Well-Reviewed: Baker and Banker; Beacon; Birch and Barley, and Other Restaurants That Don’t Start with a ‘B’

Recent restaurant reviews from the news…

  • Beacon in Los Angeles gets high marks for its fusion burgers from Damon Gambuto at A Hamburger Today. [Serious Eats]
  • Ezekiel J. Emanuel hates all of the 555 beers served at Washington, D.C.’s Birch and Barley (because he hates all beer), but he loves the food. [The Atlantic]
  • Victoria Pesce Elliott has an uplifting dining experience at South Beach’s Solea. [Miami Herald]

Dealing with Food Allergies When Dining out

AlmondsThe Atlantic features a thoughtful piece on the many challenges dining out presents for people with food allergies. The writer, Alyssa Rosenberg, suffers from an allergy to tree nuts, and navigating a menu is a perilous process as the wrong order could potentially kill her.

Ms. Rosenberg isn’t alone; according to The New York Times, more than 11 million Americans are estimated to suffer from food allergies. Naturally, then, I (and probably you, too) have a few friends with food allergies. Mick, like The Atlantic’s contributor, is allergic to tree nuts (thankfully, he can eat peanuts, as they are a ground nut). Dave is lactose intolerant, but he can indulge in dairy if he remembers to arm himself with some Lactaid pills. Claire can’t eat seafood, so we’ve never been able to eat at my favorite sushi restaurants together. Nancy, who is in my book club, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a few years ago, and she has to steer clear of all gluten proteins, which are found in many grains. This means she must eschew flour, which figures into countless restaurant recipes, so she has to ask an array of questions about virtually every menu item.

The best experiences for diners with food allergies are those in which the server is both knowledgeable and patient. To be sure that a dish doesn’t have any verboten ingredients, the kitchen staff may have to be consulted – more than once. And, in the future, concerned restaurateurs and chefs will probably begin addressing this issue on their menus, as our appetite for dining out isn’t diminishing.

Washington, D.C.: Our Food Capital, Too?

What’s the food capital of America? Is it New York? San Francisco? Chicago? Los Angeles? Perhaps it’s Washington, D.C. The District of Columbia is our permanent national capital and the epicenter of American politics, but this planned city has plans to become a dining destination. In fact, some would argue that it already is. The Atlantic Food Channel name checks several fine-dining restaurants that are just as a big a draw for tourists as the Capitol or the Washington Monument, including Rasika, Indique, Restaurant Eve, Corduroy, Vidalia, Dino, Commonwealth, BRABO, Blue Duck Tavern, Vermilion, and also notes the area’s thriving farmer’s markets and street-food scene.

This summer, if traditional tourism tires your feet, consider taking a gastronomical tour of this town. After all, you can do much of it sitting down.