Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

New Haven Has Arrived in Virginia! April 28, 2011

Spur of the moment, we found ourselves at Pete’s New Haven Style Pizza in Clarendon the other night.  This is their latest location to open in the DC area.  A place, I’ve been dying to try for years but never managed to get to.  And, I’m happy to report:  Pete did NOT disappoint! 

Here’s the skinny:

  • Pete’s serves a variety of pizza as well as a few delicious appetizers, salad, pasta and panini. 


  • Their pizza crust was not only safe for my dairy, egg, peanut, tree nut, sesame seed allergic son, but also delicious!


  • They serve gluten-free pizza should you be avoiding wheat as well as soy cheese pizza should you be avoiding dairy.   That’s pretty exciting if you’re dealing with multiple allergies.


  • Refreshingly, the pizza is sold both by the slice and the pie and comes in all kinds of interesting mouth-watering varieties.


  • Pete’s also serves desserts made in-house – including sorbet!  This was HUGE news as gelato typically contains dairy and sometimes nuts.  They have one scooper per flavor and I was told that if ever a scooper needs to be used for another flavor, it must first be thoroughly washed.  That’s better than you get at Baskin Robbins!


The atmosphere was perfect for kids and allergy-aware.  I, personally, can’t wait to go back!


Lost Dog Cafe April 25, 2011

Filed under: Restaurants,Washington DC Metro — malawer @ 8:00 am
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Most foodies might find it insulting that I have lived in the DC-area for almost 12 years now and never tried Lost Dog Cafe or its sister site the Stray Cat in Arlington.  It was nothing personal – just not on my gastronomical radar.  Thankfully, the Lost Dog opened up a second location in McLean and my radar started blipping.

The first time I ate at Lost dog was at lunch.  The ambiance was lively and fun and the location larger than expected.  Perusing their extensive selection of sandwiches and pizza, I almost got lost myself.  Plus, I noticed that they deliver and tucked away that information for future reference.  The second time we went was for dinner with a large crowd, half children.  The waitstaff was patient, pleasant and helpful and, again, our meal was delicious.
Here’s the skinny:

  • Their menu appears customizable since there are a wide variety of sandwiches made with every variation of cold cuts, breads, and toppings.


  • Lost Dog serves both gluten-free pizza and pasta.  Great news for me who just learned I need to try a gluten-free diet (again!) to see if there’s a connection to my migraines.


  • Their fries are fried in peanut oil.  And, they sell Route 66 chips up front that are made with peanut oil as well.  But, the helpful staff up front told me that they use different chips in the kitchen (dine-in vs. take out option?)  and we could ask to see if they were safe.   At a very minimum, the tortilla chips were safe for my peanut, tree nut-allergic child.


  • Their pizzas come in individual, small and large sizes.  Perfect for any sized crowd.  And, their crust is made without sesame seeds – an odd ingredient that gets added to crust every once and a while.


  • The best news of all is not great news if your allergic to dairy:  dessert.  Lost Dog serves milkshakes, malts, creamsicles and floats as well as three different kinds of brownie sundaes and an assortment of cakes, pies and cookies.  None of these options worked for us (as is typical), so we headed home for dessert.


Even without the dessert that I was pining for and a few allergy-unfriendly menu issues, we all left very satisfied and excited to return.


Here Comes Peter Cottontail… April 21, 2011

Easter Sunday is just a few days away and I have good news for us adorable food allergic families!

Guess what?!  Peeps are allergy-free (including soy and gluten)!   Check it out:

Also, I checked with our wonderful allergist to see whether my son could participate and dye Easter eggs this year…  even though my son is still allergic to eggs.  The allergist assured me it would be safe for him to handle the shells of hardboiled eggs since they are made of calcium and do not contain the allergy-inducing egg protein he reacts to.   So, it looks like he can dress the eggs, he just can’t yet ingest the eggs.  Works for us!

Happy Easter everyone!


Food Allergy Books for Young Children April 19, 2011

While waiting in our allergist’s office today, I noticed two great books geared towards offering young children an understanding of their food allergies that I wanted to share.

The first is called The BugaBees; Friends with Food Allergies,  a children’s curiosity and education award-winner.  The BugaBee friends encounter a variety of situations each of which conflict with one of their food allergies.  Each BugaBee learns to politely say, “No thanks” to a particular food explaining that they can have fun without it.  The rhymes are clever, the illustrations bright and captivating and it will be as relatable to a kid (like mine) who has multiple food allergies as it is to a child with only one.

Available online at, Barnes and Noble and other major retailers.

The other book is titled, Why Am I Different? by Naomi Antenucci.  This was particularly apropos today as my son was asking why he had food allergies and his friends didn’t – a question that inevitably arises from time to time from every food allergic child.   Simple stated and written for toddler through preschool age children, it helped my 6 year old recognize that everyone is different in one way or another and the book served as a good primer for my 3 year old.

Available for purchase through the FAAN website.



(Thank you in advance! A portion of the proceeds of the affiliate links go toward – an organization aimed at helping at risk families with food allergies.)


Happy (and Delicious!) Passover – Nut, Egg, and Dairy-Free Recipes April 13, 2011

Filed under: Holiday,Recipes & Cooking — malawer @ 9:00 am

Passover is less than one week away.  And, if you deal with food allergies, you probably worry about what you or your child will be able to eat at family holidays.  As with all food-centric holidays, I always volunteer to bring a few items that I can guarantee will be safe for my son.  Here are a couple of my favorites.


Allergy-Free Charoset

Charoset typically contains walnuts.  I modified this one to exclude them and also omitted the kosher wine since they trigger my migraines.  Everyone gulps this version down so quickly, I literally can’t make enough for our seder!

6 cups peeled, cored, and grated Granny Smith apples
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup honey
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp brown sugar

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and serve.   Serves at least 8.



And, if you’re struggling to make egg-free matzah balls like we were, check out The Tablet magazine‘s suggestions on the subject.  *Note:  I also added 2 Tablespoons of rendered chicken fat (or schmaltz, as your Bubbe would call it).*  De-lish!

soup-2730411_1920 RitaE


Wear and Prepare: Medical Alert Bracelets April 4, 2011

Filed under: Preparedness — malawer @ 11:00 am
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Alerting others about your child’s food allergy is a multistep process.  One way to begin is by having your child wear a medical alert bracelet.  Medical alert bracelets are particularly helpful for those occasions when your child is somewhere without you – like  at school, a friend’s house, camp, etc.  Plus they come in all kinds of fun varieties that your kids will want to wear!


Check out just some of the available options on the market:

AllerBling:  A cross between a medical bracelet and Crocs’ jibbets.  Customizable for eight common food allergies.



American Medical ID offers sport bands in nylon with a variety of colorful combinations and patterns.




Sticky Jewelry (Sticky J):  Among its many products, they sell nylon bands that any kid will be excited to wear!