Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dr. Generosity

Goofy name - but great food at this local resto in Bloor West Village. I'd heard about Dr. Generosity before from a friend with peanut allergy; he's always felt comfortable eating there so we thought we would give it a try for brunch last weekend. About a month ago, I emailed the owner, asking about their allergy awareness. I got a thoughtful response; there were few nuts on the menu, and staff would do everything possible to accommodate us. At the same time, the restaurant could offer no guarantees. I'm know that no one can offer guarantees in this type of situation and that there is always a risk involved in eating out. That the owners daughter also has PA offered additional comfort; clearly they understand the severity of the situation.

We decided on an early meeting time to avoid the Sunday morning rush. I let the waitress know our son had PA as soon as we were seated. She told me she would inform the kitchen and told us about any of the menu items that included nuts to ensure we avoided them. Minutes later, the owner approached our table and told us she was aware of our allergy. She pointed out that there were nuts on one of the specials and that peanut butter packets were on every table, saying she wanted to make sure we were fully informed. Already, we had moved the packets to the opposite side of the table, out of reach of grabbing hands.

I ordered french toast for DJ and I to share. As our food arrived, I asked the waitress again about the nuts and she assured me the kitchen had made every effort to avoid cross-contamination. While DJ enjoyed my side of bacon, he wasn't keen on the french toast, and spent the next half hour sipping creamers straight from the mini containers.

By the time we left the restaurant at 11:15, the line up was out the door and onto the sidewalk. Clearly, coming early had been the right choice as the kitchen was less hurried when we ordered, with more time to devote to ensure our meal was safe.

We'll definitely be going back to Dr. Generosity. Next time, we'll try it for an early dinner out.

Always do your own research before eating out with a severely allergic child. Call ahead and speak with the restaurant owner or chef, remind the staff once you arrive. Ask once again before you order and when the food arrives. Always carry an epi-pen, medical information and a cell phone. Understand there is always a risk.


  1. We're looking to emmigrate from the UK to the GTA, and this website is going to be a lifesaver. Can't believe I just stumbled on it. We have a 2 1/2 year old with a severe peanut allergy. We've done that emergency room run with our first reaction and it's something I never even want to come close to again. In the UK, our restaurants etc really don't seem very bothered with nut allergies so it will be interesting to see what's different in Canada :o)

  2. I;m not sure what the labelling practices are like there, but here, you can definitely find a good assortment of peanut-free food. While it's certainly appreciated, we don't actually require any products we buy to require the peanut-free symbol; we rely on the ingredients label and stay away from anything that also includes the 'may contain' warning or any manufacturing warnings that may suggest cross contamination. As for restaurants, it's still is very difficult to eat out. We are tending to stick to cuisines that simply don't have any nuts to start - like Japanese. Italian is also a good choice for us. Bottom line is we are very, very strict. I know there are no guarantess, but if a restaurant seems lax or uncaring, we simply give it a pass.

    That said, before DJ's peanut allergy, we were avid travellers, and would like to resume. Of course, give how difficult it is to eat out at home, I'm terrified at the prospect of eating out three meals a day in a different country.

    London has definitly come up time and time again as a potential destination. Any thoughts on how we could naviage travel there safely?

    Any insight would be appreciated.

    BTW, Toronto is an awesome city. I think you'll like it!