Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Tartan of Redlands


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.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

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?

Friday, May 13, 2011

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.


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?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

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.


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?

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Spaghetti Factory in Redlands

Foodie Baby

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


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.

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