For a coffee-picky Australian (like, say, my husband), finding a great latte is like discovering a sparkly unicorn living in your neighbourhood. Our favourite cafe to stop by every Sat (and Sun!) morning for coffee is Cafe Pedlar, an artisanal coffee shop in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Their coffee beans are roasted by Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and their baristas are all well-trained in the delicate art of making lattes and more. In addition to freshly baked pastries, they also serve some light lunch items such as sandwiches and cut fruit.
As well as making killer coffees, Cafe Pedlar is nice and roomy, with some tables and chairs if you want to sit down. Bonus – they have enough room for you to park your stroller at the tables. Take your coffee and enjoy it on one of the benches outside the cafe, or grab a pastry (on good days they have little pretzel bread rolls) and a window seat for a sweet morning ritual.
Highchairs: No. Stroller storage: Yes. There’s lot of room for strollers of all sizes. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: No.
210 Court St
Phone: (718) 855 7129
Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-7pm
Hope you’re planning to enjoy the beautiful spring weather that looks like it’s FINALLY here to stay. (We know Cheese is ready for more ice-cream outings.)
The Brunch With My Baby team is looking forward to relaxing with our families – and checking out more kid-friendly restaurants to review. Alexis plans on taking Baby J and Big J to try someplace new in the city (that will be her reward for driving out to New Jersey today AND Saturday to visit friends and family). Christine and Co. might just be forced to sample more treats from Smorgasburg. For work, you know.
We hope you enjoy your weekend and have a chance to enjoy some of the many delicious places and sights NYC has to offer. Here are a few fun links from around the web to help inspire you:
Brooklynites, check out these great dishes, and where to eat them.
In our Brunch Special posts, we bring you local moms who are leaders in their fields, and ask them how they navigate the food scene in New York City with their kids.
This week’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Ann Cantrell, who is well-known around Brooklyn as the owner of the adorable corner store, Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store, in Boerum Hill. Ann and her husband, Rob Cantrell, are parents to Charlotte (whom they call Coco), who will be turning two in July. Ann has lived in Brooklyn Heights for eight years, so she’s a local with some great insights into where to take kids in the neighbourhood.
We caught up with Ann to talk about eating out at restaurants with Coco, and some of her favorite local places to grab a bite.
Where do you like eating out with Coco?
“We don’t go out to eat a ton,” says Ann, “but our first outing was a good place to phase in to it – we went to the Lobster Shack down at the Dumbo Pier when we had relatives visiting when Coco was a month old”.
Does it get easier to take Coco to restaurants as she gets older?
As Coco gets older, Ann says she finds eating out with her both easier and harder, at the same time. “This weekend we went to Iris Cafe (one of my favorites) but they don’t have high chairs so Coco was sitting on the chair by herself,” says Ann. “I also had her on my lap – she got really squirmy and rolled off! Ouch!”.
Favourite kid-friendly local hangout?
“We go to Clark’s (a diner on the corner of Clark and Henry in Brooklyn Heights) a lot because they are sooo nice and good to kids,” says Ann. “They’re very helpful, entertaining and patient.”
Fave kid-friendly pizza?
“We eat a ton of pizza in the Cantrell House so we have been to almost every pizza place in NW Brooklyn,” Says Ann. “One of our favorites for an upscale pizza outing is Dellarocco’s on Hicks off of Montague.”
Fave kid-friendly treats?
The Cantrells love their sweets. “One Girl Cookie, Betty’s Bakery, and my husband loves Crumbs because it’s never crowded,” says Ann. “We just went to The Treats Truck in Carroll Gardens for the first time. It gets four thumbs up from me and Coco! More than anything, I liked that there was a place for kids to play.”
What are some of your favorite family eating traditions?
Ann and her family are huge pizza lovers, so her fave family eating ritual is eating out at Monty Q’s for lunch every Saturday. “I like their artichoke slices, but mostly we stick to cheese,” says Annie.
What is your favorite spot for special family occasions?
“If we have friends in town we go to Clarks or Iris for breakfast and then somewhere chill for lunch,” says Ann. The family also cooks a lot at home and love to make big family meals at their apartment.
