Milestones’ extraordinary care and attention to food allergies allows me to eat out without worry

Last night we finished work and decided we were going to go out for dinner. Now, with severe food allergies I’ve always recommended calling the restaurant ahead of time, when you make your reservation. Last night we went to a restaurant we trust; Milestones. We went to the Victoria, British Columbia location.

We have been to Milestones in Victoria a few times now and have also been to several different locations in Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto. I feel very safe at Milestones, even with my long list of allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, soy, legumes (beans and peas) as well as gluten and dairy intolerances. Being a chain restaurant, with numerous locations across Canada, they need to have policies in place to ensure that people can eat safely and trust the restaurant. Every time I have eaten at Milestones, I am always so grateful that every staff member genuinely cares and understands that my order, and by consequence, my meal is prepared with utmost care and attention to avoid any cross-contamination. They check-in several times to make sure I am ok, that the meal is to my expectations and that I know that they have taken every possible step they can to make my meal as safe as it can be.

Last night was no exception to that rule; as our waiter, Kyle W. took very good care of me to make sure I would have a safe dinner out. He checked in numerous times to make sure everything was ok and I was not having any reactions or worries about my food. He genuinely cared and wanted to be sur we had a nice evening out, without incident.

I had one of the two meals I always have, because it is delicious and I know it is safe and easy to make safely. When eating out, what I have learned over the years is that simpler is safer. When you have allergies and are eating out, keep it simple. With my allergies, I always keep it to meat and veggies. At Milestones, I keep dinner to either steak, baked potatoes and vegetables, or a nice salad with salmon, avocado, strawberries. On my salad I keep it simple; balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

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Dinner was delicious and it meant I didnt have to cook. I don’t eat out very often, however when I do, it is to have a nice evening with friends and family, and not have to cook. Yes I want tasty food, but I always keep it simple, because I like seeing exactly what I am eating. Knowing every ingredient in my meal. It means that I can eat without any stress. Milestones has always gone out of their way to bring me a well balance meal. When I am hungry, I’ll get a baked potato on the side of my salad and that is enough for me.

When looking to eat out, the first restaurant I will look up is Milestones, because I know without a doubt in my mind that they will go above and beyond to make me a safe meal.

Have you ever been to Milestones restaurants? Which locations have you been to? What was your experience like and would you recommend Milestones for others with severe food allergies?

A great dinner at the Six Mile Pub with food allergies!

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Tonight my boyfriend and I went to the Six Mile Pub for date night. We had heard from family and friends that they had many gluten free options available and were very understanding.

This afternoon, knowing that we were going there for dinner, I called to make a reservation and to talk to them about my food allergies. Over the phone, I told them I had severe allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, soy and all legumes (peas & beans) and was also gluten and dairy sensitive. The woman I spoke to was very understanding and confirmed the allergies to be certain she had written them down correctly in the reservation itself. She also mentioned that the kitchen and staff are all extremely aware with food allergies and that they always take every possible precaution to ensure a reaction does not occur. This first contact was very reassuring for me.

When we arrived at the pub, the owner, David came to speak with me right away. He confirmed my allergies again and I gave him my card with the list of my allergies. He told us he was going to the kitchen to speak with the chef and would be right back. What happened next reassured me even more! Out of the kitchen came the owner David, and the chef, Jeff. He helped me figure out what I could have for dinner and substitutions we could make so I had a well rounded meal. WP_20150327_002

Our waitress took the order and checked in a few times to make sure everything was ok and I had what I needed. Dinner was delicious! Presentation was an A+ and I had a safe, tasty meal. Great date night thanks to wonderful, caring staff. We also had a great conversation with David, about how they manage food allergies in their kitchen and I was very happy to hear all the steps they take. David mentioned that the minute a customer tells the waiter/waitress that they have an allergy, the owner gets notified and then the kitchen. They have strict procedures in the kitchen to ensure there is no cross-contamination, including hand-washing, cleaning utensils, and surfaces.

If you, a friend or loved one has food allergies I HIGHLY recommend the Six Mile Pub. We will be going back. More than once! Food was delicious and I was not at all worried.

