Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, Food Allergy Counselor (Picture © Noel Malcolm 2013)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dr. Praeger’s: A Head's Up

The nice people at Dr. Praeger’s pr company sent me some of their gluten-free Littles lines of frozen foods to try. Last Thursday, I heated up the spinach, potato and sweet potato littles and they were delish.

Going down at least.

Within an hour my tummy started to rumble and twist. Never a good sign. Over the next 12 hours my stomach was in a baaaaaaad way and I had theater that night. Sigh. These Littles were the first things I ate [aside from a navel orange] on Thursday at noon so there wasn’t anything else I was reacting to that afternoon. And I am gluten intolerant, not wheat allergic nor do I have celiac disease.

Regardless, it’s taken over three days for my stomach to get right.

I’ve been in contact with the pr company and they were very distressed to hear about my GI issues from their product. They are pro-actively looking into the matter and I expect to hear from them next week.

I would normally wait until I hear back from them about what they think went wrong to give you the FULL scoop. However, Gluten-Free Guide mentioned she received the same package from Dr. Praeger's and I told her she may want to think twice about eating these GF goodies. Her email led me to wonder if this PR company did a bloggy blitz and sent out these products to others GF bloggers.

**If so, this is a gentle warning: any of you who've received these products may want to wait until I get the full story from the company before testing. I would hate for any of you who are celiac and VERY sensitive to wheat or wheat allergic to have a reaction similar to mine. Or worse.**

Friday, September 28, 2007

Allergic Girl News

So here we are in year two at Please Don’t Pass The Nuts and it’s already started off with a bang!

I already mentioned that I had the pleasure of being part of an expert allergy panel on Fordham’s own WFUV 90.7 which will be airing THIS SATURDAY, September 29, 2007 at 7:30am. It will be available as a podcast as well through their WFUV website and on iTunes under "Cityscapes". A friend of the family already heard a promo with my voice--crazy!

Then there was a lovely review of this blog by the Wall Street Journal! Woo hoo!

And after trying out a few different things, I’ve decided that this site will focus on food allergies, for real, in a concentrated effort to help all of you like me who are trying to get something yummy and allergen-free to eat in New York City and elsewhere. [However, I'm really tempted to break my own rule and write about last night's Pygmallion with Claire Danes. So much for rules].

But I have changed the tag line under the PDPTN banner to reflect this new initiative: “Eating one allergy-free meal at a time, baby”! (The baby is implied.)

Enjoy!

But wait, there's more news coming, v. soon!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Top Chef – The Final Three

Did you watch Top Chef last night? It’s finally down to the final three, yes, three this season. And Dale is one of the them, which is kind of surprising as he’s had an inconsistent showing all along. But apparently he pulled through when cooking elk and his huckleberry sauce won the judges over. Go figure.

Sadly there’s no Bourdain blog this week, Tom’s taken it back over and I’m having some withdrawl. Where’s the “I don’t give a crap attitude” and straight talk from Bourdain? Ah well. Tom’s blog gives a decent run-down of what the dishes were really like, and why Brian had to go [I think he overstayed his welcome anyway].

Poor Hung. Did I vilify him last week? I apologize. I was caught up in the media manipulation of him; they’ve made him the villain and I bought it. Darn you Top Chef producers. His first generation immigrant story is heart-string-tugging and bravo for him and his family for living the American dream. Seriously. However, from all TV accounts, which we know are skewed and edited, it seems his cooking is technically gorgeous but soulless. Still when he doesn’t win the show I think he will have many many job offers. [Amuse Biatch has some further funny scoop on the Hung-ster.]

I still think Casey's going to pull through and win it all. I think Dale won’t be able to be consistent, and Hung will trip up on being perfect but emotionally cold.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Contact Hives

Can you be allergic to a person?

Yesterday, I saw my dad for breakfast; neither of us had eaten anything yet. He hadn’t shaved in a few days and he kissed my cheek hello. Nothing unusual there, right? About halfway through the bfast he said with some alarm, “Your face! You have red welts? Is that from me?”

