MOB BROOKLYN: 525 Atlantic Avenue
So this place is in the heart of Brooklyn and is a vegetarian-only, vegan, gluten-free optional restaurant. You can only wear hemp and showers are not encouraged (KIDDING.) But I do command you to stop your eye roll and Free Yo Mind! Even the most loyal of meat eaters would have a hard time saying anything bad about the food here. It is that good. If you think you could never have mac and cheese without the cheese...I dare you to try their cashew-based mac and "cheese." You won't even miss the cheese. Their gluten-free, veggie burgers are something to write home about and they start the meal with complimentary gluten-free pumpkin muffins...which are also blow-your-mind good. Oh, and portabella steaks are a thing....just so you know. And if I'm not blowing smoke up this restaurant's butt enough, it is massively kid-friendly. Like, play-area, let-your-kids-roam kid friendly. Go figure the day we were craving (yes, it is possibly to crave food like "THIS") MOB, Jenson passed out in his stroller about a block away. While this made for a heavenly lunch for us, Jenson majorly missed out. But I got over it pretty fast.
How disruptive will my kids be?
They won't be! This place highly encourages your wild brood. Before they turned the front part of the restaurant into more tables, it used to be an area filled with toys and foam tiles. While that is now gone, they do have a smaller area toward the back with toys, blocks and some toddler chairs. The vibe is fun and the tables are communal so it's not uncommon to see little ones sort of roaming around aimlessly. Noone seems to care and there is usually some form of hip hop music playing in the background or a DJ spinning. It's really great for kids AND adults.
Can I bring a stroller into the restaurant?
Yes, but just be mindful. The space is large and there are plenty of configurations where even the biggest of chariots can fit with ease into a corner. Jenson was asleep in his stroller and we just wheeled him outside out of the way. The patio is bit more cramped, so I wouldn't recommend keeping your stroller open unless it was slower and you had either the front table or one at the very back of the patio.
Does the restaurant cater to kids in any way?
Massively. There are toys, changing tables, crayons, mini-muffins and while there is no kid menu, they can make a mini version of anything on the menu. There are lots of side options as well that are healthy, but still have kid appeal, if you don't want to pay for a full entree. They will also charge you a cheaper price if you order a mini version of whatever you order.
How early does the restaurant start serving dinner?
They open at noon during the week and 11AM on weekends. They have a special brunch menu on Saturday and Sundays from 11AM-4PM and during the week they start serving dinner at 5PM. Perfect for those rock 'n' roll weekend dinners that commence at 5:30PM on the dot.
Are there food options for allergic kids?
YES! I have never seen a place where it actually lists the allergies that could affect you or your child if you ate that particular item. You can go on their website and it lists the food item and then lists the potential allergy hazards. So far, this is the most friendly, allergy-conscious restaurant I've ever been in.
Why? This place really does tick all the boxes. Well, not the meat box...but the food is so good that even this Midwest sausage lover can't get enough of this place. It's great for groups, kids of all different ages and it even has a floor area that encourages your kids to go hang there while you eat. I love that it gives families an opportunity to expose their kids to different types of foods that fall outside the realm of cheese, white bread and pasta. This is a massive Furst Bites win!
***If cooking Christmas dinner is making you cringe like my hubby was when I asked him to take this photo then you should read this post
Tis' the season to start amassing even more credit card debt, regret behavior at work parties and spend a dizzying amount of time feeling inadequate about your potentially tacky-looking mantle and pathetic-looking reindeer cookies (Die. Pinterest. Die.) So I thought I'd bring some Brooklynites some holiday cheer that comes in the form of a list of restaurants that are open on Christmas or Christmas Eve...and some are open on both days. Stop feeling guilty about what you're not making or beating yourself up because your table setting would make Martha's hate list. Let someone else (IE) a restaurant do all the dirty work for you...
Little Goat gets high marks for being open super early on the weekends (7 AM!), which is helpful if you have little creatures at home who arise with the sun. They also offer valet parking, which seems like an unnecessary extravagance early on a Saturday morning, until your hanger overtakes you and you scream at your husband because there are no. goddamn. parking. spots.
