Many moons ago, I used to write restaurants reviews in New York City on my blog formerly known as “Mona’s Apple.” The thought crossed my mind over the weekend to get back into that a little bit here. As parents of an infant/soon-to-be-toddler, I figured maybe I could help moms and dads in the area discover places to bring their families for meals and adventures. Yelp has a “good for kids” filter, and so far MainMan has been using that to find spots for us, but I want to dish a bit more details about the spaces, the vibes and what kid-friendly amenities, if any, may be available (highchairs, boosters, slings, etc.) for you and your little ones. Click here for my guide to eating out with babies.
MainMan has started Hal Higdon’s running program and after his long weekend runs, he always wants a burger. Sunday he picked Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar for our late breakfast destination. It’s not too far from us in Mission Valley and you can see it right off the 8.
The place was massive and right away I knew we were in good hands — they had a slew of high chairs and car seat slings ready for customers. For our purposes, you can often judge a baby-friendly restaurant by its size. You expect they’ll have plenty of room for your baby, the car seat and/or stroller and a diaper bag. Not to mention if your baby gets fussy and loud, it’ll be less offensive to other eaters because he’ll be drowned out by the densely-populated dining area and the din will most likely get lost in the rafters.
The hostess greeted us with a warm hello, asked us if we wanted to eat indoors or outdoors, then walked us to our table. It was a hot weekend here in San Diego (hot so far for us has been 80) so we opted for inside. It’s always risky eating outside with LG because we’re worried about him getting too much sun exposure. We ate on a jam-packed patio in Carlsbad and the poor manager was playing Tetris with the umbrellas and every time she tweaked them we lost cover for LG which left him being blinded by the sun. A couple walked in behind us at Lazy Dog with their adorable brindle boxer (she was a few pounds short of Agnes’ doppelganger) and MainMan and I smiled at them while agreeing it would be fun to come back with Agnes. I noted that it was stressful enough with LG, I’m not sure I could handle dealing with Agnes on top of it, but maybe some day when LG is a little bigger we’ll give that a try.
Our waitress was super friendly and took our drink order right away. We got our usual morning tri-bev-da: Bloody Mary, coffee and water. Look how cute the creamer container above is. The bloodies were deliciously spicy with the typical olive, lime, celery garnish and a nice salt rim. I love it when restaurants tszuj up the bloody garnishes (we’ve had a couple with octopus here) so I’m always a little disappointed when they come without a unique twist.
We ordered the grizzly potatoes as a starter and they were tasty. It was a dainty portion (my photo makes it look huge but the skillet was about the size of my hand), perfect for two people, but I don’t think it would satisfy a table of four adults. They were mini steak fries in a skillet with a “secret” sauce and sweety drop peppers. The potatoes were cooked perfectly with a little crisp on the outside and the right quantity of sauce on them. I suspect the secret sauce was a little chipotle aioli concoction. The drop peppers were the size of my pinky fingernail and they were the cutest little red things I’ve ever seen.
MainMan’s bison burger looked yummy. It came with Durham Ranch grass-raised Wyoming bison, Havarti cheese, caramelized onion and bacon jam, field greens, tomatoes, and mayo. He gave it a 7 out of 10. It came on a soft brioche bun and it was cooked to his liking.
I ordered the Mediterranean omelet. It had mozzarella cheese, roasted red bell peppers, sun-dried tomato, sautéed mushroom, onion, basil and tomatoes, and it was topped with feta cheese. It was cooked perfectly, but overall it tasted bland. I like a bit more zip in my omelets, whether that’s from the cheese or spices. I opted for fruit on the side instead of the hash browns since we started with potatoes and I got a heaping chunk of watermelon which was delicious. LG got his first taste of watermelon and I think he liked it.
Overall, we were really pleased with the restaurant. We got there at around 11:30 and we were the only ones in our section. When we left, almost every table was full. The high chair was perfect for LG and it had the snaps to strap him in. I mention because we went to one spot recently that didn’t have a belted high chair. The only thing I didn’t check out was the bathroom situation. I will add that to my list for future restaurant reviews so you’ll know what the diaper-changing station is like.
Rating System (1=poor, 2=meh, 3=did the job, 4=really good, 5=perfection)