Gastronaut: No Child Left Behind

no-child-left-behind-kagan-mcleod

Making kids feel welcome in good restaurants is the best way to guarantee a generational commitment to food in any city. It’s time for more of that in Philly.

I  hate screaming children in restaurants.

I hate it when they run around like small, loud monsters—getting in the way of the staff and bothering everyone in the house while their parents sit by and do nothing.

I hate kids’ menus full of chicken fingers and hot-dog chunklets; parents who use waitresses as free babysitters; and the looks on the faces of other diners when shown to a table within the blast radius of any child brought out to dine.

But you know what bothers me more than any of this? To spend an evening in a good restaurant anywhere in Philly and see no children.

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Dining Guide: Kid-Friendly Restaurants

Finding a good spot to dine out with kids is always a balancing act. Totally child-friendly spots — the kind with ho-hum food for picky palates, coloring book madness, and a mealtime-is-playtime attitude — can leave adults feeling lobotomized. Even worse: trying to make a cranky, ketchup-loving kid appreciate haute cuisine at a parent-favored establishment. We’ve compiled a list of kid-and-adult-friendly spots that strike the perfect age balance with their menus and atmospheres. We also caught up with Chip Roman (chef at seafood-centric BYOB Blackfish in Conshohocken and father of three) and Joanna Katz (owner of hot dog joint Yo Dogs and mother to two boys, ages four and and six) to get their takes on dining with kids. Click through to read Roman and Katz’s family-friendly dining advice and to see our picks for .

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The Sweet & Savory at Sweetie’s

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Trey Popp visits Sweetie’s Pie Diner on Fairmount Spring Garden and finds a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere and of course, lots and lots of pies.

Sweetie’s savory side features a few things that hold their own in hedonic terms. Thaw’s corn and shiitake pie (above; see the recipe here) was my favorite. The toppings were flavor-packed but lightly applied to the flaky foundation, like a thin pizza built on pie crust. A tart of grilled vegetables came on a quinoa substrate that worked better than I’d have thought, though I wouldn’t have dressed it with so many herbs. Citrus-dressed panettone French toast had a lighter, fruitier profile than the dairy-stuffed versions that have long held sway in Center City.

Crust Punk [City Paper]
Sweetie’s Pie Diner [Official Site]

Mommy Mixer at the Cantinas

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A monthly mixer for moms kicks off today. Every third Tuesday from 2 to 4pm at Cantina Los Caballitos. There will be $2 classic margaritas, 1/2 priced pitchers and snacks, arts and crafts for the kids.

On Wednesday the Moms and Margaritas mixer moves south to Cantina Dos Segundos. Same deal with nachos and quesadillas for the kids and of course the whole brunch/lunch menu.

Cantina Los Caballitos [Official Site]
Cantina Dos Segundos
[Official Site]

Around The Web: Resurrection Edition

Resurrection Ale House Crow Logo

Resurrection Ale House has been open a few weeks now, long enough for blogging types to check it out.

Living on the Vedge deals with a crazy in order to try the roasted radicchio and gorgonzola biscotti. [Living on the Vedge]

It’s the pancetta with crab, peas and house-made fettucini that catches the fancy of the Beer/Pork Lass. On the beer side she tries the Schlenkerla Helles, a smoked golden lager from Bamburg Germany. [Beer Lass]

Veggicurious picks the pickle plate and roasted miatake mushroom to take for a spin. [Veggicurious]

In Other Resurrection Ale House News

Every Monday Resurrection is hosting a Mom + Me Happy Hour from 1 to 3pm. That’s a buck off beers when you bring your baby plus a little networking, socializing and friend-making.

Brunch will begin next weekend, the 24th and 25th of October. To celebrate the kickoff, there will be a special wooden cask of Schneider Weisse pouring off the edge of the bar.

Resurrection Ale House [Official Site]

The Best of Foobooz: May 7, 2009

Little Fish Begets Bigger Fish
It’s official: Accolade-winning Mike Stollenwerk is going to open a bigger sequel to his beloved Little Fish. Read the Full Post on Foobooz

A Look at a Couple of New BBQ Spots
There’s a serious new barbecue place in the Italian Market. Read the Full Post on Foobooz

Spring Menu at Mémé
A foie gras burger and sauteed skate are among the new dishes on the spring menu at David Katz’s Mémé. Read the Full Post on Foobooz

Happy Hour For Moms

The Memphis Taproom is hosting a happy hour for moms and their little ones today and the first Monday of the month from 1 to 3pm. Meet other moms and enjoy beer and cocktail specials. The Mempis Taproom crew also promises “music that doesn’t make you want to kill people.”

Memphis Taproom [Official Site]

Parenthood, More Than Chucky Cheese

Best Kids Menu
Our friends at Dancing Meatballs gave us a couple good suggestions for family friendly restaurants that don’t have a giant mouse for a mascot. Their first suggestion is the Pop Shop in Collingswood “which has an extensive kids menu, ‘school nights’, kids events like Saturday morning pajama party, stroller accessibility, diaper changing stations, and wait staff who deal well with kids.” Even at the top end there is room for kids. “The Fountain at Four Seasons has the most kid friendly wait staff I have ever met. A tired and grouchy kid can be offered everything from free balloons, coloring books and crayons, to a visit to the kitchen and a room to rest in.”

So where else is there where the sight of a child in a stroller doesn’t prompt eye rolling by the staff and the amenities to keep a child occupied extend beyond a set of broken crayons.

Leave your suggestions in the comments.

The Pop Shop [Official Site]
Fountain Room [Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia]