5 Fun Places to Eat with Kids

We are fortunate to have kids who love to eat as much as we do! While they don’t always love everything they eat, they are almost always game for at least giving new foods a try. Throughout the course of raising our now 15 and almost 13 year-old, we’ve enjoyed a host of different food experiences. We’ve come up with this list of 5 fun places to eat with kids.

1. The Melting Pot

With 167 locations throughout the United States, plenty of Americans are likely to find a Melting Pot restaurant within a reasonable driving distance.

We enjoy doing the full fondue experience which includes an appetizer fondue, salad, entrée fondue and dessert fondue. While it’s been a couple of years since our last visit, the portions are fairly generous. We always shared two adult portions between the four of us. For the appetizer, there’s a choice of cheese fondues which includes artisan breads and seasonal fruits and veggies to dip. Then there are four different salads to choose from (the California is my fave!). For the entrée, the proteins and veggies are self-cooked in your choice of styles (Bouillon, Coq Au Vin, Mojo, Cast Iron or Bourguignonne) and served with a variety of dipping sauces. Based on the proteins you choose, your server advises you how long each item should be cooked for.

And, of course, we make sure to save plenty of room for the chocolate fondue at the end. There are several different chocolates to choose from which is served with a variety of treats and fruit. Read more about our visits to The Melting Pot.

2. Medieval Times

Medieval Times is a dining experience. Not only do you enjoy a full meal, but you get to watch an entertaining show. Based on your seating area in the arena, you are assigned a colored knight to cheer on as he competes in various challenges.

The food is decent and you get to eat with your hands, like you would during the Medieval Ages. It’s definitely a fun dining experience for kids! Read more about our visit to Medieval Times.

3. Conveyor Belt Sushi

If your kids are sushi lovers, they will love a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Our go-to has been East Japanese in the Palisades Center. The conveyor belt is filled with a variety of different sushi; from basic rolls to super-fancy sushi mountains. There are also other items like seaweed salad and fried chicken. Desserts like mochi and cheesecake make an appearance on the belt as well. The food is placed on small plates that travel their way around the restaurant dining space. If you see something you want, you grab the plate off the belt. There are different colored plates, with each color being a specified price. Once you are finished, the waiter/waitress adds up all the plates. Read more about East Japanese. Edit: It seems this great location has unexpectedly and recently closed. We are saddened by this, as the only other conveyor belt sushi restaurants we are aware of are in New York City and northern New Jersey.

4. Hibachi

Hibachi is a classic. What’s not to love about watching your meal be cooked in front of you? Especially when it involves onion volcanoes, toys that “pee” and the chef throwing eggs in the air and catching them in his hat. And many restaurants have a diner participation round of catching the flying shrimp (or the more budget-friendly zucchini) in your mouth.

5. Food Halls and Food Truck Festivals

Food trucks used to be a rare treat. Now a days, you can likely find a food truck festival taking place somewhere near you almost every weekend! We love food truck festivals and food halls because you can try a bunch of different foods from different vendors. There’s something that will likely please every member of the family. While the bigger food halls are in NYC, we also enjoy Hudson Valley Food Hall in Beacon, which you can read more about here. Check out our Westchester County Food Truck Guide for more info on the different food trucks that can be found in the area.

If you’ve enjoyed reading 5 Fun Places to Eat With Kids you may also enjoy reading:

Family Dinner Deals in Westchester County

6 fun games for a tween family game night that parents won't mind playing.

6 Fun Games for Family Game Night


MunchPak Subscription Box {December 2018}

(This post contains affiliate links. For additional information read our Disclosure Policy.)
Who doesn’t love snacks?! And even better, what about a box delivered to your house each month filled with candy and snacks from all over the world?!! Our family loves trying new foods so we are big fans of the MunchPak subscription box. Boxes can be ordered with 5+, 10+ or 20+ snacks and can be delivered every two weeks or every month. Depending on the size of the box subscriptions start at just $9.95/month.

Each box contains a variety of snacks and candy from different countries around the world. These are full-size candy bars, snack-size bags of crunchy, salty, snacks and more. I like that each snack item has a sticker with a short description of the snack, as well as what country it is from. If you discover a snack that you really like, you can order more from the MunchPak website. Check out MunchPak and get started on starting your subscription!

