Phightin’ All-Star

July 19, 2011 at 11:16 am 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.]

Phightin’ All-Star

A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog

Cliff Lee is an All-Star. In an entertaining All-Star Game last Tuesday evening, the National League won 5-1 against the American League and obtained home field advantage in the World Series.  Good news for the Phillies!

Lee followed Halladay on the mound, impressively the sixth time in All-Star Game history that teammates were the first two pitchers in the rotation.  Cliff Lee gave up a homer in the fourth.  All-Stars have errors too, and Lee is no exception.  As an All-Star, Lee Phights for his team, Phights for himself, and even set a personal record in July.

July 3:  Phillies 4-7 loss against the Toronto Blue Jays

Error: Lee gave up a season high of seven runs—three were homers in the 8th inning.  Another Phillies All-Star, Shane Victorino, had a baserunning error during the same inning when his cleat got stuck in the turf.

Highlight: Lee’s overall game performance included 0 walks and 9 strike outs.  Victorino doubled and scored on Ben Francisco’s single in the second inning.

July 9: Phillies 1-4 loss against the Atlanta Braves   

Error: Lack of offensive support

Highlight: Lee hit his first professional career home run and allowed one run in over 8 innings.

I strive to be a Phightin’ Gluten-Free All-Star each time I advocate for healthy, tasty and safe dining options. I Be-LEE-ve the recipe for a Gluten-Free All-Star is to combine the right ingredients of confidence, clear articulation, command and heart when in a dining establishment.

July’s dining experiences and product reviews are quite un-Be-LEE-vable.  Take my lead and try something new with a few tips.

  1. Ask for food allergies and/or intolerances to be listed next to your name and reservation at the time you call.
  2. Call the day of your reservation and speak to a chef or manager about food allergies and/or intolerances, accommodations and dining options.
  3. Clearly articulate dietary restrictions and always inquire about dish ingredients.  I never regret asking too many of the right questions.
  4. Thank the waiter and send compliments to the chef in the kitchen for creating a comfortable dining experience and (hopefully) delicious meal.

As a reminder, my 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

Grilled Wild King Salmon topped with arugula in lemon vinaigrette at Steve and Cookie’s- Home Run  

A must try dish for vacationers and diners at the Margate shore in New Jersey. The fish was fresh and rich in the pigment that distinguishes the premiere wild-caught salmon from farm raised.  Cooked with precision, the layers of salmon peeled away with the soft touch of a fork.  Each layer was just as moist as the next with locked in juices and Omega 3 oils.  In addition, the grilled char added flare and nice texture to the overall dish and was accompanied by fresh arugula. The lemon vinaigrette both on the plate and mixed in with the greens on top of the salmon was too creamy and heavy in flavor for a naturally rich and oily fish.  Note: This was the chef’s gluten-free alternative for the Fish of the Day.  

The result:  The Wild King Salmon is the All-Star on the plate.  The paired lemon dressing did not support the dish; instead, it overpowered the natural juices and zest.

The scene:  A July 4th weekend dinner outing at the Margate shore.  Home to Lucy the Elephant, the Atlantic City Surfs and the boardwalk— I love to return every summer.  After spending my day at the beach reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and watching Lee pitch, I had worked up an appetite.  I was ready for a delicious meal at Steve and Cookie’s, a restaurant that evokes fond childhood memories of dining at with my grandparents and family.

Steve & Cookie's Gluten-Free Wild King Salmon

A Home Run: Wild King Salmon at Steve & Cookie's

Mista verde salad with balsamic vinaigrette and grilled chicken at SeraphinaSingle

A fair dish marked by average grilled chicken and an assortment of greens.  The leafy salad and balsamic vinaigrette (balsamic vinegar, herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper) was fresh and quite enjoyable, especially for a summer lunch.  The grilled chicken that I added to the salad was small in portion, cut in very fine strips and resembled a pre-packaged chicken cutlet from a grocery store.  However, my lunch guest recommended the gluten-free pasta on the menu.

The result:  Disappointing grilled chicken at a restaurant in a prime location, Rittenhouse Square.  The good news—gluten-free pasta options are available.

The scene:  A lunch meeting with a highly respected blogger in the gluten-free community, Michael of Gluten-Free Philly. Of course, we discussed all things gluten-free.  According to a local food blog, Cliff Lee walked into Seraphina (but did not stay to dine) on the same afternoon we were there!

Flamous Falafel Chips (Original)- Grand Slam

A sublime allergy friendly chip free of wheat, dairy, lactose, trans fats, cholesterol, MSG, hydrogenated oil, GMO, preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavors, available for purchase at Whole Foods and ACME.   A simple bite into the crisp falafel chips elicits savory Mediterranean flavors and spices.

The result:  Tastes exactly like a falafel with a chip twist.  A great alternative to the typical party or game day corn tortilla chips.  Spice up a meal and eat plain or pair with dip of your choice.

A special shout out to NFCA’s successful Celiac Awareness Night, with a Phillies 3-2 victory against the Atlanta Braves.  An almost 2-hour rain delay didn’t keep my family and other Phillies fans away from Citizens Bank Park.  The game highlight was a gluten-free Raul Ibanez’s solo homer with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning.  Very timely!

Tune in tonight and cheer for Cliff Lee and the Phillies at 8 p.m., as they play the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.  It’s time to Be-LEE-ve!

– Nadina

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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