Pizza

Pizza places are everywhere in New York so picking a favorite would not only be impossible but simply immoral.  There are zillions of restaurants ranging from the simple traditional New York slice to the thin-crust, brick-oven gourmet type and below are a few of my favorites (with kids AND without).  I am going to keep a running list as I seek out other places in Manhattan and Brooklyn over the next few months but I would love to hear from others what the best kid-friendly pizza place is in YOUR neighborhood.

1) Lombardi’s – (Nolita) For sit down pizza with kids in the downtown area Lombardi’s is famous for their thin-crust, coal oven pizzas with all sorts of toppings. On the weekends the line will literally snake out the door so get there early.

2) For the real deal New York slice there is Joe’s Pizza (Greenwhich Village) which was a big hit back when I was in high school.  Cheap, delicious, hot pizza that is so good you could eat half a pie on your own.  There is no real place to sit down here but there are a few places to stand and scarf down a slice or two and there is a little park across the street with benches if you have a child in tow.  It is a great place to refuel if you want to walk along Bleecker Street up into the West Village.  Joe’s is packed during the lunch hours and late night but it’s always good.

3) L’il Frankies (East Village) — a good standby for an early dinner out with kids.  The oven was handcrafted by a 3rd generation Neapolitan oven builder, brick by brick. It features real lava from Vesuvio and through a unique double dome design, recycles heat to reach near 900 degrees!  There is a great little playground nearby as well to hit before or after (on 1st street and 1st Avenue).

4)  For the adults… One of my favorites is Georgione (Soho) and although it is not a traditional pizza place, the pie here rocks.  I am here at least once a week with friends scarfing one down.  My other favorite for a pizza date night or dinner out with friends is Apizz — Delicious and made in front of your eyes…

Mini Munchers — NYC Restaurant Guide for kids!!

Standing ovation for this one!  Standing Ovation. I have been waiting for someone to come up with an easy to use search guide of places to eat with children in New York and I am so grateful to this mom of two for doing the homework and creating Mini-Munchers.  The New York restaurant scene is not all that child-friendly in general and while some neighborhoods offer better options than others, it’s nice to have a tested resource of places that you can take your clan when you need to eat out.  You can easily search by neighborhood and cuisine and can view the menu on-line.  The site also offers commentary on other perks and offerings for kids (like if they have changing tables, crayons and quick service!).

Veniero’s Pasticceria

Without fail… every year since birth, my entire family has celebrated their birthday with a cake from Veniero’s. There simply is no substitute, and frankly, a birthday just isn’t a birthday without one. The old-school Italian Pasticceria has been around since the beginning of time and is a wonderful place to bring your kids for an afternoon treat. There are cases filled with freshly made Cannoli’s, Eclairs, Fruit Tarts and my personal favorite, THE RAINBOW COOKIE. Quite possibly as addictive as heroin, and Veniero’s has the best ones on the planet.

There is a large space in the back to sit down and enjoy them with a cappuccino and they are open late on the weekends so it’s a great place to bring kids for an after dinner treat. Try to hit it at off hours and NEVER during the holidays as it is crowded. By the way — I got this image off of one of my favorite NY Food Oriented Websites “The Smitten Kitchen” which has the recipe. And luckily once the guilt sets in… Liquiteria is just down the street!! (more…)

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Katz’s DelicatessenArt, food and a place to sitLiquiteria — It’s clean-up time everybody!

Veselka — Ukranian 27/7

One of the greatest things about New York City is the ability to source any type food you desire at a moment’s notice — even at 3am. Veselka has been around since I was a kid and I am happy that it is still going strong. This long-standing East Village eatery is open 24-7 and serves up hearty platters of delicious Ukrainian Pierogi, Sweet and Savory Blintzes and hearty vegetable soups. If you are looking for something a bit lighter they have a HUGE menu that serves up all the traditional diner favorites like scrambled eggs, pancakes, salads and sandwiches. Its a perfect little spot for a quick easy breakfast or lunch with kids. It also sits on the corner of one of my favorite blocks in New York…9th street between 1st and 2nd Avenue which is home to a bunch of small boutique shops, including a sweet little toy shop called Dinasour Hill. (Image from Flickr)

Nearby Playground: Tompkins Square Park

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Katz’s DelicatessenArt, food and a place to sitLiquiteria — It’s clean-up time everybody!

