Kids are Good Enough for the Four Seasons

The Four Seasons restaurant in New York recently had their annual “Childrens Day,” where tots ages 5-14 get to eat free (sadly, their parents have no such free lunch, and will have to fork up for the Four’s fine fare.) And no children’s menu, so kids are encouraged to try the “Seared Block Island BLACK BASS, with Corn-Chanterelle Risotto and Truffle Popcorn or the Filet of BISON, Foie Gras with Perigord Black Truffle” or anything else on the Pool Room or Grill Room lunch menu.

No complaints, no controversy so I’m not sure if Gothamist will chime in, as they do anytime anyone complains about a child dropping a fork.

If a restaurant wants a no-child policy, that is their prerogative, but The Four Seasons obviously think it is good for business to be child-friendly Although there are TONS of child-friendly restaurants in Brooklyn it’d be nice if some of the finer ones thought this way as well (I’m looking at you Rosewater.)

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Unispheres, Rockets, and Dosa! Oh My!

Behold the Unisphere!

Maybe it’s because of its name, but Flushing Queens is one of the more underrated destinations in New York’s outer-boroughs. Aside from seeing the Mets lose play, most non-Queens residents don’t visit often. I’ve explored Fran Drescher’s neighborhood a couple of times in the past, but Juliet and I decided to take Nate for a short visit to this Queens ‘hood this weekend, and had a great time.

We drove to Flushing Meadows Corona Park and easily found parking. It is a huge park (more than 50% larger than Central Park), with a lots of soccer, softball, and cricket games going on. Although it isn’t the most kempt park, there was a good amount of litter, some of the landscaping is quite beautiful.

Rocket Park

But the real reason to go is the remnants of the World’s Fairs held here in 1939 and 1964. Having already visited Philip Johnson’s “Tent of Tomorrow” ruins and the Queen’s Museum on our last trip, we decided to hit the Unisphere and the Hall of Science.

When we saw the Unisphere, with the fountains going, Nate said, “Ooooooh, dats awsome.” I concured.

After that we walked over to the New York Hall of Science, a children’s science museum, but I wasn’t sure how a three year old would react. He loved it! I’m pretty sure Nate didn’t get the science behind it, but there was enough spinning and interactive exhibits to hold a toddler’s attention for 2 hours. The museum actually has an area dedicated to pre-schoolers, but Nate was particularly intrigued with the display demonstrating Kepler’s laws of planetary motion (balls spinning down a funnel.) Although he was very upset you couldn’t go in the rockets at Rocket Park.

Nate Observing Kepler's Laws

My only beef with the museum is that they nickle and dime you. Admission is $11 for adults and $8 for children, but then it is additional fees for the Science Playground, lunar mini-golf, space ship simulator, and even a crafts fee in the pre-school area. Nevertheless, it is a great visit for kids and adults.

We were getting hungry, and museum cafeteria fare was not on our agenda. We drove deep into Flushing, and made a little trans Asian journey, through Koreatown, Chinatown, and into the less known Indian section of Flushing.

My wife is a vegetarian, and I’m always looking for interesting restaurants, and I heard about Dosa Hutt, a south Indian restaurant right next to the Hindu Temple. Dosa Hutt is not much to look at, but they do make excellent dosa.

After loading up on dosa, Ras malai, and mango lassi, I considered getting some lemon ice from Benfaremo, The Lemon Ice King of Corona, but the fountains, rockets, and curried lentils had caught up with Nate, and he was passed out in the back seat.

Just as well, as it gives us another reason to come back to this misunderstood neighborhood.

Can a not even three-year-old be a sarcastic smart ass?

I’m not sure if he is trying to be funny or not, but my nearly 3-year-old son has been cracking me up lately.  And not with the usual silly baby stuff, real smart ass retorts. But coming from a two-year-old, they are killing me.

Nate: Daddy, what is that white thing on your face?
Daddy: Where?
Nate then spits on my cheek and laughs. (I’m incensed, but have to laugh.)

After throwing a temper tantrum
Mom (frustrated): Nate, do you have mental problems?
Nate: Do you?
(Mom still frustrated, Dad laughing hysterically, asking Mom, “well?”)

While on the potty
Mom: Nate, Why are you touching your penis?
Nate: Because I don’t want to touch my head!

That’s gold, Jerry! Gold!

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Re-visiting the Double D Pool

When there were threats of closing the Douglas and DeGraw, I didn’t lament its passing because I thought the neighborhood around the pool was not necessarily where I wanted to take my children.  The pool has since been “saved” and my family and I  decided to take a dip this past weekend, and perhaps I would reevaluate my initial judgment.  It is a nice pool, the staff is friendly, the pool itself is very clean (can’t say as much for the bathroom and locker rooms, but they were passable), and it is not too crowded. But my initial assessment still stands, it is a dicey area.  We got there 20 minutes before the pool opens at 11AM, so we decided to kill some time at the playground next door.  There were no children at the playground but there were two gentlemen sleeping on benches, and a third standing nervously in the corner.  I couldn’t determine if he was waiting for his “business” day to start or end. And this was all in a PLAYGROUND!

Granted, after waiting on line for 20 minutes at the Red Hook pool, and finding no place to to swim much less sit, dealing with some local riff-raff outside the pool might not seem like such a bad deal for a little elbow room and comfort. None-the-less…

Nice pool. Crummy neighborhood.

Dinner at Fornino

Park Slope probably didn’t need another Italian restaurant, but we finally went to Fornino in Park Slope, and it is definitely one of the better ones in the neighborhood.  My wife and I took Nate (almost 3) early, around 6 on a Friday.  It is a large space, and we were seated immediately. High tin ceilings with mod lighting mixed with tables and banquettes make for an inviting atmosphere.  Although I have to wonder what inspired the “Wendys-esque” old-time newspaper tables?

We passed on the children’s menu (although, I think it’s thoughtful to have one, but godforbid I offend the sensibility of the eater-atti) and Nate shared with us.  Although the pizza at their Williamsburg location is phenomenal, I heard the pizza at the Slope location was grilled, and I’m just not a fan.  Fortunately, the non-pizza options are excellent.  We started with the artichoke and herb aioli.  [Note to self, 3 year olds do not know just to eat the soft part pf artichoke leaves.]  After a bit of coughing, Nate improvised and started dunking the house focaccia in the aioli.  Nate was on to something, the aioli was delicious, and their focaccia was better than most, and I think their aioli/focaccia is a better combo than with the artichoke.

Next was the watermelon salad. Very simple with cheese and red and yellow watermelon, but refreshing on a muggy night.

Juliet got the grilled saffron ravioli with asparagus and a lemon Parmigiano sauce.  The pasta was well prepared, but sauce seemed a little bland to me, especially for a cream sauce with Parmigiano Reggiano.  But Nate seemed to like it more than my rigatoni with “Cucina’s famous sausage.” That was good by me, I couldnt get enough of the “famous” sausage. I’m not sure if the sausage is actually famous, but it should be!  I am definitely going to try more of their homemade sausage next visit.

The staff was friendly and quick, even after Nate broke his glass while pawing for more water after gagging on artichoke.

With an antsy kid nearing his bedtime, I know not to overstay my welcome at a place I want to come back to, so we passed on dessert. But had a nice pastry and Stumptown coffee from Trois Pommes patisserie next door as we walked home.