Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I first learned of verē sweets from a thoughtful friend who had spotted the attractive packaging via Treehugger and noticed that they're gluten-free.

Like Celiac Chick Kim, I'm a fan of the little "brownies"--specifically, the walnut variety. (Just so you're clear on this: They're much more like truffles than conventional brownies.) As is the case with verē's other sweets, they're on the expensive side: A six-pack at Manhattan's Conran Shop costs $9, or $1.50 per chocolate.

However, free verē samples are currently available downstairs at The Conran Shop, situated by the Manhattan anchorage of the Queensboro Bridge at 407 East 59th Street and First Avenue (212-755-9079). That's a long way to travel for some chocolate morsels, but a sweet deal if you "happen" to be in the area.

According to a verē web page, verē sweets are now available at nine Manhattan locations plus one up the Hudson in Cold Spring and eleven outlets in California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I found this homemade video on YouTube and thought I'd share it. Be warned: The lyrics include (gluten-free) obscenities.


Thursday, July 20, 2006


Remember that early registration for the XII International Celiac Disease Symposium (through August 1, 2006) can save you $100-200 per person. You can then send a portion of your savings to me!

Previous symposium coverage.


Dr. Peter Green is a guest on the radio show The People's Pharmacy, airing this very minute on WBGO (88.3 FM). Sorry for being so late with this info!

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Ellen from I Am Gluten Free recently visited New York City and enjoyed gluten-free dining at Candle 79, the GFRAP vegan restaurant on the Upper East Side. Here's what Ellen wrote. Her one piece of constructive criticism:
I suppose the only bit of advice I would give the restaurant (and I did leave them a note) was to include gluten free bread items. I might've chosen the black bean burger had there been a gluten free roll to put it on. There are so many great gluten free bread options, especially in NYC. Why not take advantage of them? I would've liked seeing something on the menu that included, for example, a corn tortilla with some sort of black bean mixture for the insides of it. Their menu is so creative, I'm sure they could come up with something for us Celiacs that included bread.
That's a good point. You can get gf bread (though not a bun, and with a surcharge) at Peters' on the Upper East Side, but you have to bring your own bread or do without at Bloom's. I'm sure it can't be hard for a GFRAP restaurant to keep gf bread frozen and then microwave it (and maybe toast it) for its gluten-free patrons. After I called Café Botanica at the Jumeirah Essex House--not a GFRAP establishment--to go over my needs for an event there, the manager simply got some gf bread at the nearby Whole Foods and served it to me.

Kudos to those restaurateurs who arrange to give gluten-free patrons a "complete dining experience"--from the equivalent of a welcoming breadbasket right through at least one or two desserts. Joe at Risotteria (where I enjoyed a gf strawberry shortcake last night) is outstanding in this respect--everyone now gets delicious gf breadsticks upon arrival. I've also been pleasantly surprised by the small gf antipasto dish provided at Bistango. I'm not quite as thrilled by the gf rolls at Sambuca, but I definitely appreciate the effort. So many people must take breadbaskets for granted, but even getting a single slice of gf bread can warm my heart and even bring tears of gluten-free gratitude to my eyes.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


It's pretty much as it was last winter: I'm informed that Asia de Cuba is offering three-course gluten-free lunches (including a choice of sorbet or the luscious Latin Lover dessert, above) at $24.07 on weekdays through Labor Day. Call to make reservations and confirm that you will be satisfied with the available options.

No other GFRAP restaurant is offering a deal on gluten-free meals.

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Saturday, July 08, 2006


When is a product labeled gluten-free not gluten-free? It can happen when the labeler of the product screws up--intentionally or accidentally.

Ivan F. Delbyck wrote about Wellshire Farms's Lemon Herb Turkey Breast in the April 2006 newsletter of the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group. The product, found in the freezer case of the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle, was clearly labeled as gluten-free; however, after Ivan brought the turkey home, his wife Ricki checked the ingredients and found that barley malt was listed among the ingredients. Ivan and Ricki brought the discrepancy to the attention of Whole Foods, which contacted Wellshire Farms. Weeks later, wrote Ivan in a portion of the article that was truncated from the newsletter, "we were told by Whole Foods that they received a response from Wellshire Farms and were told by their corporate management that the product had been mis-labeled and did have gluten in it."

Ivan's conclusion: "The bottom line and moral of this story is to always read the label." But I'd like to point out that the bottom bottom line might be that manufacturers, food preparers, and food distributors must be vigilant and honest about labeling their foods. This goes for Wellshire Farms and Whole Foods as well as smaller operations such as Babycakes.

Sure, celiacs can read labels and search for discrepancies. But ultimately they're still reliant on the quality of the labels themselves. Every party in the food chain shares responsibility for correct labeling.

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Registration has been extended for this Sunday's Teen Summer BBQ hosted by the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Registration was to have ended today, but it will continue through 12 pm on Friday, July 7, 2006.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Years ago I stopped drinking Snapple because the company was dodgy about whether or not any of its drinks were gluten-free. Now that I've gotten this note from Snapple Consumer Relations, I'm going to feel free to enjoy the company's drinks again.
Thank you for contacting us about the presence of gluten in our Snapple products. Consumer inquiries such as this are appreciated because they provide valuable feedback about our brands.

Gluten is a mixture of complex proteins found in the grain of wheat, barley, oats, rye, rice, corn, and other grains. All of our Snapple products are gluten free.

We appreciate your inquiry and hope you will continue to enjoy our Snapple products. For more information about our company, please visit us on the web at
Photo from Snapple promotion in Bryant Park: David Marc Fischer