“Yup.” I already knew I had welts on my face. I could feel them, raised clusters of bumps that were itchy and hurting. There wasn't much to do as they go away after time, maybe some ice if I think of it. But I wasn’t surprised it happened, nor was I overly alarmed, although I'm sure it didn't look pretty.

This has been happening since I was a baby. Sensitive skin. To wool, perfumes, hand creams, face creams, make-up. The list goes on. Many of those early childhood reactions have lessened over the years. I can wear cashmere now without a silk undershirt. Woo hoo! I still can’t use Ivory soap as I get hives on my palms.

But beard stubble, that’s always been a big one and remains so. Funny, right?

I have friend Michael who every single time he kisses me hello, his goatee kills me and I have hives on my chin for hours afterwards. With some men's beards it’s worse than others. My college boyfriend shaved twice daily partly to keep my face from being a welty mess, sweet guy.

I’ve had readers ask me about cosmetic allergies, specifically concerns about mother’s kissing their babies whilst wearing make- up (and I’m gonna do a longer post about that soon) but do any of you get welts from getting kissed with beard stubble?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Allergic Girl on WFUV

Yesterday morning, I had the pleasure of being part of an expert allergy panel on Fordham’s own WFUV 90.7. It will be airing 9/29, SATURDAY 730am.

I discovered 90.7 when I was in college. Late at night they’d play great standards from the 1930s and I love standards. As you might imagine, I was extra thrilled to be asked to part of this panel.

[By the by-have you ever been to the Fordham Rose Hill Campus? It’s truly an urban oasis: green lawns, tall old trees, and stone neo-gothic structures all in da Bronx, 19 minutes from Grand Central Station.]

Yesterday's expert panelists included:

Dr. Liz, a pediatric allergist and generally lovely woman was there for the medical perspective.

Amy from Institute of Culinary Education who coordinates the externs at the cooking school and has celiac disease.

Gina from Allergymoms.com, who's always so informed and up to date on the latest studies about kids, allergies and schools.

And yours truly talking food, restaurants and allergies.

George moderated the panel with grace; Rasheeda pulled us all together and produced.

We covered a range of topics. I don’t how they will edit the show BUT there were three things I wrote down whilst talking.

-According the doctor, the progression of my allergies in childhood was very typical and it has a name. It’s called the atopic march. Interesting.

-Also according to Dr. Liz, many peanut oils [i.e cooking oils] are okay for people with peanut allergies to ingest. Yes, really! The proteins, the substance that triggers the allergy, are refined out. **Obviously, check with your doctor before going out and guzzling some.**

-And the hygiene hypothesis is alive and well. You’ve all heard about this one: childhood dirt is necessary to build a strong immune system and the current trend to over anti-baterialize is harming our natural defenses.

Cityscapes is broadcast on Saturdays at 730am. This Saturday you can hear me and these other talented, informed ladies! I’ll also put the link up in the sidebar when available.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Breaking The Fast

How did yours go? I hope you had a good day of reflection and atonement.

I so didn’t fast but ate really lightly, just tea and a GF muffin. And I had to taste the egg salad to make sure it was ok. And then some of the cheese platter. Ok, so I didn’t fast at all but I fasted in my heart. And there’s always next year.

Here are some pictures from my gluten-free and gluten-ful table, about 50% of which was organic and/or local. [I'm still setting up during this shot]

The menu:
Tangerine Juice [I thought it was orange, oops!]
Champagne [thanks Michael!]
Crudite with hummus

Bagels [the regular kind]
Sliced tomatoes and sliced red onions
Cream cheese
Fruit platter: red grapes, navel oranges, nectarines, strawberries
Mini-danish
Three kinds of gluten-free muffins [from GFP mixes]



Egg salad
And a selection of hard cheeses

Your basic dairy break-fast!

Family Guy

I don’t normally watch this show but last night’s Family Guy Star Wars ep? Really, what do Minnie the Moocher, the theme song from Tootsie , Doctor Who and George Lucas possibly have in common? Last night’s episode of Family Guy.

