Just another Minnesota Mom blog.

Toddler Date and a Review {Noodles & Company}

Posted: February 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Reviews and Giveaways | Tags: Restaurants | 1 Comment »

We have finally settled into a routine after all of the winter holidays and the ever present sickness that was running through our house, making it difficult to get through a week without someone staying home form school. One of the things we have started to do is go on dates with Judah.

Some days it’s just me and Judah. Some days, if Yogi Dad is working from home, we all go.  We are really trying to give him some undivided attention, considering how difficult that is at times with all the chaos in our house.  He is a total Mama’s Boy, so he loves our little dates and is always a great dining companion.  Especially if you get dessert, or in some cases, a sweet appetizer while we wait for our lunch to arrive!


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When did we become senior citizens?

Posted: February 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: City Living, Date Night, Restaurants | 7 Comments »

Yogi Dad and I like to go out to dinner.  We like to go out and get drinks.  We forgo gifts on special occasions and birthdays so we can treat ourselves when we  want to try something new, or in this case, revisit an old favorite.  I’m sure there will be fewer nice dinners out now that we are down one income, so it’s important to me that we enjoy ourselves when we do get to go out.

Last Saturday we had to cancel our Valentine’s Day reservations because I was still getting over the sick and I wanted to be able to taste my food, we were going out for sushi.  I like my sushi served at a restaurant, often at the sushi bar, I am not a fan of grocery store sushi.  This puts sushi on the speciallist for us, it’s not a weekly or even monthly occurrence.  For years, Valentine’s Day meant sushi, except last year, when I was so sick and pregnant I couldn’t think about eating anything, let alone raw fish.

Our favorite, and you can say what you will about it, is Fuji Ya in Uptown.  I think  the quality rivals anyplace in the Twin Cities and the service is second to none.

Friday we had our first teacher conferences at the boys school and since we already had my Mom there to watch the boys, we decided to head out early and get a drink before our reservations.  For some reason we always end up eating way to early, like 5 or 6.  I don’t know if it’s because we are parents or what.  This time we made reservations for a respectable adult hour- 7pm.  We left home, headed across the river to Uptown and attempted to find a place to park and get a drink.

There are lots of places to get drink in Uptown.  This should have been easy.  I had a list of places that would have been completely acceptable that I gleaned from my Twitter friends. 

But then my social anxiety set in.  Parking was a pain in the ass down every street we turned.  I was having a particularly crappy hair day, I didn’t want to be late for our 7pm reservation…so we just went to Fuji Ya.  You can see where this is going.

We thought we’d get some drinks first, but the sushi bar was all but empty, taunting us.  So we just sat there.  And ordered a ton of sushi, had a few drinks, paid our check, ate a last minute dessert whipped up by our sushi chef, and left. 

We were in our car by 6:58.

Senior. Citizens.

Has it really been 8 years?

Posted: October 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: Beer, Date Night, Montana, Restaurants, Travel | 1 Comment »

Well, I guess they are right when they say time flies.  Eight years ago (well, 8y ears and 11 days ago) I married Yogi Dad.  He wasn’t Yogi Dad then.  There was no Yogi and definitely no Dad.  He was just John and I was just Erin and we had a whirlwind romance punctuated by many bottles of Stone Hill wine.  We got engaged after 3 months.  Crazy I know.  Fifteen months later we got married.  Six years later we finally decided kids were a good idea and here we are, three kids deep.

Since we always seem to be out of town for our anniversary we were treated to a lovely dinner at Pearl Cafe in downtown Missoula by John’s Aunt (aka The Hostess with the Mostest).  We haven’t really been out without the baby so it was very welcome.

We got dressed up as best we could, which seems to be more difficult the older we get.  The top I bought was a bit more revealing after carrying children around and having a baby paw at my chest than it was when I tried it on in the confines of my favorite dressing room.  I’ll just say it.  Boobs.  It’s all I see when I look at the pics of us ready to head out and I suppose I can’t expect any of you to not think it too.  There you go.

Anyhooo…we went out!  Like adults!  We left a little early so I could partake in a drink at a real grown up bar before we went to dinner.  It makes me giddy just thinking about it.  We chose James Bar in downtown Missoula.  It’s a pretty sweet place that was so packed we couldn’t get a drink let alone a seat or a table the last time we were in town.  It was a Tuesday night so our options were open this time around.  We sat at the bar.

I ordered a Kettlehouse Cold Smoke.  It was dreamy.  I wish now that we’d gotten some to take home, but we didn’t.  After a little chit-chat with the barkeep he asked us where we had reservations.  We told them The Pearl.  He said we wouldn’t be disappointed.  The thing I take away from restaurants in Missoula is the people that work in them seem to genuinely love the town and really seem to bolster each other up.  It’s nice, you don’t always find that in a bigger city.

