I always like to find kids menus that don't rely primarily on French fries, chicken nuggets and hot dogs.
And that's what took me to Mad Hatter's Bakeshop & Cafe in Durham a few weeks ago. At first glance, the Kids Rule! portion of the menu looks pretty average ... cheese pizza, hot dog, grilled cheese, chicken fingers.
But the restaurant on West Main Street in Durham (not out of the way if you're headed to the Museum of Life and Science or Duke's Lemur Center) prides itself on buying local produce and organic vegetables whenever possible.
So it's an organic beef hot dog. The cheese pizza is made on fresh pita bread. The chicken fingers are made with all white meat right there at the restaurant - no frozen nuggets for them. And the grilled cheese is made on five-grain bread. It all comes with fresh fruit and your choice of a drink, including white milk or juice. All items are $3.95.
But I'll admit that the best part of the whole menu is the dessert that comes with each meal. You get a choice of three - a cookie, a cupcake and, what pretty much everybody picks, the make-your-own-cupcake kit. Kids ... and anybody for that matter, they don't card you if you order from the kids menu ... can decorate their own cupcake.
It's a great way to stretch out that meal at the restaurant and the cupcakes are delicious. Really moist and the icing isn't too sweet.
So maybe a cupcake's not healthy. But I'll make an exception for these.
In this video, hear from Ana Cruz, a mom of four and assistant manager at Mad Hatter's, talking about the cupcake kits and watch my amazing cupcake decorating skills.