Monday, March 28, 2011

Coco's Bakery Restaurant in Redlands

Foodie Baby

Coco's was one of the first restaurants that I ate in. I remember getting nibbles of sweet potato fries from Mommy, slurps of milk and a lot of attention from the other people in the restaurant since I was on my best behavior.
Daddy usually gets pretty good-looking food, and so does my uncle. They share the good, greasy, man-breakfast food with me like nibbles of bacon, ham and hash browns and let me pick out pancakes and stuff.


Coco's Bakery Restaurant has been our stop of choice for pie for years (especially when I was pregnant) and the other option besides IHOP for breakfasts on a Sunday morning as a family. In fact, no matter what time of day there's a good chance someone is at least considering the breakfast menu in our crowd.If you go early enough, it is only a few minutes wait, otherwise, the place fills up with the after-church crowd.
The servers are usually very sweet but busy, so sometimes you need to flag someone down, but they will help you out very quickly. My coffee mug is never empty there.
Coco's has a variety of food for anyone and not only good dessert (I'm craving pie as I write this) but a good breakfast menu as well. I've eaten the huge bowl of oatmeal, berries and nuts more than once and really like it. (Oatmeal is only served until 11 a.m.)
If you order a coup, salad, bakery item or a side of something at your meal, be prepared to either fight off a hungry toddler, share, or have packed some fruit snacks. or, try ordering for your little one as fast as possibles they have food then as well.
Their kid's menu has a good variety of sides to go along with their breakfast and lunch/dinner offerings, including rice, veggies and fruit.
The kid's cup is pretty much a paper coffee cup with a hot beverage lid that they give you with  straw. Since the straw is not a perfect fit after you shove it through, I would recommend bringing a sippy cup or a straw cup for a little one with developing cup-and-straw skills- I could see Foodie Baby tilting that sucker back and juice coming out of the hole.
We've been twice for breakfast the last two weeks, and Foodie Baby has gotten the eggs, fruit and toast (or a pancake) both times. The toast comes buttered, which I often forget to ask about when I'm dead tired from tending to a sick kid and a partying (literally, I was cool for a little while) weekend and sit looking dazed into my big mug of coffee. Mmm... pie and coffee...
The pancake is a pretty big one for a toddler, and comes with butter on the top and syrup on the side.
Both times the fruit for Foodie Baby's meal has been cut-up cantaloupe and honeydew, and both times there has been pieces with the rind still on. The pieces have been manageable for Foodie Baby, who likes to shove entire chunks in his mouth, but we still cut up a few to get rid of rinds and have better portion control.
For breakfast, the choices really depend on what you are willing to let your child eat- a treat of pancakes or french toast sticks (with or without the delicious but sticky syrup) look pretty good. There is also an oatmeal and fruit option. I know Foodie baby would love the oatmeal, since he eats it often at home, but I also know what kind of mess he leaves behind in the high chair.
Perhaps spoon feeding some oatmeal and letting a beginner pick up pieces of fruit could be an option? Or waiting till they can eat oatmeal without a bath afterwards (yeah, it can be that bad around here).
 Since Foodie Baby has not had a lunch or dinner at Coco's, I'm not sure what it all looks like. As usual grilled cheese could be a good option. There is also grilled chicken, macaroni and cheese (Kraft) or crunchy chicken strips, that could go well with any side on the menu including mashed potatoes, fries or cinnamon apples.
You could also order off the a la carte menu and stick with toast (including whole wheat and sourdough) and jam, breakfast potatoes or just fruit for breakfast, or veggies, sweet potato and the like for dinner.
They also have bowls of fruit with whipped cream for dessert, so you won't feel as guilty eating your pie.
I wish I had pie.

P.S. Kid's 10 and under eat free at Coco's after 4 pm.m on Tuesdays and Wednesdays! One free kid's meal with each adult meal.
Changing table available
leave the stroller at home, no room- booths and tables
Wood highchairs available
Kid's Meals available
Kid's drinks available- apple and orange juices, milk and soda

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How do you know when it just isn't going to work anymore?

