With toddler Cheese now refusing to sit in restaurants, we’re doing a lot of “grab and go” lunches to keep everyone happy. One of our favourite things to do on weekends is to walk on down to DUMBO and spend an afternoon chasing Cheese around the playgrounds, taking a spin on Jane’s Carousel, and eating — usually at the same time as running …
Sandwich experts No. 7 Sub opened up over Memorial Day in the Smokestack Building on Water Street. The location is perfect — directly in between the Pier 1 toddler playground and ferry terminal, and Jane’s Carousel and the Pier 1 pirate playground. It’s also a great option for Sundays when you attempt to go to Smorgasburg and are scared off by the massive queues.
Behind the Smokestack Building is extra seating — yes, in the shade! If you can actually take advantage of seating, it’s the perfect place to take a break and enjoy your sandwich.
I chose one of the staple sandwiches, the Broccoli Classic (Lychee Muchim, Ricotta Salata, Pine Nuts, Mayo). At $9 it’s a pricey sandwich, but it’s also big and filling. The combination of broccoli, ricotta and nuts is delicious. I wasn’t a big fan of the lychee muchim (pickled lychees). They had a bit too much of a kick of chilli for my taste. Next time I would probably order a build-your-own sub, which is perfect for picky eaters like me.
Sandwiches made from scratch, so be prepared to wait 10-15 mins for your creation. If you have an energetic toddler like we do, take your sandwich to one of the nearby playgrounds to enjoy it while your kid runs around.
Last bite: A great grab-and-go option for lunch (and now breakfast!) in DUMBO. Freshly-made sandwiches are a delicious option when you want good food, fast. Cafe seating is available if you have time to sit with your family.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.
No. 7 Sub
11 Water St,
Hours: Daily, 11am-8pm
We’ve been huge fans of aden + anais since we each first laid our hands on our aden +anais muslin swaddles when our babies were born. Many swaddles later, we were delighted to hear that the same brand that is synonymous with high-quality products for babies and toddlers had also released their mum + bub skin care and laundry care ranges. Both product ranges are free of all the nasty things you don’t want touching your baby’s (and your own!) skin (like phthalates, petrochemicals, and lots of other icky stuff).
We took each of the new products from the laundry and skin care ranges for a spin and here are our findings (giveaway at the end!):
mum + bub skin care
Christine: I nearly jumped with joy when I saw that “pawpaw” was the focal element of this range. Pawpaw is an ingredient used in many of the skin care that I grew up with and loved in Australia. It’s renowned for its soothing, cleansing and protective qualities for skin. A little goes a long way with this ointment—I’ve been using the tub for three months and have barely made a dent in it. I love using it as a lip balm, but I also use it to treat minor cuts, insect bites, and even wind-burn. On Cheese, I use it as a diaper ointment, or if she has minor grazes, and also as a lip balm! (She likes to copy her mama.) Available in two sizes (3oz tube, $15.95; 6oz tub, $28.95).
hair + body wash
Christine: I love using this hair and body wash on Cheese. A small squirt in the hand covers her completely, foams up well, and gets her squeaky clean. She smells fresh (must be the inclusion of Australian Sandalwood in the ingredients) and her skin feels silky afterwards. The wash is moisturising, tear-free, and can be used to wash and condition hair as well. Comes in one size, (12 oz bottle, $15.95.)
Alexis: I was sold on the smell of the lotion alone, but when I used it on Little J after his bath I found that it was also rich without being sticky. It absorbed right into his skin. Little J has sensitive skin and is prone to eczema but he has done really well with this lotion — his skin is soft with no rough patches. Plus, it is cheaper than some other comparable “natural” high-end lotions that I have used on him. I also like that it was formulated with a dermatologist. (12 oz pump dispenser, $15.95.)
Alexis: The Laundress New York (a brand known for their gentle yet effective, eco-friendly, and toxin-free products) and aden + anais came together to develop this deliciously smelling and naturally derived line of laundry products. The result is nothing short of heavenly. I’ve always lusted after The Laundress products but have never had the heart to fork over half a paycheck for them. But ever since I had a baby, I’ve been paying extra attention to the ingredients in my products and how they affect my son’s skin (and yeah, paying extra dough for it as well). I love the way his clothes and mine smell. It is absolutely intoxicating, plus I know that we are not wearing any extra chemicals along with our summer wardrobes. I use a smaller amount than the label recommends for a regular load in my washer, and it still does the job. Eau de aden + anais! (33.3 oz bottle, $22.95.)
Christine: aden + anais recommend using the fabric softener with the detergent in every wash. I’ve been using it as directed and our clothes are definitely soft and smell amazing. The fabric softener is naturally-derived and free of petroleum, dyes, SLS and tallow. (16 fl. oz bottle, $16.95.)
