26 posts categorized "Kid-Friendly Restaurants"

What do you expect: dining out with kids

November 22, 2010

Our recent post about kid-friendly cafes brought up thoughts about how our littles "should" behave when dining out.  I think the cafe experience is very formal, but - with holiday season upon us - there are plenty of reunions with family and friends, and plans of dining out as the activity of choice.  Since becoming a parent, I notice that we are dining out less and less often.  It's just easier.  It's easier when the kids can excuse themselves when they are done, and adults can continue to graze and converse without them.  It's cheaper (!) to stay home, now that the kids are older and often prefer to order from the regular entree menu and not the kids menu. 

We have gone through an evolution dining out with the kids.  We used to bring a DVD player of some sort to movies could hold the littles captive while adults ate leisurely (WOW!).  We used to haul crayons, books, blocks, and a few other things to keep them occupied.  Now (like I said, we eat out pretty rarely as a family), it really is a special occasion, a treat of an outing.  We like to have "civilized" conversation, talk like grown ups, maybe sip beverages out of cocktail glasses (virgin shirley temples are making a come back).

What is dining out like for you and your kids?  Do you have a toddler, and perhaps one adult is always out roaming with the little one?  Do you have older kids who are the center of conversation? Do you have voracious readers who try to read at the table?  Or perhaps that is unacceptable (to read at the table)?

Kid-Friendly Cafes: Where to go?

November 21, 2010

It's been a while since I've had a toddler, but now I have one again.  I've been putting together playdates for me & the little guy, but I have come up a little empty with suggestions.  When my other littles were toddlers, there was SohBet, Sydney's, Sip 'n' Kranz.

To be sure, one old standby is Urban Grind NE (we were just there yesterday).  In the past couple of years, they have expanded their kid amenities to include two whole playrooms stock full of toys and room to roam.  It really is great.

What I've found is that the newest generation of bestest in kiddie joints is Posies in North Portland.  They have pastries (even gluten free!), biscuits (on certain days), lots of kids activities like musicians & puppet shows, and a kids' playroom in the back.  I only wish the place was bigger.

There have to be more similar establishments.  But,  where, though?  Where else can you go, find a good space for a toddler to room to explore bit, and play with an in-house stash of toys?

Happy Hour is for Mamas & Papas too

May 09, 2008

There are a fair number of us urbanMamas who like to have a glass of wine at the end of nutty days.  We received a recent email from a mama who wants to get out and enjoy deals on drinks and nibbles:

We have a tiny baby, only 5 weeks old, and she's very easy to take places right now (for the most part, with the occasional meltdown of course).  But pre-baby one of our favorite things to do was happy hour.  I am looking for places that we can go just after my husband gets off work at 5 and just get a drink, maybe a cheap happy hour snack.  Honestly, mainly a drink.  We keep hitting up the Laurelwood but I know there must be other places that we can go have a beer or two with no pressure to buy dinner.  On the east side is a plus.  Any ideas?  Thanks!

Where is your favorite happy hour spot in town that allows minors?

Entertaining the Foodie Visitors

December 06, 2007

In recent weeks (months, years), we've had the pleasure of hosting friends and family who hail from our hometowns of San Francisco and New York.  We've always been fond of eating out, and I find that there is no shortage of deliciousness to be had here in Portland.  Even when we can't always manage to eat out, we still stay on top of the Portland gastronomy via our favorite Portland food blogs.

Of course, when we're entertaining out-of-towners, part of the purpose is to have them spend time with our girls.  And, we are often inclined to eat out, even though we rarely now eat out with the girls since it's just that much more fun to make a big home-cooked meal and entertain at home.  (Plus, the cost!)

