Jan 30 2016

Babysitter-Worthy Restaurants For Your Next Date Night

date nite collage_2

While we at KidNosh encourage parents to go out to eat with their kids, we know it’s just as important to leave the kids home with a sitter and go out alone as grownups from time to time. While some couples schedule “date night” as regular as once a week, many parents get a night out on the town alone only a rare occasion. So whether it’s your weekly night out or annual Valentine’s Day Dinner, here are some of our new favorite babysitter-worthy restaurants for your next date night.

Cheap Eats

You’re already springing for a sitter (or calling in a favor from a friend or family member), here are some grown-up places that can be gentler on your wallet:

Trina’s Starlight Lounge – This not-so-divey-dive-bar is the place to be for chicken and waffles and inventive cocktails like the “rocking chair” (black tea-infused bonded bourbon, ginger cognac, lemon). Don’t let the outside fool you. Trina’s is serving up sophisticated fare with a fun, assuming vibe.

Audubon – Fenway & KidNosh favorite Audubon Circle is recently under new ownership (by our other cheap eats fave, Trina’s). Loyal Audubon Circle customers will be happy to see a lot of things haven’t changed, other than a reboot to it’s crowd-pleasing menu.

 

No Reservations

Suddenly find yourself kid-free for the night? Check out these date-night faves that don’t require a reservation (just be prepared to hang at the bar until your table is ready):

Dali Dali has become an institution in this corner of Camberville thanks to delicious spanish tapas, sangria that goes down way too easy, and ultra romantic vibe.

Neptune Oyster This tiny North End spot has people coming in droves for their seafood and lobsters rolls (not an easy feat in a city known for its seafood). Oh, and of course, raw oysters.

 

Splurge

Whether it’s a special occasion or your motto is “go big or go home,” here are some top Boston-area restaurants worthy of a big splurge:

Menton – Quite possibly one of Boston’s most refined dining experience, Chef Barbara Lynch’s Fort Point destination is on most food-obsessed’s “bucket list”. Be prepared for an unforgettable experience.

O YaRanked as one of the top restaurants in Boston – and one of the most expensive – it’s no wonder diners exclaim “o ya” after eating award-winning sushi at this hidden gem in the Leather District.

For other date night restaurant ideas, check out our Best Date Night Restaurants here.

Jan 1 2016

10 Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants of 2015

2015 top ten

Many calories were consumed by the KidNosh team to find the best family-friendly restaurants in Boston and its suburbs. 2015 was a banner year when it comes to food. Burgers continued to reign supreme. We also saw the rise of wood- and coal-fired pizza destinations in the Boston area. Hand-crafted cocktails and craft beers can be found on most menus. Of all the restaurants we checked out, we did find 10 standouts when it comes to quality of food, atmosphere, kid-friendly amenities, and service. And they are…

