Abby’s Table is Closing. Here’s What’s Next!

Abby's tableI recently heard that Abby’s Table is closing and I was so curious about what our lovely Abby Fammartino is going to be up to next that I contacted her to find out. Read on to get the inside scoop!

 

Dr. Samantha: When is Abby’s Table closing and what do you have going on between now and then that our readers might be interested in?

 

Abby: We are closing our current kitchen, at 609 SE Ankeny Street, on September 30th (very soon!) From now until then we have a handful of weekly dinners held each Wednesday and Thursday night at 7pm, one cooking class on Saturday the 21st at 11am (South Indian Cooking), a flamenco show and dinner on Friday the 20th, in which I will both be cooking AND dancing, and a few private catering events. In short, we will be cooking our way through the very last days in this space!

 

Dr. Samantha: Why did you decide to close the kitchen?

 

Abby: I have been operating from this location for 5 years, and hosting dinner events, catering and classes here for nearly all that time. When I initially moved in, it was to produce our fresh sauce line, which was distributed to stores across Portland and in Seattle, from 2008-2011. I stopped the sauce production to focus on the mission: to inspire eaters of all kinds to participate in a healthy food culture through our weekly dinners and classes. Now, to further focus on my mission, I will be closing the commercial space to work on cookbook and to teach more! In order to really see change happen on a larger scale, I realized that I needed to get more connected to real people and the real life issues they face that prevent them from cooking more and enjoying delicious food on a regular basis, in their home with loved ones (rather than just at a restaurant!) To me, my main goal is to inspire a healthy food culture in America, and to do that by creating social, real life opportunities that bring people together over fresh, seasonal food. People with restricted diets (gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, etc) should have the opportunity to eat socially, and have the resources they need to learn to make really tasty food with all fresh ingredients. I teach an old style way of embracing the seasons, relishing in flavor, and sharing food with others. This is a part of a healthy life: food culture.
Dr. Samantha: Where can we find you after the kitchen closes? What will you be up to?

 

Abby: I will be teaching some public classes and I will be continuing to cater parties of all kinds, and will be cooking for these catering events at Taborspace on SE Belmont, a great non-profit and church space with lots of health practitioners onsite.

 

My main project after October will be my cookbook project: I was presented with the opportunity this spring to write a cookbook for a national audience. Rather than write about the commercial kitchen and the food I cook here with my staff, I wanted to write a cookbook that focuses on helping the home cook make the same food we do, for weeknight dinners and dinner parties alike. This next year I will cooking in the homes of about 60 people who are interested in hosting a hands on “cooking party,” in which I will be cooking in their home with them, so they can host their friends and family to a meal just like at Abby’s Table (except it will be their table!) In some cases I will cook with the host and their friends, and others just the host (depending on their preference). I have nearly all the spots full already! The accumulated experiences, menus and information learned from what it’s like to cook with all types of eaters in their homes will be the basis for the cookbook project. In a way, this is my attempt to start documenting a movement of people who are wanting to learn how to make a healthful, gluten free life sustainable and most importantly, fun and social!

 

Dr. Samantha: Do you think you’ll reopen again down the pike?

 

Abby: I never set out to be a restaurant. Rather, I wanted to help create a spark of interest around a healthy food culture in Portland and across America, in order to inspire change. I think a mobile set up is better suited to my mission. Though I am not ruling out finding a beautiful location down the line where I can host some events and teach classes (maybe in wine country!)

 

Here is the link to Abby’s reservation page for her current events. Facebook, her NEW BLOG and email list are the best way to stay connected to upcoming things after September! So go get on that list!

Abby’s Table is Closing

I can’t believe I missed this news but Abby is closing the kitchen at the end of the month to focus on some other projects. I’ll be interviewing her for the site in the next few weeks so she can share the scoop! In the meantime she’s got a few more dinners between now and the end of September. Check them out here!

Here’s a little info about the lovely and delightful Abby Fammartino from the Abby’s Table website!

ABOUT ABBY

Abby Fammartino has been a chef for as long as she can remember.  Before establishing Abby’s Table in 2009, she worked as a personal chef in Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York City.  When you think there’s nothing in the house for dinner, Abby somehow always manages to “whip up” something tasty from the pantry, and she is dedicated to helping others learn how to do the same.  Chef Abby has a passion for the nutritive and health-supportive qualities of foods, and she attended the Natural Gourmet Institute of Food and Health in Manhattan in 2004.  Among her specialties, she is able to easily craft inventive and delicious allergy-friendly cuisine that everyone loves. A world traveler, she brings inventive twists on local and seasonal ingredients to her recipes.

