The Comeback Kid

June 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment

[As you know, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness staff members are big Phillies fans. So when one of our newest volunteers, Nadina Fraimow, told us she shared the same passion for sports, wellness and all things Phillies, we had to get her on board. Nadina will be sharing her gluten-free experience throughout the 2011 Phillies season.]

The Comeback Kid

A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog

It’s all about the curveballs— just look how Cliff Lee rebounded with a 3-1 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday night.  Lee threw 117 pitches in seven shutout innings, allowing 1 walk and 10 strikeouts. Quite the comeback kid, after enduring his worst start of the season with a 10-2 loss against the Washington Nationals.

Lee’s comeback did not look easy.  In fact, it took Lee three innings and several pitches against a strong Dodgers offense to reclaim his mojo—the curveball.  Here is the Lee we remember—confident and fearless on the mound, as he throws one powerful curveball after the other.  Here is the Lee who shows us Phightin’ to be gluten-free fans why it’s time to Be-LEE-ve.

For me, I am quite the comeback gal on my journey to a happy, healthy gluten-free life.  I feel back on track, confident and adventurous after a productive follow-up GI appointment.  Fully embracing a game changing curveball, I am ready to experience new restaurants, try new products and experiment with new dishes.

My restaurant, dish and product reviews are on the following baseball-inspired scale:

Single– Fair
Double– Good
Triple– Very good
Home Run– Must try
Grand Slam– Sublime

Vegan/gluten-free hot dog from The South Philly Market at Citizens Bank Park, Section 128Home Run
A must-try game day food, perfect for even the hottest of days at the ballpark.  The sweet roll absorbed the juices and light finish from the hot dog.

The result: great texture and combination of flavor for an all-American summer treat.

The game highlight: My boyfriend and I snacking on our vegan/gluten-free hot dogs, as we cheered Cliff Lee and the Phillies to a 10-4 win against the Cincinnati Reds. Lee pitched eight innings and hit a bases-loaded double and RBI single that sent three runners home.  Great game, great company, and great food!

Summer lovin’ at Citizens Bank Park

Summer lovin’ at Citizens Bank Park

Note: Many thanks to ARAMARK, the Phillies and World Wide Concessions for investing in gluten-free food options at Citizens Bank Park.  For a full listing of concession stands with gluten-free meal or beverage options, visit:

Rice Dream Organic Cocoa Marble FudgeDouble
A good gluten-free, dairy-free alternative to ice cream purchased from Whole Foods. Resembles Tofutti in both texture and taste, with hints of cocoa marble fudge throughout.

The result: Good consistency and a solid base for a sundae; light finish for a frozen dessert. However, not enough chocolate flavors to satisfy the palate.

Recommendation: To enhance chocolate, add Enjoy Life’s semi-sweet mini chips (dairy, nut & soy-free), also found at Whole Foods.

Wild Striped Bass in a ginger sauce with shallots and shitake mushrooms at MorimotoGrand Slam
A truly sublime dish, both a visual art and culinary masterpiece. The wild striped bass was cooked to perfection with the balance of a slightly crisped top and softly textured inside.  Topped with shitake mushrooms and surrounded in a ginger, shallot sauce.  Note: This was the chef’s gluten-free alternative to Wild Striped Bass in Black Bean Sauce, shaved ginger and hot oil from the menu.  

The result: Eruption of rich flavors and natural juices sealed into the fish.

The scene: During Memorial Day weekend, my boyfriend and I dined at Morimoto. I experienced first-hand what I had been told ahead of time by others; Morimoto’s chefs are well versed in gluten-free dining. To my initial disappointment, the wild striped bass was not gluten-free because of the black bean sauce, which according to our waiter was vital to the dish.  After successfully communicating to the waiter my interest in the wild striped bass, the kitchen was able to accommodate my dietary restrictions with a dish that far exceeded my expectations.

A Grand Slam! Wild Striped Bass dinner at Morimoto

A Grand Slam! Wild Striped Bass dinner at Morimoto

Sautéed Branzino at Davio’sTriple
A very good entree; simple presentation, simple flavors and simply cooked well. There was a nice dynamic of the crispy texture and Mediterranean flavors absorbed in the skin.  I did need to squeeze extra slices of fresh lemon to moisten the top of the fillet.

The result: Enjoyable, healthy dish that successfully captures extracting dynamic flavor from basic ingredients.

The scene: My boyfriend and I celebrated a special occasion at Davio’s this past Sunday.  I love dining at restaurants that have gluten-free menus, and this was no exception.  In fact, there are gluten-free options for every course and category of food on the menu, including gluten-free brown rice pasta, meat, fish, sorbet, etc. Kudos to Davio’s and its great supporting staff that helped to create a memorable evening for us. Our waiter was both extremely attentive and familiar with the gluten-free food industry, as we discussed a recent article featured in the New York Times.

Beautiful sorbet dessert at Davio’s

Beautiful sorbet dessert at Davio’s

With my curveballs, I dare to try new restaurants and experiences, challenge existing recipes with my own, and refuse to allow my food intolerances to hold me back. If my family team has learned anything this week from Lee and the Phillies, we are ready to throw curveballs right back at the curveballs life throws at us.

– Nadina

*Get your tickets to NFCA’s Celiac Awareness Night at the Phillies by visiting»

About Nadina:
Nadina Fraimow began volunteering with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in April 2011, and will be happy to answer messages sent to the email account. Nadina learned that she has gluten sensitivity in February 2011, and is grateful for having been diagnosed promptly and correctly by a knowledgeable gastroenterologist. She enjoys running, shopping for gluten-free sweets and creating recipes that are both tasty and healthy. Nadina is a Marketing and Communications professional living and working in Philadelphia. Nadina is also a proud Penn State alumna and an avid fan of the Phillies.

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