Hyper At Red Mango: Our Trip to Try Tasty New Smoothies From the Frozen Yogurt Giant

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Red Mango SuperBiotics Smoothies Summer LogoRed Mango, popular among my friends for its all-natural frozen yogurt and the variety of toppings from kiwis to crushed up candy, has a new superbiotic summer smoothies line. Always up to try something new, I was happy they asked to be an Oh My! Omaha sponsor.

It’s good timing, too, since today through Friday, Red Mango is offering $2 Super Biotic Smoothies. And for the coupon adverse, this deal doesn’t even require one. You can get a regular size (16oz) Super Biotic smoothie all day, every day in store (only 16oz Super Biotic smoothies are eligible for this offer).

Mr. Wonderful and I brought the kids down to the Red Mango next to Ameritrade Park – a neat location with outdoor seating.

The patio at the Red Mango in downtown Omaha.
The patio at the Red Mango in downtown Omaha.

As is their habit, Farley and Mooch ran wild while I mulled over the 22 smoothie options – the dairy-free Raspberry Jammin’ or maybe a Spoonable Mango Banana? And do I add a little boost to it?!

I was clearly taking too long to decide. If I didn’t hurry, Mooch would be dangling from the ceiling soon.

The Strawberry Energizer Smoothie at Red Mango. Yum.
The Strawberry Energizer Smoothie at Red Mango. Yum.

We settled on three things to share. The winner was hands down the Strawberry Energizer Mr. Wonderful ordered. Made with the obvious strawberries and yogurt, plus some banana, it’s the right amount of sweetness for everyone’s tastes.

I picked the Honey Badger Fat Burner because I’m a sucker for fun names. The Honey Badger was a blend of yogurt, granola and honey. It was mild in flavor and lacked the ka-pow of the strawberry. But Honey Badger don’t care.

The healthy fruit in the toppings bar at Red Mango. Naturally, my son wanted Nerds and sprinkles on his frozen yogurt instead.
The healthy fruit in the toppings bar at Red Mango. Naturally, my son wanted Nerds and sprinkles on his frozen yogurt instead.

And, since we had children who were tall enough to see the toppings bar, we couldn’t get out of there without some fro-yo topped with goodies. The kids greedily ate that big bowl up, stealing our spoons so we couldn’t sample. I wanted to get them one of the Just Kidd’n snack-sized options of smoothies, the PB one sounded right up their alley. Oh well, next time.

The kids started bogarting the frozen yogurt. How many spoons does one kid need?
The kids started bogarting the frozen yogurt.

We love our sponsors, and encourage you to give them some love, too! Follow Red Mango, one of the fastest-growing retailers of all-natural frozen yogurt and fresh fruit smoothies, on Facebook and Twitter.

So let’s review the fun new options at Red Mango, shall we? There are four lifestyle-centered categories:

Body Balance: Flavorful and functional yogurt smoothies formulated with beneficial boosts
All Fruit Harmony: Refreshing dairy-free and soy-free smoothies made only with fruit, juice and ice.
Twisted Fruits: Smooth and creamy signature yogurt smoothies offered in new and innovative fruit-forward flavors.
Just Kidd’n: Naturally delicious, snack-sized fruit and yogurt smoothies, blended just for kids.

Since I, for one, like the promise of a little boost in my drink (no, friends, not the alcoholic kind of boost, at least not here), here are the smoothie boosts you can have added to your drink to give it a wholesome kick. In addition to the protein, energy, immunity and multivitamin boosts available, Red Mango has added four new boosts which have been formulated with natural and innovative ingredients:

Metabolic Fit 360™: A proprietary blend of protein, calcium and African Mango which supports metabolic balance and promotes healthy weight management.
Dark Chocolate Mate: Finely ground, Brazilian roasted maté and dark chocolate; a delicious, rich, low-calorie flavor which also supplies a nice dose of antioxidants.
Tropical Hibiscus: Finely ground, premium Nigerian hibiscus blossoms infused with natural pineapple and lychee; a bright and tropical low-calorie flavor and antioxidant boost.
Green Tea Acai: Finely ground, premium green tea with açai berries, the Amazonian superfruit; a low-calorie antioxidant boost made with the best ingredients.

