Lunchtime With Tillie: The LWT Awards

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you had a good holiday season. It’s Van and Tillie here and before we embark on a new season of lunchtime escapades, we thought we’d send off ’09 properly with the first LWT Awards!

I started my mealtime mission with Tillie back in June and she has gone from eating Cheerios to becoming a mini-foodie in her own right.

We’ve had some great dining experiences over the past few months, and the LWT Awards recognizes the best of those and all that went into them. And, oh, here’s a disclaimer: The awards just represent the places we’ve visited, so if I list a “best burger,” it’s just from LWT-visited places. Got it? Good! So without further ado, we present the LWT Awards!

The envelopes please …

Best bacon cheeseburger: Why not start off with a personal favorite category? I am doing all the writing, after all! Anyway, if you’ve been following LWT, then you know there were a lot of those eaten by yours truly! It was close, but the winner is Maggie Brown. The cheese smothering the bacon is a technique more places need to take up.

Best bang for your buck: I never realized there were so many lunchtime specials in the neighborhood, until I started frequenting the places more. There are plenty of good deals, but the food might not be up to snuff. This award takes into account food quality and price with the leading contenders being Myrtle Thai, Kinara and Mojito. We’re going to have to give the prize to Myrtle Thai, as Tillie enjoyed the green curry and rice there more. We were both able to eat off the one dish there and walk away full.

Best food but not the best experience: This one has to go to the previously mentioned Mojito. The food was amazing, but in all the places we went, this was the only one that radiated that, “Aw man, a baby’s here” vibe.

Best outdoor setup: Remember back in the old days when it used to be warm? When you could sit outside and enjoy a meal? Ahh, memories! Well, this award recognizes the perfect place to take advantage of that, and after some serious consultation with Tillie, we have to say Anima deserves this one. Its backyard space makes you feel like you’re dining out at a café in Italy.

Best innovation by me to get Tillie to eat her veggies: With Tillie being a baby and all, sometimes it gets tricky with her eating habits. Well, this award recognizes a stunt that I had to pull off to get out of a mess I created. The scene was Brooklyn Public House and I gave T some french fries in the middle of her eating her butternut squash soup I brought along. After tasting the fries, there was no way she was going back to the soup. So I came up with dipping a fry in the soup, putting it in her mouth and pulling it out so she got the soup, while simultaneously inventing a french fry spoon! She finished the soup and I was able to land an exclusive deal with Ore-Ida: Look for the french fry spoon at your nearest grocery store in 2012.

Best LWT guest: We did have a great time at Umi Nom with Tillie’s friend Amira and Amira’s pop. But this award has to go with the woman responsible for the LWT team: Tillie’s mom! She made it out with us to Zaytoon’s and 67 Burger, and on the former visit, she even picked up the check. You gotta love that!

Best entertainment for Tillie: Wow, all these categories are so tough. There were the toy trains at Square Root Café, the menus at various restaurants, the straw baskets at Castro’s, the airplane outside Madiba and the fish tank at Sapolo. Trains are always great, T says, but for her money, it has to be those fish. It feels like we spent hours looking at them to me, but she couldn’t get enough.

Best pizza: You’ve heard me rant and rave about how much I love pizza, and how I plan on shaping Tillie to be the same way. We’ve had plenty of it over her little lifetime, and we agree the best pizza we’ve come across doing Lunchtime With Tillie has to be the mini tomato pizza at the 3 Luigi’s. I’m telling you now: Go there and get one! And give your kid a slice or two – they’ll thank you for it!

Best shock to my system, food-wise: Never in a million years did I think I would go there, but after getting knocked around for my bacon cheeseburger habit (see above), I decided to go the complete opposite route and hit vegan restaurant Red Bamboo. I never thought soy chops and collard greens with vegan ham could taste so good!

Best shock to my wallet, but it was worth it: T and I were walking around one fine afternoon when we stumbled upon Luz. I always thought it was closed on the weekdays. We went in and I got the arepas for Tillie, while I had the salmon. It wasn’t the cheapest of lunches, by any means, but it was definitely worth splurging on.

Best after-lunch treat: There are no other competitors here: Ice cream from the cart outside The General Greene made many a sunny afternoon for me. My favorite combo? A scoop of honey vanilla and one of salted caramel – delicious! Tillie didn’t get to have any, but maybe next year!

And with that, Tillie and I say thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed the LWT Awards. We’ll pick up with your regular Lunchtime With Tillie presentation next week!