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Eating out with food allergies in St. Paul/ Minneapolis

j
Jeremy16 Jan 22, 2010 03:27 AM

Hi does anyone know of any restaurants in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area that are very accommodating to someone who is allergic to Gluten, Soy, and Dairy?
I am currently on the search for a restaurant that will accommodate to my dietary needs, since I will be having family visiting next weekend and we are planning on going out to a nice dinner.

One restaurant that I have been to, that has been very accommodating to my food allergies, is a Thai restaurant called Chiang Mai Thai in UpTown Minneapolis. They have a very good Gluten free menu, and since their main ingredient in just about all of their dishes is Coconut milk, I was all set.

I have found other restaurants that offer Gluten free menus.... But most of them only have so many dishes listed on them. Then once I look at the Soy and Dairy content, I am basically left with maybe one or two items.

  1. The Dairy Queen Jan 22, 2010 04:55 AM

    Jeremy, I hope others will chime in with more current information, but, in the meantime, here's a link to an older thread that might give you a head-start! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6441...

    Please do report back on where you end up and what you think as this question comes up once in awhile and I'll bet others would find your feedback helpful.

    ~TDQ

    1. WhatThePho Jan 22, 2010 11:58 AM

      Hello! My mother and I take girls' weekends to the Cities every now and then. She's been gf & df for 5+ years.

      We've eaten at Kabobs a couple of times, I believe it's the Bloomington location, but I still don't know the area well. It's in a strip mall, and seats probably 20 people. It's really a hole in the wall, prices are more than reasonable and the food is delicious. So I was pleasantly suprised when the staff of this greasy spoon-style Indian food joint knew their gluten.

      Despite the (very) occasional issue with the language barrier, the folks at Kabobs were very accommodating. We didn't have soy to contend with, but I believe every dish is made from scratch in-house, so I would imagine they would be flexible there, too.

      Good Eating!

      11 Replies
      1. re: WhatThePho
        f
        faith Jan 22, 2010 07:22 PM

        I don't know that Kabobs qualifies as 'going out for a nice dinner' - it is totally a hole in the wall. Isn't there a Kabobs outpost in Gavidae now- but that's an icky food court, mainly for lunch. And not to be a wet blanket but most canned coconut milk has sulfites and makes me sleepy so you might have that problem too with multiple allergies.

        As a number of us recommended to another similar question on here recently, look for the more local/sustainable places like Lucia's, Heartland, Craftsman, etc and CALL AHEAD, many many of these places say they would be happy to create something for you if given notice. If it's just for you, that shouldn't be hard. See if you can talk to the chef, find out when is a good time for that, often around 2-3 in the afternoon is when they have time. That's what I'd be doing, or prepare to order something very simple like a salad and bring your own dressing (or ask for just olive oil and lemon/lime).......better yet if they have entree size salads with some protein like salmon...........see if they can just broil the fish without soy etc. Baked potato? Steamed broccoli? You should think about what you like and see which chef is most friendly and accomodating, then choose accordingly.

        Good luck, let us know what you end up with!

        1. re: faith
          WhatThePho Jan 23, 2010 05:49 PM

          "I don't know that Kabobs qualifies as 'going out for a nice dinner.' "

          That's true. :) Just a lowly out-of-towner here, sharing a dining experience. Maybe appropriate for another, less occasion-y, occasion.

          Who is "us," by the way? I'm new to CH, and if there are areas designated for those eating out with allergies, I would be interested in exploring them.

          1. re: WhatThePho
            The Dairy Queen Jan 23, 2010 06:30 PM

            Most of my favorite places are hole-in-the-wall places! Although the OP in this thread is looking for a place for a "nice" dinner, one person's "hole in the wall" might be another's "nice dinner." I don't think it ever hurts to throw out more recommendations. Besides, do we know for certain that kabobs uses canned coconut milk and/or the kind with sulfites?

            Nevertheless, I think faith is referring to this thread where someone was looking for low-sodium recs: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6806...

            ~TDQ

            1. re: WhatThePho
              s
              soupkitten Jan 24, 2010 06:55 AM

              kabob's is a fave of mine! um, but it really is the definition of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. i can't imagine bringing an older relative like my mom to kabob's--what if she had to go to the bathroom?!? yikes! ;-P

              i think that recs for lucia's (also in uptown) or craftsman or the like are good ones. really, there are so many small chef-driven bistros around. just talk with someone prior to making your reservation, and if you really want to be sure, give a confirmation call in which you reference the allergy issue the day before the dinner. the chefs will have no problem making a special allergen-free meal.

              1. re: soupkitten
                The Dairy Queen Jan 24, 2010 01:20 PM

                If I recall, Dara said Kabob's had all the ambiance of an office closet. Definite hole in the wall.

