Sorelle - Vaughn - Restaurant Review - AllergyBites

Allergen-Free Restaurant Review – Part Due: Sorelle and Co. (Vaughn location)

If, like me, you thought Sorelle and Co.’s downtown location was special, you’ll be blown away by their setup in Vaughn. Especially if you like Alice and Wonderland. And tea parties.

This is good news for 2 reasons:

  1. It gives you an excuse to not be lazy. Sure, it might be a little farther than you usually go for food, but it’s SO worth it.
  2. The 3 prizes for the giveaway I’m holding can only be redeemed at the Vaughn location.

Credit: Sorelle and Co. Instagram

And really, when you think about it, a 30(ish) minute drive from downtown TO isn’t that long of a journey considering what a treat you’re in for.

When you first pull into the parking lot, you can’t help but notice that the quaint little Sorelle and Co. “cottage” stands out among the chains and strip malls of the surrounding suburbia.

Wow worthy

Walk inside, and I dare you not to say “wow.” (It could just be that my toddler is currently obsessed with all forms of lighting, but these fantastic chandeliers resulted in quite a few loud WOWs on his part. Forget the food, he pretty much stared at them the entire time we were there.)

https://www.instagram.com/sorelleandco/

 

Sorelle - Vaughn - Restaurant Review - AllergyBites

Unlike the Toronto location, this spot has 2 levels of seating, but be warned: They are very, very busy on weekends. We headed over on a Sunday afternoon and were almost turned away at the door. (We were lucky a table came up moments before we were about to leave.) I suggest calling in advance before making the trek. And, if you’re hoping to experience high tea, you definitely need to make reservations—at least 2 weeks in advance.

Sorelle - Vaughn - Restaurant Review - AllergyBites

Time for a tea party

Sorelle - Vaughn - Restaurant Review - AllergyBitesSpeaking of high tea, I got to witness it in person, and it was a breathtaking display of colourful cookies, dainty teacups and happy little girls. I had to stop myself from approaching the table and asking random strangers if I could take their photo for this blog post. (Now I kind of regret not asking.) But let me just tell you that the grand prize winner is one lucky food-allergic kid!

Sorelle - Vaughn - Restaurant Review - AllergyBitesAnother way that the Vaughn location is different from its Toronto counterpart is that they offer savoury selections, so you can actually sit down for a meal (or a cup of coffee… or a smoothie) if you’d like. What I found a little tricky was that it’s not regular table service, so you order your food at the case, and then wait for someone to bring it to you. The whole process was a little bit chaotic. Not to mention, I had to line up for a bit longer that I would have liked. If possible, I’d recommend going at a less busy time (mid week, perhaps?) if you’d like to enjoy a more relaxed experience.

Sorelle - Vaughn - Restaurant Review - AllergyBites

Service with (more than) a smile

When it was finally my turn to order, I was happy to see that the servers here were just as helpful as those I’d encountered downtown. They patiently answered a zillion questions—this time, from all the parents in line—and when it came to me, they did the best they could to find eating options for my toddler’s tricky allergens. See, Sorelle and Co.’s foods are free of the top 8, but unfortunately, my little guy is allergic to an ingredient they use in most of their stuff: sunflower oil. We were able to find him one safe savoury option (lettuce-wrapped tacos) and a cookie (chocolate chip) that the server kindly wrapped individually so that it wouldn’t touch any of the other treats in the box.

Sorelle - Vaughn - Restaurant Review - AllergyBites

Overall, it was a magical experience, and it would have been even better if we had avoided the busy weekend. So while I recommend hopping in your car and making the “trip” to Wonderland… err… Vaughn, I highly recommend calling in advance so that they can accommodate you and your family.

“To walk in and say yes to anything – priceless.”

Still not sure it’s worth the drive? This food allergy mama took a special trip with her son all the way from the States. If they can do it, you can do it!

Sorelle - Vaughn - Restaurant Review - AllergyBites

Have you been to Sorelle’s flagship location in Vaughn? Share your experience with the allergy community in the comments below!

