Smash Kitchen and Bar Restaurant | Markham

We’ve heard great things about this restaurant from friends already so we thought we’d give it a try one weeknight as part of a birthday celebration.  The waiter was very approachable and understanding (he has food allergies as well).  The selection was limited, but he tried to work with us for Kay to have something she’d enjoy.  It came to three choices that are dairy and nut free: 1) Kids Pasta; 2) Kids Smash Burger (bun-less and cheese-less); or 3) BBQ wings (dry, no sauce) from Starters and Sides.  She chose #3 and shared my fries with me.  The portions were pretty decent.

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But what made this one of her favourite restaurants was the surprise dessert at the end: a dairy-free mango gelato.  She was over the moon when it arrived!

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happy-tummy-ometer : 5 out of 5 . For the meal: “I like the wings.  They’re crispy!” For the dessert: “I get dessert too?!!!”

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‘Ohana | Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney World

We originally weren’t sure about this restaurant since it’s not character dining for dinner but it soon exceeded our expectations on all fronts.  With excellent service and a cheerful staff that’s also receptive to our child’s allergy needs, we felt at ease right away.

We entered when the events for the children began, where they got to sweep coconuts across the restaurant’s floor with brooms and dance to island music.  Soon after, the polynesian food came out.  We received huge helpings of side dishes first, which ties us over between skewers of meat brought around by our server.  Please note, this is a restaurant for meat lovers (my daughter included).  Vegetables are definitely lacking here.

The side dishes of pan-fried dumplings and chicken wings are both dairy and peanut free and very tasty! Kay feasted on this meal alone and really didn’t need to eat anything else.  She also had some skewered chicken and pork but preferred the crispiness of the dumplings to all other foods.

'Ohana side dish

For dessert hers came out first, which made her feel really special.  It’s also her first ice cream sandwich!  This dairy-free, peanut-free and gluten-free dessert is made with Rice Dream vanilla ice cream and Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookies.  It’s as good as it looks, so she gobbled it up really quickly. It’s definitely a memorable night for us.

'Ohana dairy-free dessert

happy-tummy-ometer : 5 out of 5 . For the meal: “Mmmm. The ‘dum-pe-lings’ are so crispy and yummy” For the dessert: “Ooh it looks deeelicious! Soo yummy. And I like the raspberries a lot.”

Yak & Yeti | Animal Kingdom, Disney World

Disney World restaurants impress us with on how they cater to food allergies. The manager came over to discuss our daughter’s interests and food allergies as though as it’s a natural thing and happens all the time.  That’s what I really like about their customer service.  You feel like you belong.

Yak & Yeti is a Pan-Asian restaurant.  Their cuisine is a nice departure from the typical quick service offerings at Disney parks (fries, hamburgers, hotdogs, etc.). In retrospect, we should have ordered the pan seared pork potstickers for Kay so that her food is similar to ours. But when we found out their hamburgers from the Kids’ Entrées are dairy-free, buns included, we couldn’t resist ordering one for her. At most of the other restaurants, her hamburger orders are bun-less since bread is typically outsourced and the ingredients are unknown. So this was a nice change.

The Mini Burger we ordered came with a good serving of baby carrots and apple sauce (rice and brown rice are also side options). She liked her burger but not as much as the dessert.  There was no dairy-free dessert for kids so she selected the Sorbet from the adult menu. It’s a trio of mango, lemon and raspberry sorbets, nicely plated with large portions. Needless to say, she wasn’t able to finish it (and we wouldn’t have let her anyways).

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happy-tummy-ometer : 4 out of 5  [referencing the Sorbet] “Wo-oah! This is sooo pretty. Mmmm and yummy too! I like the Mango the best.”

Crystal Palace | Magic Kingdom, Disney World

When we stayed at Disney World, we were on a dining plan and actually enjoyed all of our table service meals.  These next posts will be ALL about Disney dining.

