Nov 10

Featured Mom Mapper: Road Trips for Families

So how did we find the more than 24,000 kid-friendly places mapped in our Mom Maps iPhone app? We’ve been building  a vibrant community of parent Mappers who love to share their favorite picks and places for outdoor and indoor play, learning places, family dining and more. We’d like to introduce you to Road Trips for Families, and in particular, their “Feed Me” and “Geocaching” editor, Julie Henning. Julie is also the creator of the the very handy Milwaukee Love Kids and Madison Loves Kids iPhone apps.

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Road Trips for Families brings you travel information and advice from real families who love to hit the road every chance they get. It’s a great resource for planning your next family road trip because you’ll find expert itineraries, information on what’s along the way, gadgets — plus a whole lot more. Julie’s specialty is dining out with kids — and as a mother of three she can appreciate that this is no small task, especially when you’re on the road. You need convenience, clean bathrooms, and a place to burn off energy—not to mention prices that don’t break your travel budget on the first day. Julie loves to venture little off the beaten path to find and share unique, family-friendly restaurants that feed your appetite and your sense of adventure . She’s also a great resource for geocaching, “the nation’s high-tech treasure hunt”.

We’re proud to team up with Julie Henning and Road Trips for Families to map some of their favorite roadside attractions and kid-friendly destinations. So now you can take Road Trips for Families’ kid-friendly travel picks and recommendations “on the go” using the Mom Maps iPhone app (or browse online at www.kidsplayguide.com.)

Follow Julie and Road Trips for Families

  • www.roadtripsforfamilies.com
  • @RoadTripsEditor (Road Trips for Families on Twitter)
  • @roadtripsfeedme (Julie Henning on Twitter)
  • Facebook: Road Trips for Families
  • Find out more about Geocaching

Oct 10

Featured Video: Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, Louisville, KY

Taking a trip to Louisville? Julie, “Feed Me” editor of the family travel site Road Trips for Families and creator of the Kid-Friendly Madison iPhone app, recommends stopping by at Lynn’s Paradise cafe, which Julie describes as “a bit off the beaten track, but kid-friendly with some authentic food.” Sign us up!

Thanks again to Julie for her video pick. We’re proud to team up with moms and dads everywhere and family travel experts like Julie, to map and review thousands of kid-friendly places so you can find great places to play, learn and eat “on the go” using the Mom Maps iPhone app (or browse online at www.kidsplayguide.com.)

Follow Julie and Road Trips for Families:

Aug 10

From Coast to Coast: Hot Spots for Cool Treats

(Image by iMax)

It hasn’t escaped our notice that artisan  ice cream and other frozen treats are among the hottest trends across the country. Think local ingredients, classic and adventurous flavors — traditional ice cream, bubble tea, frozen yogurt, frozen custard, shave ice, popsicles and other cool treats. Yes, we’re enthusiastic supporters of this trend! As summer heads into the home stretch, here are hot spots for cool treats from the SF Bay to the ATL – hand-picked from the growing list of kid-friendly places mapped on Mom Maps by our great community of moms and dads, family travel experts and parent bloggers. Just say yum!

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A Visit to Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream in San Francisco’s Mission District

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Atlanta: Sarah Jean’s Ice Cream (Marietta), Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream (Atlanta), The Yogurt Tap (Decatur)

Austin: Amy’s Ice Creams, Spoons Yogurt (College Station), Marble Slab Creamery (Sunset Valley)

Boston: Lizzy’s (Waltham), Bedford Farms (Bedford), Mad Maggie’s (North Reading)

Chicago: Bobtail Ice Cream, Paciugo Gelato, Scooter’s Frozen Custard

Grand Rapids, MI: Jersey Junction Ice Cream Parlor

Hawaii: Aoki’s Shave Ice (Haleiwa/Oahu), Papalani Gelato (Koloa/Kauai), Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice (Lahaina/Maui)

