Adventure, baby!

New York

Burgers For Picky Eaters at The Counter: Kid-Friendly Restaurants, Midtown, NY

The Counter: #Kid-Friendly #Restaurants #midtown, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a picky eater. I’ve gotten a lot better as I’ve gotten older and have forced myself to keep trying new foods, but the fact remains that I am indeed annoyingly picky. So nothing makes me happier than to be able to choose every ingredient in my food (A.K.A. control freak syndrome).

Back in Sydney, I used to frequent The Counter, a choose-your-own-burger-adventure restaurant on Sydney’s North Shore. Delighted is an understatement to describe how I felt when I discovered The Counter also had a home in Times Square. I usually avoid Times Square like the G train, but I often end up in the area, starving after seeing a show, and The Counter is my go-to to escape the Times Square crazy and indulge my food OCD with a really fine burger.

The Counter: #Kid-Friendly #Restaurants #midtown, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

We ended up back at The Counter after taking Cheese to see a dance/theatre show for kids called Ballerina Swan that was playing in a theatre nearby. After an hour of watching some very athletic people on stage, we were all famished.

When you sit down at The Counter, you’re handed a massive menu. The top portion is for you to fill out with your burger requirements. Burgers start from $10.95. Choose your size and type of meat, bun type and toppings. Not eating carbs? Select the burger in a bowl, with salad instead. The Counter caters to lots of dietary restrictions, with gluten-free burger buns and a vegan veggie patty. The menu also serves as something for toddlers to scribble all over while you’re waiting for your meal.

The Counter: #Kid-Friendly #Restaurants #midtown, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Counter makes amazing shakes. We always order one to share — this time it was Butterscotch with Malt ($6.50). There is no kids’ menu, so Cheese makes do with shake, fries and bites of our burgers.

The Counter: #Kid-Friendly #Restaurants #midtown, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

I always order the same burger — I have it perfected finally, after multiple visits. I get the 1/3lb vegan veggie patty on a whole wheat bun, with baby spinach, tomato, carrot, pineapple and Tillamook cheddar cheese.

The Counter: #Kid-Friendly #Restaurants #midtown, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Alec had the 1/3 lb beef burger (100% natural angus beef, hormone and antibiotic-free), on a ciabatta bun, with baby spinach, tomato, avocado, and Tillamook cheddar cheese.

The Counter: #Kid-Friendly #Restaurants #midtown, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

It’s important to order fries at The Counter. We always get the Fifty-Fifty ($6) with half regular fries and half sweet potato fries. They are just so good. Trust me.

The atmosphere at The Counter is great for kids. Upbeat music playing, friendly staff and lots of chatting means you don’t have to stress over how your kid is behaving. It’s a low-key, great meal option in an area of NYC that’s devoid of really great places to eat.

Looking for somewhere nearby to play? If it’s cold, let the kids roam around the Disney or Toys R Us stores — endless (warm!) fun.

Last Bite: Build your own burger at this kid-friendly restaurant in Times Square. The Counter delivers on great food and a no-stress attitude. 

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Minimal – bring an umbrella stroller if possible.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

The Counter
7 Times Square (41st & Broadway)
New York NY 10036
Phone: (212) 997 6801
Prices: $$
Hours: Sun-Wed 11am-11pm, Thur 11am-12am, Fri-Sat 11am-1am
Get directions

The Dream Big Academy: Rosie Wants to be a Fireman {Book Review}

The Dream Big Academy: Rosie Wants To Be A fireman {Book Review} via brunchwithmybaby.com

If your little one is at the age where she is curious about where mommy or daddy goes all day when they head off to this mysterious place called “work”, then this new children’s book by NYC author (and mom!) Marissa Klein are for you.

After struggling to find career-related books suitable to teach her own 2.5-year-old about careers, Klein decided to write her own story, The Dream Big Academy: Rosie Wants to be a Fireman. With whimsical illustrations by the talented Brooke Hagel, Rosie Wants to be a Fireman is the first in a series of books that are based on that question that stumps us even now: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Each night when Rosie goes off to sleep, a whole new world opens up for her. In this dreamworld, Rosie can be anything she wants to be. In Rosie Wants to be a Fireman, she helps rescue a cat from a tree and decides that when she grows up, she’ll be a fireman. Tomorrow, however, who knows what Rosie will want to be — you’ll have to follow the series to find out! With gorgeous, fashion-inspired illustrations and sweet rhyming language, little girls will adore following Rosie on her adventures — and hopefully be inspired to find some new big dreams for themselves.