Our most recent MunchPak box contained the following snacks:

Pocky: Winter Melty (Japan) – Pocky are chocolate covered biscuit (cookie) sticks. This is not a new-to-us snack, as we’ve received Pocky in previous MunchPak boxes. However, we had never tried this Winter Melty variety before. The biscuits are covered in layers of white chocolate and cocoa chocolate cream.

Ulker Cokomel: Strawberry Marshmallows (Turkey) – This cookie reminded me of Mallomars in looks. Except this had a strawberry flavored marshmallow filling. The package contained six cookies, which was plenty for sharing.

UHA Mikauto Puchao: Ramune (Japan) – This was another snack from Japan. For those not familiar, ramune is a Japanese, carbonated soft drink that comes in many different flavors. Each candy is individually wrapped and is chewy with tiny gelatinous like balls. My son loved these!

Cheetos: Bolitas (Mexico) – These tasted like the Cheetos we are all familiar with less of a cheese taste and more of a slightly, spicy kick.

Reptar On Ice (USA) – They placed the info sticker over the part of the wrapper that has the Nickelodeon Rugrats images. It appears that “Reptar on Ice” was an episode of the Nickelodeon cartoon. This was a chocolate bar filled with blue icing that is supposed to turn your tongue blue (which it does). Although I’ve seen a few Rugrats episodes, I was unfamiliar with this particular episode.

Oppenheimer: Chik Chak Hot & Spicy (Israel) – This bag was filled with tiny, crunchy cubes. I didn’t find these to be too spicy and thought they could actually use a little more flavor.

Vidal Gummi Snowmen (Spain) – Our family loves gummi candy. These snowmen came in strawberry and apple flavors.

Toxic Waste Nuclear Fusion Sour Candy (Pakistan) – This bag contains five different flavored, individually-wrapped candies (raspberry lemon, pineapple and passion fruit, banana and blueberry, orange and apple and grape and strawberry. When I tried this candy I had to spit it out after 15 seconds. It was way too sour. However, the rest of my family have more tolerable taste buds and after a bit told me that the extreme sourness goes away.

Avery’s Kitty Piddle Soda (USA) – You can add a drink to your box for an additional $5. Just the name of this Avery’s “Totally Gross Soda” did not make me want to drink it. Kitty Piddle is supposed to have flavors of pineapple and orange. Both my daughter and I thought it had a “woody” aftertaste. None of us were fans of this drink.

MunchPak is a fun monthly subscription box that the entire family can enjoy together. Or, it makes a great gift for any snack-loving friends or family!

Westchester County Freak Shakes

Freak shakes have been around for a couple of years now.  These epic shakes are topped with everything from cookies, candy and even whole slices of cake!!  NY Foodie Family recently took a foodie tour of Westchester to try four of these monstrous dessert mash-ups.

The cotton candy milkshake from Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains.

Our first stop was Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains.  They serve four different milkshakes including Cotton Candy, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Oreo and Fruity Pebbles.  We decided to go with the Cotton Candy, since it seemed the most interesting of the four.  This strawberry shake is topped with cotton candy and  a lollipop. The rim of the glass is covered in vanilla frosting and sprinkles. Each shake is $12.

Verdict:  Of the four shakes we tried, this one was the smallest.  We found the milkshake to be very liquidy and the sprinkles are pretty much for show only, as they were pretty well glued on with hard frosting.  The cotton candy was a tasty and fun touch.  I think this shake lacked the amount of “stuff” to really be considered a freak shake, but was priced like one.  According to the menu description, it seems a lollipop should have come with our shake, but did not.  This was our least favorite of the shakes we tried. We will visit Lazy Boy Saloon to try their wings and other tasty-sounding apps and take advantage of their extensive beer selection.  We’ll just go elsewhere for our shakes.

The Boozle freak shake from Sugar-Hi.

Our second stop was Sugar-Hi in Armonk.  Sugar-Hi identifies itself as a “destination boutique sweet shop.”  The shop offers hand crafted chocolates, custom cakes, baked goods with a twist and more.  Of course, we had to stop by to try one of their freak shakes.

