Southern California Nut Allergy-Friendly Travel Itinerary

VictoriaSocal2

Hello! My name is Victoria, I live in Iowa, and I have a child who’s allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. I spent a week traveling to SoCal with my family, where we stayed in an Airbnb and launched our allergy treatment at the Southern California Food Allergy Institute. We went to our appointments in the morning but had the rest of the day to spend in the area. Some of our favorite spots were SomiSomi, the gorgeous views at Griffith Observatory (where we got to hold an actual meteorite from Mars!), and spending time at the beach. You can see more of my reviews on the Spokin app @vkotz and follow me on Instagram @theallergymoms.

 

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DAY 1


Lunch: In-N-Out Burger

Every time we visit CA, we always stop at In-N-Out. We love that we can get a safe milkshake with our burger and fries here. Of course, everything is delicious.

Dinner: Jollibee

So was anyone going to mention that Jollibee has no nuts in their food? Their online allergen chart was great. Only tree nut was in their halo halo but when I asked, it was coconut. Everything was great. Don’t miss the peach mango pie if you can eat it, it’s like McDonald’s pies but way better. The fried chicken was good and this was a great quick bite.

Shopping: Trader Joe’s

We really like Trader Joe’s. In this location they have the physical papers near the back by the restrooms for dietary restrictions like gluten-free, vegan, etc. Very clean and friendly staff. We’ve always been able to find lots of safe products for our allergens there!

Airline: Sun Country Airlines

They let us preboard and wipe our seats without any issues. They also asked if we had EpiPens on us. They did let us know that they serve nut snacks that can be purchased and unfortunately, couldn’t stop selling them. We didn’t ask for anything else other than pre-boarding though.

Airports: Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

We’ve flown in and out of MSP a lot and find it pretty easy to get around. The terminals are spaced out, so unless you have a long layover I don’t recommend going to another terminal for food. Each terminal we’ve been to, however, has had safe spots for us to eat and grab snacks. A variety of gluten-free and nut-free snacks at various newsstands.


DAY 2


Lunch: Noble Bird Rotisserie

We loved this place! The chicken was fantastic and it was so cool to be able to have a safe dessert with our lunch. In such a cute area, too.

Dinner: Sweetfin Santa Monica

We loved everything from here! Such a cute restaurant and super close to the Santa Monica pier. The poke bowls were so fresh and healthy. I love how they show how they responsibly sourced their seafood. They have macadamia nuts, but we saw their FAQ on Spokin and felt super comfortable with their protocol and eating here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my allergy kiddo eat her dinner so fast!

Coffee: Boba Guys Long Beach

They have a great online allergen menu. When I brought up our allergies, the staff let us know what nuts (almonds) and in what drinks. We got the strawberry milk for our allergy kiddo since that doesn’t have caffeine. I also love that you can get dairy-free milk (Oatly) with your boba teas. This is also right next to Noble Bird, so we come and visit both!

Sightseeing: Aquarium of the Pacific + Santa Monica Pier.

We came here after our patch placement at TIP and this was the perfect place to go and visit. With the patch you can’t get hot or sweaty but we needed an activity to keep our allergy kiddo entertained. This aquarium won’t take you the whole day to go through either. A great fun way to spend the afternoon!
We also took a walk around Santa Monica Pier. It’s a fun spot with lots of carnival rides and games. There are great views from the pier and it was fun to walk around during sunset!


DAY 3


Lunch: Valentino’s Brooklyn Style Pizza, Pasta & Subs

So, my daughter did eat here safely. When I walked in and asked about allergies, they told us the ingredients in the food but didn’t really seem to “get it”. I will say they had great NY style pizza and everything tastes fantastic, just wish the allergen protocol was stronger.

Dinner: Din Tai Fung

We were blown away with their allergy awareness. As soon as we sat down, they asked if anyone had any food allergies or intolerances. They then showed us what we couldn’t eat on the menu and their menu was marked for cross-contamination for peanuts. We had the classic xiao long bao and some other dumplings as well as a variety of other dishes. Loved everything here and we will definitely be back. They also had a lot of vegetarian and vegan options. Don’t sleep on the wonton soup, it’s legit one of the best I’ve ever had in a long time.

Sightseeing: LA’s Chinatown

We visited LA’s Chinatown and went into the gift shops and did some sightseeing. I love this part of town for all of the character it has. We did wander around here for a while and plan to be back to find a safe place to eat!


DAY 4


Lunch: FISHBAR

This place was amazing! Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu, wrote down our allergies and confirmed with the chefs. He said they had no peanuts in the kitchen/menu and the only nut they had was walnut in a brownie they have prepackaged. He even knew their desserts were packaged in a facility with nuts, so he advised us against it. They food was amazing and it’s a super close walk to Manhattan beach. All the seafood we had was fresh and yummy. I would definitely go back.