The stories are intended for 4-7 year olds, but 2-3 year olds can enjoy a good read with an older sibling. While this is a children’s book, the message rings true for adults as well – it gives parents an opportunity to explain to their children why they have to go to work every day and how important it is to chase your dreams.

The Dream Big Academy: Rosie Wants to be a Fireman (Rissylyn; June 2013; $12.99, paperback; $19.95, hardcover; $4.95, Kindle) is now available for purchase via Amazon and Create Space. Visit http://www.thedreambigacademy.com to learn more or to buy your copy today.

The Dream Big Academy: Rosie Wants To Be A fireman {Book Review} via brunchwithmybaby.com

 

Daniel Tiger's 3-in-1 Treehouse {Review + Giveaway}

Daniel Tiger Treehouse Review + #Giveaway

We’re huge Daniel Tiger fans in this household (I MAY be guilty of using Daniel Tiger’s songs in our day-to-day lives (“Problem solved!”). So it was a very exciting day for one little toddler when the Daniel Tiger 3-in-1 Convertable Treehouse arrived. Miss E is really into pretend play and dollhouses right now, so this toy is right up her alley.

Daniel Tiger Treehouse Review + #Giveaway

The treehouse arrives set up as above, with three figures  — Daniel Tiger, O the Owl and Katerina Kittycat. Designed to encourage imaginative play, the familiar figures can play with their environment in numerous ways, (The slide! The swing! The stairs!). A rocket in the center of the tree goes up and down between levels, and Katerina Kittycat spins in her bedroom while music plays. Super cute. The pieces all detach and can be aranged however the child decides.

Daniel Tiger Treehouse Review + #Giveaway

With a few changes, the tree house is transformed into a space station (here’s where the rocket elevator is most fun).

Daniel Tiger Treehouse Review + #Giveaway
The third playspace is on the other side of the toy — the front yard. A section of the treehouse flips down for Daniel’s telescope.

What I like best about this toy is how interactive it is. There are so many ways children can engage with the treehouse and the characters within it. At $39.95 it’s not cheap, but for big fans of the show, it will entertain for hours (or at least the length of a Daniel Tiger episode), making it money well spent.

The treehouse is also solidly gender neutral. Boys will enjoy this toy just as much as girls. You can pick up your own Daniel Tiger 3-in-1 Convertable Treehouse from stores like Toys R Us.

GIVEAWAY
The kind folks at Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood are giving one lucky Brunch With My Baby reader the chance to win their own Daniel Tiger 3-in-1 Convertable Treehouse. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Giveaway is open Wednesday January 22 to 11:59pm Tuesday 28, 2014 EST.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Angela Santomero: Creating Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Angela Santomero, founder & executive producer of Out of the Blue Enterprises, creator of Blue’s Clues for Nick Jr, Super Why & Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood for PBS Kids, and Creative Galaxy & Wishenpoof for Amazon Kids. Angela lives with her husband, Greg, and two daughters in New York City. 

An interview with Angela Santomero, creater of #bluesclues & #danieltiger via brunchwithmybaby.com

Tell us about your background, and how you got your break in TV. 
I have a Masters in Child Development & Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University.  I was inspired by Fred Rogers and the incredible and important work he was doing for kids and parents through television and wanted to make an impact the way that he did.

Tell us about your career path.
Since I have a background in research, I started my career in the revolutionary research department at Nickelodeon working with kids and media.  Research has always been my “secret sauce” and what has shaped my vision and my work creating media for kids. An interview with Angela Santomero, creater of #bluesclues & #danieltiger via brunchwithmybaby.com
How did your ideas for Blues Clues, Super Why and Daniel Tiger come about?
I’ve always wanted a dog. And to be a super hero. And Daniel Tiger was my favorite character on Mister Rogers Neighborhood! I also wanted to teach kids everything they needed to know before they got to kindergarten (Blue’s Clues); to teach kids the power of reading, how to read, what strategies to use when reading and how to get lost inside a book (Super Why); and I am a firm believer that the foundation of all learning is socio emotional skills.  So promoting Fred’s legacy through his groundbreaking socio emotional curriculum was a passion of mine.

