Category Archives: Restaurants

Soy in Olive Garden menu?

A reader asked, is there “Soy in Olive Garden menu?”

Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten to try to order at an Olive Garden restaurant, but I can make some pretty good educated guesses. First by looking at their allergen guide, you can see that pretty much everything is marked as containing soy. I can’t tell if they subscribe to the “soybean oil isn’t made out of soy“, but considering the sheer number of items that are marked as containing soy, it makes me think that they may be listing items with soybean oil in them also. I would assume, like most Italian Restaurants, they put soybean oil on their cooked pasta to keep it from sticking together. Many Italian Restaurants also end up using soybean oil in their pasta sauces, too.

Because of this information, we’ve never even bothered to darken the door of an Olive Garden because we’re pretty much 100% sure that there will nothing they can eat.

Olive Garden allergen guide (Printed information is valid: 06/01/2015 – 07/05/2015)

 




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

Thanks go to “Concerned Mom” for telling us about Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. She says her daughter can eat some food there.

A quick look at their allergen listing tells me they subscribe to the “soybean oil isn’t made of soy” philosophy. They fry in a soybean and canola oil blend and state in their allergen listing that they aren’t going to list items that “merely” contain soybean oil. I have to give them credit for being so forthright, but it does concern me as to what our kids could actually eat at this restaurant.

I’ll keep digging for an actual ingredient list.

Source: http://www.raisingcanes.com/sites/default/files/Raising%20Canes%20Allergen%20Info.pdf

http://www.raisingcanes.com/

 




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Arby’s Updates

Arby’s doesn’t seem to carry the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese any more.

Found a newer ingredient list from December 2014:

http://cds.arbys.com/pdfs/nutrition/USMenuItems_Ingrdnts_DEC.PDF

Interestingly enough, somewhere along the line, Arby’s started frying in corn oil. The potato cakes and onion rings are the only soy free items that they fry in the corn oil. These all contain some form of soy: crispy chicken, curly fries, fish filet, french toast sticks, Jalapeño Bites,  Jalapeño hushpuppies, and Mozzarella sticks.

Most of Arby’s sauces contain soy (most likely soybean oil). The only soy-free sauces are: Bronco Berry Sauce®,Cheddar Cheese Sauce, Ketchup, and Tangy Barbeque Sauce (not to be confused with Arby’s Sauce®)

Most cheeses seem to be okay, except for the pepperjack cheese and Swiss Cheese (Processed Slice) not to be confused with Swiss Cheese (Natural Slice), which is fine.

All of Arby’s bread contains soy but they do (?now?) have a Hearty Grain Wrap that is soy free.

I’ve gone through the entire ingredient list and these items have no Soy in them:

Breakfast Bacon
Bronco Berry Sauce®
CapriSun® Fruit Juice
Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Cheddar Cheese (Sharp Slice)
Cheddar Cheese (Shredded)
Chocolate Shake
Corned Beef
GoGo squeeZ Applesauce
Hearty Grain Wrap
Jamocha Shake
Ketchup
Nestle® Pure Life® Bottled Water
Orange Juice
Pepper Bacon
Peppers & Onions
Potato Cakes – Cooked in Corn Oil (same oil as items that contain Soy).
Roast Beef
Roast Ham
Roast Turkey
Sauerkraut
Sausage Patty
Seasoning Blend
Shamrock Farms® Lowfat Chocolate Milk
Shamrock Farms® Lowfat White Milk
Smoked Brisket
Smoked Gouda Cheese
Steakhouse Onion Rings – Cooked in Corn Oil (same oil as items that contain Soy) — not to be confused with Crispy Onions which has soybean oil.
Swiss Cheese (Natural Slice) — not to be confused with Swiss Cheese (Processed Slice) which has soy lecithin.
Tangy Barbeque Sauce — not to be confused with Arby’s Sauce® which has soybean oil.
Vanilla Shake
Vermont White Cheddar (Sharp Slice)

That’s every individual ingredient on Arby’s list that doesn’t contain soy. I didn’t bother listing the carbonated beverages. As usual all of them are soy free, except for the Mountain Dew that has Brominated Vegetable Oil, which we assume to be soybean oil.

We certainly have some mix and match potential and the kids will be ecstatic to be able to have the potato cakes and onion rings — I don’t think they’ve ever had either of those ever before.

With the hearty grain wrap, we could conceivably not have to bring our own bread to Arby’s, but I think we’ll still carry some, just in case.




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

The Language Barrier

When dealing with food allergies, especially soy allergies. I’m running into two different language barriers.

Language barrier #1, english speaking employees: It’s always such an effort to explain to restaurant employees what all food could have hidden soy in it. It’s scary and frustrating because sometimes you just feel like you’re not getting through, and you hate to be insulting to the restaurant employees by asking the questions and then asking for confirmation of the answers — especially when an employee tells you there’s no soy in something that you know that almost 100% of the time contains soy.

It’s especially hard when the conversation takes a detour and then you have to reel things back in to make sure that you’re really talking about the same things. We’ve found this happens on more than one occasion when we list margarine as an example of foods containing soy. On multiple occasions, the employee we’re talking to either hears us say “butter” when we say “margarine” or they don’t actually realize there’s a vast difference between butter and margarine. We’ll all of a sudden find out that the conversation has switched to avoiding dairy (of which is not a problem for either of our kids) and then we have to roll the conversation backwards to try to figure out where the conversation got sidetracked.

Knowing the problems we’ve had with english speaking employees in restaurants, we’re pretty much petrified of….

