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Brunch

Geraldine's Counter
4872 Rainier Ave S
Seattle WA 98118
Closed Mondays
Located in Columbia City this is an updated diner with really good food. I can particularly recommend the Avocado & Pepperjack Omelet. It's a fairly new restaurant so it can get pretty slammed but their service is really fast. We were there between 11:30 and 12:30 on a Saturday and they really moved people through. So maybe don't be daunted if there's a line, it seems to move quickly. The counter is nice and they give the kids little packs of crayons and placemats to color.(posted 4/8/06)

Luna Park Cafe
2918 SW Avalon St
Seattle WA 98126
(206) 935-7250
Located basically under the West Seattle bridge, this is a quirky place with a vintage Batmobile that kids like to sit in. If you sit at the counter the kids can transition between the bat car and their stool without driving people nuts. I'd go for the straightforward menu items here - pancakes, eggs and bacon, etc. I got the spinach and feta egg/potato pile and it was way too feta-ey. But everyone else faired much better. (posted 4/8/06)

Randy's Restaurant
10016 E. Marginal Way S
Seattle WA
(206) 763-9333
Our tour of Seattle area brunch establishments continued this past weekend with a stop at Randy's, an old-school 24-hour diner located in South Park near Boeing Field. You can smell the remnants of cigarettes past when you walk in past the out of commission cigarette machine, but the new no smoking ordinance has taken care of the worst of the problem. As befits its location near Boeing Field and the Museum of Flight, there are airplanes everywhere - models hanging from the ceiling, pictures on the wall, even the ceiling fan is shaped like a nose cone and propeller. If you've got a tiny airplane fan you're truly in luck. Kids receive a free glider at the end of the meal - but be warned, they're made of foam and guaranteed to break within minutes entailing much drama and rending of garments from your bacon-stuffed children.

Randy's is truly a throwback. It's the kind of place where the waitress says "pretty young to be bellying up to the bar" when you seat your kids at the counter, and tells your six year old his apple juice is beer. It's the kind of place where kid's menu items come with a "gelatin treat", a wiggly pile of florescent jello topped with a generous spray of whipped cream. But the hash browns are excellent, and the food, while this might sound like faint praise, is in general much less greasy than say a Denny's or comparable establishment.

We drank our coffee and eyeballed the regulars and generally had a good ol' time. I made Jim promise we'd go somewhere a bit more upscale next week though, I need a break from the diners for at least a week or I'll go into hashbrown overload. If you've got any suggestions please post them here. (posted 4/14/06)

Dinner

Vios Cafe
903 19th Ave E
Seattle WA 98112
206-329-3236
Tue-Sat 8:30-9:00
Last week our older son was at his grandparents for a few days to while away his Spring Break. I had the afternoon off work, and emboldened by having only one child to deal with, we decided to have an early dinner at Vios Cafe on Capitol Hill.

We arrived a little after 5:00 and pretty much had the place to ourselves, but by the time we left at 6:00 or so the place was over half full. Every group had with them at least one child. The attraction is the extremely large and very well furnished kid's playroom in the back of the cafe - equipped with a wooden toy kitchen, pots and pans, and lots of toys and books all set up at the perfect height for little kids. All the kids we saw looked to be four or under, which is probably the perfect age range for this setup, although in the right mood I think my six year old would have had a blast as well. Ian dived right in, emerging only to enthusiastically scarf down a plate of pasta with butter and parmesan cheese (they do have a kids menu), before returning to his self-appointed task of dropping all the kitchen implements down the hole in the little pretend sink.

And the food? Wonderful. We shared hummous and greek salad appetizers and chicken baked with a yogurt custard on a bed of onions. There is wine by the glass or you can purchase a bottle from the cooler. In the past I've had delicious pork and at lunch I love the lamb burger with a sun-dried tomato ketchup. Their desserts are worth a look as well. This trip I had gelato.

I'm sure the usual Capitol Hill scene filters in for dinner a bit later, but in the early evening at least, this is definitely the place to dine with small children in tow. (posted 4/19/06)


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