Hudson Valley Parent

HVP - January 2014

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Dining out Melts in your mouth A haven for the gluten-free The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant in the Poughkeepsie Galleria, is a fun and unique dining experience. Where else can you begin the meal with a pot of cheese, end it with a pot of chocolate, and in between cook raw meats and veggies right at your table? Equally important, the restaurant not only accommodates food allergies, but has a full, leather-bound gluten-free menu, which includes actual breads and baked goods for dessert. Deciding to test it as a kid-friendly endeavor, we dressed up the girls and went to The Melting Pot for a Sunday afternoon dinner. The atmosphere was dark and trendy, but fun for the family. We were seated with kids menus and crayons, and chose a cheese fondue appetizer course, an entrée sampler, and a chocolate fondue dessert. Appetizer: A fondue pot began to heat in the middle of our table on an inset burner, surrounded by little bowls of cut-up apples, celery and carrots, and chunks of bread for dipping into the cheese that soon followed. Our waitress refilled the veggies and bread, which helped as it took a while for our entrée to arrive. Entrée: The entrée of raw pieces of shrimp, chicken, and steak arrived next, along with a pot of hot broth for cooking, a bowl of uncooked potatoes, broccoli, and mushrooms, and an assortment of dipping sauces. Each of us had our own set of color-coordinated fondue forks, which tickled the girls. We quickly learned how to overlap our forks in the pot so that the meats would cook evenly. Although it took quite a bit of time to cook all the food, we had fun doing it. Dessert: To end the meal, it was the fondue we all were waiting for… milk chocolate! It arrived with a medley of strawberries, pineapple, marshmallows, brownies, and pieces of muffin (in lieu of non-gluten-free pound cake). The look on a child's face when presented with a pot of chocolate is priceless. It's worth going there just for dessert. It did not go unnoticed that although we are gluten-free, we were able to eat bread and brownies like everyone else. That's a rarity in restaurants, so kudos to The Melting Pot for going above and beyond. Some caveats for families with young children: In all, the meal took two hours. Dipping and cooking your own food cannot be rushed. If you have a baby or toddler, best to get a babysitter. Similarly, we were given raw meats and bubbling hot liquids right at our table; both could be dangerous for young kids. Finally, the meal for a family of four was $100 — pricey for a regular dinner out, but definitely worth it for a special occasion. Stephanie L. Sandler is a mom of two and a Hudson Valley Parent blogger. The Melting Pot 2001 South Rd., Poughkeepsie Galleria Mall 845-632-6171 * 3 Perfect for date night 38 Hudson Valley Parent n January 2014 Perfect for the kids HUNGRY FOR MORE? Visit our guide for kid-friendly restaurants in your area

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