Isabella's: #kidfriendly #restaurants in #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

July 24, 2014
by Christine Knight
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An Upper West Side Standard: Isabella’s, UWS, New York

Isabella's: #kidfriendly #restaurants in #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

Isabella’s has been our go-to restaurant of choice when we visit the American Museum of Natural History for the past two years. It’s a truly delightful combination — fuel up on really delicious food, then hit up the dinosaurs and then Central Park. We’ve been taking Missy E to Isabella’s since she was about 6 months old. Taking her as an almost 3 year old means we really get to enjoy all the kid-friendliness this restaurant has to offer.

Isabella’s is popular. It has a great reputation for a reason — it’s REALLY good. As such, you need a strategy to get a table with minimal wait on a weekend. Arriving when they open is one option, or after the first rush is over, at around midday. If you arrive after 1pm, forget it. The wait is pretty long. (Isabella’s takes reservations, but not for brunch.)

We took E to see a new dinosaur exhibition at the AMNH during the early members hours, and then to Isabella’s for late breakfast. After a short wait, we sat at our table, and were greeted by a friendly staff member bearing a “welcome pack” for our toddler. The pack contains crayons, some cool sticky stick things and a kids’ menu that doubles as a coloring page. We ordered her a Bagel with Cream Cheese ($4) and asked for one of their complimentary straw cups for kids filled with water.

I always order the same thing — the Goat Cheese Omelette with marinated tomatoes and basil ($14). It comes with home fries, which I swap out for regular fries. E loves to pick at a lot of different foods, so this way she eats a decent amount of omelette, fries and bagel. She adores cream cheese. Alec ordered the Classic Breakfast Sandwich (scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, $15). On Sundays, brunch includes a beverage of choice, so we had our bellinis included. Cheers to that!

Isabella's: #kidfriendly #restaurants in #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

Isabella's: #kidfriendly #restaurants in #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

Isabella's: #kidfriendly #restaurants in #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

Last Bite: Isabella’s is a hit with the whole family. Adults love the elegant atmosphere (without the snootiness) and absolutely delicious food, while kids are happy being well attended to and given new things to play with. 

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes. Bring a folding stroller though, as during rush hour, you’ll struggle to find a place for anything bigger.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: Yes.

Isabella’s
359 Columbus Ave
New York
Prices: $$
Phone: (212) 724 2100
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-10pm Sat & Sun 10am-11pm
Reservations
Get Directions

Al resco dining at Ted and Honey on sunnier days.

July 22, 2014
by Christine Knight
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Brooklyn Neighborhood Guide: Cobble Hill

Bare Burger, Cobble Hill

The quiet neighborhood of Cobble Hill is home to a LOT of strollers. It’s often joked that once Manhattanites start breeding, they move to Brooklyn. If this is the case, then a lot of these new parents must move to Cobble Hill, as it is literally bursting at the seams with babies, toddlers and lots of kiddie fun.

Best Breakfast: Ted & Honey
This little cafe is the go-to breakfast sandwich spot. Order an egg sandwich on your choice of multi-grain, brioche or ciabatta (the bread is freshly baked from nearby Caputo’s bakery). The haloumi and avocado is our fave. While you’re waiting, look on the bottom shelf for books and puzzles to entertain your little one. If your child is not the sitting and eating kind, get your sandwich to go and sit in leafy green Cobble Hill Park next door. 264 Clinton St, Brooklyn

Best Quiet Nook: Cobble Hill Park
This little oasis of calm amongst the brownstones is a popular haven for mothers’ groups during the week, and families on weekends. A little play area at the end of the park entertains older kids with a sand pit and climbing structures. The park is lovely year-round, but is especially pretty in spring when tulips and daffodils are blooming.
Clinton St. Between Verandah Pl. and Congress St., Brooklyn

Best Lunch Spot: BareBurger
Grab an all-natural burger, shake and fries for lunch at Bareburger. Kids can order a Cubby Meal, choosing from items like a grilled cheese panini or “grizzly” burger (with a quinoa veggie patty option). Adults: order from a wide variety of burgers (including “build your own”), sandwiches and salads, all made with organic ingredients free of hormones, pesticides and other unsavory elements.
149 Court St., Brooklyn

Best Playground: Litchfield Playground
This large playground has climbing structures for toddlers and older kids, plus a few swings. The main attraction for the toddler set, however, is the ever-changing walker and car toys that are routinely “donated” to the park throughout the year. The park is well-shaded on afternoons, and the trees put on a beautiful display of color in the fall.
Henry St. and Amity St., Brooklyn

Best Kids’ Store: Picnic
Dress your little one like a Brooklyn hipster at Picnic. Owned by local mom Lindsey Engler, the store stocks adorable outfits and accessories for kids from baby and up. You’ll also find a range of NYC and Brooklyn books and toys.
192 Amity St., Brooklyn

This article was first published on MommyNearest.

