Thursday, March 24, 2016

Our favorite PEANUT FREE eateries and dessert!

Every once in a while, my son and I decide to go out for a scrumptious morsel, but we have to be extra careful with our choices as my son has a severe peanut allergy. Now, there are some kids a little more extensive than my son with their allergy. So to clarify my son can not directly eat peanuts, peanut sauce, peanut butter or anything with peanuts, period. Also, my son can't touch them, smell them, or have secondary contact with peanuts, i.e. someone eats peanut butter then gives him a kiss on the cheek. If he gets secondary contact, my son will get hives rather quickly. When it comes to certain foods made near/around peanuts, we can semi-test his reaction by simply having it touch the back of his hand. If he swells, it's a no, but if he doesn't swell, he's good to go. Luckily, the hives stay localized when a peanut product touches a particular part of his skin and disappear after a while. Some are not so lucky and we are greatly blessed that he hasn't ingested any products, otherwise he would end up straight in the hospital. Breathing peanut dust is a huge no-no, because he starts to cough and wheeze. 

Since we've dealt with his allergy since early long (again, very blessed to have learned so soon - 6 months old), we've found a few delicious eats that my son can devour in peace. Our favorite used to be Hometown Buffet, but the one near our house sadly went out of business. We don't go to others only because the particular Hometown near our place was 100% peanut free. That is not the deal with ALL Hometown's, so if you are interested in a buffet near you, you should call ahead of time. 

Due to our beloved buffet being shut down, our secondary love has been bumped to first place. The eatery of choice? Sarku Japan. The dish? Chicken teriyaki with vegetables, rice, and double meat. You may or may not have seen this Japanese "restaurant" in your local mall's food court and you may or may not have eaten before. If you haven't, I HIGHLY suggest it. I can honestly say that I have never found another place to enjoy chicken teriyaki as much as I do at Sarku Japan. They have ZERO peanuts, fresh delicious sushi, beef, shrimp, noodles, tempura, and a vegetarian option! Not to mention, the food comes in a "to-go" container, which means you can easily take it home to eat. Be sure to add Sriracha to your plate for an added flavor burst, although it's still perfect by itself. 

Yes, this may seem like a "stupid" post to some, but I can not even begin to tell you how terrifying it was trying to find a place for my son to eat at the mall without panicking about peanuts. So for others, this could be an excellent tip. The food isn't unhealthy, granted it isn't pure vegetables and organic everything, but it's way better than a slice of pizza or corn-dog. We always eat our chicken teriyaki with either Gatorade or water. Sometimes I sneak a coke, but that's really rare. I've been trying to steer clear from sodas for personal health reasons. Also, the sushi at Sarku Japan is absolutely amazing. Some of thee best sushi I've EVER had. My son also loves the sushi there! We stick to either the California rolls or the avocado cucumber roll, because we aren't the most adventurous raw fish eaters, but I'm sure the other rolls are just as fresh. 

Another option we enjoy is Lazy Dog. Be warned though, they DO have peanuts in the restaurant. We always make sure to be completely forth coming about my son's allergy and they do an excellent job in cautiously avoiding any possible cross contamination. We stick to burgers as they are not only the best burgers we've ever had, but the burgers are also an item with the least risk of peanut cross contamination. I always choose a Baja California burger. It is a charbroiled half-pound patty, topped with guacamole, chiles, jack cheese, jalapeno-lime aioli, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and red onions on a brioche-style bun. Every person I've every taken there raves about this specific burger. My son opts for the cheeseburger with ketchup and mustard only. He's a finicky eater, so he often sticks with what he knows. The meat itself though is just plain amazing. The side we almost always decide on, are cajun french fries. Order them. You're welcome. An added option for kids, is edamame, which my son absolutely loves. Not to mention, the atmosphere is extremely inviting. It can be a little noisy inside, but outside it's quiet and peaceful. You even have the option to dine around a nicely lit fire pit. It is indeed dog themed and people DO dine with their dogs, but only OUTSIDE

For dessert, we buy ice cream and these AMAZING "YOGO" brownies from Smart and Final. The huge pack comes with quite a few individually packaged brownies, for $7.99. These particular brownies are made with Greek yogurt, topped with cream cheese, from a facility that is completely nut/peanut free! You have no idea what you're missing if you haven't tried them. They are perfect for parties, a small dessert after dinner, and for your secret snack drawer that allows you to eat chocolate when the kids are asleep during your Netflix binge. (Check out THIS blog post to see what I recommend to binge watch!)

We have a certain set of taste buds that have a constant craving for good meat. Which is why both our options are filled with chicken and beef. As previously mentioned, Sarku Japan does have a vegetarian option. As for Lazy Dog, I'm not completely sure. I would be sure to call ahead as well. If you do have a Hometown Buffet close to you, I would research their reviews and call ahead of time to learn about their "peanut policy". Some Hometown's are better than others. Trust me, I've tested this theory across the United States. 

What are some of your favorite peanut free restaurants, eateries, and desserts?

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