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Tu-Tu Much: Ballet With Eloise At The Plaza

#Eloise At The #Plaza Ballet Event #NYC #plazahotel via brunchwithmybaby.com

Ever since I arrived in New York, I’ve been dying to take my little girl to one of the special Eloise-themed  events at The Plaza Hotel. The Plaza pays homage to its most famous “resident” with a special Eloise suite, an Eloise afternoon tea at the Palm Court, and a series of special events run out of the Eloise Shop.

The Eloise shop is one of my favorite drop-ins when I’m in the area with my own E. It has the most adorable Eloise merchandise (that’s a given), but it also has a lovely Eloise tea room with tiny chairs and tables; and another room with a stage, surrounding mirrors, pint sized grand piano and dress up tutus, wands and shoes. (Needless to say, we are frequent visitors at the shop.)

I’ve always thought my E was too young for the events, but when I saw the special ballet event, Creative Ballet with an Eloise Twist (for ages 3-5), I just couldn’t resist. The events are on the pricey side (this one was $75 for adult and child, for a one hour event), but I thought it could be a special outing for us both. The ballet event included a 45 minute lesson followed by pink lemonade and treats, and a “mahvelous” ballet-inspired gift bag.

#Eloise At The #Plaza Ballet Event #NYC #plazahotel via brunchwithmybaby.com

So on a rainy grey day, we dressed in our ballet finest (or one of us did, anyway), and joined other Eloise-loving ballet fans for a special class à la Eloise. The class was completely adorable: Two teachers led a bevy of ballerinas through stretches, tendues and twirls, encouraging their imaginations with a fantasy journey through Central Park and flying like a butterfly.

At a couple points during the class, my E had an attack of shyness (or nerves?) and freaked out a bit when she moved around the room and couldn’t see me anymore, which is so unlike her. The teachers couldn’t have been kinder or sweeter with her, gently encouraging her to join them, holding her hand, and including her in everything even when she was hiding in my lap.

#Eloise At The #Plaza Ballet Event #NYC #plazahotel via brunchwithmybaby.com

#Eloise At The #Plaza Ballet Event #NYC #plazahotel via brunchwithmybaby.com

#Eloise At The #Plaza Ballet Event #NYC #plazahotel via brunchwithmybaby.com

#Eloise At The #Plaza Ballet Event #NYC #plazahotel via brunchwithmybaby.com

Following the ballet class was snack time. Usually this is held in the tea room within the Eloise store, but today it was booked for a party so we had our snacks in the main restaurant in the hotel instead. The atmosphere was just not the same, sadly. The kids were seated at too-tall tables and large, uncomfortable chairs that were totally unsuitable for little kids. We were surrounded by adult diners enjoying their lunches, which meant that the kids had to sit still (uh-oh!), talk quietly, and stay put (which, frankly, is very un-Eloise-like).

The snacks were nice and simple, however: The menu included strawberry lemonade, fresh fruit skewers and sugar cookies. As we left, we were given our gift bag, which included a cute Eloise tee and water bottle.

#Eloise At The #Plaza Ballet Event #NYC #plazahotel via brunchwithmybaby.com

Before leaving I let E have a run around the Eloise store. She adores the baby grand piano — as do a lot of aspiring Eloise’s!

#Eloise At The #Plaza Ballet Event #NYC #plazahotel via brunchwithmybaby.com

Eloise At The Plaza Hotel
1 W 58th St
Manhattan, NY
Phone: (212) 546 5460
Get Directions

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Shake Shack Opens in DUMBO

Shake Shack Opens in DUMBO via brunchwithmybaby.com

There’s a new Shake Shack in town! Brooklynites rejoice, you can now grab a burger, fries, shake and concrete from the new DUMBO Shake Shack.

The newest Shake Shack opened today, featuring free wifi, a baby change table, and gorgeous handmade furniture by a local furniture maker (who is also a friend of ours!) Mark Jupiter. Look closely at the tables and lounge furniture – they’re made from factory beams salvaged from old buildings in DUMBO.

Shake Shack Opens in DUMBO via brunchwithmybaby.com

The menu features two new concretes specific to the DUMBO location:

  • The “Brooklyn Pie Oh My,” which is made from a slice of Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie blended with vanilla frozen custard. We’re told that the pie flavors will change, with the first one being strawberry-balsamic.
  • The “Caramel Carousel” concrete is based on nearby Jane’s Carousel, and is made with vanilla frozen custard mixed with banana, sugar cone pieces, caramel sauce, and sea salt.

