I Have Issues...With Kids' Menus
Last weekend, we were sitting at the Seattle Yacht Club, a nice place with a lot of history and class behind its name, and we were scanning the menu, looking for something to share with ODP. We didn't want anything heavy—a snack for us and a little bit more of a meal for him. We landed on the quesadillas, which at SYC, are loaded with chicken and veggies and are surprisingly more delicious than we initially expected when we first ordered them years ago. We knew ODP would like them too.
When the waitress asked if we'd like the kids version, we shrugged and said sure. We figured they were a smaller serving of the same thing, only in a cute cardboard boat and with sweet potato fries.
I have to hand it to the Yacht Club—they get almost everything kid right. They have fun games you can grab and bring to your table. They insist on wiping down the high chairs before they bring them over. The present their (very yummy) food in cute cardboard boats for the little guys. But when the quesadillas arrived, there was no chicken. There were no veggies. All we saw when we held them up were tortilla and cheese.
"Um, excuse me?" I asked the waitress. "Are these just cheese?" She confirmed that the kids' quesadillas came with cheese only. She was very gracious about it. She offered to bring us a side of chicken. We thanked her and declined the extra effort. ODP was happily nomming on it all and I had pouches for him full of veggies, but I was irritated. Not at SYC, specifically. I was frustrated by the assumption by *most* restaurants that babies and children prefer bland, flavorless meals.
My assumption that we would get a small chicken quesadilla instead of a regular-sized chicken quesadilla was probably a little naive. At home, we eat layered meals full of flavor and levels of the food pyramid. I shouldn't expect that the world sees our eating habits the way we do.
But I've been doing this little personal experiment since I was pregnant—looking at kids' menus everywhere we go and assessing their blandness. In Seattle, I hoped for better. I've paid particular attention to burger joints where we adult humans are offered all the sides, all the condiments, and kids' burgers come standard with meat and cheese only. As I ranted over ODP's cheese quesadilla last weekend, "EVEN MCDONALD'S DOES BETTER."
For the most part, we share our meals with ODP. I've been impressed with a few of our regular spots, particularly a nearby Mexican restaurant, that offer my dude small versions of complex flavor profiles. But this is my new mission: to get our food spots to do better.
It could be a food waste thing. Restaurants may not want to offer kids food they won't eat and then will have to throw away. I get that, to an extent. But just like asking the adults if we want pickles and onions, I want ODP to be able to make those decisions for himself too.
He wanted the chicken. He wants the pickles. Is he weird? Are we? Should the world move in our direction or should I plan to bring baggies of chicken and veggies with me?