An interview with Angela Santomero, creater of #bluesclues & #danieltiger via brunchwithmybaby.com
How hard is it to get a series actually on the TV?

Let’s just say that it took 6 years to get Daniel Tiger on the air!  So, it’s a long laborious passion-filled love project — much like being a mom!

Tell us about your new girl empowerment pilot, Wishenproof for Amazon Studios.
Wishenpoof is a dream project for me, as Bianca, our girl lead, is smart, empowered, and self-assured, persevering through her newfound ability to use her “wishes” to help.  I love who Bianca is: that she’s not afraid to wear a puffy skirt and high tops, and is okay with messing up her wishes, as long as she can keep practicing and, in the end, help her friends.

An interview with Angela Santomero, creater of #bluesclues & #danieltiger via brunchwithmybaby.com
How do you create your characters? Are they ever based off people you know in real life?
Always!  I’m like Taylor Swift – you better be careful because my favorite people and those that have done me wrong are ALL in my shows!  😉

Do your kids think what you do is cool? Who are their fave characters?
My girls liked when they saw my name on a book. That cemented what I did with them.  Oh, and the thinking chair in the basement is cool, too.

Everyone wants to know the “secret” to a maintaining a successful career and being a hands-on mom. Tell us about your balancing act.
So many answers to this question! All I can say is there is NO BALANCE. Every day has its ups and downs, challenges and wonderful opportunities.  I have been fortunate to have a husband who supports me 100% and the best team in children’s media who enable me to do what I do and understand that I’m a mom, too.

You’re raising your two daughters in NYC. What are your favorite things about bringing up kids here?
I love that I never had to close my stroller when I was done with it.  It just stayed outside my door, waiting for me.  I love that I can walk everywhere – the doctor’s office, to all our baby classes, shopping, visiting friends. I love that my kids grew up with Central Park as their “backyard”, and museums and the best classes at their fingertips. I love that my kids are “restaurant kids” as almost all NYC kids are – they knew how to sit and order and be respectful and play “waiting games” in a restaurant before they could walk!

Where are your fave places to go in the city with your kids?
We love to see Broadway Shows – I have Broadway kids!  We just saw Wicked again and Matilda … Fabulous! We love the UWS – Arty’s, Ruby Foos, Café Lalo, Alice’s Tea Cup, Popovers, Jacob’s Pickles, MoMA, Chelsea Piers, Hi Art classes, The American Museum of Natural History and watching the balloons blow up the day before the Thanksgiving Day Parade!

An Interview with Angela Santomero via Brunchwithmybaby.comAngela Santomero is Co‐Founder: Out of the Blue Enterprises LLC. She’s the  Creator, Executive Producer & Head Writer of Daniel Tigerʹs NeighborhoodSuper Why (PBS KIDS), Blue’s Clues (Nick Jr) and On‐Air Host & Executive Producer: The Parent Show (PBS Parents.org). 

Keste Pizza: Kid-Friendly Pizza & Vino, West Village, New York

Keste #Pizza: #kid-friendly #restaurants, #west village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

In my early days in New York, I was introduced to Kesté Pizza & Vino on Bleeker Street, by my Aussie expat friends. It was a welcome respite from the chaos in my life at that stage — pregnant, moving to New York City and starting my life from scratch. Inside Kesté, life was simpler. It was relaxed and casual, with welcoming staff, a cozy vibe, uh-mazing pizza, and understanding friends.

Missy E ate a lot of Kesté pizza when she was in utero, but none since popping out of it until my last birthday, when we decided to drop in for a casual lunch. As always, the staff was inviting and sat us straight away on an early Saturday afternoon, in a tiny little corner booth, backed up against the open kitchen.

It was pretty squishy at the table, but our location turned out to be a blessing when I realised that the glass behind me peeked straight into the kitchen and that Miss E could be briefly entertained by watching the pizzas being made from scratch, and then being baked in the oven. She also thought it would be fun to play with the wine bottles.

Keste #Pizza: #kid-friendly #restaurants, #west village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Even though it was my birthday (or maybe especially because it was my birthday?), Miss E was being a total demon child. Up, down, no, no, noooooooooo. The iPhone and then pizza occupied her briefly, but sadly this was one of the fastest and least relaxing visits I’ve had at Kesté. Ever.

