Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

McKeever’s Pub July 16, 2013

I can’t believe I just discovered a gem in my own backyard!  We have a local pub here in McLean that impressed me.

 

McKeever’s is a little place with a great, big response to food allergic patrons.  When my son was ready to order his burger and fries, we asked our usual litany of food allergy questions:

 Can you check the bun’s ingredients for sesame seeds?;  What kind of oil do you use for french fries?;  Is there any concern of cross-contamination in the frier?;  etc…
 

The waitress waved over the manager and both ladies informed us that not only was everything assuredly safe, but that the restaurant’s owner shared similar food allergies.  At that, my sons perked up!  The owner uses dairy-free butter (begin hallelujah chorus) and fries their food in safe vegetable oil.  In fact, after a customer began frequenting their restaurant with different food allergies, they began keeping a book listing all the ingredients in all their food, including those from each of their suppliers (Cue the choir of angels!).

 

McKeever’s staff is not only knowledgable and serious about food allergies, but they respond with a smile.  If you go, you’ll likely see us there!

 

 

Fire Works Wood Fired Pizza Restaurant August 18, 2012

After keeping my tight schedule, relaying instructions to the babysitter in fast forward, beating traffic and getting the best possible parking in an area known for it’s rare spaces, my friend and I managed to miss the movie we have been so excited to see.  We didn’t exactly miss it…. In fact, the theater closed that wing of its building that morning for renovation.  The only theater in the metro area still playing it. Sigh…..

 

In any case, we decided to do dinner.  So, we walked around the corner to try Fire Works Restaurant  – a restaurant located in the Courthouse area of Arlington, VA that I had heard so much about.   What a find!

 

Here’s the skinny:

  • First of all, we dined outdoors, right at sunset.  It was beautiful and once the sun dipped below the buildings they lit up a fire.  Great ambiance.
  • Importantly, they serve gluten-free pizza.  And if the GF version is anything like the delicious Siciliana one I had, you’re in for a treat!
  • They also serve a gluten-free Cookie Dough Sundae; a sundae that, in it’s regular version, is legendary.
  • They also serve SORBET!   I believe the flavors vary.  Mine was pink lemonade that night  and so refreshing.
  • And, last but definitely not least, our service was fantastic.  They were helpful, knowledgeable about their menu, and didn’t mind us lingering while we chatted.
 

My friend and I had a great time catching up while NOT watching a movie (the best way, generally).  We both felt Fire Works was such a coup given that her husband is gluten intolerant and my son is allergic to dairy that we can’t wait to come back with our families next time.

 

Cava Continued March 24, 2012

image

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

(Yes, I loved this place!)

 

Cava March 22, 2012

image

 

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.

 

Correction: Pizza Nut… I Mean Pizza Hut… February 18, 2012

Update:  While it appears that Pizza Hut has updated their allergen information to remove some of their peanut and tree nut designations on their menu, I was still surprised to see what allergens were present in non-obvious menu items.  For example, their sauce still contains egg, dairy, wheat, soy, shellfish and gluten.  The lasagna contains tree nuts.  I stand by my recommendation below to check their allergen list before visiting or ordering from a Pizza Hut if you have food allergies.

Updated Pizza Hut Allergen List

http://www.pizzahut.com/files/pdf/updated%20ph%20allergen%20list%2004.17.09.pdf

 —————————————–

I had heard through the grapevine that Pizza Hut’s sauce is not safe for people with tree nut allergies.   Sure enough, if you check on their website, not only is Pizza Hut’s sauce made on equipment commonly used to manufacture tree nut products, but also egg, milk, wheat, soy and shellfish products.   If you frequent Pizza Hut, it might be worth it to check out their allergen chart as I found many surprise cross-contamination issues.


 

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.

 

District Taco October 6, 2011

So, I was craving a good taco the other night and amazingly won the dinner vote.   My family and I hungrily jumped in the car and off we went to District Taco in Arlington, VA.  Mexican food tends to be a fairly easy cuisine to navigate with my son’s allergies.  But to be sure, I asked the lady behind the counter about the ingredients of the meal I had hoped to order for him.  Although she speculated the choices would be okay, she called over the manager and other senior restaurant staff to discuss.

  

Here’s the skinny:

  • There are no items on District Taco’s menu that contain nuts.  An excellent start!  While this doesn’t guarantee any cross-contamination issues from their suppliers, it’s a relief to know that nuts are not on site.
  • Each item is customizable, making it easy to omit, say, cheese from a taco or substitute a corn tortilla for a flour one.
  • The managers and supervisors were so concerned about allergies that one translated my son’s allergies to another in Spanish to ensure they all understood clearly what he needed to avoid.
   

Not only was I impressed with how attentive the staff were to my food allergy questions, but my son LOVED the meal.  He proclaimed this the “best day ever!”    We all can’t wait to go back.

  District Taco Logo
 

 http://www.districttaco.com/