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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FAL’s 7 MUSTS for Spring Break

With Spring Break just around the corner for most people, FAL is bringing you 7 MUST KNOWS for Traveling! Enjoy 🙂

  1. AllergySmartz:
    • AllergySmartz, our food allergy travel app, is designed to help users convey their food allergies and the precautions needed for safe food preparation to restaurant staff, in the US, and abroad, despite language barriers. The App requires NO internet access, and currently features the Top 12 allergens and 12 languages to translate from and into. For more information check out: http://www.foodallergylowdown.com/AllergySmartz
    • Download it Now!
  2. Grab-N-Go Meals: Looking for a quick bite on your road trip, or just in the mood for a quick lunch? Check out posts from previous FAL Restaurant Weeks for ideas:
  3. Dining Out: Celebrating something big in the city? Looking for a nice dining experience with delicious food? Check out some #FALfavs below!
  4. Snacks for the Trip: Whether you’re taking a road trip or a 14 hour long flight food is always good company! Here are some snack ideas for the trip:
  5. Hotels: Wondering where to stay that will offer a fun and allergy-friendly experience? Check out our hotel recommendations below!
  6. In the Air:
    • Wipe! Wet Wipes are perfect for air travel – wipe down your seat belt, tray table, and remote in case there is any food residue left. This will eliminate the risk of a later, ‘unexplained’ reaction.
    • Often times Airlines will give you a hassle about carrying on a Benadryl bottle. Walgreens’ Wal-dryl is the perfect solution! Whether you are trying to combat this airline issue, want to travel light, or are just looking for more convenient options, Wal-dryl (single doses) are the way to go.
    • Bring a note from the doctor! It’s rare, but I have had an official at security tell me I could not take my Epipen on board as a carry-on item. Thankfully a doctor was in the security line and gave his authorization that I should be able to carry the life-saving drug. Next time I went to the Allergist I asked for an authorization note and always take it on trips with me. I’ve never had another encounter like this one, especially as allergy awareness grows, but I still recommend one.
  7. On the Safe Side:
    • Bring extra Epipens and make sure they are kept in the right temperature environment.
    • Just in case something goes wrong, know your nearest Emergency Room, and the local emergency number (e.g. 911)!

WOW Stories: “Le Meridien” FAL’s 3-Day Hotel Special #3

As a young girl visiting India, I was curious and wanted to delve into the wide variety of regional cuisines native to India. However, with food allergies, all the exotic ingredients, unfamiliar dishes were both exciting and intimidating.

Together we did research and all votes went to Le Meridien, Windsor Place, New Delhi.

LM EREESE

The WOW Story!!

My experience at the Le Meridien in New Delhi was very positive.

Their dynamic, creative, and dedicated team left no stone unturned in making it the best possible experience for me.

As always I had exchanged mail with the General Manager and the Executive Chef regarding my food allergies, beforehand.

At check-in we were told that the Executive Chef would come up to the room shortly, to discuss at length the specifics about allergy safe dining at Le Meridien.

I knew we were off to a great start.

Over the course of my stay, some things that he pointed out reflected how well versed he was in handling food allergies.

He said that he would personally cook all my meals while I was there. As an added precaution all the other team members in the kitchen would be briefed too.

In discussing the dinner options for the night, he said that the restaurant gets very busy on Saturday nights.

It was Saturday night and the main restaurant was very busy he recommended in room dining. The reason was to limit the possibility of a mix up while serving in the restaurant.

I enjoyed some authentic chicken and lamb dishes with an array of Indian breads, personally delivered by him.

LM Room Service

My bread was not served in a traditional bread basket. He pointed out that while the baskets are washed and sanitized each time, he did not want to risk any sort of residue from exotic breads with nuts and therefore my breads were served in a glass basket.

I was amazed at his insightfulness and creativity.

The magic of spices, the aroma of the exotic cuisine was nothing short of a scintillating food experience!!

For breakfast he invited us to the restaurant. I asked if he could make nut free chocolate chip and blueberry pancakes.

LM Breakfast

As we sat down to eat, he stopped by and rearranged my place setting. As a precaution, he removed my table mat, “just in case of any prior residue” he said.

He also removed the forks, knife etc. that were placed on the mat, and replaced them with new ones that he put on a plate.

These small gestures spoke volumes about his allergy awareness.

Just to reassure me that there were no nuts or possible contamination he showed us the label on the chocolate chips.

Small acts like this have such a huge impact on dining out with food allergies. I would have asked to check the label, but the spontaneity was what made me smile.

Peacock is the national bird of India…and there it was…majestic and beautiful coffee art on my cup of coffee.

