Ben Cappel is Assistant Organizer of the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group , Organizer of the Jersey City Celiac Disease Meetup Group and the Celiac Disease Meetups Alliance. He has also been known to masquerade, infrequently as a robot llama. Please welcome Ben as today’s guest blogger. ~Kelly
(top photo: Tom Miller, the co-owner; fantastic Miller’s Gluten Free Pierogies; sign outside the bakery.)
Rochelle Park, NJ – Sunday, September 29th was the grand opening of a brand spanking new gluten-free bakery in North Jersey, Miller’s Gluten Free Bread Company, an area quickly becoming a mecca for gluten free pierogi snarfers. Lucky residents of the greater Hackensack area have the Gluten Free Market, the Happy Carrot, P.F. Chang’s, Maggiano’s Little Italy and now Miller’s Gluten Free Bread Co. all within a 15 minute drive.
I’d heard rumblings for months of a new gluten-free bakery coming to New Jersey (as an organizer of the New York City and Jersey City Celiac Disease Meetups I have my ear pretty close to the tracks when it comes to new gluten-free happenings in the area) and the rumors were confirmed with posts to our message boards a few weeks ago announcing the grand opening. Ever since going gluten free in 2002-03 I’ve been on a mission to find and try as many gluten-free products as possible and form a mini-olympics as to which products of each type are best. I can tell you which three gluten-free rolls are best for a turkey sandwich, in order depending on your desired texture…and which three gluten-free bread makes the best french toast by thickness, fluffiness, you name it. So when a new bakery comes out with an entirely new product for me to try – I’m there!
Tom & Kim Miller have obviously poured their heart into making some fantastic gluten-free bread and baked goods. They are the only gluten-free bakery I know of that, in addition to the standards like gluten-free White Sandwich bread, also make something I’ve missed for a while: gluten-free Raisin Bread! I grew up in a town (Oswego, NY) where the weekend breakfast scene is dominated by a rinkydink diner where all the locals go ("Wade’s Diner") whose hallmark is their homemade cinnamon raisin bread. It was a staple of my childhood which I just hadn’t been able to find in the gluten free world until now. So exciting! Speaking of sweet, cinnamony bread get this: Miller’s also has something I’ve never seen before- a gluten-free Cinnamon Streusel Bread which is sweet and fluffy (almost like cake) and topped with a thin layer of cinnamon-sugar icing. They also have really soft, moist gluten-free White Sandwich Bread and another interesting twist- gluten-free Asiago Cheese Bread, which is like gluten-free White Bread flavored and topped with Asiago cheese.
The weather wasn’t so cooperative (it was pretty rainy and soggy) but people still made it out for the bakeries grand opening, and the place was packed the whole time I was there. In fact, it was so packed that Tom & Kim completely ran out of bread by 12:30pm, although they still had samples for people to try and some frozen items left in the freezer. Which brings me to my next discovery — THE PIEROGIES! According to Kim, Tom’s pierogies are based on an old family recipe. In her own words: "They are based on my Russian grandmother’s traditional recipes. My family, who are self-professed Pierogi snobs, love them." In the past year the gluten free community has gone from ZERO pierogies to now THREE makers of GF pierogies that I’m familiar with. Although I’ve tried and like them all, Miller’s gluten-free pierogies have two things that really make them special:
(1) they are pre-boiled, unlike the other gluten-free pierogies on the market, these go straight to the pan with no boiling necessary; and (2) they are available in original potato & onion style and broccoli & cheddar. Literally, the moment I got home these went right in the pan and BOY ARE THEY GOOD. The picture above shows how beautiful they turned out fried with a little butter.
Above, left-to-right: Jane Grubin (my mother-in-law) picking up her order; Miller’s Asiago Cheese Bread; Tony Dadika.
They even had celebrity endorsement! Actor/Producer/Model Tony Dadika (otherwise known as Kim’s father) was there meeting and greeting. All in all it was a good time, a lot of fun meeting Tom & Kim and the crew, and a great new addition to what makes the greater NYC area one of – if not THE – best place to live gluten free. I took a pit stop at the Gluten Free Market in Fair Lawn after leaving the bakery and they told me they plan to carry Miller’s gluten free bread and pierogies soon and for those that are farther away, they have plans for an online store to ship their goodies to you.
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