Drop + Dine takes the terrible out of eating out with toddlers

drop_and_dine_logo_low_res.jpgHaving a grown up meal out in a restaurant isn't really a luxury. It can be a survival tactic for stressed out parents who have virtually forgotten that they share anything in common besides the DNA of their children and their inability to get The Wonder Pets theme song out of their head. But figuring out the whole babysitter thing can make going out to eat more a chore than a treat.

So when Brian Kaplan, founder of Parent Play, told me they were starting Drop and Dine it sounded like a great idea. Drop and Dine lets parents eat in peace and quiet in a nice restaurant while their children are entertained and fed just steps away in the private party room of the same restaurant.


Magic Brunch with Ragidy Supreme



This weekend we went to a birthday party that I feel completely comfortable saying had the best children's magician I have ever seen perform. Ragidy Supreme does a show that is completely enthralling to kids and absolutely a hoot for adults. Magician, comedian, kook.

Need a date?

picture-6.pngCan't remember the last time you went out to a restaurant without cutting up a plate full of food into tiny pieces? Well, here is the perfect excuse! It's NYC Restaurant Week Winter 2008 where you can get a three course lunch for $24.07 or dinner for $35.00 at some of New York's finest restaurants. You know that unless you plan ahead it will never happen so make a reservation now and do it! Don't bother calling Gramercy Tavern, they are already booked up for the entire week but don't worry, there are a lot of other amazing restaurants that still have space.

Mamalu Indoor Playspace and Cafe is Mamaliscious







Mamalu in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is a great place to spend a cold or rainy day with babies and preschoolers, and the best part is that you can stay as long as you like for just $5 per child. Located across the street from McCarren Park, it's very convenient to get to with a car, I always find parking right outside. You can also get there fairly easily on the L or G train but expect a few blocks of a walk when you get off the train.

indooractivities.jpgThe space is large and airy and nicely designed with murals and mobiles and divided in two with the cafe in front and the play area in back. What I like about the play area is that it doesn't have a lot of toys which lets kids run around and explore without feeling overwhelmed and the toys they have are kept clean and in good shape. One wall of the play space is filled with a huge blackboard which for some is great fun, but can also present a bit of a challenge for mouthy little toddlers who like to eat chalk though its easy enough to position yourself away from the chalk stash.

New: Blue Marble Ice Cream in Boerum Hill



One of the NYC sites I love to read is NewYorkology. Amy is the one who reminds me to post about things like the Vintage Buses and Trains. Now she's added a sweets columnist to keep her readers abreast of all things sweet and tasty in New York. Um...yum.

Nichelle Stephens, who normally writes for Cupcakes Take the Cake with my friend Rachel, wrote up a new ice cream joint in Boerum Hill called Blue Marble. Blue Marble Ice Cream is organic and made from grass-fed cows from the Hudson Valley. It sounds yummy and the store has wi-fi and a small play area for kids. Who said it was hard to be a locavore!

Giveaway-a-Thon Finale: The Dish's Dishes cooks for you


Congratulations to Sharon who won the Ayumie Horie Pottery Giveaway. It's truly beautiful.

Next up, I've been hyping today's giveaway for a week and a half. I'm super excited about it and I hope everyone else is too.

How many moms have thought, "You know what I really need? A wife."? Probably all of them. While I, of course, have a staff of five (you know, nanny, cleaning woman, chef, Saturday nanny and pet concierge), not everyone is so lucky. But seriously, putting dinner on the table is probably the most challenging part of parenting. It's so much easier to just order in, but that's so expensive and unhealthy.

The Dish's Dish is a new service in New York that is just what every NYC parent needs. The Culinistas at the Dish's Dish will plan your customized menu, do the grocery shopping and prepare a whole week's worth of meals so that all you have to do is come home and heat them up.

Dinner for Three: The art of eating out with an infant, toddler or preschooler

All NYC kids should be raised restaurant-ready, but it doesn't happen automatically. My blogger friend, and Izzy's Mom, chronicles her quest to raise her son as a gourmand on her site, Izzy Eats and has been generous enough to share some of her tips for how to eat out at restaurants with kids and enjoy it at every stage of the game. Along the way she recommends some of her favorite restaurants that she's enjoyed with her son. Thanks, Izzy's Mom!

My son, Izzy and I, have been dining out together since he was born. Eating in restaurants was an important part of my life and I wasn’t about to give that up when I became a mother. Instead I wanted to include my son in the pleasures of the table, especially since New York City is a restaurant paradise. Now at age four, dining out is second nature to him. At home or in restaurants, eating with him is a true delight. He is a polite and interested eater which I attribute to his regular exposure to restaurant culture early on. And so, based on my experience I offer the following so that you too can dine out successfully.


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