Love to take a Bao?

The soft, steamy flavors of Tom’s BaoBao at Harvard Square awakened in me a new appreciation for the diverse cuisines of China. Those with nut allergies often find it daunting to approach Asian restaurants… but Tom’s BaoBao in Harvard Square was absolutely amazing, delicious, and peanut and tree nut free!

Bao or steamed buns are a delicious street food that first appeared over 1,200 years ago in China. These little steamed buns make up some of the most popular recipes of northern China.

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The exact origins of the dish are difficult to trace, although the char Siu bao — named for its use of char Siu pork — was a staple in most dim sum platters served in Chinese tea houses along the Silk Road, serving as an archetype for its many variants over the centuries.

This well-known street food, an ultra-soft white dome, offers a complement of flavors — sweetness and sourness of meat. The pillow like Chinese treats can be either savory or sweet. Sometimes filled with traditional ingredients like pork, chicken, vegetables, or potatoes, they also can be perfect pockets for more adventurous palates when stuffed with tuna or BBQed pigtails! With an edgy twist of Shaoxing wine, mild curry or smoked tofu, charred Shishito peppers, to name a few the recipes tantalize the taste buds!


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ITC Maurya New Delhi, India – Amazing Allergy Dietary Accommodations

The ITC Maurya New Delhi boldly embodies the traditional exuberance of the great Mauryan Empire. Our stay here was an exemplar of comfort, grace and tradition! Combining it with the dining experience it was an enthralling experience. The majestic architecture, the paintings and artifacts in the lobby and other areas were a reminder of India’s rich royal legacy!

In a country with an abundance of spices, aromas, and renowned flavors Tree Nut Allergies could shackle the dining experience for a foodie like me. Mughlai delicacies – creamy, rich gravies are often brought to life with an medley of spices and nuts, especially cashew nuts, pistachios and almonds. Having to steer clear of these and still enjoy the robust flavors is often a challenge.

In Spring 2019, I had a wonderful week-long stay at ITC Maurya New Delhi. The initiative and care taken by the Maurya team in assuring my allergies were accommodated and all my dining experiences were impeccable, made my dining experience unforgettable.

The executive chef and his talented team make culinary magic – their gourmet creations, reflect regional cuisines, varied and delicious!

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A team of staff that was assigned to me. They assured that all precautions were taken to limit any cross contamination (like wrapping cutlery in foil) and worked diligently through every meal. ITC Maurya has a amazing allergy awareness system in place – what was even more impressive was that there were consistencies in practice.

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With spontaneous panache, ITC Maurya’s chefs can cook up inventive alternatives to dishes that contain nuts in the original recipe! 

I highly recommend the ITC Maurya to anyone travelling to New Delhi. I did exchange emails prior to my arrival and their team set up a meeting with me, upon arrival, to fully understand my dietary restrictions.

Immersing in the delicious flavors of India, each meal seemed a beautiful adventure in itself. I can hardly wait to stay there again!


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ENATYE ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT

Washington, D.C. is home to the largest population of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia.

At Enatye Ethiopian Restaurant allow your taste buds to enwrap in an expert melding of flavors. Upon arrival I asked the server if they use tree nuts in their cuisine. I was thrilled to hear that none of their entrées had any nuts.

I ordered the Doro Wat (chicken stew) and Yebeg Alecha Wot (lamb Curry).

When our food came the Injera lay sprawling on a round metal tray. Stews were spooned over it. The focal point of the table was the Injera, a dusky, crepe with tiny sinkholes – much like a thin kerchief, with a sepia tinge of an old photograph. Varied textures of the meats, the rugged earthiness of the cooked vegetables and the novelty spongy flat bread made our mouths water.

As I delved into this exotic cuisine tearing off strips of injera to scoop them up, a welcome heat of the magical mélange of flavors announced itself in every dish.

Chicken drumsticks simmered in ginger, garlic, turmeric and exotic spices came with a hard-boiled egg. The lamb it seemed was left to loll in a creamy and meaty sauce and deliver a gentle, lulling warmth. Nothing on my Injera existed in isolation; the flavors were meant to be interposed.

At the end of the meal — arguably the best part, when all that’s left is injera soaked with the runoff of sauces — the bread still has structure and holds together.

The ingredients are simple, yet it will make a meal like none other. And best of all it was NUT FREE!!

