Burrito brothers. And burrito parents.

We went on holidays recently. In the years before I found myself responsible for my very own small people, I used to occupy an entire suitcase myself. Well my stuff did, my clothes and loads of sandals and make up because I went to beaches and pools and historical sites and nice places in the evening time. Imagine! Anyway with the arduous task of packing for ourselves and the two small boys ahead (tiny cars going where assorted chunky bangles used to) we decided to save on washing up and general hassle and just eat out the night before we went on holidays.

Myself and Mark are big fans of the original teeny Boojum on Millennium Way in Dublin (there’s Belfast and Galway branches too).  We’d often pop in for a burrito when we’ve needed a quick bite out and about. The older child had accompanied us several times and loved getting his hands on the “crippies” – nachos. Now it’s got a big sister, a spacious branch across the river on Kevin St just by the DIT.

When we called in to the new one on a midweek evening ten days after it opened, the first thing that struck me was how visually interesting and fun the decor is. That alone was enough to buy me a few more minutes eating time while the toddler explored the colourful textures and surfaces.

Boojumx4-T
Trying it out…and settling on Daddy’s.

The choices are really varied with different wraps, two types of beans, two of rice, three salsas and all of it (bar the wraps themselves) is made fresh by Boojum. There’s combinations to suit every palate. Everything is made fresh on the premises and the fresh and flavourful ingredients set it apart from a rash of bland and stodgy burrito joints that have popped up around the city in the years since they first opened.

I chose a vegetarian burrito packed full of Mexican smokey pinto beans, with a medium salsa, and delicious guacamole. No one dare tell me that’s not a decent healthy dinner. My husband had the meatiest hottest burrito he could order and we chose soft tacos for the kids.  We were encouraged to try different fillings for the tacos. So we had some with pork and tomato salsa and some with chicken and corn salsa.  Me and Mark are already big fans, and Dominic loves ham wraps for his school lunches, so the tacos were an easy sell.  Teddy ate some of the fillings, a bunch of tortilla chips and then wanted to play hide and seek in the seating area.  This is really family friendly food – don’t let the notion that Mexican food has to be spicy cloud your judgement.  There’s not only a small beer selection, there’s also lots of interesting non-alcoholic options, stretching way outside the usual Diet Coke or 7Up options.  Mmmm, delicious ginger beer! It’s great value for a quick family meal in town, and though there’s not children’s options several of the dishes are shareable.

The seats are of the high stool variety, and during our visit they hadn’t any high chairs yet. The manager Steffi assured me that they were on the way so they’re probably in situ by now. They do have a big restroom area including baby changing so this was clearly just a new restaurant teething issue rather than an omission.

It’s great that more restaurants are catering to parents with kids with tastes beyond chicken nuggets and chips or pizza. Boojum has firmly joined it’s Camden St noodle house neighbour Neon on my list of Dublin’s great family spots.

I was invited to visit Boojum for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.

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Noodley doodley

noodley doodley

Mammy’s always saying she loves asian food.  I don’t know what that is but I love when she does noodles and rice and currys n all.  Sometimes we have it at home and sometimes we have it when we go out to playgrounds and shops. It was my auntie Rachel’s happy birthday and we all went to Musashi which is a place that has lots of noodle and rice. Uncle Phil’s family were there too, so there was a little girl at the table and me too and we were the bosses.

There was a big happy birthday cake and I helped Rachel blow all the candles out and everyone played with my dinosaur that danced around the table and he lives in mammy’s handbag. But before all that I had a bitta dinner.  Mammy thought I wouldn’t eat it because I love my snacks and had lots of them and then the food arrived and it was a big big plate.  The lady with the food gave me a fork when daddy asked her to but I shouted No! Chopsticks! because that’s what you use for eating noodles and for drumming. You use fingers and other people to help eat noodles too.

bitta help

I ate my noodles and chicken and veggies all up and it was noodley doodley which is what you say in our house when you love your noodles.