Minneapolis: Izzy’s Ice Cream (St. Paul), Pumphouse Creamery, Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream

New York City: Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (Manhattan), Yogurtland (Manhattan), Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Pacific Northwest: Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream (Seattle), Theno’s Dairy / Vivian’s Pride Ice Cream (Redmond),  Cool Moon Ice Cream (Portland, OR)

Phoenix: Aloha Yogurt (Tempe), Grateful Spoon Gelato, Mary Coyle Ol’ Fashion Ice Cream

San Francisco Bay Area: Tucker’s Super Creamed Ice Cream (Alameda), Ici Ice Cream (Berkeley), Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream (San Francisco), Bi-Rite Creamery

Southern California: CeFiore Frozen Yogurt (Los Angeles), Mariposa Homemade Ice Cream (San Diego), Italia Vito’s Pasticceria (Laguna HIlls)

Washington DC: Boccato Gelato & Espresso (Arlington), Max’s Best Ice Cream, Tangysweet Frozen Yogurt

Sweet treat lovers unite! Have you been to one of these tasty stops? Got a hot tip you’d love to share? We love to hear about your favorites – comment, add a review on Mom Maps or Tweet us @mommaps.

Jun 10

Moms Pick: Family-Friendly Dining in Los Angeles and San Diego

We love our Mom Mappers, they’re discovering great things to do, and in this case to eat, all around the US. That means the rest of us can just can just sit back and impress our friends (and look like absolute playdate geniuses) when we always manage to have the inside scoop! Here are some of our Mom Mappers’ favorite family-friendly restaurants in Southern California.

San Diego: Travelmamas
Corvette Diner
Rubio’s Mexican Grill
Pizza Port Brewing Company
The Fish Market
The Eggery

Los Angeles- West side Santa Monica: See Jane Fly
Spitfire Grill
Marix Tex Mex
R&D Kitchen

Los Angeles – East Side: See Jane Fly
Yard House
Bottega Louie – Italian
Cat and Fiddle – burger type staples with fountain outside
uWink – super kid friendly restaurant with lots of games
Original Pantry Cafe

Of course this is only a teeny, tiny scratch in the surface of delicious, kid-friendly dining. You can find plenty more great places to eat with your family in Southern California and beyond by browsing mommaps.com or our handy (and FREE) iPhone app. We know you’ve got favorite spots you that love to tell your friends about. Drop us a line and let us know what spots you love, what we’ve missed, and what kind of kid-friendly places you’re on the lookout for.

Jun 10

Dining Out With Kids Survival Guide

Gone are the days of late, lingering dinners at the latest hot spots, but we haven’t given up on our love of eating out just because we have a toddler in tow. We eat earlier, and frequent more casual spots, but we still manage to indulge our passion for great food while keeping our sanity.

My criteria has changed of course. Now I deeply appreciate places that can accommodate strollers and friendly staff that don’t sweat the inevitable spills. And a little preparation by us parents doesn’t hurt either. By preempting the dinner rush, being ready to order quickly when you’re seated and having some emergency crayons or ‘quiet toys” tucked away in your purse, you can often avert meltdown and actually enjoy a family night out.

And here’s more sage advice from other parents who’ve been there:

  • 7 Mistakes Not to Make When Dining Out with Kids (Fodors)
  • How to dine out with kids … and enjoy it! (ages 2 to 4) (BabyCenter)
  • Sanity Tips for Eating Out With the Kids (Keep Kids Healthy via clubmom.com)
  • Dining out with Kids in Restaurants (non-chain, non family) or Tales of Training a Future Restaurant Critic (Fork and Bottle)
  • Eating out with Young Children – Practical Advice for Parents (as well as Waiters, Chefs, and Restaurateurs) (Tasting Menu)
  • But none of this matters if the food doesn’t make the cut. Why go to all this effort and trouble for just so-so grub? And this is where getting the inside scoop makes all the difference. Ask all your foodie friends about their favorite family dining spots and you’re guaranteed to find out-of-the-way neighborhood gems that welcome families and serve up tasty fare. You can also browse Mom Maps online or with your iPhone to find hundreds of restaurants (as well as parks, museums and playgrounds) mapped and reviewed by other parents. A great resource to find something new where you live or to locate primo spots while you’re on the road. Best yet, share some of your own favorites!

