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ISO child friendly restaurants in Boulder that can also work with allergies...

trolley Oct 10, 2011 10:39 AM

we're visiting Boulder with our 3 yr old child in a few weeks who deals with multiple food allergies (egg, nuts & peanuts). He's not too allergic to egg so we're not too worried about cross contamination from eggs.

Where we live (Los Angeles) we usually go out to Japanese, pizza, and chains. We have a BBQ place we go out to as well. My son loves cheeseburgers, sushi, fish, fries, ribs, artisanal pizza etc. you know, typical young kid food.

Since we'll be eating out often i wanted to see if anyone knew of any places they can think of. I posted this in several allergy message boards and so far I got Larkburger, BJ's and Red Robin. I could really do with out BJ's and Red Robin since we have them here and would like to try something local.

Thanks!!

btw, i'm a bit surprised this board isn't bigger! there seems to be a lot of great places to eat in Boulder...

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Larkburger
105 Edwards Village Blvd, Edwards, CO 81632

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  1. m
    monopod RE: trolley Oct 10, 2011 01:06 PM

    Boulder has a lot of very picky eaters with various allergies and preferences. I'd wager that any decent local restaurant is going to be very responsive regarding your child's allergies, especially those that have a focus on local ingredients (since they're very aware of what goes into their food). A few worth looking into are SALT, Colterra, The Kitchen, Kitchen [Next Door], Frasca, Pizzeria Locale, Il Caffe, Radda Trattoria, Mateo, Pizzeria Basta, Pizzeria Da Lupo, Southern Sun and Black Cat Bistro. I don't know your price point or how your child does in "fancier" restaurants, so these are a range of places - Frasca, Colterra and Black Cat are expensive by any measure, while Kitchen [Next Door], Southern Sun and Il Caffe are very affordable and the rest are somewhere in the middle.

    I'm sure all of these places (and others) would be happy to answer questions about what they use in their kitchens. There shouldn't be any need to resort to BJ's and Red Robin!

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    Colterra
    210 Franklin St., Niwot, CO 80504

    Black Cat
    1964 13th Street, Boulder, CO 80302

    8 Replies
    1. re: monopod
      trolley RE: monopod Oct 13, 2011 02:21 PM

      Thanks monopod. I was hoping someone else would chime in but seeing that this thread is visible on the first part of the page i'm thinking this is it. wow it's quiet here.

      I got another suggestion on an allergy board and it was Chili's. great. Chili's. Just what we wanted. however, in the interest of keeping our son alive we have to accept the cards that were dealt to us and sometimes go to BJ's and the like. however, i think some of the pizza places can work since the menus tend to be small. I'm also finding SALT looking pretty inviting. well, i'll let you know what we end up doing. thank you monopod.

      1. re: trolley
        LurkerDan RE: trolley Oct 13, 2011 03:06 PM

        I can't speak to how small the other boards are, but the Boulder contingent is fairly small (heck, the city only has 100k residents or so). And I don't have allergies or know anyone who has serious ones, and my child is only 8 months old and still mostly drinking her meals. :-) Still, this is Boulder, where we have picky eaters of all kinds, as monopod points out. So I wouldn't worry (initially) about picking the right place for your son's allergies, just pick the right place food-wise, and ask them. Unlike many places, generally speaking Boulder restaurants will a) know what you are talking about and b) give you an honest answer if they can't accommodate you. So no need to go to Chili's or Red Robin.

      2. re: monopod
        c
        ClaireWalter RE: monopod Oct 14, 2011 03:02 PM

        I wouldn't take a 3-year-old to most of these places. I would take a small child to Chez Thuy (Vietnamese), The Rib House (BBQ), Proto's (pizza and other Italian, and a chance to see the pizza tossing up closing -- thru glass), ModMarket (healthy, fresh, "fast casual"), China Gourmet (Chinese, fast casual, just watch the nuts cross-contamination), several Japanese restaurants, Pizzeria da Lupo & Pizzeria Basta (more pizza).