FDA Releases New Gluten-free Labeling Regulations

An announcement came down today from the FDA that foods labeled gluten-free, no gluten, without gluten, or free of gluten will be required to contain no more than 20 PPM (parts per million.) There are lots of GF advocates in the community who wish that they’d called it at 5PPM or 10PPM but I for one am glad so see that at least they’ve moved forward with something tangible! Here’s a short video on what this may mean for you if you are gluten-free. Feel free to post questions if you have them!
 
In Health,
Dr. Samantha

PS Update: I was interviewed regarding the new labeling regulations on KATU 4:00 and 11:00 news! Here is the link.

Working Behind the Scenes on Gluten-Free Portland!

Dr_Samantha_web_028Hello hello, everyone!

I wanted to first thank Dave for passing on the torch at GFP. He’s neck deep in a bunch of other projects but I’ll confess that I’m hoping to rope him into con

tinuing to do some restaurant reviews. He’s still got to eat, right?  And he’ll be around as he’s agreed to co-admin our FB group (come on over!).

Second, I figured it’s time to show my face and let you know that we’re working behind the scenes with plans for some site updates, new reviews and an exciting new layout and plan. Now we’re not quite ready for a big reveal but some of the things that are coming down the pike include:

  • Kids Corner. Local gluten-free cuties doing video reviews of restaurants, locally produced products, and other things of interest to our GF community.
  • Faster loading.
  • Updated restaurant lists.
  • Monthly feature focusing on restaurants that understand and are able to accommodate cross-contamination concerns.
  • Local GF product section.

What do you think? Anything else you’d like to see here? Please shout, we’re open to new ideas (and guest contributors!)

In Health,
Dr. Samantha (you can get me at contact (at) GlutenFreePortland (dot) org

 

 

Finally that Update I promised you: Changes for Gluten-free Portland

Sorry for the delay on getting this up. We wanted to make sure all of our ducks were in a row.

We’ve got some exciting news to share about Gluten-free Portland
that we’ve been hinting at both in the blog and in our facebook group over the last few weeks.

As you may have noticed things have gotten a little slow around here. It’s been our intention to spend more time getting things updated but life, alas, has been pulling us in a number of other directions of late. But the site is important. We are committed to providing up-to-date, accessible, and accurate information about all things gluten-free in Portland. So as of today, we’re passing the torch to Dr. Samantha, a local Portland ND who has a big heart for the gluten-free community.

She’ll be posting soon to update you all about her plans for the site. We’ll still be around so if you want to reach me (or my beautiful wife, Sienna) feel free to send us a note through the site and we’ll be sure to get it.

Thanks for all of your support! I’m looking forward to seeing how things shake out on the new site with Dr. Samantha at the helm.

-Dave

Changes Coming

Hi All. I’ve been taking an extended break from Gluten Free Portland, but now there are exciting changes coming. Among other things, we’re changing the look of the site, so things may be a little rough over the next few days as we transition to a new site theme. There are other, soon to be announced changes coming as well. Watch this space! – Dave

Site News: Crazy Busy this Summer

Hi All. Due to a personal project that is going on right now, all the free time (haha) that I would normally be spending writing posts here is going to other things. Posting is going to be on the light side this summer. If you’ve contacted me, for whatever reason, I’m sorry if it takes me a while to get back to you. Thanks for your patience!

 

Omission Beer Press Release

A few weeks ago, I posted about a mysterious invitation I got to a beer tasting event. The event was delayed until next week, but today I got a press release from them. Here it is in its entirety. It mentions that the beer is brewed using barley, which is a source of gluten. I’ll be curious to hear what they’re doing to remove the gluten from the beer. The press release also mentions that the CEO is celiac, and so is the wife of the brewmaster.

Check it out.

OMISSION BEER:

BREWED WITH BARLEY, SPECIALLY CRAFTED TO BE GLUTEN-FREE

 

Coming Soon to Oregon

“Drinking is Believing”

 

PORTLAND, Ore. – March 26, 2012 – This spring, Craft Brew Alliance will launch Omission Beer, the first craft beer brand in the United States focused exclusively on brewing great-tasting craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, that are specially crafted to be gluten-free. Omission beers are brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Ore., which uses a proprietary brewing process to reduce the gluten levels to well below the widely accepted international gluten-free standard of 20 parts per million (ppm) for food and beverages. (The international gluten-free standard was set forth by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which was created in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.) Omission Beer is expected to release the first beers in its portfolio, which will be available only in Oregon, on April 2.

“Developing great-tasting, authentic craft beers that happen to be gluten-free was a personal mission for our brewmaster and me, and it’s a mission that our team really got behind. The launch of Omission Beer is a game changer for celiacs and the craft beer community,” said Terry Michaelson, CEO of Craft Brew Alliance. “As a 12-year celiac and longtime craft beer enthusiast, I’m thrilled to introduce two delicious craft beers that can be enjoyed equally by those who are affected by gluten sensitivities and those who are not.”

