September 16, 2014
by Alexis Barad-Cutler
September 16, 2014
September 14, 2014
by Christine Knight
While I spent a lot of my childhood summers on the Gold Coast, I’d never visited Brisbane. Absolutely no reason why, other than that the opportunity hadn’t presented itself until recently. After a blogging conference on the Gold Coast, I stopped through Brisbane on the way back to Sydney and spent two days exploring the best that Brisbane has to offer families. If you’re planning a trip to the Sunshine state, you could easily spend a couple of days enjoying Brisbane with the kids. Here are my tips on a fun family holiday in Brisbane:
Eat and play at Gasworks Plaza
Book a table at Buzz for lunch right next to the gasring. You’ll enjoy the delicious food (the quinoa salad was divine) and gorgeous interiors by local designer Anna Spiro of Black & Spiro, and the kids can run off steam in the adjoining park.
After lunch, take a stroll down to the nearby riverbank. Kids can bike or scoot along the river, and will enjoy the street art and statue of Gloria the sheep, a tribute to the Teneriffe wool stores that lined the river in the early 1900s.
76 Skyring Terrace, Newstead
Shop at Growing World, Emporium
This gorgeous children’s store is filled with educational toys and books from all around the world.
1000 Ann St, Fortitude Valley
Rock out at the Brisbane Powerhouse
The redeveloped powerhouse is a centre for art and culture. Check out the (often free) events for families, or just drop by on a Sunday to experience live music and markets (the pop-up Suitcase Rummage markets are on once a month).
Kids can roam inside the powerhouse, spot some cool graffiti art and dance to indie-pop and rock bands. Make a day of it by enjoying an early dinner or glass of wine at Bar Alto. Grab a balcony table overlooking the river while babies are napping and older kids are playing with your iPhone or colouring in.
119 Lamington St, New Farm
Run wild at New Farm Park
Set the kids free in 18 hectares of gardens and open green space. The attached New Farm Park playground is a local family favourite with fortress-like constructions winding through huge fig trees.
No-fuss family dinner at Eat Street Markets
The perfect dinner option for families with no pressure for kids to sit down and behave. 60 industrial shipping containers have been converted into mini shops and restaurants. Choose your meal from local food vendors (Italian, Mexican, potato rings on sticks, sweet potatoes fries and much, much more is on offer) then camp out on astroturf covered giant blocks to enjoy live music while the sun goes down.
Macarthur Avenue, Hamilton
Book a free city tour with Brisbane Greeters
Our tour guide, AnneMarie White, was a local expert who showed us the best places to eat and shop in the James Street district with and without kids. A remarkable woman with a background in broadcasting, it was a pleasure to learn about Brisbane through her own experiences.
Chic shopping and dining at James St
Leave the kids with Dad for an hour or two while you check out local Australian designers and boutiques. Sass + Bide, Camilla, Zimmermann and more await your credit card.
Feeling peckish? Harvey’s Bar and Bistro is a great breakfast and lunch choice with or without kids.
If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth like I do, be sure to pick up a treat from the iconic Joceyln’s Provisions. While you’re deciding which delicious cake to order, poke your head inside their kitchen to see the pastry chefs hard at work.
Play time: South Bank Parklands
As well as being the cultural centre of Brisbane, the South Bank is filled with family-focussed entertainment.
Get arty at the QAGOMA
The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is a top choice for adults and children. Most of the gallery is free entry, including the Children’s Art Centre. Their current major exhibition, “Harvest” (open till Sept 21) celebrates food in art and includes interactive features for older children, as well as kid-friendly art such as large sculptures and a Shangai supermarket installation.
Take littlies to the children’s exhibition, “Pattern Bandits” (open until Nov 2), where they can explore a world of colour, shape and pattern in a completely hands-on environment. The free exhibition features craft activities that can be taken home or left to be put on display. Kids will particularly love the kaleidoscope corridor where they can see their own faces turned into bright patterns.
Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct, South Bank
Segway Tours with X-wing
Older kids will love seeing Brisbane’s South Bank on a mini-segway. Zoom along the river bank with a helpful guide to tell you all about Brisbane.
Get a bird’s-eye view
Take a spin on the Wheel of Brisbane for a panoramic view of the city.
This man-made beach with white sand and lifesavers is a summer oasis on the Brisbane river shore. It’s perfect for families, with shallow lagoons, sprinklers and crystal clear water.
Stop for a bite at South Bank Surf Club
After a swim at Streets Beach, stroll the the nearby Surf Club for a relaxed fish and chips.
30aa Stanley Street Plaza, South Bank
Sweet Treats at Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar
Brisbane’s first dessert and cocktail bar offers build your own fro-yo, ice cream and a range of other sugar-coma inducing desserts.
2/179 Grey Street, South Bank
When wanting to book a large table in NYC, your options are limited. For a friend’s birthday with a party of nine, we tried out Essex, a restaurant on the Lower East side with a modern, chic design, lots of natural light and a great value-for-money brunch menu.
The brunch menu is a fixed price, $23.95 for your entree plus three bloody marys, screwdrivers or mimosas. They’re quite liberal with the drinks, particularly mimosas, and several members of our party think they actually ended up with four each. The drinks aren’t super strong, which is good when you’re drinking that many cocktails at noon …
We were seated at our table even though we were waiting on the last two guests. The restaurant quickly filled up — clearly word has gotten around that this is a good brunch bet.
While there wasn’t a kids’ menu, we ordered sides off the menu for Missy E (French Fries and Fresh Fruit) straight away while everyone else decided on their order. Her dishes arrived quickly — two generous servings which we helped her with.
