Just Opened: Luxury Spa with Child Care

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spruce

Sometimes all you need in order to wind down is a relaxing massage, but we all know that’s not the easiest thing to schedule when you’re a mom. Between shuttling the little ones to school and soccer practice, set aside some time to visit the East Bay’s newest spa and salon—you won’t regret it! Not only does Spruce Salon & Spa offer chic hairstyling, skin care and massages, they also offer every mom’s dream: onsite childcare.

Treat Yourself Right
You’ll feel right at home in the entryway and waiting area at Spruce Salon & Spa—it’s got hip yet simple decor, along with a tray of brownie bites, a bottle of champagne and iPads. Plus, the amazing staff is super friendly and accommodating on the phone and in person. From a variety of massages and skin care to haircuts, color and nail services, it is all offered in a cozy converted house. The stylists and practitioners take the time to get to know their clients and all of their concerns, while the kids happily play nearby. The soothing surroundings make you feel like you really are somewhere special. And if you’re in the mood to shop, there’s a wide array of great products in their retail area. Did we mention the child care?

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Kids Only Zone
Behind the main spa building sits a small separate guest house, which houses our absolute favorite part of the spa: the child care. A “Welcome to Spruce” banner definitely does welcome families to this chic and charming space. The carpeted room, complete with modern furniture and a restroom, opens onto an outdoor grass area. Indoors there are tons of toys (trains, LEGOs & figurines), a coloring area and snacks. Former preschool teacher Wendy plays music for the kids on her phone and organizes craft projects; they plan on getting a stereo and TV as well. Babies and kids of all ages are welcome!

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It All Adds Up
Spa service prices vary, and special packages are available as well. Child care rates are $9 per hour, per kid, with a maximum of three hours. We did the math—a lot of uninterrupted pampering can happen in that amount of time!

Spruce Salon & Spa
5327 College Avenue
Oakland, Ca 94618
Online: sprucesalonandspa.com

What services did you try at Spruce Salon & Spa? Did your kids go to child care? Share your experiences in the comments sections below.

— Rachel Teichman

Photos courtesy of the Spruce Salon & Spa Facebook page and Rachel Teichman

The Ultimate Guide to Kid-Friendly Falafel Joints

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What is more kid-friendly than a food that is eaten in a pocket and slathered with yummy sauce? That is what makes falafel sandwiches so fun and perfect for pint-sized eaters. Crunchy and spiced chickpea patties, or balls, are tucked into a pita bread pocket, and topped with fresh vegetables and sauces. This is a great handheld food for kids, and the good thing about a falafel sandwich is that it’s supposed to be a little messy. Kids will love getting full on falafel!

San Francisco

Oasis Grill
Location. Location. Location. When it comes to falafel for kids, what could matter more? A delicious wrap to eat is one thing, but taking it to the nearby Embarcadero to sit and eat while counting boats out on the water is quite another. Kids can also try a grown up version of grilled cheese in the form of a Mediterranean melt on their menu.

Oasis Grill
91 Drumm Street
San Francisco, Ca
415-781-0313
Online: sfoasisgrill.com

Sunrise Deli
Mashed avocado is the first food of choice for many discerning California kids. So finding a couple of slices of it in their falafel sandwich will come as a welcome surprise. Topped with pickled pink cabbage and accompanied by pink pickled turnips, this meal will please any Pinkalicious fan. The menu also includes dolmas and Mediterranean pizzas for kids who need a bigger bite to eat. Their food truck can also be tracked down for falafel literally on the go!

Sunrise Deli
2115 Irving Street
San Francisco, Ca
415-664-8210
Other San Francisco & Berkeley Locations
Online: sunrisedeli.net

East Bay

Amba
Kids will find a lot to enjoy on this menu, but they have to try the falafel! They can get falafel balls on their own, which are easy to dip in sesame tahini sauce, for a quick snack. There are also individual cheese pizzas, crispy fries and sweet pita chips. If they stuff some fries into the pita sandwich, they can try an authentic Israeli meal! This Kosher restaurant will satisfy any little conscious eaters.

Amba
6464 Moraga Avenue
Oakland, Ca
510-339-8000
Online: wp.ambafalafel.com

Holy Land Restaurant
There is a lot to choose from on this menu. Kids can get a falafel sandwich that is already made, or they can order the patties and bread separately and build their own. Rice pudding and baklava make a nice dessert, and it’s always nice to wash down a meal with a Holy Land Lemonade. For the mini matzoh ball fans, they serve matzoh ball soup too.

Holy Land Restaurant
677 Rand Avenue
Oakland, Ca
510-272-0535
Online: holylandrestaurant.com/index.html

Marin

Falafel Hut
This place will have the kids at homemade pita chip samples and free rose water. Complimentary olives and pink pickled turnips reel them in as well. The dishes of dips and sauces in the display case are creatively decorated and entertaining to look at too. A generous order of herbed falafel sandwiches makes the family easy to feed, while Middle Eastern pizza on their menu offers another food option for kids as well.

Falafel Hut
1115 Fourth Street
San Rafael, Ca
415-259-0440
Online: falafelhut.net

Kababbq Grill & Cafe
When parents want to feel like they are getting to go out for a nice dinner with the kids, this is place to go. The bright and modern decor in a nice intimate space gives feeling of a night out. But knowing the kids will eat something makes it even better. The big tables are made for families. And the lavosh falafel wraps on the menu introduce kids to the concept of a Mediterranean burrito. The baklava is a hit among kids, while the parents really go for the coffee.

Kababbq Grill & Cafe
555 Francisco Boulevard East
San Rafael, Ca
415-256-9878
Online: kababbq.com

Peninsula

Falafel & Kebab
There are lots of unique things for kids to try on this menu. The colorful and flavorful ezme and piyaz salads will be a great start to the meal. Kids can enjoy their falafel wraps in an outdoor setting, and end the meal with kunafe, a sweet cheesy pastry.

Falafel & Kebab
1477 Plymouth Street, Unit E
Mountain View, Ca
650-961-2437
Online: falafelandkebab.com

Mediterranean Wraps
Kids can enjoy chickpeas two ways on this menu! The creamy and flavorful hummus (pureed garbanzo beans) is a favorite, and the Hummus Plate includes falafel and pickles for dipping. Fries and dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) make great finger foods too.

Mediterranean Wraps
425 South California Avenue
Palo Alto, Ca
650-321-8189
Online: kanzeman.com/medwraps

Food Truck

Liba Falafel
Along with cupcakes and snow cones being dispensing from mobile vehicles, falafel has now joined in the food truck revolution. Kids will love the crunchy rosemary peanuts and fried pickled onions, just two of the items in the topping bar that literally hangs on the outside of the truck. They sell chocolate covered mint and orange patties for a sweet treat too.

Liba Falafel
Food Truck Locations
Stops in Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville & San Francisco
415-806-5422
Online: libasf.com

Worth the Drive

Falafel’s Drive In
Two words: Banana Milkshake. Yes, this is a falafel place, but it’s the banana milkshake that makes the meal. When a parent tells a kid that they must drink a milkshake along with their meal, they will be sold on the place! A tradition that got going years ago, this is what makes this place a favorite. A crunchy hot falafel sandwich paired with a sweet and cool shake is a winner. Outdoor seating, and knowing they’ve been somewhere that has been featured on the Food Network, are just an added bonus.

Falafel’s Drive In
2301 Stevens Creek Boulevard
San Jose, Ca
408-294-7886
Online: falafelsdrivein.com

Have your kids tried falafel? What do they think? Where do you like to take them? 

–Rachel Teichman