Monday, April 30, 2012

Event Review: Celiac Awareness Tour: Philadelphia

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Celiac Awareness Tour’s stop in Philadelphia, PA (technically, King of Prussia, PA). There were a number of featured speakers throughout the event but the real treat (at least for me) is always the vendors.

There were over two dozen vendors in attendance. There were some old standbys: Udi’s, Kinnikinnick, Conte’s, Caesar’s, Allergen Free Foods, and Bakery on Main. As well as some local stores/restaurants to the Philly area. (I obviously skipped any vendors that were only offering dairy containing products/samples.) The stand outs from the show were:

Rudi’s Gluten Free - they recently launched very thin sandwich wraps/tortillas. The gentleman manning the booth, demonstrated rolling the wraps without breaking them and how much effort it took to break them up to sample. I’ll definitely be trying these as soon as they are available near me and comparing them to my current favorite wrap.

Daiya Dairy Free Cheese
Daiya Dairy Free Cheese - I had previously seen Daiya’s new products in Wegmans but hadn’t yet bought them. Big mistake! Daiya has managed to produce a block of cheese that can be eaten like real cheese (i.e. without broiling first). They’re called Daiya Wedges and I tried both the cheddar and the Jalapeno Garlic Havarti (kind of spicy) and was amazed. Now, just like other ‘cheese’ substitutes these have little nutritional value (i.e. no calcium, limited protein) but if you are looking to do cheese and crackers plate or and a garnish to a salad cubing up these products can fit the bill. (All three are gluten free, dairy free, vegan, soy free, egg free, peanut free, nut free (contains coconut).) [I’ll be publishing an article shortly with a head-to-head comparison of Vegan Gourmet vs. Daiya Dairy Free Cheeses.]

New Planet Gluten Free Beer (Ale)
New Planet Gluten Free Beer - they were sampling their three beers: Tread Lightly Ale, Off Grid Pale Ale, and 3R Raspberry Ale. I tried the Raspberry just to report back (unfortunately, I can’t handle carbonation either) and it was quite good. If I could drink beer, I would certainly have this again.

Finally, I got to briefly meet Michael from Gluten Free Philly. GF Philly is an amazing resource and one of the blogs I follow. I’ve got a review of the site scheduled shortly, but in the mean time, if you are anywhere near Philly, I highly recommend checking the site out.

After the conference I took a quick tour of Valley Forge and then stopped at PB&U for lunch. PB&U is a quick serve Peanut Butter sandwich restaurant. So far they have locations in Wayne, PA and Moorestown, NJ. That review is also coming shortly too!

For more upcoming gluten free events don't forget to check out my Gluten Free Event Calendar.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gluten Free Cookie Reviews!

I've finished uploading mini reviews of pretty much every commercial gluten free / dairy free cookie available here in New Jersey.  I've uploaded photos to go with a number of them and listed out other allergens of note as well (if the information was available). 

Gluten Free / Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
I've included links back to the manufacturer's website as well as link to where you can purchase online if you can't find them locally (as always, I recommend you try your local retailer first).

Here's the list: Gluten Free Cookie List. For those of you who had noticed this page listed on the left side bar, three manufacturers were added to the final list and some minor tweaks were made.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Upcoming Gluten Free Events in and around New Jersey

In addition to the usual monthly support group meetings there are quite a few upcoming gluten free events in the New Jersey area. All of the support groups (and these one-off events) are on my NJ Gluten Free Event Calendar.

First up, on Sunday evening, April 22nd, Pasta Pomodoro in Voorhees, NJ is hosting a fundraiser night for the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness (NFCA). Diners that evening will be able to order off of the full gluten free menu and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the NFCA. The event's facebook page is here: Gluten-Free Dinner and Fundraiser.

This is followed on April 28th by the Celiac Awareness Tour's arrival in Philadelphia, PA (King of Prussia). This series of national events include gluten-free vendors, chef demonstrators and educational speakers. The “buy tickets” page has much more info than their main page: Celiac Awareness Tour – Philly.

That brings us to May and first up is Celiac Awareness Night with the NY Mets on Friday May 4th. (No website available yet.)

That same weekend is an event that I last attended in 2010 (they skipped 2011), the Suffolk County 2012 Gluten Free Vendor Fair! It's well worth the drive out to Long Island for a hall filled with gluten free vendors (they've listed 35 online already!) It is a two day event due to the volume of attendees (it took me maybe two hours to visit every table last time). The event website is here: Suffolk County 2012 Gluten Free Vendor Fair.

The following week brings two events I've never attended before. The first is the 2nd Annual Catwalk for Celiac a fundraiser fashion show in Wood-Ridge, NJ on May 9th. There is more information here: 2nd Annual Catwalk for Celiac.

The second is a new event, a store tasting over two days (May 11 and 12) at Healthway Natural Foods in Tenafly, NJ. More info on this event is here: Two Day Gluten Free Tasting at Healthway Natural Foods.

June 3rd is the 6th Annual L. Lodico Walk for Celiac Disease. I've gone a couple of times and this event includes a scenic walk though Fort Toten Park, a sizable gluten free product raffle (they gave out dozens of prizes last year) and a small number of vendors/tastings. The site loads slow but it is here: 6th Annual L. Lodico Walk for Celiac Disease.

The 24th of June brings the Annual SeaShore Celiac Picnic. This amazing event includes a gluten free cookout, a side dish and dessert pot-luck (complete with ingredient labels for those of us with multiple issues) and a vendor giveaway bag to those that pre-register. The event page isn't posted yet but you can check the main page here: SeaShore Celiacs.

That's it for now! But as I noted at the beginning, my full event calendar is here: New Jersey Gluten Free Events and it contains links to all of these events and many more.

If there's an event I'm missing, please let me know via the Contact Me form on the left.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Restaurant Review: Legal Sea Foods (Paramus, NJ, Short Hills, NJ, and multiple locations in 9 other states)

I recently met a friend of mine for lunch at the Legal Sea Foods in Paramus, NJ. She’s eaten there a number of times since going gluten free but this was my first time (I did however remember how accommodating and knowledgeable they were when all I had was a dairy intolerance).

Gluten Free / Dairy Free Dinner Rolls
at Legal Sea Foods in Paramus, NJ
I knew from reviewing their menu that they had breaded gluten free calamari and bread gluten free shrimp fried in dedicated oil. I also knew (but had forgotten) that they offered gluten free dinner rolls to start. Of course, when they arrived I checked on their dairy content and was pleased to find that they are also dairy free (although they do contain egg).

The gluten free menu is mostly dishes that are gluten friendly (assorted grilled seafood, sandwiches without a roll, etc.) There are a number of standouts: the aforementioned fried shrimp and calamari, gluten free croutons for the salads, and Baked Boston Scrod with GF crumbs.

Gluten Free Fried Shrimp at Legal Sea Foods in Paramus, NJ
For lunch we both ordered the fried shrimp. Since they were frying the shrimp anyway, I asked if they could toss some fries into the same oil thereby making them gluten free as well (their standard menu fries are fried in shared oil). It was a slow afternoon and they agreed!

Everything was amazing. The rolls were light and flakey and nice to have in a mixed group where everyone else is eating gluten containing bread before dinner. The shrimp were fried up nice and crispy and were amazing as well.

This is definitely somewhere I’ll be heading back to!
Legal Sea Foods - Paramus on Urbanspoon

Other restaurants with gluten free menus:

Gluten Free at Bonefish Grill

Gluten Free at Janice’s in Ho-ho-kus

Complete listing of Restaurants in NJ that can handle gluten free and dairy free as well as the Chain Restaurants that can handle gluten free and dairy free.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Restaurant Review: Pei Wei Asian Diner (Cherry Hill, NJ and Moorestown, NJ)

Pei Wei is one of the earlier chains to offer a gluten free menu. I hadn’t tried them until recently since the only two in New Jersey are either 1.5 or 2 hours away.

Gluten Free Vietnamese Rolls
at Pei Wei Asian Diner in Moorestown, NJ
They have an average sized gluten free menu, about half of which is also dairy free or can be prepared dairy free. On their website they have a chart of the eight major allergens (they include gluten in the wheat column) as well as corn, sulfites, sesame, and legumes. They also note on their web menu that they won’t list any of their vegetable only dishes as vegan because some contain sugar (that can be processed with animal products) and other contain honey which some vegans consider unacceptable.

I found it interesting that they dust their meats in potato starch and sauté them in fresh oil rather than serving grilled meats. I had the Gluten Free Vietnamese Rolls so I can’t attest to the stir fried items. The rolls were good and a nice quick lunch. This is definitely somewhere I would stop in again the next time I am near one.
Pei Wei Asain Diner on Urbanspoon

Other gluten free reviews you may be interested in:

Gluten Free at Elevation Burger

Gluten Free at Chick-fil-A

And of course, the full list of NJ Restaurants with Gluten Free Menus and other Chains with Gluten Free Menus.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Latest Gluten Free NJ Restaurant List Updates (21 updates!)

Here are the latest additions to my List of New Jersey restaurants that can handle both gluten free and dairy free dining:

Anna’s Ristorante (67 Union Place, Summit, NJ 07901) – has a separate gluten free menu with gluten free pasta, gluten friendly entrees, and gf pizza. I haven’t been yet.

