It feels so great to be back from the long weekend. I hope you enjoyed all my guest bloggers while I was away. Kasey was calling them Adam's Angels. I would have to agree. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to Kasey, Laura, Ashley, Jules, and last but not least, my wife, Mrs. Throwing Quarters.
It was a long weekend and I couldn't have blogged even if I wanted to. I also want to thank you for all the great comments you have left for all my guest bloggers. Thank you thank you and again, thank you.
So, now that I am back, what should I talk about? Should I talk about mean customers? No. Been there done that. Should I talk about the awesome Thanksgiving dinner we had this past Sunday? Yes, but not right now. I want to talk about food, but I want to share a more recent story.
When you go out to eat, what goes through your head as a parent? Do you instantly think of what the kids menu is before you leave because you want to make sure your child eats? What happens?
It can be a point of anxiety for many parents. For me? I don't even care. I go eat where I want to eat, and I know if I take Audrey along, she is going to eat something. She isn't going to look for chicken fingers, Kraft macaroni, or pizza unless it's given as a choice. She is a typical 7 year old. She likes those things, I cannot fault her. But as of late she has been asking for things I am not expecting her to ask for. "Dad, can I try that mustard over there?" or "Dad, I'm not sure if I like it, but can I try that A-1 steak sauce?" or "Dad I don't like those sweet potatoes, but I tried them."
She does this without me asking. It literally warms my heart. I have tried and tried and tried to give Audrey more than just the crap you can get on a kids menu at any restaurant chain. She orders off it when available, but I don't fret when we go somewhere that doesn't have a published kids' menu.
Audrey and I watch Top Chef together all the time. I am trying to show her that people get excited about food. We watch Iron Chef. We watch Diners, Drive In's, and Dives. She gets excited about food.
Well when I told her that my friends Josh and Carrie were coming in from out of town, we are all going to Bar Symon, she was more than excited.
My friend Josh is a chef in the Joint Chiefs of Staff's Dining Room at the Pentagon, and a total food guy. So when Michael Symon built a restaurant in our home town, we had to make sure he went while he was on leave.
Audrey walked around school for weeks telling her classmates and teachers that SHE was going to Bar Symon and that she was excited. She had no clue about the menu, but she was excited to go. I knew the menu enough to know that there was something for her on it, but she is the big girl, she can pick what ever she wanted.
[panorama shot from the table. You can see the Wifey, Audrey, and Josh's Wife Carrie]
So let's go through the progression last night. Josh ordered the Roasted Bone Marrow for an appetizer. His wife, Carrie, and I have read the Julie and Julia Project so we were curious about what roasted bone marrow was. Josh had it many times in his line of work, but Carrie and I thought it was like a unicorn. Something everyone always talked about but no one ever saw in the wild. We have yet to see it on any menu at any restaurant we have ever been to. Now I know there are some great French restaurants out there, but I have never seen this in the wild.
To the table came the Bone Marrow [pictured to the left] served right in the bone. Carrie dove in first, and I was just so excited to try it that I almost jumped out of my skin when Audrey said this:
"Dad, can I try it?"
What? What does your kid eat again? Oh that's right, Kraft Macaroni N Cheese off the mother fucking kids menu.
So with delight Josh scooped up some roasted bone marrow onto the toast it was served with and just watched, with my mouth gaping open. What she said next I almost peed my pants.
"Wow, Dad, I like this, can I have more?"
What? Yeah you have trouble getting your kid to eat chicken fingers at Friday's, my child eats roasted bone marrow! You know the stuff from INSIDE the bones of a cow! She eats that! And she asked for more!
So the waiter, named Steve, yeah he was that good I remembered his name, came back to take dinner orders and Audrey decided to try something I was equally impressed with. Goat Cheese Mac N Cheese. She knew it was not Kraft, but then again there is comfort in knowing your pasta is about to be smothered with cheese.
I looked around. There were other parents there with their children, all eating off the non published kids' menu. Buttered noodles, chicken fingers, and who knows what else was on there. Audrey was ordering off the big kids menu and loving it. Score one for my daughter! Even the wife was impressed!
Later on in the night I let Audrey's mom know what she ate and she sent back, Eww, that sounds gross.
I just sighed in frustration and why doesn't anyone else think that this is the coolest thing in the world?!
So I ordered a braised pork shank, because let's face it, pigs are tasty. That is also pictured. The wife got the burger. But Audrey kept tasting everything. She tried the braised pork shank, the goat cheese mac n cheese [which she loved btw], and even the Bar Symon burger. Along with the Bacon and Apple Bread Pudding, Brown Butter Whipped Potatoes, and many many other great things!
For dessert we tried every dessert they had. It was just a magical night all around. Good brews, good eats, and good conversation.
It's always nice to talk to someone about Cleveland when they are away from Cleveland. You can see a bigger picture of Cleveland and not the narrow-minded views of the residents. The can't see the forest from the trees I believe is the analogy. Cleveland, as it turns out, has become a travel spot for foodies. I have read about this in the times, but I have yet to have it confirmed by someone outside Cleveland that I actually knew.