Would I watch more Family Guy in the future. Probably not. But it was fun while it lasted.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

“It's Top Chef, Not Top Cook”

Bourdain said that last week in the post-plane-food judging table but it aptly describes what became all to clear on last night’s Top Chef ep: formal training might be what separates Dale, Brian, and Casey from Hung, the possible winner from the, er, non-winners. [My vote is for Casey because she can cook, even if she doesn’t chop fast, and she seems better liked by everyone i.e. she’s a team player].

Last night, it was clear who had formal training and who had been scraping through the competition by just “cooking”. Not that there’s anything wrong with "cooking", some of the yummiest spots are run by informally trained cooks. But then there's skill and technique, and those won out last night.

Hung may not be a team player and obnoxious and like an elf on speed [really, I know no one that likes this guy, which def. makes for good TV] but last night was his night. And if the next few challenges rely on a traditional French cuisine background Hung might be the next winner. But Casey, I’m rooting for ya!

PS I think Bourdain should blog more, I think it’s his forte. And I’m surprising myself by saying it. I read Kitchen Confidential; it was drek. The article it was based on was fun but it was short. Short is good for him. Really, he should forget the books; he’s not a novelist nor even a good creative non-fiction guy. Really he’s not. But Bourdain as blogger doing it quick and dirty? He's some kind of wonderful.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Disabled Diners

For all my mini-griping about Frank Bruni’s odd restaurant review choices and star giving, he has written a few articles shedding light on dining issues in a way I can’t remember past reviewers doing. Bravo Bruni!

Last week was especially poignant as he wrote about dining options for the wheelchair-bound here in NYC. He quickly discovered how few true options there are. When I reflect upon it, I can't recall the last time I ate in a resto and saw someone enter or exit or even be there in a wheelchair. And I eat out, often. (Ah, I need to amend that, I did see someone once at Otto Entotecca years ago, in a wheelchair and it turned out to be a friend of the family, who’s a famous writer. Do the wheelchair-bound famous count, since the well-known and well-heeled get special treatment anyway?)

According to Bruni’s anecdotal evidence, many places which claim they’re accommodating to the disabled turned out to be less than adequate. Sound familiar? How many times have I written about restos that talked a good allergic game only to be disappointed by front of house cluelessness, the lack of suitable allergy-free meal choice, low staff awareness and/or the dreaded eyeroll? But then again I can walk out and leave at any time without the need for an elevator or ramp or assistance.

Reading the NYT article only underscores how much more awareness for all special needs diners should be happening on all levels. A movement is surely afoot folks: get on board!

PS I was not the only one who was moved by the September 12th Bruni blog post. He revisited it today September 18th, read on Macduff.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blue Water Grill, New York

As you know, dear readers, I don’t normally go to seafood restaurants; they make me nervous. However, over the years I’ve been to Blue Water Grill at least a half dozen times. The last time was there for a bridal shower, they accommodated me, but I have no recollection what I ate for that brunch.

Blue Water Grill is part of the BRGuest family of restaurants. I’ve written about them before, Dos Caminos is another one of their group. The website says they’re “Green Certified” by the Green restaurant Association as of July 2007. We likee.

Saturday night, I went there on a date. I called ahead to ask about if they could accommodate my fish allergies and they said, “We are very aware of allergies and will make every effort to ensure a safe meal” or something to that effect. I was glad to hear they were aware but no one wants an itchy throat or worse, especially on a date so I was still on edge about going.

Why go? Why put myself through this? Well, a few reasons: this was my date’s favorite resto; and it is pretty; and I’ve had a few other romantic evenings there without incident so I thought, ok ,I could try again; and they said they were aware of allergies; and, from past experience, I know that BRGuest does a decent job of being allergy conscious. Another resto in their group, Ruby Foo’s even has a gluten-free menu although I’d never eat there, too many opps for cross contamination.

Upon entering, I had a lengthy discussion of my allergy issues and needs with the downstairs manager Nick. He was seemed very understanding about making sure I’d have something yummy to eat. I saw him talking with our server Josh and handing him my allergy card [I am so loving using it now]. A great start.

I ordered their filet mignon with plain, steamed veggies. The filet was very tender and tasty; however, the haricot verts arrived coated in something. Nick quickly seized upon my plate, whisked it away and came back with plain, steamed veggies, apologizing. I felt heard, which, honey is so crucial in these situations.

