Lunchtime With Tillie: Umi Nom

Hello everyone and welcome to a special super-sized edition of Lunchtime With Tillie! It’s me, Van, with her, Tillie, and as a special treat, we’ve brought along one of T’s best friends, 14-month-old Amira, and her dad, Marquis, aka “Amira’s pop.” It’s twice the kids, twice the grown-ups and twice the excitement! lwtuninom-tillie

And this lunchtime caravan of ours ended up at one of the neighborhood’s hottest new spots, Thai-Filipino restaurant Umi Nom on Dekalb and Classon. What can I say? We’re all just fancy like that!

Just kidding, because Umi Nom is as unpretentious as they come. I went there for dinner with Tillie’s mom, Amira’s parents and another couple a few months ago, and we had a wonderful time. It was just like having friends over for dinner and a bottle of wine or two (or six or seven, if you’re counting)!

Anyway, I had been hearing rumors about the restaurant being open for lunch, but I wasn’t planning on investigating any time soon. Part of that was due to me thinking they would just offer the small plates they serve at dinner. The dishes are all excellent, but if you end up getting a few to fill you up, it could make a little dent in the wallet.

It’s funny how we ended up there this time. We were all at the playground as part of our twice-weekly dads’ group meeting, but after a while of chasing the kids, Amira’s pop and I both worked up an appetite. I told him Tillie and I were about to go on one of our LWT adventures and that he and Amira were welcome to join us. As we started to gather up the kids, another dad in the group showed up, having just gotten back from Umi Nom. I told him my concerns, but he let me know there was a whole lunch menu and how great his food was. We already had a decision on where we were going, but I looked over at AP and I saw he was thinking what I was: Let’s go to Umi Nom!

When we entered, we were greeted warmly by the waiter. We were offered to take a seat anywhere we liked, but coming in with kids and strollers, it’s not exactly the easiest of tasks. Our strollers were able to be stored in the back of the restaurant near the open kitchen without folding them up, which is always a bonus to me. (I just hate taking out the stuff in the pouch underneath the seat, like the diaper pad, toys, stroller cover, etc., all the tools a parent on the go needs!)

After getting the kids situated in their high chairs, we took a look at the menu. The options all sounded so good, plus another bonus: They were all reasonably priced –  I don’t think anything exceeded 10 bucks. Even though I was tempted to go with Umi Nom’s spin on the burger, I decided on the bahay kubo – stir-fried rice with chicken, sausage, shrimp, egg and soy – and Amira’s pop got the chicken pad-seow and a side of garlic rice for Amira.

While we were waiting for the food, the waiter brought out some toasted bread for the kids, which was greatly appreciated. He even came back later to see if we wanted some more. (Probably because AP and I were munching on it!) I broke out with some of the pasta I made a literal vat of for Tillie a few weeks ago and gave her some. I also set some aside for Amira, which she really seemed to like. It made me feel proud of my baby-food-cooking abilities, even though Tillie’s mom called me out for the lack of vegetables in said vat.

The kids were having a great time interacting with each other, which they always seem to do. Tillie gets real excited around Amira, kind of like that looking up to the older kid situation. Between feeding the two and picking up crumbs, the two dads were able to catch up.

My food and the garlic rice came out first, and it was a most welcome sight! I took a bite first to determine if the seasoning would be OK for Tillie to handle, which it was. (Well, that’s part of it: Remember, I was starving!) Amira’s pop dished up some garlic rice for the kids while waiting for his food to come out, and I offered him some from the heaping mound on my plate. We both agreed that mine was delicious: The rice had a slightly sweet taste to it, while the shredded vegetables had a nice contrasting tanginess to them. And there was enough meat for a piece in every bite. Tillie’s been a big rice eater, so the dish worked for her, too.

Also, you can take this as an indication as to how good it was: You know how I usually have pictures of the food included? My food was so tasty that it totally wiped out any intention of taking shots of it – eating it was the main priority!

The noodles came out shortly and Amira got a little bit of the dish set aside for her. She tried to feed Tillie a couple of pieces of chicken, but the two couldn’t pull off the transaction without the food hitting the floor!

After the eating was done and the bellies were full, we packed the kids up to go – all the while raving about how good our food was. They were both getting kind of tired after being out and about for a while. We got the bill, which was about $27 for the two of us – a good value for all the food and the wonderful experience we had.

So just in case more of a recommendation is needed: Run, don’t walk (or stroll) there. The staff couldn’t be nicer and the food couldn’t be better. Plus, it’s great to go there with a chum – child and grown-up alike!