“My husband makes amazing banana pancakes for yummy brunches, and I love to cook too so we usually have our big, special meals at home,” says Ann. She also finds that eating at home with visiting family makes it easier for Coco too, as Ann finds that she doesn’t eat as much when they’re out (except for pizza!). “We actually had several conversations before Coco was born about taking kids out to eat and we do it for sure,” says Ann, “but we’ll do it a lot more when she is older and can sit and be an active participant in our convos and truly enjoy the experience”.
Number one tip for other parents when eating out with kids?
“Going out to eat is a special occasion so I try to emphasize that to Coco,” says Ann. “I don’t really bring a lot of crazy toys or anything, but instead try to include her in our conversations and keep her entertained that way.” Ann also says that keeping the meals short is key, “and it always helps to start with some Cheddar Bunnies as an appetizer!” she adds. “My friend said wallets work really well for entertaining, we’ll need to try that,” says Ann. “And as I was reading in one of Alexis’ posts too, if all else fails, there’s always the iPhone!”
What’s your must-have item for restaurant outings with Coco?
“One thing I always have with me for outings of all kinds are our Tegu Blocks,” says Ann. “They’re magnetic wooden blocks and Coco is obsessed! They’re fun for adults to play with too. They come in a felt pouch and are easy to pop in your purse, pocket or diaper bag. Several customers asked me for them before we started carrying them (they told me you can keep a toddler occupied for a full meal with them, it’s true!).”
A visit to Sarabeth’s usually requires a reservation and careful planning. We were super lucky on this occasion to walk in on a Sunday afternoon and be seated straight away, with no reservation.
Sarabeth’s West has a bit of a different look and feel than the TriBeCa restaurant. It feels slightly more formal, particularly in the upper seating area. While it’s still super kid-friendly (when we walked in, there was a table of no less than eight parents each with a baby), the feel of the restaurant is geared more towards adults than families.
We were all starving, so we promptly ordered Cheese her own meal of grilled cheese and fries. I can neither confirm nor deny whether I ate most of her meal as well as my own. Perk / con of having a toddler – double meals!
The grilled cheese was tasty (ahem), on a sweet brioche bread. The tomato ketchup is not the best idea for a toddler, but Cheese insists on dipping her fries in it and sometimes eating them.
My lemon ricotta pancakes were absolutely delish. Not quite filling enough for lunch, so lucky I had the kid’s leftovers as a fall back.
I don’t usually order juice, but this time I went with the “four flower juice” on a friend’s recommendation. Good call – it was one of the best juices I’ve ever had. I can’t even say why – it was just a taste explosion in my mouth. Order it! You won’t be sorry!
Last bite: Sarabeth’s is the perfect pleaser for both kids and parents who want to eat well in a relaxed, but still elegant, restaurant.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Yes, but you’ll need to fold it if possible. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: Yes.
423 Amsterdam Avenue (80th Street)
Phone: (212) 496 6280
Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-10:30pm, Sun 8am–10pm
In our Brunch Special posts, we bring you local moms who are leaders in their fields, and ask them how they navigate the food scene in New York City with their kids.
Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Raegan Moya-Jones, best known as the creator of the aden + anais swaddle empire. Raegan lives with her husband, Markos, and four daughters, aged two through nine, in an apartment overlooking the Hudson River in DUMBO, Brooklyn.
Raegan originally hails from Sydney, Australia, but after being here many years, considers herself a New Yorker. After living on the Upper West Side for a long time, Raegan and her brood moved to DUMBO in search of space for their growing family. Raegan says they are here to stay.
Like most New Yorkers, Raegan and Markos admit to being total foodies. As such, they started taking their kids to restaurants not long after they were born, with a desire to continue to enjoy their pre-baby New York life as much as possible.
What are some of Raegan’s favourite places to eat out with the family?
Nowadays, the family is happy to keep it lowkey. “We’ll grab a baguette from (recently re-opened bakery) Almondine, add cheese, and head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for a picnic on a sunny day,” says Raegan.
Their favourite family restaurant outing is to hop on the ferry to Williamsburg to visit their regular brunch spot, Dressler. “They have French toast that the girls all love,” says Raegan. “They’re really great to the girls, and are accommodating to Anais’s request for olives.” (Anais, nine, has been a vegetarian/vegan since age six.)
