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3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Bethia Woolf

Each month I will be featuring a local parent who will tell us about three places they love to take their kids in Columbus! Thanks to Bethia for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month! Bethia is an expert in the ethnic food scene in Columbus so, naturally, she is sharing 3 places she loves to take her daughter to EAT in Columbus!

1. Sunflower Dim Sum

Sunflower is not only one of our daughter’s favorite restaurants, but also one of our favorite places to take her. During their weekend ‘dim sum’, a wide variety of appetizer-sized dishes are wheeled around on carts and to your table soon after you’re seated – useful since hungry children (and adults) don’t have to wait long for sustinence. You can order dishes in the traditional manner if you know of something specific your child would like, but you can also indulge their curiosity by letting them point and choose dishes on the carts. Dim sum at Sunflower is noisy and bustling, with plenty for the kids to watch, and the din of other diners seems to drown out low-level fussiness. They’re also well equipped with slings and high chairs, and very accommodating with kid’s water cups. A fish tank outside the entrance is a great diversion for restless toddlers.

Good starting dishes for kids new to dim sum are: shu mai, shrimp dumplings, sticky rice in lotus leaf, and silver needle noodles. Also the char siu bao, which comes in both steamed and baked varieties. We recommend the pandan jello and coconut jello on the dessert cart!

Tip: there are some great kids books about dim sum that can introduce the concept and some dishes before you go. We love Dim Sum For Everyone by Grace Lin.

2. Japanese Marketplace

Japanese restaurants in Columbus always seem to be particularly welcoming to children, and at Japan Marketplace you can choose from 4 unique Japanese food establishments offering a wide variety of child-friendly takes on the cuisine. Our daughter loves sushi so we often find ourselves at Sushi Ten where she craves either futomaki or a California roll with miso soup. Sushi Ten also offers appreciated diversions for young ones with their large and well-stocked aquarium and quirky Japanese kids shows on the TV.

Tensuke Express offers a variety of noodle, rice, and snack dishes and also has an overtly kid friendly atmosphere. For a fuller menu and table service there is Akai Hana which provides a distinct kids menu. Belle’s Bread offers sweet and savory pastries, crepes, parfaits and soft serve as well as some prepared sandwiches.

Tips: Japanese Marketplace also houses Tensuke Market where you can buy frozen dumplings, noodles, snacks and other kid-friendly Japanese food to take home. At Belle’s the changing table is conveniently located outside of the restrooms.

3. Menya Ramen

Menya is a uniquely popular destination for our daughter, and in no small part due to their dining room play area replete with a toy stove and kitchen utensils.

Though Menya doesn’t have a dedicated kids menu, their regular menu has proven exceptionally popular with the toddlers in my and my friend’s lives. We steer clear of the traditional ramen dishes for our three year old and instead share dipping noodles with her and order from the sides, including: dumplings, edamame (soy beans), onigiri (rice balls). You can also ask for side orders from the ‘extra topping’ menu, which includes traditional ramen toppings including sliced pork, soft boiled eggs, and extra noodles. Menya features shaved ice, ice cream and almond tofu for dessert. They also eager to please the little ones by providing child sized plastic plates, cups and utensils.

Tip: ask for a table near the play area so when the kids get bored at the table they can play close by while you finish your ramen or chat.


Bethia is the co-founder of Columbus Food Adventures, a business offering guided food tours in Columbus. You can find her on Instagram at @cbusadventures to see what she’s been eating. She lives in Victorian Village with her husband Andy and 3 year old daughter Zoe. They are really passionate about ethnic food and write for Columbus Monthly and blog at alteatscolumbus.com.

Bethia is originally from the UK, has traveled extensively and has lived on this side of the Atlantic for 15 years. Among other things she has worked as a financial regulator, high school teacher and rowing coach. Bethia is one of the founders of both tacotruckscolumbus.com, and streeteatscolumbus.com and is a board member of Slow Food Columbus and Dine Originals Columbus.


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3 Things to do With Your Kids in Pickerington

1. Blue Monkey Parties & Events

591 Hill Rd N, Pickerington, OH 43147, 614-828-8236

While Blue Monkey is primarily a party and event center, they do have open play hours and Toddler Time. I suggest checking their event calendar before planning your visit! Toddler Time currently takes place on Thursday mornings from 9:30-11:30 and includes a craft time! There is also open play available during certain evenings each week!

Several play areas are available including a sports arena, a dual slide, an inflatable obstacle course and other bounce houses! Blue Monkey hosted my family during open play a few months ago and that was the first time the kids really embraced a tall inflatable slide like that! 🙂 It was fun to watch them enjoy it!

