Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gluten-Free in New Jersey?

New Jersey. In the land of Wawas, where bakeries and delis rule, it is extremely difficult to be gluten-free. Thanks mom and dad for moving there. I knew my trip to the Jersey shore would be Snookie and The Situation free, but could it be gluten-free? As it turns out, yes, but temptation free, definitely not. My destination was Wildwood, New Jersey. My family's condo sits two blocks from the boardwalk filled with pizza and hoagies, ice cream and candy, deep fried Oreos and funnel cakes.......and you can smell it from a block away. So what's a gluten-free gal to do?

The first night we grilled out before heading to the adventuresome rides on the boardwalk. After a couple coasters and the big slide we stopped for a gluten-free, dairy-free boardwalk treat: TLC's Polish Water Ice. Hands down the best water ice ever. My favorite flavor is mango and despite the fact that I've tried all the other flavors I still get mango water ice every single time. Next stop (I'm about to get gluttonous here) Laura's Fudge. For the greatest fudge in the world since 1926, even better than Mackinac Island's in Michigan, you must go to Laura's. Gluten-free (but not dairy-free, I'm such a cheater) coconut vanilla fudge is worth the extra pound or two you may gain eating it. (On a side note, why is there so much delicious junk food at a place where you have to bare all in a bikini on the beach during the day? Why God, why?!!)

The next day we headed over to Villas, NJ and stopped at Mel's Diner for breakfast. The first thing I noticed when I walked in, besides the leopard print carpet, was Mel (a life size stuffed gorilla) sitting at the bar. I wonder if they move him when it gets really crowded? Pictures of movie stars adorned the walls and one sassy, but cute, waitress bustled around the tables. I started with a cup of joe and proceeded to look over the menu. Stuffed french toast, pumpkin pancakes....ohhhh the temptation, but I ordered two eggs over medium with home fries (super good), a side of pork roll and a glass of ruby red grapefruit juice. All gluten-free, yay!

For dinner that night, also in the Villas, we headed over to Jake's Bar & Grill. The first thing that caught my eye on the menu was their crab stuffed flounder. Every time I see that listed on the menu I want it, but inevitably it is never just fresh lump crab meat that's stuffed into the fish of choice. It's always the same mixture they use to make crab cakes, bread crumbs and all, put into it.......Until now. I asked the waiter, who asked another waiter, who got the chef, and glory hallelujah it was GLUTEN-FREE!! Just sweet, delicious, fresh Maryland blue crab meat (and nothing else) stuffed into a huge piece of flounder and broiled!! And man was it good.  Later for dessert?.......another piece of Laura's fudge.

For our last night at the Jersey shore we grilled out yet again with some primo cuts of filet from Blitz's market, some sauteed broccoli and baby red bliss potatoes.  Then we hit the boardwalk for our last hurrah and stopped at yet another decadent candy shop for the best salt water taffy and molasses paddles in the world. Yes, Wildwood, NJ knows how to do candy right. Again gluten-free but not dairy-free, Douglass Candies' salt water taffy (I love vanilla) and molasses paddles (soft, chewy real molasses caramel drenched in dark chocolate) are to die for.

Alas it was time to return home, still gluten-free but slightly pudgier, and get back to reality and a healthier diet.

Until we eat again,

Eat a bunch of candy, Drink and Be Gluten-Free


  1. There are quite a few more options in that area now (as long as Hurricane Irene didn't wash them away)! There's Bella Vida Cafe in Wildwood, Lucky Bones and The Mad Batter in Cape May, and Quahog's Seafood Shack in Stone Harbor. If you're will to go a little further, I have a full list of every NJ Restaurant that can handle gluten free and dairy free diners:

  2. Thanks for the info Jason. I love the Mad Batter! That is good to know.

  3. Had gluten contaminated food at Bella Vida Cafe in Wildwood Crest this past summer. Sensitive celiacs beware!

  4. Groff's Restaurant, right off the boardward, can accommodate celiacs.

  5. Molinos pizzaria in Cape May Court House is pretty good and the personal gluten free pies are priced fairly (under $10 feeds 2 people).

    I love bella vida, and go there at least 2 times a week.

    Lucky Bones stinks. Bad service, gluten free options are not very tasty and they lack 'healthy' gluten free options.

  6. Jason and Buster: I just got back from another trip to the shore a few weeks ago and tried both Bella Vida and Lucky Bones. I love, love, loved both! (Buster: Maybe they've improved since you were there last?) There will definitely be another post coming soon about my experiences.

  7. So, I'm getting ready to go to NJ in August for a WEEK. . .doesn't sound like there's a lot out there. . .other than the diners (and I can't live on a week on only diner food. . .LOL). I'm getting an efficiency room at a Motel. . .would my best bet be to go to the Food Store and pick up some GF Pasta, bread, and other GF foods to bring with me? I know they have a market there but it's been about 5 years since I've been to Wwld and I wasn't diag. with Celiac then, so this is going to be an experience. Also, I'm wondering if I should bring my own pots and pans to the motel/hotel(holiday inn). . .sorry for the song reference, had to put it in there. . .and cooking utensils or just make sure I wash the hell out of the ones (if provided) by the hotel or motel? Please advise.