If most of us possessed a small percentage of Heather John’s knowledge about food, wine, fashion, and other chat-able topics, we’d be in great shape at any cocktail party. (Especially those of us afflicted by Mommy Brain.) Heather is a Contributing Editor and mostly covers wine and spirits at Bon Appétit; she also writes about food, booze, and design for various publications, and maintains The Foodinista blog. Her impeccable and eclectic taste radiates through the computer screen, as well as on the printed page. When it comes to discussing parenting and other matters related to her two-year-old son, Heather sticks to being practical yet stylish, without crossing the line into precious territory. Check out the informative article she recently wrote for the L.A. Times about enviro-friendly — and undoubtedly cute — lunch containers and safer kid food storage products.
What do you like to make for your son at home?
Meatballs! I use a lean protein like ground buffalo, turkey, chicken or lamb and then add in leftover veggies and homemade whole grain breadcrumbs. Whole wheat couscous and red pepper hummus is another favorite. And then some sort of veg, like broccoli, orange or purple cauliflower or roasted peppers. I try to keep his meals colorful.
Which places (restaurants and farmers’ markets, etc.) do you like to eat out as a family?
He likes the action at the Original Farmers Market, Langer’s, BLD if we hit it first thing before it gets slammed and Tavern in Brentwood for weekend brunch is super family friendly.
How do you manage toddler restaurant restlessness?
Restlessness usually occurs when the food takes too long to come out, which is a good sign that it’s not an ideal restaurant for us to eat as a family (perhaps making it an ideal restaurant for us to revisit on a date!). One of us will get up and walk him around outside for a change of scenery.
In what ways have your ideas about child behavior in restaurants changed since you’ve become a parent?
Before I had kids, I went out to lunch with a friend whose toddler pulled everything off the table, including the tablecloth. The friend was unapologetic to the staff, to fellow diners, and it was one of the most uncomfortable lunches I can remember. As a parent today, I would be every bit as mortified. If your kid isn’t up for it, it isn’t fair to anyone.
How do you think L.A. rates compared to other cities vis-a-vis restaurants that are both family-friendly and high quality?
We have had great experiences in Portland, San Francisco, and Boston, but none of those cities comes close to offering as many culturally diverse options as L.A. We are lucky to live in a city with so many options, and I love that you are blogging about and sharing these experiences with the rest of us!