I sat down for lunch yesterday with uncertainty. Even though he had happily ran to the door, Foodie Baby had rubbed his eyes a couple of times on the way to the restaurant.
He happily sat in his highchair, drank water from his sippy and took our offerings of tomatoes to keep him happy (and enjoyed being doused with juice, as I forgot to throw the bib on him before he bit into a juicy cherry tomato half.)
Then, it went downhill.
He chugged from the sippy, then threw it to the floor.
"Uohh" (new word).
His ever-faithful Chuck truck made a few rounds before it too went on the floor.
Then, by the time I got my soup, It had turned into only playing on my lap. Then he wanted down.
Nothing was working.
We ended up pulling the highchair in the quiet dining room (considering other conversations were about babies, no one was minding) and putting him in a chair.
He didn't want his fried rice, he poked at it, took a couple bites, then cried.
Q quick reprieve was made when a food pouch was pulled and he sucked on pureed pears, peas and green beans for a couple of minutes.
Kicked the glass window.
Rubbed his hands all over the glass window.
During a fit I whisked him away to have a talk. First he got to take out a few wiggles on the patio (a better choice for future excursions)
" Are you still hungry?"
"Would you like to go finish your lunch?"
"OK. but you have to sit nicely and eat your lunch so we can sit with Grandma."
I'm sure many people know what a toddler's word can be worth.
Another walk outside with grandma let me scarf down my yellow curry and finish my soup.
A few minutes later, well, he was gone for good.
I checked all over and surveyed the damage. Surprisingly little food on the floor, pouch cap on the floor, long smears on the sparkling glass.
I threw down some money and left, forgetting the fried-rice-to-go I had the waiter package.
because darn it, it's good. He would eat it another day.
The waiter chased me down with the bag as I found Foodie Baby and my mom, who had wandered down the street in his apparent elation.
And then he feel asleep instantly in the car seat.

Yes, Foodie Baby, I guess, I think (this is my first kid, y'all) may be hitting the age where going to lunch is no longer a casual thing. Carefully orchestrated around naps, or food taken to go may be my theme.
We have one more try coming up tomorrow, a little later than I wanted but still earlier than my last lunch.
We shall see.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Of course you want a kid to eat for free! It's FREE.

One of the bigger changes for us dining out is the expanded bill at the end of the night. Not only dropping extra on a tip for the mess of food you leave behind, but the extra money for the side of kids meal for your little toddler to munch on.
A quick Google search produced several websites devoted to telling you where to get a deal of a child's meal, as well as several deal sites that had a section on eating out.
Since some sites have different offering than others, I am listing several! hopefully one will be helpful, or at least inspire you to look for deals in your neighborhood.
And please call to confirm- this is not a definitive resource for deals, just a guide to what I have seen.
The first web site I encountered a few months ago was Kids Meal Deals, where the listings for Redlands show restaurants like-
Denny's, (kids eat free 4-10 pm select days. The Alabama Street Denny's locations has free meals Tuesdays and Saturdays, I called to verify)
Coco's (Tuesdays and Wednesdays after 4 p.m.)
Marie Callender's (Tuesdays and Saturdays).
Mikan Teppan Sushi Lounge was a surprise to me- two kids eat for free when you buy one adult teppan meal on Wednesdays 5-10 pm. (teppanyaki is a style of cooking- this deal would be for an older child and not toddlers.)
My Kids Eat Free lists the same offers and also does not list the days for the Denny's meal (so I would recommend calling your local one if you like Denny's. Personally, not my fave.)
I found two web sites that have coupon or frugal themes that also had restaurant information.
I also recommend to look at not just your local area but restaurants you eat out at when you go out of town shopping or on errands.
The Coupon Divas website has a chart of chain restaurants according to which day of the week.
I discovered some of my favorite burgers have free kids meals on accident, Islands (this is again a call-ahead restaurant. The website has a list of conformed locations here you can use as a guide.
Not all websites cover every area. For example, a search by zip of 92373 at Kids Eat For sent me to a calendar graphic with restaurant links and a note whether kids 'eat free' or 'eat cheap' for the Riverside area (so not a Riverside zip code.)
Frugal Living has a list that includes commentary on the kid's menu's for restaurants, again all chains.
Have you eaten at a kid's eat free restaurant day? Tell us what it was like!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Boba Tea House in Loma Linda, CA

Foodie Baby

It was hot, so we got stuff to drink. There was a couch and a magazine with red cars in it. I didn't sit for long though. My drink was cold. We drank them at Great-Grandma's house and I played the piano.


