Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

I Eat Park City March 28, 2012

Okay, well I didn’t eat all of Park City.   But it was my vacation too, and I’m not cooking!  So, after another great day of skiing we ventured out.  This time to Wasatch Brew Pub and Cantina.

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Having eaten at Wasatch in the past, my husband led us up Main St.  We were seated upstairs and carefully eyed the menu for dishes my son could safely eat.

 

While our waiter was filling our drinks at the bar, I strolled over to ask a few food allergy questions before I presented my son with menu options.  I was so sincerely impressed with, and appreciative of, the answers from both our waiter and the nearby food manager.  They were sooooo accommodating and showed a thorough understanding of food allergy safety.

 

Here’s what you need to know:

 
  • Their fry oil is vegetable in which they fry only french fries and chicken fingers.
  • They make their own (sesame seed-free, nut-free) pizza dough on-site.
  • Wasatch offers gluten-free buns/breads.
  • In the interest of full disclosure, I was told there are nuts in kitchen (for salad and the trout) – not used in their fryer.
  • They did not have information whether sesame seeds might be present in the hamburger buns, so we abstained.
 

I guessed aloud that my son would probably order a burger to be safe….to which the food manager replied that she’d feel better if the kitchen used a separate, clean pan to sear my son’s burger away from the grill for safety.  The instinct was right on and I was more than appreciative.

 

And, as if that weren’t enough, our waiter came to speak to my husband and I while we waited for our food.  “I just want to let you know, our manager is watching the line like a hawk!”    I don’t think we could have loved this place more!

 

…until I had their mac and cheese.  When my son can eat dairy, we’re coming back for bucketsful!

 
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Gluten-Free (and Other Safe Concessions) at Nationals Park

Play Ball!  Today is opening day of major league baseball!

 

Did you know that Nationals’ Park in Washington, DC has identified what concession items are gluten-free at their stadium?!  Well, doesn’t that make dining easier?!

 

FYI, they also identify vegetarian and healthier food options on their website.   This helps those of us avoiding other allergens to reliably find safe food.  For example, it lists where to find whole fruit, grilled vegetable wraps, fruit and vegetable cups.

 
  • Gluten Free (Section 136)

    • Hot Dog
    • Chili Cheese Dog
    • Nachos
    • Loaded Nachos
    • Carmel & Cheddar Popcorn
    • Olive & Sweet Potato Chips
    • Beer
  • Curly W Pretzels (Sections 105 and 319)

    • Soft Pretzels
 

How Now Java Cow? March 27, 2012

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Unfortunately, we didn’t get as lucky for dessert (see I Ride Park City for previous post)….

 

We had checked out this adorable ice cream shop earlier in the day and were thrilled to see it served multiple flavors of dairy-free sorbet.
Of course, it was all too easy!

 

When my son and I returned after dinner, we were dismayed to learn that all of their ice cream and sorbet flavors are made on the same equipment.  Which meant they were ALL off-limits to us.  A huge bummer!

 

I’ll admit it: I was more disappointed than my son. Java Cow ice cream smelled delicious and seemed so cute.  If you’re not avoiding peanuts or tree nuts, go for it for me!

 

I Ride Park City (With Food Allergies) March 26, 2012

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We stumbled upon Easy Street Brasserie and Bar on our very first night in Park City, UT.  The French-based menu looked interesting and we were starving!  Although we don’t avoid gluten any longer, the certified gluten-free sign on the door appeared promising.  Any restaurant that goes to the trouble of having a gluten-free certified menu must understand the importance of good allergen-safety.

 

The staff at Easy Street were excellent about answering our allergy-related questions, verifying possible allergens again and again happily.  For example, they relayed that the calamari we were interested in was technically safe but fried in oil with other dishes that contained nuts (we had asked about ingredients but not yet focused on the fry oil).

 

Here’s a little more to consider:

  • The bread was safe for my son (meaning it was sesame seed, peanut and tree nut-free);
  • There was no butter added to the steaks, as you sometimes  find (ew AND unnecessary!);
  • They were glad to substitute unsafe portions of a meal with safe sides;
  • We ordered a charcuterie platter since I love cheese and crackers and we all love salami and carpaccio.  Not only could my son gobble down the meat, but the cheese came with Carrs Water Crackers which are safe!
  • BUT there were no safe desserts for my son.  Everything had dairy at a minimum.
 

I feel like I need to reiterate how pleasant the entire staff was throughout our meal.

Will we be making it back before we leave?  Mais, oui!

 

Cava Continued March 24, 2012

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Did I mention Cava has also marked gluten-free dishes? Again, so easy!

(Yes, I loved this place!)

 

Cava March 22, 2012

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I just enjoyed a fabulous meal at Cava in Clarendon with some girlfriends the other night.   Not  only was the food delicious, but I suspect the menu would be pretty easy to negotiate with food allergies.  Although none of us were avoiding foods that night, I saw a number of dishes I would order for my son.  As you can see above, each menu item lists its’ ingredients – making ordering just a littler simpler if you’re avoiding certain foods.

 

Cava features Mediterranean fare – all of which was so good that I could barely choose one dish over the next.  Our waiter convinced us dessert was in our best interest (if we must! ) and he was right.  Warm, dessert-style French Toast was out of this world.  That said, we didn’t even see the dessert menu, so I’m not certain if the other desserts are particularly allergy-friendly or not.  Good news is that you’re in Clarendon and a safe dessert (if you need one) is likely just a walk away.

 

Cava also has additional locations on Capitol Hill and in Rockville and offers some recipes (great for checking for your allergens!) on their CavaFoods products website.

 

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