P.S. 3 more days until I draw the names of 3 lucky AllergyBites members for the Sorelle and Co. giveaway. Stay tuned… and good luck!

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Restaurants that appear on AllergyBites may have updated their menu or changed management since a review was posted. Please confirm that they are still allergy-friendly & that menu items don’t contain your allergen(s) before visiting or placing your order.

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Profile of an Allergy Parent: Jyoti Parmar

PROFILE OF AN ALLERGY PARENT: JYOTI PARMARJyoti Parmar is mom to 3 children—and 2 of them have food allergies. Sahil is 13. He is allergic to peanuts, soy and tree nuts. Jaya is 7. She is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts.

KO: Can you describe their very first reaction?

JP: One morning, shortly after Sahil turned 2, I made him a jam sandwich with the same knife I used for a peanut butter sandwich. I hadn’t washed the knife, but I had wiped it with a paper towel.  I washed dishes as he started to eat.  Suddenly, he started crying, “Mommy, my tongue hurts.” I thought he had bitten his tongue while eating. “It’s okay, just keep eating,” I called, thinking he had bitten his tongue. “Mommy, my tongue is hurting,” he cried again. His voice sounded different. I looked at him and saw a rash around his lips. He was holding his tongue with one hand. I quickly pulled him out of the high chair and saw the rash was on his neck. Then I took his shirt off and saw red blotches on his chest. I knew then that he was allergic to peanuts.

Since it was his first reaction, we did not have an EpiPen, but luckily the reaction did not progress. However, if the above reaction happened now, I would administer Epi because he complained of intra-oral symptoms—plus there was a skin reaction.

My daughter Jaya had her first reaction when she was only five months old. I was feeding Jaya her first cereal when she developed hives around her mouth, chin and chest.  She did not appear to be in any discomfort. The cereal contained skim milk powder and the dairy allergy was later confirmed with a skin test. At 1, she was also diagnosed with allergies to egg, peanut, tree nut and fish. She is no longer allergic to fish. (We don’t know if she outgrew it or was misdiagnosed as it was only based on a skin test which are known to have a high rate of false positives especially in kids with eczema.)

KO: Did either of them ever have an anaphylactic reaction?

JP: When Jaya was 2, a family member gave her a “100% fruit” gummy candy which when we inspected the package later said “may contain dairy.”

PROFILE OF AN ALLERGY PARENT: JYOTI PARMAR

After she ate the candy, I noticed a hive on her cheek but it subsided within minutes, but then she became visibly congested. Clear mucus was dripping from her nose, and it appeared like she was having difficulty breathing. We decided to give her Epi. My husband held her body steady and I injected the EpiPen into her thigh. Her congestion subsided immediately and she could breathe. We called 911 and the ambulance took Jaya and me to the nearest hospital. They monitored her breathing, oxygen saturation, and heart rate during the ride. By the time we reached the hospital, she was having difficulty breathing again. They gave her oral prednisone, ventolin, and an oxygen mask.  My husband had to drop my older 2 kids off at my parents’ home before joining me at the hospital. It was difficult for them. My son was extremely distressed and thought Jaya was going to die. He still vividly remembers that day. At the hospital, Jaya was monitored for 4 to 5 hours before we were discharged. I was carrying her out when I noticed she was struggling to breathe again. We headed back, rushed by security, and found the ER doctor who had been treating us. He checked Jaya and said we were right and that she would not be able to leave yet. After another dose of prednisone, ventolin, and more oxygen—and 4 more hours of monitoring—we were discharged.

KO: What did your grieving process look like? Do you feel that you’re in the “acceptance” phase now?

JP: For me it is more like a pendulum—I swing back and forth from grieving to being resigned about the whole thing—sometimes in the course of the same day.

Like all parents, my husband and I wanted our children to see and experience all the wonderful things we got to experience… and much more.

But all that changed when we discovered that our children were allergic to everyday foods. It was hard to understand that their lives could be threatened by something they ate and they would always have to carry epinephrine with them.

