Adventure, baby!

Manhattan Munchies

The Meatball Shop, 84 Stanton: Kid-friendly Restaurants, LES, NY

As a vegetarian, a good (non-meat) meatball is hard to find. Obviously. When I read that The Meatball Shop served vege meatballs as well as a wide range of vegetarian sides and options, I was there the next day. Or a few weeks later, when I got the chance – doesn’t sound as good though, does it?

Meatball Shop LES - Lower East Side
Only signage is on the top of the building.

The Lower East Side Meatball Shop is right near Alec’s office, so Cheese and I dropped by one Friday to take him to lunch. I walked right past it twice before realising it had no signage at ground level. Look up people, so you don’t look like the fool I did.

Meatball Shop LES - Lower East Side
Tick the boxes.

I adore any menu where I can pick and choose exactly what I want. I especially love when I can tick boxes so the server doesn’t get confused by my accent.

Meatball Shop LES - Lower East Side
Putting in the order.

We chose the naked balls (snigger) and two sides – mashed potato and steamed spinach.

Meatball Shop LES - Lower East Side
Street seating.

It’s worth noting here that we had an outdoor table as it was the best option with Cheese. The interior looked a bit small to squish in with a toddler and all of her gear. The helpful staff did store our stroller somewhere though – perhaps through some door that opened up into a magical portal of extra storage space.

Meatball Shop LES - Lower East Side
Vegetarian meatballs, side of mashed potatoes, steamed spinach and regular meatballs in the background.

The food arrived really quickly . It didn’t look like a huge amount, but afterwards I was so full I thought my stomach would explode.

Meatball Shop LES - Lower East Side
Cheese tucks into the mashed potatoes.

We gave Cheese some of the vegetarian meatballs and spinach, but all she was interested in was the mashed potato. What can I say, the girl loves carbs.

Last bite: The Meatball Shop is for carnivores and herbivores alike. Come hungry, pack light and be prepared to squeeze in and eat big.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Minimal.
Easy access: It’s a bit tight, but no stairs.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

The Meatball Shop, 84 Stanton
84 Stanton St
New York, NY
Phone: {212} 982 8895
Prices: $$
Hours: Sun-Thur 12pm-2am, Fri-Sat 12pm-4am

Nom Wah Tea Parlor: Kid-Friendly Restaurants, Chinatown, New York

Nom-wah dumplings
Be prepared for dumplings!

It’s a rare day that I’m out without my kid. Usually she’s my trusty (although not at all trust-worthy) sidekick, for better or for worse. On this particular day, however, I found myself heading out to try Nom Wah Tea Parlor with some friends, with the promise that I would be able to eat my dim sum heart out with Nom Wah’s extensive list of vegetarian options.

Nom-wah dumplings
So. Much. Food.

Nom Wah is a famous dim sum eatery in Chinatown, that has been operating in some shape or form on Doyers Street since 1920 (it originally opened as a bakery and tea parlor). People queue outside for a long time (how long, I don’t exactly know, as we got there when it opened to avoid that exact problem!) for a chance to squeeze into this retro tea parlor/dim sum emporium and eat, eat, eat the cheap and delicious dim sum.

Nom-wah dumplings
Rice roll with fried dough ($4).

Which leads me to why I was childless on this day. Toddlers (particularly mine) have a set napping schedule that cannot be messed with, or bad things happen. Plagues of locusts and such. Since Cheese is a morning napper, it means we can’t ever have brunch somewhere at opening hour (10:30 am). With Nom Wah, getting there at opening hour is the best choice unless you want to join the giant queue, so that’s how I turned up to review a restaurant for kid-friendliness, minus the actual kid.

Nom-wah dumplings
Tofu Skin Roll served with gluten-free soy sauce ($4).

Also in our party was a friend who is gluten-intolerant. Nom Wah is great for people with all kinds of dietary requirements because so much of the menu is made with rice instead of wheat flour, so my friend was in absolute food heaven with so many gluten-free food choices. Plus, the menu even indicates those items that are gluten-free.

Nom-wah dumplings
Steamed vegetable buns.

While I ate at Nom Wah minus my toddler, the restaurant was packed with small kids, ranging from small babies and up. Children are very welcome no matter their age, so long as they’re happy to be squished into a small booth or sitting on an adult’s lap at the table. No room for strollers, so bring a carrier if possible. The service is fast if you can get their attention, and the food arrives swiftly, piping hot and flavourful. It’s a great opportunity to teach kids about dumplings in an environment where kids are welcome.

