Food Allergy Counseling

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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Gluten-Free Restaurants in NYC

I have to admit I STILL haven’t done the gluten-free restaurant crawl and it is indeed a crawl since there are quite a few here in NYC according to the Gluten-free restaurant program. Bloom’s, Gus’s, Bistango, I’ve heard all good things from fellow New York gluten-free bloggers like Gluten-free Fun, Gluten-Free Guide and Celiac Chicks but haven’t been to a one. I'm very glad they exist and that more restaurants are being added to the GFRAP program, it’s super!

However, I’ve had some mixed results with restos that have gluten-free menus. Experience has taught me that if a resto can handle food allergies they can usually handle being gluten-free but the inverse is not necessarily true.

For example, I went to Sambucca with Celiac Chick Kelly which was fun. They have a GF menu and our waiter was educated about allergies and cross-contamination. Yay Sambucca!

But I’ve also been Risotteria and they were NOT good with multiple allergies. In trying to order, our server gave me the “oh-god-that’s-awful-all-those-allergies-I-don’t-know-if-we-can-handle-that”. Sigh.

Not encouraging and thus an example of my fear confirmed: just because a resto is GF doesn’t mean that are well trained in other areas. It’s doesn’t mean they aren’t, just not a guarantee.

Dear readers: I don’t SEEK out gluten-free restaurants in New York City. I seek out and repeatedly patronize restaurants that care about food preparation, care about their customers, communicate well, and are fun! Frankly, anything’s more fun when you’re served food you feel safe eating! If that place happens to be part of the GF program, like Lilli and Loo, which I am so loving right now, then yay!

But experience has proven that "gluten-free menu" and "allergen-friendly" resto are not synonymous. Having said all that, I do plan on trying more of the GFRAP program spots in town over the next year and hope to be proven woefully wrong.

I'll report back.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Craftbar, NYC

On a bitterly cold MLK night, and after seeing Woody Allen’s latest, Cassandra’s Dream [I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it but Colin Farrell was quite good as an unwilling murderer who quickly decompensates post-deed] my troupe of four slipped into a quiet Craftbar.

I didn’t call ahead, it was a spontaneous Allergic Girl inspection, but knowing Craft as I do, I had the sense they could handle the Allergic Girl situation. For those of you outside of NYC, Craft is Chef Tom Colicchio’s baby, and the beginning of what has become his Craft empire. All of the Crafts are truly service oriented dining establishments, in the style of the service guru and Tom’s former biz partner Danny Meyer. Add to that an emphasis on high quality ingredients prepared in the way the highlights the inherent best qualities of a dish [sautéed, braised, roasted, etc.] using all clean unadulterated food and it’s fairly easy to ensure your meal is allergen-friendly. This resto group is the real deal, focused on the craft of cuisine.

So, knowing all of this and having had many positive Craft experiences, (except for that dining misstep at Craftsteak last year, where what lacked in food was made up for by impeccable handling by the GM Anthony Mardach) I felt pretty sure Craftbar would be able to accommodate my needs.

Still, I sought out the general manager to have The Discussion. GM, and wine buyer, Hayden was on top of his game even after having a hectic New York Restaurant Week lunch crowd that afternoon [200 covers!] He graciously and knowledgeably walked me through the menu. I told him I was looking at the lamb shank, short rib, or Cornish hen [or baby chicken as they called it] and he double checked with Chef de Cuisine Philippe Besson who was cooking that night that all were indeed Allergic Girl safe.

I decided on the short ribs with root veggies and beef consommé and it was delectable. It was paired with a 2004 Santa Barbara Kunin Syrah, my new favorite tipple. (You know I must have been feeling safe to indulge in some vino. I usually don’t drink when at a new restaurant in case I do get allergic to something, Benadryl and wine can’t be a good combo.) My dining companions, who have been to Craftbar, many times had the veal meatballs, which was my second choice but they alas are not gluten-free, and two others at the table shared the orecchiette with sausage, cauliflower and parmesan and a salad.

Everyone oohed and ahhed over their respective dishes. Hayden kept us company throughout the meal, that is until he left to go have his dinner across town at Craftsteak. He couldn’t have taken better care of us if we were long lost cousins. Really, he was that nice. Thank you Hayden and Craftbar team!

Overall, we had a fun night with yummy, allergen-friendly food, and excellent service from GM Hayden. As I’m often in the Flatiron district, I’m thrilled to have another spot to add my list of allergen-friendly spots.


