Monday, September 24, 2012

Event Review: Appetite For Awareness (Philadelphia, PA)

I just got home a short while ago from Appetite for Awareness. [Note, I wrote this last night, added the photos and published this morning.]  I drove down down with a friend of mine (also gluten free, but not fully dairy free) and had a great time sampling the products and restaurant offerings, viewing two cooking demos, watching the NFCA award ceremony for Michael from Gluten Free Philly [if you live in south Jersey, the Philly area or Delaware you should be following his blog], and meeting Erin who writes Gluten Free Fun [an NYC GF blog], writes Gluten Free Globetrotter [a world travel GF blog], and organizes the NYC Celiac Meetup

Michael from Gluten Free Philly
accepting his award from the NFCA
There were over 40 vendors and  almost 30 restaurants.  I'll touch on some of the highlights below but keep in mind, since I am dairy free as well I skipped those vendors/restaurants that didn't have anything both GF and DF.  I good number of those I skipped do have dairy free products or menu items (they just didn't have them with them).  As always it was nice to see Udi's and Pamela's but neither had their new product lines with them - once I see those new items in stores I'll be sure to review them.  The full list of vendors and restaurants is on the NFCA website here:  On to the highlights:

  • The show highlight: dense crusty bagels from SweetNote Bakery.  Sadly these aren't in stores (yet?), but they are available commercially to deli's and other restaurants that want to offer their diners a gf/df bagel option.  Their website has a list of where around the Philadelphia area you can get these.
Gluten Free / Dairy Free Bagel samples from SweetNote Bakery

  • Casona of Collingswood, NJ was serving an amazing tuna ceviche on a round corn tostada.  Amazing!  This is one of the restaurants on my GF Restaurant list that I have been dying to try.  After tasting this, I need to make an excuse to drive two hours to Collingswood!

  • Pasta Pomodoro (Voorhees, NJ) had an amazing GF (and mostly DF) spread as well.  They had a crepe with sweet potato filling and a crab guacamole.  They are also on my short list of must try NJ GF restaurants!

Vegan / Gluten Free Cheesesteak and
GF/Vegan Pizza Crackers from Jar Bar
  • Imagine a 100% gluten free and dairy free restaurant and you'd have Jar Bar (ok, technically they're vegan and raw as well but since I can't really handle egg that works for me!)  They had an amazing chocolate mousse (made with avocado which you'd never taste) and both a gf/vegan cheese steak as well as a gf/df pizza (both served at the event on Jar Bar's own flax crackers).  This is a restaurant I'd love to try next time I'm in Philly (even though I love tasty animals)!

  • Grandma's Grotto (Horsham, PA) had six different types of cookies (only two were DF), gf meatballs (sadly with dairy) and a pasta dish with chicken and vegetables (dairy free and without tomato sauce).  The snickerdoodle I had was great and I'm glad I picked up a menu.  They offer a tri-fold gluten free menu at their restaurant and even have pre-made frozen items available. 

PB&J bites on Gluten Free Quinoa Bread from Taffets
  • Taffets All Gluten Free Bakery and Shop was sampling a number of their breads and cookies (all breads are DF as well).  The bread was really good; and this is another spot I'll try the next time I'm in Philly.

  • I also got to catch up with Christine from Sweet Rubino's.  Her specialty Italian cookies are gluten free, corn free, dairy free, soy free and refined sugar free (some are vegan as well).  I'm looking forward to these being available in stores.  (Which hopefully will be soon!)

  • 1-2-3 Gluten Free mixes aren't new but I was interested to find out that each of their mixes has dairy free modifications / recipes printed inside the box (the mixes themselves are already dairy free).  (I also like that they prepared one of their four samples using that recipe so those of us who are DF could try them too!)

  • Sadly, Pure Tacos wasn't serving anything dairy free today but I did want to mention them since both their Ocean City, NJ and Philadelphia, PA locations are 100% gluten free!

You'd think at this point I'd be in a food coma and wouldn't want to think about more GF food but I'm already gearing up for Sunday's Colin Leslie Walk for Celiac Disease (both the outdoor walk, and the walk around the vendor's hall)!

If I missed any GF/DF options yesterday, feel free to share what I missed in the comments below!

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