Fine dining in Banff, with children

Should children be present at a dinner that involves horseradish-crusted lamb shank and white tablecloths? My gut tells me no on this one, and yet, there we were at a fancy round table inside the Terrace Dining Room at the Banff Park Lodge, contemplating whether to order seared scallops with crepes or sablefish a la shrimp. Avery and Bennett, being kids, just wanted French fries.

Bennettt: “Mommy, I won’t eat my fries unless I like the presentation! Now, where’s that tablecloth so I can wipe the ketchup off my face?”

Normally I would leave the kids at home for this type of meal, but we were in Banff for the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food festival, and fancy dinner for the family was on the itinerary. The waitress brought paper and crayons, and Bennett promptly scribbled orange and blue onto the tablecloth (look really hard in the above snap and you’ll be able to see it). After colouring for approximately 30 seconds he asked Blake, “Daddy, where’s iPhone?”

After a palate-cleansing granita, Avery gets back to more interesting pursuits.

In situations like these, it pays to have an iPhone. Better to let the kids zone out playing Angry Birds than repeatedly ask, “When is our food going to come?” or, more to the point, “Where is French fries?” Valid questions, Avery and Bennett (appetizers really do prolong the dining experience when kids are along. And not in a good way). Inexplicably, when the waitress asked me whether I wanted the kids’ meals to come out early or with our entrees, I decided we should all eat together. Parenting fail.

The best part of the dinner was when our server finally brought out the children’s orders. Truly, I have never seen fries served in a separate white porcelain bowl, nor steamed veggies arranged just so, with dipping sauce in a little metal tin. The artistry of their dishes was lost on my kids, who immediately smeared ketchup all over their plates and faces. I cringed inwardly and took a silent moment to appraise my own entree:

Lamb shank on a bed of risotto. Yum.

The dinner was a success, but I’m not sure we’ll be making a reservation for four at Rouge anytime soon — I don’t think they serve fries.

Do you take your little kids out for fancy meals? Success or failure?

2 responses to “Fine dining in Banff, with children

  1. Jackie Kadane

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful family experiences. I can hardly wait to see all of you again!

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