Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fancy Dinner for Three

There are many types of situations that I approach with a bit of apprehension, but taking A to the restaurant is not one of them. I have always taken him, he really enjoys it, and he sometimes eats better there than at home. ( it probably helps that American restaurants are so welcoming of children.)

This week is Dining Week in Syracuse, which means a number of nice restaurants in town are offering a three-course menu for $25. There are many restaurants to chose from, but Sleepypapa and I are a bit partial to L'Adour, a French restaurant downtown. It's a fairly fancy place, and you don't see very many children there at dinner time, but we wanted to have a nice evening and went ahead and made our reservation for three on Saturday night.

We had a lovely dinner, everybody was happy and we did not get any glares from other diners.

Sleepypapa had a warm goat cheese salad for appetizer, while I couldn't resist the escargots ( what's better than butter and garlic anyway?). For the main course he had a beautiful steak served with truffled fries and I had a delicious duck pot-au-feu. I only remembered to take a picture at dessert.. I had a pear tart while Sleepypapa had a chocolate marquise.

So how do I get a busy toddler to sit quietly at a fancy restaurant? I come prepared. For Bringing Up Bebe author Pamela Druckerman's benefit ( and others), here are my tips:

- make early reservations ( we went at 6pm). You don't want an overtired child.
- let your child pick a fun juice to drink (A doesn't normally drink juice, so getting it at a restaurant is a real treat)

he picked Orangina

- order something you know he/she will like ( in this case, pasta with butter, but if we go to a sushi restaurant, I usually order steamed rice for him)

- don't sweat what/how much your child eats. You can always offer a complement, like yogurt, when you get home.
- bring activities to keep your child busy. We start out with a coloring book, and of course, our portable DVD player. (I usually offer it after he has eaten.)

The bottom line is that A associates the restaurant with a fun experience, and we can enjoy a great meal and conversation.

Do you take your children to the restaurant? Do you have any tricks to share?

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