Food Allergy Counseling

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

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Allergic Girl and Martha Stewart Living Radio

This Allergic Girl will be on Martha Stewart Living Radio with host Mario Bosquez, (remember him from Fox Five news?)today: Thursday, May 29th at 3pm.

We will be talking about all things food allergy: from being a good food allergic guest to being a good food allergic sensitive host.

It’s on Sirius so if you subscribe be sure to tune in!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bloom's New York Deli, NYC

A few weeks back I had lunch with friend and colleague Robin at Bloom’s New York Deli.

Catherine of AGlutenFreeGuide told me that they were one of the first GFRAP restos in NYC. And in midtown. And a deli. You know how I love deli.

Bloom’s does indeed have a GF menu. Our server, a total NYC character in the best sense, was semi-knowledgeable about GF options. (she really wanted to talk about the evils of soda though). There weren’t that many choices for me as I was in a breakfast-y state of mind. So I ordered eggs. That came with fries, no homefries. But what many of you might be happy about is that they were GF fries, made in a dedicated fryer! That was pretty excellent.

here's what arrived, eggs with fries [and Robin sneaking a fry]:


Overall would I run back? Eh, not really. The fries tasted like they had been fried three times in stale oil, the eggs came out with broken yokes and their GF menu wasn’t terribly impressive. But I’m glad they exist and hey this is only one Allergic Girl’s opinion. Check it out and let me know what you think.


Bloom's New York Deli
124 E 40th St,
New York, NY 10016

Monday, May 26, 2008

Allergic Girl and New York Magazine

Did you see this article by Katie Workman "When Cardamom Can Kill? " in this past week's New York Magazine.

And there were also some tips from this Allergic Girl. (Remember the egg white in my drink? On a date no less! Oy!) Have a look at some more AG tips to help when dining out.

Really, the more it gets talked about, the more patrons let restaurants know their needs, the better I think for those of us with food restrictions or specialized diets.

Thank you New York Magazine!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Kosher and Gluten-Free Event

We had a fantastic event on Tuesday night. A full house of Kosher diners, all gluten-free. Dinner was scrumptious, chat was free flowing and over two hours just FLEW by. Everyone can’t wait to do it again!

You can read more about the Worry-Free Dinner™ over at the WFD blog.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Worry-Free Dinners™ -- Join Us!

Have food allergies but are afraid to eat at a restaurant? Frustrated telling your colleagues over and over that you really can’t have that slice of cake even if they pick the nuts off? Have hesitations about using an allergy chef card? Recently diagnosed with celiac disease and don’t know where to begin?

Come to our next Worry-free Dinner at Craftbar where you will dine with ease knowing everyone at the table is like you; the specially prepared menu is allergen-friendly; the chef, the managers and the kitchen staff are prepared to handle your requests; and this Allergic Girl will walk you through strategies for living well with food allergies and food intolerances!

Details can be found at Worry-Free Dinners and only a few spots are left! Join us!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bermuda and Food Allergies

So how did it all work out in Bermuda?

Well I’m very safe and sound AND I had a great allergen-free time!

How did that happen? The firm that organized our weekend excursion, A&O Management and Franz Stuhlpfarrer in particular worked with every restaurant to tell them about my needs. I sent him a detailed list of what I am allergic to and what I am intolerant of and how BEST to create a safe meal for me: i.e. “Basically my diet is plain grilled red meats or chicken, and fruit and vegetables, no sauces. The plainer the better really.”

I love well-seasoned food of course, and sauces are lovely; however, when traveling, in a pretty fishy-zone [there’s Wahoo on every menu] keeping it plain is sooo much safer.

Truly, I’d rather have “boring” than scary any time.

Every restaurant we went to the either the manager presented himself to me or I to him, but everyone had received the email that I had sent Franz and they were prepared for me: gracious about accommodating my needs, thorough about cross contamination and happy to have me there! Each night, I had lean proteins, steamed veggies and no gluten, dairy or soy—and no issues! [This week I think I’m eating vegan though, I can handle only so much wonderful steak!]

Where we went for dinner and who to speak to when you go:

Blu Bar and Grill [Dario, manager]

Four Ways Inn [Thomas, manager]

Café Cairo [Stefan, manager]

Thank you again Franz and managers for taking some of the worry out of my trip!