So, where to go?  There's "kid-friendly" with ample high chair stock and kid menus, but there's also "kid-welcoming" with staff who go out of their way to make the kids comfortable, quickly fed, and happy. For us, the key to enjoying dining out with the girls is to pick a spot where there is: 1) room to wiggle and spread out tons of paper for drawing, 2) attentive staff who understand that the kids' patience runs a bit shorter than the adults', 3) food and drink choices to make both the kids and adults happy, 4) an ambiance that allows for kids to make the noises that they make at the volume that they do, and 5) as little wait as possible.

Some of our great successes have been:

Gino's.  Seeing as we live in Overlook and Gino's is in Sellwood, we find Gino's to be a bit further of an excursion.  Still, it's great Italian food, and what kid doesn't love Italian?  My girls could certainly eat the stuff day in, day out.  The best thing about Gino's is that they immediately bring the kids individual platters of apples, cheese, and crackers.  That is quick attention.

Nostrana. They don't take reservations unless your party is 6 or more, so try to score a reservation with a larger group. Waiting with hungry kids is not often a good idea. It appears that Nostrana knows that hungry kids are not happy kids because, like Gino's, they whisk out individual plates for the kids with cheese, apples, raisins, and this lovely, lovely nutella-esque dallop for dipping. The atmosphere is bustling and busy, so I don't mind if our kids are equally bustly or busy. They blend. A table near the front door on a nice days allows bigger kids to go play out on the patio once they're done nibbling.

Pause. This one is a new neighborhood joint, and the only link I could find to it was in BarFly. It should be noted, however, that it's not just a bar, it's really a full restaurant, something like a kid-friendly tavern or pub. What I loved about Pause and why I include it here, is that they immediately asked "what can I bring the kids?", like seriously at the moment we sat down. They offered butter noodles on-the-house. Sometimes, free butter noodles are the antidote for the hungry kids at 6pm.

We know lots of families who love Laurelwood (who wouldn't?), but the wait is often unbearable. Plus, we sometimes want something different than pub grub.

Mamabee just emailed:

Okay, so my foodie family is coming to town and usually that means big dinners at Portland's finest dining establishments.  Now I have a beautiful little two month old, I am rather clueless as to where to go.  What nice restaurants in town are cool with a quiet 2 month old?  What about breastfeeding?  Is it totally uncouth to nurse my little one under a shawl?  Any suggestions?

Where have you had success with a nice dinner that pleased the adults AND the kids?  Any establishments that you would avoid?

Share the Shopping Fun

July 15, 2007

Heading to Shopping_cart_2the supermarket has never been more fun than finding those darling little pint-sized real-life-looking metal shopping carts.  My girls have loved, loved, loved them.  They feel so responsible and part of the marketing process when they get to push their own cart.

Not all supermarkets carry these treasures, and we have only stumbled upon them by chance.  Below is our list of markets where we have found the child-sized shopping carts.  Unfortunately, none of them are in our neighborhood!  So, it is a real treat when we do happen upon one of these markets:

Food Front Coop (NW) - Not only does Food Front have the little carts, but it's such a great community coop grocery.  Great selection of produce and I do love their bulk section.  Plus, it's a perfect place to grab drinks, wine, cheese, and other picnic items on our way out to a summer concert.

Whole Foods Market (NW) -  I know, I know - aka, "Whole Paycheck."  We will find ourselves at Whole Foods when we want some hot, fast food that will please each family member's palate.  Plus, they've got the carts!  Usually stored over in the corner behind customer service.

Wild Oats - Laurelhurst (NE) - Not sure why one Wild Oats would have the prized carts, while another Wild Oats location didn't.  When we were living in the NE, we'd sometimes come to the Laurelhurst Wild Oats where they had the carts, even though the Fremont Wild Oats location was more convenient (but they didn't have the carts!).

Anyone else have kids who love to push carts their own size at the supermarket?  Where'd ya find 'em?  Do share, do share!