The DUMBO Shack has partnered with Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, a non-profit network of volunteers that rescues, rehabilitates and finds homes for adoptable dogs from high kill shelters in the rural south. Five percent of sales from the Caramel Carousel concrete supports Badass Brooklyn. Isn’t that alone a reason to try the new concrete?

Shake Shack Opens in DUMBO via brunchwithmybaby.com
Thanks to Lindsey Turner for her pics of Shake Shack’s opening day! Will you be going to the new location too?

Shake Shack
1 Old Fulton Street at the corner of Water Street
Dumbo New York
Get Directions

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

A Rawther Fancy Tea Party With Eloise At The Plaza

#Eloise Rawther Fancy High Tea at the #Plaza via brunchwithmybaby.com

Something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time is take little E to an Eloise-themed Rawther Fancy Tea Party at the Plaza Hotel. The Rawther Fancy Tea Parties are part of the special events run under the Plaza Hotel in the Eloise store. I ADORE the Eloise character and have been so excited to share her with my own Miss E. So it happened on a steamy, rainy Friday that the Little One and I found ourselves at the pinkest tea party that ever might be.

Our host, Stephanie, made us feel extremely welcome. Stephanie ran the tea party for us, providing us with pink lemonade as well as real tea (E and I both had citrus chamomile). It was E’s first “real tea” and she flipped out when I gave it to her, because it made her feel like such a big girl to be drinking adult tea with mummy.

Our afternoon tea delights arrived on a three-tiered platter of illustrated Eloise plates. The bottom plate held fruit skewers, the middle plate had sandwiches (egg salad, cream cheese and cucumber and peanut butter and jelly), and the on the top plate, sweets (mini cup cakes, chocolate brownie and choc chip cookies). Please excuse the terrible photo of the tea platter. E was SO EXCITED when it was placed in front of her that she photobombed me and I laughed so hard the camera shook.

#Eloise Rawther Fancy High Tea at the #Plaza via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Rawther Fancy Tea Party was held in the party room in the Eloise Store, which is under the Plaza Hotel, next to the Plaza Food Hall. We’ve visited the store before on many occasions and E has always been attracted to the tiny chairs and tables — a perfect size for this little one to feel like a big girl, while at a very special tea party with kids her age in mind.

#Eloise Rawther Fancy High Tea at the #Plaza via brunchwithmybaby.com

E tried a little of everything, but particularly loved the mini cupcake and the fruit. I happily ate the sandwiches (LOVE me some tea sandwiches) and can report that they were delicious. The fruit was super fresh and tasty (they didn’t taste like the fruit had been sliced hours earlier, languishing in a fridge), and the baked goods were all kid-friendly crowd pleasers (it is hard to go wrong with cookies and brownies.) As often happens with me and tea, we couldn’t eat all the sweets so we had them boxed up to take home.

#Eloise Rawther Fancy High Tea at the #Plaza via brunchwithmybaby.com

Our fellow tea party goers were girls of similar age, along with their mum or mum plus an out of town friend. After our tea party we all wrote letters to Eloise. Stephanie told us that Eloise always writes back, so we’re very excited to receive a special letter in the mail. Miss E “wrote” her letter in some beautiful swirly drawings, at the end of which I added that we loved our tea party and wished Eloise had been able to make it.

#Eloise Rawther Fancy High Tea at the #Plaza via brunchwithmybaby.com

The letters were all posted in the appointed Eloise mail box, ready for delivery upstairs to the Plaza’s most famous resident. E loved posting the letter so much that she took out everyone else’s letters and reposted them all several times.

#Eloise Rawther Fancy High Tea at the #Plaza via brunchwithmybaby.com

Next came story time. Stephanie read two shorter Eloise books to the party in the back room of the Eloise store, while we lounged on the bright pink ottomans.

#Eloise Rawther Fancy High Tea at the #Plaza via brunchwithmybaby.com

And then the party was over! Each child received a gift bag containing an Eloise pencil, postcard, mints, gift voucher to the store, and a book.

