The experience

Can you believe it??!  Tonight is our last night of the Phipps Feeding Fiasco!  Our 365th restaurant in 365 days.  We’ve been looking forward to this date for quite some time.  We decided a few weeks ago that we would have this dinner at Stephan Pyles.  We know they have excellent food, excellent service in a beautiful restaurant.  What would happen if we brought the kid factor in??  And not only that, I decided to invite our good friend and her 9 month old to join us as well.  The more the merrier, right?! 


I did make reservations ahead of time, so they knew we were coming with our brood of children.  We arrived to find my friend Casey and her daughter Sidney already seated and places set, including crayons and coloring pages for the kids.  The kids started coloring right away.



We ordered drinks and appetizers and at some point, Benji started to throw a mini-fit, which had Ogre and I on pins and needles.  No, no!  Not tonight!  Thankfully, Ogre’s iPhone saved the day.  He has some crazy app for it where the kids can use their finger to make marks or “draw” on the screen or when they tap the screen some chosen icon will appear.  SAVED US!!  IT TRULY SAVED US!  Benji’s mood improved after that as it bought time as we waited for breads and appetizers to come out, the only other thing that improves his mood!


The waiter told us about the kids menu options and we put that order in.  Our appetizers came out and we munched on this.  Now that Benji had some food, he was happy to let Ate Mina play with the iPhone.  She realized that she could take pictures and then caricature their faces!  Here’s what she did to Casey:


I must say that Sidney is already becoming quite the restaurateur.  She did not have a single meltdown the WHOLE night!  She was happy and well-behaved.  It probably helped that we sat in one of the corners and she could get down and play on the floor, but she did not fuss about being put back in her high chair, sitting in mom’s lap or playing on the floor.


Our waiter told Mina that her cherries came all the way from Italy (they don’t have those yucky maraschino cherries that I don’t even let the kids eat here!).  She thought that was super-cool and had to take a picture.


We ordered dinner and the kids continued entertaining themselves in various ways.  Mina finished coloring her picture and told Casey that it was for Sidney.  Benji ate.  Sidney ate.  Eating kids are happy kids!


The kids’ dinners came out first, followed by ours and we all enjoyed excellent company and excellent meals.  Casey’s husband even joined us for dinner and kept Mina very entertained.  He gave Benji two little toys to keep in his pocket.  One of the was a dinosaur, ahem, a velociraptor as Ogre made sure to inform me.  Now, Benji calls their Dinosaurs Alive book, his “George book.”


After seeing this, Mina’s appetite suddenly approved and she ate two more pieces of chicken hoping for something from George also.  She did eat well enough to receive a treat and was quite please with her skyscraper.  I hope Sidney is taking notes!

We could not pass up dessert here, nor was there any desire for anyone to share, so we piled on the dessert orders, then ate way too much.  Seriously, I think Benji had a mini-freak out after eating so much sugar (he basically licked the powdered donuts clean), ate some mango ice cream, ate some of Ogre’s chocolate cake, and then went for the little truffles they give you when you pay your bill! 


3 hours later and ready for a food coma, we ended our evening and headed home.  Mina said that she wanted to give this restaurant “a google infinity stars.”  Done. 




The food

They call it “New Millennium Southwestern Cuisine.”  I call it “Everything I’ve Ever Had Here Tastes REALLY GOOD!”

We had a lot of food.  I’m just going to warn you now.  We started with three ceviches: Tuna with Watermelon, Salmon Veracruzano with Capers, and Kapachi (yellowtail) with Guanabana and Agave Nectar.  I’ve had all of these at lunch and we thought that they tasted even better at dinner -perhaps because there was more time for the ceviche to absorb the flavors?  The Kampachi was my favorite.  I would definitely give these a try as it’s not what’d you expect even from the descriptions.  Ogre does not even like salmon, but he liked this salmon ceviche.  The salmon ceviche was very flavorful: salty and spicy.  The kampachi and the tuna were more refreshing and cool in flavor giving us a nice balance.


