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TODAY

Thursday, September 16

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« Hot Doug's in Gourmet Magazine Throw Some Cherries in that Burger! »

Restaurant Sat Jun 28 2008

Kids’ Restaurant Week Comes to a Close

Chicago’s (and the nation’s) first Kids’ Restaurant Week wraps up today. The idea behind the week was to introduce kids, particularly those who normally eat chicken nuggets and pizza, to different flavors and more nutritious foods. And, a dollar from each meal sold went to Chicago’s Green City Market. It all sounds so fun and progressive.

But in the middle of the week, when I finally had a night when my family of four could make it to a restaurant before 6:30 (the meals were served between 5:30 and 6:30 each night), and I started calling restaurants to find out what was on their menus, I was surprised at how much macaroni & cheese and pizza was being dished out to kids looking for (or being forced into) a culinary adventure.

Most of the places I really wanted to try were booked by Wednesday when I called. But I didn’t feel too disappointed after I saw this ABCNews video about Kids' Restaurant Week, showing that OTOM’s kids’ meal was macaroni & cheese. Seafood restaurant Blue Water Grill had a table open. Their three-course meal started with a shrimp taco, but then veered right back into the kid comfort zone of pizza. Bin Wine Café also had an open table. Their menu included grilled cheese, something my kids eat for lunch regularly, along with either a flight of milk (plain, vanilla and chocolate) or a flight of juice. Not enough of a dining adventure, so I pressed on.

We ended up a happy family at Coco Pazzo Café. The menu offered lots of options: housemade fettuccine with a tomato basil sauce (still inside my kids’ comfort zone, but it looked better than a lot of other plates of pasta I’ve seen them eat); grilled vegetables on polenta; braised pork with white beans; and a tilapia filet with capers and a lemon sauce. Starters included bruschetta, minestrone or a chopped seven-vegetable salad that was a tasty mix of different flavors. Dessert was a strawberry tart (seems most places were serving strawberry tarts this week) or a pear sorbet with fresh fruit. My kids didn’t really end up trying any new foods, but some fresh vegetables crossed their lips. And I think we all found a place we could go for fresh food and friendly service. Maybe next year if we skip the martinis, the three-course meal will actually be a bargain.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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