OK, this place is mostly for the parents, but I love it.
I have been a die-hard boba tea fan ever since I discovered a boba place within walking distance of Cal State Fullerton (where I majored in photocommunications. Go Titans!)
After some sleuthing, I found Boba Tea House on Mountain View Avenue (right by Papa Johns in the Stater Bros complex) and was in heaven. They had my favorite, a taro milk tea (purple and sweet and milky-tasting) and once I punched my giant straw into the plastic top and sucked up sweet purple liquid and boba (tapioca ball), I was in heaven.
Bubble tea is served in plastic cups with a thin plastic lid stuck on like saran wrap on picnic food. You stick the straw through the plastic. It makes the drinks easily transportable (providing you haven't had a sip yet) and hard to spill.
Finally, we get to the part about the kids. Did you think I had forgotten the children? No, we cannot forget them. Especially if they are with you all day long and go where you go.
Everywhere, including grocery stores, where they fight the meanie-ness that is having to sit in the grocery cart.
It was blazingly hot on Wednesday Since I had to go to Staters anyway Foodie Baby and I hoofed it over to treat my grandmother, who had someone drill through a water pipe in her home and was having a bad week because of it.
Yes, I carried a bag of three drinks to the car while keeping a very hyper Foodie Baby from running into traffic, he having decided being carried was not an option that day. The lids? Spillproof.
I'm sorry, I digress.
The menu at Bona Tea House is a rainbow variety of fun. You can order items from taro, coconut, and red bean to green tea, peach, and strawberry (I don't know what red bean tastes like).
The drinks are around $3, depending if you get boba or not.
I was told in a phone call the milk teas and slushes are made with a non-dairy base, and also include tea, ice, flavoring or boba as ordered. The milk teas are served over ice, as are the iced teas. They also have hot teas, yogurt smoothies, 'snows' and  mocha 'blasts'.
Since the straws are so big, what I did for Foodie Baby (who at 16 months had problems sucking up the liquid through such a big straw) was pouring out his jackfruit slush (he did share part of it) into a sippy cup I had in the car. It was the perfect solution, and Foodie Baby could cool off at his own pace without leaks.
If you are OK with your little ones having a super-duper-neat treat and aren't afraid of non-dairy products, I would suggest a sweet milk tea for them or a slush. If you are unfamiliar with flavors like jackfruit or lychee ask, Foodie Baby loved the jackfruit, which is sweet.
Two problems with the drinks, other than any someone would have with ingredients, are the straws and the bobas themselves.
The large straws are hard for a little one like Foodie Baby to get a lot of liquid. Either bring your own straw or pour it into a sippy cup.
Secondly, the boba themselves could be a choking hazard, so leave them out of the little one's drinks until they are old enough to be able to stop sucking and chew on the balls.
Boba, if you have a little one, could be a place to meet a friend while the babies slept in car seats (if you go on the right Wednesday morning, you can go to the breastfeeding support group Loma Linda offers, look at for the information through the children's hospital and Birth and Beyond classes) or take a well-behaved child to sit on the cool red couch or look at neat cars in magazines (Foodie Baby saw red. Literally. Some sporty red car and was a very good boy looking at pictures for two minutes.)
Or you could be like me- a quick in and out after running an errand and a delicious treat to savor in the car.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

paying homage to bath books at dinnertime

Foodie Baby

I love my bath books
every time the same pictures
keep me company


Bath books
the wipe able, washable
three-page ccompanions
entertain one just able to hold a book
What a bright cover!
One old enough to look inside
familiar faces smile back
Who am I?
What color am I?
He laughs along at silent jokes
and throws you on the floor
but even then
covered in marinara
smeared with beans
they keep a loved him happy

(Note: The small waterproof bath books I see sometimes in the dollar section at Target fit well in Foodie baby's diaper bag. They were in there constantly from a couple months of age till well over a year. He has Sesame Street and Disney Cars ones and he loves to look at the characters. Sometimes we leave him to look on his own, sometimes we ask him questions about the pages (although he mostly just points and says 'da' still But if you ask where Elmo is he points at him!).
They're perfect because you can use baby wipes or a napkin to clean them up before throwing them back in the bag, and it doesn't matter if the get dirty at the table.

Have you tried them?