 


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DISCLAIMER: As always, be sure to talk to restaurant staff in person to communicate your allergies to the restaurant staff to the extent that YOU are comfortable with the way they are handled. For guidance in this matter we recommend our App, AllergySmartz.

Choolaah: A Hidden Jewel in the Indian Diaspora!

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“Nut-Free” and “Indian Cuisine” are phrases rarely found together… but Choolaah Indian BBQ has made this dream into a reality.

The irresistible aroma and vivid flavors of Choolaah will transport you to Ancient India, as the mouthwatering cuisine brings Indian culinary traditions to life.

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An extraordinary combination of meats basted with authentic spices, bathed in a creamy sauce will excite your palate as you indulge in one of our all-time favorites – the Chicken Tikka Masala!

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Feast lavishly on the chicken, paneer (cubes of cheese), salmon, and succulent lamb straight from the tandoor.

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Salads? Wraps? They’ve got everything!

An array of uniquely spiced vegetarian options made from fresh produce and masterfully seasoned will entice you.

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Experience a bloom of the spices in the finger licking good Biryani.

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To indulge in folksy street food of India, go for the Samosa Chaat or Pav Wow aka Pav Bhaji!

As you sink your teeth into the soft yielding center of the Samosa, savor the flavors that flow through your mouth. The pep and zip in every bite of the street food will leave you craving for more!

The flaky, buttery fire roasted flat bread – the naan – is a taste sensation in itself.

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Try the probiotic mango drink that nurtures your health while delighting your palate –  “Dahilicious” Mango Lassi (dahi in Hindi meaning yogurt). Craving something hot? How about some Chai?

Dessert? Yes please! A rich, creamy frozen dessert, the malai kulfi is the pièce de résistance.

“Choolaah” is a beacon of excellence that beckons you to partake in a culinary experience of traditional Indian legacy! And the best part? Everything on the menu (except the Chickpea Noodles, which may be cross contaminated because they are not made in-house) is nutfree – so have whatever your heart desires!

We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak with Raji Sankar, one of the co-founders of Choolaah, to learn more about the past and future of this wonderful restaurant. Get the answers to all your questions below:

How was Choolaah born?

We grew up eating real food. Amazing flavors. No artificial preservatives or colors. Something you could eat everyday. This was a dream born in 2003 that saw reality with the first Choolaah in 2014 in Ohio. In 2017, we opened two locations in VA and Philadelphia.

We are both engineers with finance backgrounds who have always had a love for food. One of the biggest things that attracted us to this industry was how food brings people together. We wanted to create some extraordinary options and career paths in the food industry to make something very special that creates a lifestyle and livelihood for our team members.

Mission of Choolaah?

Choolaah is about real food, exquisite flavors that are served with joy and create joy in a fun, hip, upbeat, and happy environment. The joyful experiences allow people to come together for any occasion.

Are you nut-free?

We are nut free except for the crispy chickpea noodles that go on the samosa chaat. Since they are store bought we can’t guarantee no cross-contamination.

What inspired you to make such an accessible dining space for people of different dietary requirements?

Choolaah is for everyone. We have friends, family, and our own team members who have different dietary needs. It’s something very close to our heart. People can have all these amazing flavors and try everything – and they love it! It’s a party of flavors!

Whether it’s gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, protein-heavy we have options for everyone.

Often times families of individuals with dietary restrictions are limited in their choice as well. We are proud that our food not only helps the individual, but is even able to bring families together.

The design of the restaurant is incredibly unique and really transports you. How did you come up with this concept?

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Our brand promise is fresh, fun, hip, and real food in a joyful and welcoming setting. We want to bring this promise to life in every aspect of the restaurant. We want to create memories for everyone. If you look at the hand wash, for example, it’s a great way to delight kids. You don’t have to go to the restroom, it uses less water, great for the environment, and it’s cleaner. On top of that, in Indian tradition it’s customary to wash hands before and after the meal – this is a great way to bring in this tradition with a modern appeal. You don’t even have to tell kids to wash their hands in our restaurant, in fact they may be over doing it!

Any plans of expansion?

We’d love to see Choolaah in every corner of the world. The mission is to be able to offer real food like this, with amazing flavors at everyday prices in a joyful setting to everyone! That would be amazing. The future is full of possibilities.

 


PLEASE SHARE TO RAISE AWARENESS…YOU ARE A FOOD ALLERGY ADVOCATE!!

