How is this possible you might ask? It's possible because of an amazing venue called Cool de Sac.
Do you remember what life was like pre-kids? There were so many things taken for granted. You didn't have to worry about your dining partners throwing food on the floor, or screaming because their food wasn't coming fast enough, or taking three trips to the bathroom... and perhaps most importantly, you could actually eat and enjoy your food back then because you didn't have to worry about making sure everyone else at the table was eating and/or behaving appropriately.
Out of all the things that I didn't realize were going to change after having a baby, I think having a peaceful meal is the one that hit me the hardest.
When I was invited last month to attend a day for mommy-bloggers at the Dolphin Mall in Miami, I knew that we were going to head to a place called Cool de Sac for lunch, but I assumed it was your run-of-the-mill mommy cafe. (You know, the ones that you are supposed to be able to relax at, but then you spend most of your time running around making sure your kid isn't picked on/picking on others?) I was incredibly impressed with Cool De Sac. It was amazing. I was compensated for my time at the mall (I think I have the best job ever, amirite?) but same as always, my opinions are my own.
How amazing was Cool de Sac? Just check out these pictures:
Believe it or not, the photo below is the dining area for Cool de Sac. Chic, classy, adult. (Well, adult other than the brightly colored paintings on the wall!) It looks like the type of place I'd pop in for a lunch with girlfriends or my husband. (You know, in my dream world where my mom watches my kids every time I see something grown-up I'd like to do.) Gone are the plastic benches and neon-colored chairs that normally adorn every "child-friendly" establishment I see. Bonus? The aisle is big enough to hold a stroller, and there was a large spot near my table for me to even park mine into!
One of the first things I noticed after getting seated was that the play area was separate from the dining area, but in such a way that your children would never be out of your sight. The dining room is a large rectangle, and the play area goes in a long "L" shape around it. No matter where my kids played, I could see exactly where they were. Here's a shot I took from my table!
A variety of interesting activities were available for the kids to play with, and all of them were right within my line of sight.
Both of my children had fun playing with arts & crafts, a variety of Lego board stations, floating beach-balls, magnetized washers, coloring chalk people, playing video games, getting their faces painted, putting on costumes, plus so much more!
I was really impressed by how well thought-out the entire play area was. They didn't have too many "girl" or "boy" activities, and there was a great variety of interesting activities for every age. For smaller children there was a walled off play area with closer seating for moms & dads. (Love that because it lets me know that my tiny gal isn't going to get trampled!)
And for older kids there were video games and a jungle-gym-type of play area. I especially liked that the access to the jungle-gym contraption was closed off. To get in, you had to be at least old enough to pull open the door! (That means my four-year-old isn't getting in there unless I help him! And since he tends to climb up in those things and then cry because he doesn't know how to get down, this is a huge load off my mind!)
Another great perk at Cool de Sac is that the menu was designed to not only be healthy, but to genuinely be the type of food you would eat if you were on a dinner date or lunch outing. I had a caesar salad and club sandwich while the kids played. When they were ready to eat, they would wander over to our table, take a bite of their own meals and then head back to the play area for more fun. Bonus: You can order a nice glass of wine to go with your meal, making this a place that is definitely date-worthy.
The very best part of this entire place was the assistance given to parents throughout the meal. From the wait-staff (who made sure the kids received their meals first) to the hostess (who kept an eye on the entrance to make sure children didn't unlatch the gate and leave, like my daughter tried to!) to the attendants inside the play area (who were a wonderful help for any child who needed something!)
I felt like the workers at Cool de Sac had one mission in mind: to make sure that my kids and I had a wonderful afternoon. And we did. My children had a blast, I had a meal that didn't end with me apologizing to the waitress while picking pieces of food off the floor, and for the first time in a long while I was able to eat and relax at the same time. It was awesome.
Connect:Want to know more about Cool de Sac? You can find them on their website at www.CooldeSac.com. Or check out the Dolphin Mall location in social media for deals & updates on Facebook and Twitter.
Have you been to Cool de Sac? Do you have a favorite lunch spot to take your kids?
Chat with me in the comments below, I love hearing from my readers!