Swan Dive turns into the most organic playgroup you've even seen. Kids can roam free, draw with chalk, play corn hole (or just stand inappropriately on the base) and parents can drink cocktails and not worry about disrupting the neighbors (you are)...but it doesn't matter. The food is mostly meat and lets just hope your kids aren't nude shy...
OK, so this is an ice cream shop. I get it...of course it's kid-friendly. BUT, not all ice cream shops are cut from the same kid-friendly cloth. And being that 76 percent of my diet in the summer months is ice cream, it seemed my/our civic duty to review this place for the First Bites community. First off, if you live in Brooklyn (and Manhattan for that matter) you KNOW Ample Hills. Bold statements are made from people that this really is "the best ice cream in America." And being that this ice cream shop is headquartered in the artisanal capital of the universe, rest be assured Ample Hills makes from start to finish all of their ice cream flavors. But don't get too attached to a flavor because the menu is constantly changing. They keep us on our toes...and validating deep internal monologues of why we MUST go back the next day....and the day after that.
08/09/14 - For Sunday Features. Lines. Ample Hills Creamery is located at Union Street in Brooklyn. NYC August 9 2014 (photo by Christian Johnston)
They opened their first place in Queens, NY six years ago....and now they are opening up locations in Tokyo and Frankfurt. Bareburger moves fast. If I'm being totally honest, it's the sort of place I normally don't like eating at. Why? It's just all a bit too perfect. Sort of that "you're in Disneyworld" feel and the founders have spent a lot of money on consumer psychology research. But like Disneyworld, you somehow find yourself BACK in Harry Potter land and swearing to yourself that you are going to go for New Year's Eve EVERY.SINGLE. YEAR because it is THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH.
So you don't have a Shake Shack in your city? No problem! I recreated the Shake Shack burger in my kitchen and it legit tastes JUST like the real thing. Thank you @Smittenkitchen for this amazing recipe. Just because you don't live in New York, doesn't mean you can't eat like a New Yorker. And seriously....this TASTES JUST LIKE THE REAL THING!! Chalk this up to one of my life's greatest accomplishment. Sorry husband and child......
This is basically NY's version of In-N-Out except it is not. Shake Shack is a bit more urban and it stands apart in the burger arena by using a proprietary burger that’s vegetarian fed and humanely raised. Cooked-to-order burgers are topped with fresh ingredients and served on a non-GMO roll. They also make their own custard ice cream that is full of REAL sugar and the most important part of this chain....they serve ALCOHOL. Uh huh. So go ahead and order your kid cocaine that comes in the form of a brownie, custard concrete...it doesn't matter, because you will be sipping wine and all will be right in the world.
It was a day of lunching sophistication. Not even an American (me) could damper that. We headed over to Hotel du Vin, Cannizaro House. Hotel du Vin is a chain of luxury boutique hotels scattered throughout London. Olly's family lives in Wimbledon so we walked over to Cannizaro Park, a massive park that is amazing for kids to run around in (did I mention it is GRASS and NOT concrete?!), feed the ducks, look at flowers and see a mini aviary of birds. On these grounds sits the large mansion-hotel that has a windowed bistro that sits on the park grounds. Before we had lunch, we walked around, fed the ducks and tried in vain to tire out Jenson. Once we walked into the restaurant, I noticed something immediately. There were no kids except for Jenson and my 7-year-old-niece...
So this place is in the heart of Brooklyn and is a vegetarian-only, vegan, gluten-free optional restaurant. You can only wear hemp and showers are not encouraged (KIDDING.) But I do command you to stop your eye roll and Free Yo Mind! Even the most loyal of meat eaters would have a hard time saying anything bad about the food here. It is that good. If you think you could never have mac and cheese without the cheese...I dare you to try their cashew-based mac and "cheese." You won't even miss the cheese. Their gluten-free, veggie burgers are something to write home about and they start the meal with complimentary gluten-free pumpkin muffins...which are also blow-your-mind good. Oh, and portabella steaks are a thing. Did I mention that they are MASSIVELY kid-friendly?!
Calexico is a venue that started out selling their burritos and tacos out of a food truck and now have locations all over New York...but they still sell out of carts. Armed with Jenson, we popped in for some lunch at their new*ish Red Hook location before hitting the Brooklyn waterfront.