Seeking INFANT-Friendly Establishments

July 12, 2007

Here in Portland, there are no shortage of things "kid-friendly".  Amy, however, is having the hardest time finding establishments that are more geared toward the younger set, "infant-friendly", if you will:

I am the mother of a 13 month old, Titus, and we have been on several outings- but I have had a very hard time finding "infant-friendly" establishments versus "kid-friendly" establishments.  My son is a very active 13 month old, and has been walking for some time now, and we are having a very hard time finding places and activities that are infant or toddler friendly.  We have been to PB & Ellies, but I live near the Portland Airport so we do not make it to that side of town very often.  He really enjoys the zoo, but with the weather so hot currently, we don't last long outdoors.  It could be activities with or without other infants, although that helps in maintaining his interest.  He is in daycare, so he gets great interaction with all the children/toddlers 4 days a week and is very social.  He doesn't last long in the stroller if we are not on the move, so I am looking for play spaces, restaurants, and businesses in general that cater to the very difficult 1 year old crowd.  Thank you for all of your suggestions.

Peanut Butter & Ellie's: New & Improved

March 11, 2007

When was the last time you were at Peanut Butter & Ellie's?  Portland's veteran of kid-friendly establishments, PB&E has gone through a renaissance.  Way back when, when we first moved to Portland in 2003, PB&E was in the neighborhood.  It was a great little spot for the kids to grab a snack and a great way to meet new families. Fast-forward to 2006.  PB&E closed it's doors at its NE Fremont location.  Now, in 2007, PB&E is back in full effect.  They're back and they're better.  Their new menu boasts grown-up food like steak or taquitos.  Their newest big person offerings are burgers and baked sweet potato fries.  YUM!  Even better, they've got beer and wine!  AND, they've got table service.  PB&E's still focuses on fun food for the little folk, and they make the environment playful and happy. So, uMamas, have you been to the new PB&E's in SW Portland?  What do you think?  Is it yummy?  Is it fun for the whole family?

Coffee Shops: Nursing Friendly?

October 05, 2006

Here's an interesting spin on a much-loved topic, coffee shops.  Joanna wants to know about your favorite nursing-friendly java joint:

I'd love to know (and forgive me if this has already been posted--I did a search and couldn't find anything) about coffee shops that are good for nursing my baby--my criteria being really comfy chairs, good coffee, and a cozy atmosphere.  I'd love to know about any and all coffee shops in both portland and the surrounding areas. I like exploring, taking long walks in different portland neighborhoods and going to parks and there has been many times since my two month old son was born that I've just gone home to nurse when I would have preferred a closer place to hang out and feed my son.  In my neck of the woods, the Willamette Coffee Shop in West Linn is great, as is the Borders at Bridgeport Village.

Sunday [at] Urban Grind NE

September 17, 2006

So, if you were caffeine-deprived at 11 AM on a Sunday morning with a coupla girls in need of food and in need of distraction, where would you go?  We have outta-towners with us also, so we decided to hit up one of our all-time faves: Urban Grind in the NE.  As we walked up to the door, our friend read a sign: "Free Coffee Sundays, 9 AM to 4 PM".  Hot dawg!  It's our lucky day!  We walked in to find our free hot coffee waiting for us, as well as a wide array of fresh free pastries.  To finish off my excitement, our girls found that the little tree in the corner of the play area now had been opened up into a new place space complete with slide and tons of play stuffs.  Talk about being a lucky day.  They are in there RIGHT NOW playing their hearts out and I will have this place to thank for giving me tired kids ready for their nap.  The Urban Grind proprietors tell us that they want to give the community a safe place to hang and chill, so they open their coffee house to the public for free treats and coffee on Sundays.  We will definitely put this on our list of "awesome things to do in Portland on a Sunday."

