Category Archives: Foodie Baby

Dining out with a toddler

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?

Famous Dave’s in Redlands

Foodie Baby

I am passionate about ketchup right now. Famous Dave’s had it. I was happy!
This was the first time where I remember Mommy and Daddy’s fingers getting as messy as mine. In fact, I think Mommy got even more messy than I did- she had ribs and squirted a whole lot of sauce to dip them in.

Mommy

Famous Dave’s is a messy, messy place to eat, especially if you are like me and order ribs every time (with the sweet and zesty sauce, please).
They have a whole roll of paper towels (aka napkins) on the table.
My first recommendation, if you don’t already carry wipes in your bag all of the time, is to walk over to the to-go ordering and grab a handful of the little wipes.
Every once in a while I replenish my diaper-bag stash. I love the lemony scent.
Leave the stroller behind- the rooms are mostly booths with tables in the center.
The rooms are bright and the tablecloths red-checkered. Foodie Baby was entertained every time someone came by cheering “Feast! Feast!” (If you order a ‘feast’ they announce it as they bring it.)
The kid’s menu ranges from about $4-5 and includes a roasted or bbq piece of chicken, chicken tenders, chopped pork sandwich, mac n’ cheese, burger or cheeseburger, rib dinner or mini corn dogs.
Sides include potato salad, coleslaw (has a kick to it) fries, baked beans, dunkin’ apples (so good) broccoli, garlic red-skin mashed potatoes, or carrots and celery.
I took and hid his dessert, a package of two Oreo cookies, before he could demand to eat those first. He enjoyed them later at home, having found them in his accidentally-not-zipped diaper bag.
We ordered the mini corn dogs thinking Foodie Baby, who had demolished a hot dog at an Angels game, would love it. Instead, he tore off the breading, leaving some sad little dogs behind, and dipped them and his french fries onto ketchup (in the barbecue sauce tray).
He also ate a hunk of Daddy’s Dr. Pepper Glaze-On Brisket (part of a spacial going on now that also has blackberry sauce’d ribs and lettuce wraps).
When we went, the restaurant was pleasantly busy but our food took longer than anyone had expected. Our lovely waitress showed up unexpectedly with some hand-made potato chips, which kept Foodie Baby occupied until his meal came.
Adult meals can offer a lot, including a corn on the cob and cornbread muffin, so take those in mind when thinking of a meal for a little one- a little cornbread and broccoli could make enough of a meal for someone eating finger foods.
If someone has a birthday, let them know! I die for the praline-topped ice cream.
Also, they have a date once a year where anyone named Dave (David, etc) get a free meal, among other deals, and have a birthday sign-up.

Have I mentioned Famous Dave’s carries sweet tea?

Checklist
Changing table in bathroom
Wooden high chairs available
Seating is tables and booths
Kids menu available
Drinks include, cranberry, orange or pineapple juice, milk or fountain drink

The Spaghetti Factory in Redlands

Foodie Baby

Wow, they have a great ceiling here. It has fans AND lights. It’s amazing.

Mommy

Being a veteran of the Old Spaghetti Factory in Riverside, it took me forever to make it to Redlands’. It was a group outing this time with Mommy, Daddy, Foodie Baby and a set of grandparents.
I live for the cherry Italian sodas there. The best ever. I have a small collection of the glasses that come with it.

The restaurant is spacious with enough noise to cover a happy toddler, but not one who has found out they slightly echo when they cheer. We sat right by the trolley, which Foodie Baby didn’t really notice till we were leaving.  He did try to watch a basketball game while we were seated. He likes to cheer. For anything, really.

The kid’s menu comes folded with a set of crackers, crayons and a wipe inside, perfect for an antsy toddler with a taste for coloring (or at least crayons). Foodie Baby got the crackers instantly.
Spaghetti Factory was named Parents Magazine’s 10 best family restaurants in 2008.
The waitress was considerate of the toddler, who was put on a table that seated 4 people (somehow, still enough room even though he, Daddy and I should have been bumping elbows- the tables are nice and roomy).

The kid’s menu includes several versions of spaghetti, fettuccine alfredo, ravioli, mac n’ cheese, and the perennial grilled cheese sandwich. Meals come with salad or applesauce and a dessert and a beverage for $5.25.

Spaghetti Factory also offers whole what pasta and a gluten-fee menu that includes kid’s items.
Foodie Baby got applesauce as his first course, and devoured it.
This was Foodie Baby’s first forage in pasta aside from at home (namely, because red sauce is so messy!). I ordered him a spaghetti with meat sauce and left it in their hands for the amount of sauce, which was just the same as I put on his spaghetti at home. The pasta was uncut, so I tried to attack it with a knife to make it smaller pieces.
The big heavy bowl had cute child-friendly decorations on it.
The spaghetti is a portion meant for an older child- I took home almost all of it, since Foodie Baby wasn’t very hungry and filled up on said applesauce and crackers. What he did eat, he ate with his fingers.

