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Allergy Friendly Dining in NYC

I'm going to be staying in the Union Square area for three days this weekend so breakfast lunch and dinner will be needed! I'm hoping some allergy challenged city dwellers might be able to assist with a few safe food recs in the area or, really, anywhere in the city as I'll be all over the place. I can't have peanuts, tree nuts, pineapple, rasberries, mushrooms, or lactose. Breakfast and lunch are the biggies as they're probably going to be a bit on the go. Thank you!!!

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  1. There's a 'Whole Foods' on the south side of Union Sq., so you'll always have that as a fall-back.


    (rasberries; really?)

    7 Replies
      1. re: eenie1

        I wasn't pointing to your spelling, eenie, just my bemusement that someone could be allergic to one berry and not another.

        1. re: Phil Ogelos

          LOL! It's the strangest thing. Basically I'm finding out about the allergies as I eat. If I have a reaction I have to go back and figure out what was new in my meal. The raspberries came from eating my favorite jam one day, but more than usual. So, it may be the berries, it may just be something in the jam itself, it may be something that got in there when that particular batch was processed. When my allergist tested me for everything I've reacted to the tests came back negative so at this point I just have to avoid anything I react to. It stinks since I love to eat, cook, and try new foods!

          1. re: eenie1

            Well, as good as many NYC restaurants are I don't think they'll be able to know what you may be allergic too in the future (I'm joking) so let's worry about what you are sure you should avoid. In regards to food allergies all the better restaurants in NYC take allergies very seriously (based upon my experiences) so your dinners should be worry free as long as you give them advance notice AND verify/re-state your allergies when ordering.

            1. re: Spiritchaser

              Figured I'd put this out there one more time to see if I get any more replies. Thank you for all the help so far!!

              1. re: eenie1

                New Yorkers don't do at all well with the TMI meme that Westerners revel in, eenie.
                That's why your replies have been so relatively few.

    1. Having allergies is a hard thing to deal with. I would say that almost no restaurant is going to be 100% safe but that we've dined at places like Jean George and EMP without incident. So I would ditto Spiritchaser's comment about the fine restaurants. But then again, my friend is only allergic to all nuts and some raw fruits, not dairy, and these restaurants probably use a fair amount of dairy and butter in their cooking.

      Obviously places to stay away from include Vietnamese and Thai restaurants, some Indian restaurant (Saravannas comes to mind - after informing the waiter of a nut allergy repeatedly, he let us order a dish that had huge chunks of cashew). I would say that Japanese or to a lesser degree Chinese restaurants might be a safer bet since they don't use a lot of nuts or dairy but they do use more mushrooms. Sushi is probably the safest way to go.

      As you figure out your allergies, you'll probably find that you are more allergic to some foods and less allergic to others and you can figure out a hierarchy of what to avoid. The other thing is that if you are currently in the middle of a big allergy breakout where your IgE is really high, a lot of things might set off allergies that wouldn't normally do so.

      A friend of mine once went to the allergist who told her that she was allergic to garlic amongst several other things and she has continued to eat lots of garlic with no reaction. Not saying that ignoring an allergist's advice is for everyone, but she had been eating garlic everyday of her life and continued to do so.

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      Jean Georges
      1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

      1 Reply
      1. re: windycity

        Hi all: Quick email to say thanks again. I had wonderful dinners at Blue Smoke (chicken/beans/veg all delicious) and Olive's (pork chop special/very juicy!/veg/potato) over my weekend in NYC. I typed up lists of my allergies and waiters/waitresses thanked me for them. Both places were very helpful and understanding! Also had coffee from the Love Truck (yum) and OJ and banana oatmeal, minus the crumbles, at Jamba Juice. I bought apples to snack on at lunch on Saturday at the Union Sq. farmers market since I was staying right there. Unfortunately I couldn't purchase bread from Rockhill Bakehouse. That was very sad as their bread (and everything else at their cafe upstate) is completely delicious! I found this out before the allergies hit! Lunches when I arrived on Friday and the day I was leaving were from the salad bar at the Union Sq Whole Foods. All in all a great weekend! Will be back soon!

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        Blue Smoke
        116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016