Thursday, July 1, 2010

Out to Lunch - Vientiane and El Dorado Grill

My family rarely eats out. I think we stopped eating out after the birth of our son. Wiping splatters of food off of the top of his nursing head, or shoveling crayons in his direction with one hand while trying to spoon dessert into my mouth with the other, just didn't seem fun. Now our daughter is three, and eating at a restaurant mostly involves breaking up under-the-table kicking matches between the kids.

Eating out has never really been part of my family life. As a kid, we rarely ate out. Once in a while we stopped for Chinese food or pizza when we went shopping at the mall. And every Thanksgiving we stopped at McDonald's—twice--while traveling from our small town in Ohio to my grandma's house in Pennsylvania.

I love to eat out now—at the right place. I want our rare outing to be outstanding, and affordable, and I often feel disappointed. Since I enjoy cooking, I usually come away feeling that the food was a waste of money. “I could have made that for way less.” I know, I know, part of the pleasure of eating out is just a chance to enjoy being cooked for, and hanging with friends or family. (See first paragraph).

For some reason, we ate out a lot this month. And some of those experiences were more enjoyable than others.

My husband met myself and the kids for lunch at Vientiane's new location on Sherman Ave. They moved from their Park Street location only a few months agao. We ordered an assortment of dishes, including spring rolls, my favorite soup Pho, Pad Thai and a curried chicken.

Overall it was delicious, but I found a lot of the entrees very greasy. The Pho was also a little too sweet. My son loved the Pad Thai, much to my husband's chagrin. I tried to enjoy the spring roll and it's delicate sauce, but my daughter was very fussy and pretty much ran around the restaurant (which was thankfully empty). It was a bit close to my daughter's naptime, and she was not interested in eating, or sitting, or letting us enjoy our meal.

My husband and I recovered not long after by heading to El Dorado Grill on Willy St. I had never eaten there before, but recently learned that they serve local chicken and pork on their menu. My husband chose the pork burrito which was stuffed with shredded meat, beans and veggies, and I got the mango BBQ chicken. The burrito was delicious, presented in a bed of salsa verde. The mango chicken was served with an overwhelming portion of collard greens, and some delicious garlic mashed potatoes and a slightly sweet corn pancake. The margarita was amazing!

It's back to my kitchen for a while, since we totally blew out eating out budget (which by the way is about $0). Not to mention it's better to stop on a good note.


RCakeWalk said...

I totally agree with you! I know it's fun to go out, but I always make the comparison to what I could have done for less at home. Looks like you found a coulée good places, and I'm sure you had a good time!

Christine said...

We love eating out and taste the food in every restaurant. But it's so expensive. I can imagine how much we could have saved if we just eat out once a month. I think we eat out every other day...and we are a family (with 2 kids).