On the Road in Washington DC
Day 1: Washington DC Smithsonian American Indian Museum
We went to the Smithsonian America Indian museum today. The kids had fun and we discussed the foods of the First Thanksgiving. Then, we had an early dinner in the museum food court called Mitsitam Cafe.
😩No dedicated gf kitchen anymore but in our case with over 5 food allergies, dedicate facilities for us is rare.
However, the server and staff responded quickly to our questions and gave us our best options. They even told us which of the 5 kiosks to stay away from! I loved it when the server said “Honey, don’t even make eye contact over there!”
All items in the picture were claimed to be gluten free, dairy free and nut free:
Cantaloupe jalapeño salsa
Hominy Salad (our personal choice, we did not serve it to our allergy child…although prepared in a gf manner…we were unsure of source)
Overall experience, clean eating was possible, food was tasty and daughter had no reaction. Although, no dedicated facilities. The staff was professional, courteous and did their best in this food court environment. (Again, I always emphasize communication of your restrictions when dining out anywhere!)
Day 2: Washington DC
We stayed in the National Mall area and went to the United States Botanic Garden, which was beautiful. Then we headed over to Plan B Bar for an early dinner. First let me say, this place is Celiac friendly with dedicated fryers and the breading is rice based. The menu is also clearly labeled for Gluten Free items. Now if you have other food allergies, you do need to communicate to your server or even grab the GM to go over the specifics of your allergy. Our server was a little overwhelmed with our number of allergies but a protocol is in place. She had to mark them on the computer system. Plus, we asked her for double confirmation with the kitchen. When they put the food in front of us, I asked again…”not just gluten free, is it dairy free and nut free?”
Mommy got the American Nachos which is homemade chili over their in-house made potato chips. The nachos were topped with jalapeno, onions and tomato (hold the cheese).
Kiddo got a grilled chicken (which they told me is not done in a shared area with the cheese burgers) and French Fries made in their dedicated fryer (plus a side salad…not shown in the picture)
Overall, we would go back to Plan B. The food was good and in their words “We take food allergies very seriously…”. I smiled and said “I do too”…Lol! (Soy allergy friend at the time this review was written the frying oil is a soy oil blend.)
Dessert Stop Over-Red Velvet Bakery
Since it is only a 10 minute walk over to Red Velvet Bakery from Plan B, we thought we would give it a try. There was a long display of cupcakes and I was confused for a minute because I thought everything was gluten free. It was later clarified to me that all cupcakes contains dairy and wheat EXCEPT 2 cupcakes. These are their vegan cupcakes, which is the Black Velvet and White Velvet Cupcakes. We got 1 of each for the non-allergic kid and hubby. They confirmed the cupcake to be delicious but I should note that BOTH contains soy protein in the form of soy milk and/or soy flour. (Due to the soy protein allergy of my allergy kiddo, she came out empty-handed).
Overall: If gluten free/dairy is your only dietary restriction then their cupcakes are delicious, even if you are limited to 2 choices. If you are also allergic to soy milk/soy flour on top of gluten and dairy then there are no options for you.
Day 3-Last Day in Washington DC
Today was the Air and Space Museum, this one is a favorite for all my kids. Great exhibits but typical food court affair. We had our cooler bag of snacks and fruit to be dairy free, gluten free and nut free. Afterwards, for dinner we met up with a group at Founding Farmers on Penn. Ok, I have to admit, I’m at odds with this place. Pro, they pro-actively called us to confirm allergens the day before. Con, when we got there and we re-confirmed allergens, our server said “M’am everything you are avoiding is what we cook with.” Here’s the gist…no appetizers, there are lots of cross contamination. (Again this is the server’s warning and I’m thankful for his honesty.) There are about 2 (maybe 3) warm sides you can choose from (ours was steamed veggie of the day and vegan mash potato)… we did the cedar plank grilled salmon with an olive-zucchini topping (on the side), as its cooked on a plank. No desserts, they all have either gluten, dairy, nuts and are cross contaminated.
Overall, if you have to eat there as a group you’ll find a few items but it’s not a “go-to” safety restaurant. The menu has a lot of gluten and dairy with very limited swap outs, just remember what my server said.
Search For A Dessert at Rise Bakery
We decided to give another try in finding dessert for my allergy kiddo. Since we had the car, we went to Rise Bakery in search of a cupcake. There was a good feeling when we entered, we were greeted by a big sign that said they are 100% gluten free and a labelling key for other allergies. After cross referencing a few of the colored dots, we found a few items that worked for us. My favorite was the carrot cupcake, it was moist and tasty.
Overall, I like the fact that they are 100% gluten free and they had other allergy options. Allergy kiddo, got her dessert before we headed home the next day! Yay!
Day 4-On the way home…ok, one more stop, just one more..
Lately, in the gluten free/allergy friendly world, there is a lot of buzz about a place called One Dish Cuisine. This place is the ultimate in allergy eating in the DC area. Everything in the place is gluten (wheat, rye and barley), oat free, soy free, peanut free, nut free, shellfish free, egg free, fish free and sesame free. I know what you are thinking but what about DAIRY? Here is the fabulous thing about this place, the kitchen in divided into a dairy and non-dairy side. The menu and the ready-made items are broken down to a 2-color system. If it is on a blue tray and with a blue label, the item does not contain dairy. If the item is on a green tray and has a green label then the item contains dairy. Here is what we did…the whole family ordered from the blue menu in solidarity to our non-dairy kiddo. It was also a good way to see how their food holds up without the Top 8 allergens. We wound up ordering, 1 large pepperoni pizza, 2 chicken fingers with fries and a spaghetti with meatballs. LOL, don’t judge our food choices, this meal was picked by our 10 yr old who never had the luxury of being able to choose anything off the menu due to her allergies. The reaction to the food that came out of the kitchen was very positive. My one child who has no food allergies shared the spaghetti and meatballs with me and declared it to be “super yummy”. My multi-food allergy kiddo said “I am so happy and it’s so good!” She loved me enough to let me take a bite of her chicken and I was very happy to see real strips of chicken breast not processed chicken meat. My tree-nut allergy tween loved the pizza so much she asked why she couldn’t just get her own pizza?
Overall: We will be returning to One Dish Cuisine again. It’s not always that you find a place that is top 8 allergen free and kid friendly. Hubby and I agreed that although the prices are a little more than your traditional pizza and chicken finger prices…the quality and the peace of mind is worth it.
*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.