The Union Square Farmer’s Market

The Union Square Farmers Market is the largest and most popular open-air food market in New York City. While there are farmers markets throughout the entire city the one at Union Square operates year round, four days a week, and is really is at its peak in the summer and fall. A visit is a real New York experience that couples the city’s obsession with food, with top notch people watching. In addition to numerous stands displaying heaps of fresh fruits and veggies you can find daily caught seafood, eggs, hand-made cheeses, baked goods and beautiful flowers — all sourced from local farms and for the most part, organic. The market is certainly THE most reasonable place to shop for food in the city and it is a wonderful place to take a child to explore. The people who work the stands are always up for a chat about what they are selling and are thrilled to introduce new things that you don’t see in your average American supermarket. I am starving just thinking about it. (Image from Flickr)

Also worth noting is that one of the city’s newest and most modern playgrounds (called “The Evelyn”) just opened so when you are done surfing the food stands there is a place to climb and play. (more…)

Katz’s Delicatessen

Katz’s Delicatessen is a classic New York fixture and happens to be one of the few dining institutions to have survived the massive gentrification of the East Village. The sprawling cafeteria-like space is filled with nostalgia and serves up hand-cut fries, mile high pastrami sandwiches and hot dogs with all the fixins’. It is an easy place to bring a child as the service is quick and there is ample seating. Katz’s still uses the same “ticket” system that they used when they opened back in the day… there are several meal stations to go to pick up your food and you pay on your way out. (Image from Flickr.)
Nearby Playgrounds: 1st Street Park (1st Avenue and 1st Street) and Tompkins Square Park (8th Street and Avenue A)<

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Liquiteria — It’s clean-up time everybody!Art, food and a place to sitVeniero’s Pasticceria

The Highline

You can’t help but LOVE New York City if you take an early evening stroll on The Highline. Not only is the people-watching fantastic but the whole experience will just make you feel cool. The Highline was the old elevated subway system in NYC and after years of sitting dilapidated and unused it has been transformed into an uber-chic above-ground promenade. The park itself snakes up 10th Avenue and not only offers amazing city views but also tons of places to sit and relax. Although there is not a playground up there they do offer programs for children and have just launched “Wild Wednesdays” which offer free programs for kids ages 5 and up (be sure to check out the stuff for Adults as well). And as if it couldn’t get any better, New York’s coolest bars and restaurants line the streets underneath. I would highly recommend Sunday brunch or drinks at the Standard Grill which sits just at the starting point of the park. It would also be a great date spot fyi!

(image from Flickr)

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The Limelight Marketplace

In the 1980s, early ’90s, The Limelight was perhaps the most popular nightclub in New York City. Known for its wild parties, weekly drug busts, and all around freakiness, the club closed its doors long ago but the space itself has recently been transformed and re-opened as a…gasp…mini-mall.

The old cathedral space is now The Limelight Marketplace and it is filled with a variety of cute, higher-end food and fashion stalls. New York has never done the “indoor mall” thing well — and most have failed miserably — but this one is actually kind of nice. I especially liked the mini food court which felt a bit like a shrunken down poor man’s Harrods – there are a few delicious bake shops, a fromagerie and a beautiful outdoor farmers market. There were also a few child-oriented stalls: Hunter Boots for toddlers, Silly Souls which makes ironic onesies for newborns like this, and a cute little children’s gift basket service called BookSmart. Overall it is unique, if cramped, but definitely worth a visit. I actually hope this one lasts.

