Thursday, May 30, 2013

Latest Gluten Free NJ Restaurant List update

I've added 33 new restaurants to my Gluten Free NJ Restaurant List and updated the map at the bottom of the page.  (Don't worry, I'm still working on an update to the Gluten Free Bakery List and Gluten Free Fast Food / Chain List.)

Due to the large number of restaurants adding GF pasta to their menus I will no longer list restaurants that only offer GF pasta.  (I won't be deleting any already on here, just not adding any new ones.)  Suddenly there are enough gluten free dining options that just boiling me some pasta isn't going to cut it anymore!

And now for the additions (and sadly a couple of deletions as well) . . .

Alumni Grill (3316 Pacific Avenue, Wildwood, NJ 08260) – has gluten free buns for burgers and other sandwiches as well as gluten free fries and gluten free sweet potato fries! I haven’t been yet.
Turkey and Avocado on a gluten free bagel
at Your Way Café in Westwood, NJ

Ariel's in Englewood has closed.

Bella Vida in Wildwood appears to have closed - but their Cape May location is still open and with a greatly expanded gluten free menu!

Boulevard Clams (2006 Long Beach Boulevard, Surf City, NJ 08008) – their website states they have a gluten free menu in the restaurant. I emailed them and they let me know that their GF menu contains grill fresh fish, Manhattan clam chowder and even crab cakes!

Bud and Bowls – has closed.

Café Spezia (349 Route 9S, Manalapan, NJ, 07726) – has gluten free pasta and a list of gluten friendly entrees. I recently ate there with four other gluten free / dairy free diners and enjoyed it. Their in-restaurant gf menu is a bit shorter than their online menu.

The Cozy End (631 ½ Valley Road, Upper Montclair, NJ 07042) – open seven days for breakfast and lunch, open Tues-Sat for dinner. They have a surprisingly large gluten free menu including gluten free pancakes, gluten free bread, corn tortillas for wraps, gf pasta and a number of gluten free entrees. They use Udi’s GF hamburger buns and have a dedicated gluten free fryer! I recently had dinner here (twice) and since it is on my way home from work, I expect to stop quite a bit in the future!

Double S Diner (154 Route 23 South, Wantage NJ) – has re-opened.

Dubh Linn Square Pub (167 Route 130, Bordentown, NJ 08505 and 482 Evesham Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003) – has a small Gluten Free section on their regular menu. Dairy free may require extra care here.

Earth Pizza (95 Broad Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701) - formerly a Pizza Fusion, the owner has severed his ties with PF in order to expand his gluten free and vegan offerings.  Menu includes gluten free pizzas, dairy free/vegan cheese, 6 gf desserts (only 1 is vegan too), 3 GF appetizers (including gluten free chicken fingers) and GF sub sandwich rolls.

Gao Thai Kitchen (63 West Main Street, Ramsey, NJ 07446) – flags gluten free items on regular menu. Has extensive options. Click here to read my review of Gao Thai Kitchen.

Green Cuisine (302 96t Street, Stone Harbor, NJ 08247) – On their menu under Sandwiches it says to ask about Gluten Free options, but doesn't detail what those may be. They also offer to 'try our best to accommodate special diets . . . - just ask!” There is a large section of fruit salads and regular salads as well. Open for lunch, Monday and Wednesday, lunch and dinner, Thursday – Sunday. Open mid-May through mid-September.

Hannah G’s (7310 Ventnor Ave, Ventnor, NJ 08406) – this breakfast/lunch spot has a short gluten free menu. I’ve never been.

Indiya  (612 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood, NJ 08108) – This Indian restaurant flags both vegan and gluten free menu items and has many of each. I haven't been yet.

Jason's Organic Pizza Café  (1314 Richmond Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742) – has gluten free / dairy free cheese pizza. GF pizza is getting easy to find but dairy free cheese is a welcome addition. I hope to try them out this summer!

Joe's Meat Market (28 Main Street, South Bound Brook, NJ 08880) – has both gluten free pizza and gluten free bread/rolls for sandwiches (unknown other allergens). I haven’t been yet.

Landmark Americana (1 Mullica Hill Road, Glasboro, NJ 08028 and four sites around Philadelphia, PA) – has a small gluten free menu including gluten free chicken fingers and gluten free hamburger buns. I have never been.