Craftbar
900 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
[t] 212. 461-4300

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cosmetic Allergies

Allergies and adverse reactions come in all forms and sometimes it’s not ingesting an allergen that is the concern, at least for this Allergic Girl.

Allergies or averse reactions upon contact can also be an issue. I’ve mentioned that I’m allergic to Ivory soap, it gives my palms hives. And beard stubble gives me hives. I know, crazy. A few weeks ago I had an adverse reaction to the acne preparation Retin A and I wrote about it at MyAllergyNetwork.com. But that’s also happened with other acne washes that I had to stop using immediately because I became itchy all over for days after just two or three applications. No good! At the hair salon, after using some types of shampoos my head gets itchy and they have rinse it out a few times and start over, if they can. (Speaking of which I just bought my shampoo at the hair salon and they changed the formulation, adding some kind of nut protein AND it now is so overly perfumed that even if it didn’t have the nuts I couldn’t use it. Sigh.)

Sometimes an adverse reaction can be a headache or even worse a migraine. Luckily this is not my thing but I know a few friends for whom perfume is their Kyrptonite. For example, at dinner the other night H. pulled out some hand cream to slather on her hands before we headed back outside. It’s been very cold here and hands and faces, anything exposed really, needs some extra protection.

So just before H. began the slathering, M. said, “Please don’t! I am really sensitive to perfumes”.

H. knew this and said, “Let me check if this stuff is smelly”. It was a sample from a hotel, which was, of course, extra smelly so she very kindly put it away and did not use it.

It’s not always so easy for M. I’ve been with her at theater where for some reason a woman has decided to douse herself in a strong perfume that frankly causes the whole row to swoon. At theater there’s no escape although M. has cleverly changed seats to be as far away from the perfumed masses as possible. But sometimes you are just stuck, like on a crowded flight or completely sold out show. These dear friends have to sit there and suffer, headachy , nauseous, woozy and stuck.

Do any of you have experiences like this? How have you dealt with them?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Shorty’s .32, NYC, Again

*CLOSED as of 2011*
I put my money where my bloggy mouth is and returned last night to Shorty's .32 to check out the short ribs and so I could take the resto off the provisional status in my sidebar [which is for a resto that fed me well but I’ve only been to once].

QUESTION: Can you have a perfect storm twice? I don’t know what those odds may be but what I do know is that Casey and I had the best night ever!

Shorty’s .32 was packed with a young, fun, professional crowd. Antonio saved us two cozy seats at the pretty copper bar. Paul, the bartender/actor, sporting a new snazzy beard, took excellent care of us and his sister was also in attendance. (Check out her yoga company, YogaHope and the story about YogaHope and Sue in the New York Times today!) Chef Josh Eden walked me through the menu to ensure what I was ordering was Allergic Girl friendly. And his dishes didn't disappoint: they were simply superb. In fact, I think he’s my new foodie crush. He's super careful about food allergies as he has a best friend who has severe allergies and he’s been cooking for him for years. Casey and I were having such a fun night that we were there way past both of our school-night bed-times; we were still there long after Chef had called it a night!

Casey and I both had the short ribs, she with the mac and cheese side and me with the yam mash that usually accompanies the pork chop. [The mash has butter but no milk so I popped some Lactaid and was fine!] The short ribs glistened with fat and flavor, were butter soft and perfectly seasoned. Casey and I, who had met for dinner for a much needed post-holiday catch up, had to observe some eating silence, a few moments of reverence, whilst we tucked into these masterful ribs, I mean it was a serious no-talking-zone-don’t-bother-me-whilst-I’m-eating-something-so-good there for a while and for Casey and I, both major talkers this is saying a lot.

UPSHOT: I’ve found my new allergen-friendly dinning spot and it’s called: Shorty’s .32.


Shorty’s.32
199 Prince St.,
(212)375-8275

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Cheers Experience

I haven’t written about any new restaurants because I didn’t go anywhere new recently. I know. Shock! However that doesn’t mean I haven’t eaten out safely and well of late.