Our visit might have been improved if the staff had been a bit friendlier towards us — especially towards Miss E. Yes, I know she can be INCREDIBLY annoying (such as on this particular day), but it would have made our lunch just that much more enjoyable and less stressful if we’d felt that they liked kids a bit more (or at least pretended to). While the staff were very efficient, we felt like they were really rushed on this particular day and our food was thrown at us, with no effort to make us comfortable, such as offers to get us things like a plastic cup for the child (I think we actually asked for this and it was ignored), or just basic welcoming conversation. It could just have been because we arrived during a busy time and the staff were super busy, so I would absolutely return with Miss E to give it another shot — if only because their pizza is SO FRICKING GOOD.

Keste #Pizza: #kid-friendly #restaurants, #west village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

At Kesté, they make each pizza to order, from the crust up, so the pizzas super fresh in every possible way. They even make gluten-free pizzas for those who request them.

The tomato sauce on my Margherita ($13) is the perfect sweet tomato blend, with giant gloops of fresh mozzarella and little basil leaves. We ordered a pizza per adult — between the two of us, Missy E and I polished ours off. Alec was so hungry he ate his entire pizza.

We hope to return to Kesté on another day when our daughter is not trying to destroy our souls.

Last Bite: One of the best pies you’ll get in the city, at one of the most reasonable prices. The perfect place to introduce kids to what a quality pizza actually tastes like.

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: Minimal. Fold up strollers only.
Easy access: Yes
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Kesté Pizza & Vino
271 Bleecker St (between Jones St & Morton St)
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (212) 243-1500
Prices: $$
Hours: Mon-Thur 12pm-3:30pm, 5pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-11:30pm, Sun 12pm-10:30pm

The Expat Life: Where Your Heart Is Always Torn In Two

The Expat Life: Where Your Heart Is Torn In Two - akissgoodnight.co

We’ve been living in New York for almost exactly three years now. Three of the toughest, most exciting, frustrating years of my life (having a tough kid doesn’t make it any easier).

As I near my 3 year anniversary of living the expat life, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how living in this situation, for me, is like living with your heart permanently torn in two. It’s a state of constantly missing those you left behind and who are living their lives without you, and, at the same time, enjoying your new life – with the thought always floating in your head, how long will this last? How long until the good doesn’t outweigh the bad? How long until you make the move back home and settle back into your old life? Sooner? Later? Never?

Living in a constant state of flux
At least, I certainly am. When we moved here, our time estimation for how long we’d live here was one-to-two years. Every year, we say we will give it one more year. Most of our stuff is in storage in Australia, but since we can’t decide whether or not to commit to living here permanently, we don’t know what to do with it all. It’s things like a giant couch that wouldn’t fit into any NYC apartment. My photographs and negatives and books. All my memories and possessions for my life pre 2011 are packaged into small boxes and stuffed into my parent’s house. I find myself missing things. Like a hair clip I was given for my 21st birthday that I still love to wear, but didn’t make the cut for things that we needed to bring over. And having to re-buy everything (PAINFUL!) because it’s cheaper than having the old things shipped over. How long until we can commit to a life here or there? Is there a magic number of years that pass and present the answer?

It starts off really really hard, but gets easier
The first year was so tough that I didn’t think we’d make it through and wanted to fly home almost every day. I missed everything about my old life – our home, our family and friends, the warm weather, and the easiness of life when you know how everything runs and how to do everything without thinking about it. The hardest parts about adapting to life in the US were the little things. Where to buy good Greek yoghurt. Finding a new GP, dentist, seamstress, housekeeper … Working out how medical insurance worked (ok, and some not so little things).

After the two-year mark things went from tough and frustrating to finally comfortable enough to feel like I didn’t have to fight to get little things done every single day. As I near the three-year mark, life has become great. It’s no longer a daily frustration as I can’t work out the little nuances that make life here different. Some still remain (why is supermarket bread SO BAD?! Why is the cheese ORANGE?! Why does tomato ketchup have CORN SYRUP in it?!) but, in general, New York is feeling like home.