Little Shanty (14 Mt. Bethel Rd, Warren, NJ 07059, more coming soon) – quick serve burger place with Udi’s buns and bread for sandwiches. They also have dedicated fryers for their gluten free fries and gluten free onion rings!  (The sweet potato fries are NOT gluten free.)

Main Street Euro-American Bistro and Bar (301 North Harrison Street, Princeton, NJ 08540) – flags their Gluten Friendly items on their menu. Menu changes monthly. I've never been.

Marcello's Ristorante Pizzeria (300 East Greentree Road, Marlton, NJ 08053) - has gluten free pizza and pasta (but no dairy free cheese). Offers to substitute out gluten free linguini in any of their other menu items.

Maywood Pancake House (92 West Pleasant Avenue, Maywood, NJ 07607) – open daily for breakfast and lunch only. Their online menu notes only gluten free / vegan pancakes and waffles. See my review of the food at the Rutherford Pancake House.   I hope to try their Maywood location soon!

Mesob (515 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042) this Ethiopian restaurant will prepare gluten free injera [Ethiopian flat bread] given 24 hour notice. They are vegan friendly, will substitute out butter and have many naturally gluten free dishes (but no specific menu). I haven’t tried here yet, but it’s only one town away so I hope to soon!

Norma's Eastern Mediterranean Cuisine (995 Route 70 East, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034) - flags gluten free menu items as well as vegetarian and vegan items on their menu (and has a good selection of all three). I haven't been yet but I hear they have a dedicated fryer for their gluten free falafel.

Opa Greek Cuisine (37 Berdan Avenue, Wayne, NJ 07470) – they star gluten friendly items on their menu (and there are quite a few)! Sadly, they don’t have gluten free pitas. Since I’m not overly familiar with Greek cuisine I’m not sure how easy dairy free will be here. I hope to try them shortly.

Organic4Life has closed.

Pacific Grill (4801 Pacific Avenue, Wildwood NJ 08260) - sister restaurant to Union Park Dining Room in Cape May, NJ. States on their menu that a gluten free version of their menu is available and requests that you let them know about any allergies and dietary requirements. However, this GF menu is not available online.

Pandan Fusion Lounge (9 West Mill Road, Long Valley, NJ 07853) – a sister restaurant to the Pandan Room in Hackettstown. Both restaurants share the same menu. Click here for my review of the Pandan Room.

Pure Taco has closed (both at the shore and in Philly)

Rack's Sports Bar (286 Whitehorse Pike, Atco, NJ 08004) – flags numerous items on their menu that can be modified to be gluten free but requests that you ask for the gluten free version. I've never been.

Ragazzi (44 Route 70 East, Marlton, NJ 08053) - has gluten free wraps, ravioli and gnocci. Unknown other allergens. I haven't been.

Sapthagiri (3151 Rt 27, Franklin Park, NJ 08823) – Indian cuisine with both GF and Vegan options flagged on the menu. Restaurant is 100% vegetarian.

Sapthagiri (804 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306) – Indian cuisine with both GF and Vegan options flagged on the menu. Restaurant is 100% vegetarian.

Steve and Cookie's By the Bay (9700 Amherst Avenue, Margate City, NJ 08402) - they have no gf information on their website, but they are listed as an NFCA-GREAT kitchen.

Surfside Coffee House (1901 Long Beach Boulevard, Surf City, NJ 08008) – includes an extensive sandwich/snack menu with dozens of gluten free options.

Union Park Dining Room (727 Beach Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204) - sister restaurant to Pacific Grill in Wildwood, NJ. States on their menu that a gluten free version of their menu is available and requests that you let them know about any allergies and dietary requirements. Unfortunately, this GF menu is not available online.

The Wagon Wheel Restaurant (1162 Rt. 40, Pilesgrove, NJ 08098) - has short gluten free menu including a number of non-dairy free pastas (ravioli and stuffed shells) but they also have gluten free hamburger buns and gf pasta.

Wildflour Bakery / Café (2691 Main Street, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648) – new dedicated gluten free bakery and cafe. They have limited dairy free options but these include vegan crepes, coconut macaroons and some other cafe items (soup, salad, smoothie). Only open for breakfast and lunch (brunch on weekends). Closed Mondays. I haven't been yet.

Wild Oats (279 Browertown Road, Woodland Park, NJ 07424) - has gluten free bread, pancakes and wraps. Open for Lunch and Breakfast only, M-S. I haven’t been yet.

