Disneyland & Los Angeles dining with lots of food allergies

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by clanmcculloch, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    On our DTD/resort day, I had booked a latish lunch at ADR for 2pm at Storyteller's Cafe at the Grand Californian. Before our trip I got a call from a chef which is where I got a bunch of my brand info. I knew ahead of time that there would be bread and pizza crust options for DD12 but not for DD15 (DD15 doesn't have these options anywhere outside of our own home so this wasn't a surprise). I was disappointed that there wasn't a dessert option besides sorbet but the chef said he'd talk to the pastry chef at the resort to see if he could come up with anything. I wasn't counting on it but I was hopeful.

    We arrived about 15 minutes before our ADR time and it was nice and quiet. We were seated fairly quickly. There weren't many occupied tables around us which was nice and it remained that way the entire time we were there. By the end of our meal there was nobody else on our side of the restaurant.

    Our server introduced himself and I made sure he knew about our allergies. He said he would get a chef for us and took our drink orders. The chef came out within a couple of minutes. He was very friendly and went over our options with us. I confirmed that they didn't have any non-dairy cheese and asked about the bread options to confirm what I was told by phone.

    I hadn't mentioned the pizza crusts to DD12 because I didn't think she'd want one without cheese. When the chef mentioned it, she became torn about what to order. She really wanted the pizza crust but also wanted a hamburger. The chef came up with the perfect solution. He said he would send out pizza crusts as our bread since they serve bread to every table. Boy was she happy about that. We ended up ordering seconds and when the chef came out later she asked if she could get yet another order. The chef asked if she wanted it for the restaurant or to go and boy did she light up at that offer. So, the chef brought us another plate plus a to go pizza box with another one. It really was yummy. The chef heated it I think by sprinkling with oil and frying it. So good!
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    They don't have a dedicated allergy fryer so the chef offered to heat up some oil on the stove to cook fries for the girls. They were both happy about that. DD12 was excited about the huge burger listed on the menu. It was so big that she couldn't get her mouth around it without squishing the bun. Sorry I forgot to take the picture before she ate half of it.
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    DD15 was the one I was worried about for lunch. Knowing she can't eat the breads, I was wondering if there would be much she could have since it was mostly sandwiches. If I recall they had a steak on the menu so I thought she might like that. She didn't. I saw the seared tuna and pointed that out to her figuring she usually likes that. She was nervous that it would be overcooked like at the Derby so we discussed it with the chef. He said he'd make sure it was really likely seared so it would have that really rare texture. So, she ordered that with rice and fries. Boy does she like her rice and fries. When it was brought out, it was on a bun. She can't eat the buns. I hadn't realized that it was a sandwich or I would have said something. The server brought it back and the chef prepared her a new one. The tuna was good but it wasn't as good as what she likes to get at Japanese restaurants. Plain which rice and fries were the big hit. She later ordered another order of french fries. Thank goodness the chef hadn't dumped the oil yet so it didn't take nearly as long as the oil was already pretty warm when he started heating it.
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    When looking at the menu, I saw the salmon with the artichoke tapenade. I love tapenade and I love artichokes so I asked if it would be safe for me. It was. YAY! I couldn't eat whatever starch normally came with it so the chef offered white rice. That was fine by me. He actually asked how like the sauces served and I just said to serve it however it's normally served as long as it's safe. I hadn't realized that it also comes with a roasted red pepper sauce. It was all delicious. It was cooked perfectly. Even the broccoli was perfectly cooked al-dente. I was very happy with my meal. Sorry again about partially eaten meal pictures. Looking at the picture, the tapenade looks kind of gross but in person it looked really good and tasted even better.
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    After our entrees, the chef came out to discuss dessert options. There were 2 sorbets. It seems no mention of the conversation I had with that chef by phone happened. The kids weren't really in the mood for sorbets so that's when they ordered the extra bread and the extra fries. While talking, the chef said he would go check with the pastry chef about what they might be able to come up with. Here's what he brought out: chocolate mouse. It was REALLY yummy. So light and airy and chocolaty! DD12 couldn't finish hers because she was so stuffed but I enjoyed polishing it off. He made it using cocoa powder and rice based whipped cream. He had me review the label on the whipped cream before making it and it was safe.
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    I hadn't realized it until heading to the bathroom, but they have this pizza station where kids can stretch their own dough. I'm glad DD12 didn't see it. She would have been disappointed by not getting to do it. Ignorance is bliss.

    Overall, it was a really good experience. I wouldn't hesitate to eat lunch here again.
     