Raegan and Markos will also take the girls to Pastis in the Meatpacking district for brunch on occasion: “Once, when I was away on a work trip, Markos packed up all four girls and took them, plus a friend’s dog, there for brunch,” remembers Raegan. (Are we all thinking the same thing? Brave man!)
Other solid options that are always reliably kid-friendly? “Isabella’s (on the Upper West Side) and The River Deli in Brooklyn Heights.”
What were the easiest and hardest ages to eat out your kids?
“The easiest age is when they’re super young, you can just pop them in a car seat and put it on a chair next to you,” recalls Raegan. “The toughest age is about two to five.” (Uh. Oh. We have a long road ahead of us!) Raegan’s girls are mostly at a stage now where they are happy to sit in a restaurant and chat with each other. “If a meal drags on, Anais, the eldest, will take the younger girls for a walk outside,” says Raegan.
How did you go about introducing your kids to table manners?
Raegan and her husband hope the girls grow up to be foodies like themselves, and to appreciate dining out. “We’ve taught them table manners from an early age,” says Raegan. “Things like sitting down as soon as you arrive, putting the napkin on your lap, how to use cutlery – the Australian way!” (American readers – this means we put our cutlery together at the end of a meal to signify we’re finished.)
How do you and the family unplug from technology?
iPads and iPhones are a no-no when the family go out to eat. “We sit together and talk,” says Raegan. “If the kids need entertaining, we bring coloring books and crayons.” For the youngest, Amelie Rose, playing with a spoon was entertainment enough to get her through a meal until she was old enough to join in the family discussions.
Do you and Markos have date nights?
Reagan and Markos made a New Year’s Eve resolution to start making time for regular date nights, though she does admit they don’t do it nearly often enough. “We recently went to Scarpetta, and I love Jean George. I’ve been there so often that the chef and wait staff know me,” says Raegan. “I also really enjoyed Per Se when I was taken there for my 40th birthday. Another place we love to go is Nougatine, where we prefer to sit at the bar.”
What’s next for aden + anais?
There’s a lot coming up in the near future for this great little company. aden + anais have some wonderful new products coming out super soon – keep an eye out for a re-invented lovie that your baby will fall in love with (we know that Baby J, who is still smitten with his lovie, will be a fan), plus a soon to be revealed collaboration with one of our favourite kids clothing brands, and more products specifically designed for mums* that we’re desperate to try for ourselves. We can’t wait to see all of their new ranges and try their new products on the kids!
Smooch Organics is an Australian-owned cafe in leafy Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The service is laid-back and friendly, the ambiance hip, and kids of all ages are welcome.
As an Australian living in New York, I’m always looking to meet other expats, and searching out Aussie-run businesses. Even though I love our life in New York, there is a part of me that’s always homesick, and finding other Aussies and talking about home really helps.
A friend back home recommended Smooch when she saw it written up an Aussie newspaper. Amazingly, it’s in Fort Greene, only a hop, skip and a stroll from where we live, so we checked it out on a (finally!) sunny, spring day.
First impressions – it’s quite a hipster little place. Lots of Aussie references with pictures of our beaches and items on the menu named after places I miss, like “The Tamarama” (described as “sexy toast with avocado, tomato, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice, served with a latte, cortada, flat white). My husband misses flat whites possibly more than anything, so was all over this toast and coffee. He says the coffee is solid, by the way, so be sure to check it out if you’re a coffee-lover living nearby.
The cafe is on the small side, with the tables pretty close together. It’s not super kid-friendly for eating in – we could instead suggest either eating on the benches outside, or taking your food to Fort Greene Park, which is just around the corner (literally less than a block away). If you’re after a place to work during the week, this is ideal – they have free wifi and welcome laptops. Yay!
I ordered a smoothie, which was delicious. Cheese and I shared it on the bench outside, enjoying the warm day that had been so long in coming.
As a side note, I saw the owner while we were there. He was in board shorts, thongs (calm down, it’s what Aussies call “flip flops”), and a bucket hat. He was so Aussie I forgot I was in Brooklyn for a moment.