PROFILE OF AN ALLERGY PARENT: JYOTI PARMARWhen we discovered my son’s allergy, my husband and I grieved for the loss of freedom and spontaneity we had enjoyed and taken for granted up to that point. We quickly understood that complete avoidance of the allergen was the only way to prevent a reaction. We have to be constantly aware of everything around them, and what everyone is doing in order to avoid contact with their allergens and keep them safe.

There is acceptance in that I have to accept it in order to go on, in order to ensure my children’s safety and advocate for them.

It is not a wholehearted acceptance as I would rather they not have the allergies and that is why we have started a treatment called oral immunotherapy (OIT).

KO: What are your biggest challenges as the mom of a food-allergic kid?

JP: For me and my family, there are many challenges. Together, we are dealing with allergies to dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and soy. My top 3 challenges are:

1. Dealing with my own fear and anxiety is my personal challenge. Because of my children’s food allergies, I live with the fear of a reaction. The fear and constant vigilance is extremely stressful, and since food is involved in all aspects of life, the impact of this stress is great. If they only stayed inside the home and never had to venture outside, it would be easy to keep them safe. This, of course, is not desirable. They need to go to school, be with friends, participate in life. But food is all around. I am constantly worried if something goes wrong… if they are not feeling well… will they tell someone? Or if they are unable to say anything, will that person recognize the signs of a reaction and know what to do—and give the EpiPen in time? As they get older I wonder: Will they have their EpiPen easily accessible to them and be able to self-administer it?

2. Food eaten at home is safe, but preparing that food is not so easy. We cook from scratch because most packaged foods contain the allergens we are avoiding. I bake my own bread, cookies, and muffins but I still need basic ingredients like flour—and there’s only one or two brands without a soy warning. I used to buy Fry’s cocoa but now it says “may contain milk,” so I have to find another brand of cocoa. I spend hours in grocery stores looking for safe foods, and sometimes even when the ingredients look ok, I call the company and am told that it may contain one or more of our allergens, so I cannot use it anyway.  The options for good, natural, allergen-free food is limited and expensive.

3. Food allergies are most dangerous when eating away from home. A trace amount of a food allergen can be found anywhere. For example, one time we were on a plane and they served hot cheese pizza behind us. Jaya started to get hives and wheeze. I was petrified that she may go into anaphylaxis. Thankfully, they allowed us to move her to the front of the plane where we could no longer smell it and she was okay. We don’t go out to eat with Jaya or Sahil for fear of a food containing an allergen we cannot see. Imagine getting an invitation and, each time, having to interrogate your friends and family about the food being served and going over chances of contamination—these conversations are difficult for us, so generally to avoid possible friction, we don’t go out.

KO: How have your children dealt with their food allergies?

JP: Because they have lived with allergies all their lives, they do not know what it is like to live without them. It is part of them, so they deal with it. Because of her multiple allergies (especially dairy), my youngest does notice the events she cannot attend. As she gets older and notices the exclusion, she gets sad and jealous. Recently she said, “Why do I have food allergies? It’s not fair that I can’t do what other kids are doing or eat what they are eating.” It makes her feel sad and left out.

For example, Jaya joined a kids’ soccer club last summer (for the first time) and at the end of the summer, there was a celebration. But it was pizza for everyone, so Jaya was excluded—even though we had informed them since the start of the season. When I asked about including her, the soccer club offered no response.

My son accepts it and brushes it off if he is not invited somewhere or unable to do things with his friends. Recently, he was not invited to a friend’s house for a sleepover because the friend’s dad said they eat peanut butter all the time. Just last month, he was not invited to a birthday party because it was going to be at Mandarin.

PROFILE OF AN ALLERGY PARENT: JYOTI PARMARSahil is adept at reading labels and very careful about the food he puts into his mouth. He will choose not to eat if he is unsure about any ingredient. He shows incredible self control and self discipline. I guess that’s the silver lining of living with food allergies. Because they both regularly deal with exclusion, my children are very empathic and aware of any social injustice. My non food-allergic daughter is very protective of both of her siblings and speaks out on their behalf if they are around foods to which either one is allergic.