Simply due to its inherent fish-focused menu, Blue Water Grill won't be my new go-to spot. However, as each time I’ve been there they have gone out their way to be understanding and to take care of my needs, I won't be so afraid next time someone invites me to dine there.

Blue Water Grill
31 Union Square West
New York, NY 10003
212-675-9500

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Newsweek Magazine Article on Celiac

Did you see this Newsweek article is last week’s edition about Celiac disease?

Hurrah for another great leap forward in getting the gluten-free word out there!

And congrats to the Celiac Chicks, Gluten-Free Goddess and Gluten Free Girl for leading the way-great jobs ladies!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rosh Hashanah Dinner

Had a lovely small family affair on Wednesday night, I hope you had a wonderful night of New Year celebrations.

Our menu: matzoh ball soup, apples and honey, challah, brisket, roasted chicken, dried fruit tsimmes, roasted root vegetables, sweet noodle kugel and two chocolate cakes.

What this Allergic Girl ate: roasted chicken and roasted veggies with apples and honey.

Yeah, yeah, I’m just a bit lazy when it comes to making special gluten-free items to approximate the originals. Ms. Bay even had a super round-up of Rosh recipes to suit many food allergies and those that are gluten-free but, well, I didn’t make a one.

I made the sweet noodle kugel for one of our guests who loved it last year and the year before and who I know was looking forward to it this year. It’s made with egg noodles and eggs and sour cream and milk and sugar, all of which spells major tummy ache for me. I suppose I could've made all kinds of substitutions to make it vegan and GF or even make one out of potato as my doctor suggested [I saw him this week for a check-up and we were comparing Rosh menus]. But I made the kugel for this guest and didn’t feel the need to make one for myself as there was so much food.

It’s like Thanksgiving: how much can one actually eat? As an adult, I don't gorge myself, I'm happy with a simple meal prepared well and with love. The chicken and veggies were yummy and filling-I didn't NEED a GF challah.

But.

I felt a little lame-o about my laziness in not creating one gluten-free thing on this glutinous night, even if it was for a party of moi. The lame-o-ness really kicked in when I heard all the "oohs" over the kugel promoting me to think that it might be worth making a GF/dairy-free one next time so I could ohh and aah too.

Lucky for me, I can reverse lame-o to wham-o because the next time will be Yom Kippur next Saturday as I’m hosting the break fast at my house this year. The typical menu for a break fast is bagels, cream cheese and lox, none of which I can have. I don’t mind serving bagels and cream cheese (I may buy some GF bagels) but as I’m allergic to salmon, lox is not entering my home, thank you. So, I will be trolling the net for some Yom alternatives and suggestions and links are always welcome/encouraged.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pylos Restaurant

The good news is that Pylos is a lovely sliver of a resto in the east village. My diner companion Shari and I both felt transported to an intimate taverna in Greece. I’m sure you’ve read about this place, especially the clay pots hanging from the ceiling. It's hard to believe you're in the East Village, bordering on alphabet city as the crowd last night was mostly out of town parents with their 20-something kids. The plates passing by looked delicious: "Nouvelle Grecques" is what I'm calling it.

However, “looked” is the operative word here for this Allergic Girl.

The less good news is that they couldn’t really find much for me to eat on their menu that was safe from fish cross contamination on the grill, wheat flour dredged or phyllo encrusted, or without some mashed nuts somewhere. I had their version of a Greek salad and still got a slightly itchy mouth from the tomatoes, which happens sometimes. Damn those nightshade veggies!

Nick the manager was helpful and gracious as was our be-dimpled waiter but they were a bit at a loss about how to feed me. Shari felt that they hadn’t really dealt with allergies on the Allergic Girl scale before hence the shrugs. Yes, dear readers, I called the resto twice, to inquire if they chef felt comfortable feeding me. The reservationist asked the chef, who said “Yes, come in. We can accommodate you”. Perhaps they spoke too soon.