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This is a sponsored post by Red Mango. The opinions in this post are mine, though.

Outdoor Dining in Omaha

There’s something about a cool breeze, a cold drink, the clink of silverware on a plate, the chatter of quiet conversations and laughter. Dining al fresco. Love it. As luck would have it, Omaha has a lot of outdoor dining options. Here are some of my favorites, with a few bars thrown in for good measure.

UPDATE: This post was first published in 2013 and was updated in January 2020 to reflect closures.

Surfside Club, one of the few places to eat and drink on the river front in Omaha. It's just a happy place for me.
Surfside Club, one of the few places to eat and drink on the river front in Omaha. It’s just a happy place for me.

You’ll notice the list is downtown heavy. My younger 20-something days spent living in the Old Market are clearly reflected here. (My life now in song) Since having kids, leisurely dining experiences are a thing of the past. And it’s no longer worth having more than one drink when you think about dealing with a 3-year-old who is soooo not a morning person.

Some places on the list are kid-friendly, but let’s be selfish and imagine going to dinner without children in tow.

Downtown Omaha

Nicola’s in the Market (521 S 13th St.) – Fine Italian dining on the outskirt of the Old Market. The charming patio has lights strung up to add to the relaxed atmosphere. Reservations are highly recommended since seating is limited. Website

La Buvette is an Old Market staple for good wine. Wine makes mama happy.
Photo courtesy Visit Omaha

La Bouvette (511 S. 11th St.) – I could sit here all night, but probably shouldn’t. It’s ideal for a date, but also a great spot to catch up with friends. They have a great selection of wine and delicious food to compliment said wine. You could have a beer there, but don’t be that guy. Website

Plank (1205 Howard St.) – I’ve been there for dinner once and I feel comfortable recommending it. It’s a seafood place with a hip edge. Happy Hour lasts until 6:30 p.m. with good deals, I thought. Website

I got all arty with this night shot of Mr. Wonderful at Upstream Brewery. I'll stop that.
I got all arty with this night shot of Mr. Wonderful at Upstream Brewery. I’ll stop that.

Upstream Brewery (514 S. 11th St.) – There are two outdoor seating areas. I recommend the street level for early morning people watching on Saturdays during the Farmers Market, otherwise the car fumes are a bit much. Head upstairs to the rooftop patio to chill out with a good beer. Website

Mr. Toad’s (1002 Howard St.) – Strictly drinks here with primo people watching. Somehow, the exhaust isn’t as annoying here as at Upstream. Anyway. Drink prices are steep but I love the location and the strung-up lights, so every once in a while, I splurge. Website

Rose & Crown (515 S. 20th St.) – Here’s a dive to bring your friends to. Walk through the not-so-special bar and head straight for the patio. With its lights and huge trees with faces in the trunks springing up through the patio floor, you’ll start feeling carefree in no time (maybe the cheap drinks help). Website

Midtown Omaha

One of my favorite outdoor spots in Omaha. Photo courtesy marksindundee.com.
One of my favorite outdoor spots in Omaha. Photo courtesy marksindundee.com.

Mark’s Bistro (4916 Underwood Ave.) – I am enchanted with this patio (just go to the website and check out the pic – nice, right? This is the place in my head I go to when I wish I had a glass of red wine and a secret hiding place. The food’s also very good – gourmet mac and cheese? Hell yeah. Website

Midtown Crossing (32nd and Farnam streets) – This is actually a collection of restaurants. (Website) This area’s on the list because they have primo views of Jazz on the Green. Imagine summer nights on a comfy chair, listening to live music on your perch while waiters bring you tasty food you didn’t have to carry with you to the park. It’s nice. Want a suggestion? It’s a chain, but I do like the margaritas and the vegetarian options at Cantina Laredo. Website

