Friday, December 29, 2006

thankful for good friends

The allergic diner's BFF most recently adopted another cat. I am notoriously allergic to cats and have been having terrible problems with my allergies as of late, so she has been travelling to see me at my place. But, with a holiday party and a chance to meet some new people, how could I not go?
This woman is such a gem! Not only did she clean her home from top to bottom, but she sprayed allergen reducer on everything, and then cordoned off the cats to one section of the house so i could have an "allergy-free zone." As a result, with the help of a little Benadryl I was able to attend the party without worrying about an allergic reaction. She even cooked me a separate "Allergic diner-proof" meal. (she simply left some of the oil and seasonings off my food)
Allergic diner's sage advice: Be thankful for friends who go to such lengths, friendships like these are few and far between!
Coming in the New Year. Reviews of several more national chains, and the allergic diner's territory expands to NYC!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Well, your allergic diner made it through the holidays without ingesting a single nut, tomato product, or spice. Good times were had by all! I would like to wish everyone a very merry christmas, happy chanukah, and send my best wishes for a happy & healthy 2007. See you in the new year!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What works for Jared will work for us!

I have to pause and give what the kids call "props" to Subway. I was on their website the other day, looking at the menu b/c that's what we were going to have for dinner and I am notoriously indecisive at times. How wonderful it was to discover that in addition to calories, fat, etc., that Subway offers FULL INGREDIENT LISTINGS of everything they use. The Allergic Diner has discovered Subway's honey mustard sauce, yum!
Thank you kind folk at Subway. You couldn't get any more allergy-friendly if you tried!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Romano's Macaroni Grill? Stay home!

The allergic diner had a frightful experience last night. I was out with a group of girlfriends for dinner at the famed Romano's Macaroni Grill. I say famed because all of them ooh and aah over the extensive menu and healthy-eating friendly selections. I elected to "make my own pasta" and promptly explained to the waiter that there was to be no sauce of any kind on my plate. I showed him my med-alert bracelet, to explain that I was not simply being difficult, and explained about my tomato allergy, in addition to my problems with oil, butter, etc. Sounds simple, right? It was pasta with onion and mushrooms, and when it arrived i simply added a little salt and pepper. I ate two or three bites of pasta, very pleased that I couldn't discern any additional seasonings or oil in the bowl, only to discover after the third bite, A TOMATO. An evil intruder in my pasta...i showed it to the waiter who was visibly upset and told me they'd make me a new one. When I said, "do me a favor, this time, please just a bowl of completely plain pasta so that it doesn't touch something in the assembly line," it was in front of me within 5 minutes...except this time there was oil on it!! The manager came over to apologize (and was perfectly lovely and sincere), but by now I was a little wary of ordering anything else from the kitchen.
Now I know chefs/waiters and the like make mistakes, and while I may give a snotty write-up on this blog, I don't like to make a scene in the restaurant, i simply paid for the dish and left. My husband now has a huge bowl of pasta for lunch today, and I ended up at home, cooking at 9:00 pm. Regardless of how courteous and quick to take care of things the staff at this particular Romano's was....when someone tells of a food allergy EVERY PRECAUTION SHOULD BE TAKEN TO MAKE SURE IT IS FOLLOWED!! Thankfully nothing I had eaten touched the tomato...but I don't think I'll be heading back there. My advice to my allergic readers.....the eater beware!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The allergic diner recently uncovered numerous articles on the web about how food allergies cannot be treated with allergy shots. The body's immune system does not respond to the small amounts of stimulation and unfortunately often has a reaction (not deadly, just unpleasant).
Why then, do doctors persist in prescribing allergy shots for people with severe food allergies?
Is this still standard medical practice? And what can allergic patients do to protect themselves? I welcome your ideas/research/comments.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Let's discuss what the allergic diner likes to refer to as "the panera problem." I have visited different panera locations half a dozen times in the last 3 months. When I visit, I often inquire as to whether the chicken salad has celery in it. Every location gives me a different answer. Don't chains have a standard ingredients list? They show me "the list." The list does not appear to vary. Do they leave it out on the days they tell me no? Very confusing.
More perplexing is when the cashier tells me, politely, that she doesn't know if celery or celery seed is in the food. When I ask him or her to get the list, it is usually accompanied by an eye roll or at least a sigh (neither on behalf of the allergic diner). Am i being rude in checking so that I can make sure my epi-pen stays put in my purse?
I have had one or two nice interactions with cashiers, and one or two sandwiches that were made to my specifications. All in all? Avoid panera if you are an allergic customer...even if they can get you the info you need, they make you feel bad about asking.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

smells no more!

