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?
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.
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.
We chose the naked balls (snigger) and two sides – mashed potato and steamed spinach.
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.
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.
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.
In this new section on the site, the Brunch With My Baby editors will highlight items that makes their lives as parents just that little bit easier.
We’re kicking off our new BWMB Loves section with Babiators! I love these sunglasses for Cheese because they stay on her tiny face, she can’t destroy them, and Babiators have an amazing policy where they’ll replace the sunnies if they’re lost or broken.
Want your own pair of Babiators? Enter our giveaway to win your choice of Babiator sunglasses.
The competition opens 12am Wednesday, July 31st, 2013, and closes Tuesday 11:59pm, August 6, 2013.
Baked is a Red Hook bakery created by entrepreneurs, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, with their dream to “Open a great American bakery that is not a cupcake shop”. Baked was born in January 2005 in the neighborly neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn. It is now so well-known that people from all over Brooklyn and even Manhattan trek out to Red Hook (hey, there’s not much transport, it’s totally a trek!) just to try their treats.
The cafe is cute and cosy—with a long line snaking around the register of fellow cake-lovers. The booth cross-benches are filled with people on laptops and friends catching up over snacks.
With such a huge selection of treats, it’s difficult to know what to try. They’re well-known for their giant marshmallows, and, even though they didn’t want to be a cupcakery, their cupcakes are known to be pretty good too.
We sat in a booth at the back where we could park the stroller behind us. The kitchen is next to the tables, with an open glass window to check out the baking in progress. Older kids will enjoy seeing their favourite treats being made before their eyes. Cheese just wanted to smash the glass jars.
I chose the intriguingly named “Coca-Cola Bunt Cake“. Disappointingly, it only had the slightest hint of Coca-Cola flavour in the icing—otherwise it was just another delicious chocolate cake.
Alec tried the Focaccia with Spinach, Tomato and Cheese as he’s not a big cake-lover (I know, right? How are we even married?!). He said it was delicious and would order it again.
We ordered Cheese a Scone of the Day in chocolate and banana. It was a good scone, but sadly Cheese just wanted the cake, of course.
Last bite: Join the rest of New York and take a day trip to Red Hook for delicious baked goods from Baked. Allow time for wandering around the quaint houses and parks in the area—and perhaps get the ferry home!
Highchairs: No. Stroller storage: Minimal. Easy access: No. There are a few steps to get in. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: No.
359 Van Brunt St
Phone: (718) 222 0345
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-7pm Sat-Sun 8am-7pm
Documentary film maker, Nina Davenport, found herself 41 and single, and desperate for a baby of her own. This film is the story of her unconventional journey to parenthood. The deep, biological longing for a child that Davenport feels is something that will resonate with women all over the world who, for reasons they can’t articulate, desperately want a baby. It’s through this emotional connection to her audience that Davenport is able to take viewers on a journey that’s equal parts funny, sad and all-together touching. I can’t recommend this movie enough. See it, see it, see it.
While food festivals are ideal outings to take a baby, toddler or older kid to, they can also be chaotic and overwhelming.
Here are our tips on how to survive (and hopefully enjoy!) a food festival with kids:
Pack your bag in advance. Lots of face wipes, water or milk bottles, bibs. Snacks, or possibly even an entire meal for the kid, incase the food takes too long to buy. Don’t forget sunscreen and a picnic blanket if there is no seating area at the event.
Bring entertainment for the child—a ball or baby doll stroller for restless toddlers, or something new your baby hasn’t yet seen.
Scope out what food vendors will be there or decide in advance what kind of food you are in the mood for so that there is a meal game plan of sorts.Remember, babies and toddlers have a very brief window of time in which they will tolerate, well, anything. Especially when it comes to you enjoying a meal.
Arrive early. We can’t emphasise this enough. If you are unable to get this step right, be sure to mind the following ones, or you might as well head straight home, feeling hungry.
When you first get there, have one person take the baby and stake out somewhere to sit. Find tables and chairs, or put down a picnic blanket on the grass.
Have the other person forage/hunt for food.