Last bite: Arrive when Nom Wah opens to be seated straight away, or be prepared to join a long queue. An authentic, affordable, and casual place to order lots of  fun dishes so kids can experiment with all the flavours and textures. Chopsticks optional!

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

Nom Wah Tea Parlor, Chinatown
13 Doyers St.
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 962 6047
Prices $
Hours: Sun-Thur 10:30am-9pm; Fri-Sat 10:30am-10pm

TriBeCa Treats: Kid-friendly Cafes, TriBeCa, New York

After a traumatic trip to the paediatrician for Baby J, Alexis, Cheese, Baby J and I all badly needed a pick-me-up. A quick Google search revealed nearby TriBeCa Treats, so we trundled off to get a sugar hit to power us through the rest of the afternoon.

Tribeca Treats
Roomy shop.

The interior was surprisingly roomy – plenty of space for multiple large strollers to comfortably fit inside. A long table in the middle gave the shop a communal dining-feel. When we were there, two little girls were happily coloring and reading books at the table. (This would be a great place to bring kids after school to start on homework or to unwind. We will keep this in mind for the future!).

Tribeca Treats - cupcakes
Tribeca Treats – cupcakes.

Of course, what we were most interested in, was the treats. TriBeCa Treats sells a wide variety of cupcakes at a (Manhattan) bargain of $2 each, as well as brownies, cookies and more.

Tribeca Treats
Kids’ table!

A sweet little kiddie table near the counter was a really nice touch, so the kids happily sat at the table eating their treats instead of running around like escapees from the loonie bin.

Towards the front of the store there are a variety of cute greeting cards and lots of accoutrements (paper plates, napkins, gifts) for a party to go with your bakery order.

Tribeca Treats - cupcakes
Baby J gets his cookie on.

Last bite: This little gem of a cafe is a great place to stop by for a sugar hit with the kids—or without them.

Highchairs: No. But there is a toddler-sized table for the littles.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: No. There are a few steps to get in.
Change tables: No. But there is a bathroom behind the counter that patrons can use (you just have to ask).
Kids’ menu: No.

Tribeca Treats
94 Reade St (btwn. West Broadway and Church St.)
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 571 0500
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 12pm-5pm

Willow Road: Kid-Friendly Restaurants, Chelsea, New York

Willow Road, kid-friendly restaurants, Chelsea, New York, via

One of our favourite areas of the city is in Chelsea right under the High Line, with Chelsea Markets, the Hudson River Park and Chelsea Piers all a short stroll away. A new eatery to this prime strip of real estate is Willow Road, a New American restaurant and bar offering twists on classic dishes and an extensive cocktail menu (try the Hair of the Dog pick, the Willow Fresca—sparkling wine, fords gin, fresh lemon, peach tincture$14, for a refreshing zing to wake you right up).

Willow Road, kid-friendly restaurants, Chelsea, New York, via

Thanks to the not so reliable service on the subway, we arrived late and somewhat dishevelled. The hostess couldn’t have been friendlier or more charming, letting us sit at the table while we waited for everyone else to arrive. No highchairs, so we sat in a corner booth-type area, and squished the Cheese between us to stop her from escaping. The vibe was a bit party-like, which was surprising for a brunch crowd. A hen’s party wearing candy pink cowboy hats took up one large table (and were amazingly mellow), while upbeat tunes played over the speakers.

Willow Road, kid-friendly restaurants, Chelsea, New York, via
Bread basket, $10

We ordered the bread basket to keep Cheese entertained while we waited for everyone to arrive and order—it came literally in a casserole dish, possibly the most bread I’ve even see dished up on a plate. It was fresh and warm, but with no butter, spreads or oil. Upon request we were given a dish of whipped butter, which complemented the bread to perfection.

Willow Road, kid-friendly restaurants, Chelsea, New York, via
Cheese chilling with Dad for a very brief few minutes.

It seems like Cheese has reached a certain difficult age where dining out is similar to our first few months with her as newborn. As in, one of us would eat while the other walked around rocking the baby. Now, instead of being rocked, our chaos-loving toddler, who refuses to sit still for a minute, needs to be escorted around by one parent, while the other gets a few minutes to shovel in her food. We’d been warned to expect this at her age (22 months), so it’s not a big surprise. It does, however, mean our restaurant choices for the next few months will be a lot less of the sit-down variety, and more of the grab-and-go kind.