Your Way Café (22 Jefferson Avenue, Westwood, NJ 07675) – they have gluten free bread, bagels (Udi’s), English muffins (Trader Joes), and hamburger buns for $2 more. They also have a dedicated fryer for gluten free French fries and gluten free chicken fingers. I’ve been a number of times (it’s a distance but doable for lunch from work) and each time the GF offerings increase. Review coming soon.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Update to Gluten Free Store List

It has been way too long since I last updated the Gluten Free Store list, the Gluten Free Restaurant list, the Gluten Free Fast Food / Chain list, or the Gluten Free Bakery list.  I have updates for all four, but today I'm starting with the stores.  I haven't been to all of the stores below but they each have a good number of gluten free / dairy free product offerings.

Bonterra Market (3112 Fire Road, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234) – I haven't been.

Great and Gluten Free (431 US Highway Route 22 East in Bishops Plaza, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889) - I haven't been but some of their brands are listed on their website: 1-2-3 Gluten Free, absolutely gluten free, BiAglut, Bold, Canyon Bakehouse, Celiac Specialties, Enjoy Life, Glutenfreeda, Glutino, Gillian's, Immaculate Baking Co., Joan's GF Great Bakes, Katz, King Soba, Kinnikinnick, Schär, Starfish, Three Bakers, and Udi's.

Nature's Harvest in Blairstown, NJ
Green Life Market (1388 Rte. 23 North, Butler, New Jersey 07405) – I haven't been here yet, but I'll try to check them out soon.

Jack’s Health Food Country (1107 Inman Avenue, North Edison, NJ 08820) – I haven't been yet.

Nature’s Harvest (28 Main Street, Blairstown, NJ 07825) – they offer Amy's, Ancient Harvest, Bell and Evans, Bella Lucia, Bionaturae, Bob's Red Mill, Canyon Bakehouse, Cherrybrook, Deboles, Ener-G, Enjoy Life, Envirokids, Foods by George, Foods for Life, French Meadow, GF Cafe, GF Pantry, Glutenfreeda, Go Raw, Glutino, Kind, Kinnikinnick, Nameste, Pamela's, Rudi's, Schär, Thai Kitchen, Tinkyada, and Udi's.

Organico (495 North Franklin Turnpike, Ramsey, NJ 07446) – I'm listing this one more than once as they are a health food shop but also a lunch counter / juice bar as well.  They carry a small selection of gluten free products including some by Ancient Harvest, Bionaturae, Bob’s Redmill, Food for Life, Glutenfreeda, Go Raw, Kind, Kinnikinnick, Oskri, Pure!, Tinkyada, and Udi’s. [They are one of the few places to get Pure!’s cookies outside of NY.] Click here for my review of Organico.

Pamela's Health and Harmony (8508 Ventnor Ave., Margate, NJ 08402) – I have never been.

Be sure to check out the full list of Gluten Free Stores in NJ!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Restaurant Review: Muscle Maker Grill (Multiple NJ locations and AR, CA, FL, IL, MO, NY, OK, PA, TX)

Over the past couple of years, I've been seeing more and more Muscle Maker Grills popping up. Recently, I was out with some friends and we needed somewhere to grab a quick bite. There was a Muscle Maker Grill nearby so we decided to give it a try.

Gluten Free / Dairy Free at Muscle Maker Grill
They have an in store Nutrition and Dietary Guide pamphlet which contains a fairly brief gluten free menu (three entrees, three salads). The staff however was able to identify which sides were gluten (and diary) free and also pointed out that all of their salad dressings are gluten free. They also offer four different 100% fruit smoothies.

Being both GF and DF and not being able to digest lettuce left me with the grilled chicken, steamed broccoli and brown rice. [Although, I probably could have gotten The Godfather entree without the cheese.]

Overall the food was good . . . as good as grilled chicken, steamed broccoli and brown rice can be. It was also well priced for the large portion size. I certainly like the option of healthy gluten free quick serve food and would stop back again if I found myself somewhere near a Muscle Maker Grill without a plan and in need of a quick meal.
Muscle Maker Grill of Morristown on Urbanspoon

Other Gluten Free Quick Serve Restaurants I've reviewed:

Gluten Free at Energy Kitchen

Gluten Free at Chipotle Mexican Grill

And don't forget my full list of Gluten Free Quick Serve Restaurants.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gluten Free Baking Tips / Dairy Free Baking Tips

Baking is not an art; it’s a science.