Last week I went to Otto Pizzeria, Candle Café, Souen, Chipotle, Better Burger, a local diner and had a date at Stand. I had a full range of dining experiences, some which were completely anonymous and still safe. For example, at the Stand, where I’ve been about six times in the last 12 months, I didn’t talk with the general manager, didn’t have a long convo with the server. (I did however, have an “allergy action plan” demo with my date, who was understanding about my food allergic needs and said, “Let’s go wherever you know you can eat safely”. Rock on!) The Stand only makes burgers and I’ve talked with them many times about where they make the salmon burger versus the beef (separate grill) and whether or not they have a dedicated fryer for the fries (I’ve gotten mixed answers on this so I’ve stayed away). I usually order their burger salad and this time was no different. I asked for no dressing, twice, and no croûtons (saying I couldn’t tolerate wheat) and left it at that. My meal came without croûtons, yay, and ramekins of dressing and Parmesan cheese were on the side, double yay! There wasn’t a big to do, the line cook didn’t come out to say hello, and I don’t even know our server’s name. It was a completely anonymous, yet culinarily safe for this Allergic Girl, experience. [I am NOT recommending this.]

Then there’s what I call “The Cheers Experience”. I'm sure it's a result of many factors, some quantifiable, many subjective. One factor may be the result of patronizing restaurants that really care about creating a safe dining experience. In any case, your assistance to restaurant management in creating a great allergen-friendly experience is vital.

Here are my steps:

• I call ahead and talk with management about the Allergic Girl, situation.

• I get the name of the general manager and if they say they can accommodate me, I make a ressie.

• Then when I go to the resto, I present myself to said manager. I present an allergy card, give the manager the run down, and go over the menu.

• I am friendly, I smile; however, I am also assertive about my needs. I am not aggressive, I never raise my voice, I never threaten with liability or lawsuits or righteous anger. I aim for honey versus vinegar. The Golden Rule comes into play here: I aim to treat others as I wish to be treated.

• Very often the manager has alerted the Executive Chef or the Chef de Cuisine, who may join us at the table to discuss the menu (or the manager may
act as go-between).

• By this point too, everyone’s been introduced by name. Names make everyone so much friendlier and if you have a great experience you know not only whom to thank but whom to ask for next time!

• Once I’ve completed a hopefully delicious and allergen-friendly menu, I sincerely thank the server and the chef and the manager by name.

• I tip the server GENEROUSLY!

• Very often, I will call the next day to thank the manager for ensuring a safe meal. What our mothers told us is right-on: please and thank you do really make a difference.

• NOW here’s the trick. If you do this all once and have a safe and yummy dining experience that is great. But go back within a few weeks and replicate it and then go back again and they get to know you.

• By the third time you return, you and your needs have become a “Norm!”

Otto Pizzeria has become one of my gluten-free, allergen-friendly Cheers experiences. It is such a pleasure to be a Norm there. I went on Thursday with a friend. Of course it was packed, it always is, but we were able to grab a seat at the bar and before I could say anything, the GM had a convo with the bartender about the Allergic Girl sitch (Thank you again Chris!). I repeated my needs to the bartender cos that’s just the kind of Allergic Girl I am and we had a wonderful meal. Having a place I can go and literally everyone knows my name is such a treat. And you can do this as well. It’s not about going every week (which helps) but it's about creating that special relationship with a restaurant.

Have any of you been having a Cheers-like allergen-friendly experience in your local haunts?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Crave Bakery, SF

I had first read about the Crave Bakery on Kelly’s Celiac Chick site on and also on Shauna’s Gluten-free Girl Blog. That pumpkin pie looked scrumptious, so I was super excited when Crave Bakery , a wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free bakery in San Francisco, contacted me asking to send me samples.

I saw on their website that they make nut brownies in their facility, so I asked for some clarification about their nut-policies. Their email reply: "We are dedicated to catering to allergies and the people at our baking facility are trained to not cross contaminate our products. We always bake the least allergenic to most allergenic products in each production run. And practice ingredient and production isolation policies.” Excellent news, Crave Bakery ! On their easy to navigate
website, they fully disclose ingredients as well as nutritional information. Also excellent news!

“OK,” I said, “please send away”. The Crave goodies aren’t egg or sugar free so not for you egg allergic or sugar-free folks. However, this is a bakery that cares about the quality of all of their ingredients. From the Crave Bakery website:“Crave’s philosophy is based on choosing simple, high-quality and organic ingredients. You also won’t find any trans fat or preservatives in our goodies. We have taken the time to carefully research all of our ingredient sources and feel confident about their practices. Supporting small, local producers and family-owned operations as well as choosing ingredients that are animal conscious, are priorities for us.” Yay!