The truth is I’d rather be told by the waiter/manager/chef I can’t feed you rather than have guesswork. In this instance, the salad was their sole recommendation and if they felt safe with the salad then I felt safe-r.

So, the upshot: a lovely looking resto, I’d happily go for a drink [if they had a bar] but for a Greek nosh I’ll have to continue the search.


Pylos Restaurant
Pylos
128 E 7th St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 473-0220

Sunday, September 09, 2007

22 Bowen’s Bar and Grille, Newport, RI

Jamie, the General Manager of 22 Bowen's called to chat about how I was turned away from his restaurant a few weeks ago. His basic statement was: “I don’t know how that happened. I’m shocked and sorry it did”.

He pointed out I should have spoken to him directly that night or at least been referred to him by the floor manager with whom I had spoken. Now here's a twist: according Jamie, (he questioned his staff at 22 Bowen's) my experience never happened i.e. the woman who represented herself as a floor manager now doesn't remember speaking to me or fielding this particular request for allergen-free food and turning me away. Also, according to Jamie, whomever I spoke to that night, manager or otherwise, should have know that 22 Bowen's and chef would have been more than happy to accommodate me as per their allergen-friendly policy.

To that end, Jamie assured me that the entire resto will be getting a refresher course in both their allergen-friendly policies as well as how to refer all questions of this manner to management.

Which is all well and good but too late for a tourist like me.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Ethos

Last week I had an unlikely dinner do-over: I returned to Ethos where I had been once before and hadn’t had a very good meal. The friends I went to dine with [Hey Kuki and Adhar!] said it was one of their favorites so I decided to give it another chance and I’m glad I did.

My friends are friendly with the owner, Yanni-think Ernie Sabella but Greek. I told him my allergy sitch and he said our waiter Panos would take care of me. I handed Panos my allergycard and he really got it. He suggested that I have a few dishes made in a completely different part of the kitchen, away from the fishy grill [their specialty, my Kryptonite].

I had a braised lamb shank [oh yes] with tomato sauce and chunks of salty sheep's milk cheese. It was delicious. I also tried the lamb bifteki [lamb meatballs-no flour or nuts but a little beer] also yum! I’m so glad I went back. The owner was a doll and invited all of us to be his guests at his outpost in Queens.

All in all, I’m looking forward to returning, the complete opposite of what I felt when I said yes, I’d go.

**

I wonder if you’re like me: before this I can’t recall the last time I gave a resto a second shot. As Mr. Darcy said to Jane: “My good opinion once lost is lost for ever." Ok, I may not be *that* harsh but any really disappointing experience at a resto: bad/allergy ridden food, poor/surly/rude/distracted or mean service, or horror of horrors, both and I won’t go back. I’m certain I’m not in the minority in feeling this way.

The other AG out there, Amateur Gourmet, makes several valid points about the trouble and the triumphs of food bloggers namely, bloggers often go to a resto once and then review it publicly, good or amusingly, flamingly bad. Professional food critics, who are on the payroll, go to a resto multiple times with guests and try everything. Many times restos will watch out for these reviewers, so they may even get special treatment. As we bloggers aren’t on the company payroll other than our pocketbooks, we don’t have the bankroll to return if the place was bad, or not ready or had an off night. And ultimately, part of the point about blogging is the immediacy of our experience that can often reflect a more real world trial.

I went to Ethos once. I had a Greek salad. It wasn’t special [but no allergies either] but I hadn't returned, and had no impetus to until last week. There’s nothing too unusual in that. It’s fairly typical actually--eh meal so why return in a city that boasts 25,000 restaurants. But it also means that many places that might be great, I may never experience because I ate there on a bad night or ordered the wrong thing.

Perhaps I should change that policy? Hmmm, dunno. There are too many restaurants to try in NYC; the New York Times Dining Section just highlighted many of the new ones this season many of which will rise to the occasion with flying colors. But if someone suggests trying one of their neighborhood favorites, where I've had an "eh" previous dining experience, perhaps I won't automatically rule it out.

