Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dining out with the dictator - England

Before the Little Dictator arrived, a major component of our travels had involved dining out. We had been warned by a friend who had lived in London with a toddler that London restaurants were not the most baby friendly, and we steeled ourselves for fast food and takeaway for dinner.

What we found was surprisingly good food at several receptive, casual restaurants, though the intricacies of pub licensing eluded us -- if they have a patio they may be able to seat you, but if they only serve alcohol and no food, they cannot allow you in even though the infant is sleeping? Not clear on all that -- and we never did have the courage to try a proper afternoon tea, even with a sleeping dictator.

For the most part, however, we worked out a routine of feeding the LD, walking her in the stroller or bjorn until she fell asleep, and walking her some more, and then venturing into the restaurant, hoping for a somewhat isolated booth with understanding neighbors. We had excellent fish at Fishworks and superb fish and chips at Ses Shell, both in Marylebone, and surprisingly good and affordable Italian at Felicini in Manchester, and, with limited success, a gastropub called Sam's Chop House, also in Manchester. We did have a few takeaway and fast food dinners, and found a friendly gay bar/restaurant in Manchester (Taurus) as well.

If we weren't working on colleagues' recommendations and assurances that the restaurant was baby friendly, our process for dinner involved circling the unsuspecting restaurant several times and then stalking our prey with a sleeping LD to make sure she wouldn't wake. Upon entering, we looked for improvisational baby changing and feeding facilities, such as high booths with comfortable benches, and baby soothing nooks for walking the LD in case she woke up. Sometimes all the best planning didn't keep the LD sleeping peacefully through dinner, but luckily that did not become much of an issue until we got to Copenhagen, where they seem to love kids and babies everywhere, even when they're screaming.

Having some slight problems with BlogPress, so here are some random pictures of the Little Dictator in England:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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