Thursday, April 22, 2010

Busy busy!

I am finding that I simply do not have enough time to keep up with this blog. I would like to keep it going, but to do that I need help! I need some guest reviewers willing to post here. Here are the guidelines for submitting a review. There are a lot of places that still need reviews. Help me out!

Monday, January 25, 2010

La Hacienda Real

We've been on the hunt for some good vegetarian Mexican food lately and we recently decided to give La Hacienda Real out in South Salem a try. I've read several good reviews of their food so we were excited to see what they had to offer.

Everytime we drive by La Hacienda Real, it looks like their parking lot is packed so when we arrived on a Friday right at noon, I was surprised (and relieved) that they were able to seat us right away. They put us in a small booth by the window and quickly brought us water - including a children's cup with a lid and a straw.

The table was clean, their menu is huge and they have several children's options including a burrito, taco, enchilada, tamale, quesadilla, taquitos or a Mexican pizza with the choice of either refried or black beans and a soda (they charged us for her milk). Our waitress misunderstood my order, but it was still vegetarian and we were in a hurry so I didn't complain and it was still delicious. They also brought us the wrong order for dd but fixed that quickly. I was pleasantly surprised when they brought dd's plate that it was not hot like mine was. Her portion was actually larger than my lunch.

My complaints were that their aisles are very narrow (can only pass 1 person at a time) and so you are sitting very close to your neighbor, which was a little awkward. Also, our booth wasn't spaced well and although dh had plenty of room on his side, I was awkwardly crunched in and couldn't fit dd on my lap.

At one point, dd (who just turned 3) became terrified of a pot that had a lizard on it and we had to take her for a walk. By the end of the meal, she was getting very antsy so we handed her a tortilla (homemade) and spoonfulls of sour cream, guacamole, etc. so she would stay busy.

An overall good experience and so far the best vegetarian Mexican food we've found - we will be back!

Monday, January 4, 2010

AC Gilbert's Discovery Village

I just came across this Statesman Journal article for AC Gilbert's Discovery Village:
AC Gilbert's Discovery Village Offers Wider Welcome

Did anyone make it to their New Year's celebration?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

AC Gilbert's Discovery Village

Winter Break Workshops are coming! I've always wanted to sign Bug up for some classes at AC Gilbert's Discovery Village, but we haven't gotten around to it yet. Looks like a lot of fun!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More On Grocery Carts

What local grocery stores have small carts for kids to push?

We were in LifeSource on Commercial recently and were very pleased to see that they'd purchased new carts including new little carts for kids. Bug always loves helping out with the grocery shopping by pushing her own little cart. The new carts glide much more smoothly than their old ones, which make it much easier on me if I end up needing to push it myself while carrying dd as we finish up our trip.

I'm also wondering, what grocery stores have antibacterial wipes near the door to clean off carts? I usually carry my own (when Bug was little we used a cart cover for her to sit on, which was especially helpful if she tried to gnaw on the handle).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I had to head out and about today to get just a few last-minute grocery things before Thanksgiving. One of my stops was going to have to be WINCO on Lancaster. Deep breaths, I thought, maybe this won't be too bad.

Surprisingly, they weren't all that busy, and I was grateful that I was getting my shopping done today instead of tomorrow when I imagine it's going to be total chaos.

Dd and I came in the doors and I grabbed a cart...oops, this one is is missing a strap to hold her into the seat, let's get another. Oops, this one has a broken seat, let's get another. Oops, this one also has a broken strap. It took going through 7 carts before I found one that was okay, though it still had a partially broken seat.

This is the worst that I've seen yet as far as grocery carts go. They're never great no matter where we go (the straps are always extremely filthy).

I will definitely be writing a letter to their corporate headquarters about their carts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holiday Preparation

As we head into the holidays, I've been trying to dig up some good healthy yet kid-friendly recipes online and came across this fabulous article from the Crunchy Domestic Goddess on Reducing Holiday Stress For Your Kids - enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Where have you found the best costumes this Halloween?

Where are your favorite safe places to trick-or-treat?

Any Halloween events you've heard of that you'd like to share?

Friday, September 18, 2009


A few weeks ago, dh had to figure out something quick for us to have for dinner and he decided to stop by Chipotle on Lancaster. We've eaten there several times before and have always really enjoyed their very fresh food. I especially like their vegetarian burritos.

While Chipotle doesn't have a children's menu specifically, they do offer a little listing of things they can do for kids such as smaller portions. I really wish more restaurants would do this instead of having a separate kids' menu, which always seems loaded with fried foods, few veggies or fruit and dessert.

Bug chose to have a quesadilla ($1!) along with some guacamole and chips. It's great to know that you can add things in and their menu makes it easy to choose items that are mild or a bit spicier depending on your child's taste.

I also love that their menu lists so much information about their ingredients including what may or may not have animal products in it and what may have wheat in it. They also have a section that talks about that they purchase organic free range meats and rGBH-free dairy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Allergy Information

We have several people with food allergies as well as vegans in our family, so whenever I see a restaurant who goes the distance to provide information on allergens or animal products in their food, it earns big bonus points with me.

A few months ago we went to Red Robin and I was very surprised to see the manager come out and spend about 10 minutes talking with a family going over their menu to help them decide on entrees that would fit their gluten-free diet. He provided them with a printed menu that listed the ingredients as well. The official Red Robin website also provides information on food items that may contain certain allergens.

We have also had very good experiences with Sweet Tomatoes who have brought out a list of ingredients in their salad dressings. As I mentioned in my review for them, they also have salad bar items labeled if they have sulfites in them, which is the first restaurant I have ever seen that acknowledged sulfite sensitivity.

I'd love to get a list together of area restaurants that try their best to inform patrons of the ingredients in their menu items. Please let us know if there are places in the area that we can add to the list!

Links to information on allergen/animal products in menu items:
Red Robin

Friendly Area Restaurants We've Had Good Experiences With Asking About Ingredients:
Thai Cuisine in Keizer - Extremely friendly staff, many options for vegetarian/vegan.
Kwan's Original Cuisine - Offers a huge variety of oil and ingredient choices to fit a wide variety of special diets. Also offers mock meat.

Additional Resources:
Oregon Food Allergy Support Group
Salem Food Allergy Group (does anyone have contact information for them? I cannot find an updated website or phone number for them)

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