Willow Road, kid-friendly restaurants, Chelsea, New York, via
Crispy Black Kale with pecorino, chile, and garlic

We had a few friends with us, so we ordered a good variety of brunch food, including the Crispy Black Kale (with pecorino, chile and garlic), Cast Iron Baked Eggs (with chorizo, charred scallion, parmesan cream, $16), Slow-Cooked Eggs (with steel cut oats, smoked bacon and maple hollandaise, $15), Egg White Omelette (with spring vegetables and charred tomato sauce, $14), Charred Bean Salad (with mustard seed, pepita and smoked paprika, $14) and the star dish of the day, the Brioche French Toast (with banana-apple caramel and whipped sour cream, $15).

Willow Road, kid-friendly restaurants, Chelsea, New York, via
Cast Iron Baked Eggs: chorizo, charred scallion, parmesan cream, $16
Willow Road, kid-friendly restaurants, Chelsea, New York, via
Slow-Cooked Eggs steel cut oats, (minus the smoked bacon), maple hollandaise, $15
Willow Road, kid-friendly restaurants, Chelsea, New York, via
Egg White Omelette: spring vegetables, charred tomato sauce, $14
Willow Road, kid-friendly restaurants, Chelsea, New York, via
Charred Bean Salad: mustard seed, pepitas, smoked paprika, $14

The Charred Bean Salad was the dish of choice for our gluten-and dairy-intolerant friend. It was also perfect for both of the vegetarians at the table. A great mix of flavours and textures with perfectly grilled beans and seeds, and a zing of paprika.

Willow Road, kid-friendly restaurants, Chelsea, New York, via
Brioche French Toast: banana-apple caramel, whipped sour cream, $15

My Brioche French Toast was lusted after by everyone except the toddler who just wanted to eat pieces of ice from the water chiller. It was everything French toast should be—light, fluffy, sweet, and covered in a delicious apricot and caramel fruit compote, with a dash of whipped sour cream. It. was. amazing. I may have shared it around to stop all the hungry faces from staring at me.

While Willow Road had none of the usual baby-friendly paraphernalia, what they did have was extremely friendly and accommodating staff. Miss Cheese was at her wriggliest (walk! walk! down! down!) and spent the entire time running around the restaurant (yes, we were THOSE people) and up and down the ramp and stairs out the front. The hostess and other staff we ran (literally) into during these strolls could not have been more understanding and kind, making it super kid-friendly even without highchairs and change tables.

Last bite: A great option for brunch with friends or a date night in Chelsea. Bring the kids for a fun meal, with super friendly and accommodating staff. Order the Brioche French Toast and a Hair of the Dog, and enjoy a relaxed outing.

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: Minimal – bring a fold-up stroller or carrier.
Easy access: No. There are a few steps to get in after the ramp at the entrance.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Willow Road
85 10th Ave (between 15th St. & 16th St.)
New York, 10011
Phone: (646) 484 6566
Prices: $$$
Hours: Brunch: Sat-Sun 11am-3pm Lunch: Mon-Fri 12pm-3pm Dinner: Mon-Sun 5:30pm-3am

Brunch Special: Lauren Pohl, Founder, Kidz Central Station

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Lauren Pohl, founder of Kidz Central Station, a website where parents can search for and book fun classes and activities for their kids. Lauren lives with her husband and two kids, her four-year-old daughter and 18-month-old son, in Manhattan.

Lauren Pohl, Kidz Central Station
Lauren Pohl with her daughter.

How would you describe your business and website, Kidz Central Station?
Kidz Central Station helps parents search for, learn about, compare and enroll in classes/activities for children (like Open Table but for kids activities rather than restaurants).

How did Kidz Central Station begin?
I was motivated to start Kidz Central Station after I tried to find a cooking class for my daughter and Googled “kids cooking classes”—and only found tons of adult classes. I asked friends for suggestions and walked around my neighborhood to see if there were any cooking schools for kids. I became frustrated as I use technology for so many aspects of my life as a mother (e.g. buying diapers at or sharing photos on Facebook) yet there was no comparable service for discovering, comparing and enrolling in kids’ classes and other activities. I knew that there were so many amazing options for classes and activities in NYC for kids, and that there needed to be an easy, centralized way, for busy parents to learn about them.