Dinner: Quarters Korean BBQ

Quarters has some of the best Korean BBQ in LA. It’s in a cute plaza with other restaurants and shops. They don’t do reservations and it’s first come first serve. Everything is cooked there in front of you. The meat was all really good. I will say two of the banchans when we were there had nuts in it, but when we told our waiter, he told us which were safe and which weren’t. If you just stick to the meat and rice, it should be fine. The kimchi and green onions were safe for my daughter but she doesn’t eat spicy food. Would definitely recommend if you’re in Koreatown!

Treat: SomiSomi Koreatown

The ice cream was amazing! You have the option to have it with taiyaki (definitely recommend). The shop itself is in a cute plaza in Koreatown. On the order screen, you can select nut-allergy and they called out our order to confirm. They do have Nutella here, but we are ok with that. Otherwise, their online allergen menu indicates the only nut here is coconut.

Sightseeing: Huntington Beach + Koreatown

We visited Huntington Beach after lunch and went shopping in Koreatown! We had a fun afternoon at Huntington Beach and it was a short walk to some restaurants. There was plenty of parking nearby which is a plus. We visited Daiso in Koreatown and picked up some great finds.


DAY 5


Lunch: Nick’s Laguna Beach

We told our waiter about our allergies and he said they could handle any without any issue. They do have nuts on the menu but can handle any and make any substitutions. He said the chefs are really good with them. Our allergy kiddo had salmon which looked amazing. She gobbled her food down. The restaurant is right by the beach and has a very trendy setting. If you’re in the Laguna Beach area, I’d recommend them!

Dinner: Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen Gardena

You can ask for an allergen menu! The ramen here was yummy. The broth is light and flavorful. We got takeout here after a long day at the beach. We also had some spam musubi which was good, but different from Hawaiian style—just an FYI. Overall, I would try them again at some of their other locations which specialize in different Japanese cuisines.

Treat: Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream

We had ice cream here safely. They do have nuts and nut flavors on the menu, however, when I told our cashier about our allergies she said she would get a fresh scoop. This seemed like a pretty normal protocol for them too! Their ice cream is really creamy and flavorful. There are a few locations around the city. They do warn for cross-contamination and have an allergy disclaimer, but we felt comfortable with eating here after talking to our cashier.

Sightseeing: Laguna Beach

We took a drive down the coast and visited Laguna Beach! This beach was great and very kid friendly with a playground nearby and showers to wash off. You can easily walk around and find lots of shops and restaurants as well.


DAY 6


Lunch: The Getty

The Getty has breathtaking views of LA. We loved looking at the artwork here and exploring around. They have cafes throughout that have snacks. The pastries weren’t safe (they listed a cross-contamination warning!) but they had other snacks and sandwiches that were. It listed the ingredients for the sandwiches. They do sell some peanut products but we were comfortable eating there. There’s plenty of space outside to bring your own food to eat too.

Treat: SomiSomi Koreatown

The ice cream was amazing! You have the option to have it with taiyaki (the fish waffle, definitely recommend). The shop itself is in a cute plaza in Koreatown. On the order screen you can select nut allergy and they called out the order to confirm. I watched them change gloves and use different equipment for it. They do have Nutella (to fill the taiyaki), but we are ok with hazelnuts. Otherwise their online allergen menu indicates the only nut in the ice cream is coconut.

Sightseeing: Griffith Observatory

You have a great view of the Hollywood sign. So many fun spacefacts and interactive features. My kiddos loved it. If you go during sunset it will be super busy and parking will be insane, but it’s worth it for the view.


DAY 7


Breakfast: Plaza Inn

We ate here for the character breakfast and there were so many options for our allergy kiddo. A chef came and walked us through the buffet and told us what was safe and what wasn’t. Super easy way to see a lot of characters too. A fun way to start our day at Disney!

Lunch: Red Rose Taverne

We ate here for lunch. Definitely use your Disneyland app, as it will tell you what your safe options were. We did the quick order feature here and picked it up. Fast and convenient when you want to go back to riding rides! There was a good variety of gluten-free and nut-free foods. Not a ton for dairy-free from what I could see.

Treat: The Tropical Hideaway

We had Dole Whip here! A classic and must-have, but more importantly we also had safe lumpia! This Filipino classic was tasty and a great contrast with the Dole Whip. They are nut-free. The workers there went back, looked at the binder and even grabbed the packaging to confirm. Such a great place to get some snacks and a tasty treat.

Snack: Milk Stand

We got both the blue and green milk here. They are vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free except for coconut. We all collectively agree that the blue milk tastes better. You can place a quick order on the app for a faster service.

Sightseeing: Disneyland Park

We had a great trip to Disneyland! Definitely recommend the app as it has a lot of the updated information about allergies. A lot of the food stands that sell the pretzels and novelty Mickey shaped ice creams have food binders you can look at. We safely had Mickey shaped ice cream and pretzels! We pretty much snacked all day.

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