Our party ordered a variety of dishes: Challah French Toast (bananas foster sauce, fresh fruit), Baked Eggs (crisp black forest ham, roasted peppers, shitake mushrooms, Monterey jack), Omelet (spinach, tomato, sheep’s milk cheese with mixed green salad and home fries), Short Rib Hash (two eggs any style, duck fat potatoes), Grilled Shrimp & Avocado Salad (poached egg, baby spinach, pico de gallo).
The meals were all a great portion size, with generous amounts of fresh ingredients. My omelet was delicious, filled with tasty cheese and tomatoes, and slightly spicy home fries. The French toast “tastes better than it looks!”, and the baked eggs xxxx.
Our server wove in and out of diners with a large jug of mimosas, topping up glasses as soon as they were empty.
Last bite: A great brunch spot for large groups, especially those wanting mimosas with their eggs.
Stroller storage: Yes (folding strollers are best).
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.
When you want good pancakes in New York City, it’s a well-known fact that you head to Clinton St. Baking Company. The bakery and restaurant was opened in 2001 by husband and wife team Neil Kleinberg and DeDe Lahman, with a mission to make the best baked goods in the city, hand-mixed in small batches.
Fast forward to 2014 and the once tiny bakery is now a bustling restaurant, with their pancakes awarded the title of “the best in the city” (twice!) by New York Magazine. Clinton St. Baking Co. is such a popular breakfast and lunch spot that if you turn up for brunch on a weekend, you’ll often find yourself facing an up to TWO HOUR wait. They have the waiting system down to a fine art, and even have a page on their site devoted to “the wait“.
Don’t let this dissuade you from going, however. To avoid a wait on weekends, your best bet is to arrive by 8:30am and put in your name for the first seating at 9am. To avoid a long wait in general, visit during the week or at night when the waits are shorter, if at all. Don’t worry — they serve breakfast during the dinner hour. We visited on a weekday at 8am. The restaurant was full by 8:30am, but the wait outside was pretty short, with most diners not having to wait too long for a table. If you find yourself waiting for a table, the surrounding streets have some really cool graffiti/street art that’s worth checking out.
Since Alec had to get to work, we ordered and ate as quickly as we could. I ordered the Pancakes with Warm Maple Butter (choice of wild Maine blueberry, banana walnut, or chocolate chunk pancakes, $14) and Alec ordered the Southern Breakfast (two eggs any style, sugar-cured bacon, cheese grits, and fried green tomatoes, $14). We also ordered a side of sourdough toast for Missy E ($2), which arrived with Vermont butter and the most amazing raspberry conserves I’ve ever tasted. As well as the toast, E shared my pancakes when they arrived — the novelty of chocolate for breakfast was just too exciting for her to handle.
My pancakes were fantastic. I chose chocolate chunks, and my three big fluffy pancakes were absolutely chockfull of the chocolate. The pancakes were warm and the butter atop them was slightly melting. I really enjoyed their warm maple butter instead of maple syrup as it wasn’t anywhere near as sickeningly sweet. Alec’s southern breakfast was a bit on the dry side — he would have preferred some kind of sauce to go with it. He did, however, thoroughly enjoy the cheese grits and fried green tomatoes — both novelties to an Aussie.
So are they the best pancakes in New York? I’m afraid I can’t say as I don’t really eat pancakes often enough to be able to rank them! I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed mine and would absolutely go back for more.
Last bite: How can you resist trying some of NYC’s best pancakes? Be prepared for the wait and you’ll enjoy a really great breakfast.
Stroller storage: No.
Easy access: Yes
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.
Clinton St Baking Co & Restaurant
4 Clinton St.
New York, NY
Phone: (646) 602 6263
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, 4pm-5pm (pastries/ coffee to go only), dinner 6pm to 11pm; Sat 8am-9am (pastry & coffee to go only), 9am-4pm, dinner 6pm-11pm; Sun 8am-9am (pastry & coffee to go only), 9am-6pm.
When your sweet tooth is a-calling, the Upper East Side is the place to go. Within a few blocks of each other lies a cornucopia of sugary heavens. How’s a sleep-deprived mom to choose?
Dylan’s Candy Bar
Created in 2001 by Dylan Lauren (of the Ralph Lauren family) Dylan’s Candy Bar is the place to go for a serious sugar high. Choose from 7,000 candy treats in the store, then lounge upstairs in a cupcake booth at the Candy Cafe to enjoy lunch or a snack, and perhaps a candy cocktail.
1011 3rd Ave, New York, NY
Baked By Melissa
These mini cupcakes were made with tiny hands in mind! At $1 for each little cupcake, it’s the perfect sized treat when you don’t want the day to get too sugary. Our favorite flavor is the Choc Chip Pancake (totally breakfast food, right?).
784 Lexington Avenue at 61st Street New York NY
Two Little Red Hens
How can you pass up what’s often called the best red velvet cupcake in the city? The cupcakes come in regular and mini sizes, so you can sample several if you’re not set on one flavor.
1652 2nd Ave, New York, NY
If you’re on the go, grab your cupcake from the Sprinkles ATM out the front. We prefer to sit down inside to enjoy our cupcakes – the cupcake-inspired interior and ottomans are a huge hit with kids. Know before you go: Check out their rotating seasonal menu so you visit on the day when your favorite flavors are being served.
780 Lexington Ave, New York, NY
This candy chain store recently opened its doors on the Upper East Side. IT’SUGAR focuses on the fun of candy, from giant 5LB Hershey bars to the World’s Largest Gummy Bear (they recommend sharing this cub, and so do we!)
1542 3rd Ave New York NY
IT’SUGAR Image via Jia J. Yelp.com