Stella with her favorite toy in the play corner
Lots of yummy and affordable things to eat!
I call this Temptation Island.
Miss Katie leading her fabulous sing along!
I bet you thought I forgot about Kvelling Corner, the section of my blog where I rave like a lunatic about awesome baby-centric things. Oh no, my friend, I just was lacking for things to rave about for a while.
But now I want to sing the praises of a local cafe that has been, not to sound dramatic, my saving grace these past several months.
You see, once you have a toddler, your options for public places in which you can consume anything edible dwindle. Especially if your kid, like Stella, has problems, um, staying in one place for long, there are not many places that will welcome you with open arms or have nooks and crannies to occupy your kinetic offspring.
Except for places like The Oak and The Iris. I wish they had a website I could direct you to, but for now I'll just give your their info the old fashioned way. Located on Ft. Hamilton between E. 4th and E.5th Streets in Windsor Terrace, two blocks off the F train at Ft. Hamilton, 718.288.2217.
The Oak and The Iris is a cafe. They make your standard lattes and hot chocolates and have yummy, tempting baked goods for sale. But they also have an expansive, affordable menu of sit-down hot breakfasts, lunches and dinners, including a delectable, $8 Fettuccine alla Carbonara I consumed the other day. Stella's favorite is the $4 mac and cheese from the kid's menu, an ooey, gooey homemade version of the comfort food fave, served in a bowl that could feed three Stellas and with a side of either juice or fresh fruit.
And The Oak and The Iris, unlike some other Brooklyn restaurants and cafes who make false claims, is actually kid-friendly. Not only do they have a great menu of food and drinks for your rugrat, they also have a corner in the back filled with books and toys that will keep a normal child occupied for up to 30 minutes while you enjoy your snack and beverage (it works a whopping 10 minutes on Stella, a world record by any unit of measure).
And, much to the chagrin of some single folks who want to cozy up to their laptops, The Oak and The Iris hosts wonderful sing-alongs a few times a week. Here is the current schedule:
Mondays, 3:45, Yoshi and his ukulele
Tuesdays, 3:00, Joanne and her interactive music class
Thursdays, 4:30, Katie and her guitar
Each sing-along is a mere $5, so much less than other music classes, and we love them all. We can't go to Mondays anymore, due to my work schedule, but Stella is addicted to both Joanne's and Katie's classes.
Joanne brings a huge xylophone, drum and auto harp that she lets the kids experiment with, creating songs on the fly about whatever's on the little ones' minds that day.
Katie has an ever-growing repertoire of fun, hip kids songs, including her personal adaptations of the Beatles, Elvis and Willie Nelson. Stella is, to be honest, a little in love with Katie. She can't leave the poor woman alone during her set and afterwards wants to sit on her own little chair with the play guitar at The Oak and The Iris, singing the beginning to Baa Baa Black Sheep to her own invisible audience.
So, I salute you, The Oak and The Iris. You give me a place to buy coffee, a place to have a dinner out with my kid (without nasty stares from singletons), and a place to nourish the music-lover that is my child. I wish you much continued success.
Oh, and I'll be by later for the usual: Veggie Booty for Stella and a latte for me. On the house, right?
Oh, and if you want to hear more from Stella's favorite singer, check out: www.myspace.com/kateemullins