Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Special Diet Restaurant Dining for Big and Little Kids

Family dining can be stressful. Let's ignore the emotional dynamics and just consider the food choice dynamics. If one person in the family has specific mealtime concerns whether it be physical such as allergies, sensory processing or oral motor issues OR ethical concerns such as local, sustainable or vegetarian; it is most likely that many people in the family has these issues.
Allergies, Celiac Disease, Sensory processing issues ALL tend to have a genetic component.
So... where to eat.

There are many local pizza restaurants that are now carrying gluten free and casein free pizzas.
In the Los Angeles area, local chains such as Pizza Cookery have these options.
Larger chains such as Z-Pizza, PF Changs, Olive Garden, Maggiano's and BJ Brewery also are gluten and allergy aware. Large chains and fast food restaurants do post allergen info on their websites.

But what about when you want something a bit more local, a bit more personable then the chain restaurants? A search on, and can help you locate smaller restaurants that are gluten free or allergy aware. These sites have personal reviews that usually let you know really how savvy the waitstaff and cooks are regarding special diets.

My newest surprising find was stumbled upon when asked to lunch by my mom, aunt and cousins. Often these lunches are difficult as due to my physical dietary restraints (gluten sensitive) and ethical choices (vegetarian), everyone worries about my food choice. I am usually fine but they aren't! Neiman Marcus Cafe not only had gluten free pasta and staff able to direct me to other gluten free choices on the menu ( three different desserts!), they also poured me a glass of gluten free beer which helped address the emotional dynamics of the meal! Highly recommended.