Language barrier #2, non-english speaking employees: After all of the problems that we’ve had with english speaking restaurant employees, we’re deathly afraid of restaurants with 100% non-english-as-a-first-language employees. We (and the kids) love different nationalities of food, but knowing the trouble we have with explaining the difference between butter and margarine to english speaking people, we just don’t feel brave enough to try with non-english speaking employees. That pretty much precludes any Chinese, Mexican, and Indian restaurants in our neck of the woods. We’ve tried a few times in a few restaurants, and we’re just not sure if we’re being understood when we talk about things like margarine, cooking sprays, and soybean oil. It’s sad, because the kids would love to eat at ethnic restaurants, but we’re just not willing to risk it.

If you’re in the Akron/Canton area, we can say that there are two exceptions to the ethnic-restaurant-speaking-english problem. The Indian restaurants, Saffron Patch in Akron and Kabob & Curry in Canton are staffed by very fluent english speaking staff, and we’ve had a blast being able to take the kids to these fine establishments.

Before I sound like I’m being completely insulting toward restaurant staff, I fully understand that soy allergies are not as easily understood as, say peanut allergies. I also understand that we are probably being really annoying to restaurant employees everywhere by having to ask so many questions. We feel horrible about having to absorb so much time just to feed four people. We try to eat at off-hours and not tie up employees and management at restaurants during their busiest times. Frankly, we just don’t eat out very often because it basically takes us half an hour to order at any restaurant. That’s part of why I’ve built this site, to try and make it easier and faster for us to order when we do make it to a restaurant. It’s a treat when my wife and I can get out by ourselves and be able to place our orders without multiple trips to the kitchen.




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Cheesecake Factory Retraction

Bad news from Rachel (who previously gave us wonderful soy-free news from Cheesecake Factory). Apparently Cheesecake Factory is not as soy-free as they led Rachel to believe. Here’s what Rachel said:

Unfortunately, I need to retract most of my comments about the Cheesecake Factory.

On my first visit I was assured that the entire kitchen, including the fryer, only contained 100% canola oil. After at least a dozen visits, at which I always mentioned my soy allergy, I was suddenly informed that the fryer uses a vegetable shortening, the main ingredient of which is hydrogenated soybean oil (they showed me the label). Fortunately, this oil apparently does not have enough soy protein to trigger a reaction for me, but others may not be so lucky. I react to regular soybean oil and react mildly to some, but not all, soy lecithin. I find it quite distressing that none of the employees had any idea that they were feeding me soy on numerous occasions.

So unfortunately this proves my major concern when dining out. It seems that restaurant employees really don’t understand the depth and breadth that soy has reached in food in America.

Too many restaurant employees assume there is no soy in food based on these two criteria:

  1. The food does not have soy in its name.
  2. The allergen information does not list soy.

Either option is scary and takes a lot of back and forth questioning to make sure that the food is really soy free.

Thanks Rachel, for the update and it sounds like we’ll be taking Cheesecake Factory off of the places we need to visit.




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Kabab & Curry Fine Indian Cuisine

We haven’t been able to get the kids here yet, but in talking with the staff and the owner of Kabab & Curry, we’re really hoping to get them here, soon.

The owner and staff tell us that they use very little, if any, soy in their cooking. The best part is that they are willing to prepare pretty much anything soy-free and they are very fluent in english, so I feel that they are fully understanding what we’re trying to avoid.

We’ll report what the kids ate, if we actually get the kids here.

Kabab & Curry
5114 Whipple Ave. NW
Canton, OH 44718
330-492-2060
http://kababandcurryindiancuisine.com/




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Cheesecake Factory

Thanks to Rachel for this update on Cheesecake Factory:

I ate at a Cheesecake Factory a few days ago, and our wonderful waitress informed me that they only use canola oil. There were only a few menu items that I needed to avoid because of soy sauce or mayonnaise. I ate fried macaroni and cheese, and fish and chips (without the tartar sauce and cole slaw). It was quite amazing to be able to eat fried food. They do not fry anything that contains soy, so there isn’t a risk of cross contamination.

That’s another restaurant that I can’t wait to get to good old Akron, Ohio. It sounds like the kids will have a blast there. They get french fries so far and few between, and I can imagine that they’d be all over the fried macaroni and cheese!




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

California Pizza Kitchen

Thanks to alert reader, Margaret, for this news about CPK:

I noticed that your list doesn’t include California pizza kitchen. I am 14 and live with a soy allergy. I went there and they have gluten free pizza dough that does not contain soy or the often left out soybean oil. I had a wonderful pepperoni pizza that I took home with me.

Thanks for that heads-up Margaret. I’m not sure if we have a CPK near us, but it sounds like the kids will love it if we can find one.




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Pizzaria Uno

Thanks to alert reader, Jodi for this information on Pizzaria Uno.

I am allergic to soy too!  So finding items to eat at restaurants is a challenge.  I found at Uno’s I can eat their veggie soup and the oyster crackers that come with it and their pasta with butter (but make sure that restaurant is using real butter).  I could also have their apple crisp dessert.  It was real yummy!

We’ve really got to find one of these near us. The last time I saw one was in Indianapolis, but they’ve got to be around somewhere.




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Carrabba’s now using more soy?

I just received this information from alert reader, Beth Moody.

Carrabbas has changed!  The last time I went, July 2014, there were only 2 entrees that did not contain soy. It pays to ask every time!

Beth brings up a very good point. As useful as all of this information is, you just never know when a restaurant or food manufacturer is going to change ingredients — and since soy is apparently the cheapest ingredient on the face of the planet, more often than not, when an alteration is made, it is to include soy in some form (think soy lecithin instead of cocoa butter in chocolate).

So, let’s all learn the lesson that Beth learned: “Ask every time.” I’ll definitely be digging deeper at the Carrabba’s near us. Our son will be heartbroken if they’ve bungled his favorite restaurant.




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.