Ethos
495 3rd Ave, New York
(212) 252-1972

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Rosh Hashannah and Joan Nathan

Joan Nathan's doing another Q&A about Rosh recipes in the NYT. Yours truly asked her the following:

"dear joan: what holiday dishes might you recommend for those who are gluten [wheat] & dairy intolerant and tree-nut-allergic?
thank you!"

This was her reply: “allergic to nuts, milk and flour. Hmm. I would try to make a bread like teff, that I made recently out of spelt flour, soaking it in water, and letting it rise for two days covered. Then I added a little yeast and more spelt flour before we fried the bread like a pancake. It was spongy and delicious but wrap it in a spicy chicken dish like the Ethiopian one in Jewish Cooking in America. You can also make a lovely quinoa salad with pomegranates, apples, oranges and other harbingers of a good new year or a hot quinoa pilav with fresh fall vegetables like squash and carrots. I would make good coconut macaroons for dessert with some biblical dates. — Posted by Joan Nathan”

I appreciate the quinoa salad recipe-that sounds yummy. But I’m a little confused by her bread suggestion. Is she suggesting make teff bread but make it with spelt [i.e. which is wheat and be a big no-no]. Or did she mean make a spelt bread she concocted but use teff and she transposed the words? Hmmm.

Second Avenue Deli Returns?

Yes!

According to the NYT, Second Avenue Deli is back. It’s really gonna happen in Murray Hill. I see some health salad and some brisket in my near future.

"SECOND AVENUE DELI The younger generation of the Lebewohl family is reopening this East Village kosher deli in Murray Hill. So what if it’s still called the Second Avenue Deli? What about Sullivan Street Bakery, on West 46th Street, or, for that matter, Madison Square Garden? The Adam Tihany redesign from 1996 is being repeated here with somewhat fewer seats, more smoked fish on the menu, a full liquor bar and nuggets of grivenes (chicken cracklings) and ptcha (garlicky jellied calf’s foot) to nibble with a drink and to make mavens weep with joy: 162 East 33rd Street, (212) 677-0606 or (212) 689-9000. October."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Newport Harbor Corporation, Newport, RI

A final resto review for Newport, RI...

Three names came up again and again in all of our lists of the best places to dine in Newport, RI: Castle Hill for brunch; The Mooring and 22 Bowen's for dinner. All three white tablecloth restos [read: expensive] are owned and operated by the Newport Hospitality Group a subsidiary of the Newport Harbor Corporation.

Whilst still in NYC, I had called all three restos – all said it would be no problem to accommodate my allergies. Ironically 22 Bowen's over the phone seemed most accommodating. More on that in a mo.

**

Castle Hill, located on the long and winding road of Ocean Drive in Newport is about as great a location as one resto can get. Overlooking the water, they seem to have it all: valet parking, bungalows for hire, hotel rooms, attentive staff, preppy patrons and that salty sea breeze I can’t get enough of. We went for brunch and I had a plain cheese omelet [again more cheese, sigh] with garlic roasted potatoes.

Overall, foodwise, I give them an B+ for effort and reservationist-manager-server-kitchen communication BECAUSE my dish arrived with a creamy potatoes au gratin complete with breadcrumb topping! Once I pointed out the error, it was rectified quickly. At least one can see obvious mistakes like breadcrumb topping; I just worry if there had been less obvious, less visible ones made. But my brunch was yummy and there were no problems. [Thanks Dave!]

**

The Mooring was our dinner destination last Sunday night. Sitting on the marina, our outside table overlooked the yachts. Wonderful. On the phone, they assured me allergen-free wouldn’t be a problem. Our charming Croatian waiter Darko knew about my allergies, said the Chef/kitchen was aware, and they were happy to make me something safe. I had another burger, made on a completely separate grill. Not a great burger [not much better than the one at Pineapples] but allergen-free.

**

I went into to talk with 22 Bowen's about a possible dinner reservation and if they could make me something safe. I had spoken to a reservationist the previous week from NYC and they were one of the places that seemed to understand best how to deal with an allergic diner as I said above.

Seems that was a fluke.