Bermuda is Blue

From my little terrace at 7:30am:




See the sun rising in the east?


On the private pink beach at 11am:


Blue water and caves seen from the private charter for lunch:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bermuda and Allergies

I’m going to Bermuda for the first time this weekend. A group of us are going to celebrate a dear friend’s BIG birthday. I can’t wait for some balmy breezes, the smell of the ocean, some beach time, some relaxing time and some birthday time!

So…what am I packing aside from bathing suits? Why food of course. Bikinis take up only so much room; the rest of my bags will be snacks and food.

The trip coordinator has already spoken with all of the restaurants where we are eating and told them of the of the Allergic Girl sitch. I will of course will triple check, and bring some allergy cards and my sense of adventure.

And snacks.

Did I mention that I’m bringing food? Really that is the thing that saves me. I’m packing some Tinkyada pasta at the brill suggestion of my gluten-free and corn allergic friend Kuki Seth. I’m bringing organic GF granola I made and dried fruit; some rice crackers and Enjoy Life cookies ; and organic cheese and fruit for the flight.

Will take lots of pictures!

Anyone have any suggestions, I’m all ears!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lure Fish Bar, NYC

OK.

I could make this into another burger story because it’s partly that. But it’s also a story of how savvy restaurants are getting to the food allergic/food intolerant/celiac community. And how focused on food safety for their patrons restaurants are getting. And how fantastic all of that is for me, and you, and everyone we know.

Shari and I wanted to try somewhere new, on a Saturday night, in spring. Could have been a recipe for disaster but we choose wisely and went early! We went to Mercer street: a corner with two choices. One was Fanelli which I’ve been to before and was fine as a backup.

But the main event was Lure Fish Bar.

I know, I know: ack, fish!

And yes I had some fear but Shari is such a willing and easy allergic girl dining companion that my social fears were eased. It was she who suggested Lure Fish Bar knowing Fanelli was across the street in case Lure Fish Bar couldn’t accommodate me. The Lure burger had been highly prized by both the Eater boys and subsequently A Hamburger Today with nice burger pix a while back. (My burger did not look like that folks, but I’m jumping ahead.)

We sat at the bar, more direct eye contact as I’ve mentioned. And I wandered over to the host’s station to ask for the manager. Timothy stepped up.

I opened with, “I know this a fish restaurant; however, I have fish allergies and I’d like to have a burger.”

Timothy said, “That will be no problem. We get people we allergies all the time and the chef can accommodate you. We even have people with gluten allergies if you can believe that?!”

I said, “Well, yes I can. I can’t have any wheat either!”

Timothy went directly to the kitchen and returned saying that they do cook the burgers and the fish on the same grill even though they scrape between proteins. I asked if they would consider not grilling my burger but frying it in a clean pan? A quick trip to the kitchen confirmed that they would be happy to do so.

Our bar maid knew my order before I did and a plain burger, no bun, extra lettuce and tomato arrived, perfectly medium and fish –free! Timothy was efficient and helpful. Yay!

**

Was it the best burger? No, not really. (Keep in mind I didn’t order the Lure Burger which is their house specialty and comes with trimmings of all sorts and IS seen in this burger picture.). But the meat was bland, tasteless. I’ve had better recently at Shorty’s .32 and Porter House New York: well seasoned, perfectly cooked etc etc.

But here is the important part: they were completely gracious about the Allergic Girl situation. No eye-roll, no big deal. Easy. And it came out right.

As more of us with special dietary needs go out, venture out of our safe zones and educate restaurants about what we need and want, more and more of them are "getting it” and doing it!

Rock on Lure Fish Bar. If you can eat fish but have other dietary issues this may be a cool spot to check out.

Lure Fish Bar
142 Mercer Street
NYC
212.431.7676

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother’s Day with Food Allergies

For the last few years, my mother and I celebrate Mother’s Day with a group, usually other mother-daughter teams or friends whose mothers are far away.

Last year we tried Otto after the manager mentioned that they had GF pasta. We had a good time but the meal was a tummy disaster. Something great came out it though: a sit-down with Otto's GM and chef about their GF options, and now I go regularly to a pasta place and have a totally safe gluten-free, allergen-friendly meal!

