Dining Out with Babies: El Noa Noa
A couple Saturdays ago we attempted to go to a block party only to realize it was actually the following Saturday. So, once again we geared up to see this new and improved business district of Jefferson Park (25th & Federal area), only to be disappointed once again. There was a promise of family friendly activities, food provided local businesses and live music, but when we got there it looked like everyone was at one pub, definitely not child friendly, the band was on break and all of the other businesses were quiet and empty. The area still looked pretty lifeless still, hence this big block party they were trying to put on. Although, the Sartos restaurant did look worth coming back for on a date night. So here we were, hungry, all the way downtown once again, and about to "lose" the kids. So we were driving to find a "kid friendly" restaurant nearby that wasn't teeny tiny, uber trendy and over priced, as the Highlands is now. I was thinking and thinking and remembered there was a Mexican restaurant with a fabulous outdoor patio wrapping the old Victorian style building. I remembered passing it many times when I had lived in the Highlands area years ago, but never ate here, La Loma. It was WAY too busy! Lines of people waiting outside. Apparently there was a U2 concert happening this night, and the Chalk Art festival down on Larimer. Downtown was buzzing. There would be no way our kids would last that long.
So we drove again. Now Arlo was fussing and definitely needed a pull-over breast sesh. Husband thought of the Sunken Gardens park off Speer and 8th, near West High School. Wonderful idea! As he was driving and once we parked, I got out and tried to offer Arlo the breast, not having it, we got back in the car. What a shame and waste of a drive to go all the way home. Ding! Ding! Ding! I and a thought! A couple weeks early, we had passed a neat Mexican restaurant, El Noa Noa, on 7th and Santa Fe when we went to the First Friday Art Walk. We noticed the incredible outdoor patio and made mental notes to try it someday. Here we were, blocks away, hungry, and it wasn't the first Friday of the month so it wouldn't be busy!
We zipped over there, found parking right out front and headed in. Patio-weather Gods were looking down on us and all stars were in alignment in our dining out adventure with a baby and a toddler! Luckily the bag had been packed in preparation. Water bottles, check! Fresh food feeder for orange slices, check! Arlo's pureed food, check! The best part though, this incredible PATIO! We were able to get a neat little corner table tucked at the back right beside the water fountain! Remy and Arlo LOVED the water! PLUS, there was live music at 6:00 pm! Just in time! There was a great little stage area where Remy would run over and dance and check out the music and then come back to the table. It didn't hurt that Renmy found a little toe-haired friend to look for fishes in the fountain with! The place had high chairs, always a plus, AND crayons! I have learned crayons are a necessity at this stage with Remy, in fact, I am going to pack my own, maybe even sew a cute little pouch for them. Crayons are key! The guacamole dip was a hit with both Arlo and Remy.
The food came fast, hot and delicious! The staff was incredibly friendly and attentive and we had our check and a box within minutes of requesting it. We both enjoyed our food and Remy loved bites of ours too! I always admire those who can manage to dine out with littles without a peep, but I am not sure when that might be in our future. She is too much of an explorer and wanderer! So until then, I guess we'll restrict our family dining out festivities to warmer weather days where we can tear up a patio.
We may be that couple entertaining with straws, jelly packets, sugar packets, ice cubes, water cups and everything in between, BUT we are also THAT couple that gets on our hands and knees and wipes the floor and table clean before leaving and we try to neatly pile our plates. We always have so much respect and appreciation for our host and waiting staff and would never want to leave a nightmare.
It is not exactly super relaxing dining out with a baby and a toddler, and we know some people who refused to do it until their kiddos were much older. Our lifestyle doesn't have us eating out that often anyhow, but when we do it is definitely a treat and something we all want to enjoy, whether it is just my husband and I, or all four of us. Pick your venue for your party!
All in all, the block party may have been a total bust, but we finally tried El Noa Noa and were so delighted and satisfied with the experience! Highly recommend!
What are your tips and tricks for dining out with littles or do you just avoid it all together?
P.S. Afterwards, I was speaking with my neighbor about our dinner and she had asked if we used the Groupon. We didn't see it on there, but you might check it out!