Monday, June 20, 2016

Redbridge beer makes the movies

I was watching Ted 2 on HBO over the weekend and I saw something absolutely shocking:

Ted (the Teddy Bear who came to life) with a couple of bottles of Redbridge beer on the kitchen table.

I was waiting for the offensive joke about drinking gluten-free beer (the movie is of course filled with offensive jokes) but it never came. In fact there was no mention at all of the word "gluten."

So why put gluten-free beer on the table? Hard to say, but my Google search did find one reference to Mark Wahlberg (the human star of the movie) as the "King of Product Placement" on a website called Brandchannel. It listed dozens of products, including Redbridge, that found its way into Ted 2.

Most of those product placements don't faze me. But it did stop me in my tracks to see a gluten-free beer on the screen.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fresh Market has branded gluten-free items

I don't shop at The Fresh Market a lot, because I've never really found anything special there, as far as gluten-free items go.

However, this week, as I was in the neighborhood, I decided to stop in to a Fresh Market and I was surprised at what I found: Fresh Market-branded gluten-free items. I had never seen that before.

Of course, what really caught my eye was their gluten-free frozen pizzas, which were on sale in several varieties for $5.99. And at 14.6 ounces, it was bigger than most frozen pizzas. Given my pizza obsession, I had to give it a try.

And it was really good, as good as any frozen gluten-free pizza I've tried. The package recommends heating it on a baking pan or directly on the rack for a crispier crust. I used my pizza stone and the crust was very crispy.

The $5.99 sale price remains in effect through next week so if you like frozen pizza, I'd recommend stopping in. I'm going to go back for more while they're on sale (I think the normal price is $7.99).

I also picked up a package of Fresh Market chocolate chip cookies, which were also on sale at a dollar off for $3.99. This wasn't worth it. There's something like 14 cookies in the package, so even on sale I consider it way overpriced.

Anyway, I checked with Fresh Market and found they do have a whole line of gluten-free items. Here is the complete list:

TFM Gluten Free Sesame Garlic Sauce
TFM Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce
TFM Gluten Free Thai Peanut Sauce
TFM Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
TFM Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
TFM Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie Mix
TFM Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix
TFM Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix
TFM Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix
TFM Gluten Free Gingerbread
TFM Gluten Free Pumpkin bread
TFM Gluten Free Breadcrumbs
TFM Irresistibly Good Gluten Free Choc Chip Cookie
TFM Irresistibly Good Gluten Free Coconut Mac Cookie
TFM Irresistibly Good Gluten Free Caramel Sea Salt Cookie
TFM Gluten Free Cheese Pizza
TFM Gluten Free Pepperoni Pizza
TFM Gluten Free Pizza – Margherita
TFM Gluten Free Pizza – Sausage Pepperoni
TFM Gluten Free Stuffing Mix

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Where are the gluten-free ice cream cones?

On Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, I found myself craving an ice cream cone.

This should have been simple except for one thing: I couldn't find gluten-free ice cream cones anywhere.

For the last couple of years, gluten-free cones had been relatively easy to find in just about any grocery store, so I didn't anticipate any problems. But I went to Publix and didn't find any in both the ice cream cone section and the gluten-free section. The same thing happened at Winn-Dixie.

I also tried Target and Walmart: no luck.
Found at Native Sun

I finally went to Native Sun and found gluten-free cones, but unfortunately this was several days after the holiday weekend ended.

But this all left me wondering if something had happened with the gluten-free ice cream cone supply. I'll admit when stores were well-stocked with them, I wondered if there really was that big a demand. Maybe they weren't selling and the stores decided to drop them from inventory. Gluten-free cones really don't seem any different than regular cones, in my opinion, but why would anybody buy them if they didn't have to be gluten free? And maybe there weren't enough of us who are celiac or gluten intolerant who buy them all that often.

So I checked with Publix and Winn-Dixie. Publix spokesman Dwaine Stevens says yes, Publix is still stocking gluten-free ice cream cones in all stores. I guess I'm going to have to ask for help in hunting them down next time I need them.

A Winn-Dixie spokesman is also checking into this for me and I'll let you know his response when I hear back.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

'Gluten Exposed' is a comprehensive look at gluten and celiac

Dr. Peter Green, director of Columbia University's Celiac Disease Center, and medical writer Rory Jones have written a book caled "Gluten Exposed" that takes a serious and comprehensive look at gluten and associated effects of eating gluten such as celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Which means the people who need to read it probably won't.

