Though I'm not for expelling children from decidedly mature European playgrounds, I am in favor of kid-free dining. What is one family's easily ignorable background chatter (ie: kids being kids) is another's theater of the absurd.
New Yorkers are forever promoting the fact that we enjoy four distinct seasons here. Yet that premise is at its most challenging in the dead of winter, especially when it comes to discovering warmth by means of food and drink.
Believing, as does Chef Achatz, that children should experience fine dining and dining out in general, we made it a habit to bring our sons with us, whether pizzeria, diner or restaurant, and have been since they were born.
Now, to speak directly to a certain terrifying subset of this species. These are the lowest, most shameless sorts of customers. Their existence is a constant, chilling reminder that evil exists in the world. They are the non-tippers.
One year, I said, "Enough! Enough, I said. I have Thanksgiving traditions in my heart that I want to experience with my partner, who is my family." So we decided that we would go out for dinner after spending the noontime meal with someone else's family.
My 21-year-old son, who can sometimes surprise me with his level of maturity -- I still think of him as a goofy 8 year old far too often -- has opted out of a 21st birthday celebration in Las Vegas with some of his friends.
It is possible to eat out and consume upward of 2,000 calories in just one meal. However, it is also entirely possible not to break your calorie budget and to eat healthfully while eating out. The key is to be mindful of your food choices and to choose wisely.