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seattle with kids- wild ginger and pub rec's

t
trob Jul 10, 2007 05:31 AM

Hi- I did read the other threads related to this topic but have 2 additional questions. We are visiting for two weeks starting this Thursday with a 5 and 2 year old. We have always been interested in Wild Ginger but really have no idea if it is a kid friendly place. (my kids will love the food itself). They do know how to behave ya da da da da.....

Also, we love to go to fun pubs/breweries for a beer and snacks at the end of the day and of course want to in Seattle so we can drink a few great local brews. We have done Hale's in the past and it was fine. In the past we loved 74th Street alehouse but alas, no kids. Any new ideas?

Thanks!

  1. k
    Kevin B Jul 10, 2007 07:58 AM

    Montlake Alehouse goes out of their way to accommodate families with young children with the pit of toys. (2307 24th Ave E.) You can take kids to Pike Brewing in the south end of the Market. All the McMennemins are kid friendly (Queen Anne, Six Arms on Pike, Dad Watson's in Fremont.) Barking dog Alehouse (not too far from 74th st. Alehouse @ 705 NW 70th) would be good.

    I'm 99% certain I've seen kids in Collins Pub (526 2nd Ave) and they've probably got the best food of the lot.

    1. barleywino Jul 10, 2007 08:22 AM

      no problem with kids at Wild Ginger. They might also enjoy seats at the counter if they like to watch some chefs grilling. Check out whether Taphouse grill downtown allows kids (160 beers on tap)

      1. s
        southendeater Jul 10, 2007 01:34 PM

        I have seen kids at Elysian Brewing on Capitol Hill. They have solid food, great beer, and accommodating waitstaff. It has the additional benefit of being in a neighborhood worth exploring on foot before or after...

        1. c
          ccqueen Jul 10, 2007 01:42 PM

          like most crappy chains, wild ginger is fine for kids and midwesterners alike.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ccqueen
            barleywino Jul 10, 2007 01:58 PM

            is Wild Ginger a "chain"? and what's this about midwesterners? Chicago has food that rivals the best on either coast, to give just one example of midwestern sophistication. Their Chinatown, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Indian food are all quite respectable by any standards imo. Alinea in Chicago is considered by some to be the #1 restaurant in the USA. The fact that Chicago "midwesterners" can support such a restaurant and Seattle apparently can't (look at places like Mistral and how much business they get) is distressing imo.

          2. s
            savorlicious Jul 10, 2007 02:08 PM

            The Barking Dog at 70th & 7th Avenue is kid friendly as is Old Town Tavern on Old Ballard Avenue. Both have great selections of Belgian beers as well as local. Boundary Bay IPA is one of my favorite northwest beers and in my opinion, it tastes better at Old Town than anywhere else.

            1. b
              BruceB Jul 10, 2007 11:43 PM

              Wild Ginger would be OK with your kids. But why on earth go there when you can get better food for half the price in a much more kid-friendly atmosphere at dozens of Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, etc. places in the International District?

              1. t
                trob Jul 11, 2007 05:10 AM

                Thanks for all the great pub ideas. I had forgotten about the Montlake Alehouse. We have actually been there once. As I recall the 74th street folks also had a place we liked up on Queen Anne. Anyone know what I might be talking about and whether it's still there?

                As for Wild Ginger, perhaps I have the name wrong as the place I am thinking of isn't a chain (I don't think). As I recall it's on 3rd Ave. or thereabouts.
                The reason we'd go is that as I mentioned, we have long been interested in it. By then we will no doubt have had several cheaper and very delicious meals in the International District, just as suggested here on the board, and just as we always do. For me, it's fun to try a variety of places and for our kids to learn to be public people in a variety of venues.

                On that note, there are a couple things we will do while there just because they are part of my childhood memories. There may be better, hipper, or cheaper places, but unless we hear of serious health concerns, we'll still go for the sentimental value. A couple examples are fish and chips at the Totem, a burger at Dick's, and walking over for treats at Larsen's bakery in Ballard (still there I hope). I can smell that place as I write...

                Nonetheless, despite lutefisk being a childhood memory of sorts, we'll probably skip it :)

                Thanks again everyone!

                2 Replies
                1. re: trob
                  k
                  Kevin B Jul 11, 2007 07:29 AM

                  The place on Queen Anne is Hilltop (2129 Queen Anne Ave) but I'm pretty sure it's 21+

                  Wild Ginger (man this topic gets old) is not a chain. There are people who have a totally irrational hatred of the place that in my opinion is not based on any fact. I suspect that some of it is not based on actual experience but rather the groupthink that bashes the place. (For example anyone who calls it a chain I would immediately dismiss as not knowing anything about the place. Flame on!) I don't think it's the best food, best value or most authentic place in town at all. BUT, it has a more swanky atmosphere than anywhere I've been in the I.D. I've never had BAD food there. I think it's a great place to take out of towners, clients etc. because it is solid and not hugely expensive as some claim. It's also a great place to get a cocktail and an appetizer before a show at any of the theaters or clubs nearby. Would it be my first choice when dining alone or with my family? Of course not. Do I enjoy it when I do go? You bet.