KO: How often did you eat out before the food allergy diagnosis? How often have you eaten out since?

JP: We used to eat out at least once a week. After the diagnosis, we have eaten out as a family only a handful of times. My husband and I do eat out (just the two of us), but not as often as we used to… and we do try and take our non food-allergic child out to eat so she can have a “normal” life.

We have attempted to take Jaya out a few times, but each time ended up in a reaction so we have stopped taking her out. My son does not want to go out to eat—he says he wants to feel safe eating and that means eating only home-cooked food.

KO: Where are your go-to SAFE eating spots in Toronto?

PROFILE OF AN ALLERGY PARENT: JYOTI PARMARJP: For us, it’s just Sorelle and Co. There is no other place where I feel fully comfortable eating out with my food-allergic kids. We tried a few times, but I did not get the feeling of understanding from the servers/chefs—some just told me they could not make a safe meal. I appreciated their honesty and we left. That was a few years ago. I understand that there are places that people with multiple food allergies go, but so far we don’t feel comfortable. As the parent of 2 kids with multiple and different food allergies, I have to negotiate with others, when it comes accommodating them, several times a week (sometimes several times a day), so it is exhausting to have to go to a restaurant, and figure out the ingredients, and judge if the person preparing the food really gets the concepts of cross contamination, etc.

KO: Can you tell me why Sorelle and Co. makes you feel safe?

JP: Lucky for us, their food is free of all of our allergens. Knowing their allergens are not on the premises is comforting—I can let my guard down a little. (But I still feel a little anxious because human error is always possible.)

At first, when I went there, I was worried because there were no ingredients lists. As a food-allergy mom, I read and re-read labels multiple times a day. And I call companies for “may contain” information multiple times a week. So not knowing the exact ingredients was unnerving. We shared our allergens with the server, and she assured us we could order anything. Since Sorelle and Co. opened in August 2016, we have gone there many times—mostly for a sweet treat. It would be great to have a restaurant in Toronto that was free of their allergens, like Montreal’s Zero 8.

KO: Can you share some fun facts about your food-allergic kids?

PROFILE OF AN ALLERGY PARENT: JYOTI PARMARJP: Like most 13-year-olds these days, Sahil loves his iPod and has 2 Instagram accounts (he loves taking pictures of sunsets and posting them). He is concerned about climate change, and recently started a blog. He loves playing soccer and hanging out with his friends in real life and online!

My daughter Jaya loves music—she keeps a pen and paper in the car to note down her favourite songs so her brother can add them to her iPad at home. She sings all the time. She loves to play badminton, paint, and hang out at the park with her family and friends.

KO: Tell me about Walk for Andrea.

JP: My husband and I founded Walk for Andrea after we learned of the death of 18-year-old Andrea Mariano in 2015. The death hit close to home because she was a teen from Thornhill (where we live), and she was also allergic to peanuts and dairy.  We reached out to Andrea’s parents to tell them about our idea for a fundraising walk. Together we could work to turn pain into purpose. So they joined us, and with friends and family we formed a planning committee. Last fall, we held the 1st Walk for Andrea and raised just over $17,000. This year, we hope to raise $35,000 during the second annual walk.

All funds raised go to the Sick Kids Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis program to find a cure for life threatening food allergies. Donations can be made here (from May 2017 onward).

Get a free gift when you subscribe to our blog!

I love free gifts. Don’t you?

That’s why I thought it might be fun to give away some adorable allergy cards to the first 25 people who subscribe to my blog.

That’s right! Not only can foodies and families look forward to allergy-friendly restaurant reviews, yummy giveaways, updates on the AllergyBites project and more, parents of kids with food allergies will also get a FREE allergy card* for their child… just for signing up!

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These little business-sized cards fit perfectly in your wallet and can be a great help when trying to communicate your children’s food allergies to waitstaff and chefs, or even family and friends. (I actually sent my husband with ours when he went grocery shopping earlier this week. Amazing.)

