Friday, August 8, 2008

Dining Out

Eating is also an adventure due to the presence of a very active toddler at the table! Collier is a terrific eater; his diet is healthy and varied and he'll eat just about everything in front of him. The problem is getting him to sit still to eat it! He prefers to be in motion, and can't stand to sit, not even to enjoy his food. This presents a big problem for us, particularly when dining out.

We enjoy our weekly trips to local restaurants, at least we used to. Here in Macedonia, the lack of highchairs in restaurants is making our dining experience less than pleasant. So far, the only place I have seen one is McDonald's, and I hate McDonald's! We have found a couple really lovely places to go, but alas, no highchairs.

Duomo is a lovely outdoor cafe, which is veranda covered and cooled by large fans. There is a fountain(very attractive to the girls and the busy baby) and fresh greenery all around; it truly is a beautiful environment for dining. The food is fantastic too. We usually share some Shopska salads, and last week we discovered their delicious garlic bread (shaped like a calzone, with gooey cheese and chunks of roasted garlic inside). The kids have pasta or pizza, and their roasted vegetable risotto is to die for! The chef would have no problem cooking it for Chef Ramsey on Hell's Kitchen--it's perfectly done and wonderfully flavorful.

Day and Night is more formal, but they do have a playground area outside their dining room for the kids. Unfortunately, it's always too hot to take advantage of it! Their menu is huge and so are their portions---one meal lasts us for two days. They actually have chicken fingers for Christopher, and he is starting to accept the sesame seeds on the coating. Their veggie pizza is yummy and their homemade bread is out of this world!

While we still miss Longhorn and Macaroni Grill, we look forward to our outings here too. Prices are quite reasonable. All 7 of us eat well for around $45, including tip, usually with leftovers for later. Tipping is not the norm here, most people just round to the next even number. We, however, leave 10 percent. (In the US, we were standard 20 percenters, but here that would be too weird.) So as you can imagine, we are very popular with the waiters, and receive a warm welcome and excellent service!

We usually try to eat out at odd hours, not too hard, given that Europeans, including Macedonians, eat very late. That way, Collier's behavior doesn't disturb anyone...except me. I eat with him on my lap, and his cute little fingers in my food. I feel sorry for whoever has to launder the linen tablecloths! Last week, after losing a good bit of my precious risotto to the tablecloth, I came home and ordered a portable highchair to use in restaurants. Amazon was kind enough to ship it the next day, at no additional charge, so I hope that by next weekend, I will be enjoying my meal in peace!!

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