Think I might let mammy and dada bring me there again because it was so yum and they said it was less than €5 which I think is a lie because I didn’t give them any of my moneys that I play with at all.  They’re all my millions for me.

Dom

Eating out

Kids menus. They’re a mixed bag. Goujons, sausages, all that malarkey… But we ate out twice recently – and more importantly successfully from the point of view of decent food & behaviour! – with Dominic. (And Theo, but I’m all that’s on the menu for him right now)

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First up, we went to Enoteca Torino in Inchicore. It’s right by a nice playground, so has a captive audience in parents who feel they’ve done a hard weeks work and deserve a wee treat. Or was that just us!? They do a great dinner offer all week, €15.95 for 2 courses & a glass of (delicious) house wine. Say what you like about Mick Wallace, he knows his Italian grub. The kids menu consisted of a few simple pastas (but far more appealing than a cursory pasta with tomato sauce/butter that you usually see on a kids menu) and freshly made pizzas. Any of these would have done but knowing how much Dominic loves risotto, we ordered a small portion of that off the main menu. He gobbled it up for the princely sum of about €5.50, then we let him watch Pingu on an iPhone while we polished off the wine. Hey! We’d done our weeks work remember…

Then another day we needed a quick lunch in town. Wagamama to the rescue! Honestly when Dom was smaller we came here and he ate lots of my Saien Soba ramen which was more interesting than what we ordered for him off the kids menu this time. We ordered a Mini Noodler Meal including grilled chicken noodles. This was a little unadventurous so we may just have chosen poorly but it was all things he liked and it was fun to watch him use his kids chopsticks. Also massive kudos to the waitress who sent us home with several more pairs of them in our pockets. The meal also included a delicious freshly squeezed juice and proper speckled vanilla icecream (which, honestly, me and Mark ate!)

Don’t be scared of eating out with kids, and don’t be afraid to order not from the kids menu if you’d prefer to avoid the usual offerings. I found this link about good children’s menus in Dublin.

The Irish Hotels Federation also publish some guide menus and a template for their members but jaysus, they’re just so samey!

I would love to hear your recommendations on kid-friendly restaurants that do something a little bit different!

Here comes the sun. Oh, no, there goes the sun.

It seems hard to fathom after a grey day of cold rain, dressed in my parka, that this time last week it was beautiful out.  Nearly 20 degrees! In March! For about a week! The drying out was mighty.  Lots of pottering in the garden was done, so consequently less tidying to be done come bedtime.  That means good moods and good sleeps all round.  Winner!

So although I didn’t set us up at the outdoor table just yet, as it was still March, there was plenty of eating out done.

Too busy for breakfast indoors – dry toast eaten under a blue sky and the watchful eye of a local cat.  She’s not one of ours, acts like she is though.

I’ve just realised how odd our garden looks with our ugly breezeblock wall, strange cats, wilted plants, half hearted pots, and Sheela Na Gig overlooking the whole show.   At least I can always rely on the hydrangea (far left) ready to burst in to bloom any month now, no matter how neglected.

(The wilted plants are this years indoor hyacinths, ready to return to dust and from dust they shall return next spring.  The ferns are struggling, but I think they’re going to make it.  The pots hold ignored baby carrots.  And the grass is threatening to take over if I don’t do some weeding soon)

So it’s no surprise that we couldn’t spend all the sunny days in my shabby little back garden so we set off to Howth, land of seals, piers, boats, buskers, traffic, chips & 99 ice creams.   He spent a good half hour running around the playground sometimes climbing on equipment but mostly excitedly pointing out the aquatic themed inlays in the rubber surface.  Then after one collision with a bigger boy, we  took a nice stroll along the pier pointing out rocks & boats – that took a while – and then mama needed some sustenance.  I had a food packed for Dominic in anticipation of my carb fuelled lunch, but I think his dada explained the notion of “chippys” from the chipper while I queued inside so snacks were mainly ignored.  Needless to say, he took to them fairly well noshing down in between collecting daisies for (‘auntie’) Paula who was with us.   He burned off some of his carbs dancing to a trumpeting busker.  I didn’t, I washed mine down with an icecream.

