Kid-friendly Cafe is Food for Thought

IF ONLY I could turn back the clock about a dozen years. I discovered a cafe in the Temescal at 4210 Telegraph Ave. the other day that would have made life so much easier when I had young kids.

Tumble & Tea Cafe is the brainchild of two moms who wanted a place for children to play and parents to relax. A place with good food and comfortable couches and free wireless Internet.

The concept is so simple — a perfectly designed room split in two. One side has castles and climbing structures and puzzles and toys, and the other is a cafe, where you can get a panini, a pastry, a latte or other adult treats. Of course, they make pizzas and sandwiches for the kids, too, but co-owner Gina DeCarlo says it’s really about the adults.

“The colors, the décor, the comfy couches, the music — it’s really for the caregiver,” she said.

Tell that to the kids, who seem perfectly content to play while their adult charges actually unwind, have a conversation or read a good book.

“Our plan is to have five in five years,” says DeCarlo, who along with her business partner, Sue Older, is looking to open in other locations such as Walnut Creek. It’s a long way off, but I see myself going there someday — with a grandchild on one arm and my laptop under the other.

HAPPY TRAILS: Shepherd Canyon Park is really shaping up, thanks to the organizations and volunteers who’ve been putting in long hours in our little greenbelt. Reader Mike Petouhoff says the kids at the East Bay Conservation Corps have made “nature’s Stairmaster” on the slope above the soccer field, a new path that does switchbacks up to the high point on Escher Road.

“At the top of the path, and at several points on the way up,” he says, “there is a beautiful view of San Francisco Bay.”

I made the hike the other day, stopping to smell the soap root plants that volunteers put in. Legend has it they were used by the Native Americans to make soap. Miner’s lettuce and wild onions also grow in the area, which offers surprising solitude for such a small park.

At the top of the trail on Escher Road, two new picnic tables invite hikers to enjoy their lunch outdoors. The tables have been hit by graffiti vandals twice in recent days, but the city has been on top of the problem.

We should all be so proud of the folks that have worked so hard to clean up this park, which was once a dump site for the city’s maintenance yard. And Petouhoff says his group isn’t through. They want to spruce up the top of the trail at Escher Road, with an arbor in the Shinto style of a torri gate.

“We’re working to hunt down the next Boy Scout to take on this project,” he says. Are there any Eagle Scout candidates out there? You can contact me and I’ll put you in touch with the right people.

CELEBRITY COOK: Hills mom Maureen Woelffer is coming off quite a Christmas, after being featured in several high-profile magazines for her gingerbread cookie parties. Woelffer and her three girls were shown baking and decorating holiday treats as part of an advertising campaign for Glad plastic wrap. Could a call from Betty Crocker be next?


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