#Eloise Rawther Fancy High Tea at the #Plaza via brunchwithmybaby.com

We shopped around, said “hello!” to Eloise, and went home. We love, love, love a tea party! Thanks Eloise and The Plaza!

Rawther Fancy Tea Parties are held on Friday at 4pm at the Plaza Hotel. Cost is $100 for an adult and child pair. Reservations are required.

The Plaza Hotel
Fifth Avenue at Central Park South,
New York, NY 10019

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

ABC Kitchen; Kid-Friendly Restaurants, Union Square, New York

ABK Kitchen #kidfriendly #restaurants #unionsquare #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

For the husband’s big 40th birthday, I decided to spoil him with lunch at ABC Kitchen. With Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the helm, I knew we were going to be in for a great dining experience. The restaurant is situated in the ABC Home store near Union Square. They have a seasonal menu with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients (where possible). Their menu alignes with the farm-to-table movement, and is free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, antibiotics and hormones. All of the food at ABC Kitchen is also GMO-free, and naturally and humanely sourced from regional farmers and fair trade cooperatives. The restaurant celebrates community and the future of the slow food movement.

Taking a toddler to a fancy lunch is always risky. I planned this lunch to get wiggly E to nap in her stroller on the way so we could get through at least part of lunch before she woke up. The staff couldn’t have been sweeter, finding us a table that accommodated our sleeping toddler in her stroller, and had a place set for her upon her awakening. In the best birthday gift of all time, E slept right through lunch, waking up when dessert was served. A happy birthday to Daddy indeed!

Since it was his birthday, Alec ordered the Wood Oven Roasted Maine Lobster with Oregano and Lemon-Chili Vinaigrette ($39). It was his first lobster ever, and he proclaimed it delicious. Together, we shared a few smaller dishes: Roasted Kabocha Squash Toast with Fresh Ricotta and Apple Cider Vinegar ($12), Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette ($11) and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cipollinis, Cashews and Maple Syrup ($10). The roasted squash toast was probably my favourite – I absolutely love the combination of ricotta and roasted squash. The flavors go together perfectly. I wasn’t a huge fan of the brussels sprouts – I found they were a bit bitter for my liking when paired with the mustard vinaigrette. Alec’s favorite was the roasted sweet potatoes with a hint of heat to them. For my main I had the Housemade Ricotta Ravioli with Herbs and Tomato Sauce ($23). It was absolutely delicious. Big fluffy pillows of pasta stuffed with creamy ricotta, and in a perfect tomato sauce.

For dessert we ordered the special, which, to be honest, I’ve forgotten what it was called (clearly not memorable!), and the Orange “Creamsicle” Tart ($10). The sweet staff put a candle in Alec’s dish and wrote a big “Happy Birthday!” on it in chocolate. With Little E to help him blow out the candle, Alec proclaimed it the perfect birthday lunch.

ABK Kitchen #kidfriendly #restaurants #unionsquare #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

ABK Kitchen #kidfriendly #restaurants #unionsquare #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

ABK Kitchen #kidfriendly #restaurants #unionsquare #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

ABK Kitchen #kidfriendly #restaurants #unionsquare #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

ABK Kitchen #kidfriendly #restaurants #unionsquare #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

ABK Kitchen #kidfriendly #restaurants #unionsquare #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

 

After eating we adjourned to nearby Union Square for play time.

ABK Kitchen #kidfriendly #restaurants #unionsquare #nyc via brunchwithmybaby.com

Last Bite: High-end dining where kids are welcome. Reserve a table in advance so there’s no wait.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

ABC Kitchen
35 E 18th St,
New York, NY 10003
Phone: (212) 475-5829
Prices: $$$
Hours: Mon-Wed 12pm–3pm, 5:30–10:30pm, Thurs 12pm–3pm, 5:30–11pm, Fri 12pm–3pm, 5:30pm–11:30pm, Saturday 11am–3:30pm, 5:30pm–11:30pm, Sunday 11am–3:30pm, 5:30pm–10pm
Reservations
Get Directions

ABC Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Jack’s Wife Freda: Kid-Friendly Restaurants, SoHo, New York

Jack's Wife Freda: #kidfriendly #restaurants #soho #newyork via brunchwithmybaby.com

On what can only be called a crazy whim, we decided to brunch at Jack’s Wife Freda on an early spring morning. The wait for this restaurant is always out of control. We put our name down and went shopping during the hour and a half it took for our table to free up. The restaurant is absolutely tiny, and the tables are small and squished together. Not much room for baby stuff, so pack light and be prepared to leave the stroller outside.

