Traveling with nut allergies

Nut allergies, and eatting out

Red Robin

Red Robin has a great allergen menu, however different managers have different levels of allergy knowledge. The Red Robin in Amherst, NY has a peanut allergic Kitchen Manager, Eric. He is great! He started out at the Red Robin in Orchard Park, NY and they took him away from us. The Orchard Park GM, Don is very accomodating, but other managers may not be as knowledgeable. We call ahead and speak with the manager, we tell our waitress about our allergies and meet with the manager, but yet mistakes may still happen. We order our entire table peanut allergy free - my son is not yet 3, one never knows when they will need to test his food to see if it's too hot.

Mc Donalds

We frequent McDonald's at least once per week. It's my sanity. For a long time I only took my children through the drive-thru, I was concerned about contamination and I had 2 small children in tow by myself! One afternoon we encountered peanut butter dog treats in the drive-thru window. I almost couldn't speak. The attendant casually admitted they didn't serve any dog food that day, but my comfort level was gone. McDonald's corporate was quick to rectify the situation and assured me this would never happen again. I haven't seen any dog treats! I still love McDonalds!

The Keg

We visited the Butterfly Conservatory just past Niagara Falls and wanted to stop for lunch. Nobody in the area knew of any "peanut friendly" restaurants, but thanks to www.avoidingmilkprotein.com we had a list at the ready. Lundy's Lane is littered with restaurants but the Keg stood out in our minds that day. It's connected to a hotel and had one other table of patrons. I ran in ahead of my family to scope it out. There was no manager on duty yet, but the bartender/waiter knew where the allergen "Bible" was located and went through the list of menu items with me. Very few were peanut, really just the desserts. So we had lunch. Our waitress was great! She brought the book back to the table & we went through it again with our menus in front of us. It's rather pricey for a family of 4, $8 CAN children's portions but it was worth it for us to eat adult food for a change! My husband was uncomfortable we were so noisy because the restaurant seemed rather upscale. I've learned to ignore quite a bit with my children.

The only potentially negative thing I have to say about this experience is my peanut allergic son wouldn't eat his fries. Maybe he knew something cross contacted in the fryer. The staff did seem a little confused when we asked them about this. We know we can't eat the fries at Red Robin either. So maybe that was it, I'm not sure. However, if an almost 3 year old doesn't want fries, he might be trying to tell us something. Otherwise, I would certainly try it again but sit in the bar area & maybe order a substitute for the fries.

Reviews by Chris Popek from Clean Out The Pantry

Great Wolf Lodge

Our family just returned from a fantastic, fun-filled weekend at Great Wolf Lodge http://www.greatwolf.com/niagara/waterpark. I happened upon their website last week, and found a GREAT deal on a Kid’s Camp room. On a whim I called the hotel & spoke with the chef. He assured me they would accomodate us at the buffet! I booked the room!

Walking into the lodge, it is packed with families, kids, luggage. It looks like mass chaos! Moving further into the great hall, the talking moose & tree draw the kids into what will be the greatest weekend of their lives!

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Toronto, Ontario with Nut Allergies

Our family recently took a trip to Toronto for a little family vacation. I will admit, I was nervous about food. We spent two nights in a boutique hotel because my husband had stayed there before and knew what to expect. We chose against a family hotel because of the pets and ice cream bars.

Our first night we inteded to have ice cream for dinner at Lootsalicious the peanut free ice cream parlour, only to find out it was closed. I wasn’t familiar with the territory so we weren’t up for searching for the nut free bakeries. We ate dinner at the old stand by – McDonald’s. We were pretty disappointed, however things could only go up from there!

The next morning it was raining! So we hopped in a cab and visited the Ontario Science Centre. We had a great time riding the “magic stairs” aka escalators. There were a couple food areas in the museum but there were also allergen signs mentioning they food labels were available. We didn’t stop for a snack, we went back to the hotel for lunch. They boys enjoyed eating their spaghettios in the cafe. They felt like real business travelers! After lunch they went back to the room to play in their “office,” the desk and chair. I think my son’s favorite part about the trip was the shower! It is pretty magnificent.

Later that afternoon the concierge made a few phone calls for us regarding dinner. She found several restaurants able to accomodate our allergy. We chose PizzaRustica (www.pizzarustica.ca) It is an upscale pizza parlor with a French flair. They do not use pine nuts in their pesto and actually mention food allergy accommodations on their menu. The owner was very knowledgeable and understanding. They also deliver. I took the boys to eat pizza outside just as the Blue Jays game let out. Lots to watch while we waited for our pie! It was very tasty., flat pizza with sauce, sausage and mozzarella cheese. They boys ate 1/2 a piece each, however it was comforting to have a place close by where we could safely eat and take leftovers back to our room for later.

Our trip consisted of hours of walking. We had a great time in the Eaton Center, although I still don’t understand the elevator system. Some floors we could only go up or down not both & if we were on the wrong floor we couldn’t get out without travelling to the other end of the mall. And the ice cream. My kids loved the big fountain in the center of the mall, however all the kids loved the fountain and all the kids had ice cream. Again we had to talk about our allergies. But they forgot about it rather quickly. Daddy met us for a walk and we went back to our room to jump on the bed and watch a movie!!

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Second Trip Toronto, Ontario

2nd toronto trip.....we found Richman's peanut free bakery!!! They were fantastic!!! It took 20 minutes to convince my son it was OK to be in the bakery.

We purchased bread, cookies the size of their heads, small cookies, muffins, bagels, donuts, and biscotti. It was definitely worth the drive & our hotel told us they would order bread from there for us for our next stay!!!

We also visited Centre Island. We had a great time on the rides. It was crowded & I was nervous about the food situation but everything was ok. I just wish there had been something safe for my kids to eat, to tide them over. We also visited the fire department on the island...as well as the station on Adelade in toronto!!! We had a great visit. Reviews by Chris Popek from Clean Out The Pantry
Richmond Kosher Bakery is under new management but is still peanut/ nut free.

Thanks to our friend at Avoiding Milk Protein, we have traversed the city in search of peanut free confections! (see Avoiding Milk Protein's List Nut Free Bakeshops) Last summer we tried to find Loostsalicious, the peanut free ice cream parlor. To our dismay it was closed, however we hopped back in our minivan to visit Richman’s Bakery. We overindulged on cookies, cakes, breads, muffins, cupcakes, donuts- did I miss anything?

This summer we had the pleasure of overindulging in The Cupcake Shoppe’s delicious cupcakes. The kids’ favorite was the gumball topped cupcake! Mine was the chocolate chip cookie dough flavored cake with matching frosting!

In addition to cupcakes we purchased chocolate confections at Lollicakes, an adorable little shop in a section of Toronto called Davisville. When we return for chocolates, I will most certainly build in time to shop around this great neighborhood!

But beyond sweet treats we have found some great restaurants and attractions. Most recently we dined at Live and Breathe, aka L.A.B. an up and coming Toronto gastronomic hit! The chef/owner and staff are very friendly, preparing fresh, seasonal, “molecular gastronomy” to excite the taste buds! They provided us with an exceptional meal and were extremely accommodating of our allergy.

Pizzaria Rustica is another allergy friendly establishment, with 2 locations near the Rogers Center. Their pesto is void of nuts and they have gluten free options available.

I also subscribe to “Toronto for Kids,” a great weekly enewsletter highlghting weekly family events in Toronto.

We have had some great adventures in Toronto! It is about what we CAN do!..


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