Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

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.

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Dairy-Free Substitutes April 30, 2012

A few friends of mine recently found out they were lactose intolerant and others have discovered their children are allergic to dairy.  In response, I sent them my dairy-free cheat sheet so they could eat without problems.

 

If you find yourself in the same position or know someone who is, here’s a list of some dairy-free substitutes to help you out:

 

Margarine (also use for baking, etc):  

Earth’s Balance Buttery Spread (or Sticks) or

Smart Balance Organic (the vegan kind seen here:  

Both taste exactly the same as margarine and work well in baked goods.

 

Ice Cream:

We sub sorbet for ice cream as it is nearly always milk-free.  We buy either Haagen Dazs or Ben and Jerry’s variety, although there are probably others that work.  There are also many places to find sorbet (restaurants, ice cream shops, etc) in our area and elsewhere (see  https://shmallergy.wordpress.com/tag/sorbet/).

 

Cream Cheese:  

Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (tastes almost exactly like regular cream cheese).  Tofutti also makes dairy-free sour cream which mimics regular sour cream and dairy-free cheese pizza (found in the frozen food section).

 
 

Chocolate Chips:  

A great way to satisfy that chocolate craving is with Chocolate Dream chocolate chips which are dairy-free.  So are Guittard Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.

 

Frosting:

Pillsbury’s Cream Supreme frosting is amazingly dairy-free.  So, if you’re not interested in making it from scratch, here’s a great off-the-shelf option.

 

There are a few things that are surprisingly dairy-free “naturally” (using that VERY loosely), like Oreos (all sugar! no milk!) and Nabisco Sugar Wafers.  You may be surprised at what contains and doesn’t contain milk, so I would start reading the backs of everything without assumptions!

 

Best of all, I have found all of the above products in our local Safeway, Giant and Whole Foods!  Convenient and dairy-free!

 

Now here’s where you help me:  We’ve tried tons of soy yogurts but still haven’t found one that tastes similar to its dairy counterpart.  Let me know if you all come across one!  Also, looking for a decent tasting dairy-free cheese.  Would love to hear if anyone has had any luck with that?

 
 
 
 
 
 

ICFBD… Read On, And Your Plan for Feb. 5th Will Surely Change January 29, 2011

I hope you’re sitting down, because I just heard of a holiday that I want to scream about!  International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day.  Yup, you read that right.

As the story goes, the parents of Joe and Ruth invented ICFBD to beat the winter doldrums in Upstate New York.  The rules of the holiday are simple and easy to follow:  eat ice cream…at breakfast…on the first Saturday in February. ( http://www.itzahckret.com/icecreamforbreakfast.html)

As simple as that tradition is, this could pose a tricky problem for those of us who are avoiding dairy.  I plan on celebrating this February 5th with sorbet.   Unlike sherbet and ice cream, sorbet does not contain dairy.  It’s not hard to find in a grocery store, but sorbet can be tough to find if you’re out on the town.  Here are a few national and local tips for where to celebrate ICFBD in dairy-free style!

strawberry_ice_cream_cone_by-mindmatrix-flickr

photo taken by TheCulinaryGeek via flickr

Baskin Robbins:

Although they carry 31 flavors, it’s worth calling ahead to your local Baskin Robbins to see if one of those flavors is their sorbet.  It comes in Pink Grapefruit Sorbet and Daiquiri Ice.   Additionally, and I’m not sure if this is sacreligious to ICFBD, but there are a few other dairy-free concoctions that Baskin Robbins serves:  Strawberry Citrus, Peach Passion and Wild Mango Fruit Blasts which are free of all allergens (milk, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, and wheat) according to their nutrition panel.

Ben & Jerry’s:

I can always count on Ben & Jerry to come through for me in a pinch.  And, they do in four different flavors:  Berry, Mango, Lemonade and Pomegranate.  Again, call ahead to make sure it’s on your local franchise’s menu.

Be aware that although Haagen Dazs and Cold Stone Creamery make sorbet, neither can guarantee they don’t contain trace amounts of dairy (and/or other allergens in Cold Stone’s case).  Bummer!

Locally in and around D.C., Pulcinella’s (McLean, VA) serves orange and lemon sorbet in their shells.  Be aware if you also have a nut allergy: last I had checked these were manufactured in a factory that also handles nut products.  Down the street, Sweet Leaf (also McLean) serves delicious strawberry and mango sorbets.

In Falls Church, both Clare and Don’s Beach Shack and Lazy Sundae serve delicious homemade sorbets in a variety of flavors.  Lazy Sundae regularly carries pear and pineapple sorbet, but I’m not certain sorbet is always available on the dessert menu at Clare and Don’s; so again call ahead if you’re going specifically for that.

If you know of any other local or national places that serve sorbet or dairy-free ice cream, help us celebrate International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day by posting a comment below.  Happy ICFBD!