Food Allergy Counseling

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gluten-Free in New Haven, CT

From an AG reader for all of you GF folks in Connecticut:

I wanted to tell you that I was in New Haven, CT yesterday and ate at a wonderful little cafe called Claire's Corner Copia. They have a gluten-free menu, very considerate staff, and the owner was sitting right at the front to meet guests and offer assistance. Oh-- and they had gluten-fee blueberry cake!! I was beside myself with joy.

If you are ever in New Haven, I would definitely recommend going-- their website says to feel free to call in advance to help plan your meal-- I did and they said they would make sure to have a gluten-free cake the day I came. It was really fabulous.

I thought, "it should always be this easy."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Free Give-Away from Triumph Dining

From our friends at Triumph Dining--thanks Kelly at Triumph!

Triumph Dining is giving away FREE American Dining Cards until the end of August. There’s absolutely no purchase necessary. Your readers can simply visit our site to participate and get a free dining card.

The purpose of this give-away is to raise money for Celiac Disease Awareness. If 15,000 people to sign up for free dining cards, Triumph Dining will make a $10,000 donation in support of a national celiac disease awareness campaign. When we hit our goal, we'll ask you and the gluten free community to help us decide which non-profit(s) receives the donation.

We’re trying to build awareness on two fronts: With 15,000 more dining cards on the street, we’ll be educating more restaurants about the gluten free diet faster. And, with $10,000 funding behind a national campaign, we can diagnose and educate more Celiacs.

The FREE dining card offer is available at the Triumph Dining's site and we’ll be posting regular progress reports on our Triumph Dining blog.

"Season’s Eatings", Time Out New York

Handy guide about NYC summer produce from Time Out NY. Rock on local!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

5 Napkin Burger, NYC

UPDATE 2012: Since their opening, I have been back many, many times to both the upper west side  and the midtown west location with delicious and consistently allergen-friendly/safe results. For example: they use a dedicated fryer for all fries in all locations. So big thumbs up on this one!

A few weeks back, after an earlier dinner disaster [as in waitstaff was scarily unhelpful, so we cut our losses early and went searching for other, friendlier vistas], foodie buddy and resto publicist Shari Bayer and this Allergic Girl went to try out the new 5 Napkin Burger in Hell’s Kitchen.

The spot had been opened a week. And there had been some bad reviews, funnily bad, saying food good, space weird, and service terrible. So we were warned and we found it really the opposite.

OK, true, the space is odd. Tables in the middle, corralled there and lonely, a perimeter of booths near the window and too many dead zones to count. We found the service, although clearly “green”, sweet and helpful.

We were told we’d sit in 40-45 minutes. We went to the bar where I spied a very chef-y looking guy--he was wearing the whites, the checked pants and had the instant read thermometer in his sleeve. I introduced myself and asked him if indeed he was the chef de cuisine.

"Yes, I’m Oscar," he said.

I asked him about the Allergic Girl sitch and he said it would be fine: they only cook burgers on the grill, the fries are in a dedicated fryer and no bun on my burger was easy.

I’m telling you, sitting at the bar, even if you don’t drink, is like magic.

Our wait ended up being 20 minutes, yay, and we got a coveted window booth, more yay.

Our waiter couldn’t have been more thespy if he was auditioning for role of “waiter in NYC hot spot”. But he got the allergic girl thing down perfectly, was friendly, courteous, sweet and helped to guide me through the menu, which includes sushi. [It has been commented on by more than one yelper and chowhound that sushi is simply an odd choice for a burger place. J’agree.]. He mentioned as their kitchen was backed up, and they had only been open a week, our burgers might be 25 minutes or so. So we got ready for another wait but 10 minutes later, out they came. It was our lucky night all around.

They have an already-GF bunless burger on the menu! How easy is that? “Inside Out Burger hormone free, naturally raised beef wrapped in lettuce, 5n sauce, b&b pickles, $13.95”

Rock on! I had it without sauce and with extra extra bread&butter pickles which were delish [if you have vinegar/sugar issues they may not be for you though].

The burger verdict: sadly, it was tasteless. Juicy to be sure, and maybe 2-3 napkin worthy but without taste. I had it medium rare, the perfect burger temp and they just didn’t season the thing. When I mentioned this, gently, to the waiter he asked, "Did you try it with the special '5n sauce'?" Now you all understand that a allergic girl just doesn’t go around trying foreign condiments, so that would be a no. He insisted that since the sauce was so flavorful they kept the meat under-seasoned. Yeah, I don’t buy it. The burger just wasn’t as lipsmacking delish as it could and should have been.

