Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ category

why kids should play with raw eggs

July 19th, 2010

playing with raw eggsSprinkles’ vanilla cupcake mix calls for two egg whites—although the package says you need three eggs (?)—offering the perfect opportunity for Carter to advance from cracking eggs to separating eggs. Of course, gadget-lover that I am, I use an egg-separator, which looks something like the plastic kid-friendly Egg Yolky egg separator without the face and feet.

Instead of just tossing the yolks, I let Carter poke at them. I know. I know. Yes, there’s a risk of getting  a risk of getting  salmonella from raw eggs.* But I’d rather teach Carter to keep his hands away from his face when handling raw eggs and to wash his hands after than to have him afraid of touching an egg white or yolk.

Safety of the specific food aside, grownups sometimes forget how much fun—or yucky but still interesting—touching food can be. In terms of child development (one of the Baking with Carter blog themes), sensory and tactile experiences are essential—and baking is an easy way to provide them them, no expensive toys required. I still remember Carter saying in amazement, “It’s so soft!” the first time he touched all-purpose flour. So go ahead and let your kids touch softened butter, squish brown sugar in their hands, and , if you’re ok with it, poke an egg yolk.

Poking egg yolks can also be looked as as a science experiment. Carter tested how much pressure it took to break the yolks and then smeared them around in the bowl to study their viscosity. He asked: What would happen if he poured in water? Well, I said, hot-enough water could start to cook them. Otherwise? Not much. He dumped in a cup of water, which was room temperature, to see for himself. The water floated to the top; the heavier eggs sank.

Then I had him wash his hands with soap and water twice.

By the time the cupcakes came out of the oven, it was too late to eat them. In the morning, my aspiring baker brought me breakfast in bed: a cupcake, with lots and lots of red sprinkles, of course.

*Caution: Always wash hands with soap and water thoroughly after handling raw eggs. Do this activity only with children you can trust to keeps their hands away from their mouths and face. To be extra safe, use pasteurized eggs.

Mickey D’s

July 17th, 2009

“What’s the holdup? It’s McDonald’s! The menu doesn’t change.” Jeff hates it when someone “gums up the works” having a conversation when ordering at the drive-through. I am that person.

I next-to-never go to McDonald’s, but Carter made a rare special request. There was a false start or two.

“What’s the fewest number of chicken nuggets I can order?”


But wait. The actual answer turns out to be “four”—when ordered with small fries and a drink. Best of all, the drink can be a kid’s shake. Who knew? Not me without asking. (I didn’t mention the second ”kid’s” shake was for me.)

Date night tips

May 31st, 2009

Skip the movie “The Girlfriend Experience,” but take advantage of That’s today’s dating advice. sells discounted restaurant gift certificates; a $25 one typically costs $10. Plus, in California, gift certificates don’t ever expire. The secret: sign up for the emails. The site replenishes on a monthly basis. As the month goes on, some restaurants sell out, but the price drops for the others—as long as you have a discount code from the emails.

Last night, we used a $25 certificate, which I got for $2 (!), at the British Banker’s Club in Menlo Park, a surprisingly good restaurant considering it’s essentially a tavern. The only downside to my cream corn soup with lavender: the portion was so big, I couldn’t finish it. Jeff would describe my beet salad as positively Elizabethian: beets, goat cheese, toasted pine nuts over arugula with an olive oil vinaigrette. Jeff’s salmon looked beautiful. Only downside for him: carrots, again.


May 27th, 2009

Jeff is still mourning the demolition of the “old” Old Pro, a sports bar that was about a two-minute drive from our house on the corner of El Camino and Page Mill. For years, he spent many an hour there: drinking beer, reading the paper, and, too often, watching Cleveland teams lose games.

There’s a “new” Old Pro  in downtown Palo Alto, but it’s not the same. It’s too nice: just off University Avenue (i.e., a hip location) plus it’s spacious with no shortage of big flat-screen TVs. The odd thing is, unlike most sports bars: old or new, the Old Pro has good food.

We don’t go to the new one very often, but tonight Jeff and Carter took me there to celebrate my “winning the prize” as Carter says. (I won a full-tuition scholarship to the Stanford Professional Publishing Course—a big deal.) Carter led the “cheers” as he clanked his glass of lemonade with my pint of Guinness and Jeff’s tall Sam Adams.

Cheers! Mommy won the prize!

Jeff constantly teases me about ordering “just a salad,” but the “Sichuan Pepper Crusted ‘FedEx Fresh’ Hawaiian Big Eye Tuna Salad” was amazing: a healthy portion of sliced, seared, rare tuna atop local, organic greens tossed with mandarin oranges, water chestnuts, and just the right amount of Asian dressing. It’s easy to make a bad salad. This one was good.

Guinness, a great meal, and my boys. A perfect celebration.