When I walked in, I spoke with a woman who identified herself as a “floor manager”. She said they would not be able to handle my request. What was my request? I asked if possible, when they grill my dinner could they grill using a clean pan? Pretty common practice, easily done as every resto that weekend had been able to do so. She told me that my request “was impossible”. "Impossible? Are you certain?" She assured me the kitchen wouldn’t do it.

I found her attitude odd especially as they have a note on their menu about food allergies and the reservationist was so clear and positive about being able to accommodate me when I asked the very same question. Also odd as my experiences with other restaurants in this same corporate group had been positive.

**

I’d like to return to Newport. I’d like to eat dinner in a nice restaurant. I’d like to feel safe and confident that the place where I’m eating understands the importance of food allergies and the attendant issues and maybe even accommodate them.

To that end, I wanted to hear what the NHC thought about this inconsistency. I emailed and called the Newport Harbor Corporation's restaurant group inquiring why 22 Bowen's had given me conflicting information. The reply from the director of marketing: I'll look into it and get back to you. I've received no further communication from their offices as of yet. I will post when/if I do.

**

So the final word about restos in Newport, RI:

--Ask, ask, ask about their allergen policies anytime you go anywhere. Confirm that they understand what you are talking about. If they don't move on.

--Remind the server/manager/everyone about your needs after each course. Be friendly but clear about your needs; reminders help especially when a resto's busy. Hey they're human!

--Bring your allergy card--seeing things in black and white really helps solidify how serious you are and what your needs are. Really.

--When the server/manager/chef/owner/restaurant group does a great job, let them know! Tip well, compliment the chef, smile at the server, say thank you to the manager on the way out. Go back when you're in town next!

--However, if there are problems, speak up, be clear and gracious but firm: this is your life, your body, your health i.e. precious stuff!

--The final reminder: Have fun!

Castle Hill
590 Ocean Drive
Newport, RI 02840
888.466.1355
info@castlehillinn.com

The Mooring
The Mooring Restaurant
Sayer’s Wharf
Newport, RI 02840
401-846-2260

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bloggy Book Tours

Back in 2005, when I was working in publishing, my boss asked me to check out some blogs. He had heard it was a good way to get some pre-pub buzz for a book by sending them a galley (an uncorrected proof) of the book.

Blogs? I had barely heard of “a blog” much less ever been on one; neither had he.

Flash forward two years and blogs are routinely being used for pre-pub buzz and as an adjunct or in place of the book tour. Welcome the virtual book tour. Even the NYT is talking about it.

I was just talking about books and blogs and tours with Shauna of Gluten-free Girl. Wiley sent me a galley of her book Gluten-Free Girl: A Life Beyond Wonder Bread. Starting soon, Shauna will be doing a virtual book tour. Here's an interview on Future Perfect Publishing that's starting the buzz. Exciting right?! I’ll be one of the stops as well.

Meanwhile, I read the galley this weekend and I can tell you that her many fans won’t be disappointed. It’s all here, the YES, the food, the love plus some more personal insights into our very own Gluten Free Girl.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Yesterday's, Newport, RI

Restos in Newport RI continued...

Also a Larry and Shelley recommendation, [it’s great having locals to guide you, especially ex-pat New Yorkers-thanks again guys!] I called Yesterday’s and spoke directly with Chef Alex, a sweetheart of a man. He said they get questions about allergies all the time and he’d be happy to accommodate me. However that night he was cooking at Yesterday’s sister restaurant, The Place and he couldn’t completely assure me about the food as he wouldn’t be cooking it. However, he could go talk to the otherchef for me and set it all up. He said if I had called earlier he would have set food aside for me. He sounded like a man who understood and was doing his best to feed me an allergen-free meal so I decided to give it a try.

From the reservationist, to the manger, to our server, everyone was aware of my allergies and they made every effort to accommodate me. Big thumbs up.

But, sigh, here again I couldn’t for the life of me get something plain other than, yes another burger. The mothers both ordered a plain pork chop [that is the pork chop had all kinds of stuff on it and they requested that it just be plain and that request was honored]. My mother said her chop was excellent.

When I go back to Newport, I’d give Chef Alex a heads up and see what else he can come up with.

Yesterday's Ale House
28 Washington Square
Newport, RI 02871
401-847-0116