365 Restaurants, 2 Kids, 1 Giant Fiasco
It’s another beautiful September day in Texas. Ogre wants to eat on a patio. We get going pretty early tonight. Apparently, Ogre hasn’t eaten all day, he told me he didn’t want screw up the childsplate timing for dinner. I told him I ate lunch at 3 o’clock. He looks a little hurt. Oh well. I tell him I’ll still eat but that we shouldn’t go anywhere to “heavy.” We decide to hit Fireside Pies at the Shops at Legacy. I’m surprised that Ogre wants to go. We ate there once with my dear friends Ashish and Shealyn and he still cannot get over the fact that he spent 7 bucks on a Heineken there. But, he says he’s willing to give it another shot. I had even read that it was considered a Family Friendly Restaurant highlight in Frommer’s.
We were able to get our pick of seating out on the patio and for a little while we were the only ones out there. Mina told us on our way to the restaurant that her throat was hurting. I told her she could lay down if she wanted to. Benjamin was not quite ready to sit down and since it was just us, I let him wander around the patio. Benji danced to some of the tunes playing overhead. We ordered some Garlic Cheese Toast to start since Ogre is starving. Ogre went back to the car to get a diaper for Benji after Mina exclaimed that “Benji stinks!” -usually this means he pooped. While Ogre was gone, Mina exclaimed that she felt like throwing up. Great. I started to pack up both the kids to head to the restroom when Ogre returned. I took Mina to the restroom and Ogre took Benji. We went in and I was too distracted to note if they have changing tables. Sorry. Mina ended up not throwing up and we headed back to the table. I met Ogre as we stepped out and he told me that Benji had not pooped. I guess both of us got lucky tonight.
Our cheese bread showed up and, at first, Benjamin was a little wary of the pizza sauce; it won him over though and he happily dipped his bread in the marinara. We got a separate bowl for Mina to dip in. She ate it at first, but then told me she didn’t really like the sauce. Very surprising for Mina to not like marinara sauce. Our waitress returned and we ordered dinner. We couldn’t decide what we wanted to order -we decided that we would split a salad and a pizza. I couldn’t decide between several pizzas, but she tells us that the Balsamic Roasted Chicken Pizza is the best one and that it is topped with baby spinach and tomatoes. I told our waitress that we were trying to decide between the Baby Arugula Salad and the Serious Caesar Salad. She warned us that the Caesar Salad was very anchovy-heavy. Not a problem for me. I like anchovies. Ogre does, too, and since there are field greens on the pizza, we decide to get the Caesar Salad. I ask her if there is anything that we can order for the kids. Unfortunately not. She tells me that she usually recommends the cheese bread. Not going to work for the Phipps children, that’s just for starters. We order the Cheese Pizza with Meatballs for them.
We don’t have to wait too long for our Caesar Salad to come out. It’s definitely large enough for two to share. I’m amazed by the large anchovy fillet that sits atop the toasted bread! Ogre gives Benji a taste of salad -he doesn’t like it. Mina and Benjamin are having a pretty good time. Mina is coloring and says her throat is feeling better. Benjamin is dancing in his chair. Mina is a little jealous of Benjamin being recorded while dancing and requests that she also see herself dancing. I oblige again…and again. It’s pretty funny to watch them. The kids are continuing to eat up the cheese bread and we finish up our salad just as the pizzas come up. Mina gets a little embarrassed when the waitress catches her dancing.
Benji Dancing with Papa
Mina Being Silly
Ogre cuts up the meatball for Benjamin and we give each of the kids a slice of their pizza. Ogre points out that there are huge rosemary stems in the meatballs that we have to pull out. Mina tells us that she doesn’t want to eat the meatballs because they have “that sauce” on them and she doesn’t like it. Great, I’m thinking, we just spent 13 bucks on a pizza that no one is going to eat. I refocus on our pizza. For being a Balsamic Roasted Chicken Pizzathere doesn’t seem to be much of a sweet balsamic flavor AT ALL. Nothing is there to complement the bleu cheese, so it just tastes like Salty Chicken with Salad on top of pizza crust. When our waitress returns to see how everything tastes, I tell her my thoughts. She tells me that a lot of people were complaining that it was “TOO balsamic-y” and they re-did the recipe to have less balsamic flavor. Hmmm, what’s the point of calling it a Balsamic Chicken Pizza? She offers to bring me a bottle of balsamic vinegar, which I happily accept. It does taste better with additional balsamic vinegar sprinkled on it.
