If you are a Worry-Free Dinners member out of New York City, we can help you plan your trip here (email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information) like this Florida Worry-Free Dinners member.
Dani contacted us a few weeks ago to help plan her family's dining out experience. After a phone consult with Allergic Girl, she felt more secure about visiting several of the WFD restaurant partners and Allergic Girl Recommended spots and had a great time.
Here is Dani's report (reprinted with permission) - Thanks Dani!
As many of you know, planning a trip with two food allergic kids (peanuts, nuts, gluten/wheat,avocado) can be a very trying experience filled with much anxiety and trepidation prior to even boarding the airplane. However, after hours of planning, researching, speaking to chefs, using opentable.com and having a nice chat with Sloane Miller (allergicgirl.com) I am happy to say that we did everything in NYC that we wanted to do and more.
We dropped off our bags and went straight to Blue Smoke since I wanted to get there prior to the Saturday night rush hour. They were great. I had called them and made a reservation with opentable.com so they were ready for us. Believe me, I drill the waiters each and every time they bring food to the table even though there was a gluten and nut free menu. The waiters were WONDERFUL and didn't mind me triple checking everything. The food was DELICIOUS - yummy ribs, mashed potatoes, baked beans,salad. YUM YUM YUM. I tried to leave a tip for the Blue Smoke Chef but instead he came out and spoke to us and gave us a tour of the kitchen. What a treat!!!!! He has 2 allergic nieces so he knows the safety drill. My kids mouth opened as they watched the hundreds of chicken roasting in the rotisserie. It was really cool for them. From the second we walked in to the time we left we were treated really well and had a blast.
We had equal success at Bistango which we ate at four times. They have a great staff and are very allergy aware. They have the great crunchy bread by everybodyeats.com which is nut and gluten free and they toast it up and it is soooooo delicious. (Coincidentally, I had everybodyeats.com deliver an order of cookies, pizza, cake and bread to us upon our arrival - DELICIOUS!!!) My kids felt really safe here and we were able to eat outdoors. They have a wonderful menu and almost everything can be made gluten and nut free. I even heard a waitress ask another table if there was anyone with food allergies. Ya! Way to go!!!!!
Again, success at Porter House New York. This is a wonderful upscale steakhouse that we ate at prior to seeing Wicked. They were very accommodating to us. My kids declared it was the most delicious steak, carrots, beet salad, mashed potatoes that they had ever eaten. Again, super food... very accommodating and a great view.
We did have a few places that we were not comfortable in - after spending hours at American Girl and of course spending too much money we went to our scheduled reservation for lunch. It is funny, this was the place that I was least worried about but once we walked in I knew it was an absolute NO. I had spoken to American Girl top times and I read blogs that they are very allergy aware and have a nut free kitchen. However, the place was filled with crumbs, our table and chairs had food on it and the waitress twice tried to serve us wheat cinnamon buns. I could see my wheat/gluten allergic daughters face and we all looked at each other and promptly got up and left.
We took a taxi to SMAC and again knew as soon as I saw the kitchen and spoke to the waitress at the counter this was not the place for us. Funny though, my kids knew too. They may be young but they know already how to discern what is safe. We jumped in another taxi and ended up at Bistango again. Safe and delicious again. It was worth a few taxi rides and a banana snack from a street vendor.
Was it easy in New York with two allergic children? NO.
Was I full of anxiety but had to keep a smile on my face during every meal so as not to stress out my kids? YES
Did I carry around a backpack stuffed so full of snacks that we ended up buying a stroller to cart it around? YES
Did I stop at every health food store and check out their allergy friendly snack section? YES
Did my kids do everything they wanted in New York City and more? YES
Did they have a great time? YES
So in the end, we had a great vacation. I know I will always have anxiety going out of my little safe box in Florida but we know we must venture out. We have had safe vacations in Aspen, Bahamas, Bar Harbor, Maine and other States so it is possible. We are planning a few other short trips this summer including Disney World. The kids are excited and in the end they need to have a normal as possible childhood. One day, all the responsibility will be on their shoulders but until then I will teach them slowly but thoroughly how to navigate through the world with life threatening allergies. And I hope everyday, by the time they reach College, that the worry will somehow be lessened by one of the many treatments that scientists are working on now.
Thanks Sloane for giving me that time on the phone. It really helped to know that I was on the right track. I know that there is never a 100% guarantee but you can get pretty close if you try.
All the best,