 

Valentine’s Day if your date has Food Allergies

If your date has Food Allergies, I have a few tips for you below.

Going out for a Valentine’s Day dinner?

  1. Your date may want to call the restaurant ahead of time to find out if they can accommodate their Food Allergies; some restaurants will not.
  2. Even if you wanted to keep the name of the restaurant a surprise, if your date asks, know that they will feel safer and more relaxed knowing that it is a restaurant where the staff is prepared to accommodate their Food Allergies.
  3. Lastly, order a meal that would also be safe for your date to eat. Your date will feel wonderful knowing that you want to eat something that is safe for them, and will make the evening more relaxed. Who knows, might even mean you get a nice kiss for being so thoughtful 🙂

Staying in for Valentine’s Day?

  1. Be sure that the ingredients used for your dinner are safe and there is no cross-contamination
  2. If your date asks to help you in preparing dinner allow them to help, even if you wanted to make dinner for them. Or, show them all the ingredients you plan to use and have your date help you ensure the kitchen is clean and they feel safe with the utensils, pans and dishes you plan to use. Personally, I feel safer using metal cooking utensils over plastic in a kitchen where my allergens may be present.
  3. If your date would like to clean utensils, pans, cutting boards and dishes before making dinner, go with it. Help them feel safe and relaxed. It’ll make the evening even more romantic and enjoyable if they feel supported and understood.
  4. Avoid eating things your date is allergic to for the one night. You can have them tomorrow. Keep this evening relaxed, fun and safe.
  5. If your date asks to have the evening free of all foods they are allergic to, don’t question it. You will have a wonderful Valentine’s Day evening without worry.

Wanting to give chocolates or another edible treat? 

  1. Double and triple check the labels – Look for a may contain statement which may not be close to the ingredient list.
  2. If you feel uncertain, skip the chocolates. Make homemade chocolates or buy some roses, write a nice card or be creative. Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to be about chocolates and candies.
  3. Tell your date that you tried to find chocolates however you were not sure if any of the ones you had found would have been safe. Your date will appreciate knowing that you wanted to find chocolates or candy or other however at the end of the day, you chose a safer option.

When in doubt, just speak up! 🙂

Have a safe and romantic Valentine’s Day and please leave your thoughts and comments below!

Valentine’s Day if you are the one with Food Allergies

If you are the one with Food Allergies, I have a few tips for you below.

Going out for a Valentine’s Day dinner?

  1. Call the restaurant you are going to ahead of time.
  2. Prepare a cue card listing all your allergies and level of severity before you go
  3. Talk to the waiter/waitress when they first come to your table and ask for drinks; that way, they may notify their manager about the allergies before you even order.

Staying in for Valentine’s Day?

  1. Be sure that the ingredients used for your dinner are safe and there is no cross-contamination
  2. If your date wants to make you dinner and you feel a little uncertain about cross-contamination in their kitchen, tell them that you trust them, however you would feel more relaxed if you could help prepare and cook – They will understand
  3. If you are concerned your date may eat something you are allergic to and then kiss you, speak up. Please do not sit all evening feeling stressed or anxious about what may or may not happen.
  4. Ask to have a completely safe evening, with only foods you can have, so you can kiss and not worry about what they may or may not have had

Receiving chocolates or another edible treat? 

  1. Double and triple check the labels – Look for a may contain statement which may not be close to the ingredient list.
  2. If you feel uncertain, let your date know that you appreciate the gift, however you’d feel more comfortable after calling the company to confirm that it was made in a safe facility without cross-contamination.
  3. Ask that your date not eat them either, in case they are not safe for you; tell your date that you would feel more relaxed knowing they had not eaten anything you may be allergic to.

When in doubt, just speak up! 🙂

Have a safe and romantic Valentine’s Day and please leave your thoughts and comments below!

Milestone’s – A Restaurant Chain I Trust with my Food Allergies!

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Have you found a restaurant chain that you trust with food allergies, whether it be your allergies or perhaps a loved ones allergies? There are only a few chain restaurants I trust very much with my allergies. Milestone’s is one of these. I have been to Milestone’s 3 times now in the last 2 years (Yes, I do not eat out much) and each time the waiter/waitress, chef and kitchen manager have gone above and beyond to make me feel understood and feel safe.