West O

Dante Ristarante Pizzaria (168th & Center in the Shops of Legacy) – Delicious Italian food in a strip mall? It’s true. The patio doesn’t offer an exquisite view, but the atmosphere is nice, what with fire pit and all. But, go there for the food. I’m talking Neapolitan pizza. The spaghetti is rumored to be divine. Website

North O

Surfside Club - You don't go there for the food (though, you're a fool if you don't order some corn fritters and dip them in some maple syrup while you're there).
Surfside Club – You don’t go there for the food (though, you’re a fool if you don’t order some corn fritters and dip them in some maple syrup while you’re there).

Surfside Club (445 N, River Drive) – Nothing fancy about eating fried food while boaters moon you. Oh, but it sure is fun. The whole dining experience is fun here. The place sits on the Missouri River and part of the draw is watching the crazy boaters pass by in the summer. The menu has expanded some since it reopened, but it is known for the fried fish and oh-so-good corn fritters with honey. Website

Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cellar 19 (928 Valley View Drive, Council Bluffs) – Think deli meets wine bistro, it’s casual but nice enough for a low-key date night. The patio doesn’t offer much of a view, but the deli options are fresh and the wine is really good and reasonably priced. Website

Historic 100 block of West Broadway – For outdoor drinks, I recommend checking out the perennial reader’s choice winner, Barley’s.

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Your turn! Where are your favorite outdoor eating/drinking spots in Omaha? What’s missing from this list?

4 Picnic Spots in Omaha

Most families have a favorite go-to spot for picnics. Looking for a new one to try? Here are four Omaha parks that are great for picnics.

Elmwood CollageWMElmwood Park

Where: 58th and Happy Hollow Boulevard

What makes it fun: There is a great sandy playground area and lots of green space, but the uniqueness of this park is the grotto and the short wooded trails that are fun to explore.

Where to sit: There are lot of picnic tables, though one cluster has the option of being reserved (FYI – great for reunions and birthday parties). A few picnic tables near the tree line make it more likely to find some shade.ZorinskyWM

Lake Zorinsky

Where: Main entrance to park is at 156th and F streets

What makes it fun: The trail around the lake is a huge draw to active families, so bring along a bike or walking shoes for everybody. There are two playgrounds, I prefer the bigger of the two, so enter the park at 156th and F and head west, you can’t miss it. This playground has one area for smaller kids that I appreciate in addition to the huge play area for all ages.

Where to sit: There are picnic tables under a shelter (both playgrounds, actually have tables under shelters).

Heartland of America Park is a downtown Omaha park with a nice trail and plenty of ducks and geese to feed. This winter picture doesn't do it justice, just trust me.
Heartland of America Park is a downtown Omaha park with a nice trail and plenty of ducks and geese to feed. This winter picture doesn’t do it justice, just trust me.

Heartland of America Park

Where: Eighth and Douglas streets

What makes it fun: It’s an anomaly for parks, since there’s no playground yet kids enjoy themselves here. There’s a fountain to watch (complete with light show) and lots of ducks and geese. Bring old bread to feed the feathered mob that will surely check you out if you have food.

Where to sit: There are some picnic tables but they aren’t really shaded well. If it’s a blazing hot day, you’ll want to bring a blanket to dine under a tree.

In case you were wondering, you can get into the fountain at Joslyn Art Museum. Mooch is crying not because she's in water, but because she was told not to run. She's not a Gremlin ,or anything.
In case you were wondering, you can get into the fountain at Joslyn Art Museum. Mooch is crying not because she’s in water, but because she was told not to run. She’s not a Gremlin ,or anything.

Joslyn Art Museum, children’s sculpture garden

Where: 2200 Dodge St.

What makes it fun: There is a lot of colorful art to touch and explore for little ones – children are encouraged to explore the fanciful sculptures with hands. The stick hut you might remember is no longer there (bummer, Farley loved that), but a new piece has been added since we last visited, Fletcher Benton’s “Folded Square Alphabet O.”

Where to sit: Bring a blanket and find a flat patch of green to set up shop.

Picnic Without Sippy Cups

Need a little romance? I spotted a couple having a picnic in the rose garden at Memorial Park recently (not-so-hidden bottle of wine and everything). Didn’t know there was a rose garden there? Exactly. It’s a quiet place with beautiful scenery, and best of all, very little foot traffic to disturb you.

Surely, you all have some favorites. (I do, and don’t call me Shirley.)

Please comment and share with the rest of us!

Fine Dining With Kids – Is There A Worse Idea?

Grammy and Grampy love their grandkids so much, it clouds their judgement. Take, for example, going out to eat with our kids.

Few restaurants can handle Mooch.
Few restaurants can handle Mooch.

Grammy thinks Farley and Mooch are not only geniuses (they are), but also great dinner companions. So, she invites us out to dinner. She picks places she knows I’d like – yummy! – but these places aren’t, shall we say, on par with Chuck E. Cheese in the kid entertainment department.

I present you a list of restaurants in Omaha that are worth checking out – without your kids. I speak from experience. No one sneered at us when we walked in,

We never got looks like this. We also never tried to pass Farley off as the Sausage King of Omaha.
We never got looks like this. We also never tried to pass Farley off as the Sausage King of Omaha.

but it was not a comfortable experience for me. I knew going in each and every time that it was not a good idea bringing two balls of energy to a restaurant right around bed time, but Grammy insisted.

  1. España – This one’s the freshest in my memory. It was a last-minute invite, and it had been years since I’d had the yummy tapas and sangria here. No babysitter could be secured so I went against my gut instinct and brought the kids. If you haven’t been here, España is a small restaurant in Benson offering Spanish cuisine (ie., food my kids won’t eat). It’s a date place, somewhere you linger and swirl your wine and talk about grown up things. It’s not a place to nurse your screaming child. It’s not a place you’d expect a 2 ½ year old to sit still for two hours, either.

  2. Sage Bistro – We walked in and I saw two couple with kids acting nicely so I felt maybe this wasn’t too bad of an idea (OK, they were infants and they were asleep). It was. It was a bad idea. Sage Bistro is upscale dining at ridiculously low prices, and it’s an awesome place to bring friends to impress them. Located on the Fort Omaha Metro Community College campus, students train to be chefs here. The front of the house is also a training ground, so everyone is very proper and precise and know they’re being graded (diners fill out comment cards). The food’s incredible, and in season (be sure to check the menus in advance to find the best time to make a reservation). However, fine dining experience means the pace is slow and I could not throw enough crusty bread and toys at the kids to keep them occupied. We had to let Mooch run the hall outside the restaurant or she’d start knocking over tables.

  3. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar – The name scream’s “Leave the kids home!” Maybe it just does to me. We had dinner here once because Grammy and Grampy had been out of town, and they really wanted to see the grandkids – and as a bonus there was a good deal on prime steak, so Fleming’s was picked. To be fair, the waiter was very patient with us. And it was this place where we learned Farley eats salads. But, overall, it’s definitely not a kid restaurant. Once again, I found myself nursing a screaming baby and Mr. Wonderful found himself chasing a toddler around a wine bar. And how unfair is it to go to a wine bar and not be able to indulge? Am I right?

  4. Charlie’s On The Lake – This was an ill-fated excursion I had forgotten about, but Mr. Wonderful reminded me. Farley was just a little scamp back then. He has grown to like fish and he sits still on command (well, not “still,” he vibrates with energy), but back in the day, a trip to this nice fish house in West Omaha was a mess. This place is more kid-friendly than the others (it even has a kids menu), but bring a toddler at your discretion.

I’ll likely forget about these past experiences and let my stomach make the decisions … when’s the dinner reservation, Mom?

So, have you brought your kids to a nice restaurant and had a good experience? Keep that to yourself – I want you to share stories about the bad experiences!