M and I recently watched a cooking demo at our apartment complex. She so enjoyed the steak and beans from Tony, the Chef at Caribe restaurant that we went there later in the week.
I have to admit, I have avoided Carribean cuisine, as I thought it would be too spicy for M (and me, I’m a bit of a spice wimp.) We had a great dinner, none of it was too spicy, but it all had delicious flavor. M loved the grilled onions and skirt steak, and the saucy beans and rice. She did not like the “local” watermelon soda however. The tostanes (fried plantain slices) were yummy, but pretty heavy. A good appetizer to share.
My point is, I limited what I exposed her to because I was afraid she wouldn’t find anything to eat. If you have a picky eater, that sounds familiar, I bet! What made the difference was when I talked to Tony and said, “we love flavor, but not hot spice,” and he assured us we would have options.
Similarly, Japanese, Indian and Chinese have been some of our most favorite dining-out experiences. Nervous about a new food? Check out the menu online, ask a friend for a recommendation, hit the buffet, where you are likely to find something you can eat Don’t be afraid to ask the wait-staff for a less spicy recommendation as well. Order several appetizers instead of an entree or two so you have more options. Usually there is bread or rice or potatoes or some other option. If you are really nervous your child won’t find anything to eat, plan on allowing dessert to fill in the spaces, perhaps an ice-cream. Also, consider trying new food at lunch-time when you know you can have a snack soon, and kids won’t go to bed hungry.
It’s too easy to fall into that trap of familiar foods. I was getting tired of Pho and Pad Thai and Chinese buffet every time we ate out and am thrilled to add another restaurant and cuisine to our choices!
What do you think? What has worked for you to introduce new places and new tastes?