My Toddler, The Food Critic

Lobster Ravioli (right) and homemade Cinnamon-Spiced Applesauce at the Argonaut in Washington, DC

Now that Mason’s 1, I suppose he’s no longer a baby (sob). He’s a toddler and although I’m a little sad that the baby days are behind us, I’m thrilled that he’s at the point where he can and will eat just about anything. In fact, his eclectic tastes and agreeable nature came in especially handy this week. I was away on a business trip until Wednesday night so Bug went to Washington, DC, with Chris for the week. I was skeptical of Chris’ plan to care for Mason and get all of his work done without any help at all, but Chris managed beautifully by turning our son into a mini food critic. Since Monday, the boys have been eating their way through DC, sampling a variety of foods from the mom-approved chicken and okra to the only-daddy-would-dare vanilla milkshake.

Mason’s culinary tour of the District began at Flying Fish Coffee in Mt. Pleasant, where he split a yummy homemade red plum pop tart with Chris. For lunch they swung by the Diner in Adams Morgan for grilled cheese, burger, and vanilla milkshake. I cringed when Chris sent me a gleeful text about their greasy meal. At least breakfast involved fruit, but a vanilla milkshake? Seriously?! What about the huge cooler of healthy, homemade food that I sent on the trip with them? My boy was missing out on essential vitamins! I shared my angst with a few coworkers and then I got a grip and I let it go. After all, Mason was having a blast and a little splurging now and then is healthy, according to my fellow Parents.com blogger Dr. Richard Rende. That night Bug dined on Roasted Chicken with Oven-Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Okra and Basil Mashed Potatoes at Shaw’s Tavern. Father and son gave each dish a thumb’s up, but Mason was especially fond of the crisp pizza-oven-baked bread.

MeatatShaws-2Mason, waiting for his food at Shaw’s Tavern, in northwest Washington, DC

Chris and Mason laid low on Tuesday after the earthquake hit (thank goodness they were OK), and sustained themselves on leftovers (and perhaps some of that food I sent?) while Chris researched hurricane damage at local restaurants. On Wednesday, they spent the day in the newsroom and then they ventured out for dinner at the Argonaut, located on an up-and-coming section of historic H St. Mason ate Lobster Ravioli, his first introduction to shellfish. Chris sent me a text before Bug’s first bite and I held my breath. What if he had an outbreak of hives (or worse!) and I wasn’t there to comfort him? Luckily all went well. Mason dug the ravioli but wasn’t much of a fan of the sugary cinnamon-spiced applesauce that came with it (the all-natural applesauce I make for him, on the other hand, is one of his faves).

They’re winding up their time in the District and driving back up to New York this afternoon. I can’t wait to hug and kiss my boys — four days is an unbearably long time to be away from them. I’ll spend the rest of the week filling Mason up with as much healthy, organic food as he’ll eat. No more vanilla milkshakes for him but okra and roast chicken just might become new staples in our house. Does your toddler or babe enjoy dining at restaurants? What’s his or her fave restaurant dish?

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  1. by Kitty Morgan

    On August 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Vanilla is a very elegant flavor, and a good vanilla shake is an elegant thing. Glad Bug survived!

  2. by Daddy

    On August 26, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    The boy dined beautifully. If a bit messy. The homemade lobster ravioli and locally sourced applesauce arrived simultaneously. Mason went straight for the parmesan shavings, grabbing a fistful and stuffing it all into his mouth. Of course, the lobster in the ravioli is rather finely minced and mixed with cheese and cream. It’s not like he was chewing on a whole claw or something. Regardless, the shellfish didn’t spark a negative reaction. No hives. Nothing. The Argonaut’s outdoor herb garden, on the other hand, did seem to provoke the child. He shrieked at the plants for some time. Not exactly sure what the basil might have said to deserve such a tongue-lashing….

  3. by Lauren

    On August 26, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    My 2 yo son loves to eat out…and for some reason he tends to eat better sometimes at a restaurant than at home! Though tonight he turned down his chocolate chip cookie for dessert and ate another helping of broccoli. I’m not really sure what that’s all about, but I’m all for it!

    I have noticed he has a lot of preferences these days. Like he prefers all his food separate, he prefers white cheese to yellow, he prefers mandarin oranges to any other, etc. It’s so fun to watch personalities develop in our once-babies-now-big boys!