Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fine Dining with a Toddler in Tow - Newport, RI

Ha! Is that really possible? I swear it is! We made it through relatively unscathed over the Christmas holidaze. We were double teaming L (ie the parent to toddler ratio was in our favour, so this may not work for those of you who are reading that are outnumbered).

Key tips for semi-relaxing toddler dining:

1) Go early (ie brunch or lupper) and scope out the scene before hand. Since we were dining in Newport, I used my "friends" on Chowhound to probe for recommendations. Reservations are your friend because waiting and toddlers = oil and water. Not miscible.

We tried 22 Bowen's for dinner at 5:30 pm and the Grill at 41 N for brunch. Both very child friendly - both offered high chairs without blinking an eye and the servers were all very accommodating. Food was very good at both places. 22 Bowen's had a kid's menu but L just ate whatever we ate cut up in small pieces, so no need for the traditional dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets!

22 Bowen's:

The Grill:

2) Bring a lot of toddler accessories. Toys, books, placemats. L's new favourite is "The Snowy Day". Also feeding baby a few snackitizers before the real food comes helps avoid a potential meltdown.

3) As much as you can, clean up the vittles that inevitably fall all over the place or apologize to your server profusely and leave a big tip. You do want to be able to go again don't you?

4) Order alcoholic beverages for mom and dad. Increases the likelihood that you will feel relaxed and which in turn makes your kid feel more zen... or at least it seems that way!

5) If all else fails, go to a coffee shop. These are perfect for loud and messy because these are usually populated by teenagers, college students who are equally or even louder than a well-behaved toddler.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Crunchy, Salt, Pepper and Vinegar Kale Chips

We got a huge bunch of kale from Boston Organics on Friday and I wasn't totally psyched about it, until I saw this recipe for Kale Chips.

I modified it a little by not adding very much salt (used sea salt) and also adding pepper for some spiciness. Pretty tasty, I must say. I bet I could even get L to try it because she loves all things crunchy... all the better to crunch with (using all 8 of her choppers!)

But right now, she's too busy playing with her cardboard box from Target.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Year?! Birthdays-giving

L is ONE!! Last year at this time, she was smaller than our turkey that was prepared for 2. This year we had a bigger crew of 6 adults and she definitely outweighed the turkey. In fact, she started at a mere 5 lb 8 oz and now weighs in at 19 lb 8 oz.

I didn't want to have a whole cake to accompany the ridiculous amounts of Thanksgiving food, so I opted for cupcakes. Everyone says that you should have a "smash" cake for the birthday peanut anyway so cupcakes make sense.

What is better than having the cupcakes delivered right to your door in a van decorated with a cartoon panda? You can order them online and this satisfies my desire to never speak to a real person when making purchases. One of L's baby friends even called at the last minute to have her 1-year old cake special ordered and they were able to deliver (and deliver!). Great!

This was essentially L's first encounter with a confectioner's sugar and butter melange, so when we first placed it in front of her, I think she was unsure whether or not it was edible. Once I broke it up, she figured it out quickly.

The adult favorite was definitely the red velvet. They have lots of unique flavours like the "boozy" themed which is on our list to try next.

Thanks for helping us make birthdays-giving extra special!