My little guy turned 7 last Thursday and as with him, it involved fanfare in the kitchen as only he can create!
We had been debating where to have his birthday party for some time and as we do have three felines at our house (and allergies can always be an issue--note, the irony is he is allergic to cats, just not ours!), that was quickly ruled out. On the way home from the pediatrician one afternoon, we stopped at the Whole Foods in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. We affectionally refer to it as "Disneyland" because it has eveyrthing a foodie could love. It's a huge space complete with a mini food court ranging from burgers to sushi, a huge coffee bar and free indoor parking--just imagine your neighbohood Whole Foods to the n'th degree and well, there you have it!
I didn't realize until we were waiting for the elevator to go to the car that they hosted kids birthday parties in their cooking classroom (the flyer right at the door) since it's not our neighborhood location. No brainer. Game over. For my sous chef, it made the most sense.
I contacted their special events person, Sarah who was an absolute blast to work with. She vetted me on what I wanted out of a class/party and the result was a pasta making class consisting of a group of 13 guests last Sunday ranging from kindergarten to 3rd grade, 10 of which who were boys (my two included in the mix) which admittedly was a bit of a stretch but enough parents offered to stay so we had plenty of zone defense. They made their own pasta from scratch (and I admittedly had a moment when I thought--uh oh, this could go really badly or really well since it requires a bit of patience), assisted in making marinara sauce and decorated their own cookies. Let 13 kids loose with piping bags filled with buttercream and assorted toppings and well, it was interesting to say the least!
But it was a foodie-in-training's birthday party. Last year we went roller skating, this year, we gathered around a large table and celebrated with food. And I suspect celebrating with food in the doldrums of a challenging Chicago winter was the way to go!
Note: All opinions are of my own and I was not compensated by Whole Foods in any way. I do however, if you are in the Chicago area, highly recommend checking out the Lincoln Park store for kid's birthday parties although your local store might offer this option--it varies from location depending on space. Their staff was great, (every step of the cooking process was explained in kid-speak but still on a culinary level) and the kids all left fed, happy and with smiles on their faces. And I do believe several moms got their Sunday grocery shopping done as well!