the hungry toddler: Farley's East

The hungry toddler is back, with an all-new toddler (I almost wrote "new and improved" but I think that would be a little messed up, catchy as it is)! Since "baby" #2 is really a toddler now, I thought it would be fun (and by fun I mean only occasionally miserable) to revive this series of posts, since I started a little too late with child #1, now undeniably a "big kid", a decent eater, and relatively well-behaved at restaurants. Where's the fun in that?! I considered moving this series of blog updates to my more family-oriented blog but these posts are really more about the places we go in and around Oakland, not so much an update on the toddler. Right?

Okay, let's get right to it! This morning I met up with a friend and her budding toddler, just a couple weeks older than my own, at Farley's East in the uptown section of Oakland. Initially we were going to meet at Hive, which I know has a kids' play area (more about Hive in a separate post). Then last night this friend texted me asking if I'd be up for meeting at Farley's East instead, because her husband told her it had a kids' area as well. Wait a minute, was this that place that has the outdoor seating in what is essentially a parking space? I've passed by it several times (in fact, I used to work in this area years ago) - it's always packed to the gills with hipster-types (not that there's anything wrong with that). So I checked the Yelp page on my phone, scrolled down to the "good for kids?" area, saw that that question was answered "no" and decided to do a little more online investigating. Sure enough, I came across this article that mentions the loft area upstairs and a little space with kids' toys, puzzles, and books. Okay, I texted my friend, let's give it a shot!

The coffee shop does indeed have an undeniably hipster vibe to it (but really, what doesn't these days, especially in certain parts of Oakland?), and we got a lot of the typical hipster-encounters-child stares, as if we were toting aliens around on our hips (yes, sometimes I wonder and do a double-take, myself), but other than that I found the more negative reviews to be debunked by what was very friendly counter service, a delicious almond milk latte, and a yummy, if a bit early, salted chocolate chip cookie (I mean, really, what's the difference, calorically speaking, between a cookie and a scone or muffin, right?).

As for the kids' area, it's no Play Cafe. My toddler tripped and bonked her chin on the corner of the coffee table and both kids tried repeatedly to put that zebra, which looks deceptively clean in this image, in their mouths. And this area is right around the corner from the stairs which, obviously, pose a slight hazard to the toddler age group. So, ironically, I too would indicate that it's not so great for kids if I left a review on Yelp. I did, however, file it away under possible places to get a little laptop work in while the toddler's in daycare.

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