Friday, September 23, 2011

Week of 9/19/11 - Kids Menus, Bread, and Lunch

I sometimes wish I had time to photograph every lunch I make as I imagine this blog would turn into a yearbook of sorts detailing everything Juju ever ate in preschool.  But as I type that it sounds a little disgusting. . .so I am glad my schedule prevents me from documenting every morsel to cross her lips.

While I may not be blogging a lot, I must be a copywriter at heart because I continue to think up blog titles (if not the entries themselves).  I considered writing a post called "Roast on Toast" about how I repurposed some prime rib from a dinner last weekend and another called "The (Hot) Dog Days Are Over" about the week we go vegan but alas, we haven't cut animal products out of our lives entirely just yet (though we have made an effort to consume fewer of them so we're on our way) so those posts never made it here.

I was also thinking about this blog when I went to dinner at Ca' Del Sole, a great Italian restaurant here in LA my family has been dining at for years.  I was so delighted by their children's menu that I asked for a second copy to take home (Juju had scribbled all over her copy while waiting for her food) so I could photograph it and include it here.  Wow, I'm a huge nerd.

One of the things that really bugs me about children's menus at restaurants is that they so rarely have any connection to the menu and flavor of the kitchen serving them.  I understand there are a lot of picky young eaters out there and I know why restaurants want to accomodate them but I don't understand why in addition to the chicken nuggets or buttered pasta on the menu they can not also include smaller versions of their regular dishes.  I sometimes order Juju an adult appetizer at a restaurant because the kids' menu is so unappealing (not to mention lacking in flavor or nutrition) and I would rather get her something that is designed for her.  And, let's not forget that ordering from the regular menu is a lot more expensive than ordering off the kid's one.  I've always thought that it would be easier for a restaurant to just make a smaller size of whatever they are already cooking anyway instead of pulling out special food just for kid diners.  And I think a lot of that could be appealing to young eaters if presented in the right way.  Am I wrong?

The folks at Ca' Del Sole don't think so and I was delighted to see that they put some real effort and imagination into their kid's menu.  Children can choose from a real Italian (well, American Italian at least) menu with sophisticated ingredients like fresh Heirloom tomatoes, twists on the standard pasta fare like pumpkin ravioli, and even their very own kid-sized Caeser salad appetizer.   Juju often feels left out when the adults get their appetizer course and she has to wait until the second course for her food.  I love that this menu offers an affordable option for a children's appetizer so they can participate in the whole restaurant experience.

In case you were curious, Juju had the Fritto Misto (I had some of it - it was delicious!) and the Chicken Milanese (don't you dare call it a chicken finger, it was way out of its league).  She of course had the flourless chocolate cake for dessert!  It was a ton of food for a 3-year old; she probably could have gotten by with just one entree but she enjoyed everything.  I will certainly be back to Ca' Del Sole with Juju.

Also last week I tried this bread recipe my friend Lirona gave to me.  The bread was ok, I think I either used the wrong kind of beer or too much vinegar but it was fun to pull it out of the oven and it made great croutons a few days later.  I took a picture since the way it looked was the most appealing part.  Lirona's tasted great.  I'll have to figure out what I did wrong and try again:

Lastly I have to include a photo of a lunch from last week as that's the whole point of this blog!  I mentioned in an earlier post that a chef in Michigan sends a hamburger in his son's lunch so inspired by that, I served hamburger, brown rice, and string beans with avocado and peas for snack.  I squeezed some ketchup for dipping into a mini heart-shaped cookie cutter so that it wouldn't get all over the lunch in our drive and walk to school.  The hamburger was made from the "burger blend" at McCall's Meat and Fish on Hillhurst in Los Feliz.  It's a fantastic butcher shop and their burger blend rivals any steakhouse burger.  Their salmon sashimi is also second to none.

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