A little bit of art. A little bit of craft. A whole lot of fun 

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A fun activity to do with the kids AND another way to help keep them safe on those days you’re dining out? Yes, please! Subscribe now.

*This free gift is only available to the first 25 people who subscribe to the AllergyBites blog. 

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Moms of Kids with Food Allergies

Mother’s Day is coming soon! Even though mothers should be treated with caring and consideration every day of the year, it’s also nice to have a special day to treasure and celebrate the moms in our lives. For some, it may be a day to pamper their own mom, but for others it could be a day to celebrate a grandmother, aunt, sister or friend. Whoever you are enjoying Mother’s Day with this year, a special treat is always a nice gesture.

For families dealing with food allergies, both food and other giftable items can be unsafe. Not to worry though, there are plenty of fabulous treats for mom to enjoy. Here are some great gift options for that wonderful woman in your life.

1. Chocolate truffles!! Who doesn’t love chocolate truffles? For those of us with food allergies, these delicious treats have been out of our reach—until now. No Whey makes delectable truffles in 5 different flavours, and they are completely free of the top 8 allergens. Grab a No Whey truffle sampler for mom this year so she can try them all without the worry!

2. Me time for mom. Moms are always so busy taking care of others, that they often neglect to take time for themselves. Pamper mom with some luxurious bubble bath from Carina Organics, a Canadian hair and body care line that is made in a facility that is completely free of peanuts and tree nuts. Help mom unwind at the end of the day… maybe with her truffles.

3. Give mom a makeover. Moms of children with food allergies, and those with food allergies themselves, often worry about the makeup they wear on a regular basis. With the wrong lipstick, an innocent kiss on the cheek can cause a reaction. Some moms have given up wearing makeup for this reason! Good news: Kiss Freely is a line of makeup that was created by a fellow allergy mom, and is free of many allergens, parabens, chemicals, petroleum and more. This US company has made Kiss Feely available through a Canadian retail store, so that you can shop for mom and not worry about the hassle of cross-border shipping.

4. Allergen-free facials! Luxe by Ladybug Jane is a line of skincare products that was created after Jane’s mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Made from pure ingredients, you won’t find parabens, mineral oil, chemicals, dimethicone or anything artificial in these skincare products. This line includes a four-in-one cleanser, two serums, a fabulous lotion that contains a natural sunscreen, and a selection of lip balms. As a mother and aesthetician myself, I can tell you that mom won’t be disappointed with anything from Ladybug Jane—I wholeheartedly approve!

5. A gift card from the heart. You might not know which of the above items your mom would love the most. I’m generally of the mindset that gift cards aren’t personal, and there’s always a worry that the receiver won’t like anything at the shop the card is from. However, when it comes to food allergies and safety, there’s no better gift than a gift card from No Nuts About Us. Let mom choose whatever treat her heart desires without having to worry if it will be safe for herself and her family.

Whichever gift or special token of appreciation you choose for a special mom this Mother’s Day, she will know it came from your heart… and that’s the best gift of all!

By Elly Ward – Elly is a food allergy advocate, communications specialist, certified aesthetician, competitive gymnastics coach, school volunteer, and mom of 2 boys under age 6. Elly became an expert in all things allergy related when her son had his first anaphylactic reaction to peanut butter at 8 months old. Her son is enrolled in the peanut patch trial in hopes of helping others and increasing his tolerance, and Elly is currently advocating for her local recreation facilities to become nut aware. She is the founder of an online store called No Nuts About Us, a complete nut free shoppe offering a variety of food and personal care items that are made in facilities free of peanuts and tree nuts. Many of the items she carries are also free of the top 8 allergens. Shipping is available across Canada, and hopefully soon to the USA. 

Your Last Minute Easter Shopping List: 5 Allergen-Free Sweets & Treats

If you’re the parent of a child with food allergies, you might find special occasions like Easter a little bit anxiety-inducing. (Like me!) A time of year you once imagined would be fun-filled has now left you full of fear—fearful you might accidentally give your child a chocolate bunny with a “may contain” warning, worried you won’t find Easter goodies that are free of the right allergens, afraid of disappointing your little one.

