Thursday, October 06, 2011

Allergic Travel

So, yes, I might have mentioned in a previous post that NAH kicks some sense into me every now and again. Our upcoming anniversary trip to Washington is a big deal, and well, to be frank, I just don't want to spend it worried about anything. It's been a long time since we were able to go away together.

Yes, he told me everything would be fine. I just have this (OCD) need to ensure that. A few days ago, my college roommate (we're meeting her for lunch on Columbus Day before we head home) selected Ted's Bulletin on Capitol Hill as a lunch spot for us to get together. To be fair, she originally picked Founding Farmers, but their menu didn't leave me with a lot of comfort (everything was buttermilk this and seasoned tomato that--yikes!). I love this woman. Didn't have to explain more than that it didn't appear terribly me-friendly, and within seconds, the menu for Ted's was in my inbox. It's classic American food, has great reviews, and looks to be a good dining experience. However, I wasn't satisfied.

Therefore, I did what I always encourage you to do, my allergic readers: I contacted them. To be fair, the menu looked safe enough that I knew I could show up and eat something, but why settle for only one or two options? I sent an email through their website informing them of my allergies and asking if it was safe for me to order off of their breakfast menu. I worry incessantly about the olive oil problem, because especially these days, it's in everything (no joke, even some cold cuts now). I didn't hear back, chalked it up to the upcoming holiday weekend and how busy restaurants in DC always are, and thought nothing more of it. I am Allergic Diner, warrior woman; I was going anyway. This morning, I received an e-mail from the EXECUTIVE CHEF informing me that none of their breakfast foods would be problematic for me, but to please not order anything in his restaurant that contained pasta or used salad dressing.

I almost jumped out of my chair in joy. An executive chef emailing little ole' me? Really? Wow. Just like that, a little of my travelling anxiety chipped away. I cannot wait to return and write a review of Ted's Bulletin for all of you. I feel like one of those NBC television spots. "Asking is half the battle....The More Your Know!"

Planning Ahead,
Allergic Diner

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Disney Dining Plan

Several months ago, the wife of one of NAH's friends (someone whom I would consider a friend), started beating me over the head with the idea suggesting that we should take a girls' trip to Disney. I buckled under the pressure, said yes, and we scheduled a last-minute trip to Disney World last month. To her credit, she found a GREAT deal, and we got a free dining plan. I was impressed, but equally nervous. In visits past, I've avoided the dining plan because I didn't want to order off of a set menu or have limitations placed on my already-narrow list of foods that are safe when travelling.
Well, I am here to report that I could not have been more wrong (feel like I'm saying this a lot on here recently). For one thing, you can eat anything on the menu when you're on the dining plan. She sent a list of my allergies to WDW, and they blasted it to all of the restaurants at which she had made reservations for us (I had perused to read menus and give her a list of Allergic-Diner safe places to eat). I was impressed. More so, every restaurant in which we ate acknowledged my allergies upon our arrival at the hostess stand, and every one sent the chef - that's right, the chef - out to talk to me to make sure I could eat...and I could!

I had three of the best meals I'd had in my life at the Captain's Grille at the Yacht Club Resort, Raglan Road in Downtown Disney, and the La Cellier Steakhouse in Canada. Their chefs were knowledgeable, and extremely friendly, and I am terribly grateful. I had a vacation where I was eating seafood, and steamed vegetables, not turkey sandwiches and hot dogs. In fact, I didn't eat one turkey sandwich THE ENTIRE TIME we were there! I also had good meals at the Sci-Fi Dine-In theater in Hollywood Studios (after having to repeat my allergies multiple times, but to the chef's credit, he introduced me to a salad dressing I'd never considered: lemon juice), and the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom. I even got to hug Eeyore at the Crystal Palace. Crossing that off my bucket list!

Having said all of that, I have no idea how anyone eats in these restaurants without the dining plan. Our meals easily averaged $30-40/pp. Nuts! I realize I'm not a foodie, but that's just egregious by me. However, I ate healthy, and I was well taken care of, and for that, I am extremely grateful.

Thank you Disney,
Allergic Diner