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)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Oregon State Fair

I was lucky enough to win some tickets to the Oregon State Fair this year and we decided to make the trek out yesterday despite the rain. Because we stuck near the Northeast side of the fair looking at animals, we were inside mostly so the rain didn't bother us much.

A couple of hours into our trip Bug was getting a little antsy so I looked for the Bi-Mart-sponsored "Toddler Zone" that we'd found last year that was near the Oregon Department of Fish and Widlife area. I was thrilled to see that they were offering the space once again.

If you haven't seen it before, it's a nice tented area that's a perfect area to provide toddlers and their parents with a great place to stop, catch their breath and hit the reset button, which is what we were in desperate need of! They have several tables to eat at (including toddler-sized picnic tables!), an easel to draw on, several toys and a soft padded area for kids to climb/slide/jump on. They had a table out that had several samples on it including sunscreen. They also have an area for diaper changes.

We loved this area and I can't thank the fair and Bi-Mart enough for providing this much-needed space. I'm not sure how many years they've been offering this, but I hope it continues for a very long time!

After we spent almost an hour there, Bug was feeling much happier and was ready to go on to other adventures.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

India Palace

We needed a quick stop lunch place last week before Bug's nap and dh came up with a brilliant idea - India Palace in downtown Salem.

It's been a while since we've been there, but it's always been a past favorite. They have a fantastic weekly lunch buffet deal there too - $8 per person for all you can eat and that includes the drink!

Bug was starving and needed food asap so it was great to walk in the door and start putting a plate together for her right away. It was a perfect lunch for little toddler fingers - salad, fresh fruit, rice, bread and a mild curry plus some rice pudding for desert.

The seating area was clean, the staff was very nice and because it was setup for their lunch buffet it was easy to get her a smaller plate, silverware, a straw, etc.

Dh did take her to the bathroom while we were there and he did say that their bathroom was very dirty and was all around old and worn.

I forgot to ask when they start to charge for kids, but the cashier didn't even ask us for dd's age and we weren't charged for her at all so it was a very reasonable price for lunch. We left stuffed and ready for naptime!

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