The freak shake menu at Sugar-Hi in Armonk.

They offer four different shakes, priced at $14 each.  We went with “The Boozle” – a chocolate shake with a vanilla frosted rim covered in m&ms, topped with a Hershey’s chocolate bar, chocolate covered pretzel rod, an entire Chipwich ice cream sandwich, whipped cream and chocolate sauce.  We got to choose between chocolate soft serve or their “Death by Chocolate” scooped ice cream.  No contest. We, of course, went with the “Death by Chocolate.”  Go big or go home, right?!  When we visited Sugar-Hi on a Sunday afternoon, it was crowded with families stopping by for an ice cream treat after soccer games.  The small dining area for guests to enjoy their treats inside was packed so we opted to enjoy our shake outside.  It was a blazing hot day so we had to enjoy our treat quickly before it melted.

Verdict:  This shake was voted unanimously by our family as (spoiler alert!) the favorite of the day, which included our trip to Lazy Boy Saloon and the next entry below.  Crafted at a boutique sweet shop, it seems fitting that they’d have the best sweet treat. We will be making a return visit soon to check out their other shakes and baked goods!

The Oreo S’mores Mega Milkshake from the Mt. Kisco Diner.

Our last stop of the day was the Mt. Kisco Diner.  I was surprised to discover that a diner was serving Insta-famous shakes.  The Mt. Kisco Diner dubs themselves, “the Diner not a Diner.”  Don’t expect your typical menu here.  For someone who isn’t a fan of diners, I will be returning here with an appetite and my camera.  The Mt. Kisco Diner prides themselves on creating Instagrammable dishes (their Instagram account has a mere 34.8 thousand followers) in a, “stylish setting.”  However, despite the creative selection of dishes, you will still pay diner prices.  They have five Mega Milkshakes on their menu including the Oreo S’mores, Rainbow Cookie, Love Shake, Chocolate Chip Cookie and Cake Poppin.  We went with the Oreo S’Mores shake which is an Oreo shake, a chocolate frosted rim covered in crushed Oreos, topped with whipped cream, Toasted Marshmallows and an Oreo cookie.  The Mt. Kisco Diner’s mega shakes are competitively priced at $10.99 each.

Verdict: Too bad that the Mt. Kisco Diner was the last stop of our foodie tour.  By the third shake, even with four of us sharing, we were just about in a sugar coma.  We ordered some salty, cheesy appetizers to even things out. As an Oreo fan, this was a tasty shake.  The whipped cream layer was a bit too much, so we took the layer off and enjoyed the shake and the “stuff.”

The Peanut Butter & Chocolate Out of this World Shake from the Hudson Creamery.

Before I could publish this post, we had to make one more stop.  I only recently discovered that The Hudson Creamery in Peekskill started making freak shakes, known as “Out of This World Shakes” there.  They offer five different milkshakes including the Peanut Butter & Chocolate,  Cookie Monster, S’mores, Candy Candy and Salted Caramel Pretzel.  We opted to try the Peanut Butter Chocolate milkshake.  This is a chocolate and peanut butter shake with chocolate & peanut butter fudge ice cream, Reeses PB Cups, Reeses Pieces, PB Sauce, Chocolate Syrup, Funny Bones and Nutter Butters.  These shakes are priced at $13.50 each.

Verdict:  Delicious!  I am so happy that we made a stop here.  Out of all the shakes we tried, this was our favorite.  In terms of quality and value for the money, this shake also wins.  This had a generous and delicious shake filling the glass, topped with a waffle cone overloaded with indulgent chocolate ice cream.  Then it was completed with all of the fun extras.  While we were told this could feed two people, it was plenty for the four of us to share.  We will be back to try some of their other “Out of This World Shakes” as well as their seasonal sundaes!

Westchester Weekend {April 21 & 22}

Every weekend there’s always a ton of events going on in Westchester County and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, there are too many events to write about and I’m lucky if our family can attend even one event.  However, I’m hoping to showcase some highlight events that you may want to try to attend.  Here’s a quick look at some of the family fun and food events taking place in Westchester County and the surrounding area this weekend.