  1. Wahlburgers – Whalburgers is winning diners over at all three MA locations, with rapid expansion plans in the works. Burgers are the star here, but its family-friendly vibe and rotating menu are a close second.
  1. Hingham Beer Works – While the Boston Beer Works franchise is well-known in the Boston area, the Hingham Shipyard location is a KidNosh favorite. Sipping a Bunker Hill Blueberry Ale and dining on Sour Cream & Chive Fries, while the little ones enjoy a Hoodsie cup for dessert, all while watching boats come into the shipyard… what’s not to love?
  1. Rivershed – Beneath the kitschy décor and animated moose head above the bar, you’ll find amazing burgers, stick-to-your-ribs BBQ platters and a fantastic beer selection. Add kid-friendly amenities and family-friendly service, Rivershed is a South Shore favorite.
  1. FuGaKyu – Step into this long-standing Japanese establishment in Brookline with its bubbling koi ponds, private tatami rooms, and exquisite sushi and it’s easy to see why this is the “House of Exquisite Excellence.” Outstanding service and one of the most unique kid’s menu (comes with training chopsticks!), not to mention family-style booths with sliding doors, FuGaKyu is a place not to be missed.
  1. b.good – b.good changed the way we looked at fast casual. Food is prepared to order and true to it’s name, the menu is health-conscious and environmentally friendly. A fantastic Kid’s Real Meals and a staff that will go out of their way to make families feel at home makes this local chain one of our top eats this year.
  1. The Corner Stop – The Corner Stop expertly combines a casual, beachy vibe with a sophisticated dining experience, all while being super kid-friendly. Healthy and decadent choices will please grownups, while kids will love being able to check off items from the creative kid’s menu to match their palate. Add family-friendly attractions nearby (Paragon Carousel, Natasket Beach), The Corner Stop is in our top 5.
  1. Cook – Cook has quickly become a Newton neighborhood favorite thanks to a casual yet stylish dining experience with matching fare to boot. Smokey Pepper Grilled Cheese and creative flatbreads are examples of its “nothing too fussy, just amazing” food. A sizable kid’s menu and stellar beverage program are winning both kids and adults over.
  1. Posto – Posto’s winning combination of casual but elegant, date-night vibe makes this Davis Square spot a top KidNosh destination. From their signature wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas, delicious Bambini kid’s menu and super attentive staff, Posto is a winner.
  1. Tinker’s Son – Step into this cozy, Irish Pub and you’ll see why this is a well-loved, family favorite. From pub favorites to upscale entrees, and every kid amenity you can think of, plus live music six days a week – we can’t get enough of this place. And the staff is truly the best this side of Route 3. It’s easy to see why this is one of our favorite spots of 2015.
  1. Kirkland Tap & Trotter – From James Beard Award winning chef Tony Maws (of Craigie on Main fame), Kirkland Tap & Trotter is drawing families and the food-obsessed from near and far. The warm, inviting dining room and bar is bustling with families and hipsters alike. This neighborhood “gastropub” is serving up gorgeous comfort food from its signature wood-fired grill while treating young diners to an equally sophisticated kid’s menu. And the fact that kids eat free Sundays-Thursdays is definitely a plus. We can’t wait to return in 2016.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and delicious 2016!

Dec 11 2015

Holiday Gift Guide for Food-Loving Families

Happy-Holidays

Whether you’re a family who loves to eat out and in need some ideas to add to your holiday wish list, or you’re wondering what to get for the food-loving family on your shopping list, we at KidNosh have got you covered. Here are a few of our favorite holiday gift ideas for families that love good food, and dining out with their entire clan.

Give ‘em some gear! Every year, there’s some new and fancy gadget that’s a game changer in the world of kids, toddler and baby gear. But when it comes to dining out with kids, it is all about bringing the right tools, toys and treat along to keep those little hands and mischievous minds occupied. Gift givers looking to gives lots of little (but extremely useful) things can get some inspiration in our oldie but goodie blog post, What’s In My Diaper Bag. Favorites mentioned in that blog post, plus some all-time winners include:

When in doubt, grab a gift certificate. With so many kid-friendly restaurants in the greater Boston area, you can’t go wrong. Need inspiration? Check out our complete list of 5 spork reviews and give the gift of a kid-friendly night out. KidNosh favorites include:

Give the gift of babysitting. Don’t have much coin to spare, but have time to share? Give those parents a night of your babysitting skills, and send them out solo for an always needed grown ups time at one of our favorite date night restaurants in Boston.

Take yourselves out for a holiday treat. Whether you’re jonesing for some latkes to celebrate Hanukkah or looking for a lavish Christmas dinner or holiday brunch, Boston’s got you covered. Take the family out for some quality time well spent, with a side of deliciousness. Check out:

Whatever you end up doing for gifts, we hope that your holiday plans involve lots of fun, friends, family, love, laughter, and of course–good food. Happy holidays from KidNosh!

Nov 27 2015

8 Kid-Friendly Restaurants For When You’re Sick of Thanksgiving Leftovers

no leftovers collage

The nice china has been put away, relatives have left (or maybe not), and turkey-induced naps have been taken. The last thing you want to do is go back in the kitchen and cook some more. And the thought of another day-after-thanksgiving-sandwich makes you want to head for the hills. Pack up the family and head to some of our favorite kid-friendly restaurants that offer more than the “day-after-thanksgiving” special featuring, you guessed it, turkey.

Kickstand Café: Burn off some post-holiday calories by hitting the Minuteman Bike Path with the family. After, head over to the Kickstand Café for some pastries or Vietnamese Fresh Rolls.