A little over a week ago, my boyfriend, my brother and I all went to the Milestone’s on 1210 Denman Street in Vancouver, BC and we had such a wonderful dinner experience. From the very start our waiter, Steve B. made me feel understood. After providing him a hand written list of all my “life-threatening” food allergies as well as my “sensitivities” he went over each with me, explaining where they might be found in the kitchen. I discussed with Steve B. whether or not he thought I could have a salad and if they could ensure that there was no cross-contamination. He promised that he would advise the chef of the severity of the allergies and minimizing cross-contamination. He spoke very confidently and was very re-assuring. I felt that that Steve B really cared. That in itself made me feel less anxious. Still on my guard but not as worried.

A few minutes later he brought out an amazing salad for me, that the chef, Michael had prepared for me in a separate area. He advised that the chef was wonderful and truly understood allergies.

WP_20150125_015Now, a week later, we had dinner at a Milestone’s on 700 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Ontario. Our wonderful waitress, Alisha A. was very understanding as well and spoke with the kitchen staff and manager upon our arrival and provided the kitchen with a list of all my “life-threatening” food allergies as well as my “sensitivities”. Alisha A. was very caring and made me feel like my allergies were nothing to worry about and that the kitchen would be as careful as possible. I ordered the same salad I had in Vancouver with balsamic vinegar and olive oil to be safe and a baked potato.

Dinner was amazing!! I wanted more! 🙂 Wouldn’t you?!?

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Have you ever been to Milestone’s with food allergies? Please share your experiences in the comments!

 

 

 

Hosting for friends and family with food allergies – Before the event

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Please share with those that do not have allergies and may be hosting this    holiday season.

Christmas Eve is just 10 days away and many of you may already be on holidays already or very soon. Christmas and New Years is a very busy time of year for parties with friends and family. Holiday parties usually involve some kind of food, whether there is a meal, or h’ourdeuvres. If you are hosting a dinner with family and friends this holiday season, here are a 4 tips for you to ensure your loved ones can have a fun time while feeling safe.

Before I get into the tips, one very important note; COMMUNICATION is KEY! So please do not be afraid to ask questions or share if you feel uncomfortable preparing food for the person with the food allergy/allergies.

  1. Ask if anyone coming to the party has any food allergies. You may not be able to cater the food that is to be served to completely avoid their food allergens, especially if they list is a long one, however it is nice to feel like we are being considered in the planning. The smallest of gestures; like not placing bowls of bulk nuts out because we have a life-threatening food allergy to peanuts and tree nuts means so much to us.
  2. Ask the severity of the allergy. If you are aware of the allergy, and severity, you can discuss the next steps with them. You do not want to find out when you are serving dinner that someone has a life-threatening allergy and
  3. Ask if they plan to bring their own food and let them know that if they prefer to bring their own food that is perfectly OK. I know I often feel uncomfortable bringing my own food to dinner parties, however I always feel better when I know that the hosts or other guests know about my allergies and thus understand why I have my own food.
  4. If they do not plan on bringing their own food, it is up to you, as the host, to discuss with them if you are worried about what you plan to serve or how to make it safe. Perhaps they would like to help in the preparation of the food or can bring a dish that would be safe for them and that others would also like to eat. Maybe they can give you tips about what they can eat which will help put you at ease.

On Wednesday, I will be sharing tips on what to do once you get the list of food allergies or perhaps sensitivities like wheat and gluten. I’ll discuss ways to make your kitchen safe before preparing the food and how to minimize the risk of cross-contamination in your kitchen.

Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis- No Joke

Many of you know that Severe food allergies and Anaphylaxis are no joke. There are still many people out there that do not realize how serious and life-threatening a food that may seem so innocent, like a peanut can be. We need to raise awareness.

Below is yet another sad story of what happens when us severely allergic people ingest these foods and a reminder of how important it is to take every possible precaution possible. When your life is on the line. Be as safe as you can be.

Amy’s nut allergy devastates family and friends

These stories need to be shared. We need to raise awareness that food allergies are no joke.