My dad, who also grew up with peanut and tree nut allergies (aww, genetics… I can thank him for being an Allergic Reactor), has always told me these two theories from his experience that both complement and conflict with each other.
My Dad’s Theory Part 1: The Nicer the Restaurant, the Higher the Danger
Like my dad, I have often found this to be true. Usually, the nicer the restaurant is, the higher the danger for my food allergies. Restaurants that boast pricey entrees do tend to also afford the priciest ingredients for their dishes. That is why when I look at menus for classier establishments, I always see ‘walnut butter’, ‘encrusted with almonds’, etc. It is unbelievable how many dishes have allergens included in their title, never mind what else is in the dish itself.
I also know that nuts are flavor enhancers. This is why avoiding all baked goods is a must. Many have some kind of nut, nut oil, almond extract, etc. There may also be hidden ingredients that would never be suspected.
My Dad’s Theory Part 2: In General the Nicer the Restaurant, the More Willing to Accommodate
Going along with my dad’s first theory, this next theory I have also found to be true. In general, the nicer the restaurant, the more willing they are to accommodate my allergies. Servers, managers, and chefs in upscale restaurants are used to dealing with a lot of requests. Since they know their customers will be paying a significant amount of money, they want to help and work with them to make sure their customers have a positive experience.
When I was staying in Manhattan one summer, I went to meet a friend out for dinner. He was taking one of his clients out, so he chose a classy seafood restaurant. He remembered my allergies, but thought they would accommodate for me. He was right. I was able to order a deliciously flavorful filet mignon with fresh steamed vegetables, and I didn’t even have to worry. The server was both kind and accommodating about my allergies and said I had nothing to worry about.
This is not always the case, but it has now happened to me quite a few times. Servers and managers are often perfectly helpful and understanding about my allergies. I guess you just never know.
Do you agree with my dad’s theories on food allergies? Have you also experienced this trend? Please share.