A very special place, full of lovely things and lovely atmosphere. And really nice to visit with your kids!
After Madrid in Love, we went to a very nice place in Madrid. If you are looking for something sweet and tasty, Mama Framboise is the place. Amazing and super nice desserts.
If you happen to be in Madrid, I think they are a couple of lovely places to visit.
I love the way everyone who visits Paris regularly has a favourite café, bar or restaurant. Kind of makes you feel a little bit local, doesn’t it? (I do the same when I visit London or New York).
In Courtney’s case, it is the Rose Bakery. And for a very good reason: the breakfast. In Paris it is actually very hard to find a good breakfast: Croissant and café are still the staple diet. Porridge, muesli or yogurt and fruit salad have not taken off over here… and that is were the Rose Bakery comes in. It is owned by an English Lady (called Rose, of course) and offers all the lovely alternatives to the French breakfasts. Turns out sometimes the English do do some food better than then the French.
Last Sunday I was having a lovely brunch there with a girlfriend and discovered the Rose Bakery has a cook book called Breakfast, Lunch and Tea, with all the best recipes from the café. It has been travelling with me on our little road trip around France and I have been cooking up a storm!
Shira is a mom who owns and operates a small cafe in my neighborhood. Not only does she make delicious and healthy things like quinoa chocolate chip cookies, lentil and feta salads and hearty organic ten vegetable soups…but she also has a dark side. Shira is a self proclaimed candy-addict and master chocolatier (and it’s true – I have seen her sneak a twizzler or two when her kids weren’t looking!). Recently she rolled out these solid chocolate birthday candles that I thought were fabulous. Such a simple idea to jazz up a plain frosted cake or a cupcake and she can customize the candle to whatever shape you need. We all love to lick the frosting off our birthday cakes right?…so how much does it rock that we can now eat the candle! New Yorkers should check out her website Goodie Girl for cute and easy ideas to jazz up a party.
If you live in Melbourne or are planning a visit, a fabulous (and totally cute) website to check out is Little Eats. Little Eats is the brainchild of Jemma Reynolds — a self confessed foodie, critique and ‘super-mum’ to 2 pre-schoolers. Let’s face it — dining out with kids in tow can be fraught… fraught with fear, trepidation, anxiety and a host of other raging emotions. I have certainly had my fair share of cringe-worthy cafe moments. But it needn’t be so! Jemma profiles restaurants and cafes in and around Melbourne and rates them in relation to their ‘kid-friendliness’. Pram access? High chairs? Distraction apparatus like books or paper and crayons? Welcoming smiles? With her expert eye (and with the help of her 2 adorable pint-sized side-kicks) Jemma susses out the facilities, children’s menu, table and customer service. Of course she is also obligated to road-test the menu (all in the name of ‘field research’ she assures me.) Afterall we all know that pram access, high chairs, drawing supplies, babyccinos, choc-topped gingerbread men, great food and the perfect latte are important… in equal measure.
No matter the weather, every Friday after school my children and I head down to Igloo Zoo for a fix of creamy frozen yogurt. YUM-OH! We patiently wait behind the hoards of teenage schoolkids who are equally excited. It is pure decadence and relatively sinless (I figure) given that it is made with real yogurt (live cultures) is 99.5% fat-free, high in antioxidants and low in sugar. There are 4 flavors on offer — original, green tea, cocoa and pomegranate. As an incentive (not that we need one) they offer an array of amazing accoutrements like organic kaffir, lime biscotti, white chocolate, pomegranate seeds, passion fruit puree, halva (a middle eastern treat made from sesame seed), choc-covered goji berries, lychee and a host of other treats. Admittedly, I usually eschew the more exotic toppings in favor of good old triple choc crunch, passion fruit puree and coconut…beyond divine!
If you are visiting Melbourne, the Gold Coast or Sydney check out locations here ! If you live elsewhere in the world and you are hankering for your own sampling of Igloo Zoo — I apologize profusely for the tease!
I was recently approached by Metrotwin to do a guest-list for them of my favourite places in London with kids. I said “hey! I can do one better than that — I can ask our fabulous Babyccino NY contributor (Dina to you and me) to do a NY list too”. They were very excited.
You see Metrotwin is a site powered by British Airways to offer reviews of all the best things to do in the London and NYC. It is a fabulous resource if you happen to be travelling to or even if you live in either of the cities.
Most parents discover fairly early on that if they want to meet in a cafe with friends and have any hope of conversation (one that spans more than 10 seconds), then a distraction for the children in the form of a book/toy is imperative. It allows at least some semblance of communication between the adults whilst in the company of young children — where you can form a full sentence… in one go!!
