Category Archives: Foodie Baby

Dining out with a toddler

Soup Plantation in San Bernardino, CA

Foodie Baby

My Grandma wheeled me down the salad bar in this cool chair that leans back and buckles (I didn’t get buckled, haha!) and I got to see all of the food I could eat.
It made me really happy to see my options and anything I expressed excitement about, my mom put it on the plate.
I ate beets for the first time, and they were so good it was the first thing I finished on my plate.
And the only thing, but that’s because I filled up on apple juice.
soupplantation

Mommy

I dig Soup Plantation for having a varied enough menu anyone could be happy eating there.  They have seasonal offerings and if you sign up for the emails you get coupons, which are a good deal.
Soup Plantation and Sweet Tomatoes, I guess, are the same thing, but I’ve never been in a ST to make sure.
Do they have those in SoCal?
Kids three and under are free, which made Foodie Baby’s plate (he hardly ate) completely free. Of course, he got a boxed apple juice, which wasn’t (bring a sippy to make it a free meal).
The salad bar has a variety of everything, including kid-friendly pastas, baked potatoes and of course lots of vegetables. This could be a good change to try to sneak something new o a plate and see if they will try it without preparing it at home. A lot of the vegetables are already cut up small, perfect for finger food. (Try stuff like peas, beets and raisins.)
If you had a small one, you could navigate the line by yourself pushing the aforementioned seat with you. With Foodie Baby, I would have been very slow if it had just been the two of us- I was holding up the line just building our two plates! So definitely, try to have a second adult with you to share the load.

I would also suggest not going at peak dining hours- the office desk crowd comes in droves at lunchtime, an early or late lunch would be a better and easier choice.
The staff if helpful, although when its busy it’s harder to flag them down. The first time I cam I had someone carry my tray for me (I was holding Foodie Baby) and then go get a highchair for me while I waited at the table.
again, during the lunch rush it would be hard to get the extra help.
They have very small ice cream cones so a dollop of soft serve in a cone is a special treat! I smear a little on the top- Foodie Baby enjoys eating the cone just as much as the soft-serve vanilla.

Checklist

Changing table in bathroom
Wooden high chairs available, some places could accommodate a stroller
Seating is tables and booths
Kid’s pricing for salad bar- under three gets a free meal
Variety of drinks available including juices, milk and a self-serve soda fountain

Crayons at restaurants

Foodie Baby

Restaurant crayons are the best. First, they are usually brand new. All the better to nibble on.
Oh, come on, admit it. You eat them too. I prefer blue- that lovely, gritty… blue flavor.

And the kids menus? Always a great place to color. I like to color over all of the words rather than the coloring page part- that is boring.
My Mommy took me to Macaroni Grill today just so she could have some of their blackberry mint tea.
Wow, a whole table as a coloring page! I went crazy. Brown here, blue there. Black framing everything- I totally channeled Jackson Pollock.

Do you like to color at restaurants?

The Tartan of Redlands

Mommy

OK, this isn’t going to be your usual restaurant experience, because this restaurant has a long history with me. And this chapter of the story is hilarious.
The Tartan, when I was young, was dark. You could still smoke in restaurants, and the restaurant was an adult-only institution I was banned from until I was grown… hence, I didn’t go in it until I was 21.
And when I went, I felt so grown up and mature, transported in to a world where I was old-school cool.

The rules have changed since then, and now the dark adult-only restaurant is a little bit brighter inside, a little less smoky, and has a children’s menu and high chairs.

My cousin came through town for a wedding last weekend, and mentioned she had never been, she herself having the same rules imposed on her I mentioned the injustice to my grandma, who set up a quick dinner there with we, my husband and parents, and of course Foodie Baby.

I checked the website online and was honestly surprised to see the kid’s menu on there. Grilled cheese, chicken fingers, shrimp and hot dog, all with fries.

Considering the Tartan is a burger-and-steakhouse kind of joint (the word joint certainly applies in the description of the 40-year-old restaurant) I really hadn’t expected more, and decided on the chicken strips and fries before we even went.