Note! The Food Hunter may have the urge to take her time browsing ALL of the food stalls and enjoy her time away from the baby. Don’t give in. Time is of the essence. If it’s a busy day, choose the shortest line. Lunch decision made.
That’s it! You made it! Enjoy your food, lounge in the sun (or, if you’re like us, take turns chasing your toddler while your partner lies in the sun), and congratulate yourself on successfully taking your family to a food festival.
Looking for a food festival to try? Our fave is Smorgasburg DUMBO—with Jane’s Carousel and several playgrounds nearby, it’s the most kid-friendly food festival we know of.
What’s your favorite food festival to visit during the summer?
Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Kopal Goonetileke, co-founder of PishPosh Mommy—creators of stylish products that help you organize your life with a baby. Kopal lives with her husband, Malcolm, and her three children, Hariel (age seven), Kanya (age five) and Kyelle, (age three and a half). The family currently lives in Westchester, after having moved from San Francisco five years ago.
How would you sum up PishPosh Mommy? We design and develop products that provide functional organization for stylish moms.
How did PishPosh Mommy begin? The PishPosh Mommy vision began in San Francisco in 2007 when I met my now business partner, Jenny Hong. We were two new moms who were equally frustrated by the lack of stylish solutions for carrying and organizing baby gear. We loved our new lives as mothers, but we didn’t want to feel sentenced to years of lugging around bulky, unattractive diaper bags! We created the Carryall, an innovative bag organizer that transforms any bag into a diaper bag. We sourced fun, modern prints for our bags and named them after our favorite neighborhoods in San Francisco.
Tell us about your products—why do you consider them “must-haves” for moms? Our signature product, the Carryall, allows your favorite handbag, tote or beach bag to function as a diaper bag. The Carryall also adds simple, stylish organization to any bag or stroller. We have a variety of chic prints to suit the tastes of any mom.
The PishPosh Wet Bag is our multi-purpose solution for all things wet. And with kids, let’s face it, something always gets wet! The bag’s uses grow right along with your child, from infant cloth diapers to toddler training pants to big kid swimsuits. The front pocket holds dry items while the water-resistant, leak-free main pocket keeps wet things contained. Moms can even use it to store make-up or toiletries for travel or quick trips to the gym.
Other great accessories by PishPosh Mommy include the Diaper Clutch, PishPosh Pad and arriving this fall, the Changing Clutch, Nursing Cover and large size Wet Bag.
You have the perfect gear for taking kids out and about. When did you start taking your kids out to eat in restaurants? We’ve been taking our kids to restaurants since within a few weeks of bringing them home from the hospital. It became a little more challenging once we had our third, but we believe it’s important for them to experience different cuisines and also to understand how to sit and wait, especially when sometimes they are the only kids at the meal and Malcolm and I are socializing with other adults.
What have you found are the easiest/hardest ages to eat out with your kids? When we had only one child it was always pretty easy to eat out. Then when our daughter came along it became a little more challenging especially since she is a pickier eater. From the age of about six months until three there were a lot of really quick eat-and-run-type meals in restaurants. Now that our kids are all over the age of three, dining out has become enjoyable again and we strive to avoid electronic devices to entertain the children unless the dinners run more than an hour.
Any stories of an especially successful eating out experience with your kids? Choosing a restaurant that is kid-friendly, or going at a time when the restaurant isn’t busy has always worked in our favor. Of course, a good server is always a bonus. We had one experience where our server actually took the kids back into the kitchen so that they could see their meal being prepared and it was fantastic! Not only were they excited to eat but they had so much to talk about during the entire meal.
Fave local restaurants/cafes to eat out with the kids? Landmarc in the Time Warner building is a great place to take kids. We also love Mary’s Fish Camp but it’s small so better to go during off hours.
Fave spot to stop for treats? We love 16 Handles Frozen Yogurt where the kids get to pull the handle and then add the toppings, so it’s like make your own sundae every time!
Do you have any eating out traditions with your family? We love to eat out on Saturday mornings after soccer. Lunch time menus usually offer more kid-friendly choices, and there are less crowds, making it a stress-free way to start our weekend!
