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.

News from Kyra of Crave Bake Shop

We got a bunch of news from Kyra at Crave Bake Shop in Lake Oswego. (Our Review)

Just so you know, we’ve started doing wholesale orders (so go into your local New Seasons or Whole Foods and ask them to stock our stuff…) :) That way you can get yummy cinnamon rolls and such without having to drive to Lake Oswego!

Also, I just wanted to let you know about a few upcoming events that we’ll be at:
This Saturday we’re doing the GIG fair.

ALSO, on November 11th, we’re doing a fundraiser at Bushwacker’s in Tualatin to raise money for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. There will be gluten-free food and hard cider for sale, and a raffle drawing with prizes such as concert tickets, vacation weekends, gift certitifcates, cookbooks and more! I’ve attached a letter (link to pdf) about our purpose with the CCFA, and also a flier for the event (editor’s note: huge pdf warning, but available here).

Additionally, we are doing pre-orders for holiday pies (Apple, Pecan or Pumpkin Spice) and they are 20% off if ordered and paid for by 11/18.

So there you have it. Your assignment is to attend the fundraiser and also to pester your local grocery to start carrying items from Crave Bake Shop.

News From Around Portland

We’ve got a bunch of news from various places around Portland…

GIG Holiday Fair is this Weekend

A quick reminder that the GIG Holiday Fair is this Saturday. See this post on Grain Damaged for more information.

Where: The International Fellowship Family
4401 NE 122nd St. Portland, OR (NE Sandy & 122nd)
When: Saturday, October 22, 2011 from 10 AM to 2 PM
Entry Fee: $5 per person, $10 per family, Kids under 12 free

Jensen’s Better Buns Now Available at New Seasons Deli

These are the same gluten-free buns that are currently available at McMenamins around town, as well as Dick’s Kitchen. We think they’re the best gluten-free buns around. Now you can get gluten free sandwiches at New Seasons delis.

Petunia’s Pies at New Seasons

Speaking of New Seasons, Petunia’s gluten free and vegan treats are now available at New Seasons. Petunia’s – Our Review

2012 GIG Conference Will be in Seattle

The Gluten Intolerance Group national headquarters are in Seattle, WA. The organization holds yearly conferences in different cities around the country, and has announced that next year’s conference will be held in Seattle. They’ve also announced that the format of the conference is growing from a “traditional program” into a Gluten-Free Health & Wellness Expo. Look for more details coming soon.

Harvester Brewing!


A local tipster alerted us that Harvester Brewing is setting up shop at 715 SE Lincoln St, just a stone’s throw from New Cascadia Traditional. Harvester will be a dedicated gluten-free brewery in Portland OR, and expects to operational and open in Fall/Winter 2011. We were invited to sample their beers quite a while ago, and were impressed. We certainly wish them well! Visit their Facebook page for more details.

Beware Cell Phone Phishing Scam

This doesn’t have anything to do with gluten-free, but it is about Portland. There are fraudsters sending text messages to cell numbers in Portland, trying to get credit card numbers out of them. Here’s the sort of text they’re sending:

BANK NOTICE:
Your CARD has been DEACTIVATED. Please contact us at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

When you call the number, an automated message asks for your credit card number, and if you enter it, then some scammers have your credit card number. If you get a message like this, be safe and call your bank using the number on the back of your credit card.

OK. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Subscription Service

Just a quick reminder that a few months ago we added a way for readers to be notified when a new post appears on Gluten Free Portland. If you’re interested in getting these notifications yourself, please proceed to the Subscribe tab and sign up! (Please note that this is the same service, so if you already signed up, there’s no need to sign up again.)

Some Portland Links and Resources

This isn’t strictly gluten-free, but it is Portland-specific: Google has a new Groupon-like service, and they chose Portland as the first city to launch in. Today’s deal was a half-off coupon for Powell’s Books. Find the new service, here: Google Offers

There is a new blog on gluten-free travel which has some articles on Portland, here: Gluten Free Will Travel

A new blog on gluten-free beers and where they can be found, nationwide. They have a list for Portland.

Next resource is also not gluten-free, but is Oregon-specific: The Good Stuff NW blog by Kathleen Bauer, which covers foodie news, gardening, local farms, cocktails, and lots of other interesting things in Oregon. The whole left column of their blog is an events calendar, which is worth a visit in itself.

