Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cristiano's and The Blog Cafe

It's a great day to gather at The Blog Cafe!
If you are new to The Blog Cafe, you can find an introduction at

It's like a group of friends old and new gathering at a favorite place for food and fun.

Today we're meeting virtually at Cristiano's Pizza Etc. in my hometown.
Originally, Cristiano's was a cozy little bistro serving incredible salads and delicious pizza. It has long been a favorite lunch spot of mine. The first time I took Cycle Guy there, he looked around wondering what I was doing to him. The term "other fish in the sea" suddenly lost all meaning as he began to drown in a sea of women. Business lunches, friends out for soup and salad, and young mom's with preschoolers in tow filled the restaurant.

Things have changed, for the better. Cristiano's has doubled their space, still a cozy bistro just bigger. Even then you can expect it to be crowded. It's that good. And... there are as many men gathering now as women. We just couldn't keep our secret any longer. Oh you'll still see friends out for a chat with toddlers in tow but the male crowd is as great as the female one now. It's just that good.

Today we'll start with some of my favorite,The deep fried cheese ravioli appetizer.
It comes with a pesto asiago dipping sauce and chunky marinara.

And while we wait for our salad and pizza, we can visit and color. When you bring kids with you they automatically put paper on the table and bring you crayons, but all you have to do is ask and you can get them even without the little ones.

The salads at Cristiano's are their premier dish.
They are huge and chock full of goodness.Look at all that cheese!
This is the Mediterranean Salad with Feta cheese and Greek dressing.
The bread sticks are chewy in the middle, with a crunchy Parmesan crust... fabulous.This is the Caesar Salad loaded with Parmesan Cheese.
It's your choice... dressing on the side or tossed in, grilled chicken or no.

Then there's the pizza... Real cheese, stretchy and hot, covering a thick chewy crust and whatever other toppings you choose.

I reserved a virtual table at Cristiano's ALL day and I hope you'll come over and sit a spell.

As the host I get to choose the conversation topic of the day. It may seem a little serious, but after spending a virtual day with no cares in a dream spot last Monday, I think we can handle it. And I think there are some of you out there who can still have a little fun with it.

So, let's talk about kids and adults... I think there are some things I wish kids knew about grown ups.

I spend one morning each week helping in Fashionista's 5th grade classroom. She has a fabulous teacher who has a way of getting the kids excited about education. From brains to fractions, this lady can sell it.

One day as I was correcting math papers I asked her a question I had about one of their worksheets. I wasn't sure if I should mark something wrong, it was so close to being correct. She looked it over and said, "Oh, darn it, we'll have to mark it wrong." She felt sincerely sorry that they got it wrong. The empathy and compassion I felt from her was amazing and that's when I realized that this teacher really cares about how her students do in school. I wish I had known that when I was a kid.

That got me thinking. What are some things I wish my kids understood about me? Like:

...I don't feel any different on the inside than I felt when I was younger.

...I've never been a parent before and I'm learning as I go, doing the best I can.

...I've been where they are right now, I really do have some of the answers.

...The adults in their lives care about them. We are trying to help them succeed, not waiting to see them fail.

...When they mess up we are sorry for their pain and want to help it get better. Remember when a kiss made the tears go away?

What do you wish kids knew about grown ups? Be serious or funny... I'm interested in hearing your thoughts!

And if you'd like to host the Cafe one week, please email us

We'll get you on the list and give you a hosting date!


Anna Lisa said...

Based on Friday's fun- I'd say that we still like to have "playdates" with friends. And that "visiting"/laughing with good friends is just as much fun as running around the playground is at 5 yr old. LOL... Oh and you're never too old to sit down and color.
Thanks for the yummy treats...I'll tag along anytime!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Those salads are massive but for sure tasty - who doesn't like Feta & Parmesan? :)
Re your 'kids and adults' topic' .... I don't really know what kids should know about adults ... I am not a parent yet but I think it would be amazing if kids were able to understand that in each adult a drop of childishness remains forever ... that's way those BIG PEOPLE can be so much fun to play with :) cheers!

Anonymous said...

What delicious looking food. I hope I'm in the right place for the blog cafe- not popped in before.

I have a book reward waiting for my son. I wish he could see positive consequences when he makes an effort. As this isn't always possible at school, I am hoping to encourage it at home.

Marcie said...

Hmm...I think I'd like my kids to know that underneath it all - I'm still a kid-at-heart and that - like them - I'm still figuring it out as I go and grow.
Wonderful topic!!!

JoLyn said...

Oh I wish I was eating that salad right now!

I remember wishing my children could know that I just want them to be happy--and that happiness sometimes doesn't come the way they think it's going to. Great topic Jenny.

Tracy said...

Hi, Jenny! Such SPLENDID food... Oh, I feel full just looking at the photos... LOL! I'll definitely have helping of those ravioli appetizers and one of those salads... YUM-MY! Your topic today is wonderful. Sadly, I'm not a parent (mom to a fur-baby though ;o)...But I'm with you on the whole "still figuring it out as I go along"... I think anyone of any age is doing this--we just do our best each day, learning it all as we go. :o) Thanks for the super meal and chat, Jenny ((BIG HUGS))

The WoodLand School said...

Mmmmmm ... thanks for taking us to Cristiano's! Everything looks just delicious!

