Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

PhillySwirl: Dessert for Everyone! July 28, 2015

This is a sponsored post.

Who doesn’t like something cold and sweet on a hot summer day (or in my case, everyday)?!  But it can be hard to find desserts that are safe for those with food allergies.  Nuts, dairy and gluten trip us up not only in the bakery aisle, but can be a cross-contamination risk even for simple concoctions like popsicles.

Enter: PhillySwirl.  Almost everything in their product line is dairy and gluten-free making them a safe AND delicious choice at the supermarket.

PhillySwirl recently sent me their gluten and dairy-free products.  My kids and I had a BALL trying and evaluating all the flavors.  They thought their birthdays had come early as I told them, “Kids, we’re going to have to try every flavor of PhillySwirl Italian ices.  Sorry.”  It was no chore for me either!  Here’s what we tried and our impressions:

SwirlStix

The classic popsicle – only tastier.  Arriving in six interesting flavors, we studiously “evaluated” (read: devoured) each one – giving each other tastes only when begged.  The SwirlStix were my personal favorite.  Easy to hold, neat to eat, and delicious.  Orange Dream was a favorite of my husband and Very Berry was mine (although a close tie with the Applelicious).

Swirl Popperz

My younger son and nephew loved the Swirl Popperz.  In fact, when asked for his thoughts, my son said, “These are excellente! [yes, inexplicably in Spanish] Tell PhillySwirl ‘Thank you’!”  Still dairy and gluten-free, these had a creamier texture to them which made them easy to push up.  I also liked them because the wrapper kept my preschooler from dripping popsicle around the house like Hansel and Gretel’s crumb trail.  My nephew was kind enough to let me taste his Rainbow flavored Popper which was fabulous!  I’d get these again – perfect for feeding a group of kids in the summer!

Swirl Cups with CandySpoonz

The Swirl Cups were a hit!  And, why wouldn’t they be when they contain delicious Italian ice swirls that you eat with lollipop spoons?!  A no-brainer!  Everyone had a different favorite.  What was great is that each flavor tasted like it’s name:  Cotton Candy tasted just like….Cotton Candy!  The Sunburst was a delicious mix of cherry, orange and lemon (yum!).  And the other choices were interesting, too: Cherry Melon, Hurricane (a cherry/lemon), Bluesberry Jam and Rainbow.  My kids and my niece and nephews clamored for these.  Buy two packs if you can store them – they go fast!

**My niece cleverly pointed out that the nutrition information was printed on each cup, making it extra fantastic for food allergic parents who need to read ingredients without access to the original box. Smart move!**

Thank you to PhillySwirl for good manufacturing practices that allow kids with food allergies (and sometimes adults without them) to enjoy such a fabulous, sweet treat!

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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.

 

Show Place Ice Cream Parlor, LBI July 20, 2012

As my loyal readers already know, I have a little weakness for ice cream.  Just a little (read:  if it doesn’t involve ice cream, it probably isn’t really dessert in my world)….

 

On our most recent visit to Long Beach Island in New Jersey, we finally found the time to visit the renowned Show Place Ice Cream Parlor, where the talented singing wait staff find a way to get you into the act while serving giNORmous sundaes.

 
  • Of course, our ticket to entry depends entirely on whether or not they serve sorbet.  Thankfully, they list two on the menu (that’s two more than most places), although I discovered they only had one flavor upon arrival.  Bummer.
  • But on the plus side, Show Place does segregate the food allergy-related orders from the regular orders in another part of the kitchen.
  • Furthermore, I was told they will scoop a food allergy-related order directly from a new container and add toppings (such as sprinkles) from their original cartons to eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination.
 

Although I was disappointed with the flavor selection, my son ensured me that his orange sorbet was fabulous and ate every drop to prove it.  I was happy with the procedure Show Place had in place for their food allergic patrons.  And, the show was so entertaining!  There’s no place like it, so if you find yourself on or near LBI, you really have to experience it firsthand.

