365 Restaurants, 2 Kids, 1 Giant Fiasco
We decide early on (we’re starting to get the hang of this) to hit one of our favorite Korean restaurants, Jin Mi. We had the plan all worked out, I was going to pick up Mina from school, run an errand, and call Ogre on my way home so that he was ready to go when we swung by the house. I called the house on my way home and no answer. Then I called his cell phone, straight to voicemail. I got to the house and asked Ogre if he was ready. He said, no, he thought that I was calling about something else and that there was no way I could’ve driven up to Firewheel and back that fast. So Mina and I wait in the car for 10 minutes while he gets ready. Then we swing by my mom’s house to get Benji. He’s not ready either, he’s sleeping. Knowing that he did not sleep well the night before, we leave him behind. Men!
On the way there, Mina got in trouble with me. We drive up to the little strip mall that houses Jin Mi and walk in. Looks like we are dining alone tonight. They have a great picture menu, which is helpful for novices. We are typical Americans eating Korean food and order the safe Bulgogi and BBQ Shortribs. We also order some dumplings just in case this food is too exotic for Mina. We toy with the idea of ordering the seafood pancake, but these are usually ridiculously large, so we skip it for tonight. When we order drinks, Mina says she wants lemonade, but I tell her it’s water tonight. She starts snuggling up to her Papa, slowly trying to wrap him around her tiny little finger. She asks him for lemonade and he negotiates with her: if she tries all the veggies that come out with dinner, she can have a lemonade.
Our dumplings come out and we start chowing down on those. They are pretty tasty and Mina loves them. Ogre notices that the Korean programming on TV is not the most appetite pleasing. It shows a little boy who was scratched up by rats in the middle of the night, then some guy who got West Nile, and then some other crazy picture of a llama laying on the ground. This didn’t really bother me, but lucky for Ogre, the next show was a Korean soap opera. Next comes our Bulgogi and BBQ Shortribs and my favorite part about eating Korean food, all the little “side dishes.” There’s probably a Korean word for those sides. Mina is fooled by the sliced hot dog side, which, by the way, I’ve never seen before. I see that there are jalapenos in the same dish and warn her, but she wants to try it anyway. ”Ahhhhhh!” she exclaims and puts the hot dog back. Silly Mina. We give Mina some of the shortribs and dig in, ourselves. Ogre and I both agree that the shortribs taste great today, but we are not as happy with the Bulgogi. Normally it’s very tasty here, but today it was a little lackluster (Ogre said he didn’t even enjoy it at all!). I love the daikon radishes with the kimchee sauce on them and we order more of that and the regular kimchee. We give Mina the bean sprouts to eat as her vegetable.
Mina is getting crazy with the dumplings and the shortribs. As much as Ogre and I are not enjoying our Bulgogi, we have to scarf that down because Mina eats more than her fair share of the shortribs! She gnaws them down to the bone. Usually, we have to prod Mina along to eat more and finish up and today it’s totally the opposite. She even ate all the beans sprouts. There were even a couple times when I thought we were ready to go only to have Mina tell me “Wait! I’m not done!” In fact, I walked out of the restaurant thinking she was done after we paid and she finished the last dumpling, but Ogre said that there was a miniscule piece of meat that she just had to get before walking away. When they came outside, Mina said, “Man! I’m full! I’m a full little piggie!” She also tells us that we forgot her lemonade to which reply that she did not try all the sides, she concedes, and we drive on.
For authentic, homestyle Korean food, this is where we have gone and usually it’s really good. Today, the Bulgogi was a subpar. The BBQ Shortribs were definitely up to snuff, as you could see by freakish devouring of the ribs. They have pretty good sides here, too. It’s always different, as it is in most Korean restaurants, you never know what you’re going to get. I’m definitely up for trying new Korean restaurants in the area though, so drop a comment if you have a suggestion.
There’s no kids menu, so you’re going to have to get creative here. We did not have Benjamin with us. Ogre, after the fact, thought that it’s not very toddler friendly. Benji would have eaten the rice and maybe the dumplings, but that’s about it. If you’re going to bring a toddler, consider bringing something from home for them.
For those who are new to Korean cuisine, I would suggest the BBQ Shortribs. They are sweet and lightly charbroiled. Ours were nice and tender and complements the kimchee perfectly. Be forewarned that kimchee can be very spicy!
The food here is not globally kid-friendly. Apparently, it is Mina-friendly, but it’s hard to extrapolate that to the general population of tweeners and below.
At most “mom and pop” Asian restaurants, the service is, by industry standards, not stellar. I’ve sort of come to expect this. I’m not making excuses, just trying to give you a heads up. At one point, Ogre asked the lady at the counter for some utensils and she looked at him, acknowledged him and said “yah” and went back to watching her soap opera. I told Ogre just to get up and get the chopsticks. I’m pretty sure she had no idea what he said. They did keep his glass filled pretty well and when I indicated what I needed, they were very accommodating.
Ogre and I both agree that when it comes to kid-friendliness, it’s below average, particularly for food. There’s not going to be any crayons, anything interesting to look at (unless you count the Korean television programming), or anything special on the menu for kids. So be prepared for that if you decide to take the family out for Korean food here.
2727 W 15th St, Plano, TX 75075
After dinner, Ogre is craving an Avocado smoothie. I can go for a smoothie any time, any day. We do not let on to Mina that we are headed to the smoothie store. As we pull up, she thinks we’re having dinner again! (And no, we are not tricking her, she is thinking this all up on her own!) As we walk in she tells me that she is full and doesn’t want anything here for dinner! I just raise an eyebrow and say, “Oh, really?” About that time she realizes where we are at and changes her mind. ”No, no, wait, I’m not full, I want a Mango Smoothie!!” Today, I go for the Guava smoothie (but the Lychee Smoothie is also amazing), Ogre gets his Avocado smoothie (also a great choice) and Mina gets her Mango Smoothie (she let me try some and, it, too, can leave one speechless!). Where is this little piece of heaven? Boba Latte, they have at least two locations, one in Plano off 75 on Legacy (240 Legacy Dr.) and one in Richardson (112 S Greenville Ave.)
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!