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DISCLAIMER: As always, be sure to talk to restaurant staff in person to communicate your allergies to the restaurant staff to the extent that YOU are comfortable with the way they are handled. For guidance in this matter we recommend our App, AllergySmartz.

Grodzinski’s Bakery (Toronto)

Sweets on sweets on sweets.

From breakfast pastries to cakes and indescribably tasty treats, this shop is a must visit! For most people with nut-allergies, enjoying a chocolate danish, croissant, or other breakfast pastry is a dream. Nut-Free, Grodzinski Bakery made this a reality for us!

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On our short trip to Toronto we visited this bakery at least 3 times! Whether it was to grab a quick bite of dessert or stop for a delicious, gourmet breakfast the family vote always seemed to be “Grodzinski’s!”

While there a few nut-free restaurants in America, walking into a dessert shop, looking at the mouth-watering items, picking your craving, and having it simply handed to you is rare instance – so we definitely took advantage of this opportunity in Canada.

Next time you are in Toronto use your cheat day for Grodzinski’s. Whether you grab a muffin, danish, roll, bagel, croissant, or some breakfast item – or you decide to satisfy your sweet tooth with their exotic desserts Grodzinski’s is a must visit. From the “domino” made of layered cakes, mousse, and chocolate, to delectable black forest or mango pastries this restaurant truly has something for everyone.

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We are at a loss for words to even describe all the delicious pastries they had to offer and the warm and welcoming environment. This post doesn’t do the restaurant justice – frankly we haven’t even begun to explain the wondrous offerings of Grodzinski (probably because we have started to drool just remembering the fine food we had while we were there).

Don’t do yourself a disservice by not visiting Grodzinski’s next time you are in Toronto!

http://www.grodzinskibakery.com/

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PLEASE SHARE TO RAISE AWARENESS…YOU ARE A FOOD ALLERGY ADVOCATE!!

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DISCLAIMER: As always, be sure to talk to restaurant staff in person to communicate your allergies to the restaurant staff to the extent that YOU are comfortable with the way they are handled. For guidance in this matter we recommend our App, AllergySmartz.

Short & Sweet: Toronto’s Hidden Gem!

As a chocolate and sweets loving family – Short & Sweet was like stumbling onto a little slice of heaven. From tarts to sammies to cupcakes to extreme milkshakes to so much more this restaurant has something that will cater to everyone! The shop was full when we arrived – a testament to its delicious products.

And guess what? All of these mouth-watering desserts are nut-free!

We struggled to decide which of all their wonderful products to try first. We finally settled on s’mores milkshakes, a coconut cupcake, and a chocolate peach tart to share.

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As we enjoyed our sweet treats in this beautifully decorated lively environment we couldn’t stop smiling. This was absolutely one of the best places we had visited and boy were we glad we decided to go there.

Canada is (thankfully) full of allergy-friendly restaurants and nut-free bakeries. If you’re planning a trip there, there sure is a lot to try, but do not leave this one off your list!

Read about a selection of their products on their website.

 


PLEASE SHARE TO RAISE AWARENESS…YOU ARE A FOOD ALLERGY ADVOCATE!!

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DISCLAIMER: As always, be sure to talk to restaurant staff in person to communicate your allergies to the restaurant staff to the extent that YOU are comfortable with the way they are handled. For guidance in this matter we recommend our App, AllergySmartz.

Baked2Go – Montreal

Breads? Muffins? Brownies? Cookies? Looking for an on-the-go breakfast item or a sweet treat? Baked2Go in Montreal is the place to be!

This trendy establishment offers a variety of gluten-free, nut-free, and sesame-free products for its customers to enjoy! They even offer products low in sugar or high in protein depending on what suits your specific diet.

We can assure you their items are absolutely delicious – a must stop on your next trip to Montreal!
Check out their website and get a 15% Off Coupon!


PLEASE SHARE TO RAISE AWARENESS…YOU ARE A FOOD ALLERGY ADVOCATE!!

Tweet us: @AllergySmartz

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Email us: allergysmartz@gmail.com

Comment right here on WordPress!

DISCLAIMER: As always, be sure to talk to restaurant staff in person to communicate your allergies to the restaurant staff to the extent that YOU are comfortable with the way they are handled. For guidance in this matter we recommend our App, AllergySmartz.