Many cafes in Melbourne answer this need, providing crayons and butcher paper to occupy the kids. And that certainly helps! But Family Life Home & Café in Grattan Street, Prahran goes one step further. Not only is it a divine Balinese inspired space, incorporating a cafe and boutique, but it has a gorgeous imaginative play area for the children. (more…)
Nestled in a bend of the Yarra River, amongst the river red gum and paperbark trees (a very typical Australian setting!) is the Collingwood Children’s Farm…. a little slice of country life right in the heart of Melbourne, only 4 kilometres from the CBD. It’s a magical place for city children (and adults) and an absolute favorite with family and friends.
Here, children can get up close and personal with all the typical farmyard animals and immerse themselves in farm chores. They can get their hands dirty milking the cows, bottle feeding the lambs, waddling with the ducks, patting the rabbits, feeding grass to the horses and all the while marvel at the sight and smell of the pigs. They can also look for eggs — a great way to teach them that eggs and milk don’t come out of cartons (as I am lead to believe some ‘other’ children think is the case… not mine, of course! ) (more…)
There has been a revolution in the Parisien café scene! Les 400 Coups, a family café, has recently opened its doors! When I heard about this phenomenon I just had to pack up my kids, jump on the metro and experience this place in person. Here in Paris, cafés with play areas are virtually nonexistent — my kids have gotten used to sitting at a table and amusing themselves with a silver spoon and a sugar packet; though after a while they do get a wee bit bored.
So off we went to Les 400 Coups and it was fantastic. The food might not be haute cuisine but the coffee was great and the moment we got to the café, the kids started playing in the play area and I did not hear from them for a good hour. And for you moms who cannot be separated from your laptop there is even wifi. (more…)
As mentioned in an earlier post, I am not a huge fan of eating out with young kids. It’s not good for the digestion. But then again, there is Pop Burger.
This unassuming and very hip burger joint in the trendy Meatpacking district is actually one of my favorite super duper secret places to grab a special lunch with the girls. The burgers are delicious, and they come in sets of two which are perfect for teeny hands. They also have a nice selection of healthier items like a salad or an excellent chicken burger which pair nicely with a thick classic milkshake and crispy fries. (more…)
I really try to avoid taking my twins out to eat. It is nothing short of torture for me. Seriously….it’s like the minute they see that dilapidated cup of crayons and sad coloring placemat coming at them they start to make a scene. Chelsea Market, on the other hand, is now a destination of mine to eat with the girls on sunny days with the stroller in tow. I can only describe it as an underground culinary fantasy land and one where I am at complete ease dining with two three-year-olds. There’s a huge selection of delicious gourmet places to eat – all in a cool and low key setting. Kids can choose from homeade soup, sandwhiches and pasta and then watch fresh bread being baked, visit a fish market and toss coins into an indoor waterfall. Even better are the places to grab dessert – Eleni’s cookies, Sarabeths and Fat Witch Brownies. On the weekends they oftentimes have musical performances for kids so check the schedule and make a morning of it. And while the weather is still nice grab a coffee and check out the new and ultra-swank Highline where you can sit and watch a parade of New York’s hipsters saunter by.
Italians, or possibly just the people from Milan, have come up with their own version of brunch. In the last 10 years many restaurants have specialised in a particular Sunday lunch, that goes by the name of brunch.
It’s not too dissimilar from what the international crowd believes brunch should be, but it has its own peculiarities. First of all it happens at lunch time, not in between breakfast and lunch. The experience normally involves a big buffet table that offers food in a very wide range. You’ll find lasagna, pasta and risotto next to meatballs and sausages. All sorts of grain salads next to grilled vegetables. But also scrambled and hard boiled eggs, brownies, pancakes, fruit, yogurt and cereals. So it’s really hard not to find something everybody likes.
That’s why it has become a favourite family event — informal, quick and with lots of choice for the fussy children.
Today we tried the play-brunch at the San Vittore restaurant, named from the prison it faces (in the center of Milan!). (more…)
After I’d been living on Capitol Hill a while, I noticed this fun looking new restaurant, Goodstuff Eatery, and was amused by the name….and then I read about it in all the local papers– it is run by a local celeb chef, Spike Mendelsohn [famous from Top Chef, one of my fave reality shows], and made even more famous when Michelle Obama decided to eat there one night with friends. So we took the kids, ordered up some gourmet burgers and super rich milkshakes and had an all-American meal. Yum. Specialties include burgers with applewood bacon and cripsy Vidalia onion, a free-range turkey burger, and handspun shakes with flavors like toasted marshmallow and very berry. Just writing about this is making me think we might have to venture back to our old ‘hood to have another meal there sometime soon….303 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Washington, DC.
Michela and I are often asked about family-friendly restaurants in our respective cities. Try as we might, we are hard pressed to come up with good suggestions. There is a huge North/South divide in Europe regarding the obvious signs of child friendliness in restaurants.
