Amtrak3We’d come close, but hadn’t yet fully taken the mini-adventure I kept promising my boys: a round-trip Amtrak ride to Santa Barbara from L.A. No car, no firm agenda, no private transportation backup plan. The idea was to arrive at the charming and historic Glendale train station a few miles from our house in the morning, and come home that same evening. There would be no meeting up with dad in Santa Barbara and then piling into the car to cruise back at our leisure. It’s simple: just the three of us on a random school holiday, schlepping as little gear as possible. Simple, right? Yes and no. Here’s how the day shaped up, and a few things I learned.

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Come for the Parking, Stay for the Pizza: DeSano Pizza Bakery, East Hollywood

March 7, 2014
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Kid Hit Menu Items: Pizza, pizza, pizza! What else do you need? Out of the three pies we sampled at DeSano Pizza Bakery, the lone adult (me) ate the capricciosa and San Gennaro topped with sweet sausage and spicy peppers, whereas the boys split a Margherita. That left plenty of leftover for Papa’s dinner and for […]

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Ask the Experts: Samantha Barnes, Kitchen Kid and Raddish

January 30, 2014
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Samantha Barnes is a local mom, chef, and culinary instructor who knows how to get kids interested and engaged in the kitchen. In fact, she’s built an entire business around it with her first venture, Kitchen Kid. Her newest project is Raddish, a beautifully designed meal kit that looks like a fun craft kit but […]

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Give It a Go: Blue C Conveyor Belt Sushi, Hollywood

January 7, 2014
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Kid Hit Menu Items: Given that it’s become a standard part of the bourgeois American diet over the past couple of decades, children nowadays tend to have some form of sushi they dig. Most probably massacre their rolls, while other rare types berate anyone who dares submerge his/her nigiri in soy sauce. (Meanwhile, my son […]

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A Beach Day with Not Your Mother’s Mall Food: La Sandia, Santa Monica Place

October 31, 2013
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Kid Hit Menu Items: No matter how much butter I use, or soft-and-gooey-plus-crispy combination I pull off, my kids seem to think a quesadilla always tastes better in a restaurant. La Sandia at the newfangled Santa Monica is no exception. We were invited by the restaurant’s PR team (disclosure alert!) to try the expanded kids’ […]

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A Family Restaurant Hidden in Plain Sight: Sunset Junction Coffee Shop, Silver Lake

September 27, 2013
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Kid Hit Menu Items: Intelligentsia might be able to make you a steamer or a small hot chocolate for the kids, but its neighbor, Sunset Junction Coffee Shop, takes things a step further in this department. The kids’ menu — if you go for such things, since the concept runs counter to some parents’ eating out […]

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