Color their world! Children's lunches in Finland consist of raw or cooked vegetables covering half the plate and proteins and carbs each taking up one-quarter of the plate. Finnish kids gobble up carrot and beet salads. How do you get yours to go for the green (or orange and red and yellow)? Take ‘em to South America by way of Schaumburg or Chicago at Texas de Brazil, a Brazilian steakhouse. If they're meat eaters, they'll like the drama of gauchos slicing beef, pork and chicken off swords tableside in true Churrascaria fashion. If not, the 50- to 60-item salad show in the middle of the space may be your kid's nirvana. Younger kids adore buffets because they can gratify their hunger immediately and they can fill their own plates. At Texas de Brazil, teenagers can graze the salad offerings and stay on their diet or wolf down tons of fresh food. The salad structure is paved with composed salads like potato and pasta salads as well as various lettuces, cukes, tomatoes, crispy bacon, croutons and all the fixings for a traditional salad. Then there's fun stuff like baby corn and miniature beets, olives, caramelized sweet onions, shrimp, salami and French cheeses, asparagus slathered in strawberry sauce and everything is artistically plated and enticing to even the youngest eyes. Soup could be cream of red or yellow pepper, cream of artichoke, or a rich lobster bisque — each perfect with the light, slightly sweet Brazilian cheese biscuits that hit the table. The table gets sides such as mashed spuds and hot bananas covered in a sugary confection, too. Adults may go gaga over the February special on the salad extravaganza — seared tuna served with a house-made tangy citrus sauce.
Adjacent to Woodfield Shopping Center, Texas de Brazil offers family-friendly dining: kids 6 and under are free and gauchos aged 7-12 pay half price. All kids get fun plastic cups with straws and lids and Wiki Stix — a moldable wax toy to play with while you get another helping of filet mignon. • Texas de Brazil, 5 Woodfield Shopping Center, Schaumburg, (847) 413-1600, 51 E Ohio St, Chicago, (312) 670-1006, texasdebrazil.com
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