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Portland with a very picky child

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My husband and I will be visiting Portland for a couple of days in July, accompanied by our 5.5 year old son. We're staying at one of the "Kimpton" hotels (maybe the Monaco? I can't remember). Anyway, I'd love some help/suggestions on places to eat that will make two chow ish parents happy, but might also be able to accommodate a most decidedly NOT chow ish boy! To give an idea of how picky we're talking, his standard order in a Vietnamese restaurant is totally plain vermicelli, period. His behavior in restaurants is fine, especially if I have something on me to entertain him, so that's not a huge concern, but obviously he'll be hungry.

Any type of food, really. Bonus if it has a great set of beer taps.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. We just got back from a trip to Portland with a picky five year old. May I suggest you take a look at Spints for weekend brunch, or even dinner (they allow kids till 9 pm IIRC and I'm planning to go back with or without child next trip). Thanks for the stellar rec, JillO.

    The breakfast we had was outstanding, a highlight of the trip even counting the places we went sans small. It was also ridiculously reasonable in price. I only wish we'd had room for the chicken and waffles -- the server seemed so proud of it and if it's anything like the quality of the other plates...

    The beignets alone (they have a few specials each weekend as well, of which the beignets were one) are worth going for and I suspect would meet with the approval of your little man. I'm guessing the plain latkes might work too. http://www.spintspdx.com/Brunch.html

    Very solid draft beer list http://www.spintspdx.com/Beer.html or go for the bottomless mimosa at brunch. Room is bright with lots of windows and openable doors, even a couple of tables outside IIRC.

    FWIW we had a very fine lunch at Evoe as well, once it dawned on me that the small one could snack on the good bread, a bit of cheese and some sliced meat in the combo plate and be happy. The adults were VERY happy with the other plates, which she quietly ignored. She eats so little at a sitting it turned out not to be worth making special arrangements beyond the obvious of not picking a white-table cloth setting which we didn't want anyway.

    Good luck and I hope you get some more ideas. Here's my original post FWIW http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/902578 though one caveat: we were a little disappointed with Sunshine Tavern. It is kid friendly but the adult food is just good, not great -- one dish was quite disappointing, the pig ear sando -- and they put one of the hardest to eat pastas I've even encountered in the children's portion, perciatelli. The honey ice cream is pretty killer, though, if oversweetened -- share a bowl if you go.

    If you're looking for a similar style of food with great taps, check out Grain and Gristle. They have a daily two fer that is a screaming deal and very tasty -- it was ham steak the day we went. Killer sides on the dishes, too, with cooked greens and so on being highlighted. Top notch burger (may be my new favourite of the ones I've tried in Portland since the sad and recent demise of Matchbox) -- be sure to get it with the onion "rings" which are more like shreds, though the fries are excellent too. And if they have it, get the braised pork. Wow.

    1 Reply
    1. re: grayelf

      Just came across this link which might be of interest:

      http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com/art...

    2. You might want to try http://www.slappycakes.com/ It is very popular with the kids. I see lines of parents every time I drive by.

      And close by you can get your adult bevs at http://www.belmont-station.com/

      1. Thanks so much, guys! I know I can't be the only hound out there who has a picky child! This is all very helpful.

        1 Reply
        1. re: CSTBoston

          I don't have kids...but I just want to put out there, that with some advance notice most people can be accomodated whether they are vegans, picky children, folks with extreme allergies, etc.

          My suggestion is decide where you might want to go, look at the menu online and give them a call (not during busy dinner service ;o) and ask if a bowl of plain pasta (or whatever is acceptable to the kid within reason of what is on their menu) can be prepared for your party. If they agree, go and enjoy your meal and tip them well. If not, pick another place until you find one that will do it...but I think that most places, especially with notice, will do that for you.

          And, you can get adult bevs at Slappy Cakes, they have a full bar.

          Also I know that places like Sunshine Tavern and Country Cat have a kids menu if you ask (and are also likely, since they are kid-friendly, to make something plain for a kid). Sunshine Tavern also has free video games if the kid is old enough to appreciate that.