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Jul 9 2014

Thanks to the Random Stranger Who Was Kind to My Kid

By at 11:17 am

Toddler boy eating french fries

I live in New Jersey and work in New York, where–let’s face it–people aren’t always friendly and nice. Sure, there are exceptions, but at this point I’ve grown rather cynical when it comes to relying on the decency of strangers. It especially irks me when people are jerks to my kid.

Case in point: I recently had to stop at the supermarket with my toddler on a very rainy day. Though the 90-second walk through the parking lot normally isn’t a big deal, it happened to start pouring rain the second we got there, and I was eager to keep my son as dry as possible, knowing that the arctic blast of the store’s AC system is often unbearable even when you’re not entering soaked. So there I was, walking briskly from my car to the store holding my (not-at-all lightweight) toddler when not one, not two, but three separate drivers decided to cut me off, forcing me to stand in the rain even longer. In dry weather, that sort of behavior is simply discourteous. In pouring rain, it’s downright mean, and more so to my toddler than to me.

Unfortunately, this is the sort of thing I’ve grown accustomed to over the years. But last weekend I had an experience that restored my faith in humanity, just a little bit. My husband, toddler, and I had gone out hiking, and though we almost always eat dinner at home, we decided we were tired and would rather stop at a local restaurant instead. We walked in around 5:30 p.m., expecting to be seated right away, and were surprised when we were told that the wait would be 20-30 minutes. We knew our son was hungry, but at that point it would’ve taken us longer to drive home and get dinner going, so we decided to bide our time in the cramped waiting area. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 24 2013

Best Place to Take Your Toddler Out to Dinner: Nowhere

By at 2:23 pm

alexis kort dinner with toddlerBack in the good old pre-baby days, my favorite activity was going out to dinner.

As far as I am concerned, the very best part of living in New York City is having the chance to go to one of the thousands of places to eat in the five boroughs. I loved trying new restaurants, going out with girlfriends for happy hour cocktails and shared appetizers, dinner with Jdates, and then later on, sharing meals with my husband.  I even enjoyed going out to eat by myself with a glass of wine and the latest New Yorker. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 6 2011

Vacation is Over, Getting Your Kids To Eat Well Again

By at 1:00 pm

I got back Saturday from five days on the beach in Cape May, N.J. (It should have been a week’s vacation; I’m looking at you, Hurricane Irene.) And instead of feeling rejuvenated, I’m nursing a stomach sick from eating ice cream, crab cakes, ice cream, saltwater taffy, ice cream, chicken cheese steaks, a hot dog, and ice cream. But that’s not what’s eating me. I’m more bothered that Ellie, my 20-month-old, keeps saying her stomach hurts, too.

I’m not going to pretend that she eats perfectly all the time. If it’s green or meat, she’s not interested, and I’m convinced that if it were not for the existence of challah, she would have long ago starved. But in Cape May, the only options on the kids’ menus were hot dogs, grilled cheese, fried shrimp, chicken fingers, buttered noodles, and mac and cheese – all served with fries and a tot-size soft drink. There wasn’t a veggie to be found. (Potatoes in the fries don’t count.) When I asked at a pricey Italian restaurant if the chef could steam some carrots in place of the fries, the waitress said no.

Much to my annoyance, my husband wasn’t nearly as concerned as I was about what Ellie was putting in her mouth. He justified her poor diet as a casualty of being on vacation. After all, we weren’t exactly scarfing down broiled salmon and crispy kale. “She’ll get right back on track when we get home,” he assured me.

That kids’ menus offer little more than fat- and cholesterol-laden options is not new, not unique to Cape May and, when you get down to it, not very surprising. After all, those are the foods most kids – heck, most adults, if we’re being honest – would prefer to eat. And us parents, hoping to avoid a scene in a public place, let them eat it.

But even McDonald’s lets you choose apple slices and milk in lieu of fries and a soda in a Happy Meal. Isn’t it time for more restaurants step up to the plate?

Now we’re home and Ellie keeps asking for mac and cheese. She hasn’t gotten it. Tonight she had a tantrum because she wanted ice cream after her bath. She didn’t get that, either. Of course, at her age she doesn’t connect her tummy trouble to what she ate, so getting her back on track will apparently be tougher than I naively thought it would be.

Short of packing a suitcase full of fruit, yogurt and whole-grain bread, what’s a parent to do? What do you do to make sure your children eat healthy away from home?

Jul 6 2011

Be Nice to My Kid or We’re Not Coming Back

By at 11:56 am

CNN published an editorial yesterday–Permissive parents: curb your brats that is getting mixed reviews. I agree with some of the commentary (i.e. there are kid-free cruises and resorts for a reason) but the overall tone that children should be spanked, seen and not heard, and not tolerated in restaurants, airplanes, and grocery stores turns me off a bit. I understand he’s mostly referencing “unruly” children, but doesn’t every child act like Charlie Sheen every now and again? Since having a baby I’ve become more sympathetic to other parents and I wish I had done it sooner.

The notion that children are “mini” adults and should behave as such is downright bonkers. One of my favorite new-mama questions is, “Is he sleeping through the night?” To which my response is, “No. he isn’t. He’s also not cooking or balancing my checkbook yet, the little slacker!” And it totally irks me when fellow passengers comment on how adorable my baby is AT THE END of an episode-free flight. They are babies/toddlers/children and should be welcomed and celebrated as such.

Likewise, we as parents shouldn’t be discouraged from leaving the house for fear our child might act up and g-d forbid, disturb someone’s tranquil life. There are days when my son is tearing through the house like a screaming banshee and all I can think about is where I can take him to offer a change in scenery (and adult interaction or a alcoholic caffeinated beverage)

The night we moved to Pittsburgh we were exhausted and desperate for a bite to eat. With our tired 3-month-old in tow, we walked over to a local grill well known for its salads and burgers. Upon entering, a gentleman in a tie welcomed us told us that strollers were NOT ALLOWED. We understood the restaurant was small so we folded it up and put it under the coat rack. He was obviously disappointed we didn’t leave and reluctantly let us stow our baby carrier. He showed us to a table mumbling something about not having a high chair. By this time our infant was swaddled and sleeping in my arms. Does that sound like a child who needs a high chair? The man begrudgingly sat us next to tables of well-groomed couples sipping wine and picking at appetizers while they chatted about politics or weather. The kinds of people we were merely three months prior. We ate and apologized when our son fussed and left feeling rushed and annoyed. Needless to say, we won’t be going back. Read the rest of this entry →

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