More Great Restaurants for Kids (and Mom!)
A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of my favorite Sacramento restaurants for kids. They meet both the requirements of having good adult food and healthy kid choices, and best of all they don’t raise their eyebrows at accompanying children. I got some great feedback from readers and have tried a few more places. So if you’re looking for a last-minute idea for a Mother’s Day meal this weekend, choose a place where she won’t have to sacrifice good food in order to tow along the offspring.
Chada Thai (1624 Broadway) is the blue place just next door to the rust and gold Taste of Thai. Both make very good Thai food, but we had an especially good parent experience at Chada. Like many Asian restaurants (and other ethnic varieties), Chada seems very family oriented and it’s not that unusual to see whole families eating together. (Hoa Viet, just down the street, is another great example.) We were starving when we arrived, so we quickly ordered the fresh spring rolls and some young coconut juice. I often like to order mixed appetizer plates as Eva’s main meal, and Chada has two versions, but we stuck with the rolls, filled with shrimp, tofu, vegetables, rice noodles, and served with a tamarind sauce. They’re perfect finger food in kid-sized portions. Eva was thrilled with the coconut juice, which had thick shavings of coconut meat in the bottom of the glass. Next, we ordered her the Chada Fried Rice, with pineapple, raisins, cashews, egg, baby corn, and some chicken. It came to the table with a bonus shrimp on top that Eva loved. I’ve discovered that she likes vegetables in different forms sometimes, so the baby corn was especially exciting and she ate it all. The adults had a great sauteed grilled eggplant (pad ma kua) and stir-fried cashew nuts with pork (pad-him-ma-pan). The final verdict from the three-year-old? “Yum, yum, yum!”
Freshii (400 Q St., in the CalPers building) just opened recently in an area without many restaurant choices. We got a sneak preview on a Sunday for lunch. The Canadian concept is “fresh food. custom built.” They have wraps, bowls, salads, and soups with a multitude of options. You can build your own combo or choose a freshii concoction from the menu, like the Bangkok Grilled Wrap that I had, filled with brown rice, grilled chicken, veggies, and peanut sauce. You get to choose half, regular, or heavy dressing/sauce for each item or get it on the side. I chose half of the sauce and it seemed plenty. On the other hand, my husband had the Buffalo Chicken Salad and he would have liked heavier dressing (I ordered him the regular amount; silly me!). They didn’t have their kids’ menu available yet, but that was allegedly in the works. What they did have was snack-sized bags of dried fruit, organic milk boxes, and frozen yogurt. Apparently, the Sacramento location is exclusively partnered with Yogurtagogo, since they share the same franchise owner. Freshii also serves breakfast, and I want to get back to see if the kids’ menu is in place. Both the wrap and the salad were big enough to easily share with a child, though, and so that’s what we did. They also have a very nice patio for outdoor eating, which is always a bonus with children in your group.
Magpie Cafe (1409 R St.) has been one of my favorite places for top-notch, yet casual food for years. Recently, we took my parents and daughter and had a great dinner. Their cheese plate, with succulent dried figs and dates, several kinds of California cheese, and extra-crisp toasts is my idea of perfection. It’s also quite appealing to a child. Squares of cheese! A whole plate of finger food! I had to wrestle some of the dates away from small fingers just to get enough. Since they’re used to take-out and catering, they’re also well set up for kids. We got milk in a take-out cup with a straw and there were lots of lovely cookies and baked goods for an easy dessert. We mostly just shared our dinners with Eva so she had a wide variety of flavors, but their cured meat plate and seasonal vegetable plate at dinner would also be good kid fare. At lunch, the black rice salad is a must–even for three-year-olds.
Aviators Restaurant (6151 Freeport Blvd.) at the Sacramento Executive Airport is like a kid’s dream come true. A friend with twins told me about it and I’ve been taking my daughter there for two years. The parking is plentiful and the whole restaurant looks out over the landing strips of the airport. You can watch planes (and sometimes helicopters) take off and land for hours. While the food isn’t that unusual, it’s pretty good. There are the regulation hamburgers/BLTs/grilled cheese of any diner-type establishment, but also a very nice salad bar. I always get a big plate of cut-up melon, fresh broccoli, and carrot sticks for Eva to munch on while we wait for sandwiches. It’s also pretty cool that the sneeze guard on top is the windshield/cover from a jet cockpit. The waitresses are always super nice to Eva and sometimes bring her crayons and coloring books. It’s a regulars kind of place, with free refills of drinks and a welcoming atmosphere. Even grandfathers have been known to request a meal there just to watch the planes, so it’s wins in the department of multi-generational entertainment.
Any more tips for me? I want to get out of my downtown/Midtown route and try some different places with Eva. Send along your recommendations!