Starting your tribe from scratch
It takes a while to make a new tribe. In my case, it took over two years to accumulate a new circle of friends whom I felt comfortable with. Feeling lonely and disconnected, while seeing all my old friends having a blast together was tough. It takes a lot of effort to stay in touch with people, especially as we get older and have more time commitments. One thing that can be said is that moving countries really shows you who your friends are! The ones who reply to your emails with thoughtful messages (and send you notes spontaneously when they’re thinking of you!) are going to be a lot fewer than you think (sadness), but they will be the ones who are your friends for life (happiness).

Missing family
Family is tough no matter where you live. Near them, they can drive you so nuts you wish you lived far, far away, and then if you DO live far, far away, you miss them like crazy and wonder if you made a mistake. Add a small child into that and it’s an even more difficult situation. People talk a lot about “mother guilt” – feeling guilty about everything you do and don’t do for your child. Instead of this, I get “daughter guilt”, where I feel guilty for moving so far away from my parents with their only grand child. We Skype every week and it’s a constant reminder of how much our decision to live this life is causing pain to other people who are missing out on precious moments with their grand child.

The up side
These last three years in New York have been a wonderful experience, despite the hardships – or perhaps, even, in some ways, because of them. Without a doubt, it’s been totally worth it. I’m an introverted person, so being here has pushed me out of my comfort zone in ways that staying in Sydney wouldn’t have. As well as the amazing experiences I’ve had here (not to mention that NEW YORK IS MY HOME!! How cool is that?!), the self-reliance and resilience I’ve built up as a result of this new life have also been positive for my own personal growth.

It’s not just my life
It’s not just about me and Alec. We are constantly trying to decide what is best for E. Little Missy E is having an amazing childhood, by the way. Central Park is her backyard. The American Museum of Natural History is her playground. She has dined at some of the best restaurants in NYC, all before she could walk. Lucky kid. We try to keep her as connected as possible with family back home so she knows who she is and where she comes from. It’s a normal part of her week to Skype Nanna and Pop-pop. E gets older, she will truly reap the benefits of her dual life. As an American and Australian citizen, a world of opportunities are literally open to her.

Where To Play With Kids In NOLA: A Cheat Sheet

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Big Easy is a decadent party town for adults. For families, on the surface NOLA looks pretty un-friendly. Unlike New York, there aren’t playgrounds on every corner. There are however a lot of fun and creative ways to entertain kids of all ages — we’ve done the research so you can take it easy.

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Jackson Square
This square is located in the French Quarter, with gorgeous architecture on all sides. It’s ideally located near the famous Cafe Du Monde (for beinegts) and the waterfront for strolling. It’s an oasis in the city with grassed areas for kids to run around, and musicians and artists edged around the square for additional entertainment. St Louis Cathedral looms over the square, creating a picturesque photo op.
700 Decatur St, New Orleans

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Audubon Nature Institute
The Audubon Institute is home to numerous nature attractions in New Orleans. The best value is to buy an all inclusive experience ticket.
$39.50 Adult, $27.50, Child (2 -12), $27.50 Senior (65+)

Audubon Zoo
As well as being home to animals from all around the world, the zoo houses a unique Louisiana Swamp Exhibit to give visitors a taste of local wildlife.
Re-opening in March 2014.  $17.50 Adult, $12 Child (2 -12), $13 Senior (65+)

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
See endangered African Blackfoot penguins and check out the new interactive Geaux Fish! exhibit, showcaseing Louisiana’s fishing industry.
$22.50 Adult, $16 Child (2 -12), $17 Senior (65+)

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com
Entergy IMAX Theater
Watch 3D movies on a day when it’s too hot for anything else.
$10.50 Adult, $8 Child (2 -12), $9.50 Senior (65+)

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
Hundreds of live butterflies await!
$16.50 Adult, $12 Child (2 -12), $13 Senior (65+)

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com
Louisiana Children’s Museum
Enjoy the museum’s interactive exhibits like a room devoted to blowing bubbles. With 30,000 square feet of exhibits and programs kids of all ages will enjoy themselves.
420 Julia Street, New Orleans. $8.50 per person, adults and children. LCM members and children under the age of one are admitted FREE.

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

New Orleans City Park
This 1,300 acre public park in New Orleans, Louisiana, is a short tram ride from the center of NOLA (which is a fun activity to do in itself). It’s the 6th-largest and 7th-most-visited urban public park in the United States, and jam-packed with fun for kids and adults.
1 Palm Dr, New Orleans, LA 70124

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpure Gardens
The five-acre  Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden holds more than 60 sculptures and is free to enter and wander around. The sculptures lie nestled among winding paths and a scenic lagoon.

