Food, Life, Parenting

Future Foodies Friday- Saved by Sardine

For Memorial Weekend, we decided to take a last minute trip to Madison, WI.  We have good friends that live there with children of similar ages.  It is far enough for the kids to feel like they went on a “road trip” but close enough that we could get there and back easily.   We had one full day in Madison and it was filled with good conversation, the smelling of lilacs and tree climbing at the Arboretum and the ever popular hotel swimming!  970919_10200604586431440_243949331_n

After swimming, we were HUNGRY!!!!  Thankfully, our hotel was right near the Capitol so our Madison hosts said that there would be lots of options within walking distance.  Unfortunately, we kept striking out!  The restaurants we were finding were either closed for the holiday, closed for a wedding, or not optimal for four hungry, tired kidlets.  Desperation and crankiness were beginning to take hold, and it was beginning to rain.  We see a restaurant that looks okay and is open… we start to turn in, when our friend (who are even more foodie minded than ourselves) says… “You know, Sardine is only another few blocks…”  It is where he works and I was a little skeptical knowing how he rolls foodie wise,  I KNEW that it would be delicious, responsibly raised food, doled out by super skilled waitstaff.  My fears were the kids in this place and what kind of reception would 8 weary, and soggy diners with no reservations get…  He called ahead and excitedly informed us that the Harvest Table would be waiting for us.  His son was clearly happy about the decision, so we started off!


I have to say, it was a little slice of crazy pie getting settled, but we were greeted with smiles and a few crayons.  One of the waitstaff brought over a large sheet of butcher paper for the kidlets to color on and after three trips to the restroom, we were able to finally look at the menu!  YUM! Such delicious options, it was very hard to choose but I finally went with the Sardine burger which had carmelized onions, fig jam, arugula and gorgonzola (I subbed gruyere due to allergies) on a ciabatta bun.  Sardine does NOT have a menu dedicated to kids, but they do have bar and appetizer menus with great options.  All of the kids chose to have the bistro hot dog… it is a hot dog served on a toasted roll with melted gruyere cheese, the hot dog also comes with both a side of fries and greens.  TONS of delicious food… we definitely didn’t eat all of the sides but the hot dogs and burgers were  demolished quickly.  One of our hosts also ordered the mussels… heavenly!   I was very happy that he was willing to share and so was June.

You know, as far as kid friendliness goes… I am not sure if we experienced more because we were with an employee, but this is definitely a place that I would feel comfortable bringing them to again.  It was lovely, and delicious.  My only suggestion would be to add a children’s menu with smaller portions so there is less waste.   Both Elliot and June gave two thumbs up!


By the time we were done with our meal, it had stopped raining and we able to enjoy a much less frenzied walk back to the hotel.  The kids even got to play on the Capitol grounds for a bit.  It was a wonderful weekend!

Thanks to Sardine for being friendly to even the smallest foodie and to our friends for being amazing hosts!


Food, Life, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting

Future Foodies Friday- Red Stag Supperclub

Happy Friday!

The other thing that I am very excited to do on Future Foodie Fridays is to review restaurants for Family Friendliness.  We have always made it a point to take our kids out, it is a good way to practice manners, try new foods and have a fun time as a family.  We have noticed in our experiences that there is family Friendly, there is family Tolerant…and there is plain Uncomfortable. 

I find myself getting annoyed when eating at a fantastic restaurant known for creatively well crafted food … the kids menu is received, we see cheeseburger, chicken fingers and man n cheese.  Come on!  The same thing happens sometimes when eating at different ethnic restaurants… we are eating roti and are expected to give our kids easy mac?  If we wanted to eat burgers, we would go somewhere where we would get  Good burgers.  This is, to me, a missed opportunity to grow your future business.  It is so sad!  We wouldn’t be bringing our children to your establishment if we didn’t care about teaching our kids to eat delicious food that is made well and gives them variety in their diet!  Obviously, I am pretty passionate about this…

So, I would like to start documenting and sharing our restaurant adventures.  Calling out those that are lacking and giving mad props to those that appreciate even the smallest of foodies.  I will also be including LBL and LL’s opinions and favorite dishes.  They will be giving the restaurants either a thumbs up, a thumbs sideways or a thumbs down.

Family Friendly: They provide comfortable seating, a delicious and varied children’s menu, and a welcoming atmosphere.

Family Tolerant: Half hearted attempt at comfortable seating, a children’s menu, maybe not as welcoming.

Okay, but YOU have to do the work: They may have one high chair hiding in the basement, it needs to be dusted and may not buckle, no children’s menu but “you can order an appetizer!” , your arrival is greeted with surprise, but you don’t necessarily feel unwanted.

Don’t take your Kids here: No seating available for families, no menus or even options, they just don’t want you here and it is their loss.

I want to start our reviews off with a shiny bright star!

Red Stag Supperclub


Located in NE Minneapolis.  An area that considering the amount of young families there, isn’t always super friendly, but it is getting there.  We have been here many, many, many times!  The first time we took a kid there was LBL’s 2nd birthday.  We had always hesitated, not sure if we would be welcome in this newer hipster atmosphere, but we loved the food and were craving it that night.  When the server found out that we were celebrating his birthday she sweetly brought him a small pumpkin to decorate (his birthday is Halloween)  Score!

We are always greeted here with smiles and no surprise.  They provide both boosters and high chairs.  They do a great job of trying to get families either by the open kitchen or the large windows facing the street… providing visual entertainment and a bit of noise barrier.  I especially like to be close to the kitchen as they like to watch the action and it is close to the restrooms.  They provide crayons and their Children’s Menu is also a pretty nature scene that they can color.

This is a supperclub so their Children’s Menu is pretty classic american, but well crafted.  I don’t mind letting LBL order a restaurant Pb&J when it is on freshly baked bread, includes restaurant made jam and is served with a side of freshly made potato crisps.  Unfortunately, I noticed too late that their Children’s Menu was not online so I will have to add that this weekend.

When we go to Red Stag, we go in the early evening… probably no later than 6:30.  I would love to hear anyone’s opinion if they have gone at a later time.  It just seems like more of “adult time” after that and frankly my kids are usually asleep by 7.  They take reservations but also save tables for walk ins.  Red Stag also offers a delicious brunch on the weekends and this is definitely a wonderful time to take your kiddos there!  Best part, they give samples of their coffee cake right away which gives mommy and daddy a moment of quiet to drink some coffee.  They do not have a kid specific brunch menu, but have always been very willing to work with us.  We usually split between the two of them fresh berries(brought out right away), a pancake(they are large) and sausage.

We LOVE Red Stag Supperclub!!!

LBL’s review:  His favorite is the PB&J, described above… he usually orders this unless gnocchi is on their app menu.  He loves the gnocchi!  He is also a big fan of the buffalo plaid attire and watching the kitchen.  Thumbs up!

LL’s review: She really likes the fish bites and if there for brunch I have to hide my lobster egg salad sandwich from her lest she eat it all!  She really appreciates that she can flip her coaster and receive bubble water instead of still and she is also fond of the fish art in the entryway.  Thumbs up!


Thank you Red Stag for being awesome and welcoming!