Showplace

 

Maggie May’s Ice Cream – Pound Ridge, NY July 2, 2012

We just returned from another fabulous trip to my parents’ house in New York.  While there to celebrate a host of festive occasions, we had plenty of long, unstructured summer days to enjoy.  And, nothing tops off such quintessential summertime like a visit to a good ice cream shop.

 

Maggie May’s in Pound Ridge appears to have their act together.  Although they just opened, I was impressed with the thoughtfulness in which the owner considered her shop.  Set up as both for ice cream and self-serve frozen yogurt, Maggie May’s also serves dairy-free sorbet.  A coup!

 

I spoke with the owner, who mentioned that one of her own children has a variety of food allergies, appeared very careful about how she handles and prepares her treats.  She makes her own ice cream and sorbet by first processing the sorbet on the thoroughly cleaned machines, followed by the ice cream, followed by the ice cream with nuts thereby reducing risk of cross contamination.  She offered to get my son sprinkles from the back, to ensure they were safe.   Although state requirements are that ice cream parlors have something like 2-4 scoops, she uses more than 20!  Each scoop only gets used in one flavor bucket before it goes in for sterilization – again eliminating the possibility of cross-contamination from scoopers.  What a relief!  And, she was more than happy to double check ingredients when we asked and followed up with us as he was eating.

 

What impressed me most of all was the owner and her son’s concern for my son when they noticed him laying with his head on my lap as I sat on a bench outside their shop.  Unrelated to their sorbet, he was beginning to feel sick (I don’t know…could it have been the 14 treats he ate before consuming a huge lunch in the heat and THEN sorbet?!  Yes.).  They immediately came out to check on him, offer him ice water, and double checked his order (all perfectly safe for him).  I appreciated their concern and was enjoyed getting to know them.

 

I wish Maggie May’s well!  In my book, they’re doing everything right.

 

Baskin Robbins – 31 Flavors and a Few Well-Marked Allergens May 14, 2012

Filed under: Restaurants — malawer @ 11:24 am
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Did you know that Baskin Robbins lists each flavor’s allergens in their freezer window?!  Certainly makes choosing a safe option a whole lot easier!  Thank goodness, the weather’s heating up and we’re craving ice cream!

 

image

 

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!

 

Legal Sea Foods – Fish and Chipper about Food Allergies January 20, 2012

Legal Sea Foods

It had been forever since I’d eaten at Legal Sea Foods.  I couldn’t be happier that my nephew chose to ring in his birthday here —  our meals were great, there were so many choices for my food allergic son he had to make a plan to come back, and they took great pains to ensure his dinner that night was allergen-free.  Although it had been off my radar for a while, Legal Sea Foods is now officially IN the rotation.

 

Here’s the skinny:

 
  • The staff as a whole was super-accomodating, answering every question we had about ingredients in many, many dishes.  My son loves seafood and wanted to try some new things which they were patient about investigating one at a time.
  • Legal Sea Foods were very willing to substitute allergen-filled sides with safe alternatives for my son, making the meal a balanced one.
  • They have a gluten-free menu which includes something from every category of their regular menu (soups, salads, main courses, desserts, etc) as well as a GF Children’s Menu.  Their GF Menu has an informative section demonstrating their understanding of gluten sensitivities, including a paragraph which states,

“All seafood and meat items will be prepared by the following methods: wood grilled, steamed, pan-seared, baked with gluten free crumbs, or fried in brown rice flour and cornmeal. All cookware and plateware will be pre-washed and wiped dry before cooking and presentation.”

  • Legal Sea Foods has a policy whereby the allergic individual’s meal gets prepared first and the manager often serves it.  In our case, the waitress served but the manager came out to make sure everything turned out all right.
  • The bread was safe for my sesame seed-allergic son.  That’s a big one, so he was on cloud nine.
  • As it was my nephew’s 13th birthday and we absolutely HAD to have dessert.  In my scramble to get out of the house, I completely forgot to bring something for my food allergic son.  Agh!  I ran to my car and assembled some Pez, left over from a recent car trip.  It would have to do. Unless…..  Thankfully, Legal Sea Foods serves sorbet!  Amen !
 

Bottom line:  we fell for Legal Sea Foods’ commitment to food allergy-safety hook, line and sinker.