ISO Baby Friendly Restaurants, Strategies & Info
- mc michael May 9, 2002 04:52 PM
We live in the area called variously Franklin Hills/Beachwood Canyon, or, in a broader sense, Hollywood/East Hollywood. We just adopted an infant. So, keeping in mind baby's schedule/demands (there's a window during which she'll be pleasant, after which she'll get cranky), the friendliness of booths, the availability of changing stations, etc, which places in the area are baby friendly? Which should be avoided? Any particular times to go and/or avoid? How do you prevent getting stuck at a table near a draft or the kitchen door? Is there any etiquette that applies in this circumstance? What's the best sort of local take out that will survive the trip home (as we know from prior posts, frites and some other foods get soggy and limp in transit--unless, of course, they're eaten en route)? All suggestions, anecdotes and words of wisdom welcomed. Thanks.
Congratulations! I would say, do a lot of what you normally do and cross those bridges when you come to them. Most of the nice restaurants don't have any of those amenities, so you just make do. Otherwise you'll end up at places like Cheescake Factory, if you require all of those conveniences. Obviously, there would need to be some pre-thought and some new strategies, and you'll end up walking outside with crying baby sometimes doing the pace and bounce walk. You'll learn the ever-handy trick of changing diapers on the fly. It'll be fine. It'll be great!!
We live in the "Oaks" off of Canyon Dr. and Chinatown is very convenient (except during rush hour). While perhaps not a primary option, remember that children are always welcome at most Chinese restaurants. One restaurant critic (may have been Jonathan Gold) made the comment that going to a large Chinese seafood palace without a little kid in tow and seeing all of the other kids there almost made him feel like renting one for the occasion.
re: mc michael
Best places would be the biggest, which in Chinatown would include Empress Pavilion, Ocean Seafood, CBS Seafood and ABC Seafood. Actually, on weekends it's not much further timewise to Monterey Park, which is in fact where we go--primarily to Ocean Star. We usually catch the Golden State Fwy. at Los Feliz to bypass downtown.
Congradulations......you are in for the time of your life! When my son (who is now 16 months) was an infant we took him to nice restaurants & left him in his infant carrier/carseat & he was usually pretty happy & sometimes just slept. What's always nice is finding a restaurant where staff is extremely friendly & helpful....a few times our son was held by baby crazy servers while we ate hurriedly! I think other suggestions are right on...live life as you did & accept the inconveniences. Get use to eating in shifts for a while & soon enough your child will become acclimated to things. At this point we are able to take our son everywhere w/us as he eats most anything which is quite nice...
when your child is old enough purchase a good portable highchair for those restaurants that don't provide one. many highchairs are just so uncomfortable I use mine even if there is one (not to mention it's more sanitary). check out babycenter.com if you haven't already.....i recently purchased a portable, self-inflating, lightweight booster/highchair that was only $20!
oh, sorry no specific restaurant suggestions...we are on the westside.
Having raised Cameron the chow-pup since he was whelped 11 yrs ago in much the same neighborhood (west silverlake/franklin hills) I know that this baby-in-restaurant thing can be done with sufficient fortitude.
First, become convinced that your kid, unless he or she is naturally high-strung and fussy, is probably a whole lot more resilient, short-term, than you give him or her credit for, at least if you are first-time parents. They don't break, they don't melt, they can eat a certain amount of plain unadulterated DIRT without hurting themselves, and thisd is SO CAL, so you can't freeze 'em.
Almost all of the Thai places in Holloywood are kid-friendly, more or less. The Ocha chain, and Vim, have track records with us. Both also package take-out that will hold the ten-minute drive home.
Italian "bistro" places (e.g. Farfalla) and old "red sauce" places (Palermo, Casa Bianca) are more kid friendly than others, if only because the noise level will drown out kid-chatter (though not actual screaming). Two of my favorite
memories are of his first bowl of pasta with real sauce at Dominick's in Sunland/Tujunga, and his receiving a tiny bowl of tiramisu, with a demitasse spoon, at Farfalla, when he first learned to manage to feed himself.