Monday, December 20, 2010

More Proof That You Should Travel With Baby

I don't usually love the travel coverage in the NY Times, but this story, Traveling in Southeast Asia With a Rock-Star Baby, is great. It's not going to tell you where to go and what to do, but it should give you the confidence (and motivation) to take your baby to Southeast Asia. It makes me (almost) want to have a baby just so I can go and see for myself. 

(photo from article, taken by author, Jennifer Bleyer)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Better Late Than Never

I've been sick all week, and completely forgot to post about my husband's William Brown Project event TODAY at Partners and Spade . If you happen to be reading this, and are going to be in the lower part of Manhattan today, do stop by and say hello. He'll be selling his own red wine vinegar, lard from our pigs, and champagne sabreing kits. (12-6pm)

Ageism Jr.

Sam Sifton wrote a piece in the Times on Friday, about taking your kids to Peter Luger. His take isn't actually so interesting--what I liked reading was the comments from readers. I agree with the reader that said that it really depends on what kind of kid you have. You just can't make blanket generalizations about kids--Sifton's being that kids under 10 shouldn't go to Peter Luger. Here's Clara at one of our favorite steak houses in New York, Keen's, where they doted on her.

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Airplane Accessory

I just spotted these at our local food coop the other day. Turns out they have chocolate/peanut butter, chocolate/hazelnut, and a couple of other sweet options. Genius for traveling. 

Buenos Aires with Kids?

It's funny, in one week, I had two emails from different friends about what to do in BA with kids. I've never been, but since I did a little research, I figured I'd post what I found here. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Cheer

We did our annual trip to Rockefeller Center last week, and I think I've figured out the best way to do it. Always go on a weekday (way less crowded), go early-ish, know where you're going to dinner, and make it close and/or easy. The dinner nearby is probably the biggest challenge, since every Midtown place that you might want to go to is packed with theater goers at the hour you'd need to go. Or they're too expensive. Or both. You can do a couple of things--hop on the train and take it two stops down on the 6th Ave line, to 34th St. Walk two blocks to Koreatown, which is filled with fantastic Korean favorites are Kum Gang San at 49 W. 32nd, or Kang Suh. Just a block further, between 5th and Madison, on 32nd, is Hangawi . It's vegetarian Korean, and we love it for it's traditional approach--you take off your shoes when you come in. It's definitely more expensive and less raucous of an atmosphere as the others, so if your kids are wound up from too many Christmas cookies, don't come here.  For a more traditional Christmas vibe, there's the pub room at Keen's (on 36th St and 6th Ave), one of my all-time favorites. If you don't want to hop on a train, you could walk up to Menchenko-Tei, on 55th St, for some great Japanese noodles. (See my post on it here .) We were lucky enough to have Clara's grandma with us, and they went to Rockettes--so we took a break at Sardi's and had a drink upstairs. I love the bar up there--they have crocks of cheese and Ritz crackers that go perfectly with their delicious martinis. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Seaport Without the Mall

We've always wanted to check out the New Amsterdam Market by the Seaport, but never made it there until this Sunday. It happened to be themed "coffee and chocolate" so there were all kinds of passionate coffee and chocolate vendors I'd never heard of, a porchetta sandwich stand from Porchetta (delicious and $5), Saxelby Cheese, and a duck farm from upstate . Of course there was more than that, but that was what we stopped at. It is outside and on the water, so it can be very cold, but the people are very nice and it has a nice vibe, and there is parking right there. Afterwards, you could head across the street to one of our favorite wine shops, Pasanella and Son , and pick up some lambrusco (there's one that has a cloth-like label and looks great--perfect for gifts) for the holidays.  

This Sunday our friend Anne has who has a farm upstate (Old Field Farm/Art and Agriculture ) will be there. I was going to edit down her list of everything they'll have there, but I decided to just cut-and-paste. That way you can see everything they'll have, and you can pre-order some of their amazing pork. I'm going if just to buy some pig-fat soap.

"This year's Humble cuts include our Bacon, Pancetta, Rillettes, Headcheese, Pate de Campagne and fresh Toulouse Sausage.

 We will be bringing a few Noble Cuts on pre-order, for pick up at the Market. $7.00 per pound
 Loin Rack (bone in) average 5 - 10 lbs.
Whole spare Ribs average 3 lbs
Whole Shoulder Roast, skin on, bone in, 10 - 15 pounds
Noble Cuts were deep frozen immediately after butchering last week.  They should be kept frozen until use, and then defrosted in the fridge.
Please email if you wish to reserve Roasts or Ribs for which we have limited stock.  We should have plenty of stock on the Humble side, but the Nobles are very first come, first served.
We have amazing ceramics from Natsuko Uchino and Paula Greif - trays, platters, water and syrup vessels, honey pots, bootleg cups, and terrine pots.
We will also be bringing in our honey, maple syrup, delicious and beautiful free-range eggs, tisanes, purification sets of home grown luffas, pig fat soap, smudge sticks, copper age brooms, a few radical books for your holiday enjoyment and more."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Venice Apartments that Inspire a Trip to Venice

