Early Bird Toddler Dinner at Not Your Average Joe’s

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


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Last week, Mal, Quinn, and I enjoyed a wonderful family happy hour at Not Your Average Joe’s in Norwell. (FYI: A brand new location is opening in Westwood any day now!) This particular location is our local Not Your Average Joe’s, and we’ve dined there a number of times in the past, so we were especially excited to be invited for an evening out. But, of course, with a toddler, it ended up being more of an early bird dinner, but, hey, that’s what works for us nowadays and we kind of dig it. The timing works well with Quinn’s bedtime and he’s usually pretty interested in food then, which, obviously, makes the experience that much more enjoyable for all of us. A toddler who doesn’t want to sit still while dining out is definitely a challenge. And, ooh, we’ve been there before. Dinner out turns into take-out real quick! Thankfully, our little guy was really into the famous Not Your Average Joe’s focaccia bread and dipping sauce (<– recipe).


He ate two BIG pieces! Mal and I were quite impressed.

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Our dinner started with a round of drinks. Mal went with a beer, I ordered wine, and Quinn had milk. Toddler cheers = the best!

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After that, we got down to business with the menu. The “Seasonal Selections” change every 3 months, so many of the dishes were inspired by what is fresh, local, and seasonal.


As an appetizer, our server recommended the Ahi Tuna Wontons, a personal favorite, so we took him up on his suggestion.


The Ahi tuna was sesame-crusted and served with pickled ginger and wasabi aioli. We had the choice of it being served on crispy wontons or chilled cucumbers, so we opted for both.


Both options were really tasty, but I especially loved the cucumber version. It was so light and refreshing, and the crisp cucumber complimented the tuna so well.


While enjoying our appetizer, Quinn lost interest in eating. We offered him various parts of the dish to try, but they were all a no-go. Playing with his milk was a lot more fun. But, he ended up drinking almost the entire thing, so that was a win! (We ordered him the Mac & Cheese from the kid’s menu, but he didn’t want any of it. Mal actually ended up eating the leftovers for dinner last night and said it was really tasty!)


I came prepared with a bag full of toys, so after he lost interest in his milk, I gave him one thing to play with at a time. This bought us some time to enjoy our entrees!


Mal ordered the Anything but Average Meatloaf, which was mozzarella-stuffed meatloaf with sautéed veggies, mashed potatoes, and BBQ gravy. Doesn’t that sound incredible? Mal thought so and lovvveeed it!

SAMSUNG CSCI ordered the Rosemary Skewered Scallops, but opted for spaghetti squash instead of Isreali couscous. Our server said the kitchen could customize just about any menu item to meet dietary restrictions or taste preferences and suggested the spaghetti squash. I love spaghetti squash, so I was immediately on board. And, boy, was it a delicious decision. The combination of flavors and textures was excellent. Mmm! I would definitely order this dish again!


We thought about ordering dessert (the Mexican Hot Fudge Pudding Cake caught our eye), but Quinn was getting antsy and we were pretty stuffed, so we passed. Next time for sure!

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A huge THANK YOU to Not Your Average Joe’s for hosting us! We had a wonderful time!!

Question of the Day

Parents: What are your go-to strategies for entertaining a toddler while dining out? 

Ours: Dining out when the little guy is hungry/interested in food + bringing a bunch of toys (current favorites: Squigz, Mega Bloks, crayons, alligator chew toy) and books (current favorites: Red Truck and Bird Alphabet Book).



  1. We currently limit our restaurant visits to restaurants with kids’ play areas. We make sure to snag a seat very close to and in sight of the play area, and we can sit and chill (for a change!) while the kiddos (2 and 3) play!

  2. i look at the kids meals online before we go so I can order my 2 year olds meal right when we arrive. We try to have an idea of what we will order too as not to waste time. Then we order drinks and entrees all together and ask for the check when the food arrives. It definitely helped to not have a lot of idle time.

  3. We try to limit our meals out with kids to either breakfast or lunch. Too many rushed dinners have turned us off of dining out for dinner. We save that for times when we have a babysitter or family available to watch them. That way we can really enjoy ourselves and take our time. I agree with ordering the toddler meals as soon as you sit down. It makes a big difference!

  4. My son is the same age as Quinn. He will eat anything and gets antsy just waiting for our food. We bring toys but sometimes they get thrown

  5. I’m all about the special snacks when eating out. El doesn’t get crackers too often, but they usually buy us enough time when handed out one at a time to get through our meal. Also crayons, paper and her baby (doll).

  6. lately my little guy has enjoyed dumping the contents of sugar packets and salt and pepper into the back of his toy backhoe and dumptrucks… it is messy and kind of feel bad about it, but he loves it and keeps him entertained the whole dinner…soooo we go with it 🙂

  7. Our little girl is only 8 months, so we haven’t had to entertain her too much. We also don’t take her out to sit down places very often.
    I miss NYAJs though! When we lived in Boston, we were within walking distance of the one in Watertown. It was our default place to eat. Plus we could have a few drinks and walk home. Missing that Peanut Butter Thing like whoa!!

  8. Totally admit that lately I’ve had some great leisurely meals with my 2 year old watching his favorite show on the iPad. Haha, things I said I’d never do…

  9. On a few occasions, I have had to drag my kids to my work dinner with me. I have found that at large outings like this, it takes forever for the waitress to even take our orders! So this is what I attempt to make life a little better. I call ahead and order my kids’ food. I request that is cooked and ready for us when we arrive, that way, it has time to cool while we say hi and get ourselves settled. Then they can eat while we order and wait for our food. If they are being well behaved, I plan on having their dessert arrive at the same time as the adults get their entrees. For downtime between eating, I usually make up “gift bags” with little quiet toys and things to color. But who am I kidding, last time I made ALL these plan ahead things, the restaurant totally failed me and I ended up leaving early. I didn’t even get my food after being there for 1 1/2 hours! I ended up just asking my coworkers to bring it to work the next day. Parents can make all the plans they want, but need to be prepared to bail and just take the kiddos home 🙂

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