April 21:

The Barley House’s 1st Annual Crawfish Boil
The Barley House
665 Commerce Street
Hawthorne, NY 10594
(914) 495-3333

2-5 PM rain or shine
$35/pp all you can eat

April 22:

A Cup of the Valley Coffee and Tea Festival
Culinary Institute of America – Marriott Pavilion
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538

11 AM – 5 PM
$17/pp in advance, $20/pp day of event

Sample a variety of coffees and teas from

Earth Day Celebration
Greenburgh Nature Center
99 Dromore Rd.
Scarsdale, NY 10583
(914) 723-3470

12 PM – 4 PM

Celebrate Earth Day at the Greenburgh Nature Center with volunteer projects and workshops that will help make a difference and teach you about caring for the Earth.  A grounding yoga class will take place at 10:30 AM.

NY Metro Reptile Show
Westchester County Center
198 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606

9 AM – 4 PM
Adults – $10
Kids (7 – 12) – $5
Kids (under 7) – free

This is the Northeast’s largest reptile expo.  There will be thousands of live reptiles, amphibians and arachnids on display and for sale.

April 21 & 22:

Historic Hudson Valley’s Sheep-to-Shawl Festival
Philipsburg Manor
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

10 AM – 5 PM
Online tickets – Free for members, $16/adults, $12/seniors, $8/children 3-17  Onsite tickets – Free for members, $18/adults, $14/seniors, $10/children 3-17.

Celebrate spring and learn about the process of turning wool into cloth, 18th-century style!  Read our review of this fun family event!

Hudson Valley Comic Con
Gold’s Gym and Exhibition Center
258 Titusville Rd.
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Saturday:  10 AM – 7 PM
Sunday: 10 AM – 6 PM
Free Parking

2-Day Adult Pass: $35
2-Day Child Pass (ages 5-12): $20
Saturday Adult Pass: $25
Saturday Child Pass: $15
Sunday Adult Pass: $20
Sunday Child Pass: $10

The 3rd annual Hudson Valley Comic Con is taking place at Gold’s Gym and Exhibition Center in Poughkeepsie.  Meet comic book artists, play video games in the Gamer’s Lounge, enjoy stories and crafts in the Kids Zone, enjoy live shows and panels.  There’s also a costume contest.



Albanian Family Dinner {Monthly Family Dinner}

Are you looking for a fun way to spend time as a family?  Try having a monthly family dinner!  I’m not talking about a dinner that you cook and you all sit down and eat together.  I mean a dinner that the entire family cooks and eats together.   I know that sit-down family dinners are important.  However, during the week I am the one cooking dinner and most nights it’s just the kids and I eating together.  One of my goals for 2018 was to have monthly family dinners where we cook an entire meal together.

Our Albanian family dinner was a tasty and delicious meal.

Last month we had our first monthly dinner.  We decided to start with an alphabetical country-themed dinner.  For our “A” dinner we chose Albanian.  For our Albanian family dinner we made Tave Kosi, Byrek with Spinach and Baklava for dessert.  As seen from our menu, Albanian cuisine has Mediterranean influences.

Tave Kosi is the national dish of Albania.

Tave Kosi is the national dish of Albania, which seemed appropriate to make.  It consists of lamb and rice baked with a yogurt and egg mixture.  My husband and son adapted this Tave Kosi recipe.  They halved the recipe and instead of lamb shoulder used ground lamb.  They also used plain Greek yogurt instead of regular plain yogurt.  This was a tasty comfort dish.  The yogurt mixture made a sort of souffle on top of the ground lamb. The yogurt gave the dish a slight tang.

Byrek with spinach is an Albanian spinach pie.

My daughter and I made the Byrek with Spinach (Byrek me Spinaq).  This is a simple dish with few ingredients and is fairly easy to make.  Phyllo dough can be a bit tricky to work with but we managed the best we could.  This was a tasty dish and we all loved the crispy, flaky top.

A sweet and tasty dessert we made for our Albanian family dinner.