Hesler's: Food for Families on NE Alberta

August 31, 2006

Thank you, Robyn, for sharing your experiences. We appreciate hearing first-hand about your amazing experiences. She shares:

We went to Helser’s on Alberta and 16th. Three families—six kids under the age of 8—and the hostess didn’t bat an eye. They couldn’t have been nicer. When we sat down the kids immediately were presented with paper and crayons to draw. And our waitress was the best! Her name was Memory and she was so sweet and patient with the kids. They don’t have a specific kids menu but when asked she said she had one “in her head”. Basically anything they offer they’ll do kid-sized portions for a very reasonable price. For example, I was able to order one pancake for my daughter for $1, one piece of french toast and one slice of bacon for one of the other kids, etc… (on weekends, they only serve breakfast all day but have lunch items during the week. p.s. Their french toast is awesome.) Milk comes in plastic kid cups with straws. We didn’t have any kids high-chair age but I noticed a stack of them in the back. I've never heard Helser's mentioned in relation to kids but we had such a fabulous experience there that I thought y’all would want to know. And if you go, ask for Memory!

Lessons from my somewhat unsuccessful morning outing

August 22, 2006

It's a lovely, late-summer day in our fair city. What could I possibly be complaining about?

1. The Science Playground at OMSI (read: location of sandbox that allows mamas to chat while their 3 year-olds occupy themselves) is closed. [Possibly only for a day, so call first if you're intending to visit. 503.797.4000] My well-planned outing with a friend that involved sending our older children to the free movie with Dad so we could take the younger children to the OMSI kiddie area was foiled. We spent an unsatisfying 45 minutes consoling ourselves with water rockets and the ball room, and the kids put a brave face on it, but uninterrupted adult conversation was out of the question.

2. We decided toys, caffeine and sugar would improve our prospects, so we headed over the Broadway Bridge to Sip and Krantz (thank you, uM, for the recommendation). Lots of construction going on there, so after driving around in circles a few times, I finally parked on NW Johnson on the south side of the fountain. I dutifully payed for my spot, and we were off. Lovely cafe, but we ran headlong into the lunchtime sleepies, so our kids, who were still pining for the sandbox, alternated between brain-dead and yelling. Uninterrupted adult conversation was out of the question.

3. We headed back to the car, and I spied an ominous looking yellow envelope tucked beneath my windshield wiper. A $50 ticket! But I paid for my parking, and it wasn't yet expired! Turns out one is supposed back in to those spots -- does everyone realize this? Only after I stopped cursing did I notice the small white and green sign which says as much. Never saw it before. Grrr.

Sigh. I'm home now, my son is playing at the neighbors, and my daughter is asleep. And my friend and I did get to catch up, albeit in fits and starts. All is well. But at least I can share my woes with you so you can avoid the same pitfalls.

Monday Morning Coffee Playdate

August 20, 2006

So, now that the busy weekend is over, how about a coffee playdate?  JJ mentions that she and Blair will be meeting up at Sip and Kranz, then heading over to Jamison.  Let's say...  9:30 AM?  See you there!  Look for a couple of mamas with their li'l babies and their bigger kids, too!

'Mama Mornings' at Tour de Crepes

August 01, 2006

We urbanMamas could always use another recommendation on a spot for coffee, nourishment, and play-space for the tykes. Amy, thanks for the tip on Tour de Crepes on Alberta:
Brenda Drain, my friend and the owner, is very mama-minded. We are starting a little something called "mama mornings" starting this Wednesday. It's a sort of happy hour for mommies, with 20% off our delicious foods and drink. We have a sandbox, patio for sidewalk chalking, and are really trying to encourage mommies to have a place to enjoy a decadent meal or snack, AND have a cool place for the kids to hang.

Storytime and African drumming for kids

June 12, 2006

Thanks for the heads up, Maylorie!

First I would like to thank all of you who have been so supportive of our new child friendly cafe. We are Glo Loca Cafe and Bistro located at 7901 NE Glisan and have been open just about 6 months. Glo Loca stands for "Global Local" which is the cafe's theme.

In addition to a child play area, we have on-going events for children. Our next special guest is Habiba, she is a professional African Story Teller of children's stories. She will be at the cafe Tuesday June 13th at  4pm.

Each month on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 4pm we have a special guest that comes to do stories for children. These are free events.