**

This year the same group turned to this allergic girl to find something suitable for both me and two others in our group that have some food allergies and intolerances. I chose Little Giant. I had been there once before with a lovely woman I had met at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University dinner in December and had a great allergen-friendly dinner.

We arrived at 630pm to this cozy spot on Orchard Street, all windows and flattering candlelight. When I started to order, the waitress knew about the Allergic Girl situation. This was a first: when I started in with my “I have allergies” speech, she said, “You’re Sloane right?” What a classic move. I love being identified as the one with allergies, means they are on top of their game. I still gave her my run-down; she talked with chef, came back and said, “You can have any protein you want and any side that you want and we will make the necessary adjustments.” How cool is that?!

I actually ordered off the rack (i.e without any special tailoring) which is also a delight. I had the duck confit [duck leg cooked in it’s own fat, yum!]; taleggio polenta with wild mushrooms, and caramelized pearl onions, all gluten-free and allergen-friendly. I started with a plate of their homemade pickles: jicama, golden beets, runner beans, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower. Also yum. The mommies at the table had the swine of the week which this week was pork chop over asparagus risotto. The other allergic girls had the duck and the fish -- all yummy. For dessert we ordered the mommies cookies and “milk” which was freshly made chocolate chip, oatmeal and ginger snap cookies and vanilla ice cream.

We had a lovely evening, no reported tummy issues today from anyone and boy oh boy I can’t wait to return!

Thanks again Little Giant and Chef Tasha.

Little Giant
85 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002
t. 212.226.5047

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"Happiness" at the Roy Arias Theater Center

News of a one-night only performance here in NYC, May 14th. If you're in town, please check it out!

"Dear Friends & Fellow Performers,

I am writing to invite you to my new solo show, Happiness, which has been selected for the One Woman Standing Festival, and will play for one night only, Wednesday May 14th, at 9:00 pm. The performance will take place at the Payan Theater in the Roy Arias Theater Center, located at 300 West 43rd Street, at 8th Ave.

I will be performing the full, sixty-minute version of Happiness for the first time, with a forum for audience feedback after the show.

I would love it if you could be there, and your feedback would be enormously valuable. Please come, if you can. Bring your mom, bring a friend, bring your Verizon network gang -- tickets are only $10, for sixty minutes of the performing arts (!). A bargain in my book, considering that barely buys a large latte and a scone in our fair city.

Happiness is drawn from my experience of having a sick child, of living amid the dying, and returning to ordinary life. It's about human fragility and regenerative power, and about looking for happiness in the nooks and crannies of a dark time, or wherever it might be hiding.

I'm pasting in a link for tickets and reservations below, and a longer description of the show.

Hope to see you there, and thanks so much for your support.

Warmly, HH"
Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/57uu53

"Happiness" is a highly kinetic one-woman show about a child's passage from life-threatening illness to health. It explores the euphoria and fear we face as physical beings, both immensely fragile and regenerative. Along the way, we encounter characters who struggle to find peace in their physical selves including: Gandhi, who rejoices that in limbo he can at last eat; a homeless Russian dissident who fears that it is his past, and not the wind, which keeps snatching his hat; and a young girl who takes breath after breath, against her will, on a ventilator. These characters share a fixation with the possibilities and limitations of the physical body, and a fascination with the elusive happiness they believe exists beyond their own skin.

Heather Harpham's performance work has been described by the New York Times as possessing "sly inherent humor," and as "bewitching." Her performance style synthesizes the physical eloquence of dance with the emotional power of theater to create a narrative hyper reality where the ordinary and the surreal entwine.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Visting NYC with Food Allergies

Where to take your allergic kids when visiting NYC? It's a tough one.

This below comes from an Allergic Girl reader who brought her little one to NYC for the first time in April.

As a lot of you ask me about where to take your allergic kids when you visit NYC, I hope this helps.

(The below is reprinted with her permission and is based solely upon her experiences.)

Greetings from Atlanta. I’m the person who was bringing my 7 year old on a special trip to NYC. Our trip was last week and it was FABULOUS!! (thanks to a fantastic bout of sunshine and mid-70’s weather). We went to some spots that might be considered touristy, but some of your traveling readers might like the info.

