12hrs in Philly
In the past, when we travelled I would have to pack a cooler for my allergy child and throughout the trip she would eat from the cooler. If we were lucky, we might find a place that would serve some plain grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. Not very exciting but it was the best way to feed a child with over 6 food allergies. Flash forward 9yrs, there are so many more restaurants and eateries that are allergy friendly. On top of it all, we now have apps or smart phones to help you find the nearest gluten free venue. Last weekend we did a day trip to Philadephia and with a little research beforehand…we had an awesome and food safe time! We had 12hrs in Philly…want to see what we did?
One of the things, you have to try when you are in Philly is a soft pretzel. However, when you can’t have wheat or dairy, it becomes a bit tricky. Thank goodness I am stubborn as sin because 1 hr. with the Internet gave me Taffets! I double checked their opening times and made sure they would be open when I brought my allergy babe there. The place reminded me of the old bakeshops of NY. It’s not the prettiest of places but they don’t need to be. They are there to do their job, which is to bake some darn good gluten free pretzels. We went in and no small talk was needed. What do you want? Pretzels? How many? Just 2. (We wanted to taste it before we commit to buying more to bring home.) The pretzels were room temperature but it was crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. Please understand, this is gluten free and will not have the same pull as a gluten pretzel. This pretzel had a light tender center. The decision? Winner! Please put 6 more in a paper bag to go! (Side note: these pretzels freezes well!)
This is a pretty interesting place, I have children from 12-6yrs. Lets be honest, what your 6yr old wants to do is usually not what your pre-teen wants to do. However, somehow the Franklin Institute does a great job with mixing the “hands on” experiences with the live demonstrations. There was a high wire bicycle that was 2 stories above ground, my 12yr old loved it. She went back on forth on the wire while I held my breath! Meanwhile the 6yr olds were attempting to rebuild a pyramid with wooden blocks in the Egyptian exhibit. The week we were there, there was also a hands on demonstration on fireworks. Yes, your heard me right! My 9yr old got to blow up some balloons with manganese to see what color it would create! (By the way, it’s pink just in case you were wondering.) Shall we say it? They had a blast!
Sweet Freedom Bakery
After the Franklin Institute, we decided to go pick up some dessert for after dinner. It was on the way to our dinner reservation. This place brought tears to my eyes. My little girl who has a dairy, wheat, and soy, tree nut, peanut and food coloring allergy was able to pick ANYTHING from this bakery. This bakery is dairy, gluten, wheat, egg, corn, soy, peanut, casein and refined sugar free. They had cookies, bars and cupcakes. The cookies were ok but biggest hit amongst our family were the cupcakes. We tried 6 different ones and our favorites are the Faux-stess (tasted like a chocolate Hostess), the Pink Lemonade, and the Smore. We will definitely go back again to stock up on cupcakes.
Giorgio On Pine
I have to admit, I was a little excited and nervous when we went into the restaurant. After all, was I insane to go into an Italian restaurant when my daughter can’t have wheat or dairy? When we sat down, we spoke with our server right away about our allergy concerns. This is a good sign, before we put in any order; he took down our allergies and went straight to the chef. Their biggest allergy concern was the soy because they use soy oil in their cooking. My child is allergic to the soy protein but not the oil. Please if you can’t tolerate any soy oil, do not bother going to this restaurant as their olive oil is cross contaminated with soy oil. In terms of the gluten and dairy situation, the chef assured us that they will cook their pasta in a dedicated pot and they will use separate skillets to prepare our allergy dishes. For appetizer, we ordered a mussel in white wine sauce and a seafood white bean dish cooked with garlic. (As always, hold the cheese and butter!) For dinner, kiddo and I split an order of gluten free seafood pasta, the pasta is made by Schar. Please note that the restaurant DOES NOT have a children’s menu. However, with 4 kids, they were real good about spitting up our bigger plates in the kitchen for the kids. There is also nothing on the dessert board that would be safe for a gluten free/dairy free/nut free child. Don’t worry though, we were prepared and had our Sweet Freedom desserts! Overall, the restaurant had an old school trattoria feel to it, the bathrooms were clean and we didn’t have an allergy attack. The server was thoughtful; he came and checked up on us at every step of the meal. Even Giorgio came by twice to ask if we are enjoying our dinner. Yes Giorgio, dinner was wonderful and we will be back!
*Please note that restuarants and policies do change over time. I recommend that you always communicate your dietary restrictions to the restaurant and your server.