What the restaurant lacks in certain kid-friendly accommodations, it makes up for in its friendly atmosphere: The staff were incredibly friendly (our server was a fellow Aussie!) and obligingly gave Missy E crayons to color in with, as well as a really cool pop out 3D elephant puzzle that entertained her for the majority of the time we were there.

Jack's Wife Freda: #kidfriendly #restaurants #soho #newyork via brunchwithmybaby.com

There is a reason people line up for hours to get in: The food is absolutely delicious. The dishes are small, so order a few sides if you’ve been waiting for a while for your table. We ordered the Soft Boiled Eggs with Soldiers ($7) for missy E, Poached Eggs with Grilled Tomato and Haloumi ($12) for the three of us in our our party, and the French Fries ($5). Perfectly cooked eggs, great bread, fragrant tomatoes. Absolutely delicious.

Jack's Wife Freda: #kidfriendly #restaurants #soho #newyork via brunchwithmybaby.com

Jack's Wife Freda: #kidfriendly #restaurants #soho #newyork via brunchwithmybaby.com

Jack's Wife Freda: #kidfriendly #restaurants #soho #newyork via brunchwithmybaby.com

Jack's Wife Freda: #kidfriendly #restaurants #soho #newyork via brunchwithmybaby.com

Last Bite: Arrive when it opens for a better chance of a shorter wait, or put your name down and enjoy shopping in Soho. Your brunch will be worth it when you finally get it!

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: No.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Jack’s Wife Freda
224 Lafayette St,
Manhattan, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 510 8550
Prices: $$
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-12am Sun 10am-10pm
Reservations.
Get Directions

Jack's Wife Freda on Urbanspoon

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

A New York Classic: Tavern on the Green, Upper West Side, NY

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

A long time ago, two Australians visited New York City while on holiday. They had a romantic lunch at Tavern on the Green, oohed and aahed at the over-the-top Versailles-like decor, then went on their merry journey. They got engaged, then married, and then, finally, moved to New York City and had an adorable (albeit crazy) toddler. All the while, Tavern on the Green was on its own journey.

Tavern was originally built to hold the sheep that lived in the Central Park Sheep Meadow. In the early 1930s, New Yorkers evicted the sheep, and the building was converted into a restaurant. The restaurant became famous for its decadent Crystal Room, a conservatory-like space decked out with colored-glass chandeliers, stucco embellishments on the ceiling, and numerous flower motifs.

In the restaurant’s hey day, during the late 1970s and ’80s, Tavern was the place for celebrities to be seen. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Madonna and Michael Jackson were all guests.

In 2009, the owners of Tavern filed for bankruptcy and the restaurant closed its doors, opening again in April 2014 after a massive refurbishment. The new restaurant barely resembles the old one. Gone is the Crystal Room and abundance of flowers. In its place is a sleek, modern dining establishment with nods to its heritage, such as sheep heads by the fire place, and a carousel-resembling chandelier over the bar.

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

And so it was that this little family of three made their way back to the newly opened Tavern on an absolutely gorgeous spring day. Let me say this from the outset: the new Tavern has amazing staff. The efficient, friendly staff welcomed our wriggly toddler and her tired parents with open arms, and gave us a wonderful table in the courtyard.

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

We ordered Assorted Pastries with Cultured Vermont Butter and Preserves ($6) which contained two perfectly-sized plain croissants, two chocolate croissants, a lemon poppy seed scone, butter, and orange marmalade and raspberry jam by my favorite jam-makers, Bonne Maman. We had intended these for Missy E, but they were so good we all devoured them.

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Alec and I both ordered the same dish off the brunch menu: the Scrambled Local Eggs with Fresh Goat Cheese and Chives with Applewood Smoked Bacon and a Sourdough Bruschetta ($21). It came with bacon, which I received on the side and added to Alec’s eggs. We added cocktails to the brunch (what’s brunch without a cocktail?) and were delighted to receive strong, well-made White Peach Bellinis and Brooklyn.

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Our eggs on toast were really tasty – fluffy eggs on sourdough, as described. Even better — the meals all came quickly, before Missy E got totally bored.