#Far From the #Madding #Crowd: #Kid-Friendly #Dining at #Chez Moi in #Brooklyn Heights #NYC

July 16, 2014
by Alexis Barad-Cutler
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Far From the Madding Crowd: Chez Moi, Brooklyn Heights, NY

When the lines at Smorgasburg on Pier 6 become as long a wait as any other restaurant during the weekend brunch hour, head up Atlantic to Chez Moi. This French bistro serves up delicious French fare in an unpretentious setting. In the warmer months, the best table is the one by the open windows, where you can people-watch the throngs heading down to Piers 5 and 6. It is also a great place to enjoy a glass of rose, or one of their signature brunch cocktails at the long wooden bar at the front of the restaurant while wearing Baby in the Ergo.

chez-moi

We strolled up the hill from our house to Chez Moi on the last weekend before my due date in mid-May. I didn’t have the stamina to walk around Smorgasburg in the sun trying to scavenge for food, and the baby was making me crave something with gruyere cheese. The hostess seated our party of four right away at a nice table where I could spread my girth on the bench seats along the wall and prop up my back with the pillows they have scattered around the dining room. We quickly put in an order for fries for the toddler and a large iced tea for me. The fries came out before Little J tired of emptying Sugar in the Raw packets into his water glass. Phew! And they were our favorite kind— crispy, skinny, and generously salted.

chez-moi

chez-moi

For brunch, we stuck with the classics: a Croque Madame (ham, gruyere, béchamel, fried egg, $11) and a Quiche Lorraine (ham, onions, gruyere, $10).  The croque madame was super yummy, with just the right ratio of fried egg to bread, so that there was enough yolk in which to dip the bread. The quiche crust was buttery and flaky, as a good quiche should be and was served with a nice flourish of creme fraiche with mustard seed.

Other tempting items on the menu include savory and sweet crepes, grapefruit brûlée (with brown sugar), and homemade pastry puffs as well as classic brunch items like pancakes, french toast, and eggs benedict.

Just like a restaurant in Paris, there are no frills on offer for kids (no special kid’s menu or changing table). But what it lacks in kid-friendly accoutrements, it makes up for in its welcoming atmosphere. The service is a bit spotty depending on how busy the restaurant is (one person in our party did not get the cocktail he had ordered until after the main courses were served). During our visit, there were at least four other tables with kids of various ages sitting at them, so we were in good company when Little J decided it was time to start serenading us with his version of Katy Perry’s “Roar”.

chez-moi

chez-moi

chez-moi

When Little J’s restaurant-sitting limit was reached, we took him outside to do ring-around-the-tree on the sidewalk, and then headed over to the ice cream truck that is almost always parked by the underpass on Atlantic and the BQE for some soft-serve.

Last Bite: For classic French bistro fare in an inviting setting, walk up Atlantic Avenue to Chez Moi. The brunch crowd often includes lots of young Brooklynites (of the preschool and under set), the bar has lots of branchy cocktails, and the fries are served crispy and hot.

Highchairs: Yes
Stroller Storage: Yes, if it is not too crowded, there is space to store a stroller.
Easy Access: Yes
Changing Tables: No
Kids’ menu: No

Chez Moi
135 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 1120
Phone: (347) 227-8337
Prices: $$
Hours:
Mon-Fri 12pm-1am, Sat 10am-1am, Sun 10am-12pm
Directions to Chez Moi.

Lucali; #kidfriendly #pizza #restaurants #brooklyn #newyork va brunchwithmybaby.com

July 16, 2014
by Christine Knight
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The Best Pizza In NYC? Lucali; Kid-Friendly Restaurants, Carroll Gardens, New York

Lucali; #kidfriendly #pizza #restaurants #brooklyn #newyork va brunchwithmybaby.com
The famous Lucali’s is reputedly home to one of the best pizzas in New York City. As such, there is always a line to get in, and it’s always seemed to us like too much of a hassle to try to get in when we’re paying a sitter so that we can potentially stand in line for an hour. When we recently flew back from Australia however, we had a week with jet lag where Missy E was awake every night at dinner time. Since she wasn’t sleeping anyway, we all headed down to Lucali’s in Carroll Gardens to FINALLY try this pizza we’ve been hearing about all this time.

We arrived right before the restaurant opened, and were not that surprised when we saw a big crowd of diners who had the same idea that we had had. Turns out that getting there right when the doors open does not beat the crowd: the smart thing to do is to reserve a table over the phone, or arrive at least 15 minutes before the restaurant opens, guaranteeing you a seat in the second seating of the evening — so about a 30-45min wait. Missy E was napping in her stroller when we arrived, so we strolled around the neighborhood for half an hour until we got the call that our table was ready. They do not have high chairs. Our table was right next to the pizza-making station. The staff couldn’t have been friendlier toward our slightly crazy toddler. The wait staff gave her a fresh flower to play with, and then a piece of pizza dough with which she could “make” her own pizza. When she started to get antsy, I took her to watch the chefs hard at work making the pizzas from scratch. We watched as they rolled and threw our pizza’s dough, covered it in fresh toppings, and finally, removed it from the oven, piping hot.