Foodie Baby didn’t even finish the spumoni that came with his dinner (other choices include vanilla ice cream or. a juice bar) though he grew quite excited at the tiny scoop of chocolate, pistachio and cherry ice cream in the small bowl (same size as we adults got with our meal).
My marinara-covered spaghetti with a meatball side was good, but the meatballs might be too spicy for a little one to nibble on.

The Old Spaghetti Factory has a kid’s club that allows a free kids meal on their birthday.
The Redlands location also offers call-ahead seating- call after 5, up to an hour before you plan on dining, to find out the wait time and put your name on the list. Perfect for having to plan for a child that is fine one minute, starving and crying the next.

Checklist

Changing table in bathroom
Wooden high chairs available
Seating is booths and tables, leave stroller behind
Kids menu
Kids drinks includes fountain drinks, apple juice and milk

Cuca’s in Redlands/Mentone

Foodie Baby

The first time I went to Cuca’s, Mommy and Daddy were hungry and desparate for some good food. I cried in my seat so much they had to change their order to go.
The next time was great- I had an enchilada and loved it!
Then there was the time I feel asleep over my quesadilla and Daddy had to eat with one arm because his shoulder was sooo comfortable, and the time I left some artwork on the wall.
Last time they ate at Cuca’s, they left me home.

Mommy

Cuca’s in Mentone is the second of a now chain of restaurants that began with the walk-up location on State Street in Redlands.
Nearby Redlands High School used to have open campus for lunch and that place would be crazy busy from the students running over there to snag a burrito.
My closest location is in the Stater Bros. shopping center on the corner of Lugonia/Mentone Blvd and Wabash.
Everyone I know calls it the Mentone Stater Bros. and the Mentone Cuca’s even though it’s technically across the street from Mentone.

The menu is your typical Mexican place for around here… refried beans and rice for sides, sopes, taquitos, tacos and burritos.
We’ve taken Foodie Baby several times.
They bring you a dish of tortilla chips and salsa for while you wait- we let Foodie baby have a taste of the salsa since he was begging for it- it can get pretty hot, so he’s usually fine with a tortilla chip to nibble on.
I invariably get a huge dollop of salsa that is spicy and then remember there are no drinks yet, so I usually wait till I have a beverage before digging in just in case.

The kid’s meals are $5.49 and include a side of beans and rice of fries. You can order a taco, quesadilla, bean and cheese burrito, hamburger, enchilada or chicken strips. I ordered an apple juice with Foodie Baby’s quesadilla, which he promptly fell asleep over.
He enjoyed it for lunch the next day.

I also have ordered off of the sides menu for Foodie Baby. An enchilada, side of beans or other options can be just the right amount of food for a toddler, especially once that isn’t very hungry. His cheese enchilada was dollars cheaper than a kid’s meal he would not have finished, and I had water besides.
A more beginning eater could just enjoy some of the beans and rice off of your plate.
Kids eat for free on Mondays at Cuca’s- one kid meal per adult entree. The kid’s menu also comes with a 50% off coupon for a kid’s meal when an adult entree is bought so you can also find a deal on your next visit there.

Cuca’s has multiple locations, including the walk-up on State Street and a new one at the shopping center on the corner of California Street and Barton Road in Loma Linda.

One note of advice- skip looking at the website for actual menu information and just try a location (addresses are found on the website). I couldn’t find any information on stuff I had actually eaten there.

Checklist

No changing table
Wooden high chairs available
Seating is booths and tables, a small stroller might be accommodated in select areas
Kids menu
Kids drinks includes fountain drinks and apple juice

A horror story for a child in a white shirt.

You’ve ordered the food, and sip on an iced tea while a wiggly someone played with a toy brought from home.
Stood up and retrieved the toy from under the next table over, only slightly embarrassed because it’s happened before.
Someone has grabbed a knife, thrown a crayon.

The elderly couple next to you smile and wave your little one, the waitress compliments them.
You give them bread to nibble, or a Mum-Mum cracker to entertain them just a little while longer.

The food comes.
You’re hungry.
You fight the urge to pick up your own fork and begin organizing your child’s meal. Cut it into smaller bites, pull out an applesauce and spoon.

One thing is missing.

Silly, we forgot the bib, you say.
You reach down into your bag, and…

There’s no bib.

What do you do?

We’ve all been in this scenario… have you found a way to work it?
Ask for extra napkins and use them to create a temporary fortress, hoping to protect the shirt from the carnage of a meal?
Do you have a special way to fold it so it doesn’t bother your little one?
Or do you just deem that shirt a casualty of the dinner war?
Turn a shirt around?
Maybe you luckily have a bib in the car?
Another shirt?