I haven't taken Clara to Venice yet. I know she'd love it, but I just haven't been dying to go there. Until now. I just discovered this website of amazing apartments in Venice, and I think I'd go there even if just for them. This is the first one I clicked on--it's 1025 euros for a week, but can be booked for shorter stays. 
And how about this one ...I just sent an email to the company to see what's available during spring break!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter Break Fantasy: Carlisle Bay Antigua

We've been lucky to make it to Carlisle Bay in Antigua twice. I think it's one of our favorite hotels in the Caribbean. And llthough it's not cheap, they frequently have packages that make it not astronomically expensive, although still in the expensive category. When the package is offered, it's something like $850 per night for a family room and that includes all meals, and $50 per night in drinks. If you consider that most hotels would charge around $500 for a family room (meaning a separate room for the parents), and this is one that is smack on the beach, and includes all your meals, plus afternoon tea (it's British!), and that the food is primarily organic and local, not some crappy buffet, you'll start thinking it's a deal. While it isn't as easy to get to as the islands that are nonstop flights (Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Lucia), it is so worth it. (And depending on the day you fly, there are sometimes nonstop flights here on Continental--I think on Saturdays.)  Here's why we love it so much:
1. The food is so good. And that is not something you can say for most resorts in the Caribbean. They pride themselves on having great relationships with local farmers, and having local and organic food on vacation is a huge plus.  They also have two restaurants--one is on the beach, more casual and has more standard fare, and the other, East, is only open for dinner, and is Asian influenced. Just the kind of food that goes perfectly with being at the beach--I've always wondered why there are resorts serving big steaks and potatoes on their menus and not doing little skewers and pad thai. If you have a really little one and don't want to go out in the evening, they will do room service, and you can eat on your patio which butts up to the sand, looking out over the sea, and feel like you are out to dinner.  For kids, they have a fantastic early dinner that is served buffet-style around 5:30-7. with everything from the usual suspects of pasta and chicken to local fruits and well cooked vegetables. This hour functions like a cocktail mixer, as the parents all meet each other while their kids eat and run around. I love this about Carlisle Bay--there are lots of opportunities to meet other nice parents, in a non-forced way.
2. The pool is fantastic, even for toddlers. It has a ledge around most of it, which is about 10 inches below the water, where you can sit with your baby, or have your toddler resting on it while you stand in deeper water. There are pool toys for the kids, and lots of chaise lounges in the shade, should someone need a nap. The staff come by all the time with little fruit snacks or drinks and towels, all complimentary.
3. The kids club is perfect. It has a nice playground, and a little completely shaded pool, and great staff.
4. There's plenty to do if your kid is in the club--morning yoga/pilates, a fantastic spa, a library with books you actually want to look at, and great hikes just out the door of the hotel.
5. The beach is lovely. Water is calm, and there are no jet skis zooming about.
6. The room is well-designed for families. The beachfront suites, which is what is offered to families, are on the ground level, and they have a huge front bedroom with living room area, and a sliding glass door out to the private patio which is one the beach. The front room has the closet, and is where the children sleep. They can put a crib in, or make it up with a twin bed, or whatever you need. I don't know that it could accommodate more than two kids, but you can call and check. Then there's a huge bathroom and a hall between that room and yours, so you aren't on top of each other, but you're also not having them in an adjoining room, where you can't hear them if the door shuts. The suite also has an espresso machine, which is a lovely thing to behold when you wake up and don't want to walk to the restaurant to get your coffee, or to wait for one to be delivered.
 local jams and honey
 local yogurt and fresh juices every morning
 kids club

Friday, December 3, 2010

Paris Shopping

I could do a week of posts just on the shopping in Paris. It's not so much that I go into the shops to actually buy, since the exchange rate and the prices really make it unaffordable—but I love going into the stores because they are so beautifully and thoughtfully done. Here are some of my favorites from this trip.

The new three level Bonton store in the 3rd on rue des Filles Calvaire, complete with candy bar, hair salon, and book store.
Just down the street from Bonton, another favorite is the concept store Merci . I love their kitchen department the most.
And my favorite stop is the Bonpoint outlet...where you can get deals for 50-80% off, bringing into a range that is somewhat reasonable.
Talc is a line for girls that I love. We bought several pieces when we were there two years ago, and Clara still wears them. Even though the dress is now a shirt, the way the designer cuts them, the clothes grow/evolve with the child. And the price-point is way lower than any of the other Parisian kid designers. In the States you can find Talc at our favorite store, Sweet William. We got lucky and were there the weekend they were having a sample sale.
Although Zef is another favorite, it seems their prices have gone up significantly. The good news is, they also have a surplus store on rue de Richelieu in the 1st, where we found some great deals.
The Bon Marche is such a great store to explore--I love the food market, and I love how they have all of the great Parisian (and other) designers, all in one place. It beats wandering around if it's cold outside. There's also a little park across the street.
Andre is a chain of shoe stores, all their own label. It's pretty cheap. A couple of years ago I got a pair of K Jacques rip-off sandals here for $30, and have gotten endless compliments on them. And they haven't fallen apart. This trip, I got a pair of suede chelsea boots and suede desert boots, each for around $75.
Although I have no pictures of either, I love the chain Princesse Tam-Tam  for their bras, and I discovered a store called Cos in the Marais, that is a very minimal line from H&M. I found several great dresses that look like they should cost alot, and they were all under $100.