I’ll start with a confession. We are regulars at the East Side diner. (As regulars, we reserve the right to call it by its original name!) All breakfast joints will be measured against it. The girls love the pancakes and love the fact the waitress knows their order. We all love the quick service, frequent coffee top-offs and dependable breakfast staples.
You likely won’t have a transcendent meal (though the homemade griddled muffins are great) there (c’mon it’s a diner) you will always get a solid one, never disappointing, for a fair price and as much coffee as you can handle. And likely some gossip. That seems like a fair measuring stick for a breakfast place.
We don’t eat out at restaurants very often. Both Michelle and I like to cook and, unless it’s a special occasion, we can often make something just as good and healthier (never mind cheaper) at home. We’ll sometimes cave to convenience, but I’d guess we only eat out as a family about 2-3 times a month.
When we do go to a restaurant, especially if it’s for lunch, we like to find something quick, tasty, and healthy-ish. Cava, a new fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant that recently opened in Dedham appeared to fit that bill.
My youngest daughter has an incorrigible sweet tooth, but even if your child is only lukewarm on sweets The Dessert Workshop is almost sure to put a smile on their face and a sugary jitter in their step. If kids were allowed to design the restaurant of their choice, I’m pretty sure it would like very similar to this almost 4-year old spot in Needham Center.
My girls really like arts and craft projects. Our basement (when we can limit it to the basement) is full of construction paper scraps, capless markers, crayons, play-doh, glue sticks and craft kits. I find glitter and beads in the strangest places. How did glitter get in the master bathroom shower? How?!
Once in awhile, typically when I don’t have the energy to open up the paints or face the prospect of a big cleanup, we will head out to a studio and let them do most of the work. Not the painting, decorating or other fun bits, but the set-up, clean up and generally messy parts. You know, the parts that get left to Mom or Dad. One of the girls’s favorite local places for projects is The Kids Place in nearby Needham.
The expectations and variety of kid’s birthday parties these days makes my head spin and my wallet quite a bit lighter. When I was a kid, I remember two types of birthday parties. The first was at the birthday kid’s house and the second was at the local candlepin bowling alley. That’s it. Maybe we went to the movies a few times. I honestly don’t think I’m looking back with rose-tinted glasses. I can’t think of another type of birthday party. It was candlepin, cake and presents 90% of the time.
Before we moved out to the ‘burbs, we lived in Brookline (a stubbornly independent town surrounded by Boston). There were many great things about living in Brookline and just minutes from the city: good pizza, museums, bakeries, many bars, shopping, weirdos, runners, and all the history.
By far one of the best things, for me, was the Brookline Booksmith bookstore in Coolidge Corner. I was there multiple times a week. Sometimes for events, sometimes to buy, and sometimes just to hang out with the books.