Monday, February 6, 2012

Gluten Free Super Bowl Weekend!

Wow, what a weekend! It’s been years since I started a weekend on a Thursday night but that’s where this one started when I finally started using my twitter account. I set the account up a week or two ago but wasn’t 100% following the intricacies of using it. I had dinner with a younger cousin Thursday night and he answered the few remaining questions I had. On Friday, I integrated it with my facebook page and I added a feed of my most recent tweets to the left side menu here on Gluten Free / Dairy Free NJ. My twitter is gfdfnj or you can click “Follow me on Twitter” at the bottom of the feed.

Chick-fil-A's New Gluten Free Grilled
Chicken Nuggets and Gluten Free Waffle Fries
On Friday night I was commenting online that Chick-fil-A now has gluten free grilled chicken nuggets. I wrote that I hadn’t tried them yet and as I did, a light bulb went off. I pass a Chick-fil-A on my way home from work every night. I stopped in Friday night. It turns out they sell them in an 8 pack as well as in their kids meals (3 or 6 piece). It was tough to not start on the gf waffle fries in the car on the way home, but I wanted to get a photo first. Eating gluten free at Chick-fil-A is pretty easy as you can see from my previous article.

On Saturday I was planning on meeting a friend of mine at Europa South in Point Pleasant for dinner (more on this later). I figured since I was heading down that way anyhow (it’s about a 75 minute drive) I might as well make some gluten free stops along the way.

My first stop was at Fallon's Gluten Free Bakeshop in Fords.  They are a small dedicated gluten free bakery.  They had a number of items in their display case but if you want dairy free you have to order in advance.  Everything looked delicious.

Gluten Free Egg Roll at Panda Asian Fusion in Freehold, NJ
I stopped off to try the Gluten Free Egg roll at Panda Asian Fusion (335 West Main Street, Freehold, NJ 07728). They don’t have a website so I didn’t have much information going in. The Egg Roll is wrapped in a very thin bean curd wrapper and was very crispy. A bit different from a gluten containing egg roll but it served its purpose – to carry the egg roll innards and my favorite part that orange colored dipping sauce to my mouth! [Full Review coming shortly.]

I stopped at the Wegmans in Englishtown. They had many of the same products I’ve come to expect at a Wegmans but sadly no Sweet Sin desserts. The only new item I saw were Go Raw cookies. GF/DF and raw/vegan. I decided against getting any even though they had interesting looking flavors: Lemon, Carrot Cake, and Chocolate.

Top Tomato in Freehold, NJ seemed to have a large selection of gluten free shelf stable items but didn’t appear to be much if anything in the freezer case. I only stopped in briefly but it appears that their other locations carry gf as well. (Brick, NJ, Freehold, NJ and 4 stores in Staten Island).

And then, right before dinner I hit the jackpot - Dean’s Natural Food Market in Ocean, NJ (also in Shrewsbury, NJ). They have an amazing selection of gluten free brands and items. The highlight of which was that they had Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Egg rolls! This is the first store I’ve seen these in so I bought a box (see below for how amazing they were!) In addition, I also bought Alternative Baking Company cookies, Ian’s GF/DF battered onion rings, and Olive Valley Gluten Free / Vegan Falafel.
Gluten Free Paella at Europa South in Point Pleasant, NJ

And that brings us to Europa South for Saturday’s dinner. Traditionally, Iberian (Spain/Portugal) cooking doesn’t contain wheat or dairy. Europa South flags their GF items on their menu and the two dishes I asked about both were dairy free. I ended up trying the GF Bacalhau A Lagareiro (salted cod fish) which was good. We also had the GF Shrimp in Garlic which was out of this world! [Full Review coming shortly.]

On the way home I stopped at a Whole Foods and found that So Delicious now makes a Coconut milk Greek style yogurt. I never had dairy containing Greek yogurt (not sure it was even available 22 years ago) so I can’t say how authentic or not it is but, if you miss it, it now exists. Personally, I prefer Silk Live Soy Yogurt.

Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Egg Roll

For lunch on Sunday I baked one of the Feel Good Foods Vegetable Egg rolls that I had gotten at Dean’s Natural Food Market the night before. It baked up nice and crispy (but kind of blew out the side a bit as you can see in the photo). I’ll write a longer review later but for now I highly recommend them (and yes, they are good enough that you should ask your local Gluten Free store to carry them!) [Since these come frozen I recommend you purchase them locally, if you can not, then they are available from the Gluten Free Mall here: Feel Good Foods Gluten-Free Egg Rolls, but remember: shipping will be expensive.](One egg roll is hardly lunch so I had some more of my left over Karina’s Chicken Chili with Sweet Potato White Beans and Lime to tide me over until the Super Bowl Party.)

Gluten Free Soft Pretzels (salted and unsalted)
And finally, I decided to bake some gluten free soft pretzels for the Super Bowl party I had been invited to. I used the recipe out of Annalise Roberts’ Gluten-Free Baking Classics.It was already dairy free and I omitted the egg wash (partially to keep them egg free, mostly because I didn’t have any eggs). They look every bit as good as they tasted and everyone at the party loved them – not uncommon praise for Annalise’s recipes. If you don’t already have her baking cookbook I do highly recommend it.

Links to related reviews:

Gluten Free Review of Europa South (Point Pleasant, NJ)

Gluten Free Review of Panda Asian Fusion (Freehold, NJ)

Product Reivew of Feel Good Food's Gluten Free Egg Rolls

NJ Gluten Free Bakeries

NJ Gluten Free Restaurants

NJ Gluten Free Stores

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