I am pleased to announce the debut of our newest “Play with Your Plate” kids menu at Baba Ganoush in the Eagle Village in Fredericksburg, VA. Baba Ganoush opened in August 2011, and is owned by Sanaullah Shaihk and his wife, Rebekah Cousins-Shaikh. Sanaullah, a native of Pakistan, and Rebekah, an American from Pennsylvania wanted to open a restaurant with the the same quality and love in the food as what they make at home. Both are well-educated with children and their own professional careers. Despite their lack of experience in the restaurant business Sanaullah (known as Sana) says, “My wife really enjoys my cooking and encouraged me to start the restaurant.” The menu features Mediterranean and Indian Cuisine. The chef prepares many family recipes and uses whole spices ground on site, not spice blends. Naan bread, a flat bread popular in South Asian cuisine, is made fresh in a tandoori clay oven as you order it.
Sana approached me to help him design a kids menu that would appeal to a wide audience of kids. As soon as I tasted the food at Baba Ganoush and felt the care and pride with which it was prepared, I knew the kids menu could be WONDERFUL.
We designed the menu options so that everyone from the pickiest toddler to the most adventurous 10 year-old could find something they like. A cheese pizza and “Peanut Butter and Jelly Pinwheels” are familiar tastes made on fresh Naan bread. A mildly spiced “Kiddie Chicken Curry” and Chicken Kabob are great introductions to some Eastern spices. These selections come with a healthy side dish choice of raw veggies with hummus, a fruit kabob, or small green salad with house dressing.
The highlight of the menu is the “Kids Adventure Platter” which is a sampling of Mediterranean and Indian foods like chicken kabob, hummus, naan bread,stuffed grape leaves and salad. The Adventure Platter is a great option for kids with a big appetite and an adventurous spirit.
There are also kid-sized portions of traditional desserts like baklava and “carrot delight,” a sweet carrot and almond dessert.
Artist Ashleigh Buyers, an art student at Mary Washington University, designed an exciting activity placemat for the new kids menu. She incorporated some ideas like an elephant with “chick” peas flying around it and a connect-the-dots activity in the shape of the Taj Mahal.
The folks at Fredericksburg Parent and Family Magazine and I are incredibly proud of this kids menu. Baba Ganoush now joins Foode, The Trolley Stop Deli, and the Capital Ale House in the list of “Play with Your Plate” restaurants with menus that are “kid-tested and pediatrician approved!” We hope Sana and his staff at Baba Ganoush can show the children of Frederickburg how delicious food from India and the Middle East is. Bring your food passports, and he will give them a stamp too!