Monday, February 21, 2011

Coffee coffee coffee

Foodie Baby

Now that I am all grown up and stuff, Mommy has taken me to a few coffee shops to enjoy ourselves for a few minutes.
Last time we went to the farmer's market, we sat at a coffee shop nearby. We split a banana muffin, and then I enjoyed a song from the guy talking about his girlfriend and making up a sad song.
It seems like a lot of grown up songs are sad ones about love.
We have a favorite lady at a drive thru that always talks to me when we get something during errands or on the way to a playdate- I make sure to wave and say bye when we go (of course, I say bye to the speaker that we order at, just to be sure I don't offend anyone.)


When I'm off to a play date or running errands and am dying for a treat, I drive through the Yucaipa Starbucks (by the Yucaipa Boulevard freeway entrance) the most.
Foodie Baby often gets a Peter Rabbit Organics fruit pouch to enjoy in the car if we're in the middle of errands.
By the Saturday Morning farmer's market there are several good coffee shops. The one in the Citibank building (forgive me for forgetting the name at the moment) has a delicious coffee with vanilla and honey. Augie's is also right on 5th Street right by the market. Foodie Baby and I have shared a fruit salad, banana nut muffin, or a cookie several times (it's also my fave latte around.)
Coffee shops are also a special treat for Foodie baby for a couple of reasons. First, he gets to sit in an adult chair. He is always happy to sit in a real chair anywhere, of course.
Secondly, people walking into a coffee shop and sitting down are usually there for a while. Therefore, Foodie Baby gets a lot of attention by sitting there and looking cute from retired people enjoying a mid-morning chat, college girls ready to ooh and aah over a cute kid flirting with them, or whatever musician is sitting with a guitar and loves an audience of one that will clap gleefully.
Unfortunately, it can be a hassle unpacking a toddler and going into a shop, especially when they would rather run around and pound on the glass display cases or try to go outside than sit and eat a treat. So I don't get to enjoy sitting at a coffee shop often, but when I do it's a real treat for both Foodie Baby and I.

Do you go to coffee shops? What's your favorite treat? Any favorite local shops?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Feel free to join the fun!

I love to eat out, but frankly, I don't so it all of the time!
I created this blog hoping to start conversations about eating out with little ones and to get input from other parents as well.
Since this is my first child, and I like certain places, my expertise is limited.
This is where you, my faithful readers, get in on the fun.
Have you had a meal at somewhere we've mentioned? feel free to talk about it in the comments!
Been somewhere we haven't tried? Email me about it and tell me your experience! I would love to have other people contribute to this blog, and I will accept submissions of restaurant experiences.
Have a particular expertise (say, eating out with many children? I know I have one of those!) feel free to tell me all about it?
Eating out with a child with allergies? Behavioral challenges? Feeding a vegetarian in a world of hamburger joints?

Email me at alilacwood at!

I would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

IHOP in Redlands

Foodie Baby
 We went to IHOP Sunday. For some reason, little girls flock to me there. Last time we ate here, we had girls from the next table over waving and talking to me. This time, I had two little girls from the next booth over sitting enraptured while I told tales of my harrowing adventures at the Brookside Park playground. (That's Mommy's best guess, at least.)
I think they were also impressed by my drinking a whole cup of orange juice through a straw and eating my whole dish of fruit, leaving my grilled cheese alone on the plate uneaten.
I'm a lean mean climbing machine and I gotta keep it that way!
And I ate the grilled cheese when I got home.
There are lots of people to look at here, and it is a loud enough restaurant on a Sunday morning no one cares how much talking I do, so I just let loose and enjoy myself here.

Foodie Baby has only eaten breakfast here (who goes for dinner and plans to eat dinner food anyway?) so we will be focusing on that.
I have figured out the room in the back is the first place they try to stick a family with small children- we've eaten there several times since Foodie baby started coming with us.
Of course, everyone in the restaurant can still hear his happy cheers, so nice try! Haha.
The breakfast menu at IHOP is pretty much what you'd expect- lots of pancakes, eggs and meat. The  kid's menu is pretty much the same- five out of eight breakfasts have pancakes, then there is a french toast option and eggs. All accompanied by varying levels of fruit, bacon, and eggs.
All of the lunch/dinner options come with fresh fruit except for the fish, which comes with broccoli.
I always pack water, but since the weather was gray I let Foodie Baby have a treat of unwatered down orange juice, which he drank voraciously. the IHOP cups are disposable and thin, so keep a close eye on it or hold it for a messier kid.
An orange juice is also the same charge as an adult one.
I usually have decent service here- it doesn't change on how busy the restaurant is, just which waitress I get. (I am horrible at names, so I can't name any.)
I have horrible luck with highchairs here. Whether I get to check it or not, I've only had a working one once. Thankfully, the strap was long enough this last weekend I just tied Foodie Baby in loosely.
NOTE: I could have asked for a new one, just didn't, and the waitress asked if it was OK, I just didn't see the missing piece until after I sat him down and she was gone.
IHOP is, on my kid list, definitely a sometimes place to eat for Foodie Baby.
He adores the bowl of fruit, which you can order on its own. That plus a few bites from your pancakes and eggs can be a good meal for a little one. Or get five little pancakes with egg and bacon (perhaps grabbing the bacon for yourself, we let Foodie Baby have a couple of bites but not a whole strip.).
Otherwise, Foodie Baby goes for the (usually a good choice) grilled cheese for a late breakfast (we rarely roll into there before 10 a.m.).
For healthier options, IHOP offers 'egg substitute' and other options with their 'Simple and Fit' options, which is anything under 600 calories.
Note that every kid's meal is considered 'Simple and Fit' by these standards. However, the Simple and Fit guidelines can be good for a mommy that can resist the Nutella crepes. (I however avoided both and got the cheapest all-you-can-eat pancake meal for $5.)
I would leave the stroller at home for here- there are a minimal number of tables here, mostly booths.

A couple of deals now for those of us looking for a cheap meal occasionally-
register for their 'Pancake Revolution' mailing list and get two free meals a year!
March 1st is their fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Here is a snippet from a press release-
On National Pancake Day, Tuesday, March 1, 2011, IHOP will give guests one free short stack of its signature buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at more than 1,500 restaurants throughout the United States. In return, IHOP will ask guests to make a voluntary donation to support Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities. Additionally, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals' "Miracle Balloons" will be sold for $1 and $5 each and will be personalized and displayed at participating IHOP restaurants from February 1 through March 1, 2011.

That free stack of pancakes might make a hungry little one very excited for dinner! Add a bowl of fruit to that and there is a cheap, big, special treat.

Changing table available
Mostly booths, few tables- difficult to accommodate stroller
Plastic molded highchairs available- check straps first!
Kid's Meals available
Kid's drinks available- soda, milk, hot chocolate, chocolate milk, orange juice...