January 24, 2013 is National Peanut Butter Day! (Not to be confused with National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, which is April 2; who knew they were such bitter enemies, can’t even share a measly day?) And, because Red Tricycle is always looking for fun, new holidays to celebrate – especially if they offer you a new activity to help fill up those long winter days when the playgrounds are too cold, your apartment is too hot, and story-time at Barnes & Noble is a zoo…that you’ve already hit three times this week – how about a roundup of top NYC spots for peanut butter flavored treats?

Peanut Butter & Co
240 Sullivan Street
Not content with merely having an online store and a presence in many supermarkets, Peanut Butter & Co. opened a Sandwich Shop in 1998. But, if you (logically) assume that this place only serves peanut butter sandwiches, you couldn’t be more wrong. Sure, they’ve got sandwiches. There’s the Lunchbox Special with jam, the Fluffernutter with marshmallow spread, the Elvis of grilled bananas and honey, the Peanut Butter BLT with bacon, the Pregnant Lady with Pickles, and even a Jerry Seinfeld (he wrote the intro for their cookbook). But, that’s not all! There are also Peanut Butter Cookies, Peanut Butter Brownies, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, Smoothies and Sundaes, too!

Good to Know: This is the place to hit when you’re in the mood for a full, themed meal, not merely a snack. And you can buy more jars of the sticky, sweet stuff to create your own masterpieces at home!

The Meatball Shop
Three NYC Locations:
64 Greenwich Street in Manhattan
84 Stanton Street in Manhattan
170 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn
As with the Sandwich Shop, you might think that The Meatball Shop only makes meatballs. Once again, you would be so, so wrong. Yes, fans come from all five boroughs to sink their teeth into a spicy meatball or two. But, you know what else really gets them talking? The ice cream sandwiches for dessert. Specifically the Peanut Butter Cookie ice-cream sandwiches. Seriously, peanut butter, cookies, and ice cream. What more could a person want out of life?

Good to Know: The Meatball Shop doesn’t take reservations, and they open at noon, seven days a week, meaning you’ll need to spend your mornings in a haze of sweet anticipation. (And/or answering the question, “Is it time to go yet? Is it time to go now?  Now? Now?”)

Catch
21 Ninth Avenue
Who says peanut butter has to be a downscale thing? Certainly not the folks at Catch, an upscale, Asian fusion, sushi and seafood spot that also happens to serve something called a Peanut Butter Cup Soufflé with Peanut Butter Cup Popsicles. And what might that be?  Why, nothing less than homemade peanut butter ice cream burrowed into a still warm chocolate soufflé that you eat with a pair of chocolate covered peanut butter Popsicles, that’s what!

Good to Know: Perfect for Junior’s first big night out with Mom and Dad. Catch is dressy and expensive, but what better introduction to grown up foods like soufflé (which still tastes like something kids will eat)?

Of course, for some families, Peanut Butter Day is the scariest holiday of the year – as are the other 364 days. Those are families where someone is allergic to peanuts, often deadly allergic, where even the smell might be enough to make them sick. For them, a list of some of Red Tricycle’s favorite, peanut-free NYC spots:

Blue Smoke
116 E. 27th Street
This downtown BBQ place specifically offers a nut-free menu of burgers, ribs, chicken and pork along with desserts like cakes, pies and sundaes, all without nuts.

Good to Know: Jazz Standard, housed at the same location, hosts a Youth Orchestra every Sunday, all winter long. It’s jazz for kids, by kids, and it comes with a lunch option. Parents of children with nut allergies should call ahead and see if they can order their food from Blue Smoke’s nut-free menu to nosh on during the concert (when they’re not too busy snapping their fingers, wearing berets, and being cool).

Bistango
415 Third Avenue
An Italian restaurant that’s gluten free (sounds almost like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?), Bistango is extremely allergy aware, and will make sure you receive a completely nut-free meal as long as you make your needs clear in advance.

Good to Know: Ask for the crunchy bread that is gluten and nut free, and make sure you have it toasted!

Eleni’s New York
Two NYC Locations:
75 Ninth Avenue
1266 Madison Avenue
How many times have you taken your kids out to dinner, and all they ended up eating was the bread-basket? And your roll? Skip the cajoling and the refusing and head straight to either of Eleni’s two locations, where the entire bakery is certified nut free (and kosher, too)!

Good to Know: Eleni’s makes adorable cookie gift boxes just for kidson a variety of themes, like ABC’s, Noah’s Ark, Fairy Tale Princess, Treasure Island and more, making them perfect for sending as a gift to a family with nut allergies or, more importantly, bringing in treats to a school that has a strict no nuts policy.

Is this the first you’ve heard about National Peanut Butter Day? How will you be celebrating (with or without nuts) with your kiddo?

— Alina Adams

photo credit: all photos courtesy of the respective company facebook pages