There are millions of restaurants, but if you have a food allergy you know eating out can be a challenge. We created this site to help you the next time you wonder, "Can I Eat There?"

You'll find links to food allergen guides for restaurants good enough to provide them and info on how to check out those that don't. Our city specific posts are decicated to those local joints we all love.

We hope this site expands your dining horizons... and keeps you healthy!


Dinner with Friends - A Scary Reminder

We know eating out at a restaurant with a food allergy can be tough, but what about when your friends invite you over for dinner. Since learning of my food allergies, my husband and I have been inviting more people over to our house for dinner - it keep us in control.

But, there are some of our friends who know all about our food allergies and are more than happy to do whatever they can for us. So when we were invited to dinner by one of those friends last night we thought it would be no problem - they know I can't have soy, crab or chicken. We been there a few times with no problems. So yesterday afternoon, we called ahead, "What's for dinner?"

"Cioppino," the chef said.

"There's no crab in it right?" my husband said.

"Oh that's right she can't have crab," our friend said. "I forgot about that, but I haven't put the crab in yet, so I'll make a batch without it just for her."

"Great, thanks," my husband said.

You can probably figure out where this is going... that's right, today I had to take a trip to urgent care. I'm ok, but I am 99.9% sure I ended up eating some crab. The rash, throat tightness, numb tongue and sweating were dead giveways.

We think we know what happened. Our friend, who kindly made me my own bowl, didn't know that he also had to use a separate ladle when dishing up my soup.

This experience taught us a lesson. We need to be just as vigilant with our friends as we are with strangers in restaurants. Most of them don't know all the rules of food allergies, like be sure there's no cross contamination.

Here's some tips I know I will remember the next time a friend invites us to dinner.
1. Remind your friend of your allergy, ask them if they are comfortable accomodating it and be sure they understand the seriousness of your allergy. If they seem at all put off, invite them your house instead. Or offer to bring your own dinner if they are having mutiple people and have their heart set on a specific dish.
2. If they are willing to do the extra to have you over, great! But, be sure they know to check the ingredients on everything and if there is something you can't eat they need to cook your portion without it in its own pan with its own utensils.
3. Call ahead to find out what's for dinner, remind your friend of your food allergy again.
4. If you have any doubt about what they are making, politely tell them you are unsure you can eat that, and then stay home.
5. Remind your friend of your food allergy when you arrive for dinner, double check that they have followed the rules. Check labels on any items you can that were used in your meal.
6. If you have any doubts anywhere along the way, politely excuse yourself from the meal and eat when you get home.

In the end your friends would rather you excuse yourself from a meal than have you end up in the emergency room, or worse.

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