Christine: I’ve been using this bleach in conjunction with the detergent and fabric softener, and I’ve definitely noticed that our white towels look crisper and whiter. The dirty marks from ice-cream-covered toddler hands have come right out. Nothing short of a miracle.
(16 fl oz bottle, $15.)
We love both ranges so much that we have arranged for one lucky reader to win an entire set of the mum + bub skin care and laundry care ranges, plus one signature “Monster Mash” burpy bib set. Total prize value is $145.70.
Competition closes midnight, Tuesday August 27, 2013.
Entry open to US mailing addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I’ve been known to walk a long way for ice cream. Such as this day, when I walked from the west side of Central Park, at 95th street, to 1st avenue and 82nd street just to check out Emack and Bolio’s and satisfy my ice cream craving. (Tip: I actually advise doing this as then your ice cream is totally guilt-free.)
This ice cream chain out of Boston specialises in wacky flavors, and are the originators of the “flavored cone” (think waffle cone covered in Fruit Loops, Fruit Pebbles or Oreos). I’m a huge fan of ice cream with big chunks of goodies in it, which is why, after reading a review describing them as similar to my long-time love Ben & Jerry’s, I badly wanted to check them out.
The flavors (they boast 100 per year) are indeed wacky. Flavors on the menu include “Caramel Moose Prints” (I’m guessing caramel … and moose?) and “Cosmic Crunch” (vanilla with caramel, choc chips, nuts, toffee, cookies pieces).
The staff were super friendly and happy to hand out as many samples as I wanted to try. I sampled “Purple Cow” (black raspberry with white and dark choc chips). It was delicious, but I was in the mood for something a bit more chocolatey, so I settled on “Serious Chocolate Addiction” (chocolate with chocolate chips and fudge chunks — single scoop, $4.25). I was told that these are two of their most popular flavors, and I can certainly see why. The chocolate ice cream had lots of big chunks of other chocolate goodies, swirled in a rich, delicious ice cream base.
We sat on stools and people-watched while we enjoyed our ice creams. Note: there are only bar stools at the window to sit on. No chairs and tables indoors. You can, however, sit outside on the bench with your stroller parked in front of you.
Last bite: A fun place to stop for some seriously funky ice cream. Delicious treats for adults and kids alike.
Stroller storage: No.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.
Emack and Bolio’s
1564 1st Ave
New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 734-0105
Hours: Sun-Thur 12pm-10pm Sun 12pm-11pm
A beautiful afternoon trip to Governor’s Island to check out the Fete Paradiso and their vintage 1930s carnival rides. The rides were mostly for older kids or adults – the only ones toddlers fit on were not exactly the safest. The rides were beautifully restored, and a real treat to see and experience.
I typically avoid photographing anything touristy, but we walked home over the Brooklyn Bridge and I couldn’t resist this shot.
On a stupidly hot day, we were dying for an indoor space with super strong air-conditioning, where Cheese could also run around. We caught the A/C train straight up to 81st street to check out the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM).
The CMOM is a five-story paradise for kids. Each floor contains either permanent or special exhibits, which are highly interactive, and suitable for children of all ages— from birth on up. Cheese, at 22 months, particularly loved the “PlayWorks” exhibit, featuring a fire truck, MTA bus and a giant talking dragon who “eats” letters.
Other exhibits of note included an outdoor water play area in summer, a mural wall for kids to play on, a sand pit, a soft play area for babies and a Dora The Explorer rainforest world (with a jungle canopy and play exotic animal exhibits for kids to discover).
We went on the 4th of July holiday and it was not overly busy, which you’d expect on a public holiday (maybe everyone was out barbecuing?). You’ll need to check your stroller at the entrance, so bring a carrier for kids who aren’t strong walkers. Also, there are easy-to-access bathrooms with change tables available.
After working up an appetite we ducked into Cafe Lalo across the street (which is worth a visit on its own any day!) for a snack.
Since it was so hot, we each ordered the “Lalo’s Special” ($11.50). It’s a bowl of frozen yogurt with your choice of berries, fruit or nuts, and a fresh-baked breakfast pastry of your choice. We both ordered ours with the berries and went with an apple danish and cranberry scone since they were only two remaining pastries. As always, the yogurt was perfect, with the fresh mixed berries giving sweet zings of flavour to the tart yogurt. While the pastries weren’t our first choices (I’d usually go for a pain au chocolat, and Alec a plain crossant), they were delicious. The apple danish was flaky with big chunks of apple, and the cranberry scone was densely packed with sweet bursts of cranberry.
We let Cheese share our dishes—she loved the yogurt and berries most of all.