    This post was written by Stacie Dong, also a contributor to A Little Yumminess.

    May 10

    Parents Pick: Family Eats in San Francisco

    All month we’re mapping kid friendly dining spots and inviting our fabulous Mom (and dad) Mappers across the country to share their favorites. This week we bring you picks from three San Francisco moms. What do you think of our list? Did we miss one of your favorites?

    Emily’s Picks
    1. Giorgio’s (Inner Richmond, Clement Street and 3rd Ave.) –Family friendly pizza place that allows children to play with dough – sometimes make their own pizza.

    2. Beautifull! (Laurel Village, California at Laurel) – Cafe with plenty of healthy options with kids menu and free tasting.

    3. Park Chow (Inner Sunset, 9th Ave. and Lincoln) – It’s pretty great when kid-friendly coincides with the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Top 100 Restaurants” list. Great comfort food made with fresh, organic ingredients.

    4. Pacific Catch (Inner Sunset, 9th Ave. and Lincoln) – Seafood that’s kid friendly. Did I mention the sweet potato fries?

    5. Green Chili Kitchen (NOPA, McAllister and Baker Streets) – A kid friendly, laid back neighborhood place. Modern twists on Mexican favorites and good rotisserie chicken, too.

    Jill’s Picks
    1. Park Chalet Garden Restaurant (Foot of Golden Gate Park at the Great Highway) – Grassy area in back that allows for picnics and places for kids to run around. Kid-friendly food.

    2. Rigolo Cafe (Laurel Village, California between Locust and Laurel Streets) –Pacific Heights cafe that caters to Pacific Heights crowd. Kids menu with toys in back.

    3. Asqew Grill (Laurel Village, California between Locust and Laurel Streets and other San Francisco, East bay and Marin Locations) –Nice kids menu that is reasonably priced. Free kids meals Mondays.

    4. Mel’s Diner (Marina, Lombard between Steiner and Fillmore and other San Francisco and Southern California locations) – Great burger place that serves kids meals in a paper car! Balloons sometimes available. 🙂

    5. IHOP (Marina, Lombard at Pierce Street and many other locations) – Nothing beats pancakes. Free kids dinners on some evenings – check in advance.

    Tita’s Picks
    1. Savor (Noe Valley, 24th Street and Sanchez) – This is a place that’s used to kids. All-day kids fare for $3.95 each (but drinks cost extra). As soon as they seat you, they bring the drawing paper (placemat/menu) and crayons.

    2. Eric’s Restaurant (Noe Valley, Church Street at 27th Street) – Tasty Szechuan food, family-style dining, super fast service, cute melamine kiddie plates, and the ungrumbling way staff handle the inevitable spills. Plentiful din that allows your family’s noise to blend in with everyone else’s, and fortune cookies as take-home prizes.

    3. Pasta Pomodoro (Noe Valley, 24th Street at Castro and other Bay Area and Southern California locations) – The ultimate in quick and easy kid-friendly dining. These people have the protocol down pat: coloring placemat/menu plus crayons, reasonably priced kids’ meals that range from fairly nutritious (chicken parm) to not so (cheesy pasta) and includes a drink and a scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert. Best of all, kids eat free on Tuesdays.

    4. La Boulange De Noe (Noe Valley, 24th Street at Sanchez and other San Francisco and Marin locations) – The casualness of this place makes it a decent choice when you’re with kids. There are a couple large, family-sized tables, stroller access is reasonable, and service is fairly quick (a hybrid of a sit-down restaurant and a coffee shop with counter service only).

