365 Restaurants, 2 Kids, 1 Giant Fiasco
Ogre wanted to eat somewhere decidely more healthy than our usual fare. He remembers about Cafe Express at Mockingbird Station. We haven’t eaten here in years! Sounds great to me so we pack up the kids and head down. When we walk up, I’m excited to see that there are tons of families eating here! It’s another beautiful day and we are in luck because they have patio seating. Of course, Mina says, “I want to eat inside.” What’s her deal? I don’t get it. I tell her that we can sit by the fountain outside and she perks up and agrees. Ogre has me decide what I want so that I can get the kids situated outside while he orders our food.
We pick a table right by the fountain and Mina and Benji are free to run around outside and around the fountain. They love it. Of course, at what point Mina just starts screaming and I look over to see that it’s because Benji has hoisted himself onto the edge of the fountain saying “Ba. Ba.” (Bath). I put an end to that notion pretty quickly and he gets it. No more dangerous moves for Benjamin.
Ogre comes out with all of our drinks (must be counter service, again) and we have a buzzer that tells us when our food is ready. He brought out some skinny breadsticks for the kids to munch on while we wait, as well as some olives (for him, I’m not an olive fan, and neither, we discover, is Benji) and some sun dried tomatoes. The sun-dried tomatoes taste like candy, they’re so tasty! Mina didn’t think so, though. He told me he got these at the Oasis Bar. Pretty cool.
Our buzzer goes off and Ogre, the waiter, goes off to get them. Mina has picked up two spoons and is running around the fountain with them. I see her dunking the spoon in the fountain and dragging it along the fountain edge. I have to explain to her that we can’t eat with that spoon now because it’s dirty and set it down on the table. She doesn’t seem to care and runs back off.
Ogre arrives with our lunch. He ordered the Cobb Salad, he told me that he was going to get some other salad, but that the guy behind the counter told him that the Cobb Salad was his favorite. I ordered the Cup of Soup, Petite Sandwich, Side Salad with Beverage (I chose the Southwestern Chili, Tuna Sandwich, Caesar Salad and a Coke), and Mina wanted the Pasta with Cheese Sauce and a side of fruit. We give Benjamin some of the pasta with cheese and beans from our soup. I also spoon him the soup, which he likes a lot.
Ogre and I both like our lunch quite a bit. I am impressed with everything that I got for such a nice price ($7.79). Ogre is happy that the guy suggested this salad. Mina likes her lunch, as well, and even eats all of the Caesar Salad we give her. Benjamin is happily eating the pasta and asking for “mo, mo.” I smile and look over at him noting that he has a spoon in his hand. Hmmm. I look for the spoon I sat down earlier. Missing. I ask Ogre if he gave Benji “the” spoon. Uh, yeah, he says. I explain to him why I put that one aside and, of course, he just shrugs and says, “The water’s chlorinated anyway.” I give Ogre stinkeye, take Ogre’s spoon, and give that one to Benji, instead.
Once the dirty spoon incident is resolved, we continue enjoying our lunch. Mina is behaving, Benjamin is behaving, the birds are singing, the breeze is blowing and there’s not a cloud in the sky. Lunch is nothing short of perfect. Benjamin loves looking around for “buh” (birds) and Mina is not required to be totally quiet. Mina even asks me where all the clouds are. Not a cloud in the sky! Once we all finish lunch, Ogre and I decide we want coffee for dessert. I let the kids get up from the table while we wait. When Ogre gets back, he also has a brownie. He tells me he couldn’t resist their sign that boasts a brownie made from scratch. He tells Mina it’s a vegetable brownie, which totally turns her off. We have to talk her into eating a bite and even when she does she acts like it tastes horrible. Benji, on the other hand, loves it. He carries his piece around for quite some time, taking a bite here and there. After Ogre and I have eaten most of the “horrible” brownie, Mina comes around wanting more. We let her finish off what’s left, and, unfortunately for poor Benji, when he comes by for “mo,” we have to tell him it’s all gone.
I was impressed. Everything we had tasted great. I even had some of Mina’s pasta shells with cheese and liked it a lot. My tuna salad was not too dry and not too saucy and had just the right amount of “crunch” (pieces of celery). My Southwestern Chili, which is made with ground turkey, was delicious (Benji agreed) and tasted even better when I put some of their Divine Hot Sauce on it! Ogre added the Black Bean Soup to his Cobb Salad, and it was also very tasty. I don’t think there was anything we had that did not taste fresh and wonderful.
Their kids menu has hamburger, grilled cheese, pasta with marinara or cheese sauce, chicken tenders and your choice of fruit or fries. They have sweet potato fries on the main menu, I’m not sure if you can substitue that for the regular fries. The portion is of a nice size.
Once again, my table had excellent service from the Ogre. Ogre did mention at lunch that the guy behind the counter was really helpful and obviously gave him great suggestions!
Wow! This place was great for kids, particularly if you sit outside. They have room to breathe and can play a little bit without impinging on other patrons’ space. The fountain was a huge attraction for the kids and kept them close so they didn’t run off where I’d have to chase them down. Inside seemed casual, as well. I don’t know if they had any kids activities for the kids while they wait, but the food comes out so quickly that I don’t think it’s an issue. Mina gives it 1300 stars. Oh! That reminds me, I had to take Mina to the bathroom and there are changing stations.
Childsplate.com chronicles our journey to find the perfect family restaurant. We are looking for restaurants with excellent food and a great attitude towards kids, even the whiny, cranky ones! We will be headed out to a different restaurant every single day to provide ourselves (and you) with some entertainment and good information about DFW area restaurants. We hope you will visit frequently and use our experiences to create some fun dining experiences of your own! Watch out, DFW, the Phipps family is going out to eat!