Unlike many other gluten-free beers currently available, Omission beers are not brewed with sorghum, rice, tapioca, buckwheat or quinoa; they are brewed using traditional beer ingredients: malted barley, hops, water and yeast.

“Omission Beer has been a work in progress for the last six years,” said Joe Casey, brewmaster at Widmer Brothers Brewing. “My wife was diagnosed as a celiac in 2006, and since then, we’ve made it our mission to brew a great-tasting craft beer using traditional beer ingredients that everyone of legal drinking age could enjoy. After years of hard work, mission accomplished.”

Gluten-Free Guarantee, Every Batch Tested:

Each batch of Omission Beer is tested by an independent lab to ensure that all Omission beers contain well below 20 ppm of gluten. Gluten levels in Omission beers are tested using the R5 competitive ELISA test. Beer will not be released to consumers until test results are received and after an extended quality assurance hold.

About Omission Beer

Omission Beer is a new brand of gluten-free craft beers, available only in Oregon. Brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Ore., Omission is the first craft beer brand in the United States focused exclusively on brewing great-tasting craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, that are specially crafted to be gluten-free. Each batch of Omission Beer is tested using the R5 competitive ELISA test to ensure that it contains gluten levels that are well below the international standard for gluten-free of 20 ppm. Drinking is believing.

About Craft Brew Alliance

Craft Brew Alliance was formed with the merger of leading Pacific Northwest craft brewers Widmer Brothers Brewing and Redhook Ale Brewery in 2008. With an eye toward preserving and growing one-of-a-kind craft beers and brands, CBA was joined by Kona Brewing Company in 2010. For more information about CBA, visit craftbrew.com.

I’ll be attending the event next week, and bringing along our official gluten free beer correspondant so that we can get an educated taster to give the beer a try. We’ll post our results after the event!

Miscellanous News: Subway and Burgerville Go Gluten Free Friendly

SUBWAY Gluten Free

We heard about it first on our Facebook group page. SUBWAY has been in the gluten-free news for a couple of months by starting to provide gluten free bread (and brownies?) at their restaurants. We have yet to try the sandwiches, but have heard good things about them. They are also going to great lengths to educate their employees about gluten free issues and to prevent cross-contamination. For these things, I can only be grateful. Here’s a press release they sent us recently:

Gluten-Free goes mainstream: Oregon Subway Restaurants are first casual sandwich shop to offer gluten-free menu items

For the estimated 16 million Americans with gluten sensitivity, eating out can pose a real challenge. Now Oregonians can kick off the New Year with new choices, when SUBWAY restaurants across the state begin offering gluten-free sandwich options and gluten-free brownies as regular menu items after a successful test in Portland and Bend this summer.

Oregon is one of a handful of states to offer these alternatives, based on its reputation for mainstreaming food trends that might be niche alternatives elsewhere. When Subway’s Oregon stores had the highest average number of gluten free rolls sold during the test, it was clear that gluten-free foods are popular locally.

Gluten’s ubiquity can present a challenge for many families and work groups as they try to coalesce around a restaurant choice.

SUBWAY’s wheat-free sandwich rolls and brownies are produced in a gluten-free facility and are individually packaged. SUBWAY sandwich artists are trained to prevent cross-contamination during the sandwich-making process. For example, one employee will prepare a gluten-free sandwich order from start to finish. Other techniques include single-use knives and eliminating contact between traditional sandwich rolls and other ingredients including meat, cheese and vegetables.

Burgerville gluten free bun

Burgerville

Speaking of fast food, Burgerville, Portland’s much-loved burger chain, has come out with gluten-free buns that they are testing at two restaurants locally (25th & SE Powell in Portland and Fisher’s Landing in Vancouver). We went to one of the restaurants to check it out ourselves. As you can see from the photo above, the bun is delivered in a wrapper to help prevent cross-contamination. We were also handed a questionnaire to fill out.

After having heard so much about Burgerville from people we know, we were unprepared for how unappetizing their burgers were. The patties were overcooked. We both felt like the bun, which is produced by Udi’s in Colorado, did not compare well to the buns you can get from Jensen’s. The buns were dry, crumbly, and generally unappetizing. Of course, since the buns were being served in a package, there was no way to toast them, so I guess that would be expected.

On the plus side, the staff was extremely friendly, and the food came out fast. On the minus side, the restaurant was freezing cold. Did we mention that the burger patties weren’t very good? If you want to try them out yourself, Burgerville will be testing these buns until January 12, so you still have a few days left to try them.

Changes to Restaurant List

We’re making major changes to the Restaurant List. During this time some things may be reshuffled and also some other things may be missing temporarily, like comments. We’re working to restore everything and will post more information when it’s done.