Crave Bakery sent two of their brownies and a lemon tart, all gluten-free and organic to boot.

The brownies are made with ground flax meal and I haven’t tested myself on flax before. So I gave those brownies to two tasters who gobbled them down.

--Taster One, who isn’t gluten-free, said: “Totally edible, not like, ‘oh no it’s gluten-free’.” Taster One thought the brownie was delicious, had the right balance of sugar and chocolate, was light but also fudge-y/cakey.

--Taster Two, who is on a gluten-free diet, said the brownie “... tasted totally 'normal' [as in NOT GF] and was gooey and rich”.

Here's the lemon tart, picture courtesy of Alexander Warnow:



The lemon tart didn’t disappoint. The filling was divine, it reminded me in texture to the Chinese egg custard tarts I ate as a child: yellow, eggy, sweet with great smooth mouthfeel. The crust was undercooked and raw tasting, but Taster Two and I like raw tasting dough. When I asked if I was supposed to bake the tart further upon receipt, here was Crave's reply: “The Lemon Tart should be eaten as is. I heard the same comment about the crust from one other person. I believe this particular batch was slightly less baked than we like it to be. Unfortunately, it sounds like you received one of these. Normally, the crust is a bit more golden.” No matter we loved it.

The upshot: the lemon tart was sinfully delicious and happily gluten-free. I would eat it, serve it, love to have it around for a treat and probably gain a pound or two if I lived in SF and went to Crave Bakery regularly. The brownies, although not tasted by me, were said to be delicious by two reliable tasters. The company has excellent transparent business practices, lists the ingredients and nutritional information both on the website and on the product and the staff is easy to get in touch with if you have further questions/concerns.

Thank you Crave Bakery!

Crave Bakery
San Francisco, CA
info@cravebakery.com
[tel.] 415.826.7187

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Everyone's Gone Nuts"

Meredith Broussard wrote an article in this months Harper’s Magazine about food allergies as an exaggerated threat.

You can check out the article through the site CanadianParents.com [Page 1 -- Page 2] or listen to her talk to Leonard Lopate on WNYC.org.

I was distressed by the article and confused by her statements. So I asked a colleague, pediatric allergist Dr. Mike Pistiner, to help me sort through her assertions.

You can find the Q&A on MyAllergyNetwork.com.

I’d love to hear what you all think though.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Irving Mill, NYC

***CLOSED***

A few hours before going, I called Irving Mill to ask about their comfort level with the Allergic Girl sitch. Mario, one of the owners picked up the reservation line, lucky me.

He said in a deep, reassuring baritone: “We are VERY comfortable handling food allergies.

“Very? Really?”

“Yes, we get a lot of requests and are very familiar with how to handle such requests.”

Nice way to start a conversation--Irving Mill gets good marks for initial awareness and no perceived telephone-eye-roll! We then discussed the particulars, which he wrote down. I mentioned which dishes I was thinking of trying, either the rabbit or the lamb shoulder. He checked with the chef about the stock [they make their own], whether flour was used in anything or if nuts were an issue. Those dishes got the all clear. He did mention that there were nuts at the bar for drinkers but those could be swapped for olives and I’m not so sensitive that a bowl of nuts three seats away will bother me.

Of course one look at the Irving Mill menu and I thought, eek nuts and fish everywhere. Here I go again. However, the Chef/co-owner John Schaefer’s pedigree includes a 12-year jag at Gramercy Tavern, taking over for Tom Colicchio. Gram Tav is one of the best places to eat in town if you have any issue. It’s a Danny Meyer restaurant and they are careful about allergies, make everything in house, the staff is knowledgeable about what’s in their dishes and service is their number one priority. So with the Chef’s education in mind and the recent reviews by both New York Magazine and Andrea Strong’s The Strong Buzz [she looooves these guys], I figured I’d give it try.

My dining companion, fellow foodie and Allergic Girl safe chica, Shari and I sat at the bar. As soon as we sat I noticed the bald pate of Mr. Top Chef Tom Colicchio sitting near us, at one of the bar tables in the front room. Who was he sitting with? Shari made the call recognizing the man’s bald spot [she got high points for that]. It was none other than Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar & Grill.

At the bar, we were taken care of by Paul [another one?!] who was sad for me that I’ve had allergies my whole life. Don’t cry for me Paul-gentina! Really, those of us with food allergies can lead normal lives I promise you. OK, I didn’t say that but I did tell him that it wasn’t so bad, just make sure there are no nuts in my food! Which he did happily.

