Boston with a 15 month old
My hubby, 15-month-old daughter and I will be spending a long weekend in the Boston area next week.We will be staying with family in Cambridge. They are food lovers and I'm sure they will have some great suggestions but thought I would post here since the last time they dealt with a baby was over 20 years ago :)
From what I've read here, Boston seems to be pretty baby friendly, which is great. Our daughter is not overly picky. So here's what I'm looking for.
1- good coffee. we tend to like "third wave" indie coffee shops. We'd really like a spot that's walking distance from our place (nearMassachusetts avenue and hancock) for morning coffee, or at least a really easy commute by public transit.
2- good snacks/prepared food to bring home. I would like to treat my hosts to some nice foods to show my appreciation! Read about Formaggio - any other suggestions?
3- I would love some good seafood, lobster, pysters etc. My husband won't touch the stuff, so someplace casual where I can grab and go would be great.
4- I would like to take my hosts out for a nice dinner. I was reading about Oleana, it sounds great but is it ok to bring a baby?
5- other suggestions: any musts, let me know! We love pretty much any kind of food. as long as the atmosphere is casual enough for me to enjoy taking my daughter, I'm open. Myers and Chang sounds interesting. My daughter would probably enjoy some neapolitan pizza. We plan on doing lots of sightseeing so suggestions near the aquarium, children's museum, etc. are appreciated.
Thanks in advance! :)
Courthouse in Cambridge or Alive 'n Kickin' should fulfill your grab and go lobster, lobster roll, oysters need. I don't think Oleana is necessarily comfortable with a little one: it's crowded without much wiggle room between tables. If you want Turkish without the "upscale" and comfortable with a little one but with good quality, try istanbu'lu. Also if you want to bring some nice treats home, try the Armenian markets and bakeries on Mt. Auburn (Severn, Arax or Sofra Bakery which is owned by Oleana on Belmont street in Cambridge).
1369 is a local coffee shop - it's on Mass Ave, a couple blocks towards Central from Hancock.
Ditto the previous response on Oleana - it's pretty tight. Inman has a variety of creative restaurants though - depending on what you're looking for, Puritan & Co, East by Northeast, and East Coast Grill could be interesting as a nicer dinner.
I'm also a big fan of Veggie Galaxy, which is a vegetarian/vegan diner in Central Square. If that kind of food appeals to you, it's a lot of fun. Also near Central, Flour is a bakery that has sandwiches and absolutely delicious baked goods. It could be a good place to grab cookies/muffins/snacks to bring home, too.
Cardullo's in Harvard Square is a gourmet food shop with a lot of imported food, including a pretty strong deli counter. If you're looking for prepared or antipasti style snacks to bring home, that could work too.
I love Oleana and it will always be my special occasion place. But it is crowded. If it's warm enough for the patio to be open, however, I think you'd be ok with a baby if you get a reservation for right when they open and when you are likely to get seated in the garden. Short of that, I second the notion of getting some take out treats from the chef's bakery, Sofra....you can get some real tastes from the restaurant as well as lots of other goodies, including unusual sweets. It is expensive and crowded...only for take out...and supplement it with some treats from the watertown markets and formaggio would make a grand feast at home. Search for Sevan, Arax, Massis, Watertown markets. They get varying reviews on particular take out foods. Also might be fun for you to stock up on some spices and unusual items to take home.
Dwelltime is a good idea, though more comfortable is Crema in Harvard Square. It's a nice space inside, and they have tables outside, and it's on a wide pedestrian space where the baby could walk around, listen to the street performers and go peek at the flowers in Brattle Florist. The coffee there is very good as are the pastries.
While you're there, you can go to Cardullo's for specialty foods, and/or Burdick's for excellent chocolates, and Follow the Honey for special honeys and products.
I wouldn't take a toddler to Oleana. For Neapolitan pizza, go to Gran Gusto. It's also child-friendly in that parking is very close and it's right across the street from a great, huge park.
We always go to Flour Bakery after the Children's Museum, but it would also be fun to go to James Hook for lobster rolls, etc.
Near the Aquarium, try the great array of food trucks on the Greenway. Again with my theme, but there's a lot of wide open grassy space that people hang out in, and if it's nice out, you don't want to be inside. The North End is walkable from the Aquarium, so search for ideas there. (You can also get great food gifts there.)