What's food without great company?
This weekend trip to Newport, RI was a mother daughter extravaganza where the great company surpassed the food. My mother and I were joined by another mother daughter duo: Pallavi and Kunjali. Kunjali is a former Allergic Girl. She had a childhood filled with LOTS of food allergies and asthma most of which she has outgrown, lucky girl. However, this meant that both mother and daughter, having lived through, and traveled through, years of medicines and hospital visits and big allergic scares TOTALLY got the whole allergic sitch. These ladies were not merely understanding and completely gracious in their approach of where we should dine together but went so far as to say: “You pick the restaurants that work for you, we’ll make do anywhere.”
This was an unexpected and welcome attitude. I’d like to express a very public thank you to both Pallavi and Kunjali for their flexibility, graciousness, and good humor. Their outlook lightened my load.
What’s my load? Having food allergies, frankly, is a pain in the ass. And the feelings, frustrations, worries, anxieties and panic that surround going to a new restaurant when you’re in a place far away from home are all heightened. And exhausting. Add to that mix eating out with new friends?! You certainly don’t want to land in the hospital when dining with someone new. Or old. Or by yourself. Or with anyone really. [Ironically, Kunjali had an allergic reaction to a steamer on Saturday which knocked her out for the afternoon and evening. She was a trooper and went to dinner Saturday night and ate lightly but was still unwell. By Sunday, she had recovered and was back on track for house tour fun. But it was ironic as she hadn't had an allergic response to seafood in years and here she was being so accommodating to my allergies when she had the reaction! Glad you're better, Kunjali!]
Of course, I tried to pick places that would please everyone. We all had done research through different sources and the same restaurants kept coming up again and again. So those were the places I investigated, looked at their menus online, and spoke with staff ahead of time. And where we went eventually.
Unfortunately [or fortunately depending on your taste of course] every menu we looked at was going through a Caribbean moment. I was told twice that many of the cooks are Jamaican and thus their influence is felt in the kitchen. I don’t know if that is true but I do know that getting a piece of chicken without a mango-pineapple glaze in a blood orange-tarragon-mint reduction sauce was near impossible at any restaurant we explored.
So I had a tricky time getting something “plain” which is my standby. The only thing I could find to order plain were burgers. I had a burger a day, sometimes two. Ugh. But it was the only safe option.
Lucky for me this town isn’t so small that there wasn’t a Stop and Shop or two nearby.
Upon arrival, I did my usual, which was check out the local supermarket for backup snacks: cut carrots, apples, bananas, canned beans, pre-washed salads. These goodies saved me. The first night I actually had dinner in my room with snacks I had brought from home. And each morning I had homemade granola for bfast. Our room had a fridge in it; another saving grace for an allergic person.
Food reviews coming up....