For dessert, we enjoyed baklava.  I forgot how much I love baklava.  It’s a fairly easy dessert to make, minus that phyllo dough again.  It’s very sweet, but addicting!  We cut it into small squares and the whole plan was gone within a couple of days.

Tips for planning your family dinner:

The meal doesn’t have to be fancy….. – We all enjoyed this Albanian family dinner and are excited for next month’s dinner.  You do not need to do an international-themed dinner.  Pick your family’s favorite meal and maybe add a special dessert to the menu.  The point of a family dinner isn’t to see how fancy of a meal you can make.  It’s getting everyone into the kitchen and working together to cook a meal that you will all sit-down and enjoy.

…..But make the dining part of the meal special – Eat in the dining room, if you have one.  We normally never eat in our dining room unless it’s a holiday or we have company over.  Use the special plates and glassware!  We ate on our wedding china and drank sparkling cider from our  fancy wine glasses.

Choose dishes everyone will like – There’s nothing that will ruin a dinner more than making something you know your kids will not eat.  If you have picky eaters, choose recipes that they are familiar with and enjoy.  If you have more adventurous eaters, maybe pick new recipes with ingredients that they are familiar with and like.

Plan the date of the meal in advance – A weekend obviously works best for a family dinner and planning in advance ensures that there’s no other conflicting activities.

Start cooking early – I recommend starting earlier than later.  Remember, you are cooking with kids.  What may take you a half hour to cook on your own will likely take double the amount of time when children are involved.  Plus, you don’t want to feel rushed or stressed.  We started cooking at 4 PM and were eating by 5:30 PM.


Smorgasburg Upstate

For those of you without NYC foodie friends, Smorgasburg is, “the largest weekly open-air food market in America.” Thousands of people visit each weekend and my Instagram feed has me drooling at all the deliciousness that one can find to eat there. However, living in the suburbs of New York City, trekking down to Brooklyn, even for some amazing eats, does not appeal to me.  Fortunately, for us suburban folks there is Smorgasburg Upstate.

Located at the Hutton Brickyards in Kingston, NY, this is the second season of Smorgasburg Upstate.  While last year, it took place once a week, this year it is scheduled for only one weekend a month.  My family and I visited this past Sunday for opening weekend.  From northern Westchester County, it is approximately a 90 minute drive. Both parking and admission are free.  The location is very photogenic with Hudson River views and vestiges of the old brickyard including a Lidgerwood crane and frames of the steel kiln sheds.

Smorgasburg is located under a giant pavilion.  Savory food vendors include Itsa Pizza Truck, Pakt, Hookline Fish Co, Santa Fe Tacos, Ramen Burger, Kovo Rotisserie, Gomen-Kudasai Noodle Escape, Nacho Nirvana and The Grille Wagon. Bakery and sweet food vendors include Bread Alone, Cafe Warshafsky, Seraphine Bakery, Jane’s Ice Cream and Fruition Chocolate.

While we were there we sampled the mac and cheese donut with bacon jam and “The Big Daddy” (pulled pork, cheddar cheese, bacon, sauteed onions, jalapenos, and BBQ sauce on a roll, pressed on the flattop) from The Grille Wagon.  Both of these were delicious!  The Grille Wagon was smart with their advertising  and had samples of some of their more popular menu items on display.  They were even roasting a whole pig and serving it later in the afternoon!

We also shared BBQ Duck Nachos with Fontina & Mango-Avocado Salsa from Nacho Nirvana.  They were a good dish to share.  However, I found them to be just okay.  There was a lot of cheese and it became cold and congealed very quickly.  The mango-avocado salsa (pretty much guacamole) was delicious though!

We finished up with some ice cream from Jane’s Ice Cream.  I loved the Apricot Orange Blossom and Kahlua Calypso Crunch flavors!

The Ramen Burger from Ramen Burger and the Fried Avocado Sandwich from PAKT looked tasty as well and if I wasn’t stuffed, I’d give them a try!

You won’t go thirsty at Smorgasburg Upstate.  Besides water and soda that vendors sell, Maya’s Lemonade (from Maya’s Jams) and STAND coffee provide non-alcoholic beverages.  There’s a bar serving local craft beer and hard cider on tap along with wine and cocktails.