2. Sweet Persuasions Bakery

1260 Hill Rd. N, Pickerington, OH 43147, 614-604-6714

Looking for a sweet treat during your day out? Sweet Persuasions Bakery has just about every kind of sweet treat available! I was doing Whole 30 during our visit so I can’t personally recommend a specific treat, but I can tell you I was very sad I couldn’t try any of them! My kids, of course, picked a donut with sprinkles because: sprinkles. But the brownies looked amazing! The shop is adorable inside and would make a cute spot for a Mommy-Daughter date!

  

3. Pickerington Ponds

4071 Bowen Rd. Canal Winchester, OH 43110, 614-208-4329

So the address for Pickerington Ponds is technically Canal Winchester, but the park is just about 3 miles from Blue Monkey and is called PICKERINGTON Ponds, so I rest my case. 😉 We had packed a lunch the day we visited Blue Monkey, so we stopped here to eat it.

There are two picnic pavilions and 5 trails. We had lunch at the Wood Duck Picnic area and followed the sign to the Wood Duck Viewing Deck which is pictured here. There were lots of birds to be seen! I learned from the website that there is also an observation deck near the other picnic pavilion as well.

There is no Nature Center or playground here, but if you want to get out and walk or ride bikes or just enjoy nature, this is a great stop in the area!

  

Do you have a favorite spot in Pickerington we should visit?

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5 on Friday: Chocolate Chip Cookies in Columbus

You guys – would you believe Friday, August 4th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day? Can you even believe my luck? When I was deciding what this month’s 5 on Friday feature would be, I could NOT pass this one up! I know I already featured 5 Bakeries, and at nearly all of them I got a chocolate chip cookie, so, in an honest effort not to repeat myself too much, I took on the great hardship of trying out a few new options to add to the list! 😉

1. Fox in the Snow

1031 N. 4th St., Columbus, OH 43201

A while back, Fox in the Snow posted a picture of a chocolate chip cookie with the statement that they had wanted to add a cookie to their amazing arsenal of baked goods (oh my!) but had just not been satisfied with a recipe – until now! Well, you know if Fox in the Snow has worked hard to perfect a recipe, it’s gonna be good. Still, I was still taken aback with my first bite. I know, that is a lot of hyperbole for a cookie, but when something is hyped up in your mind and it doesn’t disappoint, that’s saying something! Give a try to their brown butter, toffee, chocolate chip cookie (sprinkled with sea salt) and I just can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed!

P.S. I never thought I would take my kids to Fox in the Snow. It’s hip, trendy and not somewhere I have felt confident taking a 3 year old. HOWEVER – whenever I have gone, there have always been kids there. (Ok, a good number of them have been in infant car seats or just a single child) but I guess it boosted my confidence because when I stopped in to get the cookie, I actually let my kids talk me into a cinnamon roll and staying there to eat on their great outdoor patio. Granted, the patio is probably better for kids than inside, but I guess the moral of the story is don’t be afraid to take your kids there – the pastries are so good they’ll be guaranteed to sit still for at least 60 seconds. 😉


2. Northstar

Multiple Locations

So, I’ve been eating the double chocolate chip cookies at Northstar since 2008, but a few months ago I saw a regular chocolate chip cookie for the first time and couldn’t pass it up. (Have you noticed yet that chocolate chip cookies are my weakness?) It was gooey and yummy and I’m so glad they have them at Northstar now!


3. Kittie’s Cafe

2424 E Main St., Bexley, OH 43209,

Ok, I’ll admit, Kitties Cafe in Bexley is a repeat. But I just couldn’t leave off my favorite chocolate chip cookie. This salted chocolate chip cookie is the first one that made me stand back and say, “Whoa!” Plus this spot is across the street from the amazing Bexley Library and next door to Gramercy Books – so you’ve got complete outing already planned!


4. Freedom a la Cart

Inside the Northside Library, 1423 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43201

Speaking of another complete package, Freedom a la Cart has a cafe inside Columbus Metropolitan Library’s newly remodeled Northside Branch in the Short North! The cafe is on the first floor of the library and has a lot of treats to offer! Before I even knew I was going to write this post, I chose the salted chocolate chip cookie. Yum! Salt + Cookie is the best thing ever! Freedom a la Cart employs victims of human trafficking, giving them skills, experience and a safe place to learn a trade. Top your cookie off with a stop at the fish tank on the same floor and a visit to the kids’ area of the library and you’ve got your day’s outing done!


5. Sweet Carrot

1417 W 5th Ave., Columbus, OH, 43212, 614-488 – 7151

The chocolate chip cookie at Sweet Carrot looked so good from behind the counter the first time I ate there, but I passed it up. I had to try it out for this post so I stopped in to pick one up a few weeks ago. It was definitely yummy! I noticed a lot of other tasty looking desserts that will now get inside my head to try next! Sweet Carrot is a kid-friendly restaurant with a rabbit theme. They serve BBQ options (think pulled pork), mac and cheese and those two things together in a tasty combo! The decor inside is lots of fun! There’s an outdoor patio, too, so give it a try this summer!

Who makes your favorite chocolate chip cookie in Columbus?


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