Mina whispers to me that she would like dessert. I tell her that she must be crazy since she has told me that her throat hurts, she feels like throwing up, and her meatball and pizza are pretty much untouched. She tells me that everything feels better and starts to eat her dinner. We’ll see. Benjamin, meanwhile, is slathering his pizza on his face and is eating pretty well. Mina wants me to record her dancing again. While she does that, Ogre hears the dessert options. Benjamin is getting antsy and saying “dow dow.” We ask him if he wants ice cream, he nods his head and calms down. The waitress starts to take away the plates and Benjamin yells at the waitress. Then he yells at Mina who offered him a piece of her last cheese bread. We tell her she can’t give it to him since she said her throat hurt and she takes it away at the last second. He’s pretty pissed about that, but calms when we remind him about the ice cream. We order a Gooey Triple Chocolate Brownie with 3 scoops of ice cream.
We are all excited to see the dessert. I give half a scoop to each of the kids. We put Mina’s ice cream in a separate bowl with some of the brownie and give Benji his own bowl of ice cream only. It also comes with a raspberry sauce and the combination of the three is heavenly. Benjamin finishes his off without any difficulties and asks for “mo.” I give him the rest of mine, he only takes one more bite then pushes it away. Mina says that the brownie tastes just like chocolate.
We get our bill and after we’ve recovered from our heart attack (which wasn’t because of the food!), we settle the tab and head home.
The Garlic Cheese Toast was average, at best. The marinara sauce is very “herby.” There aren’t many places that Mina does not love marinara sauce, but she didn’t like it here. I didn’t care for it very much either. Ogre and I both really liked the Serious Caesar Salad, aside from the dessert, it was the highlight of dinner. I did not think it had a heavy anchovy flavor at all. Obviously, if you bit into the toasted bread with anchovy filet, you’ll get a nice dose, but the dressing was just about perfect. I didn’t think the pizzas were anything to write home about. As I already discussed, the Balsamic Roasted Chicken Pizzalacked any balsamic flavoring whatsoever, which is really disappointing for someone who loves balsamic vinegar. The herbs in the meatballs were a little to coarsely chopped -that coupled with a tomato sauce that is already very “herby” made for a pizza that was a little to “strong” and not very palatable to our kids. The dessert, on the other hand, was excellent. The browniewas served warm and was very fudgy in the middle. The vanilla bean ice cream had a nice vanilla flavor and the raspberry sauce pulled everything together perfectly.
There is no kids menu or offers to throw something together that is an appropriately portioned size for children.
Our served today was really good. She was attentive, helpful, checked on us and kept dishes clear. Our food also came out at a nice tempo, so we did not wait around excessively for our food, but had time to enjoy each course.
When they sat us down, they did hand out crayons and a paper placemat for the kids with coloring on one side and activities on the other. Unfortunately, there is no kids menu. I don’t think it’s hard to throw a small pizza together for the kids and charge half the price (or even a little more), but it was a little ridiculous to be ordering a 13 dollar pizza (with ONE topping) for the kiddos.
The total: $67.39 (1 order ofcheese bread, 1 salad, 2 pizzas, 2 sodas, 1 iced tea, 1 dessert)
I don’t get it. This place gets rave reviews. All my friends like it. I think you can get a better pizza at Campisi’s or even, to be honest, at CPK. For much cheaper and CPK has a kids’ menu. Yes, I realize CPK is a corporate entity, but you have to use a little common sense sometimes. The pizzas here are a little overpriced, in my opinion, for what you get. In Dallas, it’s sort of a see and be seen type of restaurant, but I don’t much care for that and I don’t think that should increase the price of my dinner. And for Frommer’s to say that it is Family Friendly?? A family of four cannot split one pizza and they don’t have any children’s selections. Ogre could go on and on about how it’s way overpriced and totally pretentious -in fact, he did for about 15 of the 20 minute drive home. He told me to tell you guys that the one good thing is that you won’t fill up on pizza cause it’s just not that good, which leaves plenty of room for the dessert!
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!