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

We even went back for dessert – a Brownie Sundae for me, with Fudge Brownie, Caramel Ice Cream, Homemade ”Cracker Jacks”, Chocolate Sauce ($13), the Spring Pavlova for Alec, with Matcha Curd, Macerated Strawberries and Rhubarb, Chantilly Cream, Tarragon Oil ($12), and a single scoop of vanilla ice cream for E.

My brownie was rich and moist, but I would have liked a bit more ice cream to go with it. I really enjoyed the caramel ice cream however – it tasted like a salted caramel. Alec enjoyed his pavlova, but declared it nothing extraordinary. I think as Australians we’re spoiled by the amazing home-cooked pavs we’re used to back in Sydney!

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

After our lunch, we took a little tour around the restaurant to check it all out. I really liked the bar area with the big booths, so Central Park-goers can drop in just for a casual drink, but still be comfortable. I saw a lot of families with smaller kids in this area — a great idea when you want to stop somewhere nice in the afternoon, but know your kids can’t handle full table service.

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Tavern On The Green: #kidfriendly #restaurants #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Last Bite: A great dining option in Central Park for families. Friendly staff make this an enjoyable outing — just be sure to make reservations first.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Tavern on the Green
Central Park West & 67th Street,
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 877 8684
Prices: $$
Hours: Daily, Lunch 11am-3pm, Dinner 5pm-11pm, Late night 11pm-1am, Brunch Sat & Sun 9am-3pm,
Reservations
Get Directions

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

An Historical Day Trip With Kids to Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island #NewYork with kids via christineknight.me

For a sunny-day outing that’s out of your regular routine, catch the sky tram to Roosevelt Island. This narrow island is situated in New York City’s East River, between Manhattan and Queens.

#RooseveltIsland Day Trip via brunchwithmybaby.com

It’s a tiny island, running from Manhattan’s East 46th to East 85th Streets, and is only about 2 miles (3.2 km) long, making it an easily conquerable size for a fun day trip with young kids.

#RooseveltIsland Day Trip via brunchwithmybaby.com

Getting there is also a cinch (and fun!). You can either catch the F train directly there, or (our preference), get off the train at Lexington and ride the sky tram from 60th st and 2nd ave. The tram costs the same as a subway ride and comes around every 10 mins, even on weekends. It’s a gorgeous view of the city, so grab a window spot. There are elevators on both ends (strollers welcome!).

Once you’re on the island, here are our top tips on how to spend your day:

#RooseveltIsland Day Trip via brunchwithmybaby.com

Tom Otterness Sculpture Spotting
Stroll along the western promenade and look down to see Tom Otterness’ The Marriage Of Real Estate And Money Sculptures.

#RooseveltIsland Day Trip via brunchwithmybaby.com

Scoot!
Bring the scooters — it’s flat and smooth, and you can scoot around the entire island.

#RooseveltIsland Day Trip via brunchwithmybaby.com

Pack a Picnic
Options for eateries on the island are slim. If it’s lovely out, either throw down a blanket anywhere on the lawn (under the cherry blossom trees is popular), or use the free bbq facilities next to the western promenade. There’s even a playground attached.

#RooseveltIsland Day Trip via brunchwithmybaby.com

Check Out The Lighthouse
At the northernmost end of the island sits a small lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1872 and is around 50 feet tall. A cool spot to check out, especially for your boat-loving kiddo.

#RooseveltIsland Day Trip via brunchwithmybaby.com

Run Off Steam At A Playground
Not enough energy expended strolling around the island? There are plenty of playgrounds dotted around the walking paths.

#RooseveltIsland Day Trip via brunchwithmybaby.com

Admire The View
From the south end of the island, you’ll get an amazing view of midtown Manhattan.

#RooseveltIsland Day Trip via brunchwithmybaby.com

Get Spooky
Like haunted ruins? Check out the Smallpox Hospital at the southern tip. The hospital opened in 1856, and closed a century later, after which it fell into disrepair. In 1972 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a New York City Landmark four years later. The ruins will be open to the public after the current $4.5 million stabilization project is completed.

#RooseveltIsland Day Trip via brunchwithmybaby.com

Run Free
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is a four-acre memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Opening in 2012, it celebrates the “Four Freedoms” that Roosevelt spoke of in his 1941 State of the Union address. At the southern tip of the island you can say “hi” to Roosevelt’s bust.

