On our first day in Northampton we decided it would be fun to walk along the Mill River, then get lunch downtown. Warren and I had our monkeys (Satchel, 9, and Jiro, 7) and our friend Vanessa had her two (Miles, 7, and Tasha, 2). It's never a good idea to go to a restaurant when the adults are outnumbered by children, but we did. Thankfully, The Green Bean is incredibly kid-friendly and our waitress had the patience of a saint.
It was about 1:00 on a Saturday and the restaurant was pretty busy. We were able to get a large table in the back conveniently located next to the restrooms and a shelf of books and other toys.
While the adults tackled the menu, the monkeys tackled each other. Once we got them to stop touching, other chaos ensued. Miles immediately started putting salt in Jiro's water. When I stopped him, he dipped puzzle pieces in his water, and even the wooden drill he had acquired on his way in. I took a deep breath and let Vanessa calm him down.
Jiro, who had seen some of the drink selection on the way in immediately requested some "pink milk." This started a trend and soon he, Satchel, and Tasha were all happily sipping on pink milk.
I went for a GuS (Grown Up Soda) since they are a rarity in Memphis. I loved that it was served in a mason jar.
Meanwhile Warren had some very sophisticated tea.
As for food, the menu had so many tasty sounding dishes that I had a hard time deciding. There was a nice mix of omnivore and vegetarian items. Vanessa said that their tempeh dishes were really good, and several tofu dishes sounded appealing too. Ultimately, Warren went with the Green Bean Lunch which offers a choice of tofu or tempeh with brown rice and greens. I decided on the Bi Bim Bean which was a vegetarian version of one of my favorite Korean dishes. Satchel was starving and was convinced that they wouldn't have anything that he liked. He goes from one extreme to the other--he either insists on ordering two meals or refuses to order anything. With a little coaxing, and some time for the pink milk to settle, he agreed to try the Green Eggs and Sausage. The three other monkeys were selecting from the Silly Goose menu.
Tasha announced that she wanted a pancake and Miles and Jiro followed suit. Vanessa pointed out that a little protein might be good so we added in a side of bacon.
Once our orders were in, Vanessa started reading a book to Tasha at her request. Soon both Satchel and Miles were captivated.
Jiro and I made a trip to the restroom, which was awesome. Exhibit one: A nice area for changing a diaper.
Exhibit two: A nice sturdy step stool for washing hands.
Back at the table the Dora book was losing its appeal. Vanessa asked the kids if they wanted to play the "Three things" game. She explained that one person said three things and then another person made up a story including the three things. She told Warren and I how when they originally came up with the game Miles told a story that involved Vanessa being partially crushed. Well, as you can imagine every story from then on involved Vanessa being partially crushed. It was both hilarious and alarming.
Thankfully the food came and we all got to focus on something else. The Bi Bim Bean was both beautiful and delicious. The Korean version usually comes out sizzling with a raw egg--you stir it up and it cooks in the bowl. This version had two fried eggs on top.
Look how pretty Warren's dish is. So simple, yet so delicious. Honestly, I could go vegetarian/vegan if Memphis had restaurants that served dishes like this.
I decided that tempeh is my new favorite food after taking just one bite. Vanessa got the tempeh reuben and said it was fantastic. I'm not a fan of sauerkraut so I didn't take her up on her offer to try it.
Jiro was quite happy with his pancake and bacon.
I even got a smile and a thumbs up from Satchel.
I don't think any of us left any food on our plates! We kept everyone calm long enough to get the check, and then I paid up front. I noticed that they left off all of our drinks, surely the result of the hostess taking a partial drink order after Jiro started the pink milk brigade. I informed the cashier who quickly made the correction. Our total was $65, which was less than $10 each. Not bad. I left the waitress a fat tip for her extreme patience and went outside to meet the others. If we lived in Northampton, The Green Bean would surely be one of our regular haunts.