The allergic diner wishes simply to thank People Magazine. It has been brought to my attention (so that I might bring it to your attention, dear readers) that subscribers of this publication who suffer from chemical sensitivity can call and have the perfumed ads removed. I find this to be a welcome change from the usual attitudes of large corporations. Kudos to People! We appreciate you!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Beware the evil pizza wheel

Your allergic diner has a deathly tomato allergy (among others). My in-laws have a long-standing Friday night tradition of getting pizza from their local pizzeria (which, for the time being, will remain nameless). When we visit, your allergic diner has a delicious white pizza pie with mushrooms and garlic which tastes like cheesy garlic bread. I was very much looking forward to my pizza this past Friday, and when ordered, my husband included the "please do not cut the pizza" instruction.
We have learned in the past that a pizza wheel, put through a tomato pie first, then put through a white pie, brings tomato sauce onto the white pizza. This direction has never been a problem for us.
This place forgot and cut the pie, rendering your allergic diner with an allergic reaction. (sometimes when a pie is cut the wheel is rinsed off in between so as not to transfer the ingredients, usually it is not a problem)
Your allergic diner was distracted, and she paid for it dearly. Allergic consumers beware - make sure your directions are followed to the letter!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Most recently, your allergic diner and her non-allergic husband had dinner at Joe's Crab Shack. When I informed the waitress that I would need my crab steamed "without seasoning, and without butter in the pot or on the plate," not only was she gracious, but the meal came as requested. My husband had ordered an appetizer of a dip that came with garlic toast. When our waitress brought out the meal, she had included plain bread for yours truly, explaining to me "well, i figured if you didn't want the dairy on your meal, you wouldn't want it on your bread either." Score points for eating at Joe's! Your allergic diner was so impressed she purchased a "got crabs?" t-shirt on her way out. We will definitely be returning. Great food, relaxed atmosphere, excellent ability to handle special requests!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Wegmans supermarkets
As your unbiased reviewer, I went last night in an attempt to find something for dinner that had no dairy, no oil, no tomatoes, and a list of spices so I could determine if they used any that I am allergic to. Right away, I spotted the sushi counter, but there was no sushi chef who could make anything for me at the time (I was told by wegmans customer service that they were there but on break. When I returned a 1/2 hour later, I was shocked to see still no sushi chef!)
I went about my food shopping during that half hour and was very impressed to see labels on everything that is Wegmans brand promoting allergy information such as "L" for "Lactose free" or V for "Vegan." More impressive was the "G" for Gluten free. I'm thankful not to count that as one of my allergies, but its nice to know that there are a range of products available.
After my unimpressive return to the sushi counter, I spotted the hoagie station, where I had a sub made to my exact specifications (no oil, no cheese, etc). Not only was the man accomodating, he even offered to let me check the sandwich before he wrapped it! I finished my food shopping and was on my way with my premade dinner. An added bonus to anyone with a latex allergy? Wegmans employees wear vinyl gloves to prepare the foods!
All in all, Wegmans is pricey but highly recommended by the allergic diner!


Allow me to introduce myself. I'm the allergic diner. Simply put, my food allergies put major restrictions on my ability to eat anywhere but in my own kitchen. It becomes a difficult experience, rather than an enjoyable time.
This website will review food establishments and educate readers as to the best and most accomodating places to eat if you have allergies. This is not a starred-review system, just a place to learn which restaurants, supermarkets,vacation spots, etc. accomodate special requests, and the ease and comfort level they allow the patron while doing so. I am constantly on the health, fitness and recipe websites in addition to being an avid chef, and I hope to provide a service which I see lacking in today's internet reading. Enjoy, and I welcome your comments. Hopefully my experiences will assist those of you who also have difficulty eating out!