We built Kidz Central Station so that parents could go to one site and learn about the different kid activity options available by searching with filters that are important to them such as age, price, location, type of class and schedule, and to directly enroll if they so desire. We also have reviews of classes/activities so parents can learn from the experiences of other parents.

What kinds of activities has your business introduced your kids to?
Every week we learn about so many amazing and interesting classes and activities available in NYC. My daughter is four and loves princesses and fairy tales. As a result of Kidz Central Station we were introduced to the Galli Fairy Tale Theater. She now takes an acting class there and will also do a week of camp there this summer. She loves performing the stories we read at home and pretending to be the different characters. I also learned about some really cool art classes for kids, called Claire’s Creative Adventures, that include visiting local museums as part of the classes. This kind of option make so much sense to have in NYC and I’m so glad that we can help other parents learn that it’s available.

On to food! When did you start taking your kids out to eat in restaurants?
We started taking our children to restaurants when they were able to sit in a highchairs. We took a vacation when our daughter was four months old. We ate in a bunch of restaurants on that trip and found it wasn’t as hard as we expected it to be.

What have you found are the easiest/hardest ages to eat out with your kids?
Four is a good age to eat out as she likes to try to read the menu (or at least the letters on the menu) and this occupies her. Ages 12-18 months were hard as both of my children threw their food on the floor and they constantly wanted to hold the utensils and throw those on the floor as well.

Fave local restaurants to eat out with the kids?
We love a local Italian restaurant near our apartment called Notaro as it’s really family-friendly, the waiter knows our kids’ names and always makes us feel really welcomed. We love that there are often other families there, so we aren’t the only ones with loud kids who can’t sit in their chairs.

Fave spot to stop for treats?
We like PinkBerry and we love the vegan chocolate chip scones from WholeFoods. Our (almost) daily routine now includes going to WholeFoods to get these scones—after picking up my daughter from school on Fridays, plus other random days when the mood strikes. We take the scones to nearby Madison Square Park to enjoy them.

Do you have any eating out traditions with your family?
We enjoy going to Central Park and then out to our favorite pizza restaurant, Al Forno. Whether we go to the zoo, play in a playground or go scooting in the park, we typically end up at Al Forno and then Emack and Bolios for ice cream.

Number one tip for other parents when eating out with kids?
Remember your kids always seem louder to you than they do to other people.

The Plaza Food Hall: Kid-Friendly Dining, Midtown, New York

Plaza Food Court - FP Patisserie by Francois Payard
Some of the best croissants you’ll ever get in NYC. FP Patisserie by Francois Payard

The Plaza Food Hall beneath the famous Plaza Hotel is our secret go-to place when we’re in midtown and need to eat something good in a hurry. For some magical reason, tourists haven’t yet discovered it, so it’s never crazy busy, even on weekends at peak brunch or lunch times. This could be due to its relative newness—while the more well-known The Plaza Food Hall By Todd English opened under the Plaza in 2010, the expanded (and more reasonably priced) food hall with the smaller vendors only opened in May 2012.

Plaza Food Court
Spreading out the delights.

The food court consists of stalls from some of New York’s finest (and most famous) restaurants and bakeries. Current vendors in the Food Hall: Billy’s Bakery, FP Patisserie by Francois Payard, Kusmi Tea, La Maison du Chocolat, Lady M, Luke’s Lobster, No 7 Sub, Pain d’Avignon, Sushi of Gari, Tartinery, Three Tarts, William Greenberg and Yoart.

Plaza Food Court
Open dining area with lots of room.

Give yourself time to do a lap and get acquainted with your huge amount of choice. This will be the most difficult part of your time at the Plaza Food Hall. Honest. Some vendors offer ready-made food that you can simply grab and chow down, you can also get made-to-order cooked food if you’re planning to hang around a bit longer.

Plaza Food Court
Pain d’Avignon vegetarian quiche.

I chose a vegetarian quiche from Pain d’Avignon. It was heated up for me in their little toaster oven, and came with a separate side salad, delicately topped with lemon dressing. Cheese, of course, devoured most of my quiche (anyone else have a hard time keeping track of how much they eat with a toddler stealing half of their food?).

Plaza Food Court
Salmon salad from FP Patisserie by Francois Payard.