Sometimes, it’s the simple things in life…

Jill

Snackasaurus

yep we're those parents now

We went on our holidays.  Again!  This time we kept it local (reasonably) and went to West Cork.   We stayed in a gorgeous cosy holiday home which belongs to the family of a friend of mine.  We did a mixture of eating in & cafes & restaurants.  However the presiding memory of Dominic for the week, was the ever present plaintive cry of  “sack, sack, sack” (snack).

slurrrrrrpp

Raisins, grapes, sawbrees (strawberries), organix cheese n herb puffs/carrot sticks and the new top favourite:  Ella’s Kitchen Smoothie Fruit pouches.  We did a big shop on the way to the house, and as I threw treat after treat into the trolley for grown ups (cake, wine, crisps, assorted fancy things that don’t feature in our weekly shop usually) I thought Dominic could do with a treat too.  They were only 85c each so what the hell.  We deployed these mostly when the parents wanted a treat too.  A big creamy pint of Murphy’s shaped treat.  Trouble was he sucked them back in about 20 seconds, and then harangued us for more and more and cue 2 desperate parents mere sips into their ale trying to get last drops squeezed out for de child.

nyom nyom

Everything was done for convenience this week.  Dinners for Dominic were simple frittatas, pasta & fresh pesto, potato cake from leftover mash, bits of our grub when out.

He seesawed & swung for Ireland, met donkeys out on long walks, splashed around the beach in his new wetgear, played with the neigbours doggie, crossed the new bridge at Mizen Head, and fed the local duckies (mostly fed himself while watching us feed them). And with that much fresh sea air, his appetite wasn’t lacking.

howyis lads

We’re trying to get into snack control though!  He’s starting in the morning with a few dry shreddies, that’s before he heads to creche and eats 2 weetabix there.  Then this evening he had leftovers for his dinner, then a kiwi, then I made parental dinner after I came in from work, at which point he sat between us begging like a puppy from our forks.  After that?  “Snack?”  I wouldn’t mind but his 12-18 month pants are still falling off his skinny bum!

– Jill

Eating out

 

high chair not so high

Today we went to Wagamama.  We’ve been lots of times over the years but not since baby boy came along.  Today, we also acknowledged that we (currently!) have what is commonly known as ‘a good eater’.  This will change I’m sure, I’m not so smug as to believe that there won’t be days and perhaps months, and maybe years where he might only want to eat food in the beige-orange spectrum, but for now, he’s a bit of a joy when it comes to food, and many other things.

He’s too little to need a full kids menu meal.  But when he is, we’ll definitely come back.  We saw several happy families tucking in all around, with no one looking for a more chip-shaped alternative to their meals.  Dominic happily shared bits and pieces of Mark’s Seafood Ramen and my Saien Soba – salmon, asparagus, mange tout, beansprouts and tofu mostly.  They have great kids chopsticks, we just may have popped a couple of pairs in my bag – relax! they’re disposable bamboo, it’s not like I was taking the good china…  I’ve also found a way he’s happy to eat noodles, but its not the baby led weaning way:

 

more of this

When he tries to eat them by hand himself he finds it frustrating as they slip & slide right out out of his grasp/mouth.  So I pick some up, eat the excess dangly bit (steady!) and he noms the rest off my chopsticks.

My only quibble relating to the child-friendliness is the highchairs.  They’re a nice standard wooden number, but they’re just too low for the tables in the restaurant, given they’ve no trays and the baby does need to be pulled up to the table.  It’ll probably be fine by the time he’s about 2, but my guess is whoever ordered the highchairs doesn’t have a baby.

This was also the weekend that Dominic finally properly admitted to himself that he’s a bi-ped.  Each little lap of the room/rug today also ended in a big hug for mama.  I couldn’t have had a lovelier mothers day.  Am more in love with my almost 15 month old than I ever thought possible.  Happy Mother’s Day all the mama’s!

Jill