I picked up the December issue of Dallas Child today and excitedly flipped to Pg.30 to see the featured article “Best for Families – Dining and Destinations” article and boy was I shocked. On the list were Tin Star for Hottest Taco Joint, Babes Chicken for Ultimate Eatery to Share a Meal Family style, Chuck E. Cheese Best Pizza Pie with a Side of Playtime, Rainforest Cafe for Coolest Themed Dining Experience. There were two that I thought were ok, eatZi’s Market & Bakery for Best Healthy Dining and Paciugo’s Gelato & Cafe for Best Spot to Snag a Frozen Treat. What a sad city we live in if this is considered Dallas’ Best?
What irks me too are the food choices chosen: pizza, fried food, tacos, burgers, M&M pancakes from Cafe Brazil for Best Breakfast Place? Really? Is that all you think our children will eat? The best for our families? Fast food and chocolate with their breakfast? I’m disappointed that the editors didn’t do more research on what our great city as a foodie destination has to offer families. Why not add in other categories? What about other cuisines – like Chinese or Italian? I’m not talking about food that might be a stretch for kids like Ethiopian. I’m certainly not bagging Chuck E. Cheese, it obviously has it’s place in the market but surely a place like that shouldn’t even have even made it to a list of ‘Best’ anything when it comes to food.
As far as I know, children start off with a clean slate, an untouched palate if you will. It is the adults that shape their diets. Of course they won’t like everything, goodness knows we don’t but why dumb down their palates with limited selection of mac n cheese, nuggets, burgers, pizza etc? Notice that restaurants who offer kids menus (no matter what the cuisine) will serve the usual suspects to kids but give adults the ‘real food’. Why don’t more restaurants serve children the same food as adults only smaller portions?
Ok, you might say that these restaurants were all voted in by readers so this must be what people want. Well actually, I checked out the Dallas Child’s website and saw there’s a new survey for Best for Families:Best for Moms & Babies and clicked through it. Basically you can only vote from a few options that were chosen by the Editors. I’d imagine it was the same thing for the Best for Families Dining survey. I may be wrong in citing the process but my point still stands that this list is too limited.
Dallas Child is a magazine for parents to get tips and ideas for places/products. It is our job as the media to talk about what’s out there. Why not explore other alternatives? Promote casual kid friendly local businesses who take the time to hand pick their ingredients like Bolsa? Push the envelope and showcase what Dallas has to offer foodwise. Do your footwork or rather foodwork. I’m sure the editors are well aware of our child obesity epidemic. Simply put, our kids are getting fatter. We, as parents should teach our children to make better choices. Encourage them to expand their palates by giving them the opportunity to try new things. They may actually like a buckwheat pancake topped with fresh blueberries if they were given a chance.
Restaurants in Dallas are endearing and accomodating to children. All I’m saying is that there are lots of wonderful restaurants (fancy and casual) that welcome our young eaters. I would be happy to write a monthly column for Dallas Child called “Kid Friendly and Tasty” and talk about some of these options. And when it’s time for the 2011 Best For Families Dining Survey, I would like to offer my services as a writer to help put together a thoughtful, well balanced list (just the way our diets should be).
Please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments section below or email your thoughts directly to Dallas Child @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s the Itty Bitty Foodies’ take on some of these categories.
Hottest Taco Joint – Rusty Taco. Fresh hand rolled tacos made to order.
Ultimate Eatery to Share a Meal Family Style – Si Tapas. It’s all about sharing small plates at this place. And if your child doesn’t like something, you can always order another small dish. Give them a chance to eat something different and try a lot of different food at the same time.
Best Pizza Pie with a side of Playtime – Cibus: fabulous hand tossed pizzas that aren’t too oily plus a great outdoor area for the children to roam around in or go across to Bookmarks library for a fun and educational boost to the system.
Best Healthy Dining – Dive Coastal Cuisine. Awesome salads, healthy fresh fish and seafood for the whole family PLUS a kids korner for the children to play in.
Thanks for listening to my Motherhood Musings
Cheryl Collett is a mom on a mission to expand her kids’ palates and IttyBittyFoodies chronicles their yummy adventures. For recipes and other crafty fun ideas, look under HomeMade or check out the best kid friendly places under Restaurant Reviews where the food is delicious for both parents and children. Get the latest updates if you Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @ittybittyfoodie