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Follow-Up Review: Gordon Biersch and Food Allergies November 15, 2012

Even though I already wrote a review on Gordon Biersch’s express restaurant at National Airport in Washington DC, I wanted to follow-up with a more general write-up having just eaten at one of their full restaurants.

 

Again, Gordon Biersch’s waitstaff was incredibly helpful and clearly trained to handle allergy questions.  They were more than willing to take all questions back to the chefs and return with workable suggestions.  For example, GB’s fries have dairy in them.  Big bummer for a 7 year old.  But the waiter came back with several possible safe side substitutions from which my son could choose.

 

GB also has both a Vegan (which, of course, means dairy and egg-free) as well as Gluten-Free Menu from which to order.  Although the vegan selections are limited, it’s nice to have them singled out.  And, if you’re a meat eater, there is certainly a lot you can have on the menu with a little tweaking.

 

Finally, when the rest of the kids were planning to order dessert, the managers at our particular GB didn’t mind us running out to grab my FA son something he could enjoy.  We really appreciated the accommodation – and so did my son!

While we wished for french fries, we all had a great experience at GB.  With their attention to food allergies in both staff training and menu, we’d certainly go back.

 

 

Buy Me Some Popcorn and Cracker Jacks? Peanut-Free Baseball Begins! March 19, 2012

According to Reuters, roughly half the MLB plays host to peanut-free sections throughout their seasons.  For those who are severely allergic to peanuts, the idea of sitting next to someone unshelling peanuts seems daunting.  Although the risk of a reaction at an outdoor venue is very small, according to Dr. Wood (see http://nyti.ms/aFiHNY), these special accommodations offer enormous peace of mind at a traditionally peanut-full sporting event.

  

Many teams now offer peanut-free sections, including the Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets among many others.  And, don’t forget about the minor league teams joining the peanut-free trend!

 

As for our local team, the Washington Nationals will host peanut-free sections during certain games in June, July and August games.  These typically sell-out quickly, so be on the look-out for peanut free game announcements!  Baseball season kicks off March 28th.

 
 
 
 
For details, check out:  Peanut-Free Sections In Baseball Stadiums Welcomes Allergic Fans
 

Gordon Biersch December 19, 2011

We’re finally en route to our warm weather winter vacation.  Although, let’s face it, with all this mild weather, what are we really escaping?!  Either way, we all need the break and are so excited!

 

As always, eating proves most challenging when the options are limited.  And the airport is like the epitome of limited options.  I’ve brought snacks, but we need dinner.

 

We sat down at a Gordon Biersch restaurant-ette where they offer a small selection from their regular menu.  Thankfully, one of those options was a burger (safe without the cheese and bun), so I knew we had a back-up if all else failed.  It figured that my son wanted grilled turkey.  So, we ordered the Turkey Sandwich, hold the sandwich.

 

Our experience was surprisingly good here.  Here’s what you need to know:

  • The waitress looked at me cross-eyed when I ordered the sandwichless sandwich, but understood as soon as I explained we had multiple food allergy issues to deal with.  She made note of them all before we continued.
  • I asked about what kind of fry oil they used, since French fries were offered as a side to the non-sandwich we ordered.  Without prompting, she said that my son could not have the French fries.  Turns out they’re soaked in milk (much like McDonald’s fries are).  I was impressed with both her knowledge and confident decision to keep him from eating something potentially unsafe.
  • She returned to let us know our food would take an extra few minutes, as the chef was thoroughly cleaning the grill to prepare my son’s turkey.  [They usually use a little butter on the grill and didn’t want to contaminate the food inadvertently.]
 

My son, almost 7, was a little disappointed that his little brother could eat fries and he couldn’t.  So, with a quick check on the smartphone, we learned that Ranch 1 Grilled Chicken’s French fries are safe (per their online allergen info) and ran across the terminal aisle to grab him some.

 

I was impressed with Gordon Biersch and most specifically our waitress.  And, this served as a great reminder that sometimes the restaurant has good procedures to handle food allergies and sometimes you strike gold with an allergy-aware server.  And, as in the case with this Gordon Biersch outpost, we got lucky and had both!

 

Halloween Haunt Supports FAAN October 27, 2011

Just wanted to point out that Julie Fanning, of FAAN has created a fabulous Halloween haunt just outside of Washington, DC.  “I got to thinking,” she writes, “about the kids who can’t enjoy some – or most – of what they get in their sacks after trick-or-treating.”  So she created a non-food based way to enjoy Halloween.  And, in addition to offering non-food treats at her haunt, she’ll be collecting donations for FAAN.

 

Check out her spooktacular creation, Windy Hill Cemetery, online or in person if you live in Bristow, VA.  If, like most of us, you’re not in her neighborhood, I’m sure you’ll be inspired by her creative way to include all children in Halloween trick-or-treating.

For more information about you can help raise funds and awareness for FAAN, please see Trick-or-Treat for Food Allergy.

 

Famous Daves is Food Allergy Fabulous October 8, 2011

File:Famous Dave's logo.png

If you’re lucky enough to live near a Famous Dave’s, then eating out just got a whole lot easier.

 

A Famous Dave’s moved into our area recently and when invited to eat there with friends, we wasted no time in saying yes.  As with all new restaurants, I set out to do my homework to ensure my FA son had a few menu items from which to choose.  Much to my surprise (and delight), Famous Dave’s has a link to their Food Allergen Guide (Click HERE for printable PDF).  Yay!

 

The Food Allergen Guide lists all of their menu items, checking off which include wheat, milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.  I noticed right away that nothing on their menu contained peanuts and only one thing contained tree nuts.  A huge relief just having those allergens out of the way.

 

While the Allergen Guide covered the top eight allergens, it did not identify which items contained sesame seeds.  I chose one or two menu items my son was interested in and asked the staff if they might have sesame seeds somewhere in them.  The girls I spoke with immediately went back to the kitchen to check on the items in questions.  They also came back telling me that the fries that usually accompany those dishes were fried in a safe oil as well (believe it was canola).  I was impressed with their quick reaction to my questions and forethought on the oil.

 

Our meals were all delicious. PS:  They serve prepackaged Oreos with all the kids meal…a safe cookie for us!  Bonus!

 

So, not only did Famous Dave’s handle food allergies responsibly, but their food was delicious and atmosphere fun!  We’re all already looking forward to catching the next football game there.

 

The Daily Grill: Up on Allergies! February 7, 2011

I had a great experience at the Daily Grill yesterday.  While waiting with my already hungry kids for our lunch table, I decided to take the time to ask our necessary allergy-related questions. After speaking to the manager, I was convinced that the Daily Grill really knew their stuff.

 

Daily Grill's GF Menu

The Skinny:


  • Frying oil: Cottonseed

 

  • Meal preparation process: separate pan with separate cooking utensils

 

Noteworthy:

  • They have a gluten-free menu that includes several items in each menu category from appetizers to dessert.  The manager mentioned that if we ordered from the gluten-free menu that it would ensure the meal was prepared in a separate part of the kitchen to further prevent cross-contamination.  [See the complete menu at http://www.dailygrill.com/menus/GlutenFreeMenu.pdf.]

 

  • The waiter had already been alerted that we were dealing with food allergies by the time he arrived at the table.  He made a note of who at our table had the allergy and of our restrictions so he could relay them to the kitchen.

 

I appreciated the extra care they took regarding my son’s meal.  And, everything came out exactly as we had requested.  Kudos to the Daily Grill for being prepared, knowledgeable and concerned about food allergies.

 

The Daily Grill has dozens of locations throughout the country.  Check for one near you:  http://www.dailygrill.com/ It’s worth the trip!

 

 
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