For those wishing to shop, some of the flea market vendors include Mezzanine Vintage, Hazel and Hudson, So Mid-Century, Bohemian Farmgirl and NorthCountryClassics.  There are also food vendors selling honey, hot sauce, olive oil, brittle and more.

Once you’ve gotten some food, you can choose from several seating options.  The Adirondack chairs with Hudson River views are very popular and are the first seats to be taken.

There are also several picnic tables both under the pavilion and out on the grass where you can sit and eat.  For the younger visitors, there are a couple toddler-sized dining tables and chairs as well.

Sit, relax, and bask in the sunshine while you enjoy your good eats.  You can be entertained by the live music, or, like my children did, engage in some fun dog watching.  Smorgasburg Upstate is very dog-friendly!  We couldn’t believe the number and different types of dogs we saw while we were there.

If you’re up to it, you can even play a game of cornhole out on the lawn.

Although I’ve never been to Smorgasburg in the city, the number of vendors and the uniqueness of foods sold at the Upstate location is a bit lacking (and disappointing) in comparison.  Compared to the 100 vendors at the Brooklyn location, Smorgasburg Upstate had a lot less food vendors.  The Ramen Burger (Ramen Burger), Smoky Tails (Hookline) and Mac and Cheese Donut (The Grille Wagon) were probably the most unique food items available.  If you go to Brooklyn, you can expect to find Ube Ice Cream served in a dragon fruit bowl, Spaghetti Donuts, Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches, Raclette Sandwiches and more!

For reference, most main dishes (sandwiches, pizzas, etc.) are priced between $10-$15 and and are cash only.  There is an ATM onsite if needed as well as restrooms with flushable toilets and sinks.

The Details:

Smorgasburg Upstate
200 North Street
Kingston, NY

11 AM- 6 PM

June 17 & 18
July 15 & 16
August 19 & 20
September 16 & 17
October 21 & 22

June 23 & 24 there is a Bob Dylan concert at the Hutton Brickyards.  Visit Ticketmaster.com to purchase tickets.

Fun Summer Family Food Experiences

Summer will be here before you know it!  As you start preparing your vacation plans and seasonal family bucket list here are some fun summer family food experiences to think about planning!

Go On a Picnic

Pack a lunch from home or pick one up from your favorite deli or take-out place.  Head to a local park, set out your blanket and enjoy a family meal al fresco!  Many towns have free summer concert and movie nights.  Enjoy a low-key, outdoor dinner with free entertainment.  Just don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray!

Do an Ice Cream Tour of your Town

How many local ice cream and frozen yogurt shops are in your area?  Make it a goal to visit all of them this summer! Rate them from least to most favorite.  Try seasonal flavors and signature items on the menu. The possibilities are endless! 

Visit a Farmer’s Market

Come summer time, you can find a local farmer’s market in almost every town.  Not only are you supporting local agriculture by purchasing your produce from a farmer’s market, but you’re also getting seasonal veggies at their peak!  There’s nothing like a just-picked tomato topped with fresh mozzarella, basil and olive oil!

Eat Ballpark Food

Gone are the days of going to a baseball game and eating a hot dog and a box of cracker jacks.  Baseball stadiums have really upped the food selections that they offer to fans.  I ate the Cracker Jack Burger, blurrily pictured above, at a local baseball game.  Ribs, bacon on a stick and tacos are just some of the offerings that you can find at Major League Baseball stadiums!  Spend a day with the family cheering on your favorite baseball team and having some good eats!

Take a Trip to the Fair

There’s something special about fair food.  It’s not gourmet or fancy.  But how often do you get the chance to enjoy treats like deep-fried Oreos, cotton candy, and funnel cake?!  Plus, these foods taste so much better in the summer, surrounded by crowds and bright lights!

Attend a Food Festival

From blackberries and watermelon to ribs and potatoes – you name it, there’s probably a food festival somewhere celebrating it!  Check out food festivals across the country and find one to your liking.

Eat by the Water

Ocean, rivers, lakes….if there’s a restaurant by a body of water, it will likely be packed come summer time.  When was the last time your family ate out on the waterfront?  This summer is the time to do it!  Make a reservation, bring some toys and activities to occupy the kids (because most likely, even with a reservation, you will be waiting!) and enjoy a family meal with a view of the water.