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  3. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    DSSil's birthday was less than a week after our trip so I wanted to have a nice dinner for him to celebrate. When I asked her, DSD said that he really likes steak restaurants but then she gave the example of Outback as a place he likes. That's not special IMO. I decided to give Steakhouse 55 a try as it looked like it's a higher end style steakhouse. The only concern I had was that DD15 does not handle evenings well. As part of her autism, she can only handle so much in a day and whenever I try dinner ADRs she usually struggles to hold it together. I figured that if I make sure to take a good break during the day maybe it would go well, especially since she LOVES steak.

    We had an opening ADR which is 5:30. We were seated fairly quickly. The restaurant has the typical dimmer lighting you find at higher end restaurants but it was nice as it's calm. This is my excuse for the quality of the pictures and I'm sticking with that. There weren't many people there through our whole meal which I liked.

    Our server came over pretty soon after we were seated to introduce himself. I immediately informed him of our allergies and he assured me that the chef would be out shortly to speak with us. He then went over our drink choices with us. I was surprised when he asked if we wanted regular water or bottled. The girls really wanted bottled so I agreed to let them get it. He brought out a large bottle of Smartwater served like it was a bottle of wine. The girls thought that was great.

    We started looking over the menu while waiting for the chef and unfortunately the girls were not being cooperative. DD15 wasn't coping well and was completely incapable of making a decision (decisions are difficult for her on a good day because she's afraid of making a "wrong" decision due to the obsessive compulsive tendencies but when she's hit her coping limit for the day, it just isn't going to happen). Lovely. The only thing she does know is that she doesn't want steak. Say what?!?! DD12 wasn't liking the sounds of anything on the menu either. UGH!!! The chef didn't take long to come out so I basically just go over the menu with him to find out what items are safe and what items an be made safe. Like other restaurants, they don't have a dedicated allergy fryer but they will put a pot of oil on the stove to cook fries.

    DD12 ended up deciding after only a few more times of me going over the menu with her. I honestly thought she would end up getting some kind of scallop because I know how much she likes them but she ended up choosing the prime rib. It was huge and it was cooked beautifully.
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    Notice the lack of sides. The entrees do not come with sides. You order the sides family style. After a lot of back and forth over her reasons for not wanting this or that, DD15 also agreed to the prime rib. Hers was also really tender and flavourful and phew, she enjoyed it. I know how much she loves mushrooms so I also ordered a side of mushrooms for us to split. Both girls like shoestring fries so I also ordered a side of those to split. DD12 really didn't want any sides but I figured I could probably talk her into having some of these. The mushrooms were cooked really nicely with garlic in olive oil. It was a nice selection of mushrooms and tasted great. The fries were also really good.
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    When the chef was at our table, I was really just focussing on dishes that I thought either of the girls would eat. I completely forgot to ask about things for me. Rather than wait for the chef and then decide, I placed an order with the understanding that if it wasn't safe I had a backup dish to order (a steak that I knew was safe). I ordered the pistaccio crusted rack of lamb. I love lamb. Our server came back out a couple minutes later saying that the chef said that the crust isn't safe for those with peanut allergies but that he could prepare it so that it's safe just without the crust. Sounded good to me. OMG it was melt in your mouth good. I was eating a little bite of heaven. I also ordered the accompanying scallops without the usual sauce. They were simple seared scallops but cooked to perfection and oh so yummy. I didn't eat much of the fries but the mushrooms were wonderful with this.
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    As I mentioned, we were there celebrating DSSil's birthday and I had also mentioned DD12's birthday which is 3 days before DSSil's. Unfortunately they didn't have any allergy safe desserts. They brought out the typical birthday dessert (I think probably every ingredient in it was unsafe) so that she would have a candle to blow out when they sang to her. I was surprised that they didn't bring one for DSSil as well but we insisted that he eat it since it was his celebration as well. Here's a picture in case you're wondering. NOT allergy safe!
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    The other 3 in our party all ordered the prix fixe meal and really enjoyed it. The 3 of us will allergies got to sit and watch them eat their creme brulee. DD15 chose to order more fries so she was happy. DD12 was stuffed so she couldn't have eaten dessert anyway but she was still bummed watching everybody eat.

    Part way through our meal, after we ordered and before our food came out, another chef came out to introduce himself. I noticed by his name tag that he's a Legacy Award winner so I felt even more confident with our meal than I already was.

    My summary is that the food was really good, the chefs were attentive and knowledgeable and we were really happy with our meal.
     
  4. disney david

    disney david DIS Veteran

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    This is one I always want to try was their in dec but didn't go because food v8 cafe was so good maybe I go for my 30 in feb. thanks for the review plus your two had my favorite prime rib which looked really good so now I have to try them. Thanks glad you and your kids had a great meal.
     
  5. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    Definitely give it a try. Just be prepared for how expensive it is. Look at the menu ahead of time so you don't get sticker shock. Remember that the sides are not included in the entree prices unless you get the prix fixe meal. Prime rib is not available as a prix fixe meal. Can you believe how thick it is though? They did both really enjoy it.
     