Before we ordered Mario presented himself and again went through the whole menu with me dish-by-dish to ensure what was definitely Allergic Girl safe. He couldn’t have been more gracious, understanding and polite about taking care of my needs; he said they were very happy to do so.

Thank you Mario and the Irving Mill team!

After getting some suggestions and insight into the menu as a whole,
I had the fresh garbanzo bean salad, fresh as in green raw chickpeas, with the lemon vinaigrette on the side. Shari had the cauliflower ravioli to start with hazelnuts. We both enjoyed our starters. My salad was a simple affair but tasty, frisee, shaved radish, Parmesan, raw garbanzo with a dollop of garbanzo puree. Shari said her pasta portion was generous, the cauliflower filling quite light. For our mains, Shari had the quail app, which Bruni mentioned in his review. She said the grits were delish and the quail perfectly cooked. I had part of the Winter Prix Fixe menu, lamb tenderloin with rutabaga puree, apricot both pureed and preserved and roasted fennel. The lamb was well-seasoned, tender and paired so well with the sweet tang of apricot. I’d like to try that combo at home--apricot glazed lamb chops...

The atmos is a different story. The crowd on Thursday, the New Yorkers night, was decidedly non-New York. And it was also the 40 year old and above set, which there’s nothing wrong with, some of my dear friends are over 40, but it gave an already corporate pre-fab feeling place feel even more corporate and well, pre-fab. Here are some pix of the rooms, courtesy of Zagat’s. Shari said she’d feel comfortable bringing her parents there but not a date. I’d have to agree, although the lighting was flattering enough for date, and they are very clearly service oriented, I wasn’t bowled over by a sexy vibe.

So the upshot: food was decent if a bit pricey; they took care of my allergic needs excellently; they are service oriented and everyone was gracious; however, the vibe was a yawner.


Irving Mill, NYC

116 E 16th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-1600

Monday, January 07, 2008

Shorty's .32, NYC

*CLOSED as of 2011*
Sometimes you have a great night, a perfect storm of delicious allergen-free dining. Last week I had such a night at Shorty’s.32 .

[Believe me it’s not always like this. Last week, the night before the perfect dining storm, I went to an UWS neighborhood resto, Bodrum, that was a comedy of errors: clueless servers, inept bus boys, befuddled management made worse by a line on the menu that said “Tell our server if you have any allergies”, which was met with a complete lack of training about the issue on any level. Sigh.]

Shari and I made a plan to go try Chef Josh Eden’s cooking at his new spot Shorty’s.32 when it opened in October to much hullabaloo in Eater,
Food and Wine, and more recently in the New York Times. And darn, it was shuttered that day.

I was particularly curious to go because I recalled that a sweet kid named Josh Eden lived in my apartment building growing up. We shared the school bus for years. I had a very specific picture of him in my mind: brown curly hair, low gravely voice, smart, funny, and a “shorty”.

Could this possibly be the same one?

I called the night before and asked the nice man who picked up the phone how the chef felt about handling food allergies and to my delight it was Josh who answered. He said he felt comfortable handling allergies and he remembered me too!

Upon entering Shorty's .32, we were greeted by Antonio, my former seat savior at Lupa. He had been my champion, making sure my food was allergen-friendly and that I got a table or a seat at the cozy bar despite the often one hour wait. I was a regular at Lupa for about 3 years in my still vegetarian, pre-wheat and dairy intolerance days. Often, I would go weekly. Yes, weekly. The pasta wasn’t expensive then, the staff was allergen-friendly, they had vegetarian options, and the spot was always jumping.

Back at Shorty's, we put our name on the table list with Antonio, they have 32 seats, but opted to stay at the cozy bar, manned this night by preppy-boy, crossword-doing, he’s-no-saint Paul who also treated us to desserts that I couldn't eat as they were dairy and wheaty but a lovely idea. Thanks again Paul. Chef Josh, Antonio, and Paul kept us company and laughing all night.

Good news: there are no nuts in the kitchen. Yes! I was informed that they don’t use nuts or nut oils in any of their dishes. I don’t know that they could go so far as to say they are a nut free restaurant [because who can make that claim unless you make everything from scratch like the flours, oils, etc] but knowing that there weren’t nuts being flung about back in the kitchen made ordering easier. [CORRECTION: During a second visit, Chef informed me they DO have nuts in the kitchen: hazelnut oil in the quinoa salad and nuts on one fish dish. But this is by far not a "nutty" kitchen and Chef is very aware about how to keep a nut-allergic diner safe as one of his closest friends has severe allergies!]

