of May.  Last year over 400 restaurants participated.  These restaurants already have a gluten free menu and a proven track record of serving gluten free clientele. 

This year's New Jersey Participants are:

Antoinetta's Restaurant
523 Cedar Run Dock Rd
West Creek, NJ 08092
Phone: 609-978-9785

Carlo's Gourmet Pizzeria
326 Rte 9
Englishtown, NJ 07726
Phone: 732-536-6070

La Riviera Trattoria
421-27 Piaget Ave
Clifton, NJ 07011
Phone: 973-478-4181

The Melting Pot
2112 Atlantic Avenue
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Phone: 609-441-1100

The Melting Pot
100 Sinatra Drive
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Phone: 201-222-1440

The Melting Pot
2 Bridge Avenue, Suite 612
Red Bank, NJ 07701
Phone: 732-219-0090

The Melting Pot
190 W. Main Street
Somerville, NJ 08876
Phone: 908-575-8010

The Melting Pot
250 Center Avenue
Westwood, NJ 07675
Phone: 201-664-8877

The Melting Pot
831 Rte 10, Pine Plaza Shopping Center
Whippany, NJ 07981
Phone: 973-428-5400

Via Roma
2360 Lakewood Rd
Toms River, NJ 08755
Phone: 732-364-1980

More information is on the GIG website: http://www.gluten.net/ as well as a link to the full restaurant list (in case you are looking for a restaurant outside of NJ.

I'll be sure to add these restaurants to my Gluten Free / Dairy Free Restaurants in NJ list as well since they all appear to have dairy free options as well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Restaurant Review: Janice A Bistro (Hohokus, NJ)

Filet Mignon over asparagus with a red wine reduction
and GF french fries (from a dedicated fryer!)
Last Monday night, I went to Janice A Bistro (23 Sheridan Avenue, Hohokus, NJ) with two gluten free friends of mine.  Neither of them had ever been there before and I was eager to show off one of my favorite restaurants. 

After sitting at a round table by the front window, our waiter came over and offered to read us the specials.  We let him know that all three of us were gluten free and that I was also dairy free.  He told us that the specials list had the GF options already flagged!  In addition to the half dozen or more specials he also let us know that they had three shapes of pasta, capellini, penne and one other that escapes me.  Both of my friends were thrilled to encounter GF capellini and order them.  I ordered one of the specials: Filet Mignon over asparagus with a red wine reduction and mashed potatoes.  Our waiter hurried off to the kitchen to ensure that they could prepare this dairy free as well.  (I've been to Janice's before and they are super accommodating, so I had no doubts.)  A quick substitution of gluten free french fries for the mashed potatoes and we were set.  That's right - Janice's has a dedicated fryer so their french fries are gluten free.

Gluten Free Capellini with a Pomodoro Sauce

Our waiter brought my friends gluten free bread and olive oil while we waited.  (The bread unfortunately has dairy in it.)  As always at Janice's, the dinner was amazing, made even better by the confidence that it was all totally safe for us. 

After dinner we found they had two gluten free options for dessert (neither dairy free).  My friends split a flourless chocolate cake that looked absolutely delicious. 

We finally left at almost 10pm.  We had arrived at 6:30 and found that we were the last ones in the restaurant.  How's that for terrific service, we never once felt rushed!

Gluten Free Capellini with a Bolognese Sauce

They've got a menu on their website (http://www.janiceabistro.com/) but don't be deceived, at least for dinner, they have a long list of additional specials. If you find yourself in the Northern New Jersey area I would definitely recommend you check Janice's out! (I for one hope to be heading back for dinner there soon.)
Janice a Bistro on Urbanspoon
Click here for every other NJ Restaurant with a gluten free menu.

And click here for other restaurants with gluten free fries.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Udi's Now Makes a Gluten Free / Dairy Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread!

Udi's new Cinnamon Raisin Bread toasted and buttered with Smart Balance
I recently discovered that Udi's now makes a Gluten Free / Dairy Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread! I bought a loaf and it is just as good as their other breads.

For those of you with other food allergies, the bread is Nut Free and Soy Free as well. It does however contain Eggs.

I bought it at Fairway but suspect that Whole Foods is likely to have it as well.  If you can't find it locally you can order it online here: Udi's Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread