With the weather warming at last, dining alfresco is more and more appealing. Still, even restaurants with outdoor seating can be challenging with children. It can seem unfair to make children sit still outdoors on a sunny afternoon. But if you’re on the Peninsula, you’ll find the ideal experience for both kids and adults on-campus at Stanford. Just adjacent to the Rodin Sculpture Garden and Cantor Center is the Cool Café, an organic café with patio seating banking a lush and expansive area of grass. What this means is that while you are dining on the patio, you can watch your kids play without bothering other café patrons.
After they’ve wolfed down their food, the grass is perfect for pushing plastic lawnmowers, kicking soccer balls, blowing bubbles and general horsing around. Imagine sitting on the outside patio, sipping a glass of wine and catching up with your sig O or a friend while your children give you a little peace. If you don’t want to dine at the café, bring a blanket and a picnic and set up on the field; if you forget anything, supplement with goodies like delicious baked goods, organic juices and coffee from the walk-up café counter. The setting is gorgeous here; the lavender bushes and cypress trees against the backdrop of sand colored buildings and green grass make for some nice photos too.
The only downside to the Cool Café, is that it’s mostly open just for lunch except for one evening a week, Thursdays, when it’s open until 8. But it’s well worth a weekend trip to wander the grounds, visit the Cantor Museum, admire the Rodin sculptures and best of all, enjoy a stress-free dining experience with children.
Cool Café at Stanford University’s Cantor Center. Lomita Drive & Museum Way, Stanford (650) 725-4758. Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m – 3:30 p.m. Thursday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.