#RooseveltIsland Day Trip via brunchwithmybaby.com

Cherry Blossom Dreaming
Visit in early May for spectacular blooms along the promenade.

#RooseveltIsland Day Trip via brunchwithmybaby.com

 

This article first appeared on MommyNearest.com

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

A Day Trip To The Cloisters

Day trip to the Cloisters #newyork with kids via christineknight.me

During the warmer months, a perfect family day trip is just north of the city at The Cloisters.

The Cloisters museum and gardens is the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to medieval European art and architecture. The building and its gardens are located in Fort Tryon Park, in north Manhattan, just a hop, skip and a jump away on the A train.

A Day Trip To The #Cloisters via brunchwithmybaby.com

Take the subway to 190th Street station at the base of Fort Tryon. Directly outside of the station entrance is the Jacob K. Javits Playground, where we let Cheese run off steam before brunch. It’s a nice playground with swings, several climbing structures for children of all ages, and also space for scooting or basketball.

A Day Trip To The #Cloisters via brunchwithmybaby.com

Inside the entrance to the park is an herb and flower garden. It’s a beautiful place to wander through, especially with the Hudson River as a backdrop, and another great place to let kids run around.

A Day Trip To The #Cloisters via brunchwithmybaby.com

The aren’t a lot of food options in the area. Your easiest options are: 1. Bring a picnic lunch; 2. Buy a pre-made sandwich or salad from the Cloisters cafe; or 3. A sit-down brunch or lunch at New Leaf Restaurant.

We chose New Leaf Restaurant & Bar. Housed in a 1930s cottage, the restaurant serves modern American cuisine. On weekends, brunch is served from 11am-3pm. We were given a table on the bright, airy patio, surrounded by trees. Tres tranquil.

While the restaurant is large, it fills quickly, and by 12:30pm it was at capacity. As New Leaf does not take reservations for brunch, get there early.

A Day Trip To The #Cloisters via brunchwithmybaby.com

The brunch menu is a pre-fixe at $19.95 for an entree, juice and tea or coffee. We ordered a croissant ($5) for missy E while we looked at the menu in more detail. Oddly, the croissant came with chutney. The croissant was absolutely delicious, while on the small side (kid-sized, one might say, except E demanded another, making it the most expensive croissants we had ever ordered). Our group ordered New Leaf Scrambled Eggs (goat cheese, scallions, roasted potatoes, field greens), the Market Omelette (tomatoes, peppers, onions and your choice of cheese, with herbed-roasted potatoes, field greens) and the Hanger Steak Sandwich (with salad and potatoes). The portions for the most part were large by New York standards, and we all struggled to finish our meals.
New Leaf Restaurant, 1 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY, Phone: (212) 568-5323

A Day Trip To The #Cloisters via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Day Trip To The #Cloisters via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Day Trip To The #Cloisters via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Day Trip To The #Cloisters via brunchwithmybaby.com

A Day Trip To The #Cloisters via brunchwithmybaby.com

A short stroll through beautiful Fort Tryon Park takes you to The Cloisters. We timed our visit so Cheese would nap in the stroller after lunch, so we were able to see most of The Cloisters before she woke up. Which was a good thing, as the museum is not so friendly for smaller kids. Babies in carriers and older children are the ideal candidates for this cultural experience.

A Day Trip To The #Cloisters via brunchwithmybaby.com #nyc

Be prepared and you’ll still have fun: There are lots of tiny stairwells and no ramps or elevators. You can’t leave strollers unattended. No food/water anywhere except in the cafe (including the gardens). Within the gallery rooms, keep children close as there are lots of fragile objects around.

My favourite part of the Cloisters was the Unicorn Tapestry collection. These seven individual pieces are among the most beautiful and complex works of art from the late Middle Ages that survive today, woven from fine wool and silk with silver and gilded threads.

Spring is the best time to visit The Cloisters as the gardens are in full bloom. The famous garden you see in all the photographs is filled with bright flowers and a fountain — lots of engaging features for inquisitive children to explore.