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Morning Call
This little cafe serving beignets and chocolate milk (plus cafe au lait for adults) is right next to a large playground and open 24 hours. Cash only.

PLaces to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Playgrounds
City Park features three playgrounds for kid of all ages.

PLaces to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
The amusement park features 16 rides including the park’s 100-year-old namesake wooden carousel. The Carousel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
$3/person. Kids 36” & under get admission free. Check website for seasonal opening days and times.

City Putt
City Putt is a 36-hole mini golf complex that’s open all year-round.
Open Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday, 10am to 10pm (last rental at 9pm). Ages 13+ $8; Children (4-12) $6; Second round in same visit $4; Children (0-3) Free.

PLaces to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Storyland
Featuring 25 larger-than-life charcters right out of popular children’s fairytales such as Peter Pan, Snow White and Cinderella. Kids can climb aboard Captain Hook’s pirate ship or Cinderlla’s pumpkin carriage.
Open Saturday-Sunday, 11am-5pm; Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm. $3/person.

Train Garden
Kids and adults alike will marvel at the model of New Orleans in the early 19th Century  with replicas of streetcars and trains winding around it. 1300 feet of track carrying streetcars and trains like those that traveled the city in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, at 1/22 of their actual size. Open Saturday-Sunday, 10am-4:30pm. Adults (over 12) $6 Children (5-12) $3

Coming in 2015 to City Park: Splash Park

Extra photography thanks to yelp.com: ALDoug O, Eileen ZTina M

Tea & Sympathy: A Touch Of Britain In The West Village

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

I have to admit, I like a challenge. When Alexis recently wrote a post on the best afternoon tea spots in New York City, and listed Tea & Sympathy as the least kid-friendly, it sparked my interest. “What?! But WHY isn’t it kid-friendly?” I thought. I LOVE afternoon tea and am constantly in search of proper English scones like I used to get at home. This overwhelming desire to immerse myself in a proper British afternoon instilled enough bravery in me to attempt an outing to Tea & Sympathy with Miss E.

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Tea & Sympathy don’t take reservations. It’s a teeny tiny little cafe in the West Village (it fits about 30 people). It is literally so squishy that people are sandwiched together while eating their scones with jam and cream. Watch out for your elbows, there is hot tea on its way through!

It’s also a super popular afternoon tea spot, not just for the expat crowd like us, but for anyone craving a bit of REALLY good British food. While Tea & Sympathy is best-known for their afternoon tea, they actually serve a full British menu, including items like bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and baked beans on toast with grated cheese. (Side bar: British baked beans are VERY different to ones made in the USA. They’re less sweet and more . . . beany. I found a store that stocks imported British baked beans and it seriously changed my life.)

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Even though we arrived in prime lunch time (they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, none of this brunch business), we only waited a few moments to be seated at our table. Our friendly Irish waitress came by for a chat and took our order, and, pretty quickly, the order arrived, hassle -free. I ordered the Afternoon Tea For One (Assorted finger sandwiches, vegetarian upon request, scones with clotted cream and strawberry or raspberry jam, a selection of cakes and a pot of steaming hot tea, $35). Alec ordered the Shepherd’s Pie ($14.95), which he had been craving (we eat a lot of savoury pies in Australia and REALLY miss them).

Everything arrived pretty quickly, which was great considering how tightly we were squeezed into our table with a restless toddler. Our table was literally so small that we had to put the tea pot and my water glass on the windowsill.

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Back in Sydney, we eat a lot of afternoon tea (well, I did anyway). The Aussie-style of afternoon tea is basically British, which is a bit different to the American style in subtle ways. The scones are drier and less sweet, the cake is a sponge with thick clotted cream (not sweet cream, so dense it stands on its own), and there is usually a bit of sticky date pudding. My afternoon tea was expensive, but so large it could be eaten by two people. It contained: three sandwiches, two scones, a huge slice of sponge cake with cream and jam, and a sticky date cupcake. Lucky for me our cheery waitress offered to package up everything I didn’t eat for me to finish off later.