The menu is tight and focused: comfort, homey food is the name of the game here. The chicken has been getting raves; here's Chef Josh Eden cooking his chicken for New York Magazine. Chicken is usually an easy way to start when breaking in a new resto so I ordered that with pickled beets instead of the dairy-filled mashed potato. The beets, both red and yellow were on the sweet side, quite good, but veeery sweet as was my side of green beans. Chef Josh must have quite a sweet tooth as sweet was a theme with both of our dishes. Shari had the braised short-ribs which was equally Allergic Girl friendly and what I will have when I go back again this week or next.

Yes, folks that how this Allergic Girl rolls. When I find a place that feeds me safely and well, I go back often. Shorty’s.32 specializes in comfort food with a homey and welcoming atmosphere. I look forward to returning and trying more of Chef Josh Eden’s menu.

Shorty’s.32
199 Prince St.,
(212)375-8275

Friday, January 04, 2008

Bringing Outside Safe Food In?

Which one of these things is not like the other?



Do you see the Bonne Maman jar in the upper right corner of the frame?

Yup, that's mine, from home. It contains about 3 ounces of Lactaid milk for my tea. I'm lactose intolerant and I don't know one restaurant in New York that offers lactose-free milk. Skim milk, soy milk, sure; but lactose-free, not so much. So, I brought my own for this breakfast meeting at Le Pain Quotidien. [BTW: NOT a safe spot for anyone with a wheat or tree nuts allergy as it's all breads and pastries. As you can see I was having a soft boiled egg that was contaminant free].

You know what? Not one person in the restaurant questioned it. I thought I might get a stray look, a glance, maybe even an eyebrow raise but nothing. It was a non-event. Brilliant! If Lactaid only came in UHT packs I could carry some around with me all the time.

**

I wonder how many of you are not eating out because of food allergies and food intolerances? Between cross contamination, aerosolyzed protein particles, poor communication between the kitchen and servers and poorer food safety education, there are many very excellent reasons not to leave the safety of the home kitchen.

Yet, there are other equally good reasons to leave one's house and venture out and even if it's a non focused food event there's usually food with which one must contend. Movies, food. Bowling, food. Hiking, food. Skiing/ice skating, food. Art opening, food. College classes, food. Now they even let you bring food into a Broadway theater! Sheesh.

I wonder how many of you consider bringing your own dinner with you to a social food or non-food gathering? I've brought safe foods to social gatherings many times or I've eaten at home pre-event.

Bringing food into a restaurant? Even I have done that rarely, if ever. My sense is that generally restaurants don't like it when you do that. They charge a corkage fee when you bring your own wine and a plating fee when you bring your own cake, I wonder what would a restaurant charge if I brought my own entree--an entree-age fee?

What if a restaurant didn't feel safe accommodating me but I had to eat there for work or a unbreakable social engagement? I wonder what would happen. Could they deny me outside food? Hmmm, maybe I should trying bringing my tuperwared dinner just to see what would happen; it would be an interesting experiment.

Do any of you bring outside food in?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The E. U. Restaurant, NYC

Two weeks ago, the Fab Foodie Four--a more fun, supportive, safe and understanding group of foodie colleagues this Allergic Girl couldn't hope for, thank you guys!--descended upon the gastropub, The E.U. Restaurant, in order to check it out before the Executive Chef Akhtar Nawab leaves to open his own restaurant.

Before going, I spoke with General Manager Victoria about the Allergic Girl sitch. She was understanding and sympathetic and said the Chef would be happy to accommodate my requests. Indeed, my meal at The E.U. was gluten, fish, soy, dairy and tree-nut free.

Thank you Chef, GM Victoria, our server Abby [with the cute haircut] and The E.U. staff for all of your efforts!

However.

My dinner wasn’t particularly...innovative. I had a burger. Yes, another one. It wasn’t a great burger either: it was overcooked [read: dry] and not well seasoned. Ah, well.

I appreciate that The E.U. listened to my needs and I had no allergy issues. Yay! However, I was hoping for something more in the way of an “accommodation”.

So, my quest to find an allergy-free meal that's also delicious continues...