Image from flickr (more…)

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Chelsea PiersBilly’s Bakery. Diagnosis…DeliciousPop Burger

High Tea at the Crosby Hotel

Recently, I paid a visit to the new and super swank Crosby Hotel for High Tea with a friend. The Crosby is part of the Firmdale group of hotels in London so you now their tea service is the real deal. The large and inviting dining space has lots of little areas to sit and although it was raining the day we went, I did notice there was a beautiful outdoor space with tables so I plan on going back. We had our kids with us and they were incredibly welcoming and accommodating. For around $30 they offer a large selection of freshly brewed teas along with a tower of finger foods ranging from delicious tea sandwiches — to warm scones with jam — to mini-cupcakes. In a city where everyone is always rushing around it’s nice to stop and take an afternoon break. I know I am always starving around 3pm so this lifestyle suits me just fine. (more…)

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Billy’s Bakery. Diagnosis…Delicious

The cupcake competition in New York has swelled to epic proportions and it seems like there are cupcake pop-up shops everywhere all of a sudden. I am not sure why, as a society, we have become so obsessed with this portable baked good but who’s complaining? I am totally psyched to be able to get my hands on one in a moments notice.

Having young kids, I have sampled pretty much all of the major places in town and I am picking a landslide winner (drum roll). I really do love Billy’s Bakery the best because their cupcakes not only TASTE but LOOK home-made. They do not try too hard to be what they are not and they certainly don’t give you the attitude like some of the others. They come in pretty old-fashioned colors and strike the perfect balance with a generous heap of creamy icing supported by moist and sweet cake. (more…)

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Kaffe 1668 — The new Tribeca fix

So the very loud, stay-at-home dad that I have written about before is truly a deep and bottomless well of good information. He has been talking up this coffee place that just opened in the neighborhood saying we were all complete and total fools if we ever went anywhere else for our morning fix. As a rule of thumb I try to avoid Starbucks, if I can, to support the smaller cafés in the city (of which there might be exactly three left). Don’t get me wrong, I like Starbucks and all, but I really feel like a total loser when they make me call their small a “tall” and their large a “venti”… pisses me off every. single. time.

So the other day I made the journey over to Kaffe 1668 and seriously… stay-at-home dad was right! Kaffee makes truly amazing coffee. Each individual cup is single brewed and is presented almost like a work of art. The people there take such pride in each cup that you almost feel bad about drinking it. It is also a nice place to sit and grab a small bite as they have the most delicious little sandwhiches and pastries – all which look like they were made with the same amount of love as the coffee. Right now there is only one in the city but I sure hope more open up soon! FYI: for Tribeca peeps it’s a great pit stop before or after Soul Cycle.

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Hudson River ParkBilly’s Bakery. Diagnosis…DeliciousMoomah – Coffee and Creativity

Landmarc

landmarcWhile most of us can agree that eating out with small children usually causes nothing but indigestion, I do like to get out from time to time to give us all a break. That being said, when we do venture out, I am VERY particular about finding places that are both adult and kid friendly. Landmarc has an excellent family vibe and is a place where you don’t have to worry about eating with children – they totally get it. They have two locations, one in Tribeca and one in the Time Warner Center and they offer a very nice kids menu that is not simply chicken fingers and french fries. The best part – the desserts…. mini ice cream cones and even cotton candy! Also worth noting parents, is that they have a high quality and very inexpensive wine selection. They don’t mark-up their wines and basically serve them at cost, so have a glass or two!  you deserve it….

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Pop Burger

2099832700_d4561866bbAs 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…)

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The HighlineBilly’s Bakery. Diagnosis…DeliciousThe Limelight Marketplace

Chelsea Market

chelseamkt_1I 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.

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Liquiteria — It’s clean-up time everybody!

liquiteriaFirst it was low-carb, then it was no-carb and now it’s all about doing a “cleanse”. We all know of someone who has done it, wants to do it or plans to do it. A juice fast can do the body good every once in a while – even if it is just for a few hours (which is about all I can manage to do). It is especially great for kicking off a new eating routine (i.e.: breaking the coffee/sugar habit) and for those of us whose meals consist mainly of discarded nuggets and pre-chewed food that your kids have flung on the floor. The juices at liquiteria are the best in the city — fresh, delicious and extremely well priced, and if you swing by to talk to one of the owners they will customize your very own cleanse. I highly recommend ‘The Grasshopper’, ‘Beets Me’ and ‘The Killer’.

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