Your kids deserve more than dry, fried chicken strips and ketchup, a cheeseburger and watery mac 'n' cheese. And in your quest to find a kids menu that doubles as a coloring book, you shouldn't be forced to eat UFO-saucer-sized plates of red sauce spaghetti and bricks of onion rings.
You can be a serious food person — and know all the words to that song from "Frozen." Some Los Angeles restaurants, and we're not talking about the big chains, have kids menus that are creative and thoughtful. Instead of cheese pizza, think burrata and Parmesan-topped flatbread. Trade in the chicken fingers for roast chicken with brown rice and heirloom carrots, or fried chicken with yam and milk gravy.
Here are three restaurants raising the bar with their kids menus. And don't be surprised when you try to pick off your kid's plate.
Plan Check Kitchen + Bar: It's the burger joint you know and love, for pint-sized customers. While you're eating Ernesto Uchimura's PCB burger, your little one can have one too, only smaller and without onions. There's also the Double Up Burger with bacon spread and melted and crunchy cheese. Both burgers come with fries. Kids can also order a smaller version of the Smokey Fried Chicken with yam and milk gravy and new Grilled BBQ Chicken Stix with BBQ sauce, crunchy cheddar, bacon bits and fries. Other items include a grilled cheese sandwich with fries, and an apple salad with lettuce, crunchy cheese and lemon honey vinaigrette. For dessert, cinnamon sugar cruller doughnuts and rootbeer floats. The menu is available for children 12 and younger, and everything is priced from $3 to $9. 1800 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles | 351 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, www.plancheck.com.
Stir Market: The Beverly Boulevard mini food hall just launched its kids menu, and it includes options for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. If you're 12 or younger, you can order the Stir Market Yummy Bowl with roasted chicken, brown rice, heirloom carrots and soy Teriyaki sauce ($8.95); the grilled cheese with sliced apples ($7.95); a cheesy flatbread with burrata and Parmesan ($7.95); grilled chicken with roasted carrots ($7.95); Meyer lemon pancakes with whipped creme fraiche and candied zest ($6.95); or the After School Cinnamon Toast with caramelized apple butter sugar and brioche ($5.95). To drink, coconut water, organic milk and housemade lemonade ($1.95). 7475 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 879-8283, www.stirmarket.com.
Tavern: If you've got a picky kid on your hands, Tavern has some kids meal classics, done well. While you're enjoying your pork osso buco with green tomato panzanella and hot bacon vinaigrette, your little ones (age 12 and younger) can order crudite with ranch dressing ($6); a half-sized tavern burger ($10); a grilled cheese sandwich with apples ($9); grilled chicken and carrots ($12); fish and chips with tartar sauce ($10); a bowl of pasta with butter and Parmesan ($9); and steamed broccoli ($6). 11648 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 806-6464, www.tavernla.com.
I'm just a big kid who likes cocktails and oysters. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_