Grow an Herb Garden

While many of us don’t have time to plant a garden, growing herbs is easy.  Kids can help pick out and plant the seeds and will enjoy watering the herbs and watching them grow.  It’s always nice to have fresh basil, cilantro and other herbs on hand for summer cooking!

Eat Freshly Caught Fish or Seafood

This is especially a must when vacationing near the ocean.  Bonus points if you go fishing and catch your own dinner! Lobsters, crabs, oysters, clams, mussels……all of these can be enjoyed in the summer.

Try Something New

And finally, be adventurous this summer!  Try a food or cuisine that is new to you and your family.  Check out a new restaurant.  The options are endless!

What are some other fun summer family food experiences that you recommend?


Berry Picking at Fishkill Farms

Fishkill Farms

Our family recently visited Fishkill Farms in Hopewell Junction, New York for some berry picking.  Last year we visited the farm in mid-June and went strawberry picking.  Unfortunately, strawberry season at the farm is only in June.  However, we got a chance to pick blueberries and raspberries for the first time.  From the pictures, you may notice that we went on an overcast afternoon.  The temps were cooler which made for comfortable berry picking and the fields weren’t crowded. 

Admission Fee

When you arrive at the farm there is a field to the right where you can park (for free).  There is a booth in which you pay an admission fee for adults and children over 12.  According to their website, picking fees vary per day, time of year and what crops are in season.  The admission fees help cover the cost of maintaining the farm for public use, fruit sampling and more.  When we visited the farm this past Saturday, our admission fee was $5 per adult. At the booth you are also given containers to store your picked berries.

Blueberry Bushes

We first started picking blueberries.  The blueberry bushes we were told to pick from were enclosed in netting.  There were plenty of bushes in varying sizes available to pick from.  Each bush had berries in varying stages of ripeness.

Blueberry bushes

We were on the lookout for large, ripe berries, and there were plenty of them!

Berries Sign

From the blueberry bushes we headed towards the raspberry bushes.  As we descended the hill, there were labeled signs.

Raspberry Bushes

There were several rows of raspberry bushes, again filled with berries in various stages of ripeness.

Pay Stand

After picking the berries we went to the pay stand.  Prices are NOT advertised before picking, so you may want to call before deciding to pick. 

The blueberries ended up costing $10 a pound and the raspberries were $14 a pound.  They do accept credit cards!


After berry picking, we visited one of the chicken coops situated in the fields.

Beautiful Views

The farm is large with beautiful views.  You can even host parties and events out in the fields.


On weekends, there is a grill stand that serves burgers and hot dogs.  We were planning to eat dinner out so opted not to eat here.

Fishkill Farms Store

There is also a farm store, where you can purchase homemade jams, fruit and vegetables from the farm, doughnuts, pies and other locally produced packaged goods.

Fishkill Farms is a great farm to go berry picking.  It is especially popular in the fall for apple picking. The farm is open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM.  You can check out their Facebook page for updated information.  We had a great time and will be back in the fall to pick some apples and have some homemade doughnuts!




Eating In Philadelphia – Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market

We recently visited Philadelphia over Spring Break.  Of course we saw the sights but as food lovers, we also ate our way through Philadelphia.  As self-declared foodies, there is no way that we’d take a vacation without scoping out the food scene.  We knew we had to have at least one cheese steak, because, c’mon, it’s Philly!  We also made sure we made a visit to Reading Terminal Market.

Reading Terminal Market, located between 12th & Arch Streets, is one of the oldest and largest public markets in the country.  The market is several blocks away from the historic district, but definitely walkable, which we did.  Unfortunately, we visited on a Sunday when the Pennsylvania Dutch merchants are not open.  So, no donut from Beiler’s, hot pretzels or Dutch pancakes for us.  However, we ate our fill from other stands.  Every stand that we ate at accepted credit cards, most with no minimums.  We visited the market around 12:30 PM on a Sunday and it was super packed.  My husband ended up taking our son and finding a table for us while I waited on line at our first stop, Dinic’s with my daughter.  There is a decent sized seating area down the middle and back area of the market, but empty seats are hard to come by.  I recommend grabbing a map of the market at the desk when you first enter, which we failed to do until our way out!  Please note, the four of us shared all of the food below.