A Day Trip To The #Cloisters via brunchwithmybaby.com

The lower-level garden is home to plants one would have found in a garden in the middle ages, like herbs and vegetables. Miss E loved the garden, and I used the time to show her different plants and explain their purpose such as medicinal (like St. John’s-Wort, Hollyhock, MarshMallow, Meadow Clary, Liquorice, Comfrey, and Feverfew), magical (such as Bear’s Foot, Ragged-Robin, English Ivy, Cornelian Cherry, and Herb Robert) or for use in the kitchen (herbs like Winter Savory, Leek, Cardoon, Samphire, Chive, Small-Leaved Basil, and Red Valerian). As it was an herb garden and all the plants had such unique scents, I encouraged her to get down and smell the aromatic plants such as spearmint and lavender.

A Day Trip To The #Cloisters via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Cloisters
99 Margaret Corbin Dr,
New York, NY
Hours: Daily, 10am-5:15pm
Prices: Recommended $25 per adult

This article was first published on Mommynearest.com

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

A Sunny, Sparkly Day At The Met With Pediped

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

As transplants to this glorious city, we’re constantly seeking out fun new ways to experience everything NYC has to offer. We try to balance obvious kid-centric activities with things that we, as adults, are interested in. I also hope that exposing Missy E to art and culture will inspire in her an interest when she is older too.

I’ve always loved art galleries in particular, and never get sick of visiting the grande dame of museums and art galleries, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (AKA the Met). We used to take E fairly frequently to the Met when she was a baby and young toddler, when she was easily amused by large paintings with bright colors. We hadn’t taken her in a long time, especially since she hit the destructive toddler stage, out of fear of an extremely large bill at the end of our visit.

So it was with a bit of trepidation that we decided it was finally time to revisit the Met, especially because we wanted to check out the new Roof Garden Commission, an installation by Dan Graham with Günther Vogt. Major plus: Gardens are generally not breakable or easily ruined by grimy toddler fingerprints.

Since it was a special occasion, we dressed E in a super cute outfit, highlighted by her brand new shoes that she’s been dying to wear — a sparkly silver pair called the Alexis Silver by Pediped. E was so delighted with her fancy shoes that she showed them to literally every single person we encountered on our trip up there (“My shoes!! They’re sparkly!!”).

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

First things first however: getting to the Met. It’s a long train ride for us to the 86th St Station, so by the time we reached our stop, we all needed a snack. We dropped by Dean and Deluca (1150 Madison Ave at 85th St) to load up on coffee and croissants. Note: be sure to finish your food and coffee before entering the Met, or try to stow the food away until you get to the rooftop garden.

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

As soon as we reached the staircase leading to the museum, E and her fancy feet took off at a fast gallop. Let the races begin!

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

The key to enjoying an art gallery with a small child is to pick one thing you really want to see and to not try for anything more than that. Since the rooftop garden was our aim, we made our way to the rooftop elevator straight away, rather than browsing around the large halls.

We did however choose the path to the elevator that seemed to most intrigue Missy E — the Greek and Roman hall filled with sculptures. While we were a bit terrified of her crash tackling priceless art and smashing things, she was remarkably well behaved and surprisingly docile. We pointed out things we thought she might be interested in, like animals or statues of people, and she was particularly concerned about the statues that were missing limbs or heads.

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

The fountain was also a particular favorite. She was fascinated by the money in there, so we gave her spare change and taught her how to throw in coins and make wishes.  “What do you wish for?” “The playground!”. Of course. “Anything else?” “Lions. And giraffes!”. Er, sorry Miss E. Wrong spot for those. But we will keep it in mind when we next visit the zoo!

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Next stop, the rooftop garden. There is a special elevator that takes you up to the roof — ask for directions as you enter or you’ll be walking around in circles trying to find it. The garden is open seasonally, and offers spectacular views of Central Park and the surrounding buildings. It’s also a space where kids can run around a bit, particular with the current extremely kid-friendly exhibition. The Roof Garden Commission is kind of like a garden maze, with two-way mirrored glass set between ivy hedgerows, and is especially fun for toddlers. Missy E really enjoyed the maze aspect of it, playing hide and seek with us, and also got a thrill out of seeing her reflection in the glass.

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

All the while, the bright sunshine caught the sparkles on E’s shoes, making her fast-moving feet appear to actually be silver. With full sparkle from tip to toe, they are every girly-girl’s dream come true, as well as having all the features that matter to adults: a flexible rubber sole with grip on it for climbing, sparkles that are part of the material rather than glued on (so there is no loose glitter floating around the apartment), and an adjustable strap to keep the shoes on her feet when she’s running around like a crazy person.

