Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mu in Redlands

Foodie Baby

I've been coming here as long as I can remember- over a year at least. I started off with puree Mommy brought and a stolen lick of coconut ice cream, nibbles of sticky rice and Cheerios, and on to yellow curry over rice, steamed bok choy and other veggies to dip in Mommy's salad dressing.
Not many mommies would let Thai restaurants be a habitual place to eat for a kid my age, but I'm sure glad! Especially because I can charm someone into purple yam ice cream for dessert and get to eat half of it.

To be perfectly honest and with full disclosure in mind I have been going to Mu for years- and before it was Mu, when the building housed Rama Garden. My grandparents know the owner well, and usually I am there as part of a family celebration or out to lunch with my grandmother.
And I've always loved it.
First, a note on eating Thai food. It's best served family style- pick multiple dishes (my family usually has everyone pick their own) with the big bowl of white rice (ask for brown if you want it) to go along with it. That way there is a variety of food on the table and everyone gets to try different things.
Feel free to ask questions about the menu- they're always prepared to answer questions from people that have no idea what certain dishes are, and when in doubt, just give them the number of the item you want (pronunciation is fun with Thai food).
For Foodie Baby, we haven't been to Mu for dinner since he has been eating solids for him to have a variety of their dishes. The last time we ate there was similar to most of our meals- a lunch out with Foodie Baby's great-grandma.
Foodie Baby got an order of steamed vegetables as soon as they took our drink order- I always have a Thai tea (which he gets sips of occasionally).
This is what you get when you ask for steamed veggies- it includes the bok choy, baby corn and other veggies. I didn't slice up Foodie Baby's veggies since he is getting very good with all of his 16 (!) teeth, but that is definitely an option.
Foodie Baby kept taking nibbles of the bok choy to decide if he liked it, and demolished the baby corn.
The sweet honey mustard dressing that is the house dressing is a new favorite of Foodie Baby's- broccoli disappears at a faster rate with it.
I didn't share my tom ka kai soup- it's a little too spicy in my mind for him when I'm already planning on sharing part of my lunch with him. It's usually with tofu, which makes the spiced coconut soup really good.
Foodie Baby has been eating yellow curry for months- it started with a tiny drizzle in his rice and ended with him shoving his fingers in my food and eating it that way (which I care not to repeat, it's pretty messy).
The yellow curry at Mu is very sweet- curry is a dish much like salsa at Mexican restaurants- I'd recommend trying it before sharing to check how spicy it is if you're not familiar with how that restaurant makes it.
I make a little pile of rice on his plate, drizzle some curry on that, and also slice up a couple pieces of chicken and potato (sometimes it's sweet potato) and let him have at it.
Purple yam (which really is a yam and not taro like often believed) ice cream sounds ridiculous but is really good. We asked for a scoop to share and it came out with three small spoons (perfect for a little one's mouth) and topped with several berries, all of which Foodie Baby devoured. It's a beautiful lavender color.

And enuogh about lunch- now more about the restaurant!

Timing- if you plan on being adventurous and eating out for Thai food for lunch, I recommend going early- Mu opens at 11 a.m. and by 12 or 12:30 there are business lunchers and other adults in the restaurant that may not be expecting the noise that comes with little ones eating out.
However, I have never had a problem with people in the quieter lunch spot- they often have a sense of humor about someone's loud appreciation for a good meal. 
For dinner- I'd say call ahead to shorten the wait time if they need to accommodate several people or high chairs, which are simple wood ones with a bar high enough for Foodie Baby to rest his feet.
The wait staff are almost over-accommodating- water glasses filled, dishes cleared away away from little hands and, in my experience, quick service.
Eating family style, if you have a crowded table, can be difficult if you have to keep a place setting completely clear for a toddler's eager hands, so I wouldn't suggest ordering for every person at the table to help keep room for an empty spot- family style is delicious but gets a table crowded fast.
There is no changing table in the bathroom, so be prepared for a trip out to the car. I wouldn't even bring s stroller in the front door, but a nice day could accommodate one outside with the patio seating.
There is no kids menu specifically - I don't even remember steamed veggies being on the menu but they were easily ordered. I would advice planning ahead to see what younger diners would accept- for someone who has never had Thai food, I would recommend the curry (if you like a little kick) or the pad thai. Ko-see-mee and fried rice can help make a meal for more picky eater.
For small ones that haven't had a large variety of food or spices I would recommend bringing along a banana or part of a meal to help keep them full and happy.
The lunch menu has a couple more mainstream options, including chicken piccata pasta and teriyaki chicken as well.

Stroller could be accomodated with outside seating
No changing table
High chairs available- mixture of chairs and booth seats
No kids menu
Beverages include thai tea and other specialties, water and sodas

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