Monday, June 21, 2010

On the Road: Kids Meals? Indeed.

At some point during our short trip to London I realized that something might be really healthier on the Kingdom. Perhaps it's a Jamie Oliver thing. Check it: all brits are grateful of the changes he made on school menus that resulted (serioulsy) in academic improvement. 
Besides that positive influences of the "Eat your 5 a day"culture, all the classics of American kids meals, - including chicken nuggets to the  good old burger are in the menu of most places we visited. Margherita pizza is also a very popular option for the little ones. Add to that some other traditional foods like Minced Beef and Onion Pie. But always accompanied by garden peas or other greens besides those delicious chunks of British style chips.
Diana Memorial Park at Kensington Gardens (forget the formal name, it's really a Pirate's Park inspired in Peter Pan's story), we had the chance of buying organic snacks at the Playcafe,  and mostly very fresh. Ice cream from Cornwall was the best ever. At the South Bank Center, the Riverside Cafe was not just showing to support good commerce selling Fair Trade, as all the cups, forks and knives were made of  biodegradable materials. The ingredient of the month was Spelt Flour. How very charming.
In one of my favorite restaurants, Wagamama, we had a wonderful experience of a kids "friendliness". Easy going chopsticks helped the kids to eat the best gyoza (Japanese potstickers) ever. Kids meal  itself was huge and good: noodles, grilled chicken and veggies composed one of the coolest plates I've ever seen. Besides the crayon and the paper to draw.

Although we had a great time at the Natural History Museum and its awesome dinosaurs, one of the inspiring sighs was the cakes table: I and grandma Myrna  could not refuse, and instead of the 5 a day veggies and fruit, kids indulged on a slice of lemon pound cake. Also, I must not forget about all the temptations of flapjacks, jacket potatoes and traditional pastries. They were all there for fast options at the street. But for emergency picnic lunch at Holland Park, we ended up choosing the Boots Meal Deal. It is buying lunch at a drugstore, a kind of londoner institution.
Unfortunately we didn't make it to one of the Naked Chef restaurants in London. And therefore could not witness his food revolution on the table. I know he welcomes kids in his Jamie Oliver Italian, serving smaller portions of his home made pasta with the same sauce he brews for the grown ups, with some free range chicken. And also always a small salad goes with it. If the kids eat their greens, they get a badge.  The day I planned to go there we were surprised by a storm, and we got stuck and soaked at Covent Garden Transport Museum.
The change of plans was not that bad. Kids ended up devouring Quiche Lorraine at Le Pain Quotidien. Grandma had the pleasure of tasting a nice green salad while I was eating a delicious mushroom and chickpeas soup. And, better than that, they could taste some special dessert of the day, made with red berries, cream and meringue. Look at the yummy picture. Not very British, but very very good. We finally understood that sometimes,  when on the road, the best bet is - like we do when eating out at home: To split a grown up meal and forget all about the comfortable zone of kid's meals.


Jennifer said...

We've not been to London in years, and never with our kids, but Wagamama was one of my favorite restaurants - how fun to see it here again! I also loved Cranks (Veggie Fast Food place) and all the indian cuisine. I've been watching JO's Food Revolution, so glad to see that so many great changes have really been made in the Kingdom!

Myrna said...

Yes, Anna, you are right - spliting a grown up meal can be not only a practical solution, but also educational, for it exposes kids to different tastes and textures. I enjoyed thoroughly this trip to London, sharing with you and the kids all those explorations.

Anna said...

Jennifer, I was really surprised how fun London can be for kids. Truly friendly and amazing. Myrna, thanks for being with us for our expedition!


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