Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Expanding Their Taste Buds

Most weekends, we go out to dinner as a family at least one night.  Usually we choose a family friendly restaurant that has things the girls will eat.  Cheeseburgers, grilled cheese, hot dog, real healthy meals like that. Preferably a non-chain variety, but that gets to be difficult.  This past weekend we decided to change it up a bit and take the girls for sushi.  This was mostly a selfish move on our part.  Andy and I hadn't had sushi in a few weeks and we were both dying for it.  Sometimes we will get take out sushi on Friday nights, but take out sushi is never the best.  Recent events (Vegas, Andy working late) had kept us from getting our Friday sushi as of late.  So we came up with this plan to go out on Saturday night-ALL of us-to a somewhat nice sushi restaurant on Ventura Blvd in Studio City. Ventura Blvd, in case you didn't know, is the mecca of sushi restaurants in the L.A. valley.

Andy and I half expected the worst that night, but at the same time prepared the girls as best we could.  We started on  Saturday morning explaining to them that we were going out to dinner for sushi.   There would be things there that they would like.  HOWEVER-we wanted them to try new things, like actual sushi.  I truly believe in exposing kids to all kinds of food.  This way they don't just eat, cheeseburgers, grilled cheese and hot dogs when they become adults.  We have gone out to restaurants with sushi before, but not one like this and not all that often with them. See, sometimes we like to eat our meal without whining and complaining.  This usually means going out without them or getting take out and giving them something else.  But that night, we wanted sushi so badly, we were willing to put up with whatever antics they threw at us.

My other worry about taking them to this particular restaurant, was that it wouldn't be "kid friendly".  I imagined the dirty looks we would get from the staff and patrons as we entered with our brood.  But, that is one of the reasons we make a 5:30 reservation.  The way I see it, if you're going out to eat at 5:30 you have to expect there may be some children around.  I couldn't have been more wrong in my assumptions.  Not only were we not the only people there with kids, but the staff was extremely accommodating and sweet to the girls.  They handed out practice chopsticks to each of them, and gave them the warm towel they give to everyone to wipe their hands with beforehand.  They didn't seem to be bothered by kids there at all.  There was even a family with a set of 16 month old twins behind us.  One problem down!  Now on to how the girls were going to behave.  

As it turns out, preparing them for this restaurant experience all day, helped greatly.  It didn't hurt that I had taken Lana and Georgia to a birthday party late in the afternoon, where they munched on fruit and PB&J sandwiches.  Lana's behavior was what we were most worried about.  Big surprise, I know.  As I've well documented on this blog, getting her to eat chicken and pasta can be a chore, so raw fish would be close to impossible.  Honestly, I didn't really care if she ate much as long as the whining and "can we go yet?" were kept down to a minimum.  Andy feared that having her eat before we went would make her more bored and act out, but it actually worked in our favor.  She wasn't hungry AND bored.  That combination for a four year old can be deadly to anyone around her.   Since she wasn't starving, she was willing to sit peacefully and even munch on some edamame.  She was even willing to try a bite of asparagus and mushroom tempura, although she wasn't a big fan.  Another big surprise.  

The other two were more adventurous.  Sonya and Georgia both ate popcorn shrimp and different pieces of tempura veggies, as well as edamame.  Sonya was willing to taste a piece of raw fish, but wasn't all that excited about it.  Then there is the kids who eats anything.  Every time the waiter brought something else to the table, Georgia would look at it and say,

"What's dat?  Can I have some?" Before we could answer, she was already stabbing her chopstick into whatever kind fish was in front of her.   She tried just about every piece of sushi Andy and I ordered and seemed to enjoy most of it, announcing at one point that, 

"It tastes wike ham."

Sure, ham, why not?  We'll go with that.  

The entire meal was a very pleasant experience and our girls were very well behaved the entire time.  The good news was that they didn't act up, whine, yell, or have any kind of tantrum the entire meal.  The family behind us, with the set of twins, weren't as lucky, but they were just babies.  Still I was feeling even better about us having the girls there.  However, I don't think anyone in the restaurant would have cared about the behavior of those twins, even if they didn't have kids of their own, considering the twins belonged to a sorta big celebrity.  That's a story within this story that I want to tell you all about, but it's too long to put inside this story.  You will just have to wait until my next entry!  It's kind of like a cliff hanger.  You know, to keep you coming back!   The best part about all of this is that Andy and I got our sushi fix, even if we did almost have to sell one of the girls to pay for it. 

Since that dinner was so successful, we decided that we could indeed take the girls out for sushi again.  We just have to make sure to follow the same formula and we will HOPEFULLY have the same result.  

Talking about and preparing the girls for the meal ALL day +getting to the restaurant by 5:30pm + making sure Lana isn't hungry= a happy meal out to any food they might not otherwise like.  Oh and it didn't hurt that I rewarded them with cupcakes from the birthday party when we got home.  

Feel free to use this formula or a variation of it to take your own grilled cheese eating only children out for sushi, Indian, Thai or any other non kid friendly meal!  Let me know how it goes, and stay tuned for the story of our celebrity encounter....


Anonymous said...

I don't need a celebrity to keep checking in cuz your little flashes of daily life are interesting enough!! I have a 15 year old picky eater so I know what you're going through. Now let's see....who has twins..?

Rachel said...

I just discoverd your blog yesterday & spent my entire day (well, almost entire) reading in reverse order. I'm looking forward to reading more today. I can't wait to find out who the celebrities were... hmmmmm.

Hollyhome said...

I am so excited for a great dining experience for the little ladies! My sister who is almost 21 still ONLY eats chicken tenders at a resturant....RUINED by my parents I tell ya! LOL I am dying to know about the twins and now dying to tell our crazy tale of taking my own girls to a restaurant that sound like Cat and OOHYA ...while the cast of reality tv dined around us! Maybe brave a group outing in the future??? 6 Girls Take Over Known Hollywood Restaurant Fatalities Unknown (that's the headline I read in my head).