Engaging in conversation around the dinner table, well, they're not there yet. So dining out with these little people becomes a battle. And I calculated the number of kids that were sure to be at the birthday party and I was more than a little concerned that my little trip might be a mistake.
Luckily, the birthday girl was way ahead of me. She had chosen a restaurant on South 1st Street in Austin that features shaded outdoor seating adjacent to a playground. Also in attendance at this birthday party was WacoFork co-founder Cory Webb, so we discussed whether our town has this kind of ideal playground setting at an actual real grown-up restaurant (as opposed to a fast food joint that includes a playground).
We do. Sort of.
Taqueria Arandas serves up all the taqueria standards with a few interesting twists including lots of cactus. They also have a playground.
Granted, it's not the fanciest playground I've ever seen. But from what I can tell, any old playground will do for the toddler diner. Any playground at all prevents the kids from crawling under the table as a makeshift playground.
Do I sound like a grumpy old man yet?
Along with the actual playground, I found a menu item which turned out to be a playground for my taste buds. Alambres, as photographed, is essentially a fajita-kabob. The skewer alternated fajita beef, bacon, onions and bell peppers. It was served with tortillas, guacamole, beans and rice. The waitress brought out green sauce as well. In other words, a bunch of irresistible options.
There's not a ton of outdoor seating, just a couple of booths. But Taqueria Arandas is worth a shot for parents looking for more dining-out options.