We discovered a great trick for eating out with small kids last night. We went to Lisa's Trattoria in Terenure for dinner. We'd been stuck in all weekend with coughs and colds and also me being on call which means I can't leave the house.
Sean was fairly cranky when we got there and we asked for soup for the kids ASAP, while we chose our food. When it arrived, Sean calmed down and ate the soup with hardly a word from him. He got a bit shirty again when it was all gone but then Midori's mussels starter arrived and this is the trick...
Midori gave Sean a few mussels and he set to work on them but mussels aren't the easiest thing to eat. For Sean anyway, there's a good minute of poking around to try and get the mussel out of its shell. Each one is a new puzzle and he quietly sat there solving each one for its little meaty reward. He was completely engrossed in it and when the mussels ran out, he went back and checked every empty shell to see if there was anything left. We ate our food in peace.
I can't think of any other puzzle foods that make kids work for each bite. I'd love to find a few more.
Sean also had a great time with my rigatoni. Each tube fitted nicely on a finger. He ate loads of everything. We also had a visit from a child of the family that run the restaurant. He played with Riona a little and at the end of the meal we got free coffee! I've been here three time and had free stuff twice! Lisa gave us free ice cream when we were there just after Sean was born. I think she likes kids and the little boy had a good time and told us we should come here every day.
Anyway, it was a nice food and plenty of it, although a bit pricey. The recession doesn't seem to have reached their menu yet. I think that explains why they were a bit empty while other restaurants on the same street were pretty busy.