Friday, May 30, 2008

weekend update.

Well, between my nerves, and a recent comment from an allergic mom (not mine, but the mom of The Allergic Kid), Bahama Breeze has been scrapped. She pointed out that there wasn't a whole lot of allergy information on their website, and that they pretty much say that the eater owns the responsibility. Seriously, no allergy policy in place? How horrendous in this day and age.

Anyway, we're going to the Cheesecake Factory. I've never had a problem there. I've also never received the dreaded eye-roll in the 6 years I've been a customer. Hooray! I will fill you in on the (hopefully) wonderful meal with an old friend over the weekend. The Big Guy and I are also off to NYC this weekend for an allergic fiance's 31st birthday party. Looks to be a good weekend....

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bahama Breeze?

Well, allergic patrons, I'm meeting a good friend for dinner tomorrow night and she's suggested that we go to Bahama Breeze. Places like this are difficult for me because they use lots and lots of Caribbean seasoning.
I just spoke with a host on the phone, and he told me that they could make something plain for me. Actually, the conversation went like this, and now I'm extremely nervous.

Me: Hi, my girlfriend and I will be eating dinner in your restaurant tomorrow night and I was wondering if I could talk to you a moment.
Him: Sure.
Me: I have terrible allergies, and I was looking at your menu and am calling to find out how difficult it is for me to have something made plain for me when I get there.
Him: What do you mean, plain? (ACK!)
Me: I mean, were I to order a piece of grilled fish off the menu, could you grill it plain for me, with no seasoning and no oil.
Him: HOLD ON. (cue hold music)
Him: Yes, we can make you food with no seasoning.
Me: And no oil? (not to belabor the point, but "hold on" isn't the most confidence inspiring term)
Him: Yes ma'am, and no oil either, it won't be a problem.

Now, here's the thing. He said yes, he said they could accommodate me, and he placed me on hold so he could obviously go talk to someone about it, so why am I still nervous? Would you be...Stay tuned. I'll post over the weekend and let you know how it goes.
~Your Allergic Diner

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I am a food nerd. I admit it. Consider it a creative outlet and leave me be....

Calling all culinary nerds! You know who you are. You love tweaking new recipes, trying new restaurants, and insisting to people in your party that you can replicate what you're eating at home. You read food magazines, collect cookbooks, and love to entertain.

Check this out....over 1,000 food blogs. Not too shabby for some entertaining reading. Keep an eye on my blogroll, as I have some downtime (ha! I may have to break my cardinal rule of no computer on the weekends and do this then), I will continue to add noteworthy sites that I've found through this, The Foodie Blogroll.

Aren't blogs grand?
Your Allergic Diner

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The joys of being truly taken care of...

On the first night of our trip, allergic mom and I went to King of Prussia for dinner, and ended up at Legal Sea Foods, an upscale seafood restaurant that has locations all over the eastern U.S.

I informed our server, Brian, that I had severe allergies, and asked if it would be possible to have my tuna steak grilled with no oil or spices, and so that it didn't come into contact with anything else?

I braced myself for the response. Brian said "Actually, I can do you one better. What we usually do for our allergic patrons (I didn't interrupt at this point and inform him I was THE Allergic Diner, it seemed rude) is place your fish in a skillet as opposed to directly on the grill or our wood planks, and cook it with an herb vinaigrette that contains no dairy. This way it doesn't come into contact with anything you might be allergic to. For you, we can do the fish this way but totally plain so that you don't have to worry about spices or oil in the vinaigrette." Seriously? Would one of you inform me if I was dead and this was heaven? What a weekend this was!

About 10 minutes after we placed our order, a manager, Jeff, came over and introduced himself and asked me to list my allergies (Brian had previously done the same, so it was obvious to this allergic diner that they were double checking for safety and cross-contamination). He spent a minute or two with me to make sure I was comfortable, and then went back to the kitchen to personally oversee the process.

I ate the delicious meal, a medium-rare tuna steak and baked potato, along with some of their fresh bread, without taking A SINGLE PILL. No dairy, no allergens, so why take medicine I don't need?

I thought that was the perfect meal, and as allergic mom and I were squabbling over who was going to pay the check (and lest you think ill of me, we were fighting because we both wanted to pay), Brian came back and offered us dessert. I was so full I couldn't even dream of it, but he insisted that he had a gluten-free option that might interest me, as well as a sugar free option. I thought that was very sweet that he was letting me know that they could find a way to accommodate me. Though I declined, I made up my mind to not only give them an outstanding review, but to forward this post to their customer service.

In a review of their website, I noticed they have a gluten-free menu as well. Here's a link to all their menus. It was the perfect dinner to start the perfect weekend with allergic mom. There was NO allergy alert or allergy problems ALL weekend.

Thank you so very much Legal Sea Foods, for putting this food-allergic diner at ease,

~The Allergic Diner

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Inner Gremlin

I'm writing today's post in support of an entity I never thought I'd eat in, never mind laud on this blog. I'm not necessarily a fan of big business, especially when it closes down local mom and pop shops. However, as an allergic person, I find that a chain has more consistency and knowledge when dealing with allergies than the local mom and pop shop often does. Saturday morning (day 2 of our annual girls' weekend) allergic mom and I arrived at the King of Prussia mall BEFORE it opened. The only place we could have breakfast at the mall was the Starbucks. I shouldn't say THE Starbucks, as I know there's more than one in the mall(s).

On vacation, I must drink tea. I'm not entirely certain as to why, as I don't often drink it at home, and I have no particular feelings about it either way. However, the moment I go on vacation its as if a small tea gremlin enters my brain and begins bugging me. "You're on vacation, have a nice cup of tea," he says. "It will relax you, and it's good for your health." Unfortunately, if ignored, this gremlin begins to bellow "MUST HAVE TEA! FEED ME TEA!" like some sort of toddler. I have discovered that upon having the tea, all is well. Most people have chocolate gremlins or french fry gremlins, but true to form, even my gremlin is abnormal. Ah, well.

I entered the long line at Starbucks, and set upon deciding what to eat with my tea. They do have quite a selection of baked goods. The tea gremlin spied a scone (perhaps its a British gremlin?) and decided that I should eat that, as well. I do love a good scone. At the register, I cringed and asked the very young cashier if there were any nuts in the scone. I was utterly shocked when he replied "no, but I feel it is my duty to inform you it was baked in a facility that does bake other items that contain nuts." Well, the tea gremlin and I could have been knocked over with a feather. I ordered my tea and raspberry scone, and had a delicious, allergy-free breakfast, which not only quieted my gremlin, but gave me plenty of fuel for a morning of shopping. Thank you Starbucks!

~Allergic Diner