Dinic's Roast Pork Sandwich

Dinic’s: Roast Pork Sandwich with Provolone and Broccoli Rabe– The line for Dinic’s was crazy long but moves really quick.  For those lucky enough to find an empty seat, there is counter seating.  While you can choose from roast beef, roast pork or Italian sausage sandwiches, we ordered a roast pork sandwich with provolone cheese and broccoli rabe.  From what I’ve read, this is THE sandwich to have as noted by television food celebrity Adam Richman, who named it best sandwich in the country in 2012, and was also recommended by our hotel shuttle driver (but we had already eaten it prior to his recommendation!).  The sandwich and a large soda cost us $13.00.

Fresh Mozzarella

Valley Shepherd Creamery: Fresh Mozzarella – The kids and I stayed at the table while my husband took a turn to find something good to eat.  He came back a few minutes later with this tub of fresh mozzarella from the Valley Shepherd Creamery.  According to my husband, you can watch them making the homemade mozzarella that they sell.  The cheese sells for $9.99 a pound and he bought a little less than a half pound.  This was a perfectly salted and creamy piece of mozzarella.  It would have been even better with some bread or fresh slices of tomato and basil……next time!

Beck's Cajun Cafe Fried Mac & Cheese

Beck’s Cajun Cafe:  Fried Mac and Cheese – This food stand serves all your New Orleans food cravings including jambalaya, po’boys, red beans and rice and muffalettas.  I opted for just a side of their fried mac & cheese, which I had read was good.  It included two fried balls of yumminess with a hot pepper like dipping sauce for $4.50.

Wursthaus Schmitz

The Lyoner

Wursthaus Schmitz – The Lyoner:  This stand was located at the end of the seating area where we were sitting and eating.  We stopped on our way out and decided we had to share a sandwich.  We went with The Lyoner, which is a fried bologna sandwich with muenster cheese, pickle, onion and horseradish sauce.  As you can tell from the pic above, these were thick slices of bologna.  This was a tasty sandwich for $8.

The Famous 4th Street Coookie

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie

Black and White Cookie

Famous 4th St. Cookie Company:  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookie and Black and White Cookie – We were getting pretty full from all the food that we ate but we had to have a little something sweet.  On the way out we picked up a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookie and a Black and White Cookie.  The line here was also pretty long, but moved quickly.  The cookies were both really good.  However, we were disappointed that the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie was a regular chocolate chip cookie with peanut butter chips.  They sell the cookies for $12.99 a pound and the two cookies cost us $5.85.

What is your favorite food at Reading Terminal Market?

CSA Time!

CSA Time

Last year I wrote a post about our family debating joining a CSA or relying on weekly visits to the farmers market.  In the end we decided to make weekly farmers market visits, thinking the kids would enjoy helping pick out the produce.  Well, that decision ended up being an ultimate fail.  We didn’t make it weekly to the farmers market.  Most of our local markets run on Saturday mornings.  Even in the summers, our Saturday mornings were busy.  When we did find time to go, I felt like I spent a lot of money and didn’t have much to show for it.

So, this year, we joined a CSA.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  When you join a CSA, you are purchasing a share (usually weekly) from a local farmer.  You pay for the membership upfront (typically $450-$750), to help with the farming costs and then from approximately June through October or early November  you pick up your share of produce.

We joined a local CSA farm which offers a Farm-Style Stand choice program.  We get to choose what we want from that week’s available produce.   The share is supposed to feed a family of four, which we are.  The CSA runs 20 weeks from June through October and cost us $700. While the initial monetary output was daunting, it works out to be $30/week for locally grown, organic produce.   I am looking forward to cooking with local, fresh ingredients and trying new recipes.

If you are interested in joining a CSA, check out Local Harvest to find one near you.  Many membership registrations will be closing soon!  And be sure to follow along as we report on and cook with our CSA produce!