Luckily, we live in a time where awareness of food allergies is growing by the day, and it’s getting easier and easier to find treats our little ones can actually eat!

So with Easter just around the corner, here is my last minute Easter shopping list for you. Below, find 5 companies that carry allergen-free* goodies you can pick up just in time for the weekend.

*Not all Canadian companies note shared lines or possible cross-contamination with “may contain” warnings. Depending on your comfort level, you may want to contact a brand you haven’t bought in the past before giving it to a person with food allergies.

1. Hershey’s eggies. These addictive little thangs have no “may contain” warnings, and the only allergen-(un)friendly ingredients I see are milk chocolate and soy lecithin. I picked up my batch at Shopper’s—a convenient spot for a last minute Easter run. Note that these eggies are around for Easter only, so make sure to grab your bag (or 5!) fast. (Or take a chance and stock up after Easter when prices of Easter goodies will be slashed.)

2. Jelly Belly jelly beans. These colourful taste explosions are gluten-free, peanut free (not sure about tree nuts!), dairy free and “vegetarian friendly” (which I assume means egg free?). And they come in 100 different flavours?! Whoa. Now that could make for a fun Easter egg… er… bean hunt.

3. Maynard’s sweet and sour candies. This one, I heard about through the food allergy grapevine. Unfortunately, their website says very little, but based on their response to a question on Facebook, it looks like you can trust that their candies do not contain allergens if they aren’t listed. So just give the ingredient list a twice over, and you should be good to go!

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4. Sorelle and Co.’s baked goods. I know, I know. I’ve been talking about this spot a lot lately. (I can’t help it! I’ve partnered with them to hold a yummy giveaway… so can you blame me?). But hey, the goodies here are free of the top 8 allergens and everything here is just so darn pretty, these sweet treats would be the perfect way to end your Easter dinner.

5. Bakes & Goods cupcakes and more. This bakery is nut-free only (with 1 or 2 gluten-free options), but it was recently recommended to me (and the cupcakes are scrumptious!), so I thought it deserved a mention. It’s a cozy little shop located on Yonge Street, north of Eglinton. They take custom orders, but you may be a bit late for Easter.

Wow! As I was writing this blog post, I came across this pretty comprehensive list of candies that are free of peanuts and tree nuts. If your kids have nut allergies only, you’ll definitely want to take a look.

Hey, Food Allergy Community! If you know of a brand or business that should be on this list, please share it in the comments below. Thank you, and Hoppy Easter!

Allergen-Free Restaurant Review – Part Uno: Sorelle and Co. (downtown location)

I’ve decided to break my Sorelle and Co. review up into 2 posts because (a) there are 2 locations, and (b) the experience is vastly different. So let’s start with the downtown Toronto location, shall we?

Conveniently located at Queen and Yonge, Sorelle’s downtown location is nicely nestled under Saks Fifth Avenue. Just head down to Pusateri’s in the basement, and you’re bound to happen upon it eventually. (It’s a bit of maze down there—but a fun maze!)

As I weaved my way through the colourful aisles, I finally spotted Sorelle and Co. I don’t know what I expected (a typical cafe, I guess), but it kind of took my breath away. I mean—look at it—it’s so darned pretty! (My photos don’t do it justice, but you get the idea. Check out Sorelle’s Instagram page for some drool-worthy shots of their sweet and treats.)

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Sorelle and Co. Restaurant Review - AllergyBites

I felt like a kid at a candy store as I slowly took in the cookies, eclairs, cupcakes, scones, loaves, brownies and cakes that were on display. Maybe because this beautiful spot was first created as a safe space for the owner’s food-allergic daughters. Sorelle, meaning sisters in Italian, can likely be attributed to these 5 sisters with serious food allergies. If it weren’t for them, this allergen-free cafe and bakery may not have been born.

