Monday, April 4, 2011

Eating Out (and Well) with Allergies

I have been travelling across Ontario and a bit of Quebec for the past little while. Nothing extensive, but I've hit Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal on a few occasions over the past year.

Why this is relevant is because I'm a devotee to the following restaurants and bakery which are both allergy-friendly (depending on your allergy) and vegan/vegetarian-friendly.

Restaurant No. 1
Fresh On Bloor, Toronto
No eggs. Dairy- and nut-free options. Dairy and nuts on-site.

Fresh on Bloor (there are two others in Toronto, but that's the best one) is free of most animal products. They have cheese and milk on-site, but there is no hidden dairy. If you have a nut-allergy, they have some nuts on site, like most vegetarian & vegan restaurants. However, they are much more accommodating than a restaurant like Fressen which is heavy on the nuts. If you have a severe nut allergy, it may not be worth the risk.

Restaurant No. 2
Zero 8, Montreal
No fish/seafood, peanuts, nuts, sesame seeds, milk, eggs, soy, wheat.

Okay, it's a bit of a trek if you don't live in Montreal, but totally worth it. They do not have any of the main eight allergens - as defined by Health Canada, on-site. Not even vinegar because it has gluten. It's a bit of an upscale vibe, but still a great place to bring kids or have a nice date. I've been four times. It was good, better, amazing and better, in that order. In other words, the quality is a bit inconsistent, but it's never anything less than good. The portions are large and the dessert choices are plentiful and amazing. The wine and drinks list is great and I must recommend the caipirinhas. My only issue with Zero 8 is that it's in Montreal. Like their Facebook page for information about their take-out menu and feel free to email them and beg them to expand into Ontario. The website has an English version, but the Facebook page is in French.

Bakery No. 1
Auntie Loo's Treats, Ottawa
No dairy or egg. Gluten-free and nut-free options. Nuts on site.

Oh, Auntie Loo, I'd move to Ottawa for you. This vegan bakery is a haven for those of us with dairy and egg allergies. She does have nuts on the premises, but there are plenty of recipes without nuts. While she's very careful about orders, if you do have a severe nut allergy, best not to risk it. If you don't, have fun trying all the different kinds of cupcakes as well as cinnamon buns, Nanaimo bars, cakes, croissants and so much more. She even has gluten-free options! Auntie Loo (a.k.a Amanda Lunan) is friendly and brilliant and I love visiting her cute and heavenly-smelling shop on Bronson Avenue. While she's only been open for a little over a year, I have become a devoted customer. No occasion (real or made up) is complete without one of her treats. Like her Facebook page for info about new desserts and chances to Take the Cake at an amazing price.

In my next post, I'll list a few more great (and not great) restaurants and how I manage to survive eating out. I'll include a snazzy template too!

C'est tout! Enjoy!

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