We also offer African drumming for children on Mondays at 4pm. Bara Mboup is a professional Senegalese drummer, has toured all over the world and been teaching for over 15 years. He is currently on tour and will be back at the cafe teaching Monday June 19th at 4pm. He will also have a class June 26th and July 3rd, and then will be back in the fall for more classes. His classes for children are $7 and drums are provided.

If you would like to see more please check out our website at
gloloca.com.  I still have some editing and menu updates to do on the site, but you can see photos and get a general idea about us.

Tour De Crepes - On Alberta

April 21, 2006

Thanks Shari for the scoop on another kid-friendly find.  We're so excited to try this place out!  Read on mamas:

Mention has been made of the new crepes place on Alberta and I cannot give it a more rousing endorsement or bigger thumbs-up. Many of you have previously met the owner, Brenda (www.tourdecrepes.com): formerly the manager at Urbangrind (NE location), which was super kid-friendly under her benevolent, mama-wise management.

Her new place is Tour de Crepes at 2921 N.E. Alberta. I believe the hours are 9 to 9, Thursday through Sunday. Brenda is da bomb, she loves kids and mamas and will do anything she can to make your experience a great one, and on top of all that her crepes and other French goodies totally rock. I believe there are also meet-ups (and possibly classes) in the works for the rest of the week (Monday through Wednesday; I'm not sure when those will begin). The food is fabulous and, yes, there are a couple of sandboxes that the kids totally love. You get your food out back and then eat either in the funky building, which was once the carriage house for the dairy on Alberta, or out front on the patio (which I sure plan to do a lot now that the sunny weather is finally making its appearance). Stay as long as you like.

Seriously, there has never been a mama-owned, mama-run business more worthy of supporting. I consider Brenda a great friend, and there's no limit to the number of people in this town who would say the same thing. (Once you meet her, she'll be your friend, too.) The place is brand new, so please forward this info to everyone you know! If you need a new hangout or a place for coffee playdates, or if you're looking for a great breakfast/lunch/snack place (or a place for a mama/kid date!), get on over to Tour de Crepes! (Open for the Alberta art walk on Last Thursdays, too! Maybe a good time/date for a mamas' get-together?) I can guarantee that there isn't a business owner in the city more interested and invested in providing a quality place where mothers, children, and families (and, of course, individuals) can relax and enjoy themselves. Viva la crepes!

Free Ice Cream

April 19, 2006

Thanks for the tip Cityslicker Mom!

Hey urbanMamas!  Just wanted to give everyone a heads up about Free Ice cream cone day at Ben & Jerry's Locations on April 25,2006 from noon to 8pm.   Locations in the Portland Metro area are:
Ben & Jerry's Hawthorne 
1428 S.E. 36th Avenue
Portland, OR 97214
Ben & Jerry's Uptown Center 
39 NW 23rd Place
Portland, OR 97210
Ben & Jerry's Yamhill 
524 SW Yamhill
Portland, OR 97204
(a Ben & Jerry's

Kid-Friendly Spaces

April 10, 2006

From one of our readers, here are some of her neighbor's favorite kid-friendly cafes.  I believe the BiPartisan Cafe is due for the Coffee Playdate circuit.  It was recommended by Andy awhile back.  Have you been to these cafes?  What do you think?

Glo Loca Cafe and Bistro - 7901 NE Glisan St 503 257 0063 Great food; quality ingredients; sandwiches, soups, homemade baked good, fair trade coffee, sofas, WiFi, computer, kids area well-maintained

BiPartisan Cafe - 7901 SE Stark St 503 253 1051 Nice open space, great coffee/treats, toys for the kids

Anna Bannanas Cafe - 8716 N Lombard Kids area in the shape of castle walls, organic menu, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches/ mac-n-cheese for the kids, rocking horse, wood toys, comfy chair for nursing moms

Mississippi Pizza - 3552 N Mississippi Ave 503 288 3231 Great pizza, Lorna Miller, once a month, leads a "Little Kids' Jamboree" with homemade instruments for an hour; $5 suggested donation.