Cafe Lalo is actually known for two things—desserts (they have over 100 whole cakes, pies and tarts available), and for a famous scene in the movie “You’ve Got Mail“, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. As such, it’s always packed, either with lovers of sweets like myself, or busloads of tourists—who showed up at just the same time we did that day. The tourists mostly stayed in the front of the cafe to order a dessert to go, so it wasn’t as obtrusive as you’d expect.
The interior—with its walls covered in Toulouse Lautrec-esque prints—is charmingly Parisian. If you block out the decidedly non-European voices around you, it’s easy to imagine you’re in a cafe in Paris.
Taking children to Cafe Lalo is a mixed bag. They’re not especially set up for kids, so come prepared for your visit —you’ll need to leave the stroller outside, and be sure to speak up and ask for anything you need for your child.
Last bite: Drop by for a snack or dessert for a touch of Paris on the UWS. Kids are welcome—order them a pastry or share a “Lalo’s Special” for a fun afternoon (or morning) treat.
Stroller storage: You can’t bring your stroller inside, but they’ll store it for you somewhere mysterious under the restaurant.
Easy access: No. Quite a few steps.
Change tables: No. The bathrooms are pretty small.
Kids’ menu: No, but there’s so much to choose from, from bagels and muffins to steamed eggs or homemade waffles.
201 West 83rd St. (between Amsterdam Ave. & Broadway)
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 496-6031
Hours: Mon-Thur 8am-2am; Fri 8am-4am; Sat 9am-4am Sun 9am-2am. Holidays until 4am.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 W. 83rd St (between Amsterdam Ave. & Broadway)
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 721-1234
Hours: Sun-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat 10am-7pm. Closed Mondays.
Now that Cheese is always on the go and eating out is getting harder, we love to stop by Vive la Crêpe whenever we pass through SoHo. Sometimes we grab a crêpe to go, and sometimes we sit and eat if it’s not busy. Vive la Crepe satisfies all of our needs during this period of our toddler’s life—quick service and tasty food we can easily eat while chasing a dizzyingly fast kid.
I always order the same savoury crêpe—the Number 3 (Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil, $9). It’s huge, but not massively filling—the perfect meal for when you’re kinda hungry, but not in the mood to eat a heavy meal. The mozzarella is fresh and the batter is just sweet enough without being overly sweet and taking over the other flavours.
What’s great about a crêpe is that you can eat it with just one hand—either while seated (the luxury!) or while chasing a toddler who looks similar to the disheveled monkey below.
On this most recent visit we asked if they could make something for our toddler that was small enough for her to hold and eat by herself (since toddlers are all about being independent). They obliged by making Cheese her own complimentary plain pancake out of the crepe batter.
Cheese loved having her own crepe/pancake to hold and to chew on.
Last bite: As always, Vive la Crêpe is a fantastic place to grab quality food if you’re in a hurry and want to eat one-handed, or if you’re in need of a casual, light lunch while out with your kids.
Stroller storage: No. There is a small space next to the counter where you can fold a stroller, or if it’s pretty empty inside you can park the stroller next to your table.
Easy access: Yes. One step to get in.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No. But they do take special requests.
Vive La Crepe
51 Spring St. (between Mulberry St. & Lafayette St.)
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (646) 484 6897
Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-12am, Sun 9am-12am
For this year’s birthday, Alec planned an extravaganza of events, spanning three days. Good call, as Eloise had the worst night sleep the night before my actual birthday, leaving Alec a zombie and Eloise cranky all day.
On my actual birthday all we could handle was a casual lunch at Keste Pizza in the West Village, followed by gelato at PopBar.
Outside PopBar, Eloise was desperate to eat my gelato. See my beautiful Tiffany blue bracelet from Alec?
We love books in our house. Both my husband and I have enjoyed reading since we were super small, so we read with Eloise as much as we can.
One of her current favourite books is Who Are We?: An Animal Guessing Game?, written by Alexis Barad-Cutler, a local Brooklyn mum to a toddler almost the same age as missy Eloise – so she really knows her market well.
Who Are We?: An Animal Guessing Game is a board book with flaps that lift to reveal the animals that have been mentioned in rhyme on the previous page. The animals featured in the book range from cute penguins to snakes and the arctic wolf. Each spread features a riddle to help guess the animal, and then a detail about them under the flap that you might not know. (Leopards take their prey into trees to eat. Who knew?)
Eloise’s favourite animal in the book is the snake (Ssssssssss!). She loves lifting the flaps and revealing the animals underneath. At almost two, she’s too young to understand the riddle and answer concept, so it’s a great book for her to grow into and find something to enjoy at different stages of her development.
Who Are We?: An Animal Guessing Game is available from Amazon.