Walking my dog Buddy.

The Day I Ordered Off the Dog Menu

Portland, Oregon is an exceptionally dog friendly town. Within the first two weeks of living here I had seen regular dog owners take their dogs to the movies, to the grocery store and the County courthouse. None of these dogs were service animals.

Many dog friendly businesses exist, where you would expect dog owners to bring their companions. There are the usual pet stores, doggie daycares, groomers and even the occasional restaurant.

Dining out with a food allergy is very challenging. I must remain hyper vigilant about reading the menu for dishes that include ingredients high in nickel. It requires me peppering the server with questions about common offenders that typically have soy four or soybean oil in them, such as breads, tortillas, and pizza dough.

On a hot summer day, my partner and I sat down to eat at the Tin Shed Garden Café, located in the Alberta Arts district. Quickly, I noticed I couldn’t eat anything on the menu. Nearly every item included leafy greens, beans, or some sort of sauce with soy. Then I observed a couple other patrons with their dogs under the dining tables. The restaurant had a dog menu.

Fido Food

Your choice of chicken, ground beef or pork mixed with rice or sweet potatoes. $7

Too old to order off the kids menu, I asked the server if I could order off the “dog menu?” The server replied, “I don’t see why not” and I ordered the simple dish of chicken with rice.

This certainly makes for a funny and unusual anecdote. However, regardless of how thorough I am when I ask servers about the ingredients in their entrees, simply eating at home is one of the best ways for me to manage my nickel food allergy.