Alec chose a salmon salad from FP Patisserie by Francois Payard, plus a few croissants for us to share. Tip: the croissants by Francois Payard are some of the best croissants you’ll find in New York City, so grab a few when you get the chance, even if you’re not feeling particularly hungry at that moment. You’ll be thanking yourself (and, hopefully, us!) a few hours later for your forethought.

One of the reasons the food court is so family-friendly is the large seating area they have. Plenty of room for strollers, lots of high chairs, and a casual, yet upmarket, ambience lending itself to the feeling of finer dining, without the pressure of trying to ensure that your little kids don’t make a peep while you’re eating.

Don’t fill up too much on savouries—be sure to leave room for a treat of the chocolate, cupcake, slice of cake or yogurt variety. Take dessert to go if you can’t squeeze in another bite.

Plaza Food Court - No 7 Sub
No 7 Sub.
Plaza Food Court
La Maison Du Chocolat
Plaza Food Court - Three Tarts Bakery
Three Tarts Bakery.
Plaza Food Court - Luke's Lobster
Luke’s Lobster.
Plaza Food Court - Tartinery
Plaza Food Court - Lady M
Lady M.
Plaza Food Court - FP Patisserie by Francois Payard
Delish – FP Patisserie by Francois Payard.
Plaza Food Court - Billy's Bakery
Billy’s Bakery cupcakes.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes. Enter via 58th st and take the elevator down.
Change tables: Yes.
Kids’ menu: Not a specific menu for kids, but a lot of places to choose from, so there’s sure to be something kids will like.

The Plaza Food Hall
1 W 59th St
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 986 9260
Prices: $$$
Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-9:30pm Sun 11am-6pm

Brunch Special: Jennifer Cattaui, Owner of Babesta, Tribeca

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Jennifer Cattaui, Owner of Babesta, a cool kid’s clothing and gear store in Tribeca. Jennifer lives with her husband, Aslan Cattaui, their two daughters, Amina, 9, Camille, 6, and their cat, Elvis, in Tribeca.

Jennifer Cattaui, owner of Babesta - baby/kid stores, TriBeCa, NY via
Jennifer Cattaui – owner, Babesta

How would you sum up your store, Babesta?
Curated for a cool city child. Because the city is densely-packed, standing out on the busy streets and playgrounds is essential. We favor indie brands from all over the world and work hard to find the coolest labels from Sydney to Stockholm, Brooklyn to Berlin. From a gear point of view, there is no point really in having the “most unique” stroller or carrier—city parents use gear into the ground, so we like to balance great style with practicality, excellent quality and durability. Babesta also offers a warm, personal experience, with convenient services like white glove delivery, hold-it-till-you-need-it, gift registries and a style concierge.

Babesta - baby/kid stores in New York - via

Tell us about the birth of Babesta
Babesta started in 2004 as a late night project while I was working as a magazine editor. I was pregnant and sort of obsessed with all the ‘fun’ a baby brings, and a big part of that was style. I had downtown tastes as far as fashion went, and was met by a market of pastels and bunnies. It just wasn’t my bag. I would scour the market for some cooler designs and made a personal list of them. I made a website that was sort of a lookbook for the cooler stuff I was finding, thinking that others might have the same tastes. I was pretty psyched to learn they did. The site got picked up by New York Magazine’s Best Bets section and some other great placements. We just went from there.

Our focus is the POV and needs of a city parent. It’s really unique to raise a kid in NYC (or any city). It comes with some hassle sometimes and space shortage, sure, but the trade off is well worth it. We’ve got everything here at our fingertips—the people, the culture, the experience, the style…

Camille, 6, Amina, 9, Elvis (the cat), 2
Camille, 6, Amina, 9, Elvis (the cat), 2

Fast forward to 2013. You now have two daughters, aged six and nine. When did you start taking them out to restaurants?
Our girls’ve been going to restaurants since before they could eat solid foods. Once they could and would actually eat at a restaurant, we’d do brunch at Cercle Rouge in TriBeCa, or dinner at Odeon, Edwards, Coffee Shop, BBar, Forcella, Mediterraneo, Mesa Grill—we didn’t really dumb it down for them and don’t favor ‘kiddie” places—though we also know our limits, and stay away from the new and super-trendy or 5-star unless it’s in a hotel, in which case I think it’s appropriate enough. We kept our go-to list of restaurants for the most part unchanged because there’s almost always something that they’ll eat and they have to learn how to behave and we have to learn to manage and cope. We were lucky—they were both pretty good as babies.