P.S. Another note helpful to allergy sufferers, I found that using Open Table for reservations has been very helpful. I’m able to put all of the allergy information in the “notes” section and ask them to call me if they cannot accommodate the allergy. I was pleasantly surprised at how often the restaurant noted the allergy when we walked in to honor the reservations.

So here is my rundown:

Spotlight Live – Times Square


This is a kitschy place with cool décor, lots of disco balls and it’s a karaoke bar/restaurant that has back-up singers/dancers. Neither my daughter nor I had any intension of singing, but I thought it would be a fun place to bring a 7 year old. I was right. She loved it and for the record, there were lots of other girls who looked to be about her age singing & dancing.

I called ahead and although it took a few phone calls to get to the right person, I ended up talking to the chef. He said to ask for him when we got there. I had made the reservations on Open Table (which I HIGHLY recommend), so they knew it was us and I took the opportunity to tell them yet again about my daughter's allergy. When we got the restaurant, we were seated and to my surprise, the chef came right out to greet us. He said they have lots of kids who come in and are very familiar with allergies. He suggested some items on the menu that we might like. Everything was hot and yummy (albeit QUITE overpriced, by hey, that’s NYC). There was this wonderful “make your own Sundae” item on the menu, but seeing that some of the items would not work for my daughter, he offered to make us a smaller version and charge us less for it. Nice!! So overall, it was a very good experience.

Orso – Theatre District


I had read about this in one of my travel books and it said “make reservations early, it’s hard to get in”, so I thought it had to be a good bet. I called for reservations and noted the allergies. They said it would not be a problem. When we got to the restaurant, the waiter was very nice and noted the allergy. Although it was easy for my daughter to order (plain pasta with butter & Parmesan cheese), it was a little more difficult for me because I try not to order items with nuts in them myself when I’m dining with her. Many of the sauces were pre-made and it made it difficult to order what I wanted. I didn’t love what I ended up having to get, but oh well. It would have been nice if they could have made the dish on its own, sans nuts. Overall however, it was a nice experience for us. Oh, and FYI, this is a nice place, not a kiddie joint. She was the only child in there, which was perfect with me.


The Boathouse – Central Park


This was wonderful on a beautiful day. They were fine about the allergy, but a lot depends on your waiter. Ours was OK. She took our “allergy alert” card to the chef, but seemed a bit nonchalant about it. Again, it’s pretty easy to order for a 7 year old. I had the Halibut. A bit dry, but again, we were really there for the wonderful ambiance and weather. I used Open Table again and that seemed to work well for us.

Rock Center Café – Rockefeller Center


Perfect time of year for this restaurant. We were able to sit outside and our table was RIGHT on the fountain. Once again, I used Open Table and noted the allergy, telling them to contact me if there was a problem. I originally had reservations at Brasserie, but then opted to change them. I chose this restaurant, not only for it’s exciting location, but also because it’s owned by the same people who own Brasserie and you seemed to have a good experience there. That said a lot. Again, they were aware of the allergy and I was able to order good food for both my daughter and I.

So that’s it in a nutshell (no pun intended). Hope this might help your more “touristy” readers. Again, we had a fantastic time in your fair city and I can’t wait to return with my youngest daughter in a few years when she is 7.

Thanks Allergic Girl!!

T.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Asthma and Allergy Awareness Day at Shea, May 11, 2008

(information provided courtesy of AAFA.com)

Sunday May 11, 2008 – 1:10pm
Shea Stadium, Flushing, Queens

Bring your mother, your sister, your grandmother, and all of your friends and family members to enjoy a day of baseball as the New York Mets take on the Cincinnati Reds! The Mets organization has officially named Sunday May 11, 2008 Asthma and Allergy Awareness Day at Shea, and many special activities honoring asthma and allergy sufferers will take place.

Tickets are only $10, a portion of which goes directly to WWW.AAFA.ORG. You can purchase your tickets online at www.mets.com/groups and enter the Sign-In ID: ASTHMA and Password: METS. Once you are logged in, you can click on the date of the game (May 11) and follow the instructions on the site.

The first 25,000 female fans in attendance will receive a pink Mother’s Day cap, and all fans purchasing tickets through the AAFA group will receive a commemorative Shea Stadium lapel pin.