                The good news is, real coconut milk doesn't actually come from a cans. Maybe Kabob's is grinding their own and could teach the Wedge a thing or two. But, if that is a particular sensitivity of yours, definitely ask. (Note--the OP is particularly concerned about Gluten, Soy, and Dairy, which seems to be at least as important a requirement as a "nice" restaurant. No mention by the OP of aversion to sulfites...)

                ~TDQ

              2. re: WhatThePho
                f
                faith Jan 24, 2010 11:54 AM

                'Us' refers to everyone who participates in this board. When someone asks about where to go for a 'nice dinner' I think it's safe to assume that part of what they want is a pleasant place to sit down and enjoy the meal, otherwise they would get takeout or cook at home. To me this is implied when people are bringing family that they don't normally get together with. Sorry if I offended anyone here, but this is a place where we all chime in with our opinions. And no I haven't asked if Kabobs uses canned coconut milk but I have gone into many Asian markets and read the labels on countless cans of different brands of coconut milk.........it all has sodium metabisulfite to keep it white I think....the Wedge is the only place I''ve seen the few brands that don't have it. So I would bet money that any restaurant other than a specifically health-oriented one, is using that type of product, and not making their own from fresh coconuts. I figured that would be important information for someone who has posted that they have multiple allergies.

                1. re: WhatThePho
                  k
                  kevin47 Jan 24, 2010 12:23 PM

                  I like your handle. "Us" refers to everyone on Chowhound. By posting, you have already signed up for our newsletter. Don't worry about providing contact information. We transmit them directly to your brain via telepathy. Don't fight it. Don't fight it. Shhhhh...

                  To your answer, it was totally in line with the context of the OP, who mentioned Chiang Mai Thai.

                  1. re: kevin47
                    f
                    faith Jan 24, 2010 05:03 PM

                    Chiang Mai is a much fancier looking place than Kabobs. And yes, maybe Kabobs is grinding their own coconut milk, and maybe McDonald's is using local produce and meats.

                    1. re: faith
                      WhatThePho Jan 24, 2010 07:01 PM

                      Thanks for the info, all. Faith, not offended. It's a perfectly good point, and one I shouldn't have missed. Seems Chowhounds are direct, as critics should be.

                      One more newb question, then I'll be done, as i know this is off topic. Are there groups on this site? I saw you can follow members individually.

                      Thanks again.

                      1. re: faith
                        The Dairy Queen Jan 25, 2010 03:17 AM

                        I hardly think a small, family-owned restaurant like Kabobs is in the same category as world-wide, mass-market chain like McDonald's. Just because they don't have white tablecloths on the table, doesn't mean the food isn't good. (Though, I agree, it's a "hole in the wall" and not a place most would consider going for a "nice dinner.")

                        All of the meat at Kabobs is Halal. They are obviously putting at least some care into selecting and preparing their ingredients. In fact, the couple of Halal places that cater to recent immigrants that I've talked to about certain of their ingredients have specifically said that they avoid certain brands because they swear they can taste the chemicals in the food and it's unappealing to their customers. I haven't talked to Kabobs, specifically, but I wouldn't just automatically assume they are cutting corners on their ingredients sourcing, either. Unless you know, you just don't really know. I just hate to see people missing out on great chow based on assumptions that may not be valid. It might be worth asking.

                        http://www.thekabobs.com/

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                          f
                          faith Jan 25, 2010 07:41 PM

                          OK, so I called Kabobs today, saw that there is a Maple Grove location, got no answer at the Portland Ave spot, spoke with a woman at the Maple Grove place. One thing I asked was whether the Maple Grove location was bigger than the Portland Ave one. She said yes. When I asked about canned coconut milk, she said 'do you have an allergy?' and I said yes to a preservative in it. She said she didn't know, but went on to say that most of their food doesn't have coconut in it, it's North Indian she said, the South Indian stuff has a lot more coconut. She didn't offer to connect me with anyone in the kitchen so I let it go with that.

                          So, it's interesting about the Maple Grove Kabobs being bigger...has anyone been there? Maybe it's a little less.....'holey'..........

              3. j
                Jeremy16 Jan 26, 2010 11:44 AM

                Well just to report back on where we ended up eating...

                Plans had changed that weekend and my parents and I decided to go out for brunch instead at :

                Tao Natural Foods
                http://taonaturalfoods.com/cafe.html

                It was an interesting little place. On one side is the Cafe where they offer all organic, mostly vegetarian food. On the other side is the book store / health store... I guess you could call it. In the end we thought the food was very delicious and we ended up leaving with more than just full stomachs...

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jeremy16
                  f
                  faith Jan 26, 2010 08:48 PM

                  Wow, interesting that you ended up at Tao Foods, I haven't heard anyone talking about them for quite a while. But I know they have been expanding their cafe menu. What did you eat?

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