Any good dining out stories?
We are so lucky that in the city it’s commonplace to get out and go to a restaurant with kids. My mom told me that when I was a baby, they never got to go out, but they dared one time and I (gasp!) was misbehaving. It was a different time (I don’t think this would happen today!) but their server felt bad for them, and offered to babysit me while they dined. She apparently waited her tables while carrying me around the restaurant, which luckily did the trick and calmed me down.

As for us, when our first daughter was just born, we would go to Roc on Greenwich. The owners had an infant daughter too, so they were really friendly about it. We’d stroll the baby in and she would snooze—sometimes parked next to the proprietors’ child. The two later found themselves in class together, and became friends. Roc continues to be a great go-to in the neighborhood, with kids or without.

Fave local joints to eat out with the kids?
Some of my favorites are: Roc, Edwards, Cercle Rouge and Cosmopolitan Café. There’s a new one too, Saleya, owned by the pediatrician down the street—he did a beautiful build out! A little outside of the hood, we love brunch at Isola Trattoria at the Mondrian Hotel (great brunch, pretty spot!); Coffee Shop in Union Square; Café Habana in Soho, BBar and Gemma on Bowery, a bunch of places on Stone Street in FiDi in the summer for outside eating, Mon Petite Café on the UES for brunch (the girls LOVE the Nutella and Banana Crepes!). Although I’m a creature of habit, we’re usually happy when we try a new spot. There are so many places to try. That’s the beauty of the city!

Fave spot to stop for treats?
The food trucks—there’s something super fun about a random after-school ice-cream cone from the truck outside the school on a sunny day. As for cupcakes we’re big fans of Baked by Melissa, because they’re tiny and cute, and Billy’s Bakery (not tiny but yummy), and pretty much anything that Tribeca Treats has to serve!

Any eating out traditions with the family?
We have date night every Friday (so no kids then) and family dinners out every Saturday. We try to do Sunday brunch or barbeque with my brother who is lucky enough to have a terrace in the city!

Fave spot to go for special family occasions or events?
The two that come to mind are outside the city: Love Blue Hill at Stone Barns—gorgeous spot and amazing food. The other one that’s kind of cool outside of the city is Rats in Princeton. It has a very cool sculpture garden and delish food.

Number one tip for other parents eating out with kids?
Prep the kids before going out. Remind them of their “pleases” and “thank yous”, just so that’s top of mind. Check the menu before you choose a restaurant just so you know what battles lay ahead. Once you get there, relax. Take the time to help your kids observe, converse, make their own choices and start to become little citizens of the city.

How do you keep the kids entertained?
A notepad and a pen or crayons for drawing normally does the trick. I’m not one for absolutes, so I do allow the iPad and have been known to throw my phone at the girls to keep the peace if service is slow or trouble is brewing. But I try to use this time more as a time to look around, play games (hangman together, tic-tac-toe), chat about our day, ideas and stuff.

Taking your kid anywhere special this summer? Check out Jennifer’s picks for the best outfits for kids to wear to afternoon tea at The Plaza, a jazz festival on Governor’s Island and brunch at Balthazar. Full credits under the pics.
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Get the look:

Jazz Festival on Governor’s Island
Boy outfit: Thelonius Monk Tee by Chaser Kids $24; Black shorts by La Miniatura $28; Fedora by Sand Cassal Kids $15; Bobby Sunglasses by Sons & Daughters $54
Girl outfit: Dress by Anais & I $88; Cateye Sunglasses by Sons & Daughters $59; Pink sparkley hair bow by Atsuyo et Akiko $16

Afternoon Tea at The Plaza Hotel
Boy outfit: Shirtzie by Andy & Evan Kids $46; Blue Jeans by ESP No. 1 $58
Girl outfit: Dress by Pink Tomatina $78; Umbrella by Western Chief $18; Feather Headband by Atsuyo et Akiko $32

Brunch at Balthazar
Boy outfit: Tee by Munster Kids $30; Turquoise Jeans by ESP No. 1 $58
Girl outfit: Star Romper $42 with Asymmetrical Cardigan by NuNuNu $48; Star Hairclip by Atsuyo et Akiko $10

Brunch Special: Lisa Greenwald, Co-founder of Chewbeads/Juniorbeads

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Lisa Greenwald, co-founder of Chewbeads and Juniorbeads, necklaces for adults and kids that are safe for kids to chew on. Lisa lives with her husband (and co-founder), Eric, and kids, Benjamin (almost five) and Jordan (almost two), in the West Village, her neighbourhood for the past eight years.

