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Single dad for a week: Need some new places for an adventurous 6 year old.

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My wife had to go out of town unexpectedly this morning and PayOrPlay Jr. and I may be looking at an unplanned week of father-son bonding. Hoping to make lemonade out of this lemon, I am trying to come up with some new places for us to visit together. He's still a little rambunctious for top-end places but his palate has become pretty sophisticated--although, like most 6-year-olds, he can't yet handle spicy-hot food, so we haven't yet done much Ethiopian or Indian. (He also has some odd aversions to foods most kids like, such as pizza and peanut butter, but since he likes lobster, salmon eggs, and Chinese hotpots, I figure it's a good tradeoff.) During the week we need to stay on the westside but we could wander a bit over the weekend.

Examples of casual places that he likes: Ramen-ya, Blue Marlin, Yashima, Rutts, Uncle Moki's Hawaiian Shrimp, Nate-n-Al, Noodle Planet, La Serenata, Coupa Cafe in BH, Magic Carpet, Taqueria Sanchez, 26 Beach, all the Westwood Persian places, Koreatown Galleria food court, San Gabriel Mall, and every gelateria you can name.

Are there any new places out there we should take a shot at? For example, we haven't spent much time in Hollywood (except for one visit to Lucky Devils): any of the new places there that would fit? Any relatively new places in Brentwood, Santa Monica, Venice/MDR? PayOrPlay Jr. and I thank you in advance.

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  1. What about one of the Japanese skewer places on or near Sawtelle, like Nanbankan? You can order by the skewer and there are lots of fun choices, and you can even sit at the bar where the guys do the cooking.

    1. Here are some casual options where an adventurous eater would be happy:

      The ramen place inside the Mitsuwa market on Venice/Centinela
      Sunnin, the lebanese place on Westwood Blvd
      Yakitoriya, the yakitori place on Sawtelle
      Mizu 212, the shabu shabu place on Sawtelle
      Monte Alban, the Oaxacan place on Santa Monica/Brockton (not all the food is spicy)
      Matteo's for paletas after dinner (they have a location in Palms)
      Roll 'n' Rye in Culver City for matzo ball soup
      Tender Greens in Culver City for healthy soup, salad, sandwich
      Tacomiendo in Culver City/Mar Vista for tacos
      Axe in Venice for weekend brunch
      La Playita in Venice for tacos, ceviche, etc.
      Musha in Santa Monica for izakaya japanese food
      Pizzeria Mozza for pizza
      Bay Cities Deli for great deli sandwiches

      The list could go on and on...

      1. Last weekend, after an afternoon of shopping and people-watching on the Venice Boardwalk, we took a 2 year old to the Canal Club. Shino, our favorite sushi chef, welcomed him at the sushi bar with open arms. Dim sum in Chinatown might also be fun for junior, especially if you take the train into town!

        1. have you taken him to Meltdown yet? not overly adventurous, but tasty. lunch only.

          1. Well, you can make the drive up to Santa Clarita - Farrells and (attached) Mountasia. Add the California Poppy Preserve in Lancaster and you've got a day!

            1. Someone mentioned Mitsuwa, I think it'd be a fun place for 6 year old to choose his own food since every vendor will have a fake display of their offering.

              Orris on Sawtelle will also be a good option as it allows him (and you) to discover more food offerings in one sitting, it's Asian fusion tapas and pretty kid friendly. Around the same area, how about HongKong cafe?

              The Counter on Ocean Park in Santa Monica can be fun since he can pick and choose his own personalized burger.

              Monte Alban for Oaxacan?

              Bread Bar in the Century City mall?

              On weekends, I'd suggest Pa Pa Walk in Alhambra (or is in in San Gabriel) - it's kid friendly and he can say he has tried Taiwanese street food. Or Dim Sum for a late lunch.

              If you still have him alone this Sunday, the Santa Monica Farmer's market on Sunday on Main street might be a fun option as there'll be lots of people with live music. You can get your food and hang out around the area or the beach.

              I think it's quite awesome for a little kid to be exposed to all types of food.

              1. You could give Raku a try. It's Korean pub food with a strong Japanese influence. In the little strip mall on the SE corner of Barrington and Olympic catty-corner to Ralphs.