For the Love of Ice Cream

April 06, 2006

If you're looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend, it looks like Island Creamery is having a grand opening celebration on Saturday, April 8 11am to 9pm and Sunday, April 9 11am to 8pm. Mark, who sent us this tidbit of information, writes:

Enjoy tastings of our delightful goodies: ice cream, soy ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbets, sherbets, smoothies, and more. Plus we'll have live music, monkey masks for the kids to color, meet our Island Ambassador and mom can enter our sweepstakes to win prizes from local merchants. Island Creamery is located at 4525 SE Woodstock Blvd in Portland. It's locally owned by Jane Glanville and offers a fun dining spot for people of all ages.

If you happen to go, please let us know what you think!

Happy St. Patty's Day!

March 17, 2006

Friends just called inviting us to join them at the St. Patrick's Day Celebration at the Kennedy School.  It sounds like tons of fun, and festivities run all day long.  I think we will probably go this afternoon, so hope to see yer green-ness there!


Eating out with Kids in SW/Beaverton

March 12, 2006

A friend called me last night from the parking lot of Shari's  to tell me that on weekends (sat & sun) children eat free.

(from the website:Every Saturday and Sunday evening from 4pm to 9pm, each child can choose an entrée from Shari’s Kids Menu for   Free with a kids beverage purchase. This money-saving offer is valid for up to two children for each adult in the party.)

This is the same friend who let me know about a similar deal at Denny's on Tuesdays and Saturdays (kids 10 and under eat free from the kids menu with purchase of adult entree from 4pm).

I love this friend because she's a real penny pincher, something I'm not, but aspire to be. The two restaurants in Beaverton where we usually go for a family night out are a little pricier, Pasta Veloce on Scholls Ferry near 125th avenue and Beaches at the Murray Scholls Shopping area.

I like Pasta Veloce because it's an adult menu, with awesome grilled bread and a nice drink selection. You go up and order and pay at the same time, so in the event of an emergency, there's no waiting for a waitress to bring the bill. The other great thing about Pasta Veloce is that the drinks refill, napkins, to go boxes, and silverware are all out there for customers to help themselves to. If you've got a toddler who thinks silverware throwing is an Olympic sport like my youngest, having access to fresh silverware is great. Finally, Pasta Veloce has a few boxes of giant legos you can take to your table on a first-come, first-serve basis.

My second favorite place is Beaches. If you go during their happy hour, from 4-6, the appetizer menu is half price. You can get a full-sized burger for $2.50, or an individual pizza for about $2.00. The seating is adjacent to the bar and limited, however, when we went there last time, the waitstaff was very helpful in encouraging families leaving to give their tables to other waiting families. They bring out a big plastic bucket of toys and crayons for the kids while you're waiting. Also, with the purchase of just one children's meal (about $5.50) both my kids got special drinks, a trip to the treasure chest for a free toy, and two little chocolate sundaes that the waitress made right in front of them at a special station. My 4 year old went home singing "we love Beaches" and keeps asking me when we can go again.

We may not be close to the awesome restaurants in Portland, but Beaverton does have some great places to go with kids.

Mark your calendars - TGIF!

February 07, 2006

We all had such a great time (and great turnout) last Friday that we thought we should do it again this week.  Same bat-time & same bat-channel (Friday, 2/10, 9.30am):

SohBet Coffeeshop & Market
2170 N. Killingsworth (off Greeley)
Portland, OR 97217

Let us know if you can make it!

Friday morning playdate

February 02, 2006

Looking for a pick-me-up on Friday morning?  Come join some of the urbanMamas at SohBet in the morning.  It's always a great place for mamas and kiddies.  We'll probably be there from 9:30 til about noon.  Hope to see you!

SohBet Coffeeshop & Market
2170 N. Killingsworth (off Greeley)
Portland, OR 97217

Thanks for the w[h]ine!