Flatbread Company: Take the family for a fun afternoon of bowling (limited walk-ins so go early) followed by some delicious artisanal wood-fired pizzas.

b.good (Hingham): After over-eating yesterday, you are probably looking to detox and eat a little healthier. Head over to b.good in Hingham for some delicious salads, smoothies, and sandwiches all served with a side of healthy.

Dorado Tacos & Cemitas: Mexican street food might be the perfect antidote to a post-Thanksgiving hangover. Fish tacos, quesadillas, or cemitas are welcome changes to the steady diet of leftover turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes.

Clover Food Lab: Ready to adopt a plant-based diet after yesterday’s feast? Take the family to Clover for some delicious vegetarian fare.

Sapporo Korean BBQ & Sushi: Need a cure for some the Black Friday blues? Head over to this hidden gem. A delicious bowl of Dolsot Bibim Bap or some fresh sushi will help you forget about the crowds and traffic.

Zaftig’s: No one wants leftovers for breakfast. Take the family to Zaftig’s legendary brunch this weekend. Nosh on some Jewish deli classics and some breakfast favorites such as Banana Stuffed French Toast.

Jasper White’s Summer Shack: Extended family staying through the weekend? Take everyone to one of Boston’s favorite seafood destinations. The cavernous dining room is great for large parties. And even he pickiest of relatives will find something in Summer Shack’s large seafood menu.

Sep 25 2015

It’s “Suburbs Good”

suburban restaurants

I love good food, and am constantly in search of my next amazing meal (or snack, or baked good…). So when our family started seriously thinking about moving to the suburbs a few years ago, I of course wondered what it would mean for our culinary adventures. Alongside years spent researching towns, real estate prices, school systems and commutes, I also made sure that we ate countless meals at restaurants in and around our candidate towns, trying to judge the culinary scene (or lack thereof).

While asking around in our search, a friend of mine (whose brother happens to manage a restaurant for one of Boston’s most successful celebrity chefs) used a term to describe a local restaurant. She called it “suburbs good.” She and her husband live in the suburbs, but are often in the city, and travel even more often, so they always have a new culinary adventure to share. But when she spoke about their suburban restaurant options, it was always with a bit of restraint. These places were good–but never great. At the time, I was still a spoiled city dweller with more than 50 restaurants within a 15 minute walk from my front stoop. I laughed it off, not fully grasping the reality of what she was trying to convey.

And now–almost a year after moving into our amazing new neighborhood, in a town we adore, in a house we love–I totally, 100% get it. And even though I know it makes me sound like a total food snob, I’ve adopted my friend’s perfectly descriptive phrase, and know that our favorite local dining spots are, in fact, “suburbs good.”

When we visit the local barbecue and burger joint, I can’t help but skip over the brisket and ribs, knowing that it could never stack up to the Texas barbecue I ate (and ate…and ate…) that glorious and gluttonous weekend in Austin, and that if I want a similar experience in Boston, I’m better off heading to Sweet Cheeks Q in the Fenway. When a new Greek place opened in our adorable town and everyone local was abuzz, I couldn’t help but be disappointed as I choked down a dry, hockey puck-like falafel, clicking my heels under the table and whispering “there’s no place like Cafe Jaffa…there’s no place like Cafe Jaffa…”. When someone mentions the local bakery, I smile politely, recall the freezer-burned taste of their pastries, and know that I could easily make something better (and fresher) at home…all while pining for Flour Bakery. And as someone who spent countless years as a server, busser and hostess, I try to keep it to myself (or at least between me and my husband) as I not only critique the food, but suffer through the sometimes abominable service that accompanies the humdrum food, biting my lip as plates are not cleared, water refills are not poured, orders are botched, and questionable service abounds.

So what have I learned from our migration to the suburbs? A lot.

I’ve learned to keep my expectations in check and my opinions to myself–especially when in mixed company. I’ve learned to sniff out the eats that surpass “suburbs good”, like my favorite Latin food joint on the South Shore, Tesoro. Good food exists, just not nearly enough of it.

I’ve also learned to keep my ear to the ground, listening for the migrations of city chefs and restaurant groups to the suburbs. And there is hope for us food lovers of suburbia. Barbara Lynch is collaborating on a new spot in Quincy. Island Creek Oyster is expanding to Burlington. Some wonderful local breweries have taken up residence outside of the city, including Lord Hobo in Woburn and Jack’s Abby in Framingham.

