Some of the major problems food-allergen sufferers (and vegans alike) run into at restaurants are improperly trained waitstaff on the details of how each item is prepared and lack of choices on a menu. Personally, I know each menu item that I can eat at lovely restaurants here in Columbus and in my hometown in New York. I can tell you which items are cooked in which oil and whether or not I can eat them depending on if they are cooked with bacon in the animal-fat fryer. I know it is the same for my allergy-suffering friends and loved ones when they eat out. When I was a server a few years back, I took it upon myself to watch the cooks and chef carefully and have conversations with each of them if I knew someone at my table had an allergy or was vegetarian/vegan. I hope that at some point that same care has been taken for me! The best is when we know our servers, chefs, owners and all staff members have taken a keen interest in our health (and happiness!) by creating an allergen-free and/or vegan menu! Yipee! Freedom! Here are my top allergen free menus at restaurants across the nation:
Although there is not a separate menu for food-allergen sufferers, this cafe does an incredible job at creating a well-rounded list of substitutions for their normal menu items. For example how delicious does their grilled vegetable (including butternut squash-yum) sandwich with a hummus spread on rice or spelt bread sound?
I fear there are not enough words in the English language to accurately describe my love for Mellow Mushroom. Their pizza is crispy and perfectly seasoned and the fact that they can serve it with a tasty gluten free crust is a HUGE plus. Also, Daiya cheese (soy-free, yay!) is a regular menu item….like it should be! Try the AMAZING Mega Veggie Pizza with Daiya Mozzarella and sub out tofu for extra artichoke hearts….my personal favorite.
This delicious-looking menu comes complete with lables like “V”- Vegan, “GF”- Gluten Free and a spectacular combo on items like the Red Pepper and Chipotle Soup on their summer menu. I am headed to Denver to visit my best friend in September and this will most certainly be a first stop apres airport.
Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar- Encinitas, CA
This menu wins for the most detailed labels for allergen-sufferers and vegans alike. Enjoy delicious items labeled as “safe” for us like the Purple Prana smoothie or the Avatar Acai smoothie….mmmm perfect summer fruity drinks!
Franchia Vegan Cafe- New York, NY
This Asian fusion vegan menu does have a Gluten Free portion, however there are a lot of soy items. So be aware of that when ordering, my soy-sufferers! That being said, how incredibly satisfying, healthy and delicious does their Sea Vegetables and Brown Rice Noodles Salad sound? Anything with sea vegetables is right up our alley in this household, I think another trip home to New York is in order.
What is your favorite restaurant with an allergen-free menu? Share!
Also on Freedom Friday: Coconut Berry Spread
Photo: Steeping Room; Root Down; Mellow Mushroom; Lotus; Franchia