A few weeks ago, the kids and I picked Chris up at his office and headed out to for his early-birthday dinner. Our destination was a restaurant called Il Sogno, which he'd started to frequent back in the spring when he'd travel back here from Saigon for meetings and such. Madeline ordered a pasta with edamame and duck, and I think that Sadie ate some sort of noodles with parmesan cheese, and it occured to me that there are a lot of places to eat in Calgary with kids that don't feature take-out windows.
Since we lived here last, the local southern barbeque spot closed up shop, but we've stumbled upon Holy Smoke BBQ (and it really was a stumble - it's in one of the industrial areas that Chris often meanders through at random when it's his turn to drive) which has charmed the kids with seasonal pumpkin corn bread, and relatively small-sized pulled pork and smoked chicken sandwiches. They also sell Happy Pop in nearly glowing shades and Madeline is fond of the pineapple flavour. This is a very casual eating establishment - the tables have tableclothes, but they're vinyl :)
Before being displaced by Il Sogno, Madeline's favourite place to eat since moving here was another little Italian place on 17th Ave SW called Borgo. It serves many dishes family-style, which works out nicely for dining with kids who are better suited to smaller portions. Pasta with cheese isn't officially on the menu, but the waiters we've had cheerfully volunteered it as an option and gave the kids crayons and Da Vinci-inspired colouring sheets. I'm not sure what the crowd at Borgo is like after eight at night, but at five pm the atmosphere in the joint was fine for young diners. We've also been there for their Sunday brunch, and the hot chocolate was kind of cool: you're served a tea cup with chunks of chocolate and a tumbler of hot milk to pour over it. So much better than Tim Hortons!
The third place that is working out well for us is the Calgary Co-op nearest to our apartment - they have a curry bar! And it's inexpensive. Sadie is a huge fan of basmati rice and butter chicken. Aren't we all, though?