In Northern Europe you will more often than not be offered a highchair when you enter a restaurant with your kids. Often you find changing tables in the bathrooms and kids menus, and many places even have special toys they bring out. In Southern Europe it is rare to find this kind of service, BUT this does not mean that children are not welcome. In fact, they are almost always welcome, but are expected to fit around the adults. (more…)
Having lived in Paris for 7 years, I got used to having croissants for breakfast– weekends only, really, as who can eat them every day without gaining a ton of weight? Anyway, that was one of the big things our family missed when we moved to DC — especially my 4-year-old! So I was thrilled to (re)discover Patisserie Poupon, in upper Georgetown. An authentic French bakery — you can have a number of French baked goods, pastries, etc., or go for a little brioche sandwich, a lovely salad nicoise, all chased down by a real espresso. There is even a tiny, quaint terrace tucked in the back, and if one concentrates really hard, you can pretend you are in Paris, all for the price of a croissant and cafe creme.
1645 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC.
I have been watching……waiting…..okay, technically “stalking” out this place for weeks now and as of last Monday the doors to paradise have finally flung wide open. Moomah – which dubs itself a “creative arts café” is the brainchild of Tracey Stewart, a Tribeca mother who took a delightful detour from the over-stimulating child play spaces that have been cropping up around the city to create a community space where adults would feel just as much at home as their kids. One part adult café, one part earth-conscious art/exploration space for kids – Moomah offers something for all of the senses and serves as a place where the adults don’t have to just sit awkwardly on the sidelines. From big tables for impromptu art projects to cozy couches where you can grab a light meal and read a book, the rustic-chic space offers cool activities for families to do together. (more…)
Courtney and her family were over in Paris visiting from London and we wandered around the North Marais, doing a bit of shopping, people watching and coffee drinking. It really reminded me about how much I love this little area. I want to write a thousand and one posts on all the lovely little places you can find around here…
I cannot believe I have not written a post about the Marché des Enfants Rouge yet. It is one of the oldest markets of Paris, founded in 1647 and has been converted into a fabulous market/food hall.
Food from all over the world is available… from Morocco, the Caribbean and Japan and it all gets consumed on big communal tables outside the food stalls. There is also a great organic fruit and vegetable stall and a beautiful flower stall. (more…)
The Eastern Market, in DC’s Southeast quadrant, has always been one of my favorite weekend stops, long before I lived in the neighborhood. The market itself is DC’s oldest food market, dating to 1873, housed in an old brick hall. (The hall suffered from a big fire a few years back, and the market is in a temporary shelter across the street, with the old/refurbished shelter set to re-open soon.) Just like a European market, you can come here to visit your neighborhood butcher, the florist, the cheese monger, the produce man, etc. People from all over the city also flock to Market Lunch, for greasy spoon southern-influenced breakfast and lunch. The bluebucks (blueberry buckwheat pancakes) are to die for! But be sure to get there early, as the lines can be lengthy…. Have Dad stand in line while you take the kids to explore all the other merchants nearby in the hall. After lunch? Take a stroll through the flea market next door (Saturday and Sunday only) to check out furniture and other treasures, and walk the whole block of 7th street — tents are set up all along the street with vendors and artisans selling jewelry, paintings, and all sorts of cool things. And be sure to look for the cafe with the bubble-blowing machine outside — that in itself inspires my 4-year-old to walk the 5 blocks to the market!
I had a coffee with the lovely Kirby from Petite Alma this morning in one of my favourite cafés and I suddenly realised that I have never written a post about it! It is called Le Loir dans la Théière on 3 rue des Rosiers in the Marais (Tel : 01 42 72 90 61).
We go there with friends and family for the fabulous brunch on the weekends (get there early, or risk waiting in a huge queue), we also go for lunch and we especially go there to have a big piece of cake in the afternoons. The lemon pie has a meringue crust that is at least 10 centimetres high! I have had friends refuse to leave town before having a slice of this pie! I am also very partial to their Tarte Tatin — it’s really incredible.
The thing I like almost as much as the food is the atmosphere and decor; it hasn’t changed a bit in all the years the café has been around. You will find mismatched, big leather armchairs and old tables. Laptops are not allowed, and even when there is a huge queue snaking out of the café onto the road, every customer is allowed to take as much time as he needs.
There is no special kid-friendly equipment but the staff are really nice and try to accommodate you as much as possible, though it is best to avoid turning up with a big pushchair during the peak hours.
Le Pain Quotidien now has branches in 15 different countries and long may it continue expanding.
We are loyal customers at our nearest branch in the Marais. There are several reasons for our frequent visits: the food is healthy, fresh and simple and my whole family, young and old, loves going there. They serve great grilled sandwiches and salads, which are a little bit different from the usual bistro fair.
But the great food is not my main reason for recommending the Pain Quotidien. It is one of the rare places you can find a changing table in the toilets… and high chairs! I know that for most countries this is so normal it is not worth mentioning, but in Paris this a phenomenon!
So to paraphrase: it’s a cafe that serves great food and is child friendly. It doesn’t have much going against it, does it?