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We were out for the rest of the day and returned late. I noticed a piece of cheesecake with a note next to it. It was Indian Independence Day and he had made for me a NUT FREE CHEESECAKE. Saffron, white and green are the colors of the Indian flag. The note read “We have made this NUT FREE cheesecake for you in celebration of the Indian Independence Day!”

LM Dessert

This was the legendary Indian hospitality I had read about.

Disclaimer: As always, be sure 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.

**We hope you enjoyed the final installment of FAL’s 3-Day “WOW Stories” Special about Allergy-Friendly Hotels. Our next post will be out next WEDNESDAY at 4:00 PM EST! Stay Tuned!

WOW Stories: “The Hilton” FAL’s 3-Day Hotel Special #2

Over the course of many years I have stayed at The Hilton and their franchises several times, in the US, Hawaii and at three of their international locations:

  • Hilton Niagara Falls – Canada
  • Hilton London Heathrow Airport – United Kingdom
  • Hilton Jumeirah Beach- Dubai.

When staying at a hotel overseas I strongly recommend emailing the General Manager and the Executive Chef prior to arrival. Occasionally you will even see the hotel suggest this:

If you have a delicate allergy and need more information or support from the hotel, please contact us in advance of your stay.”

In my experience the chefs at the Hilton Restaurants are experienced in preparing meals with special dietary guidelines.

At the three international locations that I stayed at, I found them to be very knowledgeable, accommodating and most importantly proactive with regards to food allergies. It seemed standard for the following statement to appear on the menu, but what was remarkable is their competence in executing the precautions:

Please note that some of our dishes may contain traces of nuts. For guests with special dietary requirements of allergies who may want to know about the food ingredients used, please ask a member of the restaurant team.

                                                              

 The WOW Story!!

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While visiting the Big Island of Hawaii I dreamt of an exhilarating, experience under the magical Hawaiian night sky, swaying palms, music, hula dancers – an experience that would heighten the senses- a Luau.

The catch however was that a big part of the Luau is in the indulgence of a Hawaiian feast – a buffet that is filled with an array of Pan-Pacific food.

I did my research. The Legends of Hawaii Luau at the Hilton Waikoloa Village seemed the best fit.

Prior to making reservations for the Luau I spoke to the Executive Chef. We reviewed the dietary restrictions and the necessary precautions. He promised me a safe and memorable experience.

When we arrived at the Luau, he came and greeted us.

He had prepared a multi course meal. It was a Hawaiian- American combination of some traditional island dishes and some continental fare. He pointed out that the Kalua Pig was safe to eat.

Experiencing the individual flavors and aromas of the food while watching the Hula Kahiko performers beneath the mid-Pacific skies was an unforgettable experience!

Disclaimer: As always, be sure 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.

**We hope you enjoyed the second installment of FAL’s 3-Day “WOW Stories” Special about Allergy-Friendly Hotels. The final installment will be out TOMORROW at 4:00 PM EST! Stay Tuned!

 

WOW Stories: “The Westin” FAL’s 3-Day Hotel Special #1

Sharing positive experiences of dining at hotel restaurants with international chains has the power to inspire, motivate and reinforce the efforts of the staff. Recognizing a chef who offered an exemplary dining experience sends more travelers with special dietary needs to the hotel chain.

As a world traveler with tree nut allergies I always exchange emails with the hotel’s General Manager and Executive Chef prior to my arrival (I highly recommend this).

My experiences at many locations of The Westin both domestic and abroad have been delightful.

The WOW Story!!

I arrived at The Westin at 2:00 AM local time, after a long international flight. I was thrilled to be greeted at check-in by the Head Chef. We sat down, and he made a note of all the dietary restrictions, cross contamination issues, etc.

He then had the concierge enter the information into their system. This alerted all the kitchen staff on EVERY shift.

The next morning, at breakfast, when the hostess sat me down, she informed the Executive Chef of my arrival.

The Executive Chef made an extra effort to make himself available at all times and personally took responsibility for every meal. He enquired and reassured me that he would personally cook those exotic dishes on the menu, while keeping them allergy safe, as he wanted me to enjoy the various cuisines.

As a backup a chef was assigned just for me, on every shift.

The entire team, especially the food service folks were friendly, helpful and inviting.

Every meal was a legendary experience.

As someone with tree nut allergies the huge array of delicious desserts are usually off limits. Seeing the chef’s passion to rise to the challenge and his demonstrated experience over my week long stay, I even got to enjoy the sublime texture and glorious flavor of some exotic desserts.

I came back with a deep sense of gratitude for that personal touch that made my stay at The Westin, Gurgaon, India a unique, positive and memorable experience!

Disclaimer: As always, be sure 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.

**We hope you enjoyed the first installment of FAL’s 3-Day “WOW Stories” Special about Allergy-Friendly Hotels. The second installment will be out TOMORROW at 4:00 PM EST! Stay Tuned!