So BIG points for allergen-friendly and helpful staff; demerits for lack of complete and utter deliciousness.

5 Napkin Burger
630 9th Ave.,
212-757-2277

Monday, July 21, 2008

Franklin Becker, Sheridan Square

I received this last week from one of my favorite allergy-friendly chefs here in NYC, Chef Franklin Becker:

"I just wanted you to know that I have accepted a new position as Executive Chef of Sheridan Square which is located on 7th Ave south between Charles and 10th street in the West village. I began on July 15th and hope to debut my new menu on August 11th.

Expect items such as Cherry wood grilled Octopus with shaved fennel, orange and mint; Satur Farms Baby Field Greens with Jasper Hill Blue "croutons" and crisp ham. We will also take full advantage of Sheridan Square's beautiful wood burning grill and oven to feature exceptional pieces of fish, meat and game. For dessert expect to see plays on American classics such as our "Flying Saucers" with macadamia brittle, dulce de leche and creme fraiche ice creams and Brown butter Pain Perdue with bananas "foster" and ovaltine ice cream.

Sheridan Square will be a peanut free environment and we will respect and care for those with dietary restrictions, aversions and allergies.


I hope to see you soon,

Franklin Becker
Executive Chef
Sheridan Square
134 7th Avenue at 10th Street
NY NY 10014
(212) 352 2237

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The BBQ Love, July 28th, 2008



Above's a picture from the Blue Smoke tasting we went to a few months back in preparation for the next WFD event. Oy oy oy!

There's still time to become a member of Worry-Free Dinners and join us for our next event.

Gluten-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free (and dairy-free if you need it) BBQ love at Blue Smoke here in NYC.

Come on down!

Cold v. Allergy

The age old question: do I have a cold or do I have an allergy. The Science Times today has a quick answer to the question.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bonjoo, NYC

** UPDATE MAY 2010: THIS ESTABLISHMENT HAS CLOSED.**

After bumping into an old friend on the street a few weeks, back, gotta love NYC (except when you bump into old boyfriends that you never wanted to see again--Our Lady J sings the BEST song about just that, "Pink Prada Purse"--but I digress).

Casey and I bumped into Sandra Ramani, traveler and writer extraordinaire and we made a date to meet at Sandra’s favorite Korean hang: Bonjoo.

Korean food is tricky for this allergic girl, especially as they love to use fermented fish and soy everywhere. But Sandra spoke so highly of Bonjoo and it's owner, I figured I’d have the convo and see where it went.

When we arrived Sandra said hello to the owner, Kate, a lovely young Korean woman. Kate and I went through the menu and although she could hang with the no fish thing, the no soy issue threw her for a loop. She literally said, “I’m scared for you!” I reminded her that I wasn’t allergic to soy [no hives] but it would give me a tummy ache and reinforced that fish was scarier and allergenic--worse than tummy ache, way worse.

Were were able to come up with an allergic girl safe bibimbop, a very well known and beloved Korean dish: rice, veggies and an sunny side egg on top all in a hot bowl that continues to cook everything whilst you eat it, creating the best hard rice crust on the bottom.

I admit I was a little nervous about eating because Kate was a little nervous for me. However, when the dish came it looked very simple and plain. Kate came by and reiterated that it was completely plain, no fish, no soy so I said a little prayer and dug in. I kept digging until I was practically licking the bowl it was so yummy. It was a bit bland, it needed the chili sauce that she brought but I felt I wasn’t 100% sure about the sauce yet and believe it's better to go one step at a time.

Lesson learned? I might be able to go and have some Korean food every now at then as long as Kate’s looking out for me at Bonjoo in the east village. I love adding new spots and new foods to the personal AG approved list!

Bonjoo
107 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 505-7974

UPDATE: Just had a chance to go back again (November 2008), still delicious and no soy no fish in my veggie Bimimbop! Be sure to ask for owner Kate or manager Hye (pronounced: "Hay").

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dos Caminos Third Avenue, NYC

Here’s a quick tale of a restaurant that got it so right.

Had a business meeting on Wednesday and as they both knew about the allergic girl sitch they asked me to suggest an AG friendly spot midtown. I chose Dos Caminos Third Avenue as back in my publishing days I’d take both authors and agents to the Dos Caminos Park Avenue outpost and they were usually pretty decent about allergies. [PS I didn't call ahead and I didn't talk with management when I arrived.]

