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!
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.