What is the deal with the kids menu?

We like to eat out. Some people would cringe at the idea of taking two small children out to a restaurant, but we are suckers for a pub lunch. Call it an expensive hobby, but I figure.. we gotta eat, so it may as well be a social activity, part of a fun family day out and hopefully a nourishing experience.

I took Friday off work this week and after a google search for a cheap cruise in Boston, I found an ingenius suggestion to get the public ferry across from Long Wharf to the Navy Yard in Charlestown and visit the USS constitution for free. I can highly recommend it as a cheap family trip to the city, but its worth noting that parking is half as expensive on Eastern Ave a few wharfs up from harbourside as it is close to the Aquarium/Long Wharf.

So we arrived hungry and ready for lunch, as is typical and no doubt subconsciously planned. Joe’s Bar and Grill just happened to be in the right place at the right time, so we sat down with an interesting view of a boathouse, if not an expansive view of the harbour. You could just tell that everything on the menu was going to be tasty. I finally settled on the breaded and baked cod and Jeremy went with fried clams after deciding the price of lobster was sadly just a bit too much of an indulgence on this occasion. And then to the kids menu. Generic. Almost every place we’ve been in the past six months – from the 99 to the local pub, has the same old hot dog, mac n cheese, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets or pizza offering. If you’re really lucky they might the token healthy option of some steamed vegetables, which no doubt our 1 year old would play with and chew on, but quite probably wouldn’t tempt or satisfy a hungry three year old. To be fair, broccoli and cauliflower florets are great finger food for little kids.. and I don’t know why its taken this long for me to discover they are both delicious with balsamic dressing!

what is with all the yello food?

What is with all the yellow food? We have fallen into the trap many times of reading the kids menu to our son. And we are even guilty of promising chips (fries) long before we are even sat at the table. Until he gained the appetite for a whole meal, he would usually be happy to try whatever mummy or daddy were eating. This has included all kinds of dishes and delicacies from lasagne to curry, smoked salmon to snails. Yet even before we came to the US we were conned into offering rubbish at pub meals. Laziness is partly to blame. A plateful of fries and ketchup is much less likely to make a monumental mess in public – both of the table and the child – than many other options.

On this occasion Dylan went for a grilled cheese sandwich and fries, but I noticed that after a few mouthfuls of each, he jumped off his chair and walked around the table to help himself to some of my tasty baked cod dish! I know he would dig on the same food as us adults if we just remembered to give him the option more often, but it would be helpful if the kids menu were worth reading as well as fun to draw on and if we could get some mini portions of decent grown-up food, like kiddies cod, rice and vegetables, it would certainly make it easier to cultivate adventurous eaters in our children.

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4 responses to “What is the deal with the kids menu?

  1. Yes..yes! So, true. We gave up on the kids menu years ago. We are fortunate enough to have 5 little eaters though. We just get two adult dishes and split them up between the 5 of them. Then they get lots of variety and they have lots of choices. If they settle for a burger and fries we still get it on the adult menu. 1/2 of an adult burger is so much more interesting and satisfy than the little ones they make for the kiddos. Sometimes we just get 4 dishes and split it all up family style. There is always enough food since portions are usually very American and very much too much!

  2. Took Nora to Mcdonalds for the first time this summer. She refused to eat her food and eat mine instead (I had some real non-mcdonalds chicken sandwich) She loved the pressie tho! Here in Iceland you can usually get half portions of all the menu items, in posh restaurants, and most of the time you have some kind of fish in the menu.

  3. Thanks for your comments ladies, nice to know I’m not ranting to myself 🙂

  4. Nature in the burbs

    Very true. I always thought they should forget the kids menu and just offer a smaller plate option for kids or adults who don’t want a huge portion. Who says every kid wants chicken nuggets?

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