Visiting or living in Miami with food allergies requires
planning and self preparedness.  

When it comes to food allergies, Miami is one of the
least educated cities in the United States.  What makes
this city a major hub for international business and one
of the few places in the world where you can find foods
from almost any country, makes it also a not so safe
place to eat out with food allergies.

In places like Miami Beach the large majority of servers
in restaurants have been in the United States for less
than a few years.  English is not their first language and
trying to explain what food allergies are could be quite
challenging to say the least.  For example, if you walk
into a Mexican restaurant with peanut allergy saying that
you are allergic to peanuts is not enough even if you can
fluently speak Spanish.  Mexicans call peanuts
"cacauate"  and Cubans call it "mani" .  Peanut butter is
commonly used to thicken sauces but is not a practice
everyone is aware of and to make it more complicated it
has different translations;  "mantequilla de mani" ,
"crema de cacauate".

Where to eat out in Miami when you have food
Going to a supermarket and preparing a picnic basket is
the safest.  Thanks to the beautiful weather, beaches
and outdoor/picnic tables all over the city, it is probably
the only place in the world where you can find beautiful
outdoor locations where you can just park your car and
eat your "picnic" foods under a tree, looking at the
ocean, at an outdoor mall or a neighborhood park.  
People watching is free and quite entertaining no matter
how long you have been living in 305.

Eating at restaurant ~ "Better Safe than Sorry"
Stick to ordering simple foods like a grill steak and don't
be ashamed of walking to the back of the restaurant
where most kitchens are and ask to speak to the chef.  
If he or she doesn't speak English find someone that can
translate for you.  Even safer, go find another restaurant.

Major food chain restaurants who have implemented
ingredients disclosures in their menus are all over Miami,
so if you can't speak the first language of the cook and
restaurant server stick to the major chains such as
Cheesecake factory, Burger Five, and Chipotle. Don't let
the guard down tough, make sure to remind them about
cross contamination.

A safe dish you can order almost anywhere

Ask the cook to wrap place inside a pouch made of
aluminum paper a piece of chicken, fish or meat, with
salt and pepper added and to please serve it without
removing it from the wrap. As a side dish ask for a whole
backed potato and ask them not to cut it to ensure there
is no cross contamination.

Local Medical Community

Doctors, nurses and emergency personnel, like in most
major cities, have a long way to go before anyone can
say that everyone is qualified to identify food allergic
reactions. Therefore carry your epineprhine auto-injectors
at all times.

Be ready

Don't forget that allergic reactions can happen anytime
anywhere and having immediate access to life saving
epineprhine within seconds of ingesting the offending
foods can help stop an anaphylaxis allergic reaction
before is too late.  
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