I called ahead and made sure there were high chairs, mentioned the ‘injustice’ I was served as a child for never getting to eat there, and warned the laughing waitress about my son’s imminent arrival.
Because I was incredulous that they were actually prepared for a toddler.

Foodie Baby sat on the edge of a table in his high chair in the center of the Friday night crowd of middle-aged diners and one other family, both children much older.

Foodie Baby, being the jolly fellow he was, cheered, crowd and played with cars while waiting for his food. Much to other diners’ consternation.
Yes, my son consernated other people.
When he squealed, several diners glared, much to my amusement. He often cheered for the baseball game which was on over the bar (I forget who was playing, but it never matters to him).
Several came and greeted my grandmother and other family (we’re cool that way) and were noticed to have glared at my son while they walked up or away.
I figured that it must be the same as for a family to walk into a really nice, quiet restaurant and have the kids breaking up every one else’s peaceful adult time.

Except this place wasn’t quiet.

But we did break up the adult time.

The large cushioned wheeled chairs at the tables are hard to work around with a high chair right next to you, so picking up lost toys was a bit of an effort.
Foodie Baby loved his fries and chicken strips, which came with ranch sauce. We had a choice of orange juice, cranberry juice, or (I think) pineapple, so Foodie Baby got an adult glass of OJ (good thing I ALWAYS try to bring a sippy. Be prepared, people).
The waitress was awesome, the conversation hilarious (“Look see, she’s glaring again,” *giggle*) and my orange roughy delicious! (I went fancy, I also recommend the burgers.)

But, for kids this small, the Tartan is not quite a place to bring them. Leave the kids at home and enjoy a good burger and some old-school vibe at dinner (and the zucchini.)
Unless you want to piss of the regulars.

What WON’T you feed your kid?

Usually on this blog I talk about options on this blog that kid will eat- the not-as-messy options, the sneaky a la carte options, the perennial grilled cheese that is everyone’s favorite.
But there is a trend on many kid’s menus, including the ones mentioned here. I’ve talked about my philosophy before here, that going out is a treat and Foodie Baby can have whatever he (or Daddy or another family member) wants to offer him, within reason. 
But with certainty, many restaurant kid’s menu’s offer fried, breaded, sugary options that may not be the same healthy options tried to serve at home.
I’m not going to say it is wrong for restaurants to offer these, and I’m not going to say that every restaurant offers a bad option) or a few.
The question today is,

Is there anything you will not allow your child to order?

We’re not talking allergies, that is a completely different matter.

We’re talking the meals or options you won’t let your toddler eat when out.

Perhaps you won’t let them have juice, only milk or water. Perhaps no fries? Perhaps no butter on the grilled cheese (a personal favorite, we’ll talk about that some other time).

Let’s talk. What is on the forbidden menu?

Fork, spork, spoon… moon?

Foodie Baby

Have you SEEN the size of those forks at restaurants? Yeah.
My buddy Noah likes to use them… not me. They’re all big and pokey. Mommy usually brings utensils for me to use since the ones at restaurants are so big.
Sometimes they are pink. Sooo embarrassing.

Mommy

I always have a spoon and fork in Foodie Baby’s diaper bag. Regular-sized forks poke the sides of his mouth and when we are out and I want to take any opportunity to get him to use a utensil (lasagna is not exactly finger food.)
I bought Foodie Baby a set much like this- wide plastic utensils in a variety of colors- in the dollar section at Target.
If you are bringing food, hopefully you are remembering utensils to go with that food (a spoon for a jar of baby food or to eat mashed potatoes and applesauce).

I’m kind of in love with this spork(?) a fork on one side, a spoon on the other.

But I also see the down sides. a spoonful of applesauce could quickly be blindsided by some green beans and wham! your little ones is flinging food all over trying to use their utensil.

My personal favorite is one that was a first birthday gift (and currently lost) Instead of being wide and dull, they are like small versions of normal silverware. Since they are narrow, Foodie Baby doesn’t stab his mouth (although he has poked a friend trying to feed them!) The closest I could find it this.

I also pack extra ones often for when Foodie Baby throws it on the floor!

The question for you- what utensils do you keep in the diaper bag? Why did you pick them?

And why do they make (dull) knives for babies?