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        Chez Thuy
        2655 28th St, Boulder, CO 80301

        1. re: ClaireWalter
          trolley RE: ClaireWalter Oct 16, 2011 02:12 PM

          thanks ClaireWalter. i was thinking Frasca was a bit too adult for my 3 yr old. he tends to act shy so he's pretty well behaved in public but personally, i truly feel kids (especially toddlers and babies) have their place in only certain dining establishments. not fair for them or to the other diners.

          we also skip all chinese and vietnamese with him.too much peanut all over. we also have a TON of chinese places here ( we live in San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles) so we need to get away from it. as a parent of a child with multiple food allergies, i don't expect the world to stop for us ;) we just have to work around what's given to us.

          so i'm thinking of going to the following places; Kitchen Next door, The Rib House, Beau Jo's (it's for kid not for a culinary experience), Pizzeria Basta, Pizzeria Locale, Larkburger, and Amu?

          It may be too many pizzas. Basta, Locale, and Proto's. too much of the same? is there one of them that stands out? how about Amu?

          i'm skeptical of eating Japanese food in Boulder. I know I sound like a typical Japanese person and i apologize. maybe sushi/izakaya in Boulder is good? put it this way, you may be skeptical eating burgers in the middle of Hokkaido.

          the rest of our meals (breakfasts & snacks )will be eaten in the hotel room with groceries...

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          Larkburger
          105 Edwards Village Blvd, Edwards, CO 81632

          Beau Jo's
          100 N College Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524

          1. re: trolley
            r
            RobynS RE: trolley Oct 16, 2011 05:18 PM

            I really like Amu and was taken there the first time by a native Japanese woman I work with so you may be pleasantly surprised. Of course, she lives here now so she may be picking the best of the options but I wouldn't hesitate to try it.

            1. re: trolley
              c
              ClaireWalter RE: trolley Oct 16, 2011 10:21 PM

              Sushi/Izakaya are in Denver, not Boulder with several sushi restaurants, most of them clustered downtown. Whole Foods recently expanded Pearl Street Market and Alfafa's are natural grocers that can accommodate your son's needs and have pleasant cafe areas for informal eating too.

              1. re: ClaireWalter
                r
                RobynS RE: ClaireWalter Oct 17, 2011 06:59 AM

                I thought Trolley meant the sushi/izakaya style of food/eating not Sushi Den or Izakaya Den restaurants.

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                Sushi Den
                1487 S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80210

                Izakaya Den
                1518 South Pearl Street, Denver, CO 80210

            2. re: ClaireWalter
              m
              monopod RE: ClaireWalter Oct 17, 2011 03:08 PM

              For what it's worth, I've taken my 15-month-old to Colterra, Kitchen [Next Door], Radda, and all the pizza places and all have been very happy to accommodate us (high chair, crayons, sippy cup, etc.). Depends on the kid and the parents, though - we try to be very cognizant of when she's ready to leave and we don't linger if she clearly wants to be up and about or is getting fussy or messy. We also try to sit on the patio, weather permitting, which seems a little less formal usually. Colterra's patio in particular is great - we had a lovely happy hour there a few weeks ago, and our daughter was captivated by the gardens.

              I'm not sure I'd trust Chez Thuy with the allergy thing; whenever a language barrier is involved with servers, I think you run the risk of having something fail in the translation (especially in cuisines that often involve egg and/or nuts). That's why I was recommending places that are really into the local food scene, since if anything they're usually too happy to talk about what goes into the food. Just my $.02, though.

          2. trolley RE: trolley Oct 26, 2011 02:54 PM

            hey there,

            so looks like we just missed the snow :( would have loved to see that! we went to see the sad home coming game and the Buffs got killed again but we had a great time. Boulder is a GREAT town.

            here's a round up of what we ate:

            Kitchen Next Door-great, awesome, jealous we don't have one here, etc. we walked out under $40 with 3 dishes (pork sandwich, mushroom loaf and mini pork sandwich) and app and 2 wines and none of of it was crappy, not even the house wine!
            the server was good but she failed to tell us that the kale chips were fried in peanut oil. however, she saw me trying to feed my child a chip and she came running over to tell us and took it off the bill. thankfully, it was peanut oil (no peanut protein) and he didn't ingest it since he reused it anyway so no reaction and were happy.

            whole foods- you guys have a great whole foods! it's better than the one we live near and we live near the west coast flagship store.

            next night we ended up at Old Chicago- I can't even talk about it. we met up with some friends and their two kids so it had to be child friendly and it was the only option. my son couldn't eat anything there since it was all covered in egg wash so he got take out from Kitchen Next Door.

