My Friend, Steven Davey, aka Frank

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image: NOWToronto.com

I first met Steven Davey, restaurant critic for NOW magazine, more than 10 years ago. I was running a monthly dining group called Gothic Diners in which Toronto Goths gathered for dinner at local restaurants, usually in all their black finery. Davey heard about our group through a friend of a friend and invited Greg and I, along with our friend Siobhan, to join him for dinner. He took us to the newly opened vegetarian restaurant Fressen, because it tickled his fancy to take a bunch of Goths (and our supposed vampire-inspired blood lust) to the one place where there would be no meat.

We hit it off and I soon found myself in “the rotation” – a group of Steven’s friends and acquaintances who were restaurant-positive, and who he would invite to join him for restaurant visits when he was doing reviews. That is, we liked dining out, enjoyed trying new things and could follow his detailed directions on what to order and how not to blow his cover.

He would book reservations under a false name, usually “Frank”, but on occasion he’d forget, and I’d find myself at a hostess stand, perplexed. No “Frank”. Or else I’d be seated, and watch him across the room, listing off the various names he might have used to book the reservation. One night I ran into him in line at the Drake’s BBQ take-out shop, and stood in line yelling “Hi Frank!” repeatedly until I had to walk up to him and poke him.

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When Your Food Makes You Swell Up and Fall Down

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There’s nothing more delightful than an ice cream cone on a warm summer evening. Strolling along and licking at a scoop of chocolate gelato as the sun sets is one of the season’s great pleasures – a pleasure unknown to anyone with a life-threatening dairy allergy, where the joy of a cold treat can swiftly be cut short by having your throat swell up and your breathing cut off.

 

Anaphylaxis is the most severe reaction to a food allergy, and the most dangerous, but even milder reactions can cause discomfort and frustration. Allergy-sufferers who experience severe, life-threatening reactions from common food allergens such as peanuts, shellfish, eggs or dairy often carry a device called an Epi-pen which contains an antidote that can be used if they accidentally ingest a food they’re allergic to. But while the Epi-pen will save the life of a person suffering from anaphylactic shock, there is no ongoing treatments for food allergies as there are for other allergens such as mold or dust where weekly injections of the allergen can be administered to build up resistance. Avoidance is the only real option for people who find that certain foods make them sick.

 

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