Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kid Menu Review: Mimi's Cafe

First of all, my background with Mimi's: for the most part, I only go here with my office for our quarterly sales meeting. I did go with friends one time, but I didn't really pay attention to the kid's menu (since my son just wanted a burger that day)

This past weekend, though, we found ourselves headed to Dulles Town Center (so that I could trade in my size 12 jeans for size 6 ones at the Gap Trade-in Event!!) and I really did not want to eat at the food court. My brain kind of went on auto-pilot while I was driving in to the mall, and I found us headed toward Mimi's. Adam suggested we just eat there, because I had commented that they had some good, lower fat options, and I had also read that it was highly recommended by parents as one of the best chain restaurants for kids.

We got there and were told there was a 20-minute wait, but when I made the "OMG I think we have to leave" face, the hostess noticed the kids and said she would see if she could get us in sooner. She did, and within 10 minutes we were seated. My 3 year old got a kid's menu with crayons, and no one even blinked when I put my 7 month old in a high chair.

The kid's menu was a mix of breakfast and lunch/dinner items, and healthful and not so healthful. Here's the rundown:

"Mimi Mouse" Pancakes with fruit
Scrambled Eggs w/ Bacon
Chocolate chip pancakes w/ fruit

Lunch or dinner (includes drink, entree, dessert, and choice of side (0g trans fat fries, apple sauce, sliced apples, mashed potatoes, fresh fruit)):
Chicken Fingers
Mimi Burger (with our without cheese)
Mini Corn Dogs
Mac & Cheese
Pepperoni Pizzadillas
Grilled cheese
Turkey dinner
Soup & Salad

Now, as kid's menus go, this has a lot of variety, but a lot of it is a variety of not-so-healthful foods. But let's face it, some kids are so used to the "burger or nuggets" option that not including it might make the place feel less kid-friendly. The addition of the turkey dinner and soup & salad option really saves this menu, as does the option of fruit or vegetables on the side.

That said, my own kid wanted a cheeseburger. With apple slices.

Kids can also choose from soda (ick), whole, 2%, or skim milk, chocolate milk, lemonade, strawberry lemonade (hidden option not on the menu), orange juice, apple juice, or Hi-C (ick). Micah asked for lemonade and was given an option of regular or strawberry lemonade, and he was happy to have the strawberry.

They asked if we needed anything else for the baby, and I asked for some grapes, which they gladly brought to me, along with a plate for each kid containing a small cup of cheerios, some fruit, a wet wipe, and a bib. I was so impressed! Our server asked if it was our first time there, and I told her that it was not mine, but it was our first as a family. She brought us 4 giant muffins to take home! Not so great for the weight watchers, but a very nice thing that this restaurant does for its new customers. (Oh a note about the grapes before the internet starts flailing at me: we did sit and peel the grapes and cut them up for her. The girl loves her grapes.)

As for adults, I have, as I had told Adam, very good luck with Mimi's either finding a healthful choice or creating one. For instance, any omlette can be changed to an egg-beaters omlette, and potatoes on the side can be changed to fruit. And for lunch and dinner, they have a lighter side menu, where the lowest calorie item seems to be around 360 calories. That was the "Just Enough" Citrus Salmon, which came with a 3 oz salmon filet, citrus wedges, and a salad with strawberries and fat free dressing. If you're really hankering for a soup, you can have a naked onion soup, which has all of the oniony goodness and none of the bread and cheese. It was all delicious, and I did not feel like I was depriving myself at all. In fact, I felt downright full on that lunch! And then I got to walk around the mall for some exercise.

As a note, Adam got the turkey sandwich and he said it was a bit dry and needed more mayo. It was HUGE though, and he ate half and took the other half to lunch the next day.

So, my final verdict: great for kids, great for weight watchering, great for people who don't have kids or weight issues too! :)

Oh and by the way: weight watchers count is 19 weeks (16 meetings), -23.2 lbs, 1.6 pounds from goal.

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