Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

FAAN’s Food Allergy Walks – And, Yes, They’re Near You! September 19, 2012

2012 Walk Logo

Hey guys!  Just wanted to remind everyone that FAAN’s Walks for Food Allergy are taking place all over the country right now.  They are intended to raise money and awareness for food allergy research and programming.  I also think there’s great value in showing food allergic kids just how many families in their community deal with this increasingly prevalent issue.  Giving kids a sense of commonality with their peers in this way may be very eye-opening.  And, walking to help find answers for an issue they likely face several times a day is empowering to food allergic kids who may sometimes feel helpless to their allergy or allergies.


This weekend (Sept. 22- 23, 2012), there are walks in:

  • Northern Virginia
  • Austin, Texas
  • Lansing, Michigan
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Columbus, Ohio

….and many more locations with dates upcoming.  Check out FAAN’s Walk Page for more information.


I’m off to grab my sneakers.  Hope to see you on the walk!

Join Us at a 2012 Walk


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, 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!


Food Allergy Fancy: The Capital Grille October 24, 2011

The Capital Grille Home

Celebrating a birthday or special event at the Capital Grille has always guaranteed a delicious meal and a wonderful time.  But dining there with a FA child would be another adventure.


Here’s the skinny:

  • The wait staff were clearly well trained about food allergies and seemed well informed about how their menu items were prepared.
  • The easy thing about dining at the Capital Grille is the mainly a la carte menu.
  • The steaks are all seasoned (nut-free, dairy-free) and delicious and, having ordered the very smallest one they had, was more than enough to split between my two boys.
  • The sides appeared tricky at first:  none of the potato sides would work for my dairy-allergic son.  When I mentioned this, the waiter offered to make him regular french fries instead.
  • The fries are fried in soybean oil.
  • For a delicious dairy-free dessert, they offer fruit sorbets.  And, I’m certain you could order just berries.


  • The bread basket contains bread with sesame seeds.  For us, that’s a no-go.
  • Their calamari is battered in only flour (not with egg).  It is amazing (and a little spicy)!  My son was excited to be able to partake in an appetizer.
  • The green beans, which heretofore were merely sauteed in olive oil, are now served with butter.  Many of their side dishes appear to be dairy-based.  But, as mentioned above, the Capital Grille staff seem to be very willing to make reasonable accommodations for allergic patrons.

The staff were fabulous and attentive ensuring that everyone (right down to those of us who could show our age on one hand) enjoyed our meals.  In short, we’re already looking for another excuse to go back!


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



  • 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]


  • 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: It’s worth the trip!