We finally arrived at Pearl and there was an open parking spot right out front (it’s street parking).  It’s like we arrived just in time.  We checked in at the front desk, let them know there was to be a giftcard waiting for us and were led to our table.  Funny thing, the man who led us upstairs was Pierre, our waiter at Scotty’s table, a (totally fab) restaurant we lunched at earlier in the week.

Once we sat down we took in the room.  It was nice.  Low lights, fireplace, exposed brick and beams.  We were seated in a loft that overlooks the entrance/ bar area.  It was very intimate and cozy, without being intimidating. 

We took in the menu and devised a plan.  Elk osso bucco was in the running for John and I was stuck between the trout and the filet.  We ordered the scallops to start.  They were smallish, but delicious.  John went for the osso buco and I went for the Filet with Port and Roquefort.  The port sauce was luscious and the medallion of Roquefort perched atop my steak was as creamy and delightful as cold be.  I can say with certainty now, that was the best piece of beef I’ve ever eaten in my life.  I only had a small bite of the elk so I can’t really say, but I was told that my dish won for best of the night.  We finished off with dessert.  I ordered the Dark German Chocolate Cake which was deconstructed and certainly one of the best I’ve ever had.  John had the White Chocolate Mousse Pie.  I also had a glass of Ice Wine from Canada mostly because I had never tried Ice Wine before and we were celebrating, so why not!

I had just taken a sip when we got the call.  Judah had depleted his reserves and was in need of his mother.  Stat.  I suppose this is how it is when you have kids, one who is nursing.

We packed it in and headed home.

Even with our abrupt departure I think this evening was a success.  We weren’t hurried through any course.  We were able to relax and forget, for those few hours, that we had kids at home!  That doesn’t happen very often. 

Last year at this time we had two kids and a twinkle in our eyes.  Who knows what’s in store for us this year?  Probably not another baby…but something good I’m sure.

Breastfeeding Welcome?

Posted: October 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: Breastfeeding, Mom stuff, Montana, Restaurants, Travel | 1 Comment »

While we were in Missoula I finally had the chance to meet up with one of the ladies I had met on my iVillage expecting club board when I was pregnant with the boys.  My husbands aunt had suggested we go to a local restaurant called Caffe Dolce for dinner one night and when I saw an ad for Caffe Dolce in Mama Lode magazine that proclaimed “Breastfeeding Welcome” I figured it was a good pick.  We could eat dinner with the family and then I could meet Karen for dessert, nursing would not be a problem…it was perfect!

Dinner was lovely, don’t get me wrong.  The menu was a little sophisticated for kids (they didn’t have a kids menu) but we were happy to order a pizza for the boys.  Soon after we ordered, little Judah started to stir.  He wanted to eat.  I first offered the bottle of (precious) pumped milk.  He devoured it in no time flat.  He was still hungry.

Time to break out the big guns. 

I have breastfed in cars. I have breastfed in a baseball stadium. I have breastfed in waiting rooms and doctors offices and on occasion in restaurants. I use a cover, mostly for my comfort, although it’s not his favorite.

I have never in my life been so uncomfortable breastfeeding in a public place.

Maybe it was the wide open room where you could see everyone and everything.  Maybe it was the cold, hard, straight back chair with no arms that made it difficult to get comfortable (my only other option was a stool at a high-top). Maybe it was the fact that the infant seat had (moments before) almost slipped off of the highchair with my child in it and I was a bit frazzled after catching him midair while holding a forkful of pasta. 

I couldn’t get a good latch. My leg and arm were going numb trying to keep him elevated so he could nurse. I was ready to burn my nursing cover by the end I was so irritated.

Breastfeeding welcome my ass.

Seems to me Caffe Dolce was trying to capitalize on a brouhaha last year where a woman was asked to stop breastfeeding her child at the Red Robin. It caused quite a stir, for good reason. I don’t need a welcome mat rolled out to breastfeed, it’s my right by law.

By stating in their ad that breastfeeding was “welcome”, I assumed that there would be a level of comfort afforded me. There was no comfort.  They didn’t even have a kids menu for Pete’s sake.  What do you think happens to these breastfed babies when they grow up?  You’d think it would be easy enough for a pizza and pasta joint to throw together a simple kids menu. Every other restaurant we went to had a kids menu and even the brewery had games for kids to play! But that’s neither here nor there.

I chose this place to spend a pretty good chunk of time based on that ad alone. They presented themselves as 100% family friendly.

How many women have done the same and felt less than thrilled with the experience?