This isn't an exciting book. It's not going to be a best-seller like "Wheat Belly" and the like that erroneously convinced thousands, if not millions, of people that everybody needs to drop gluten from their diet.

It's a completely trustworthy and thorough description of medical issues by a recognized expert on celiac. It's full of information, not hype.

Among the important points in the book are:

1) if you think you may have issues with digesting gluten, get yourself tested by a medical professional before going on a gluten-free diet. You might just try out a gluten-free diet and think you feel better, so it must be gluten, but your diet could be masking some other serious conditions that need to be addressed.

2) If you don't have celiac or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, there's nothing healthy about a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free diets can be low in certain vitamins and minerals while high in sugar and fat.

3) Be careful about what you read on the Internet. Unless you can verify that the information is coming from an informed source, don't accept it as gospel. Green debunks a lot of Internet myths about gluten in his book.

In my case, of course, Green is preaching to the choir, and I'm sure most of you feel the same way. As I've been saying for years, if you don't have a medical need for a gluten-free diet, don't do it and you're making things difficult for the rest of us by treating gluten-free as a fad diet.

One interesting point in the book is that while there are a number of non-dietary treatments under development for celiac disease, there are currently no drugs that would allow you to eat gluten and any claims about certain drugs that can minimize the impact of eating gluten are not proven. You may actually be doing harm to your body by taking them.

Food for thought.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Gluten-free bakery at FreshJax

Looking for some gluten-free baked treats for your holiday weekend? Check out FreshJax.

I was kind of surprised to find this. FreshJax is located in a new strip center at the end of Baymeadows Road near Gate Parkway. The signs for the shop say "food" and "yoga." There's nothing there that would have made me check it out.

However, I met the CEO of the business and he told me that the place is run by a celiac and has a gluten-free bakery.

So, I stopped in this week. It's a small shop with a glass case full of baked goods. I asked the people working which of the goods are gluten free and they said, "all of them."

What a nice surprise. I got coffee cake muffins, which made for a really good breakfast.

For some reason, the shop's website (freshjax.com) doesn't even mention the gluten-free bakery. I don't know why. But I do know I'm going to visit again for more gluten-free goodies.

Monday, May 23, 2016

North Beach Fish Camp is gluten-free friendly

My visit to this place was long overdue, but I finally went to North Beach Fish Camp in Neptune Beach yesterday and I can confirm that it's a gluten-free friendly restaurant.

North Beach Fish Camp is located at the corner of Atlantic Boulevard and First Street, a high-traffic area with difficult-to-find parking. That tends to keep me away but I'm glad I made the trip.

I had actually stopped in a couple of days before my visit to ask about the menu. North Beach Fish Camp doesn't have a gluten-free menu but it does have a dedicated gluten-free fryer, so you can get fried dishes on the menu gluten free. They also told me that just about anything on the menu can be made gluten free.

I actually had a broiled fish platter, which was excellent. I also had an Omission Beer which is on the menu.

So if you're near the beach in Neptune or Atlantic Beach and looking for a good spot to eat, check out North Beach Fish Camp.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Pieology the latest gluten-free pizza option

I visited the new Pieology restaurant in Nocatee yesterday. This is the first restaurant in that chain to open in Northeast Florida and I noticed it does have gluten-free pizza on the menu, so of course I had to check it out.

Pieology is one of those places where you walk up to the counter and you watch them make your pizza. I was immediately impressed because when I said I wanted a gluten-free pizza, the guy asked me if I wanted him to change gloves. Pieology doesn't have a dedicated gluten-free prep area and its website has warnings about cross-contamination, but this told me that they are at least aware of the issues.

I also noticed that he went to a different area to get a gluten-free crust than the other pizza crusts. There is a $2 surcharge for the gluten-free crust.

According to the nutrition information on its website, the only topping we need to worry about for gluten is the meatballs.

I got a barbecue chicken pizza, which I liked. The crust was nothing special but it tasted pretty good.

So yes, I would go again to Pieology. It's a little out of the way for a lot of people in Nocatee but hopefully, they'll be adding new Jacksonville area locations soon.