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Your Best restaurant experience as a child? [before HS age]

There are lots of threads about excellent meals and great childhood memories, but I looked and I couldn't find one about favourite restaurant experiences as a child.

So, did you have a formative or striking restaurant experience that you still remember?

Tell us!

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  1. Just before HS, maybe 8th Grade, our Scout troop did a field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, a hundred miles up Illinois 1 from our town. That's a heck of a place, with a Spitfire attacking a Stuka, both hanging from the entrance hall ceiling, and a WW2 German U-boat and a replica coal mine to tour. Lunch was in a cafeteria, another exotic experience for farm-town kids, with a hot plate, roll, drink and Jell-O for $1.10 … and they had LAMB CHOPS. I had read of these but never seen nor tasted any, so of course I had to get that. I tasted and then ignored the mint jelly (see? Good taste even then!) and went to work on that chop. What a revelation! We had plenty of delicious meat at home, including rabbit and the very large and tasty Illinois squirrels, but this was a whole new thing, and if I'd had another dollar I'd have done it again.

    Of course I told Mom all about it and asked why we never had that, and learned that Dad had been fed a lot of elderly mutton in the Army, and wanted nothing to do with any damn sheep meat ever again. I wasn't even supposed to mention it to him, and of course it was years before I had any more. I have since striven, to the best of my ability, to compensate for what I missed.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      I'm with dad. Only people from foreign cultures should be allowed to prepare sheep meat.

      1. re: flavrmeistr

        Yes, preferably Greeks.

        Oh...or Mexicans if they make good birria.

        1. re: EarlyBird

          ...or anyone within spitting distance of the Meditterranean.

    2. Sirloin steak dinner at the hotel restaurant at the Holiday Inn in Omaha Nebraska. We were moving from Colorado and had to hole up in Nebraska because of a freak snowstorm closing the Interstate.

      I was just over 8 years old and it was the first time I was permitted to order my own meal. It came with a salad, soup with crackers, baked potato and mushrooms and I also had ice cream to finish things off.

      My parents still remind me that it was the most expensive item on the menu.

      1. Diwana's on Drummond Street near Euston Station. my parents would insist that I eat some dosa before they let me eat Pani Puri and drink Kashmiri Falooda. I should say that it wasn't one experience but many great Sunday evenings after dropping my Aunt off at the station. Of course, this was followed by sweets from Ambala's and the occasional parking ticket because parking was so bad. I grew up on Diwana's.

        1. When I was in the single numerical age, there used to be a restaurant called The Cambridge Inn .....they made the most incredible Brioche Popovers with sweet cream butter......after the meal, they had a large chest/trunk filled with Goody Bags for the good kids. I remember it like it was yesterday.....

          1. Great thread idea! Dad traveled M-F. He had friends from all over the country. Mom was a great cook. (Just lost her four weeks ago at 90) Eating out was not rare but always special. As a late in life kid we ate with the adults only most of the time.

            First shrimp cocktail is a great memory. Small town country club. I make my cocktail sauce like mom did, the recipe from the CC.

            Trout Almondine, in a hotel dining room. Still love.

            Salad Bar and "Mocktails" at Sam Wilson's Meat Market. In KC it was a big deal. A wheel of cheddar to slice yourself.

            Shrimp Scampi. Who knew ?

            Finally, two Italian places. One, dad went to for lunch when he stopped traveling. They named a sandwich after him. The other we have gone to for thirty years. First with my folks and now my husband.

            Trips with dad and eating are for another post. Thank you for making me remember.