  6. disney david

    disney david DIS Veteran

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    Yeah thanks as long as it good I am okay The price. i had a bad meal at yachtsmen for my birthday one year and it was expensive and i was not happy. And never been back now when I go in wdw I go to Tokyo dining. I feel if it good food and good service it okay to spend a little while at Disney.

    I am also glad The chef was able to make the lamb for you even if they couldn't use the crust.
     
  7. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    This is just a general summary of the snacks we had while at Disneyland. I didn't take any pictures of our snacks. It's weird to me to realize that we really didn't get many snacks over the 5 park days we spent there.

    Dole Whip: At DL they only sell one flavour of Dole Whip and that's pineapple. My kids have never tried a Dole Whip before because at WDW there's a risk of cross contamination with the vanilla Dole Whips which have milk. Because there is only pineapple at DL, they're safe there. They were delicious. I considered getting one float but decided to just get soft serve for all 3 of us. I kind of regret that because it would have been nice to try something different but these were tasty and refreshing. I was surprised that the way they're served looks like a lot more than it really is as they're hollow inside. It was enough. I ended up eating half of DD12's because she really is addicted to the Disney popcorn and wanted that once she had a chance to try the Dole Whip. There is only one place at DL to get Dole Whips. There's a Dole sponsored stand at the entrance to Adventureland where you can get them.

    Popcorn: I think they must add some kind of addictive substance to the popcorn because DD12 is constantly asking for it. None of the popcorn carts open before 10am (we're early birds and finish breakfast by 7:30 so we're looking for snacks around 10) and only half of them open at that time. While the rest of the family was sitting at Paradise Pier at a table outside the bakery I ran all the way over to in front of Soarin' to get a popcorn at that hour. It wasn't a total waste of time though since I got WOC FPs on my way by.

    Disney brand potato chips: These must also have some kind of addictive substance added to them because DD15 is constantly asking for these. They're your typical kettle cooked style of chips. She can only eat the plain ones. I've had the BBQ before and enjoy them. They're available at lots of different snack and CS locations.

    Kettle Corn: I'm not sure where all they're available but we got a bag at DCA in the candy shop on the right side as you enter the main street. Normally DD12 and I don't like kettle corn much (it's a dislike of sweet and salty combo) but these weren't very sweet so we enjoyed them. I didn't look into other kettle corn but we got the pre-bagged stuff. They sell some at DTD by another company and I don't have any idea if that's safe or not.

    Goofy's Taffy: DD15 can't eat the taffy as it has egg whites but the taffy is a tradition for DD12 and I to bring home from WDW so we also got a bag at DL. We got it at the same candy shop as the kettle corn in DCA.
     
  8. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    You know, I've got a lot of pictures with characters but didn't take food pictures. I was definitely slacking off. Sorry. Please don't take away my membership in the obsessive compulsive food picture taking club.

    Anyway, I booked a 12:30 ADR at Goofy's Kitchen figuring that would be a nice time to end a relaxing park day (we don't do long days and always start at RD). We spent most of the morning in DL and we were in Fantasyland when it was getting to the point when we should head over so we decided to hop on the monorail in Tomorrowland to get over to Disneyland Hotel. Boy is that ever a nice way to get over there.

    We arrived at DLH around 12:15 and there was only one other family ahead of us to check in. Knowing that past experience with character meals has resulted in at least a bit of a wait, DH decides that's a good time to use the restroom. Well, they called us for our picture with Goofy within a minute of him leaving. As soon as he got back we got our picture. Goofy was very playful. After our picture we only waited maybe another 5 minutes for our table.

    DD12 was in a wheelchair so the greeter asked us if she wanted to transfer. She did. When I asked where I should put it he offered to take it for me and said he was putting it with the strollers which is near where we were waiting to be seated. Our table was at the very back of the restaurant. I'm sure you can see where this is going. Of course half way through the meal she had to go to the bathroom and was in a lot of pain so she couldn't walk that far so that means I had to go find it and bring it back. Oh joy. It wasn't a big deal other than the fact that it can be a tight squeeze between the tables. Since it was near the end of the meal and our area had cleared out of other guests we just kept the chair back there with us instead of bringing it back up to the stroller area.

    The chef took a little longer than at other restaurants to come out but it still wasn't long. DD15 was a bit agitated (we really should have taken a break day but long story, we couldn't that day) but she came with me anyway as the chef walked us through the buffet. DD12 didn't have her chair with her so she decided to just trust me with her requests. The chef did talk to her briefly before we went to the buffet so he had already determined that she wanted a cheeseless GF pepperoni pizza but otherwise it was up to me to make sure she got something she'd like. The pressure was on!