And I’ve learned to just make peace with the fact that I am a food snob.

Have a favorite suburban restaurant that gives city food a run for the money? Please share…so that I can go there…right now.

 

*Photo credit: www.brainpickings.org

 

Aug 28 2015

An Open Letter To the Top Chef Opening a New Restaurant

 

To the top chef opening a new restaurant,

I’ve walked by your paper-covered windows a few times now, steering my two young kids in tow to take a peek in, hoping to get a glimpse of the soon-to-be new dining destination in town.

(credit: heresparkslope.com)

(credit: heresparkslope.com)

I know you’re probably really busy planning your menu, training staff, and getting ready for the soft opening of your restaurant. As a die-hard food fanatic, I want you to know I will be one of your first customers anxious to try your culinary creations… with my kids.

You might be tempted to suggest I leave the kids at home with a sitter. I get that. Having spent the better part of my life in the restaurant industry, I know kids (and their parents) can be some of your most difficult customers. But they can also be your most loyal, spend more per cover, and quick to spread the word to their friends and families about why your place is THE BEST.

I’m not suggesting your change your concept to a kid-friendly restaurant with ball pit and kids eat free on Mondays. God no. I implore you not to do such a thing. All I’m asking is you welcome kids if they dine in your restaurant. Be ready for them. Here’s how:

  • Clean high chairs: This is an obvious one. And don’t just have one high chair for the entire restaurant. It’s not cool.
  • Food options for kids (read: does not have to be a kid’s menu): The main reason I like to take my kids out to eat is to introduce them to new flavors. But if there’s fried chicken fingers and french fries on the menu, they will always want it. I’d prefer they have healthier options. For instance, at Crow’s Landing, they offer a mix-and-match of healthy and delicious food options for kids. Or how about smaller portions of an adult-sized entrée? Don’t dumb down the food. Just make it accessible.
  • Distractions: Thankfully, my kids don’t need a ton of toys and games to keep them busy while they wait (they’re older now and dine out frequently). And I prefer not to break out the mobile devices (not judging other parents here, but it’s just not what we do). Keep a stash of crayons (big box of 64 Crayola Crayons is less than a $4) and paper at the host stand. Even broken crayons work. Or get creative like The Granary Tavern and give the kids an etch-a-sketch. This classic toy will entertain kids for eons.
  • Seating options for families: Most families with young kids will need some room to squirm, mine included. Don’t seat us at a high-top so my youngest can teeter precariously while waiting for his meal to arrive. Booths are a parent’s best friend. Outdoor seating is also a plus. Bonus if you have fun activities such as corn hole like the Rivershed.
  • Quick service: While my ideal date night would include a leisurely chef’s tasting that last 3-hours, if I’m dining out with my kids, it needs to be MUCH quicker. Offer to bring out our kids’ meal first while I start on my appetizer (or better yet, a cocktail). Bring us the check at the same time you deliver dessert. Kids have an attention span of a gnat. The less downtime, the less chance they will have a meltdown.
  • Friendly staff: I can’t stress this one enough. Some of the best dining experiences from people we know are attributed to the staff that went above and beyond. That time when the wait staff brought hot water to warm a bottle and extra napkins? Fantastic. Or the time the manager brought over a live lobster tableside in a bowl from the lobster tank so the kid can get a closer look? So cool! And the time when a toddler knocked over mom’s entire glass of wine, drenched the toddler’s meal in wine, and the restaurant immediately replaced the meal (and more importantly mom’s wine) without charging extra? Amazing.

I don’t appreciate the 20-something hostess rolling her eyes when she sees me with my kids walk through the door. Instead, greet us with a warm smile and bring us to the corner booth. Offer the kids some crayons and drinks with lids. Bring mama a nice glass of wine and offer suggestions for the kids.

There are plenty families like ours that practice table manners everyday and come fully prepared to show kids what it means to be “restaurant-friendly”. Did I mention we’re pretty great tippers too? We don’t need a three-ring circus entertaining us. Just some friendly (and patient staff) and we’ll take care of the rest.