Either the B.R. Guest Restaurant Group has stepped up the allergy love or this chef took it upon himself to step it up.

After explaining my needs and the server checking with the kitchen our dishes arrived. My dish had a sticker on it that said “Allergy” in bold red letters. (What?! Yay!!)

The busser took off the sticker and handed me my allergy-free dish. I’ve never seen that used before and I loved it!

As we started our meal, the floor manager made himself known to us just to check in specifically with my needs and my dish. Love, love, love that!

This is how it should be folks. Don’t expect anything less. Seriously.

Thank you Dos Caminos, you have my patronage!

Dos Caminos
825 Third Avenue At 50th
New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212.336.5400
Fax: 212.336.5450

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Lili's 57, NYC

UPDATE 2009: After multiple mistakes involving food allergy orders (egg, soy, fish etc), I believe Lilli & Loo and its sister Lilli 57 are safe primarily for the gluten-free community. As always, double check with your server or the owner/manager about your individual needs.

I've been a fan of Lilli & Loo’s since last December when I was invited to try the GF menu. I enjoyed the food so much and felt safe enough that we had our first Worry-Free Dinner event there in April. Everything was delicious, natch, and no tummy issues from any WFD members to report.

Maggie and Alfred, co-owners of Lilli & Loo’s and Lili's 57 invited me to come try their new gluten-free menu at Lili's 57, conveniently located across from Carnegie Hall. They just received the GFRAP certification and said they are inviting a few of the New York City based GF bloggers for a test run.

At Lili's 57, Alfred told me that once he and Maggie started trying playing around with GF Asian items, they quickly realized that the new GF items tasted great, better even than the “normal” menu items. Alfred believes this is because they put some much extra thought and care into the formulation of each new dish.

I can tell you from first hand experience that not merely have the owners created replications of formally non-GF items like GF fried rice (which I order at least once every two weeks) but they are GF Asian food innovators (with a side of perfectionism): playing with new flours, new recipes and new ideas to create a new culinary experience.

As may of you already know, I’m intolerant to wheat, dairy and soy [even wheat-free soy sauce] and allergic to tree-nuts, fish, eggplant and a lot of the more exotic fruits like mango. So when I arrived at Lili's 57, Alfred had my whole list printed out and had prepared a very special Allergic Girl tasting menu which rocked my world.

**You don’t have to be a professional allergic girl to get this kind of treatment. Maggie and Alfred pride themselves on being accommodating, able to leave out ingredients or make necessary substitutions if given some notice.**

On the back of the GF menu there's an explanation about "Why GF?" and how they go about creating your GF meal:


We started with my favorite fresh Saigon Roll with two dipping sauces:


The first sauce is their normal one, on the sour/sweet vinegar side, with hints of mint:


Here’s a new sauce that Alfred made for me [no soy] that has some chili oil and a hint of spice, made from cilantro and lime. Looks similar but with a nice kick and the back of the tongue. I keep dipping my fork in the sauce in between courses:


Here are the dumplings they have been playing with. The filling is pork, just like the regular dumpling but the dough is a garbanzo mix. They are still perfecting it but I said, tasted pretty perfect to me. I haven’t had a dumpling in I don’t know how long. The dough was spongy, a little beany [which I don’t mind] and very dumpling-like:


Alfred wanted me to try this GF “sushi” roll. I don’t do sushi, obvi, and am pretty nervous about having anything made in that whole sushi area but I know how seriously Maggie and Alfred take the issues of cross contamination so I trusted that they would make this safe for me. The “sushi” consisted of GF sweet potato tempura, wrapped in sticky rice with sesame seeds and avocado. For dipping sauce I used the spicy cilantro mint since again no soy for me. It was delicious overall. The tempura needs some refining as there was a chalky texture but the concept was sound and they are working on getting a GF tempura right:


My favorite dish, Chicken Fried Rice, which needs no introduction. Mine was made with no wheat and no soy in a white sauce:


And then this dish which I called “dessert chicken”. Sweetened with sake, orange and orange peel, the dish is spicy from whole chilies and deep friend, like chicken donuts. It’s completely decadent. I had to stop myself from gobbling it all down as there was still more food coming at this point.

The first bite reminded me of the lemon chicken I ate as a child. This version for the aughties was lighter and more delicate. The technique is to deep fry in a cornstarch batter (if you are allergic to corn like Kelly, Celiac Chick, let them know and they will batter with arrowroot). The chicken is also deep fried in a clean wok with fresh oil for every GF person.

