Friday, October 26, 2012

Our Favorite Restaurant

Clara and I love to go to restaurants. I admit that I led Clara on this path. Ever since she was about three years old, I would prompt her to tell her Papa that she wanted to go to a restaurant as soon as we saw him at the end of a day. Even though I was initially the mastermind behind the restaurant requests, before long, Clara decided that she wanted to eat out, too. My incredulous husband had to deal with the two of us begging to go out to eat nearly every night after work. Despite my deep love of eating out, even I could admit, however, that for financial and health reasons, it was not feasible every night.

One stormy night this fall after a long day at school when I was too tired to even go out to eat, Clara and I devised an alternative to going out to a restaurant. We decided to bring our favorite elements of eating out at a restaurant to our home. I compiled the following list of reasons we like to eat out:

  1. We like being served.
  2. We like fancy drinks with straws.
  3. We like the ambiance of restaurants- lit candles and music playing.
  4. We like different meals than we normally would cook at home.
  5. I like not having to clean up.
With these goals in mind, we created our home restaurant, which Clara named MNMO Restaurant. I grabbed a frozen pizza and put it in the oven. I made a salad. I cooked some ground turkey just to have a little bit of protein even though it didn't really go with the Italian vibe of our restaurant. I made a fizzy drink with lime and mint and seltzer, and, of course, I made sure we had straws. The meal preparation took less than 15 minutes. Meanwhile, waitress and restaurant owner Clara got to work designing a menu. She helped to light the candles. She took my order, and the ordering process went quite quickly since there were only a few options on the menu.

Clara presides proudly over the first night of MNMO Restaurant. I'm not sure why she thinks that waitresses should wear hats, but this was an important part of her outfit that night. Note the lit candles and her homemade menu on the table.

Since that first night of our restaurant in September, Clara and I have created restaurant night at home about once a month. The name of the restaurant is never the same, and the menu offerings change every time. And sometimes, there is not even real food at our restaurant. Instead, we create a restaurant using toy food.

Clara's menu with made-up words and drawings
A healthy (albeit fruit-heavy) meal of lemon, apple, and pear.
Doll Natasha is served her dinner.
I'm a fan of our home restaurant so far. It's not that hard to mix up our meals, light some candles, or add a straw to a drink to help our dinner feel a bit more special. And, it's pretty adorable to see Clara taking my order by writing down a bunch of scribbles on a pad, even if the end result is that she's going to serve me a dish that I just made.

 The only thing I still haven't figured out is how to get someone else to do the dishes.



  1. Such a sweet idea! We've done indoor picnics that are always a blast.

  2. I agree- picnics indoors or outdoors are the best!

  3. Cuteness overload! Clara is an adorable restaurant manager and waitress! Sometimes, you just have to be creative when it comes to dining out. Who knows? Maybe Clara will get to run her own restaurant someday. :)