Speaking of events, and continuing with the “not gluten-free specific” topic here, we were contacted about a benefit dinner which is happening in September. They’re looking to get the word out, so tweet and blog post away. Rather severely edited for brevity, here is part of the press release.

Hillsdale Presents Largest Paella Dinner in Oregon – Proceeds Benefit Hillsdale Main Street and Neighborhood House

WHO: Hillsdale Main Street, a Program of the Hillsdale Community Foundation

WHAT: Hillsdale Paella Dinner – Paella Dinner for 300 People, Fundraiser for Hillsdale Main Street

WHEN: Saturday, September 10, 2011 – 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

WHERE: Hillsdale Business District – Under the Big Tent next to Korkage Wine Shop, 6451 SW Capitol Hwy Portland, OR 97239

COST: $75 Per Person

Hillsdale Main Street, a program of the Hillsdale Community Foundation, is pleased to
announce its major fundraiser of the year – the Hillsdale Paella Dinner – benefiting both
Hillsdale Main Street as well as Neighborhood House. This will be a first year event, featuring Chef Ted Coonfield, with Chef Greg Higgins (from Portland’s Higgins Restaurant and Bar) and Chef Chris Biard from Sonoma, CA’s world class restaurant Auberge du Soleil as sous-chefs. They will be serving 300 people under a tent decorated to bring you to Valencia, Spain. Besides the paella itself, entertainment will include flamenco dancers and wine tasting.

Tickets and Contact: Hillsdale Main Street

We wanted to give a shout and link to Kelly of Stella Blue Photography, who is an amazing dog photographer here in Portland. Check the link to see some of her photos.

We’re going to toot our own horn, for once. Don’t miss our Gluten-Free Restaurant List and also don’t miss our gluten-free bread machine resource page.

Last, I have to apologize for being behind on our email correspondence and blog posting. Life has been very busy recently. Those of you who have sent us restaurants for our restaurant list, we’re working to get you added soon!

Gluten Free Controversy on Dr. Oz

We were notified that Dr. Oz was doing a segment on gluten free diets on his TV show today. Naturally, we had to tune in. Here’s the executive summary: If you’re sensitive to gluten, then you should probably stop eating it. 99% of the people who are gluten intolerant still don’t know it. However, the gluten-free diet isn’t necessarily healthy, and is not a good way to lose weight.

For the curious, you can watch the episode online here on the Dr. Oz website.

I wasn’t actually aware that anybody was touting the gluten-free diet as being great for weight loss. So that was news to me. On the show they did some product comparisons, and the basic gist of the matter was that gluten free versions of many popular foods are more caloric and contain less fiber. Of course, we ARE talking about a TV show here, so they might have just picked out the most egregious offenders, because that makes for good TV. At the same time, we’ve spent some words on this blog talking about gluten free products and health. Mostly it’s been me complaining about how most all gluten free breads are made of starch and rice flour.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure that I’ll say it again. If I could eat wheat, I would. First off, there are some items that you can’t get gluten free. Like a good brioche, a divine sourdough, or good bagels. Second, there is a reason wheat has been cultivated and eaten by mankind for all time: It’s good for you. Whole wheat is high in protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins. It’s an aid to digestion, and has countless culinary uses.

The segment on Dr. Oz struck me as having a dual personality. On one hand, Dr. Oz kept talking about how gluten does cause inflammatory problems in people who are sensitive to it. He even went so far as to recommend that people who have inflammatory symptoms try a two week elimination diet to see if they might have a sensitivity. But then he kept bashing the diet as being unhealthy and fattening.

It was interesting to hear the list of health problems associated with gluten sensitivity. Among the items I heard mentioned were fatigue, inflammation, depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, and even heart disease and cancer. Also, they mentioned that the inflammation caused by gluten can increase the insulin in your body, which can lead to weight problems, among other things.

Also interesting, there is a one week diet plan on the Dr. Oz website, here. Also, he has a couple of pages on celiac disease and gluten, here.

In the end, I did appreciate the show, although I thought that it sensationalized the subject matter in a way that may not have been very productive. It is a bit of a double-edged sword. I wouldn’t recommend a gluten-free diet to anybody who doesn’t need to be on it. BUT, for those of us who do, it’s truly life-changing. AND, just because something is gluten free, it doesn’t mean that it’s not junk food.

Downtime Again

Due to technical difficulties that started last week, I’m having to rebuild the site from scratch. So… things will look a little wonky today until we get it back together. 2/26/2011