Portland is internationally known for its creative food scene. Date nights can be spent devouring locally-raised and braised short ribs or vegan gluten-free concoctions that actually taste delicious. But when kids are coming with us, all too often the menu picks devolve into hot dog or mac and cheese. That got us wondering: What if there was no “kids’ menu”? What if the kids were presented with the same options available for grown-ups at local restaurants?
Chef Jason French opened up his decidedly grown-up restaurant in Northeast Portland, Ned Ludd, for our experiment. We invited seven kids, ages 5 to 8, all of whose families participate in Portland nonprofit Growing Gardens’ backyard gardening program.
Our young guests were encouraged to at least try some of what was on their plates, but not required to do so. Local videographer Nick Macdonald captured the meal on video — check it out to see our brave panel of food tasters for the kids’ reactions to the food in real time, and read more about what happened between the bites.
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