Your kid/parent discussion topic is quite interesting ... I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone contributes. Despite my appearance, I still feel young inside :-)

Bandanamom said...

Again, still on a diet, (as pretty much ALWAYS! :) ) but I will happily eat that feta salad. I adore feta much more than a normal person probably should.

I will say that I feel almost exactly the same way that I did when I was 18 years old. And I suspect (since I am now 42) that I am STILL going to feel like an 18 year old girl when I am 80. Which has made me realize I can have a much more fun relationship with older women than I thought I could. Because they probably all feel roughly 18 too.

Sadly, I wish kids knew that grown ups can't always fix everything or have the answer for everything and sometimes we are just doing our best or making it up as we are going along, hoping it's the right thing.

Happiness comes in lots of ways, but mainly from accepting yourself for who you are - whether you're an adult or a kid, this is a big lesson, and if you don't learn it when you're a kid, sometime you'll have to learn it as an adult. And if you never do - you'll always chase an elusive form of happiness that will never fill up the empty hole inside.

Grown ups make mistakes. Sometimes big one. And sometimes it's hard to forgive that, especially if it was an adult you thought was perfect. But there are no perfect adults. Some really, really good ones. But no perfect ones. Be careful not to idolize people because they can disappoint you if you do.

I feel like goofing around and joking and dancing and being silly and stupid just as much as my kids do. But I think my kids already know that. But I think they think I am WEIRD, I bet most moms and dads feel the same way - it's just that some of us are more willing to act like morons in front of our children than others of us. I fall under the moron category.

Everything I do, even the stuff that they really don't understand sometimes, is really ultimately, just to make them turn into happy functioning adults. That's all I really care about. If I manage to accomplish that - I'll have achieved the only thing I ever really purposefully set out to do with them.

We are proud of them but we want them to be proud of themselves. Because that's probably even more important!

bekkah said...

I would want my daughter to know that even adults can be immature and make mistakes when it comes to relationships with friends and family. That it can sometimes require so much effort and compromise, but in the end it's so very worth it!

OH, and also...your very first BFF from pre-school...hold on TIGHT to her, 30 years from now when you see YOUR children playing together it'll bring the happiest of tears to your eye :)

btw - it's 9:45 AM and I am DYING for a greek salad and pizza!!!

Becky K. said...

Call me a carb addict, if you like, but I noticed that bread beside the salad! Yummy!

You nailed some of my biggest items for kids and adults...but I also would tell kids that things have changed a lot since I was a kid and there are more reasons for caution. The internet (as a whole) and Facebook are quickly changing our world and depending on how they are used sometimes it can be risky.

Thanks for hosting today!

Becky K.
Hospitality Lane

Adventures in MetroLand said...

I am currently without children but I wish that kids knew that even as adults, the best feeling in the world is having someone to cuddle up to on the couch to watch TV. Hugs still make alot of things better.

Dawn said...

That food looks delicious! I know you are a good mom and very supportive of your children and their schools. Your comments about parenting were really great. I'm proud to know you!!

Jenny86753oh9 said...

Since this is all virtual, I'll take 2 plates of that ravioli...and don't worry about any other sauce than the pesto asiago...Oh My Word!

I guess I feel a lot like you and the others. I want my kids to know I'm really for them and want to see them succeed which is why I try to help. I also want them to know that I just might not have all the answers, but I'll be there to hand their hand through anything.

Great cafe' time, Jenny! excuse me as I continue to shove this food in my mouth. ;-)

Mike J said...

I wish that they knew that I'm just trying to do my best as a father even though I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time.

Another thing is even though I'm older than they are I'm still a work in progress just like they are.

Good topic and a great piece of writing.

Marie said...

What a wonderful visit! I just love pizza and this was such a fun place to go! Everything looks so delicious. You were the perfect hostess!! xxoo

Arizaphale said...

Outrageous salads!!! How can I eat one without making a mess???? Worth a try though!
Not sure what else I can add to this excellent collection of advice for children about adults.
Perhaps that our dancing once WAS cool!!!

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

That's a hard one for me, because I don't have children. But, I wish that as a child I had understood that the choices my parents wanted me to make were in my best interest and not simply to crimp my social style and self expression - LOL

Thanks for hosting! I always love a yummy Italian dinner out. It always has something for everyone whether it be romance or a robust family get together!

Leisa Hammett said...

Sorry, Jenny-Jenny, I cannot find how to contact you directly here and then not without opening up my gmail acct. and going back to your original comment on my blog. Arsenic hour rush here....Latest developments: "The Horse Boy" is available on Netflix in addition to via DVD purchase. As well, it premieres at least on PBS Nashville affiliate on May 11. I assume that is also the national premiere but may not broadcast on all local stations. Check local listings. More details: Thanks for your interest!

The Clem Family said...

One thing I wish kids knew about adults and it's been mentioned already is that adults are really just big kids.

Twisted Fencepost said...

I know I'm a few days late, but I'm chiming in anyway. tee hee
I'm always telling my kids I'm on their side. I'm not the enemy.

And I used to be cool! LOL

I am starving and this did not help, at all.

Heather Reed said...

Okay, you totally made my mouth water and missing "home". I LOVE Chritiano's!! Miss it for sure. Thanks for sharing the photos of the food I cannot get here in Texas ;-)