            Larkburger- slightly salty and the guy accidentally charged us for an extra burger but we realized that only when we got back to the hotel. so we had an extra burger in our hands. my son ate the entire thing so that was a good thing.

            Sushi Zanmai- meh. stuffed the 3 of us into a 2 top. noticed other parties of 3 stuffed onto a 2 top. bad call on management with that one. makes them look greedy and cheap. rice was terrible. should have gone to Amu. i thought it was the same owner so my thought was 'what's the difference' well apparently there is. i stalked a group of japanese women and they told me not to eat at zanmai. bad rice. well that was the next day so you live and learn.

            proto's- the pizza was ok. not anything to write home about but then again the setting there is perfect. got together with an old friend and her dog. we sat on the patio for 2.5 hrs sipping wine and the dog sat on the other side enjoying the sun. it was perfect and the people there were really nice. great salad.

            Salt- accommodated my son with sliced bread instead of brioche bun for his burger. great food.

            thanks, you guys have a great little food city. wish we could move there so we could try more places to eat. we already have plans for next year.

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            Sushi Zanmai
            1221 Spruce St, Boulder, CO 80302

            Larkburger
            105 Edwards Village Blvd, Edwards, CO 81632

            8 Replies
            1. re: trolley
              c
              ClaireWalter RE: trolley Oct 26, 2011 05:43 PM

              Thanks for the feedback, Trolley. Those of us who live here KNOW that Boulder is a great food town, and it's nice that some of our recommendations worked for you and your family. Especially in situations like your son's major food allergies, it's gratifying to learn that they were accommodated so well.

              1. re: ClaireWalter
                trolley RE: ClaireWalter Oct 26, 2011 10:03 PM

                oh and one more thing...i went to the farmer's market on Sat. on the way to the game. what a great market!! sure there wasn't a citrus vendor and felt it was lacking in fruit but whatever! you can't have everything. and if that was my farmer's market I wouldn't miss the citrus.

                the one thing i'm still scratching my head over is how come there's no Trader Joe's? it seems like the perfect place for it.

                1. re: trolley
                  r
                  RobynS RE: trolley Oct 27, 2011 06:50 AM

                  There are many of who want a Trader Joes. I've heard that it's just too far from distribution centers.

                  As far as no citrus we just don't grow it around here. It's not the right climate. And we're really at the end of our growing season (9+ inches of snow yesterday) so fruit is definitely dwindling.

                  1. re: trolley
                    m
                    monopod RE: trolley Oct 27, 2011 08:54 AM

                    I've heard the lack of Trader Joe's is because they make a large part of their profit off of alcohol sales, and Colorado has weird laws about supermarkets selling beer or liquor.

                    Glad you found some of the great stuff that Boulder has to offer! Sorry you had lousy pizza experiences, though - Old Chicago and Protos are definitely not among the best pizzas in Boulder, so it's too bad you missed Locale, Basta and Da Lupo. (There's a review of Protos on www.SeriousEats.com today and the reviewer was similarly disappointed - they've definitely fallen behind now that new, boutique pizza places have become the norm.

                    )

                    And your take on Zanmai is interesting. I like it there, but I'd be the first to admit that I don't have the experience to tell good sushi rice from mediocre. Their fish is generally good, though. For great sushi, you have to go to Denver - Sushi Sasa and Sushi Den are pretty excellent, according to friends who know sushi better than I.

                    In any event, glad you had a good trip!