December 04, 2005

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us at w[h]ine out last night.  It was a great time to meet, reconnect, and just unwind.  We had a great hostess at Pour, and we had some lovely libation.  I just love being able to personally connect with all of you, urbanMamas, up close and personal.

We will definitely do it again before too long.  W[h]ine nights will always be a favorite event for me, but we can also plan to do coffee/play dates so we can include our little people and partners too!  Can't wait to meet more of you.  Until then, read & share here on the site.  Thank you, all - you help to make urbanMamas the online community we always envisioned.

Looking for a kid-friendly cafe?

November 11, 2005

Looking for a place to be, hang, eat, meet with or without kids??  SohBet.  It's our new favoritest spot.  SohBet, how much do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:

  • free WiFi
  • huge toy area with tons of diversion for the wee ones (diversions include piles of paper, markers, crayons, tinker-toys, duplo, blocks, trucks, and other stuff I'm forgetting)
  • stumptown coffee
  • a couple o' comfy armchairs
  • pastries from baker 'n' spice
  • panini (on a recent trip, I had a turkey pesto with roasted red peppers and provolone.  YUM YUM YUM.)
  • other nibbles and bits, including olives, almonds, cheese platters, soups, sandwiches.
    retail items like fun 'n funky ceramics and dishware, gold encrusted alma chocolates, other specialty items like preserves, honey, biscuits.
  • changing table in the restroom.
  • music on thursday and friday nights.
  • piles of reading materials, the NYT and mags galore.
  • it's 1-1/2 blocks from my house.

What a place.  It's home away from home for everyone in the family.  Proprietors David and Julia are calm, down-to-earth, and family-friendly, as are the patrons.  I often see a diverse group of the kidless and the non-kidless hanging out in the expansive space.  I think it's simultaneously kid- and parent-friendly, even more so than peanut butter & ellie's.  And, because it's more cozy, has a wider food selection, and is more convenient, it's trumping our all-time favorite, urban grind in the NE.

SohBet / 503-735-3446 / 2710 N. Killingsworth, Portland, OR 97217

A good place to chill

October 01, 2005

Sometimes I feel debilitated when I walk into a quaint coffee shop with those cute little bistro tables littered throughout the 500-square feet of space. Forget about navigating a stroller into and around such places. Setting itself apart from your cute, quaint, neighborhood java joint, Urban Grind (especially the NE location) is a great find for the mamas and papas with tykes in tow. The eastside location is humongous. Was it a former warehouse or something else gargantuan? Whatever it used to be, it's now a hot spot for wi-fi and coffee lovers, with or without kids. They've got couches, counters, tables, and .. a train table and buckets of toys in the back. They've got space, space, and more space. You could even play indoor soccer in the amount of space at Urban Grind in the northeast. They've also got some panini and salads. Great place for an indoor playgroup or mamalicious coffee date.

The Urban Grind in the Pearl is a great find, too. Not too many diversions for the kids aside from magazines and newspapers, but they've got a ramp that leads up to their side door and ample room for us to stroll in. So, we've also put it on our list of kiddie-friendly coffee shops.

* the Urban Grind website says that they're closed on Sundays but I could have sworn I've been there on a Sunday.

Peanut Butter & Ellie's

January 18, 2005

From CafeMama's Guide for PDX-ers: This is a fantastic concept, poorly executed and managed. I can't count the number of times I have driven all the way to NE Fremont (a trek from my house off Holgate) during their supposed regular hours, only to find it closed. Not to mention the times that it seemed like they should be open but weren't (last minute changes in hours, only open past 3 on Fridays, no Sundays, etc.). Their food is good, typically, for what it is: toddler food. Actually, I love their house-made peanut butter, and think the sandwiches are great. But the service is just terrible. Every single time I've been there, something has been screwed up, and when I bring it up (in the nicest most non-confrontational manner), it's treated with a cavalier shrug of the shoulders.

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