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Dining away from home can be a challenge for those managing food allergies and intolerances or special dietary needs. As a registered dietitian, as well as a mother of children with food allergies, I am always on the lookout for a safe place to eat. This site came about due to the necessity of finding restaurants receptive to serving customers with food allergies and special dietary concerns. Our goal is to increase the awareness within the restaurant community so that we may once again experience the freedom to dine away from home.

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Davio’s~”It’s All About the Guest”

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With locations in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, Lynnfield and Chestnut Hill, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse has always been on the top of my list for gluten-free friendly dining. Actually, they are thoughtful when it comes to any dietary needs of their guests. Therefore, I was excited to be given a copy of the newly released book, “It”s All About the Guest”, written by Steven DiFillippo!

The book takes us on a journey through Steven DiFillippo’s childhood where heartwarming memories that connected his love of food with family and friends to what became the foundation of his restaurant business as we know it today. This book is much more than a sentimental journey though. It has practical applications for those interested in learning the nuts and bolts of the restaurant business.  By reading about Steven DiFillippo’s more than 25 years of experience running a restaurant from the ground up, one is given a wealth of normally behind-the-scene  advice!  Keeping the restaurant guest happy is an obvious and major theme throughout the book. However, other components covered include the ways in which to achieve this such as flatware and menu choices, vendor choices and food costs that will benefit the business but not scare away potential customers!  Also, included are memorable, in-depth stories of restaurant staff and what expectations are to be made a priority  to keep the staff happy as well as the guests.  Another great feature of “It’s All About the Guest” is the content recap that is listed under the heading “Restaurant Lessons to Live By”. This is conveniently located at the end of each chapter in the book.

Others who will benefit from reading this book are those of us who consider ourselves Foodies!  The book includes recipes of 12 signature, coveted, dishes!  Most of these are naturally gluten-free or can be easily converted.  Some of them include the Sautéed Tonino Spinach, Pan-Roasted Maine Lobster with Lemon-Tarragon Butter Sauce, Pasta Bolognese (use gluten-free pasta), Davio’s Tomato Soup (substitute gluten-free bread for the cubed Italian bread), Spinach Salad and Panna Cotta.

We chose to replicate the Pasta Bolognese and Sautéed Tonino Spinach recipes at home since these were perfect dishes for the impending fall weather.

 

This flavorful dish was so quick and easy to make!  The toasted pine nuts and golden raisins worked to create a perfect contrast to the wilted spinach.  This is a recipe that we will be making often!

Ingredients: 1/2  teaspoon minced shallots, 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons golden raisins, 1 1/2 pine nuts, 1 tablespoon butter, 5 cups baby spinach and salt and freshly ground pepper.

Directions:  Over medium heat in a 10-inch saute pan, cook the shallots in the olive oil. Add the raisins and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the pine nuts then increase the heat to high. Stir this mixture and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the butter and let it melt before adding the baby spinach and then toss until spinach wilts. Season with salt and pepper.

The other dish we tried was the hearty Pasta Bolognese.  Although the cooking time was much longer than our spinach dish ( about 2 hours), the actual prep time was very minimal. Once the ingredients were prepped and initially cooked, then the dish was left to simmer on the stove (with occasional stirring).  This meat based sauce was very filling and satisfying.

Ingredients:  1/4 pound prosciutto, 1 finely chopped garlic clove, 1 large diced white onion, 1 diced carrot, 1 or 2 diced celery stalks, 1 pound each of ground beef, ground pork and ground veal, 1 bay leaf, 2 (32-ounce) cans of San Marzano tomatoes, 1 to 1 1/2 pounds gluten-free pasta, 2 ounces pasta water, 2 tablespoons butter.

Directions:  Cook the prosciutto in a large pot until crispy. Add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery and cook for 4 minutes. Add the meat and cook thoroughly, making sure it is well mixed then add the bay leaf and cook for 15 minutes. After this, add the can of tomatoes and simmer for 2 hours with occasional stirring. Prepare the pasta according to package directions and reserve 2 ounces pasta water to add to the Bolognese Sauce along with the butter.

 

It’s All About the Guest is now available at booksellers nationwide.

 

 

 

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