Sorelle and Co. Restaurant Review - AllergyBites

If the food allergies you’re dealing with are in the top 8, being greeted by this big pink sign will help put your mind at ease before you order. And if the server you chat with is as helpful as mine was, you’ll be even more impressed. Not only did the young woman make me feel normal (I have a feeling this will be a running theme in my reviews), but she took the time to patiently go through the ingredient list of each baked good I was interested in. Why? Because Sorelle doesn’t share their recipes publicly and my little one may have several new (yet to be diagnosed) food allergies that, sadly for us, Sorelle and Co. uses in their baking: chickpea flour and sunflower oil. But hey, I can’t really blame them. Healthy baking at its finest!

sorelleandco-bagLuckily the server was able to help me find at least 1 treat for the little dude: a delicious cranberry pumpkin seed cookie*. And I felt comfortable bringing 4 more nut-free desserts home to the hubby (who is very much missing his evening tea & treat tradition).

*Because Sorelle and Co. uses chickpea flour and sunflower oil in much of their baking, there is a possibility of cross contamination.
sorelleandco-5 goodies(From top left: chocolate brownie, cranberry scone, coconut macaroon, Nanaimo bar, cranberry pumpkin seed cookies)

The only downside to Sorelle’s downtown location is that there aren’t any tables (though there’s some cafeteria-style seating nearby), so I wasn’t able to sit down with a coffee and relax for a bit. But I was intrigued by these milk alternatives. (Mmm, coconut!)

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If you prefer to sit in and enjoy your treats, good news! When it comes to fancy seating, the Vaughn location does not disappoint. Make sure to stay tuned for my Sorelle and Co. review – part due to learn more about my lovely Alice in Wonderland-esque experience.

**Don’t forget to join the AllergyBites Facebook group for your chance to win 1 of 3 delicious prizes from Sorelle and Co—that’s right I’m holding a yummy giveaway—and the grand prize is High Tea for 2 at Sorelle!

Have you been to Sorelle’s location in downtown TO? Share your experience with the allergy community in the comments below!

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Restaurants that appear on AllergyBites may have updated their menu or changed management since a review was posted. Please confirm that they are still allergy-friendly & that menu items don’t contain your allergen(s) before visiting or placing your order.

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Free Event! Managing Your Child’s Food Allergies – Nutrition and Advocacy

If you’re anything like me, you want to do what you can to keep your food-allergic child healthy and safe. Yet you don’t want your efforts to result in an anxious kid with a food phobia.

So what to do? Well, you can start by learning from seasoned allergy parents in your community. Join local support groups (both in person and online), browse recommended websites, read suggested articles and books, ask lots of questions, cry on their shoulders (if need be), and… ask more questions.

If you’ve got that list of questions ready, good news! Local allergy mom and founder of allergy support group Allison Venditti has partnered with Registered Dietitian, Pediatric & Family Nutritionist and founder of Vibrant Nutrition Nishta Saxen to host a free event for concerned parents like you. Not only are you invited to this event, but you’re asked to come with a whole bunch of questions. That’s right, here’s your chance to get all those answers you’re looking for!

Oh, and guess what… Little ol’ me has been asked to speak ever so briefly about the AllergyBites project. (And to tell you a little bit more about the extra yummy giveaway I’m holding this month.) So come and see me try and get over my own phobia. (Yup, I’m terrified of public speaking.)

Want to join us? Spaces are limited, so be sure to register now.

Topic: Managing Your Child’s Food Allergies – Nutrition and Advocacy
Speakers: Allison Vendetti, Nishta Saxena, Kathleen O’Hagan
Location: St. Alban’s Boy and Girls Club (843 Palmerston Avenue, Toronto)
Date: Tuesday, April 18th @ 6:15PM – 8:15PM
Cost: FREE!

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GIVEAWAY! You could win ‘High Tea for 2’ at Allergy-Friendly Cafe, Sorelle and Co.

If you do not have a food allergy, please think twice about entering this draw. Although it is impossible to prove whether or not you are food allergic, winners will be asked to share certain details about their food allergy journey and will be featured on this blog. Of course, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends who don’t have allergies, but wish to share their prize with a special food-allergic person in their life, are more than welcome to enter. Good luck! 