Arlene’s on Asbury (624 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, NJ 08226) - has gluten free bread and gluten free wraps for sandwiches (unknown other allergens). I've never been.

Buds and Bowls (2691 Main Street, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648) – A florist/cafe (yes you read that correctly) who's menu is entirely gluten free (although gluten containing bread and rolls are available for wheat eaters). Their menu changes daily. They have both gluten free buns (dairy free, by Schär) and homemade gluten free bread (contains dairy). I haven't been yet.

Cielo (168 Passaic Avenue, Fairfield, NJ 07004) – has gluten free pasta for $2 more. I haven’t been yet.

Drew's Bay Shore Bistro (28 East Front Street, Keyport, NJ 07735) – Menu notes: G = GF naturally and G* = can be made GF. They use a lot of butter which might be a little tough for those of us who are dairy free. I haven't been yet.

Good Karma Café (17 East Front Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701) - closed Sundays. This fully vegan restaurant *’s items on their menu that are gluten free. See my review here: Good Karma Cafe Review

McLoone’s Asbury Grille (1200 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712) – while they don’t have a gluten free menu they do state on their website that most menu items can be prepared gluten free and that they will work with you. Unsure of their ability to handle dairy free. I’ve never been. (Note: there are other McLoone’s restaurants across NJ and MD but the two listed here are the only ones that list gluten free.)

McLoone’s Rum Runner (816 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright, NJ 07760) – flags the gluten friendly items on their menu and states they will work with you on other items. I’ve never been. (Note: there are other McLoone’s restaurants across NJ and MD but the two listed here are the only ones that list gluten free on their websites.)

Panda Asian Fusion (335 West Main Street, Freehold, NJ 07728) – claims 95% of their menu can be made gluten free. I’ve only ever had a gluten free egg roll there as a snack. See my review here:  Gluten Free Egg Roll at Panda Asian Fusion

The Pop Shop (729 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood, NJ 08108) – has gluten free bread (unknown other allergens). I hear rumors they are installing a gluten free fryer for gluten free fries and chicken fingers. Also have vegan cheese and vegan ice cream. I've never been.

Riverside Brick Oven Pizza and Cafe (517 River Drive, Garfield, NJ 07026) - this new restaurant was opened by the owners/managers of La Piazzo in Little Falls in the same store front as the now closed River Cafe.  I recently ate here and will be posting a review soon.  They are still transitioning (training new staff, getting used to a smaller kitchen, etc) and for now only have gluten free pizza and gluten free pasta on the regular menu. 

Spoon & Sprout Café (378 South Branch Road, Hillsborough, NJ 08844. This vegetarian café states that they have both gluten free and vegan options on their menu. However, the only item on the online menu flagged as gluten free is the Apple Crisp and nothing is flagged as vegan. From reading the items, there do appear to be a number of dishes that should be naturally gluten free and easily made vegan.  I haven't been yet.

Stage House Tavern (1719 Amwell Road, Somerset, NJ 08873) – flags their gluten friendly items on their menu. I haven’t been.

Stage House Tavern (366 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076) – flags their gluten friendly items on their menu. I haven’t been yet.

Sun Tavern (15 South Ave, Fanwood, NJ 07023) – has gluten free ravioli (dairy) and gluten free gnocchi (unknown). I haven’t been for dinner.

Temple Gourmet Chinese (91 Broad Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701) – a little blue square on the online menu denotes gluten free. I haven't been yet, but a friend of mine went and enjoyed it.

T.S. Ma (199 Bellevue Avenue, Upper Montclair, NJ 07042) - has wheat free soy sauce. I haven't been yet.

Umburto Italian Restaurant (583 River Rd, Fair Haven, NJ 07704) - has gluten free pasta and pizza. I haven’t been yet.


A reader reported that all dining options at Shawnee Mountain have gluten free options.  There is no online menu but she mentioned buns, chicken nuggets, pizza, etc.


Osteria at Whole Foods Millburn, NJ (2245 Springfield Ave., Vauxhall, NJ 07088). Has Gluten Free pasta and an open kitchen (so you can watch for cc issues). This is one of only three Whole Foods to have an Osteria.

Quick Serve:

Energy Kitchen (96 Hudson Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030 and 14-A Chestnut Ridge Road, Montvale, NJ 07645) - has both a gluten free menu and a listing of the eight major allergens. Fries are baked so no cross contamination issues. Read my review here: Energy Kitchen Review.

As always, if you see a restaurant in NJ that I'm missing and they have their gluten free menu online, please let me know via the Contact Me form on the left.  Thanks!