Lucali; #kidfriendly #pizza #restaurants #brooklyn #newyork va brunchwithmybaby.com
And about those pizzas. There are two menu options at Lucali’s — pizza or calzone, with your choice of meat and vegetables, which are listed each night on the chalkboard outside the restaurant. The only beverage they serve is water, but you can BYO wine. The much-hyped pizza was absolutely amazing. It had the perfect crust, thin and crispy on the edges, with a rich tomato sauce, a generous amount of cheese and giant clumps of fresh basil. One pizza was just the right size for two adults and a toddler to share (they do half-and-half if you want different toppings to your dining companions).

Lucali; #kidfriendly #pizza #restaurants #brooklyn #newyork va brunchwithmybaby.com
Lucali; #kidfriendly #pizza #restaurants #brooklyn #newyork va brunchwithmybaby.com
After our pizza we still had room for dessert, so we dropped by our nearby fave, Brooklyn Farmacy, for a banana split.

Brooklyn Farmacy; #kidfriendly #restaurants #brooklyn #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com
Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: No.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Lucali
575 Henry St,
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Phone: (718) 858-4086
Prices: $$
Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-8pm Sun 10am-6pm
Get Directions

Brooklyn Farmacy
513 Henry St,
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Phone: (718) 522-6260
Prices: $
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-11pm, Sat & Sun 9am-11pm
Get Directions

July 11, 2014
by brunchwithmybaby
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Washington Square Park Gets An Upgrade

Washington Square Park #washingtonsquarepark #nyc #newyork via brunchwithmybaby.com

Last weekend, a friend asked me what it was like to grow up in Greenwich Village in the 70’s.  I told him what I tell most people who ask me that question: there were a lot more roller skates.  Every girl I knew owned a pair—white, with rainbow laces—and every Wednesday after school we went to the roller rink around the corner from our apartment on Mercer Street to skate along to Shaun Cassidy singing Da Doo Ron Ron Ron, Da Doo Ron Ron.
In truth, the neighborhood was rougher than our cheerful skates suggested.  There were empty lots full of scrub grass and broken bottles, muggings were not uncommon, subway stations were not places you wanted to find yourself after dark.  But, it was also a true cultural kaleidoscope.  On Thursday afternoons in spring, the walk to my piano lesson in the East Village took me past Ukrainian storefronts, their windows beaded with brightly painted Easter Eggs, intricately patterned and hung by red cords.  On Saturday evenings we often went for dinner in Chinatown and walked home through Little Italy, which was still a place where stoops were for sitting and homemade cannoli were easily found.
The heart of it all was Washington Square Park—even more so than it is now.  Union Square was derelict, the Hudson River promenade was—to be blunt—scary, Soho had no stores, and they were still actually packing meat in the Meatpacking District. Washington Square Park was the only open space around—the only place where my friends and I could climb trees, learn to ride bikes, swing, and run free.
Which is why it makes me so happy that the interminably long renovation of the park finished this spring, with the opening of what my friend’s son calls “The Mountain Park”—a play space in the park’s south-west corner.
This lovely spot was built  over what my friends and I knew as “The Mounds”, three concrete hills constructed in the 1970’s for, yes, the multitudes of aforementioned roller skaters to enjoy. They had fallen into dangerous disrepair, but community members fought for their preservation, and their efforts have paid off.  The Mounds are now covered in turf and topped by a chic webbed climbing structure. When I walk by each morning to see toddlers rolling down the hills and trudging happily back up, their baby siblings laid out on blankets underneath the shady trees, I marvel at the complete makeover of a part of the Village I have always loved.

Washington Square Park #washingtonsquarepark #nyc #newyork via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Mountain Park brings Washington Square’s playground count to three; there is also small baby park, with infant swings and a climbing structure for new toddlers, and a big-kid playground with swings, a sandbox, lots of slides, stone turtles, and a new water sculpture. (The Mountain Park also adds brand-new bathrooms to the Square—it’s a miracle!) To top it all off,  there is the fountain—which, in summer, is the closest thing Greenwich Village has to a water park—the guy who plays piano in the open air, the guy who makes beautiful sand mandalas on the walkways, and all the people who sing under the arch.  I can now officially endorse my old stomping ground as a fantastic place to spend an entire afternoon.
Cara Wall Cara Wall owns Clementine Consignment, an extraordinary designer consignment boutique for maternity and children’s clothing in Greenwich Village. She says, “We’re located diagonally across the street from the Mountain Park in Washington Square, so if you want to shop after you play, we’d love to see you in the store!” 

Clementine Consignment
391/2 Washington Square South
(Entrance on West 4th St between Macdougal and 6th Avenue)
212-228-9333
clementineconsignment.com

Photos of the new mounds in Washington Square Park courtesy of the Washington Square Park Blog