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Recently in Kids Category

Feeding toddlers - make that, getting them to eat healthy, nutritious things -- is a tricky thing. I know - I have two of them. But I'm not sure disguising broccoli as something else or spending inordinate amounts of time shaping food into dinosaurs and stars and Mickey Mouse heads is the best way to go.

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That's why I love the two wonderful recipes from chefs Phillip Foss and Kristine Subido in today's Food cover story on helping kids develop an appreciation for other cultures' foods. Meatballs and noodles are both inherently kid-friendly, but these dishes aren't dumbed down either. Subido's rice noodles have an aggressive gingery bite, and Foss' turkey meatballs have a pleasant twist thanks to cinnamon and Coca-Cola.

A note on Subido's noodles: Indonesian sweet soy sauce, or as Subido calls it, 'ABC sauce,' is the key here. It has a can't-miss red label and is available in Asian grocery stores (I found it at Joong Boo Market, a Korean market at 3333 N. Kimball.) It comes in sweet, medium sweet and salty flavors; drizzle the sweet sauce over any stir-fried, or use it in marinades. You'll swear it tastes just like what you order from your neighborhood Thai joint.

There are many restaurants -- besides those that seem like amusement parks -- that are kid and family friendly, and for parents who've instilled an appreciation for the restaurant experience in their kids, just about any restaurant can be welcoming to them.

But an event in Downers Grove this month makes certain that families will not have to spend more time researching the kid-friendliness of a restaurant than they do the restaurant's menu.

The first-ever Kids Rock Too! - Kids Restaurant Weekend will be held in Downers Grove Oct. 16 - 18 and features 17 Downers Grove restaurants that are part of the Downers Grove Hospitality Alliance, which is putting the event together.

Participating restaurants will feature promotions and meals especially for kids. Some of the deals include: Free kids' junior cone with each adult purchase of equal or greater value item, kids pay a penny per pound for a slice of pizza, 99 cent build your own mini-cheeseburgers, create your own pizza for $5 and a special tour of Dunkin' Donuts to design and decorate your own donut, as well as many other deals. Wow, this really sounds fun! (And no, I'm not being facetious -- create your own pizza? a penny a pound for pizza? tour Dunkin' Dounts and design your own donut? What's the cut-off age? Would someone like to loan me their child for the weekend so I can take part?)

A complete list of the participating restaurants, in addition to the deals, can be found here, on Downers Grove's Web site.

About the blog

Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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