    Hungry for more? Our previous post “Calling All Foodie Moms and Dads” includes more great places to eat with kids in San Francisco. If you liked this list, download Mom Maps’ free iPhone app to browse thousands of kid-friendly places including restaurants, museums, parks and playgrounds. Take it on the road or discover something great in your own city. And stay tuned! We’ll be sharing more moms’ picks for good family eats across the U.S. in the coming weeks.

    May 10

    Calling All Foodie Moms & Dads

    Finding family-friendly dining options that every one in the family can love, is not so easy a task. I’ve found the best method of finding “hidden gems” is to get talking with other parents and ask where they like to eat. I recently found a great dumpling place that way, tasty enchiladas and a Mexican juice bar, and a truly top-notch sandwich near union square. What constitutes good “family dining” can run the gamut of healthy and accessible menu choices, proximity to other good kid places, or a friendly, squirm and spill-friendly ambiance. Just the kinds of things that are usually hard to discern without the first-hand experience of another parent who understands the unique demands of family dining.

    This month at Mom Maps we’re mapping spots for great family dining across the US. We’re calling on our network of awesome Mom Mappers to help us, help you, find the gems — from great picnic places, to casual eating and higher end family occasion spots as well. And we invite all you moms and dads out there to share your favorites and why they make the cut, too. With your help, we can build the tastiest map around of kid-friendly bites from Boston to Los Angeles and everywhere in between.

    To get things rolling, here are a few favorite hidden gems in San Francisco:

    Kid friendly dumplings.

    Kid friendly chinese food.

    Kingdom of Dumpling – Why we like it: Most kids seem to love dumplings and the soup dumplings here (called xiao long bao) are seriously excellent. A great place to have a family food adventure without leaving the city.

    Kid friendly crepes

    Kid friendly crepe restaurant

    Crepe o Chocolat – Why we like it: So much to please both parents and adults from the housemade yogurt to the simple, yet incredibly delicious sandwiches. Let the kids run around a bit while you take your food to go and dine al fresco on one of the benches in square.

    Kid friendly mexican sandwich restaurant

    Kid friendly mexican sandwich restaurant

    Tortas Los Picudos – Why we like it: A simple hole in the wall serving great tortas (mexican sandwiches) and enchiladas in the heart of the mission. Kids will love the large selection of juices as well as the very cool 24th street mini park down the street which has a giant mosaic serpent to climb on and water sprays for warmer days.

    Now we pose the question to you. What are your favorite family dining destinations and why do they make the cut?

    May 10

    Mother’s Day Round-up!

    Our Mother’s Day round-up for kid spots that moms will love too!

    CHICAGO for Arty Moms
    A world class art collection awaits at The Art Institute of Chicago. Kids and moms alike will love the Thorne Miniature Rooms.

    FLORIDA for Animal-Lover Moms
    Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens focuses on conservation and features the state’s only an insect zoo.

    LOUISVILLE AREA for Simple Pleasures Moms
    Huber Orchard and Winery in Starlight, IN offers more mature family members cheese-making demonstrations, wine tasting. The whole family will enjoy pick-your-own produce, a petting zoo and fun hay rides.

    SAN FRANCISCO for Sporty moms
    Get zen! It’s Yoga Kids offers family classes, mom & baby classes, kids’ only classes, and more.

    SEATTLE for Foodie Moms
    Let mom settle in with a cup of tea and a sweet treat at The Crumpet Shop at Pikes Place Market.

    April showers bring May flowers. Walk in a field of gold at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.

    TORONTO for Style Moms
    Shoe fanatics will drool over the Beta Shoe’s Museum’s> amazing collection of 12,500 shoe artifacts, including Marilyn Monroe’s read leather pumps and John Lenon’s Beatle Boot.

    WASHINGTON D.C. for History Moms
    Just outside our nation’s capital, the Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens takes you back in time amidst beautiful gardens and rolling hills