Our theme, "for life without limits," is a constant reminder that, today, nothing stands in the way to having a full and active life -- with proper diagnosis, prevention and treatment, there are no limits to what people with asthma and allergies can do. And, this theme is a promise to future generations that we will continue to search for cures to eliminate asthma and allergies and burden they currently cause millions of Americans.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Crustless Quiche from the NYT

A naturally gluten-free quiche with a video demo. "Mark Bittman, a k a The Minimalist, deconstructs quiche for a delicious breakfast treat".

This is not dairy free by any means but boy they look lovely. Get thee to thy ramekins!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Kinhaven Music School, Event, May 2008




Small, intimate New York events happen every night in this town, on all kinds of scales for all kinds of reasons. Every now and then I’m treated to an event like this. Last night was just such an affair to support Kinhaven Music School in Vermont: a gathering of friends, supporters, alumnae and artists at the Harlem home of Richard Brice, noted viola player.

I have seen him perform many times with An Die Musik and An Die Musik’s founder Connie Emmerich invited me to last night’s event to celebrate Kinhaven. From what she tells me it is truly a wonderful place for young talents to go and study for the summer, in a nurturing non-competitive environment.

***

Why am I telling you dear allergic readers about this, as it’s neither food nor restaurant related? Mainly because I just adore chamber music—it places me in a completly relaxed state. And because living with allergies and asthma can put one in a very NON-relaxed state especially if your asthma is raging or something you’ve just eaten has your throat itching or you’ve been glutenized and your tummy is gurgling.


Evening program:


I seek out ways to get to that relaxed and happy place. The Brandenburg concertos are one of those places for me. So it was an extra treat to hear the fifth concerto played live, 10 feet away; chamber music played a la chambre.

PS I had a chance to talk about the state of theater today with everyone’s favorite television psychiatrist and germaphobe: Niles Crane! Yes, the incomparable David Hyde Pierce was there to support friends and was gracious and polite, a lovely seeming man and good conversationalist!

Hi-Life, NYC

We contributed to Iron Man’s blockbuster weekend with an afternoon viewing at The Ziegfeld. It was OK. Behar gave it a solid B. I liked it at the time, couldn’t tell you know what it was about though.

Afterward we were looking for a pubby burger spot and I remembered Hi-Life. There used to be three of these spots around town: the one on east 72nd street was recently razed for a highrise. Say that a few times fast.

Known for fish tanks, leather padded walls and a dark and cozy good time, I was glad to see the west side still kicking. And it was exactly what we wanted. We both got burgers.

Here was the surprise: I ordered mine no bun, fries on the side for Behar and that’s how it came. No big convo, no I can’t have this or that and then it showing up wrong.

Maybe it’s because we ate at the bar that this order went so smoothly. I swear there is something about being eye level with your server helps and the fact that there’s no runner involved. Your bartender takes the order and serves the order. It’s a rare occurrence that I’ve been served a total disaster at the bar.

Unless they’re putting unwanted things in my drink.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Divvies

Did I mention that I met the man behind the woman behind Divvies?

At the AAAAI.org conference under one of the massive banner for a pharma company was Mark with his stand of Divvies treats.

Nice man. He gave me his last bag of Divvies Kettle Corn. When I got back home I gobbled, and I mean inhaled the stuff, it was so delicious and peanut free, tree-nut free, egg free & dairy free. I just wish they did GF products as well. I asked Mark and they are considering it down the road...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008

World Laughter Day

A friend passed this along and who couldn't use more laughter? If you're in the city, come on down.

World Laughter Day in New York
Sunday May 4th
Noon to 2pm


"New York-World Laughter Day is being celebrated on May 4th from
noon-2pm.

It will take place at Great Hill in Central Park, entrance on 106th and Central Park West, go up the stairs. One can stop by for a few minutes or stay for the whole time.

The event is hosted by Dr. Alex Eingorn, Laughter Ambassador and supported by film producer Tirlok Malik.

Dr. Madan Kataria started laughter yoga in 1995 in Mumbai. He believes laughter is the best medicine both spiritually and physically. It burns calories, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and it's fun to do. Today there are more than 5,000 laughter yoga clubs around the world. May 4th is being celebrated worldwide as a day where people get together and laugh.

It's a fun event for kids and adults for no charge.

All are welcome.
Best,
Tirlok Malik