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                    Sushi Sasa
                    2401 15th Street, Suite 80, Denver, CO 80202

                    Sushi Den
                    1487 S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80210

                    1. re: monopod
                      trolley RE: monopod Oct 27, 2011 09:51 AM

                      the lack of TJ is complete BS! there's quite a whole lot to make up for the lack of one but still...i was discussing it with my husband this morning and he says it's probably a combo of distribution center being too far and liquor laws. apparently maryland has stricter laws but east coast states are so close together that there's always a distro center stones throw away.

                      the sushi at zanmai was bad. that poor rice! oh do they need help with that. it's equally important as the fish. i got a hotate (scallop) nigiri and it came cooked! the server said it was supposed to be seared but mine tasted like bad cooked scallop from trader joes! haha! we got the spicy tuna roll- there was no spice and tasted like a giant salt lick. what bothered me more than the food was the service. i was just annoyed at being stuffed into a 2 top. i've worked in restaurants when i was younger and it's just a faux pas to do that. our waiter was kinda of a jerk too.

                      i have to mention that all the other waitpersons at all other restaurants were very nice and seemed very smart which is a big change from LA.

                      we tried to go to locale but there was too long of a wait and we wanted to see the stampede march thru pearl street so we ended up at old chicago:( after all we did go for the game and the events and the food was supposed to be secondary ;) i was fine with proto's. it wasn't the best but the location and the environment was perfect. it would be nice if they offered some lower price point bottles of wine. ours was $30! i think the lowest white was $25 they need to get some $15-$20 to match the quality of the pizza. my husband used to live in north boulder during college and can't believe how much it's developed.

                      i hear sushi in denver is much better. i'm not a big fan of denver (maybe it reminds me too much of LA) but we'll have to try it next time we're in town. the japanese girls i stalked on pearl street said they get fish from some fish market in boulder.

                      but really you guys are lucky. such great food in a concentrated area. the views are great and so is the air. i even fell in love with Lolitas Market! that's something i don't have in my area and if it opens it goes out of business bc LA people in my area seem to only patronize 7-11's. a simple corner store with decent products.

                      1. re: trolley
                        c
                        ClaireWalter RE: trolley Oct 27, 2011 10:54 AM

                        Re Farmers' market & fruit. Remember that Colorado has a very short growing season compared w/ SoCal. Come earlier in the year and find exceptional stone fruit (esp peaches but also plums and cherries in summer), melons and later, apples and pears. No, we don't have Colorado-grown citrus fruit, mangoes or bananas.

                        Re Boulder vs Denver for sushi. It's pretty broad-stroke to say that the sushi "in Denver" is better than Boulder. True that some of the best sushi around is in Denver (Sushi Den, Izakaya Den, Sushi Sasa), but there's also Sonoda's (several locations), which isn't all that good.

                        Re smart waitpeople: A lot of CU grads never want to leave Boulder; also, lots of grad students waiting on tables. Still, I get annoyed every time some waitron approaches a table with "Hey, how's it goin'?" as a welcome,

                        -----
                        Sushi Sasa
                        2401 15th Street, Suite 80, Denver, CO 80202

                        Izakaya Den
                        1518 South Pearl Street, Denver, CO 80210

                        1. re: trolley
                          v
                          vanillagrrl RE: trolley Nov 23, 2011 09:39 AM

                          My take is that the lack of a TJs also has to do with the regional competition. Boulder has become ground zero for natural foods marketing -- our Whole Foods is amazing, Natural Grocers (aka Vitamin Cottage) is great, and there are all sorts of upstarts like Sunflower and Sprouts competing for local food dollars. Safeway's 28th & Iris store is a flagship store for the chain. I know TJ's would be popular here, as they are elsewhere, but I don't know that their margins woutd be sustainable here with the array of shopping options we have now.

                          Also, I agree about not taking chances with allergies at Chez Thuy, as much as I love the place. We tried going there when my daughter and I were trying out a gluten-free diet, and they tried to tell us that hoisin sauce is GF. Bzzzt. Wrong.

                          -----
                          Chez Thuy
                          2655 28th St, Boulder, CO 80301

                          1. re: vanillagrrl
                            trolley RE: vanillagrrl Nov 23, 2011 01:58 PM

                            i love the boulder/denver area but having a TJ's would just up the ante for the markets. i have 5 TJ's ( i live in the home of TJ's in pasadena) so it maybe an unfair comparison but we have 2 WF's one which is the west coast flagship, Sprouts, etc as well. The TJ demographic is supposedly the educated person. whether educated by books or by life it's one who appreciates a good bargain at the same time appreciates quality. i KNOW Tj's would do well there. even with all the competition i think it's stupid for them not to be there. boulder is such a great food town it's a missed opportunity for them.

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