We also had the sea scallop appetizer, which is a large sea scallop served with a pork chicharron.  Excellent combination.  I don’t like scallops, but this was excellent.  Both the scallop and the pork chicharron had amazing flavors and the combination was perfect. 


In addition, we had another salmon appetizer, which was new on the menu.  I’d never had this one before and thought it tasted wonderful as well.  Ogre also liked it as it had a very fresh flavor.


Ogre was asked to try the pate here and it is served two ways with a jalapeno jam and bread.  This was actually a dish that could be shared as it comes with quite a bit of pate. 


I ordered the Lamb.  Casey was a little dissapointed to find that they have changed their menu a bit and now serve the Rack of Lamb with a Balsamic Sauce (instead of the Cranberry Mojo sauce).  It’s also now served with vegetables and mashed potatoes (I’ve obviously simplified what it is served with, I don’t speak as eloquently as our waiter).  I have never had better prepared lamb than I have had here.  It is always cooked to perfection and I thought the new sauce went very well with the lamb.  I will definitely be ordering this again!!


Ogre started with a Farmstead Cheese Salad, which was excellent.  Greens with thinly sliced ham and cheese and a lavendar infused dressing.  Ogre decided on the Beef Tenderloin today and requested his steak Black and Blue.  He is always hesitant to order his steak prepared this way as restaurants often prepare it incorrectly.  This was his first time ordering his steak prepared this way and he commented that they prepared it perfectly, and that it must have been a difficult feat on the grill



Casey ordered the Short Ribs.  I apologize that I did not ask her how it tasted, but I assume from the lack of anything left on her plate (except the bones, of course!) that she enjoyed it!


George ordered the Ribeye, which is served with a mountain of onion strings.  Ogre has had this before here, also and I’ve never seen George NOT order this dish, so I can safely assume it’s a hit!


The kids shared chicken tenders and fries and each of them ate quite a bit of it, so, again, I assume that it tasted great! 


We had a bunch of desserts to share as well.  The kids had mango ice cream, which, I swear was the best mango ice cream I’ve ever had.  Very creamy with a lot of mango flavor.  It’s served atop blueberries and blackberries.


We also had the coffee and doughnuts, one of my favorite desserts here.  Since I’m avoiding caffeine, I did not indulge so much in the espresso infused creme brulee that it is served with, but I did enjoy the cajeta sauce (goat’s milk caramel sauce) that it is also served with.  The kids loved this dessert and ate more of this than their mango ice cream.  Not that I’m complaining, I ate what was left of BOTH of their ice creams!


Ogre ordered the Mexican Chocolate Cake and thought it was excellent.  Very rich!  The kids liked it also!



Casey ordered the Lemon Fried Pie.  She chose this dessert because when her mother had this during the Mother’s Day Brunch, she was moved to tears as it tasted so much like her own mother’s lemon fried pie.  It’s also served with a black berry ice cream, which Sidney loved!




The service

Excellent.  This is how a diner should be treated.  Our waiter was very gracious, informative and attentive.  No need to ask for refills here, no need to ask for anything, really as they have it all under control.  Our waiter was super sweet to the kids even telling Mina about her special cherries in her Shirley Temple and making sure that they were happy and their bellies full!    Stephan Pyles was also very gracious to take a picture with Mina.  This was a good 3 hour meal, so keep that in mind.  It’s appropriate for this type of restaurant though and we anticipated that before we came.  They did bring out the kids meals as soon as they were ready.


The kids

Obviously, Stephan Pyles does not scream, “Bring your kids here!”  But if you did, they are very gracious and accommodating.  They actually had crayons (an 8 pack of crayons, of course!), pages to color, and kids menu offerings (cheese pizza, chicken tenders or a grilled cheese sandwich).  It’s a beautiful restaurant and you will almost undoubtedly be the only table there with kids, so bear that in mind.  I would only bring my kids here if they were napped, not sick, hungry, but not too hungry, and for the last night of childsplate!

In the future, I think I’ll save this culinary treasure for dates and drinks with my dear husband or lunches and laughs with my girlfriends!


The total: $285 (did not include our guests’ meals, but did include adult bevvies)

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