— On behalf of all restaurant-loving parents

 

Jul 3 2015

Ideas for Celebrating Independence Day with Kids In Boston

(credit: Boston Magazine)

(credit: Boston Magazine)

While many families hit the road for the 4th of July holiday weekend, we love to celebrate our nation’s birthday right here in Boston. Besides the world-class fireworks and Boston Pops show on the Esplanade, there are plenty of tasty ways to celebrate the 4th:

  • Hang out at the nation’s most beloved ballpark: the Red Sox are in town and tickets are available from the box office (the upside of a team that’s stinking up the joint). They aren’t doing so hot, but there’s some great food and adventure in/around Fenway. Check out kid-friendly Eastern Standard Kitchen and Bar, Sweet Cheeks Q, or Mei Mei Street Kitchen.
  • Grill it up: Craving a backyard BBQ but without all the work? Head to Kirkland Tap & Trotter for a July 4th Party Pack. For $60, KT&T will send you home with house-made kielbasa (uncooked), pretzel buns, KT&T ballpark mustard, pickles, slaw, farmers’ market vegetable salad and oatmeal-walnut cookies for four. Or have someone else do all the work by heading over to kid-friendly Back Deck.
  • Dinner with a view: Make it a memorable 4th of July with dinner with views of boats, water, the city and fireworks. Snag a reservation at one these restaurants with the best views in town (via Eater Boston).
  • Watch 4th of July Fireworks: Older kids and future pyrotechnicians will want to catch the fireworks show. Head over to these prime spots to catch fireworks around Boston (via Boston.com). If you’re headed to the Esplanade, you can grab some burritos from KidNosh favorite El Pelon Taqueria, they will be selling food at The Esplanade all day.
  • Fireworks-free celebration: Fireworks can be scary for kids, not to mention past their bedtime. There are plenty of activities all weekend long without fireworks for families. Check this round-up here from Mommy Poppins Boston.

Have a safe, fun and tasty 4th!

Jun 19 2015

Make Father’s Day an Adventure in Food and Fun

Summer is finally here, and if the dads in your life are like most guys, they love to grill. But even the most talented of grill masters likes a break every now and then, and we think Father’s Day is the perfect time to give dad the day off and take him out and about for great food and fun adventures. So grab your favorite dad(s) and borrow one of our ideas below for fun, food and festivities that are kid-friendly and celebrate dad.

  • Father’s Day Cookout at Clink/Liberty Hotel – held at the Liberty’s beautiful courtyard. Features all-you-can-eat meats, live raggae, hand-crafted cocktails for dad. Kids under 13 are free! Get the scoop>>
  • Father’s Day Bluegrass Brunch at Beat Hotel – perfect brunch for adult and kids with live bluegrass. You and dad can explore Harvard Square before or after, stroll down the Charles, or just pick a corner and people watch. Complete review of Beat Hotel >>
  • BBQ and Fenway Park – The Red Sox are out of town, so it is the perfect time to get a tour of Fenway Park. Once you’ve worked up an appetite scaling the Green Monster, head to Sweet Cheeks Q for some good ‘ol Texas BBQ.
  • Have a picnic! Pack a picnic lunch with sandwiches from Nashoba Brook Bakery and rent a Kayak or Canoe from South Bridge Boat House and discover a perfect picnic spot along the Concord River. 
  • Enjoy the Outdoors with a Cocktail and Cornhole – Visit Rivershed in Scituate and spend the day on their newly renovated, kid-friendly patio, which boasts BBQ and burgers, cocktails, craft beer, a kids play area, cornhole and picnic tables.

Building your own adventure? Let us know what you find. Happy Father’s Day!

rivershed patio

The Rivershed Patio

 

 

 

May 8 2015

Last-Minute, Kid-Friendly, Mother’s Day Dining Tips

PicMonkey Collage
What mom wouldn’t love to be wined and dined and not have to lift a finger or clean up a mess? Which is why Mother’s Day is typically one of the busiest days of the year for most restaurants. So scoring a reservation at the right place that will pamper mom and cater to kids can be tricky. But don’t worry – we got you covered so you can look like you had this day planned for ages.