Heavenly. I had some for lunch cold, the next day, and it was still soooo good.



Overall, I left stuffed, and happy. No allergic issues that night, no intolerant issues the next day. Just happy happy.

Thank you to Maggie and Alfred of Lili's 57 for creating an allergen-friendly, gluten-free Asian dining experience that we can all enjoy pre-theater or anytime!

Lili's 57
200 West 57th (on 7th Ave)
New York, NY 10019
Tel:212-586-5333
Fax:212-586-5345

Monday, July 07, 2008

Bourdain, The Travel Channel

I'm not like a Tony lover, really I'm not.

But, I will say this: he puts on a good show with his snarky asides and his gluttony [or is that gourmand-y]. And after all these years he's actually getting better at his show [remember it all started as A Cook's Tour on the Food Network], not worse--no shark jumping here. And of late, with age, he has turned into quite the silver fox.

I'll be DVR'ing the show tonight: Laos.

PS. So that was odd. Tony looked *very* uncomfortable throughout the whole show. Not just humbled but awkward. And food wasn't the highlight: the "mysterious and romantic mist" of Laos was. Huh? What about the food?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Fancy Food Show, NYC, 2008

Had a dip into the Fancy Food Show in NYC last Sunday. More than a dip really, I walked the whole show which was huge in three hours. That is a feat let me tell you!

In hindsight, It seemed like aisles and aisles...


Gourmet honey was everywhere--here's one company, Savannah Bee Company, making honey flavored beauty products (with alot of nut oils):

Fancy olive oils, flavored waters (one called Metromint one called Hint) and organic tomato sauce dominated the show.

However a few of our collective gluten-free heroes were there as well. Here's Tina from Glutino. Did you know they had frozen ready-to-eat GF meals? I haven't seen that in my frozen section in Whole Foods, have you?


Cherrybrook Kitchen was there unveiling some new GF cookies, vanilla graham and chocolate chip. I had a taste and forgot to snap a pic...

Here’s me (red-eyes got me again)and Shabtai hottie Andrew (sorry girls, he's taken).


**

In some news: Eden Foods has a new line of organic GF rice and beans that I tried the week before. They are a great, cheap and easy lunch for the workplace:


San-J maker of organic GF tamari is making these marinades GF as of January 2009. Very cool!


Hillside Candy, makers of the Go Lightly brand for diabetics, has rolled out a gluten-fee organic hard candy: Go Naturally using evaporated cane juice and brown rice syrup. They were pretty organically yum!

And last bit of news, I met Molly of Miss Molly's icing. I know you've seen it too in the Whole Foods fridge section. It's ready made frosting that's: "Non-Hydrogenated, No Gluten, No Soy, No Nuts, No Eggs, No Preservatives, No Colors". Woo Hoo, right?

Now on the packages it does say made in a facility with tree-nuts and I asked Miss Molly about this. She was advised to place that on the product because she shares a facility with another manufacturer who occasionally uses nuts in his products, but on different days and after everything is cleaned etc. There is NO contact between these two companies and Molly assured me that her highly nut allergic son eats the product all the time and is fine.

Now everyone is different so PLEASE call the manufacturer if you have questions (Tel: 603-491-6464) but I tried it right there, and yup, it's delicious GF icing.


**

OK now you know the basics of this year’s offerings. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

NYC Waterfalls, 2008

Had an opportunity drive into Brooklyn last night and take some camera-phone pictures of the outdoor waterfalls art display.

Wow.

Dusk on the Brooklyn Promenade looking toward Manahattan:



The Brooklyn Bridge waterfall:


The waterfall at the Brooklyn Piers:

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hookworms and Allergies and Asthma, Oh My!

All I can say is ewww.

Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy

In keeping with my desire to add some leisure back into my life, I went to the Metropolitan Museum last Wednesday to immerse myself in something larger, ageless and enduring.

And then I went to the Superheroes exhibit.

I love when museums get those who may not otherwise be interested engaged in art. Costume design is an easy hit, a crowd pleaser and this exhibit is no exception. Christopher Reeve’s Superman costume is there both as Clark Kent and the man of steel; the recent Spiderman; Christian Bale’s Batman; the original Wonder Woman worn by Linda Carter (she was much smaller than she looked on TV); even the recently released Ironman’s suit. Alongside these iconic costumes were contemporary designers takes on the themes. Fun.

Afterwards, I walked through Central Park stopping at the Great Lawn to look at the part of a rainbow that was overhead and the streaky cloud formations and took this picture.



Ah leisure, welcome back!