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Alec loved his shepherd’s pie — the perfect amount of fluffy mashed potato on top of a steaming boat of mince, with peas and corn on the side. Just like home.

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

The scones were phenomenal — I have to say here that I’ve grown to enjoy American scones too, but oh man, there is NOTHING like a traditional English scone with tea.

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Next door is a store selling everything British you can imagine food-wise, plus some cute paraphernalia like teapots. They’re expensive, so shop with care. We were happy to be able to find some Mars Bars and Ribena. SCORE!

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

 Last Bite: Tea & Sympathy is not for the feint of heart if you’re bringing small kids. Be prepared for a possible wait, super tight surrounding that require kids to stay seated. You will, however, have one of the most authentic afternoon teas in New York City, making it totally worth the adventure.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes – in the store next door, for folding strollers.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Tea & Sympathy
108 Greenwich Ave,
New York, NY 10011
Phone: (212) 989 9735
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-10:30pm, Sat & Sun 9:30am-10:30pm
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7 A.M. Enfant Adult WarMMuffs + Kids' WarMMuffs GIVEAWAY

Keep little and big fingers toasty warm with our giveaway this week – a set of adult and kid WarMMuffs from 7am Enfant.

WarMMuffs are insulated with heat protective fibers and have a soft fleece lining, creating a snug and cosy pretective cover for hands and replacing gloves by attaching to your stroller. Now your scooter-loving little one can keep on scooting all winter long with a pair of the brand new WarMMuffs for kids.

The new kids’ 7 A.M. Enfant WarMMuffs are basically the same as the iconic adult WarMMuffs, shrunk down to fit teeny tiny hands. They easily attach to scooters and bikes with big, adjustable velcro strips, and are available in nine colors. You’ll love them because they’re easier for little tots to use than gloves and mittens, and your kid will love them because they can stay outside for hours, no matter how low the temps get (wait a minute!).

#7AMEnfant #WarMMuffs #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY
The generous folks at 7 A.M Enfant are giving one lucky Brunch With My Baby reader the chance to win a pair of adult AND Kids’ WarMMuffs. If you want toasty and snug hands (who doesn’t?!) enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck — and stay warm, friends!

Giveaway opens Monday January 6, 2014, to 11:59pm EST Sunday, January 12.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only.

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Think Global, Act Local: Inkkas Shoes Review & Giveaway

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

One of the absolute coolest things about living in a cramped city like New York is that you’re bound to have people in your circles who are doing really cool things. I recently discovered that one of my Brooklyn neighbors is the creator of this beautiful line of shoes, called Inkkas.

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Inkkas.com is a socially conscious clothing company founded in 2012 on the principles of fair trade, philanthropy and authenticity. All production, sourcing and manufacturing of the shoes is done South America. The shoes are handmade of authentic South American textile by South Americans. As well as being beautiful, they’re ethically made and afforable (yay!). Kids’ Inkkas are $46 and adults’ start at $65. A portion of all proceeds is donated to to help protect the Amazon rainforest.

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

I was supremely thrilled for the opportunity to try out Inkkas shoes for myself and Miss E. Sidebar: it seems a lot of people actually named their child “Cheese” last year (no judgement!), so to start the new year off, I’m changing my daughter’s online pseudoym to something a bit less . . . dairy-like. Miss E it is (and sometimes Missy E, if she’s being sassy).

Back to the shoes: my slightly more subtle (in terms of design) Inkkas are the Concrete Jungle Low Tops (also available in High Tops). I like that the pattern is funky but not so over the top that I can’t just throw them on while wearing other colors. Missy E on the other hand, adores her very brightly colored Cotton Candy Kids.

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

I took the Inkkas shoes on our trip to Mexico a few weeks back since we needed some comfortable shoes to run around in (and to search for lizards in, and to take trips through lagoons in, and to eat guacamole in). Not only did the shoes fit the aesthetic of the trip (the patterns are reminiscent of traditional Mexican textiles), they’re also really comfortable, making them the perfect shoes for both kids and adults to wear all day.

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY
The kind folks at Inkkas are giving Brunch With My Baby readers the chance to win their own pair of Inkkas shoes. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only.

Giveaway open Thurs Jan 2, 2014 to 11:59pm Wed Jan 8 EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brunch With My Baby were provided with samples for reviewing purposes.