  1. Pick a Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Almost every restaurant will be offering a special a la carte, Prix Fixe menu, Mother’s Day buffet or dinner specials just for moms on Sunday. Look for restaurants that get high marks for “KidTude” in our reviews to make sure the littles have as much fun as the adults. Here are some restaurants offering something special for mom and kids (if you can still score a reservation):

Beat Brasserie (formerly Beat Hotel): 2 Course Prix Fixe Brunch ($35 per person and $14.95 for Children 10 & under) with live music all day.

The Beehive: The Beat’s sister restaurant is also offering 2 Course Prix Fixe Brunch ($38 per person and $14.95 for “Little Bee’s Menu” for kids) with live music all day.

Brasserie Jo: Take mom to a jazz buffet brunch ($46 per person, $15 for children), plus complimentary potted “Mums for Moms.”

Rialto: Splurge on mom this year and treat her to Rialto’s special Mother’s Day Brunch. Chef Jody Adams is preparing an elegant 3-course prix fixe brunch and a separate 3-course prix fixe just for kids.

  1. Score a last-minute reservation

Getting a reservation this late in the game is not going to be easy. Check out Open Table’s Mother’s Day reservation page to find which restaurants still have tables available.

Or check out RESERVE app – your personal concierge for scoring a coveted rezzie from Reserve’s curated list of restaurant partners. You’ll get updates along the way as to when a reservation has been confirmed. Reserve also acts as a mobile payment service so you won’t even see a bill at the end of your meal.

  1. Take the family to an ethnic restaurant

Restaurants throughout the state will be hopping on Sunday. And it will be nearly impossible to score a table at the hottest new restaurants. Check out some local ethnic restaurants as an alternative. Treat mom to KidNosh faves Little Q Hot Pot, La Posada, Sapporo Korean BBQ or Seta’s Café – and kiddos will be happy there too. Just avoid getting Dim Sum on Mother’s Day.

  1. Go on a picnic and order takeout

This is probably our best advice we can offer parents on Mother’s Day. Avoid the crowds and pricey menus and head for a pretty spot outdoors. Check out the Boston Harbor Islands, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Esplanade, or your favorite park. Grab some takeout from KidNosh favorite takeaway spots Anna’s Taqueria, Flour Bakery, Darwin’s, Mei Mei’s, Sofra and enjoy a relaxing lunch while the kids can run around in the sun. Sounds like a fabulous Mother’s Day to us!

Apr 3 2015

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

fenwayblogpic

There may still be some half melted snowbanks kicking around, but Spring has definitely arrived which means it’s that time of year again–the Red Sox play their first regular season game in just a few days, and the Fenway Park home opener is just 10 days away! We love this time of year for many reasons, including baseball. And Red Sox baseball loves families!

For the first time, families can sign up for Red Sox Kid Nation for free and as an added bonus, kids get a FREE ticket to a Red Sox home game. Membership has it’s privileges:

  • Kid Nation Passport Program
  • One free ticket to a Red Sox home game
  • Access to exclusive Kid Nation events
  • 10% discount at the Red Sox Team Store
  • Exclusive Kid Nation Email Newsletters
  • Lanyard
  • Kid Nation Welcome Kit

We’re also huge fans of a special kids entry (Gate K), and a new Kids Concourse with kid activities, games, kid menu items and a chance to meet Wally the Green Monster. And now with new peanut-allergy friendly games and section, America’s Most Beloved Ballpark just got more beloved. Click here to sign up your kid to join Red Sox Kid Nation.

Hot dogs and Cracker Jack is all part of the Fenway experience, but there are plenty of other kid-friendly dining options nearby, including:

  • Eastern Standard – upscale European-inspired cuisine, one of the best patios in the city, and a hip, cool vibe make this a great place for a pre- or post-game splurge.
  • Sweet Cheeks Q – meat lovers, rejoice! You’ll find smokey, saucey, meaty goodness here, with plenty of tasty sides to match.
  • Mei Mei Street Kitchen – one of the best new spots in and around Boston, this food truck turned restaurant serves up Chinese-American comfort that’ll make your taste buds do back flips.
  • El Pelon – tucked into a side street of the Fenway neighborhood, and one of Boston’s best taqueria’s has been recognized as having one of the best burritos in the country.

What’s your pre-game, family-friendly dining favorite? And GO SOX!

peanut friendly section