                  1. re: Kevin B
                    barleywino Jul 11, 2007 08:05 AM

                    I would agree with KevinB's comments. You can get a decent lunch there for around $10 (either their 3 course combo lunches or something like the "Spice Traders beef" (a large plate of chow fun noodles w/ beef in a satay sauce) or the "Nonya noodles" (shrimp, hardboiled egg and noodles in black bean coconut sauce, ask to substitute string beans for the dried tofu). Sure the names of the dishes can be a bit hokey, the spices are bit toned down and they put their own twist on each dish so that they're not always "authentic" or familiar (and don't always work) but that's part of the quirky charm of the place. If a dish doesn't work you can always send it back or have them take it off the bill. Think of it as a pan-Asian Cheesecake Factory (LOL ;) Would i rather have the boiled fish in spicy soup at Seven Stars Pepper, the congee w/ beef tripe and wilted lettuce at Mikes Noodle shop, the seafood pancake at Hosoonyi or the crab spring roll, braised beef shank w/ daikon or caramelized catfish at Monsoon? Sure, but those places are not always convenient to get to.

                2. t
                  trob Aug 9, 2007 07:28 PM

                  Hi-
                  This report is very after the fact but I thought I'd check back in as we took many of your fine suggestions and enjoyed our trip and the chowing very much. Thanks again for all the fine help.

                  First, Wild Ginger. My 5 year old and I had "adult day" on a very rainy Tuesday. We went to the museum associated with the Symphony and the Seattle Art Museum and loved them both. We hit WG just before the lunch rush and were seated at the satay bar which my son loved. He also loved his Blenheim's ginger ale and I my Boundary Bay IPA (which as I side note I did try at Old Town Tavern as suggested but unfortunately it came in the wrong glass and the glass was hot. Also had it at the actual brewery in Bellingham which is where it tasted best IMO). The service was on the slow side but it was okay because we were having a wonderful time together and my son was feeling very cool discussing art and music and food with me. Truthfully, it was I who felt cool to be seeing it all through his wonderful five year old eyes.

                  Anyway, back to the food. We shared chicken satay with a peanut sauce. I got 2 bites before he scarfed it down, all the while talking about how great the cucumber pickle salad was. As we were finishing we found hair in the chicken which grossed us both out. The waitress offered us a new plate which was after the fact. I asked for it to be taken off the bill which didn't happen. For his meal, my son had the kids noodles. He picked the veggies out and then decided it was too bland. He dug into my bowl of soup with dungeness crab dumplings. The soup itself wasnt spectacular but the dumplings were great.

                  In short, WG wasn't great but wasn't bad either. I'm glad I went but likely wouldn't go back. It totally fit the bill for our day together and now my interest has been satisfied. And it was perfectly kid friendly. A few nights later we hit 7 Stars Pepper which was as good as it remember it being. The cumin lamb and scallion pancakes are still great.

                  Each kid had a special day with dad too. When the first one got an organic hot dog at Pike Place brwery the other had to have it too. We were simply impressed that it was an option. Good thinking on their part.

                  As for beer and snacks, we did well. The Barking Dog was a big hit. Well, except fo one visit with friends were we split a pitcher on Hale's Cream Ale. That stuff is nasty :)-- I should have stuck with the Tri City ESB. The nachos were okay and the kids fish and chips were actually really good. Slow service but it didn't matter. The Elysian worked well for us too, and was home to 1 of the 2 best beers of the trip. I can't recall the exact name--something like Dragontooth stout. The other was the double hopped IPA at Maritime Pacific (why does it seem that they put jalapenos in everything there?)

                  For me, the highlight was my temporary morning ritual of a morning swim at Ballard pool then a double americano and pan de chocolat at Cafe Besalu. That was hard to leave behind. I hated the mornings they were closed and I had to substitute. The coffee at Kamiker (sp?) was wonderful but the donuts, despite being Top Pot, didn't have the same impact.

                  Going out was great, but the food highlights were home cooked. My mom still does salmon and crab cakes better than any restaurant. Raspberries and blueberries (even thought they can't top Maine blueberries) picked by my kids and added to cream they whipped can't be beat. Fresh fava beans from the Ballard farmers market, cooked by good friends and served with salad nicoise with fresh ingredients from the same market is as good as it gets. And the venues were the most kid friendly of all :)

                  That's about what I can remember. It was a wonderful trip and we can't wait to come back. Thanks again for all the help.

                  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Larsens Bakery still smells delicious and is still a treat that takes me back to childhood.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: trob
                    barleywino Aug 9, 2007 08:28 PM

                    Thanks for reporting back! Glad you enjoyed your trip. I think it's a bit hasty to pass final judgement on a restaurant based on trying 1 appetizer and 1 soup, without trying any of the entrees (sort of like judging a steakhouse based on trying their fries), but at least you got a decent beer out of your visit.

                    1. re: barleywino
                      t
                      trob Aug 10, 2007 05:31 AM

                      Gosh, what place did I pass final judgement on? I'm not sure I said anything all that bad about any of them. I was just being honest about our food and service at Wild Ginger--and I think I said I got more out of the visit than just a good beer--but I am certainly not claiming to be an expert on the place. But I go to Seattle once a year, so unless someplace is super spectacular, I am unlikley to go back as there is so much to try. (except mom's of course :) We are already looking forward to the next rip!

                      1. re: trob
                        barleywino Aug 10, 2007 11:07 AM

                        sorry, wasn't trying to flame you...hope you come back and give it another try, although as you say there are many places to try...you and the kids might enjoy Beveridge Place pub in W Seattle next time, they have foosball (table soccer) and other diversions, as well as sort of a living room atmosphere with the old sofas etc. (but not much in the way of food except chips and order-in)...or Taphouse grill for the 160 beers on tap (even Allagash ale from your neck of the woods, iirc)

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