Chewbeads founders Elana and Lisa - via
Elana Schulman, VP of sales, and Lisa Greenwald, co-founder of Chewbeads.

Tell us about Chewbeads and Juniorbeads
Chewbeads was started shortly after my son Benjamin was born. He used to put all of my necklaces in his mouth. I knew that developing a necklace that was safe to chew on was a great idea, so I researched materials that were safe for babies and landed on silicone (commonly used in pacifiers and nipples). After several rounds of samples and revisions, we placed an order for the Holiday 2010 season and we started out receiving and shipping the beads right out of our apartment. We’ve since moved into a small office and outsourced our shipping and fulfillment to a company in New Jersey.

Lisa Greenwald with her husband, Eric, and kids Jordan and Benjamin - via
Lisa Greenwald with her husband, Eric, and kids Jordan and Benjamin

As for Juniorbeads, we started getting a ton of emails and pictures from our moms showing us how much their older kids also loved Chewbeads. They loved accessorizing as much as their moms, except that the Chewbeads were a bit long for them to wear. We decided to introduce a line just for the kids, making them 10 inches shorter, designing some bright vibrant color combinations, and adding a glow-in-the-dark line. Plus, because they are made with the same non-toxic silicone, it’s okay if they put them in their mouths!

Lisa's husband, Eric, in the office - via brunchwithmybaby
Lisa’s husband and co-founder, Eric, in the office.

On to the food! Your kids are almost five and two. At what age did you start taking them out to eat in restaurants?
We pretty much started taking them out to eat immediately. Babies are the easiest to take out, (so go out as much as you can when they are still in the infant car seat!), and we’ve found the hardest age is definitely around 2 (Jordan’s age)—they sit still for as long as it takes for them to eat and that’s it! After that, it’s pretty rough getting them to stay still (at least with boys!).

Lisa and her son, Jordan - via
Lisa and her son, Jordan.

How do you handle eating out with multiple kids?
Benjamin is pretty good at this point, so we try to focus on taking turns entertaining Jordan. We always try to bring something for each of them to do, so we’ll bring some sort of game/entertainment and toy. As soon as we sit down we usually ask for bread and butter, as this usually gets their attention. Benjamin always likes to go to the bar himself and ask for a Sprite with cherries (this usually is pretty entertaining, as most bartenders aren’t sure what to make of him).

Any recent dining experiences you’d perhaps prefer to forget?
I recently had a meal with Jordan that ended with him splayed out on the floor pretty much asking to go to bed!

You live in a such a great neighbourhood for restaurants. What are your fave local places to eat out with the kids?
We love Malaparte and Bakehouse. Malaparte is sort of our go-to spot for Sunday night dinner. The owners are amazing and so accommodating to our kids. Bakehouse is great for brunch, especially if you’re meeting friends. They have big tables and, for the West Village, it’s pretty spacious and stroller-friendly—plus, the food is delicious.

Your fave spot to stop for treats?
We love Milk and Cookies—most amazing ice cream sandwiches (pick your cookies, pick your ice cream, everyone is happy).

Do you have any eating out traditions with your family?
We do go to Malaparte almost every Sunday—I think we’ve had everything on the menu, it’s amazing! In the summer, we go to Soho House on weekend mornings for a family swim and some breakfast.

Fave spot to go for special occasions or events?
During college football season, we try to meet up with friends at a local restaurant called Dublin 6. They have all the games on, a big, open space in the back, and they are happy to have the kids around (they’re located across the street from Bleecker Street Park, so they have to like kids!).

Number one tip for other parents when eating out with kids?
Just relax, and don’t think the meal is going to be peaceful and calm. Go with the flow and try and keep the kids entertained and full. Engage them in the meal whether it be asking for more bread, water, or a new spoon! If they are still at the age when you are holding them, definitely wear Chewbeads! It will keep them entertained and quiet, I swear!

SJP Girls wearing Juniorbeads - via
Sarah Jessica Parker’s twins love their Juniorbeads!