Pediped Alexis Shoes in Silver via brunchwithmybaby.com

These Pediped shoes also feature Memory Foam Technology (MFT). This means that the shoes include a memory foam insole that shapes perfectly to the child’s foot, thus acting like a custom insole and supporting the foot in all the right places. As a result, the shoes are an excellent fit and are super comfy. MFT also prevents kids’ little feet from slipping in the shoe by providing a secure fit. What I love most about these shoes is how they dress up any outfit, but still provide the support and fit that growing (and busy) feet need.

A Day At The Met With Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

After the museum, we made E’s wish come true by taking her to the Hecksher Playground next door. Lucky her shoes were made for climbing!

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street)
New York, NY 10028
Hours: Daily, Sun-Thur 10am-5:30pm, Fri & Sat 10-9pm.
The Roof Garden Commission is on display April 29–November 2, 2014

The Alexis Silver Pediped shoes retail for $59 and are available on the Pediped website.

Brunch With My Baby was provided with a sample for reviewing purposes. All opinions, as always, are our own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Going Green With zoe b organic Dish Set & Beach Toys

zoe b organics dish set and sand toys via brunchwithmybaby.com

Is there anyone left who ISN’T worried about plastic, PBAs and other nasty things leaching into our food and water, particularly with young kids? After reading a particularly disturbing report on all the nasties that can be absorbed by children from their plastic bottles, dishes and containers, I’ve spent a lot of time researching what I can use with my daughter that will be safe for her. I came up with zoë b organic (I also love stainless steel water bottles, plates, cups and dishes).

What makes the zoë b organic range different from other plastics out there? The focus for this company is on being as green as possible, which means making their sand toys and dish sets from a bioplastic derived from corn sugar grown in the USA. They contain absolutely no BPA, phthalates, or PVC. Their toys and dishes are manufactured in Pennsylvania USA, so you’re supporting the local economy when you shop with zoë b.

The bioplastic used is also a renewable resource. While ordinary plastic comes from oil and natural gas — fossil fuels that are not renewable —zoë b organic’s bioplastic fully biodegrades in 2 to 3 years when buried in soil, immersed in water, home composted, or composted in industrial facilities (ordinary plastic takes up to 500 years to degrade).

Zoë b toys are durable and designed to hold up to playing just like ordinary beach toys. They’re designed to withstand extreme heat (hello New York summer heatwave!) and endless sunlight, and are dishwasher-safe. The toys and dishes only biodegrade when exposed to microbial activity, such as in soil, home compost, industrial compost, or marine environments. When your kids outgrow the toys and dishes, if they’re not suitable to be handed down to another family, you can simply put them in your compost or bury them in your backyard.

zoe b organics dish set and sand toys via brunchwithmybaby.com

We received a set of the dishes, containing a cup, dish and bowl, and a set of the sandpit toys, both in pink/orange. When they arrived, Missy E literally shrieked with joy and insisted on her dinner being served on the dishes (“and milk in my milk cup!”) and taking the sand pit toys into the bath with her. So tick off “instant hit with the kid”. I personally love the designs for different reasons. The cup is the perfect size for small hands to hold, and slightly sloped on the side to make it easy to drink from without excess spilling over the edge. The bowl is big enough for a big serving of cereal, and the plate is the perfect size for a large toddler dinner.

zoe b organics dish set and sand toys via brunchwithmybaby.com

zoe b organics dish set and sand toys via brunchwithmybaby.com

The sandpit toys are designed with function and fun in mind. While most sand toys come in a bucket and fall out everywhere, this innovative set comes as a box with a lid and toys inside, giving you an all-in-one toy kit where the container is also part of the toy. The lid is a fun sand sifter with different shapes like a star, diamond, triangle and circle for the sand to fall through, and the bottom of the box acts as the bucket. Inside are two small cups and a shovel — again, the perfect size for small hands, and also the perfect amount of equipment to either play with on ones own, or to share with a friend or two.

zoe b organics dish set and sand toys via brunchwithmybaby.com

The zoë b organic range is available for sale on here and here. The dish set retails for $13.25 and the sandpit toys for $22.

Brunch With My Baby received samples of zoë b organic dishes and toys for reviewing purposes. All opinions are, as always, our own. 

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.