    I was a bit nervous that the chef wasn't taking notes as we walked through the buffet. DD15 as I said was a bit agitated so she was having a lot of trouble making any decisions about what she might like. We had the obvious option of fruit and the chef said he could make pancakes (no Mickey waffles, bummer) so those were definitely on the list along with bacon and sausage for the girls if safe. I asked for some eggs for myself. He said he had Udi's bagels though nothing we could put on them so I only asked for one for myself (it turned out to be cinnamon raisin which was nice) and he heated it up under the broiler so it would be toasted. He wasn't sure about the roasted chicken so he said he'd check on it and would bring some out if it turned out to be safe. It wasn't. He did have gluten free pasta available so I asked for some of that with some sauce on the side (DD15 still didn't want sauce on her pasta). Boy, I'm blanking on what else we got. I do remember that we ended up not even heading over to the table with the sandwiches on it (there's significance to this). I asked if there were any desserts that would be safe and unfortunately the answer was no.

    I think it only took maybe 10 minutes before the first plates started coming out to the table. Our server came out with a big stack of pancakes with some cups of real maple syrup as well as a big plate of bacon and sausage and DD12's pizza, my eggs and my bagel. Great start! DD15 LOVED the pancakes and I enjoyed them as well. DD12 didn't want any yet we still ended up ordering another plate because DD15 was just digging in with gusto. Because he hadn't taken notes, the chef forgot the bacon on the pizza but DD15 still enjoyed it anyway. All of the food in that first batch was really good. A big plate of pasta with a dish of marinara sauce came out shortly after. It was the same unbelievably sticky angel hair pasta found everywhere else but DD15 still really enjoyed it. DD12 and I both had a bit but we liked the other food better.

    I know there was other stuff but I'm totally blanking. Actually, it may be that I asked for other stuff and the chef didn't remember to bring them. I know that was true of a few things I had asked for, but what he did bring was wonderful.

    At one point after the pancakes were delivered, DD15 noticed that somebody else at the table had gotten smoked salmon so she asked if she could get some. When the chef came out next I asked and he said it should be safe, that he'd check, and that he'd bring some if it was. It was. DD15 and I both love smoked salmon so we both really enjoyed that. Since I knew I hadn't seen any smoked salmon, I decided to go back to the buffet to see what else I might have missed. That's when I realized we had skipped that whole section with the sandwiches. They had some different anti-pasto types of things over there. I LOVE that kind of stuff. When the chef came back next time I asked about some specific items and he said he's bring out whichever were safe. That was a really nice plate of things. I don't remember what exactly was on it but I do remember really enjoying it. This is why I take so many pictures normally. I'm kicking myself right now.

    Even though I can't remember everything we ate, I do definitely remember that we had LOTS of food and I left feeling way over stuffed because I just didn't want to stop eating all the tasty food.

    The time of our ADR was perfect. We got to have both breakfast and lunch foods and it wasn't overly crowded. We had GREAT character interaction and I love the variety of characters. We got to meet Chip, Dale, Mulan, Jasmine, Baloo, Pluto, and Rafiki. It was weird seeing Jasmine twice in one trip. Interestingly enough, she was the most boring of the characters at this meal as she did the typical "hello, lets take a picture, acknowledge the birthday button, have a great day". The other characters were great! We saw Pluto down on all 4s at one point, Mulan was teasing DSSil, Dale scared the daylights out of me, Baloo blew kisses at DD12's feet to make them feel better (she wears visible ankle braces and it was when I was bringing her back from the bathroom so she was in the wheelchair still) and I missed Rafiki since I was getting the wheelchair when he came by. Baloo actually came by twice.

    Towards the end of the meal, the chef came over to me and asked if he could speak to me so I got up and walked away from the table with him. He wanted to discuss what to do about DD12's birthday since they don't have any kind of special allergy desserts she can eat. He asked if they should just bring out the regular dessert or not. I had noticed jello cups on the buffet and asked if that would be safe. His face lit up and he said he'd check. It turned out it was so he and our server brought that out loaded with Mickey sprinkles and a candle. Hey, it was something different and something she could eat. What more could we ask for? She ate it and seemed to enjoy it but I know it's not the same as a regular dessert. She liked the attention. I think she was disappointed mainly because DSSil got something chocolate brought out to him for his birthday (their birthdays are 3 days apart and less than a week after our trip so we were celebrating both).

    All in all, it was a really good meal and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. Lots of fun, lots of good food and really helpful chef.
     
  9. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    Well, that was the last one. I hope this has been helpful.
     
  10. LoKay

    LoKay Earning My Ears

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    Great review! Thank you so much for posting it. How awesome that the chef brought your DD12 the jello dessert.
     

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