Best Restaurants near the American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

One of the best places to take kids of all ages is the American Museum of Natural History. We’ve been taking Cheese there since she was in utero – true story. Whether you’re taking your baby, toddler or bigger kid, there’s literally something for everyone to enjoy. Babies are happy to look at ceiling fans, so the constant changing scenery of exhibits makes them happy to just watch everything pass by. Toddlers love the dinosaurs and giant whales, and bigger kids can get involved in the exhibits.

Before a trip to the museum, you really need to food up to get through the day. Instead of eating at the museum cafe, check out these nearby restaurants that you and the kids will all enjoy.

Sarabeth's UWS
Cheese enjoying her grilled cheese and fries at Sarabeth’s West.

Best elegant dining: Sarabeth’s West
Book a table for a finer dining experience at Sarabeth’s West, where kids are welcome (and usually present, in abundance!). Try their four flower juice and the ricotta pancakes or omelette. No need to order for toddlers – they’ll steal your delicious brunch right off your plate. Ask for a kid’s sippy cup to entertain young ones and buy you a bit more time.

Sarabeth’s West
423 Amsterdam Avenue (80th Street)
New York
Phone: (212) 496 6280
Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-10:30pm, Sun 8am–10pm

Isabella's, Upper West Side. Kid-friendly restaurants, New York.
Me and my Cheese at Isabella’s.

Best Friendly Staff: Isabella’s
Not only is the food amazing at Isabella’s, but the staff really go above and beyond to make families feel at home. Waitstaff happily entertained Cheese when we last visited, as well as delivering fast service and perfectly cooked food. FYI I had an omelette and it was devine. Last tip: be sure to book a table as they’re super popular and get busy on weekends.

359 Columbus Ave
New York
Phone: (212) 724 2100
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-10pm Sat-Sun 10am-11pm

Sugar and Plumm, kid-friendly New York
Bright, roomy interior.

Most appealing to little (and big!) kids: Sugar and Plumm
“Purveyors of yumm”, Sugar and Plumm are bright, cheerful and full of treats. They deliver a great brunch menu, sure to delight everyone in the party, regardless of their age. Kids are catered for with an innovative menu, sippy cups, crayons and a menu to colour in. The drawback: no reservations, so expect a long wait on weekends.

Sugar and Plumm
377 Amsterdam Ave
New York
Phone: (212) 787 8778
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-10pm, Sat-Sun 8:15am-11pm

Shake Shack UWS, New York
Don’t take the shake from the baby. It’s bad.

Best fast food option: Shake Shack UWS
Fast food doesn’t necessarily mean bad food, as proven by the ever-popular Shake Shack. Right outside the museum, and only a block from Central Park, this is the best bet if you’re in a hurry. Solid burgers, fries and shakes will please most fussy eaters. The shakes are an especially big hit with the toddler crowd. They have high chairs and change tables, plus a downstairs rec room with extra seating, so be sure to check it out if the street level area is packed.

Shake Shack, UWS
366 Columbus Avenue
(at West 77th St)
New York
Phone: (646) 747 8770
Hours: Daily, 10:45am-11pm

Two Little Red Hens: Kid-friendly Bakeries, Upper East Side, New York

Little Red Hen, UES, Kid-friendly Cupcakes, New York
Cupcakes and cakes on display.

A little cupcakery on the Upper East Side, Two Little Red Hens is big on great-tasting treats.

We dropped by after a day in nearby Central Park for a sugar hit to get us home. It’s a tiny little storefront, but still has room for a few strollers.

Little Red Hen, UES, Kid-friendly Cupcakes, New York
Famous for their red velvet.

Two Little Red Hens is known for their red velvet cupcakes. People (yes, sane ones) trek to their bakery from all over the city just for these cupcakes.

Little Red Hen, UES, Kid-friendly Cupcakes, New York
A little dining area, with room for strollers.

If you don’t like cake, this is not the place for you. Note the display – cake, cake, and more cake. And some cookies for good measure. The cupcakes are available in regular and mini sizes, perfect for a small bite of cake if that’s all you feel like.

Little Red Hen, UES, Kid-friendly Cupcakes, New York
Crowded area to buy the cupcakes.

On the afternoon we visited, there was a queue for the cupcakes, but the wait wasn’t long. It is a small space though, so be prepared to squish in – and eat lots of cake!

Last bite: Cupcakes galore, with just enough room to sit down with the kids for an afternoon (or morning!) treat.

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

Two Little Red Hens
1652 2nd Ave,
New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 452 0476
Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am-9pm, Sat 8am-9pm, Sun 8am-7pm