At our first appointment with June's pediatrician, we were advised to not take the baby out to any public places that are enclosed with people and processed air i.e. no restaurants! The thought of being couped up for 60 days in the house was not sitting well with me. After 16 years of working 10-12 hours a day, I finally have the chance to be a "lady who lunches" and I can't go to a restaurant?! Hmmm... Well, luckily we live in a city chock full of what I call "infant-friendly" restaurants. It doesn't take much to qualify as an "infant-friendly" restaurant. After all, we're not exactly in need of a kids menu or crayons. What we do require is ample outdoor seating with space for a stroller and yummy, healthy food for a breast feeding Mommy.
Here are my most frequented spots these days:
1. Chin Chin's (206 S. Beverly Dr.)
There used to be a secret item on the menu called the "dim sum and then sum"... for 10 bucks you can have a half order of their world famous chinese chicken salad as well as 2 items off the dim sum menu. It became so popular they took it off the menu but if you were an long time customer who knew about it, you could still order it. They finally broke down and put it back on the menu. I'm obsessed with their szechuan dumplings which are drenched in a spicy cilantro sauce and their steamed chicken dumplings which come with a light but sweet apricot dipping sauce.
2. Oliver's (9601 Wilshire Blvd.)
Oliver's is attached to the Sports Club LA and only serves healthy, spa fare. You MUST try their avocado and brie cheese bruschetta, it is ridiculously amazing and I've never seen it on any other menu before in my life. They have a killer chopped salad and great smoothies. It's also across the street from Barney's so you can always sneak away for a quick shopping excursion.
3. Westfield/Century City Mall Food Court (1801 Ave. of the Stars)
The food court at the Westfield Mall in Century City is mindblowing because it has quality food. It's not just Panda Express and Hot Dog on a Stick. My favorite spot is the Lawry's Cutlery which is a mini version of Lawry's. Where else can you get a mini Thanksgiving dinner in the month of May in 10 minutes? I also love Tacone, the gourmet wrap stand which offers sweet potato french fries (yummmm). Oh - I forgot to mention that at this food court, they actually serve the food on real plates! AND it's a stone's throw from the Container Store so we can also feed our illness (more on that later).
4. The Farmer's Market (6333 West Third St.)
Another fantastic food court type situation. Korean BBQ, cajun cooking, french crepes and Johnny Rockets (stay away from milkshakes though - fattening for Mommy and causes gas for baby) all in the same spot! You can also pick up some fresh produce and meats for the evening's dinner without having to move your car... key! And there's a fantastic fresh pie shop in case you are going to visit the grandparents later and have to bring something.
5. Il Pastaio (400 N. Canon Dr.)
For me, this is one of the best Italian restaurants in LA. They make all their pasta from scratch and you feel like you can eat the whole menu without gaining an ounce because the ingredients are so fresh. Great people and celeb watching too... you'll see everyone from Kate Beckinsale to Diane Keaton as well as a parade of Bentleys and Rolls Royces.