Kidding Around

poptartKids have it easy. Do they worry about the recession? Global warming? Baseball players running for office? Nope. It’s no wonder, then, that the foods we used to see in our school lunch boxes are popping up on area menus—a throwback to the days when dodgeball and recess were our two biggest concerns.

At the Paramount on Beacon Hill, the tuna melt–topped with bacon, tomato, and Swiss cheese–has a cult following, its classic preparation inspiring many a trip down memory lane. But not everyone goes traditional; others choose to upgrade their childhood faves. Gargoyles on the Square chef Jason Santos’s grown-up version of the corn dog uses andouille sausage and comes with sweet BBQ sauce on the side—a rich, spicy upgrade to the mystery-meat basic. Likewise, the humble peanut butter and jelly sandwich has matured over at the Otherside Café, morphing into a sophisticated smoothie made with non-fat vanilla yogurt, honey, peanut butter, banana and strawberry. The flavor’s right—and there’s are no pesky crusts.

For those who loved the Cap’n–and suffered years of mouth-scratch for that sweet cereal crunch–Franklin Café Southie chef and co-owner Brian Reyelt turns out delicious Capn’ Crunch fried chicken nuggets with buttermilk dipping sauce.

And then there’s dessert. Noir, in the Charles Hotel, serves a decadent chocolate-covered pretzel, and Tremont 647 offers homemade pop tarts on their brunch menu. Unlike the boxed variety, this pop tart’s filling changes with the season, is topped with a white fondant and colored sprinkles, and served warm.

And that, kids, spells YUM.

–Abby Bielagus