Fave spot to go for special family occasions or events—but where kids are still welcome? Southern Hospitality has great brunch, and if you can get the back room for your event it’s perfect with kids so that they can run around while the adults relax.
Number one tip for other parents when eating out with kids? Fill your Carryall or Diaper Clutch with coloring books, crayons, stickers and don’t forget the wipes! If your little one is still in diapers then don’t forget your PishPosh Diaper Clutch. It looks just like a regular clutch but fits diapers and wipes, and even comes with a changing pad so toting your little one—and his/her gear—into tiny NYC restaurant bathrooms becomes a little more manageable. And, finally you will definitely need your PishPosh Wet Bag in case there is a food or drink spill. The dry pocket will hold that extra change of clothes and you can safely hide away the soiled clothes in the wet pocket until you can get home to wash them. The Wet Bag has a snap wristlet so that you can attach it to your stroller or to another bag easily.
Check out the PishPosh Mommy range below. Order your favorites at the PishPosh Mommy online store and enter the code “BWMB25” for 25% off your purchase, valid until 7/31/2013.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
Today was a landmark day for us – we took Cheese to her first musical, at age 22 months. The show was Wanda’s Monster, a really cute off-Broadway show, perfect for kids aged two to 10. We weren’t sure if it was a good idea to take Cheese seeing as she’s such a wiggle monster that we can’t even take her to a 30 minute music class anymore, but I really wanted to see how she enjoyed watching a real show.
Wanda’s Monster, in its essence, is about a girl called Wanda who discovers a monster living in her closet. At first she is scared of the monster, then, after receiving some advice from her super-hip grandmother, pushes through her fear to get to know him, gaining a new friend in the process. While the story is very simple (hey, it’s a kids’ musical after all!), the underlying messages of tolerance and acceptance are important lessons for us to learn (and be reminded of) at any age.
We sat in the back row in anticipation of needing to bolt after 10 minutes or less, and were stunned that we made it through the entire show, without a single wiggle. Cheese loved Wanda and the monster – asking for Wanda every time she left the stage, and pointing to the monster and saying with conviction “Mon! Mon!” (she hasn’t quite mastered multi-syllable words yet).
After the show we met the cast. Cheese was too shy to pat the monster or high-five Wanda. As we left she stopped to wave to the cast, yelling “Bye bye Mon!”. A new musical (and monster) fan is born.
All three danger zones were in full force – china cows, glass vases and oversized coffee mugs at toddler level, a reading (requiring, you guessed it, sitting and listening, two skills that my toddler pretends not to have), and a huge open carton of Trader Joe Chocolate Cats, helpfully handed out by another toddler hopped up on sugar.
You’ve probably attended a book reading or signing, at least once. For adults, they’re usually a pretty calm affair. The attendees sit in chairs, quietly, while the author reads a chapter, and then sits behind a desk and signs copies for attendees in a neat line.
A book reading and signing for kids is more like a baby mosh pit than the serene scene described above. Picture 10 toddlers between the ages of 18 months and two years old, in a store filled with pretty, shiny things, and easy access to food. Yes, chaos, and yes, they egg each other on.
When it was time for Alexis to perform the reading, kids and adults all sat on the floor. Well, the adults sat, while the toddlers stood, performed yoga, stuffed their faces with the chocolate cat cookies, and, in my toddler’s case, assisted the author with her reading by helping her turn the pages and open the flaps.
Each spread inside the book features gatefold flaps that unfold to reveal the animal that’s being asked about. (The kids seemed to enjoy the element of surprise of seeing what’s underneath each flap.) My daughter’s favorite spread was the one with the snakes because she likes to make the snake sound (ssssss!). The adults liked the simple, rhyming text and the illustrations.
The book was well received by all adults and most of the toddlers (hey, they’re pretty discerning mini-people). It was a crazy experience, and thankfully nothing was broken, no kids were lost, and everyone slept well after coming down from their massive sugar crash.
Thinking of taking your toddler to a book reading and signing and scared of how they’ll behave? Just do it – it will be a fun and totally hilarious experience that you’ll be laughing over for weeks to come. Just remember to bring your camera, and cash incase they trash more than just your reputation.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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