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Food Allergies in DC

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Columbia, South...
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Food Allergies in DC

Hi,

I have a somewhat severe allergy to soy, and peanuts..and I would love some guidance on a safe places to eat,or places that are accommodating to food allergies. My soy allergy is somewhat debilitating, as I get intense pain and fogginess when I am exposed, and I would really love to enjoy my vacation.

Thank you!

Phoenix, AZ
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1. Re: Food Allergies in DC

My wife suffers from a minor allergy to certain shellfish - bi-valves.

When I book any restaurant reservations (not just in DC), I clearly state what she cannot have. I have never had one problem with stating the restrictions, and by the time that the service captain arrives at the table, they have been made aware of the problem foods (though they usually do include too many items, such as shrimp, crab, lobster and even fish). If there are any corrections to their instructions, we handle those.

I would recommend making contact, at the time of the reservations, and clearly stating exactly what foods are NOT allowed.

Good luck,

Hunt

washington dc
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2. Re: Food Allergies in DC

Most every restaurant in DC - besides perhaps a carry-out or smaller ethnic places - is highly knowledgeable and conscious about food allergies - and many automatically ask about allergies when taking orders. If a nut allergy is extremely severe to the point where you will die if nuts were chopped in the same room as other food, you certainly need to inform when making a reservation.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Food Allergies in DC

<and many automatically ask about allergies when taking orders.>

Wow, I eat out fairly often, both in Washington DC and other cities, and I don't ever recall being asked about allergies when my food order is taken.

Phoenix, AZ
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4. Re: Food Allergies in DC

<< I eat out fairly often, both in Washington DC and other cities, and I don't ever recall being asked about allergies when my food order is taken.>>

When making reservations, or checking in with the host/hostess, do you ever mention your allergies?

In general, if no one lets the restaurant know about such, are they expected to by clairvoyant?

Sometimes, one must take a bit of responsibility, and not just assume that everyone will know what they might be allergic to, or just not like. It only takes a moment, and has been fail-safe for me.

Hunt

Northof Boston
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5. Re: Food Allergies in DC

You might also try the website ( and they also have a mobile app) AllergyEats.com .

Washington DC...
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6. Re: Food Allergies in DC

I have both a soy (although flour only) and peanut allergy. I have not had much difficulty eating out in DC, so long as you know your limits (which it sounds like you do). I always, as others have suggested, put that I am allergic to soy in the reservation notes when I use opentable, etc... More often than not, the chef or general manager will come and talk to me.

Another trick I like to use it to call or email ahead so that I have options when I am out and about. For example, I now that subway wheat bread has soy flour, but their white bread does not.

Just my 2 cents.

dctravel

Washington DC
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7. Re: Food Allergies in DC

Get some provisions at grocery stores to carry in case of want. Among DC's grocery chains, Giant and Safeway are wall-to-wall soybeans, but Whole Foods, Trader Joe, and Yes Organic have a fair amount of stuff that's unadulterated. You'll read the labels of course. It will be more convenient if the hotel room has a fridge.

In a rushed town like DC, it takes a place with an uncommonly good manager and well-above-average front-end staff to have the time and the talent to advise the diner accurately. Busboys & Poets in NoMa might be a good bet. But you have to play it by ear.

Washington DC...
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8. Re: Food Allergies in DC

I have to respectfully disagree with amtrunip about grocery chains. While Whole Foods, et al., have a ton of unadulterated products, they also have much that has soy and other bean flours (fava, lima, chick pea) in them. This can be just as dangerous for some as soy. I primarily do my grocery shopping at Giant, as as long as you read labels and understand your (or your family's) needs, you will not have a problem.

As for DC being a rushed town, yes it is. In restaurants, however, I have rarely been treated shoddy because I have asked questions. Restauranteurs (owners and chefs) don't want people to get sick for a host of reasons. I always recommend calling or emailing ahead if you really want to eat someplace so you are not disappointed when you arrive. For example, I often need a quick meal in Dupont Circle and I was interested in trying Shake Shack. Through an email exchange, I found out that I should not eat their buns (soy flour) or their secret sauce (I can't remember exactly why). This was very important information to me and influences where I eat and what I order.

dctravel

Phoenix, AZ
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9. Re: Food Allergies in DC

<<Restauranteurs (owners and chefs) don't want people to get sick for a host of reasons. I always recommend calling or emailing ahead if you really want to eat someplace so you are not disappointed when you arrive.>>

This has been my experience, as well, and not just in DC. Usually, they are a bit "over protective," as they worry about other seafood issues (for my wife), besides her bi-valve allergy. They include other seafood, in the list that they often read us, and we just correct that down, to only the bi-valves.

We've had servers bring out the entire ingredient list for say a broth, to make sure that there are no issues. They have all been very good, and very concerned.

Hunt

Columbia, South...
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10. Re: Food Allergies in DC

Thank you so much!