We had the character breakfast at Crystal Palace.  We didn’t go there for the food.  We were there to see Winnie the Pooh and friends and to take advantage of the early reservations.  This gave us access to Magic Kingdom before the park opened for great photo opportunities!

The food was mostly standard breakfast buffet fare.  What stood out in my mind were the Mickey waffles and breakfast lasagne (warm trifle cake with fruit and Bavarian cream). Those are must-haves!

For our daughter, we mentioned her allergies to our server and was informed that the manager would come and walk us through what’s safe for her to eat. Service overall was good except for that wait. I think it took 20 minutes before he showed up. By then we’ve already laid out some dry cereal (Fruit Loops) for her to munch on.

Once we’ve discussed her food allergies and what she’s interested in eating, we settled on a bowl of fruit, Van’s Waffles and bacon (her favourite).  It’s too bad Mickey waffles aren’t dairy-free.  I would’ve like for her to try them.

The overall experience was good. Kay’s face lit up like never before with each of the characters. It was only then I truly understood the power and effect of Disney.  It really is a magical place once I saw it through her eyes.

crystalpalace-01      Crystal Palace with Piglet

happy-tummy-ometer : 3.5 out of 5 “Can I have more bacon?”

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Soma Chocolatemaker | Distillery District, Toronto

Soma Hot Chocolate

Soma is known for their delectable chocolates.  We try to make a trip to it every time we’re in the beautiful and historic Distillery District to enjoy their hot chocolate. It’s. To. Die. For.

Did you know they have a dairy-free option for their hot chocolates?  They use soy milk instead and it tastes just as good!  We didn’t know until very recently, so we indulged in one with Kay.  You should’ve seen my heart burst with joy (after being fraught with worry the first few minutes).  This was her FIRST hot chocolate outside our home.  And so begins the tradition of family hot chocolates every time we go back.  Summer season included.

happy-tummy-ometer : 5 out of 5 “Mmmm, it’s yummy. Party in my tummy!!!”

Fushimi Authentic Japanese Cuisine | Markham

We went to this Japanese AYCE (all you can eat) restaurant to celebrate a family birthday so it was a large group of people.  Because of the chaos and the AYCE option (they bring the food to you) I was a bit worried about Kay’s food allergies. In the end, she had no allergic reaction to any of the food she had, and she had many!  She enjoyed edamame, egg-less chicken fried rice, chicken teriyaki skewers, beef short ribs and pan fried pork dumplings.  She even asked for another serving of edamame and chicken skewers!  The only bad thing is that none of the desserts were safe for her.  She was too stuffed to eat more anyways so it worked out in the end.  When she enjoys her food, this girl can really eat!

happy-tummy-ometer : 5 out of 5 “More mommy! It’s a party in my tummy!!!”

T-Rex Café | Downtown Disney, Disney World

T-Rex Café is a prehistoric-themed restaurant with animatronic dinosaurs.  It’s similar to its sister restaurant, Rainforest Café.  With imitation lightening and thunder occurring throughout the meal and animatronics “reacting” in response to the changing weather, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart, i.e. our daughter.  She’s not fond of the dim lighting and thunderous noises.  But when it came to her food, I’d say she was very impressed.  We were on the Disney’s meal plan so her entrée, drink and dessert were included. Kay had the Mini Mes-O-Bones from the Kids’ Entrée, which is St. Louis style pork ribs. It’s served with a side of green beans. Kay loves her meat, especially ribs, so that was a no-brainer. t-rex02 One thing I like about Disney restaurants is that most of them try to accommodate people with allergies and/or intolerances.  So for her dessert, it was custom version of their Sorbet Sampler: 2 huge scoops of raspberry sorbet. Her eyes grew large when her dessert arrived. Ours did too.  We’ve included her hand in the image for reference. t-rex01happy-tummy-ometer : 5 out of 5 “So yummy mommy! It’s a party in my tummy!!!”