Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Menu Collection - A Restaurant at Home

Overlook Cafe I

When we owned our store, I kept the menu posted on our refrigerator.  Mr. White cooked at the store. He made breakfast, lunch and supper. The children and I helped him create a large menu of choices for our customers. He was constantly inventing new things to add to the list.

I used this menu at home, as a guide, to give me ideas for my own home cooking. I tried to keep some of the ingredients on hand. (There was no way I was going to make steak and cheese subs, or fried mozzarella sticks at home!) After we sold the store, I still used that menu for inspiration.

I realize we can get ideas from cookbooks, but there is just something about restaurant menus that inspire me. I am going to share some of my favorites and then tell you my plan:

(Click on the title of each restaurant to go see a menu.)

1. Rocky's New York Pizza

I visit this one whenever I am in the Burlington, Vermont area. It is an outstanding place. I choose pizza, or tortellini and a salad. They also have large, homemade chocolate chips cookies which are delicious! They have a stack of full-colored menus, packed with inspiring ideas for supper.

2.  Hingham Lobster Pound

If you like seafood, you'll love this place in Massachusetts. It is one hour south of Boston and located near Hingham Harbor. It is a beautiful location.  My family often went there during the summer months to get "fish and chips."  It was a treat!  (Personally, I don't eat fish, so I would just get some fries and a soda.)  This one is harder for me to be inspired by. I don't cook fish  but it does bring back good memories and adds a little excitement to my menu plans.

3. 99 Restaurant

This was where my husband and I went for dinner after we got married. You can really get inspired to decorate your dining room in a place like this. Their food is wonderful. I appreciate the leisurely pace customers are served, so they have time to visit and really enjoy their meal.

4. Friendly's (An all -time family favorite)

 Every so often, after our family went to church, Dad would surprise us by taking us out for lunch at Friendly's. We were all dressed in our best and had a fabulous time. Mother and Dad would take a table of their own, while we girls would sit together and chat and laugh and enjoy ourselves.

I have taken my own children to Friendly's and we all love it!  Their children's menu always gave me good ideas for quick lunches.

5. Cracker Barrel (Sample breakfast menu)

I love this place. No, I mean, I adore this place! I have gotten more ideas for serving my family, presenting the meal and coming up with creative breakfasts than any other restaurant. They warm their plates before placing the food on them. They have a marvelous fireplace in the dining room. Their tea cups are charming! I could go on and on!

6. Papa Ginos

New England's finest pizza restaurant. I grew up eating there as often as possible. If I had a doctor's appointment that didn't go well (I hated to suffer through tests), my mother would promise me a small cheese pizza, the second we left the office, if only I wouldn't cry.

My own children and I have gone there several times over the years and it has always been my favorite place. I was delighted when they started a delivery service!

Today, we don't live anywhere near a Papa Ginos, but whenever I can get to Massachusetts, it is a required destination!

Their menus are packed with delicious lunch and dinner ideas!

7. Other ways to find menus:

- Many phone books have a restaurant section which lists several menus.

- Local newspapers list a senior menu or school menu each week.

Here's my plan:

     In my homemaking binder, I am going to start putting my collection of menus in there. I can flip through the various restaurant menus and come up with new ideas to feed my own family.

     I will try to eat at a local restaurant every few months, for inspiration.  Perhaps I will have the children take turns going with me, so we can enjoy a special treat, by getting all dressed up and having a nice chat!

     My ongoing plan is to make our meal-times cozy, inviting and pleasant - just like a good restaurant. Even if all I can afford is a humble menu, at least it will be served in elegance.

Mrs. White

A delightful waitress at home in The Breakfast Hostess.

Inspiration from an elegant restaurant created our Restaurant Style Breakfast at Home.

How about  A Good Old Fashioned Breakfast?

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Laura O in AK said...

Mrs. White ~ great idea to reflect on your favorite establishments and the fare they offer. Back in Maryland, I went to an Italian restraunt with my dad and sister (while dad was in town visiting.) We'd ordered a house dish (that cost WAY more than we realized it would) that was fabulous. I then figured out how to almost copy it at home and let hubby and the boys enjoy. (well, one boy didn't enjoy it as he doesn't like crab.) We miss Friendly's, Cracker Barrel and Bob Evans now....