I recently put together a list of baking tips for someone on a forum who was having some trouble getting started in GF/DF/egg free baking. Since I do all three (although not 100% on the eggs) I was able to provide some good insights and past lessons, so figured I’d share here as well.

Gluten Free / Dairy Free Biscuts
Baking isn't an art; it's a science. The more you deviate from a recipe (subbing out butter, milk, egg, etc) the less likely it will work out without major modifications. Therefore, my primary tip is to seek out recipes that were written to be free of a particular item. These recipes will most likely contain tips and strategies for getting a good result. If you make the substitutions below to other recipes you may not have the best of results and/or you may need to further modify to get things to come out right.

My main bit of advice is this: Keep a sense of humor! I can’t tell you how many cakes I’ve eaten as ‘brownies’ because they flopped, or desserts I’ve had to eat with a spoon when they fell apart. Usually the flavor is still there. Enjoy it, take notes on what went wrong and try again!

I’ve started with some general baking tips in case you are already following an allergen specific recipe and having issues, then moved on to specific Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Egg Free tips.

General Baking Tips:

  • Check the date on your yeast or proof it before adding to confirm it is still good.

  • Check your pans, dark pans require a different temperature than light pans. (You'll have to look this difference up if needed, most recipes are written for light colored pans.)

  • If your recipes aren’t working out, get an oven thermometer to confirm the temperature of your oven.

  • Add ingredients at room temperature unless the recipes notes otherwise (yes this means allowing any refrigerated items (flours, non-dairy milk, etc) to sit out a bit before baking).

Gluten Free Baking Tips:

  • Measure your ingredients carefully and investigate if the recipe’s author has a particular technique (spooning vs. scooping, etc.). This can make a difference in the final product and throw off proportions of flours in a blend. The absolute most accurate method is to weigh your flours but very few recipes are written this way.

  • If you are using rice flour, make sure it is finely ground. I can taste the difference between Bob’s Red Mill and Authentic Foods. Authentic Foods is much less ‘gritty’.

  • Baked goods made primarily of rice flour tend to shrink and harden rapidly. The less rice flour in the recipe the less noticeable this is.

  • Bean flours, soy flour, teff flour, quinoa flour and amaranth flour all have strong flavors and can easily over power a baked good. I use them sparingly or not at all. (Yes, I realize for the most part they are more nutritious.)

  • Garbanzo bean flour (chick pea flour) quickly develops an aftertaste. I find baked goods are ok the first day but each progressive day the leftovers take on a more and more bitter taste. (I live alone and it takes me quite some time to finish a tray of brownies, etc.)

Dairy Free Baking Tips:

  • Use almond, coconut, or help milk rather than rice milk. Dairy milk in a recipe provides both liquid and fat, rice milk doesn't have much fat. You may still need to add extra fat to the recipe depending on what it is.

  • Don’t use soy milk. Unflavored soy milk has a distinctive taste that is very difficult to conceal when baking.

  • Only use butter replacements that are formulated for baking. Butter replacements that aren't specifically for baking generally have too high a water content to work correctly.

Egg free Baking Tips:

There are a number of egg free methods and I’ve listed them below:

  • I only ever tried the flax seed method once and it didn't work for me. If you’d like to try it is recommended to use golden flax as the color will be lighter. Basically, grind up flax seeds (pre-ground will go rancid faster so it is best to grind your own) in a coffee or spice grinder. Combine 3 tbsp of water per tbsp of ground flax seed (hot water will work faster) and set aside. The mixture will eventually (10 minutes or so) take on the texture of a raw egg which you can then use. Note: you will get some flax taste and grittiness from the ground up seeds in your final product. 3 tbsp of this mixture = 1 egg.

  • Ener-G makes an egg replacer powder which I've had very good success with.

  • I’ve used both whipped tofu (tofu run through a blender until smooth) and plain soy yoghurt successfully. 3tbsp = 1 egg. [Obviously these are out for those following a soy free diet.]

  • I’ve heard of people using apple sauce as an egg replacer but I’ve never tried it. I would think this adds more liquid than the recipe calls for and one may need to adjust accordingly.

If you don't want to do your own baking, check out this review of Luce's Gluten Free Bread Mix.  They're gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free and egg free.  Best of all, you just add water and bake!