Dear Allergy Community,

I only joined you less than a year ago—when my son was first diagnosed with his allergies—but at the risk of sounding overly sentimental, there are time when you guys already feel like family.

I mean, think about it: We can’t share our all-hours-of-the-day-and-night anxieties and freak-outs with just anyone. It’s been heartwarming to see a community of people that is always there to support one another—when one of us has a question or concern, is looking for a bit of encouragement, or just needs to vent.

When it comes to parenting a food allergic child, it really does take a village!

And ever since I launched AllergyBites, I’ve been wanting to give something back to this wonderful community. To say thanks for being there anytime I—or anyone!—needs you.

That’s why I partnered with the founder of Sorelle and Co., a mom whose 5 daughters also have food allergies, to bring you some super yummy giveaways. Not only are Sorelle’s goodies free of the top allergens, they’re also vegan, preservative free and, well, pretty healthy for a bakery full of heavenly treats, like brownies, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, scones, loaves and more!

When I first walked into Sorelle’s main location in Vaughn, I felt like Alice venturing into Wonderland. Yup, it’s that magical. (Stay tuned for my review next week for more details on that!)

Sound good? It’s better than good—it’s delicious!

Now’s your chance to win 1 of 3 pretty amazing prizes. All you need to do is join the AllergyBites Facebook group and you’ll be automatically entered into the draw. (And don’t worry, if you’re already a member, you’re already in. 😉 Want an extra chance to win? Follow me on Twitter, be entered a second time. It’s that simple.

So what can you win?

The grand prize is nothing short of fabulous: High tea for two! We’re talking a feast of  sweet treats, warm tea and service with a smile ($80 value). And not to worry, if you’re too full to gobble it all up, you can have your goodies packaged up in these pretty little boxes before you go. Just make sure you call 2 weeks in advance to book the experience—Sorelle will need a little bit of extra prep time (and staff!) to make sure your experience is just right. This prize can be redeemed at Sorelle and Co’s flagship location in Vaughn.

high-tea-collage-1-row

The other 2 (almost as grand) prizes are 2 Sorelle and Co. gift cards, valued at $25 each. Just be sure to use the whole thing during your visit—because if you don’t use it, you lose it*. But don’t worry, it shouldn’t be too difficult to spend your winnings when presented with this colourful drool-fest. These prizes can be redeemed at Sorelle and Co’s flagship location in Vaughn.

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With a cherry on top

Head on over to the AllergyBites Facebook group and ask to join for your chance to win 1 of 3 delicious prizes. If you’re already a member, I’d love it if you invited other food-allergic families, parents and individuals to join the group. (Just make sure they bring you to High Tea for 2 if they win!)

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Rules & Regulations: Sorelle and Co. Giveaway 

  1. To qualify, you must be a member of the AllergyBites Facebook group, but cannot be an AllergyBites employee, partner, sponsor, advisor, or an immediate family member of any such person.
  2. Three (3) winners will be selected at random Tuesday, May 2, 2017.
  3. Winners must reside in the GTA or be willing to travel to Sorelle and Co.’s flagship location in Vaughn to redeem their prize.
  4. Gift cards cannot be exchanged for cash, and must be used in one (1) sitting. *For technical reasons, any remaining amount cannot be carried forward.
  5. Winner of High Tea for 2 must call at least 2 weeks in advance to book the experience. Walk-ins cannot be accommodated due to the extra preparation and staff members required. NOTE: Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 14, 2017) is already fully booked. Sorelle and Co. cannot accommodate High Tea reservations for that day. 
  6. In the event that the winner has a food allergy that stops him/her from participating in High Tea for 2, the grand prize can be exchanged for a $50 gift card.
  7. Gift cards do not expire.
  8. Winners will be asked to share the following information with AllergyBites: (1) their food allergy/ies, (2) a selfie while enjoying their prize at Sorelle and Co, and may be featured on the AllergyBites blog and/or mentioned in the Facebook group.