Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Date Night Without the Kids, Please (Yours or Mine)

Last Saturday was date night for my husband and I, compliments of our neighbors who offered to babysit for us. (Thanks, you guys!) We decided to go out to eat at Chino Latino, a place I've heard tons about and have only ever had appetizers at, and my husband has never dined there.
Some of the reviews of Chino Latino on Yelp, OpenTable and other sites have these things to say about it:

Great late night hot spot
Excellent wine list
Vibrant bar scene
Fantastic happy hour

My husband was impressed from the moment we walked in -- the ambience is vibrant, energetic. It was contagious. We got a table along the windows so we could look out at Hennepin Avenue with all its hustle and bustle and talk about how much we love living in the city.

Over the din of the crowd I heard a familiar noise, one I didn't expect to hear; the sound of a toddler whining.

Sure enough, two tables over I see three couples out to eat, along with a baby in a baby carrier and a toddler. It is 8:30 at night in downtown Minneapolis.

Now, I know my kids have been in restaurants rather late, especially while vacationing. But they have never been in a restaurant at that hour that looked like this:

Or this:

Or had people sitting at the next table banging their fists on the table and doing shots (yes, it's one of the signature drinks Chino Latino serves to the very bravest of drinkers.)

All we could do was mutter, "Get a babysitter."

I don't know what the back story is, and I'm sorry that I'm being judgmental. Maybe their babysitter fell through and they didn't have the heart to cancel their dinner out with good friends that they've already had to re-schedule three times. Truly, for the most part their kids were well behaved outside of the toddler whining (which is like nails on a chalkboard to me).

And yes, I've been the mom with the kid who has the temper tantrum in the middle of the store. My children have left more food on restaurant floors than they've ingested. I've apologized to tables next to me for the behavior of my kids while dining out. But these happened at places like Perkins or Applebee's and usually well before 7 pm. If these parents absolutely had to take the kids out to dine at that hour, I would've made a last minute change to something a little more kid-friendly.

I was going to let this go but then I hopped over to Colleen's blog "Keeping Her Cool" today only to see a post on the same topic, only she was less judgmental than I was. And nicer. I'm not in a nice mood today, apparently.

We parents need our kid-free time, and we go to nice restaurants later at night with the expectation of getting that kid-free time. Please help make that happen. Thank you.


  1. You know what, Jenny? I am totally with you here. Chino Latino is not a family restaurant. I feel strongly that young children need to be out to eat, but they need to be at a family restaurant. I should have named names, like Applebees, Houlihans, or Perkins. Chino Latino has a rockin' happy hour. Not to mention, I don't know what small children are doing out at 8:30 AT ALL. That's when children should be sleeping.

    Great post!

  2. I totally agree. I will do the toddler at Chili's at 6pm but Chino Latino at 8:30. Heck no.