This past weekend, my nephew was in town for his teams first hockey tournament of the year. As the arena was a good 40 minute drive from our house…going home for lunch was not an option between games.
An article in the Allergic Living Magazine Summer 2013 edition…”Hit the Road! Allergic Living’s guide to eating out safely on the family vacation” by Patrick Bennett and Alisa Fleming…gave me an idea.
The article outlined “Hot Tips For Travel”, “Dining Do’s” and listed their “current top picks for nationwide restaurant chains that ‘get it’ when it comes to food allergies.”
Perhaps this was a chance to try eating out at another restaurant with multiple food allergies.
One of the restaurants on the Allergic Living Magazine’s Allergy- & Gluten-Aware Restaurants list happened to be Moxie’s Grill & Bar located just down the road from the arena at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Click here for the article and here for the full list.
The article explains that the “chain’s founder has children with severe food allergies and understands the desire for families to safely eat out.” It goes on to say, “Moxies encourages people with food allergies to dine at its restaurants and the company expresses pride in its allergy awareness and guest protection procedures.”
My eldest son has multiple food allergies…dairy, egg, beef, lamb, peanut/tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, mustard and raspberry...my youngest…peanut/tree nuts.
Upon our arrival at Moxie’s Bar & Grill, I informed the hostess that we had food allergies…she assured us that we would be accommodated and that the manager would be alerted.
Once seated, I informed our waitress that we had food allergies. She wrote down the list of food allergies along with my boys’ menu requests (chicken tenders with fries and a hamburger with fries) and took it back for the chef to review.
The manager came to our table…Matthew was fine to order the hamburger and fries (the buns were not made in house…as there was not a peanut/tree nut allergy warning on the package, he had the bun) but Michael’s request of chicken tenders and fries could not be accommodated due to the fryer being contaminated with ‘seafood’.
It turned out, there really was nothing on the menu that Michael could order…therefore, the manager asked him to create something he might make at home. The end result…Penne pasta, chicken, a mixture of vegetables in a tomato sauce.
Michael loved it! It was delicious…I know because gobbled up the remaining veggies!
I was impressed that Moxie’s Bar & Grill was willing to go ‘off the menu’ to provide my son with his very own allergy friendly meal. However, even though the chain’s founder has children with ‘severe’ food allergies…I was a little taken aback when I looked at their allergy menu guide which is titled, “common mild allergen guide’. Click here to view.
“IF YOU HAVE A SEVERE FOOD ALLERGY, please inform your server and ensure that a manager handles your order personally, to confirm your food is prepared safely.
“If your allergy or intolerance is not severe – you are comfortable eating foods that contain very small amounts of the identified allergen – then please use this guide along with our main menu to make your selection.”
I am always reluctant to measure my sons’ food allergies as mild, moderate or severe. How does one truly know how severe an allergic reaction one will have until it actually happens…hindsight is too late.
Also, I don’t know anyone with a food allergy that would be comfortable eating any food that contains even the tiniest bit of their identified food allergen…do you?
An article by Allergic Living Magazine touches on this very subject.
Click here to read about a very tragic story about thirteen-year-old Natalie Giorgi in the article, “Lessons From A Teen Food Allergy Tragedy”, written by Jennifer Van Evra for Allergic Living Magazine. Natalie was camping with a group of families in Sacramento, California. She took a bite of a Rice Krispie Square and immediately spat it out…she recognized the taste of peanuts.
Natalie’s mother gave her a dose of antihistamine even though she was not experiencing any symptoms…20 minutes later the systemic reaction began. Her father, a physician, gave her 3 doses of epinephrine…but it was not enough to stop the chain of events…vomiting, her throat swelled to the point she could not breathe and then she went into cardiac arrest. She died in her father’s arms.
The article is followed by interviews with Dr. Robert Wood , the director of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at the John Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore and Dr. Susan Waserman, an allergist and professor of medicine at McMaster University in Canada.
Both experts answer questions on “What to do in case of an accidental allergen ingestion.”…very much worth reading.
Personally, when people question me whether my boys’ food allergies are severe or not I always say yes…both have asthma, both have had reactions to their food allergens, both have a peanut/tree nut allergy (according to Dr. Brown peanut/tree nut allergy have the most fatal reactions increasing the potential for a severe reaction) and both are in their teens. Therefore, I believe both have the potential to have a severe anaphylactic reaction if they were to ingest one of their food allergens.
I am not willing to play Russian Roulette with my boys lives.
Overall, I felt the experience at Moxie’s Grill & Bar was a positive one. As my boys travel through the teenaged years…learning to navigate eating out with food allergies is a life lesson worth teaching on the road to independence.
What have your experiences been at Moxie’s Grill & Bar with food allergies?