Kid’s day out: Treat your little one to these delectable fares in California
California, also known as the Golden State, is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, partly because of the long list of acclaimed celebrity chefs—Thomas Keller, Tyler Florence, Alice Waters, to name a few—who call the state home. So, it should come as no surprise that the region also boasts of countless kid-friendly eateries that are fit for burgeoning young gourmands. From a chocolate factory serving up colossal hot fudge sundaes to a children’s afternoon-tea service in a rose garden, here are some spots that you should take your kids to if you visit California.
Jelly Belly Factory: Enjoy the thrills of a candy land
The playground-like Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, about an hour’s drive from San Francisco along I-80, is a haven for candy lovers. It offers a free quarter-mile-long self-guided tour on an elevated platform to see how candies are manufactured. You also get to play with interactive exhibits and nosh on free samples, from fruity-sour-apple and birthday-cake jelly beans to treats with intriguing flavours such as skunk spray and stinky socks. For a master’s class in candy making, you can, for a fee, take the Jelly Belly University tour, led by a Dean of the Bean. You’ll suit up in a white lab coat, hairnet, and gloves—no sandals, flip-flops, or high heels allowed—to watch the master confectioners at work.
Ghiradelli Chocolate Company: Share a giant sundae with your family
In the mid-1800s, James Lick and Domenico Ghirardelli established the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. That site, now known as the Ghirardelli Square, has become a must-visit spot in San Francisco. In addition to other shops and restaurants, it now houses the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop, where you and your family can dig into a giant sundae.
Pea Soup Andersen’s: Slurp up an iconic soup
If a road trip in California takes you north on Highway 101 or Interstate 5, plan a stop at Pea Soup Andersen’s and be sure to try the namesake family recipe. The eatery has two locations: The first one, opened in 1924, is near the bucolic Danish town of Solvang, off Highway 101, and the second is just south of Stockton, off Interstate 5, in Central Valley.
Surfside Donuts: Make your donuts extra special
Looking for just about any kind of donut imaginable? At Surfside Donuts, you will find the Strawberry Clam Shell that comes with fresh strawberries and cream; the Mexican Hot Chocolate that is topped with toasted marshmallows; the Maple Bacon that is drizzled with bacon bits; and the Dirt Surf, a brown-sugar crumb donut. Other drool-worthy fried rings for kids have toppings like Fruity Pebbles and Oreos.
Belgian Waffle Works: Eat dessert to your heart’s content
This cosy spot is situated in a Tudor Revival–style chalet overlooking Lake Arrowhead. Now a local landmark, the eatery has an expansive menu for kids, with sandwiches, s, salads, and, of course, savoury and sweet waffles, including more than 15 different dessert waffles. Standouts include the Hot Apple Annie—topped with a mound of cinnamon ice cream, warm spiced apples, and whipped cream—and the Belgian S’more—a campfire-inspired concoction with chocolate ice cream, marshmallows, and graham cracker crumbs.
In-N-Out Burger: Feast on an irresistible cheeseburger
Opened 68 years ago in Los Angeles by Harry and Esther Snyder, this drive-thru hamburger stand has now become a California institution, easily recognizable by the yellow arrow in its logo. With locations throughout the state, In-N-Out is known for its cheeseburger that you will remember forever. Because, the sauce is simply irresistible!
Cheeky’s: Try the innovative breakfast staples
Situated on Palm Canyon Road, Cheeky’s is the place for a brunch that your child will truly cherish. This is because their menu, which changes weekly, gives an innovative spin on all-time breakfast classics. All the produce is locally sourced, and the juices are freshly squeezed. The kids’ menu even doubles as a placemat with puzzles to keep the little ones occupied. The restaurant accommodates only about 30 people and operates on first come, first serve basis. So, expect queues during weekends and big events.