Sunday, May 4, 2008

Meals with a Baby

7 months old; that's how old my niece is. Last week I had the time of my life hanging around with a baby! I also got to see what eating out is like from a parent's point of view. "Wow" is all I can muster. Kid eats a steady diet of milk and mush, suburban parents: about the same. Just kiddin'! Getting out of their exurban town to Portland isn't as easy as it used to be for my brother and his wife; they were happy to get beyond Applebees and Burger King. So here is the count, kids:

Lunch at Patzcuaro's: my first foray with the happy family. Baby just off the plane, not too happy! The food was great, however. Tacos de carnitas, cabeza, and asada were stellar and impressed my family. Best of all? The beautiful hand-made tortillas. If you haven't been to this great taqueria in Highland's, get there for some tacos, tortas, or milanesa.

You never know what will impress out-of-towners, but try this: rent a movie, chill a few beers, and call Great Wall for some chinese delivery. If you want to scare your guests, take them to 440 Colfax on Friday night to order take-out from Great Wall! We opted for the kid-friendly delivery and enjoyed some amazing Beef Lo-Mein, Sweet and Sour Pork, Mu Goo Gai Pan, Fried Shrimp, and Cashew Chicken. This is New York style, generous portions, fast service. If you haven't tried to get around town with a baby, trust me, parents will appreciate this family style, down-home dinning. (Look darling, they have a buzzer-intercom, just like on Seinfeld!)

Wednesday night was game night. Rockies versus the Cubs. What did that mean for us: brats and kebabs on the grill. My brother picked up some nice shrimp and veggies at Wild Oats (no, It's not Whole Foods until the sign changes!) and undid the goodness of it all with some Johnsonville brats from Safeway. Oh well, they were good. And what did the baby have? You guessed it: milk and mush. We tried to give her doughnuts from Lamar's and coffee earlier in the day, but she broke out in a rash. Oops!

Probably one of the best meals we had when my family was visiting was at New Saigon on Federal Blvd. Our first visit there about a month ago had been great. We enjoyed some amazing Pho and were intrigued by the extensive menu. After a couple hours at the Butterfly Pavilion with the baby, we decided that Vietnamese was in order (no, I have no idea what the connection is, just forget it). My brother and I were hungry for beef: he had the Bo 5 Mon (beef prepared 5 ways); I had the Bo Luc Lac (sauteed beef in a pepper soy sauce). These were amazing, tender and so flavorful. The Bo 5 Mon we figured, would be a great appetizer for a 4-6 people. My brother's wife had a rice noodle bowl topped with shrimp and grilled pork, she loved it. My wife has been in search of the perfect wonton soup bowl all her life. She will try it at almost any restaurant just to see if it approaches the Holy Grail of Wonton that she had somewhere in Portland, she really doesn't even know where. This one almost did it. And that's all I'll say about New Saigon's food, because that should say it all. Oh, and from a kids POV, our waiter rocked! He knew just how to make our little one as happy as can be; which is great, when your stuck eating milk and mush.

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