Be sure to take your kids to Fort Greene Park afterwards to run their crazy out – Cheese particularly loves the swings and slide.
It doesn’t get more kid-friendly than Isabella’s. They’ve got the whole shebang – high chairs, take reservations, friendly wait staff who entertain the kids, crayons, kids’ menu … they’re doing it right, and, as a result, Isabella’s is known as one of the most kid-friendly, elegant, dining spots in Manhattan.
On our way to the Natural History Museum, we went to Isabella’s for brunch. We were seated as soon as we arrived, thanks to our reservation, and the staff immediately gave Cheese crayons (which she immediately put in her mouth and ate).
Isabella’s looks like such an elegant dining establishment, it’s hard to believe that it’s kid-friendly. The staff are the friendliest we’ve encountered anywhere, talking with Cheese and entertaining her for us (thank you!!!), as well as being efficient and courteous to us.
Last Bite: Isabella’s deserves it’s reputation as a premiere kid-friendly restaurant – we can’t recommend it highly enough for a relaxing meal with your family.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Yes. Bring a folding stroller though as in rush hour, you’ll struggle to find a place for anything bigger. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: Yes.
359 Columbus Ave
Phone: (212) 724 2100
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-10pm Sat-Sun 10am-11pm Reservations
Spring in New York means many things. The end to hibernating indoors, cherry blossoms in Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, and the return of outdoor food fairs. Smorgasburg just reopened again in DUMBO, Brooklyn, and we joined the crowds to soak up sun and food from some great local vendors.
The location is amazing. Seriously, how can you beat a food fair situated right under Brooklyn Bridge, on the waterfront, with Manhattan in the distance? You just can’t, so for the most scenic food fair in New York, Smorgasburg wins every single time.
Our favourite vendor at Smorgasburg is Dough, the makers of possibly the most delicious doughnuts I’ve ever eaten in my life. They go fast and usually have a huge queue – but they restock during the day, so doughnut-lovers need not go without their precious Dough.
Other vendors for Smorgasburg DUMBO and Williamsburg are listed together on their website, so you can check in advance if there are things that you and your kids like to eat. They have a huge variety, including basic things pizza, grilled cheese, fries and shakes, so fussy kids and mini foodies are both catered for.
On opening weekend, the crowds were huge and lines were long. Our advice – get there early (it opens at 12pm).
Smorgasburg is right on the waterfront, next to Jane’s Carousel, a picnic area with tables and chairs, as well as a huge grassed area. Nearby are also playgrounds for toddlers and big kids. Bring a ball for the kids to kick around, or a mini stroller if your toddler loves to push things like ours does, and you’ve got a perfect day for the whole family – as long as the weather holds!
Last bite: Great choice for meeting a group of friends or enjoying a day in the sun. Great variety of food – lines can be long, so arrive early.
Highchairs: No. Stroller storage: It’s open air, so bring your jumbo stroller if you like. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: No.
30 Water St DUMBO, Brooklyn
Hours: Sun 11am-6pm, rain or shine.
Most weekends we drop by La Patisserie for a quick croissant or omelette. This morning, I spotted these new cupcakes, looking adorably sweet and spring-ready (even if the weather outside isn’t quite so pretty right now!). Check them out if you’re around this area of Brooklyn over the weekend.
Highchairs: Yes, there is one highchair. Stroller storage: There is room if they fit through the narrow front door. Think Bugaboo Bee or smaller. Easy access: Yes. One or two easy steps. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: No.
411 Atlantic Ave
(between Nevins St & Bond St)
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-9pm, Sat-Sun 8am-9pm
Down an industrial alley near the Brooklyn waterfront, there’s a secret locals like to keep. The Brooklyn Roasting Company is hidden inside a non-descript doorway, a place for DUMBO residents to relax, meet with friends, and indulge in some good coffee. Amazingly, such a hipster haven is actually a really kid-friendly cafe.
While it looks small from the outside, the interior is surprisingly roomy, and we’ve had no problem fitting three jumbo strollers inside.
Brooklyn Roasting is really all about coffee, but they also do food, like baguettes with fillings like mozzarella, pesto and sun-dried tomato, and sweet treats like palmiers, Dough donuts and artisan pop tarts.