903 South Cooper St.
After mingling with hipsters and rockstars at Goner Records, we found ourselves in need of some dinner. As we walked towards Cooper we started naming off places...Cafe Ole, Young Avenue Deli, Square Foods, etc. My plan was to wait until we got in front of Jasmine and say, "Hey, let's go to Jasmine!" and try to get the kids (Satchel, 4, and Jiro, 2) really excited about it so Warren couldn't say no.
The plan failed.
Warren had his eyes set on Celtic Crossing. "Wanna go there?" he asked. Having never actually eaten there, I wasn't really sure.
"What would the kids eat?" I asked.
"Fish and chips," he said.
I looked at the inviting patio, felt the breeze in my hair, and said, "Okay."
As we jaywalked across Cooper, I started to have second thoughts. It was after seven and I was pretty sure that we'd be the only people with kids at the Celtic Crossing, which is really very bar like. Despite my reservations, we soldiered on.
Apparently Warren started having second thoughts too. "Do they even let kids in here?" he asked.
"Of course," I said confidently. They may not want kids, but they can't ban them. (Not yet anyway.)
"Should we go inside?" he asked looking at all of the beautiful child-free people enjoying their beers and cigarettes on the patio.
"I would think inside would be worse," I said thinking of the drakness, smoke, and televisions.
We did go in just briefly to check with a waitress about a table (and to gauge her reaction to the monkeys). Everything appeared fine and we were cleared to "sit anywhere you want" outside. Warren headed for a dark corner table on the crowded side of the patio.
"What are you doing?" I asked motioning to the nice open side of the patio. "Don't you think it would be better if we were as far away from other people as possible?"
He couldn't argue with my logic.
We sat down at a nice iron table near the fence and the waitress came right over to get our drink orders. Remembering that we were at a bar, I said, "What do you have on tap?"
"Guinness, Harp, Stella--"
"Stella!" Satchel said excitedly after having just left his friend Stella at Goner Records. "I want a Stella!"
I smiled at him and got back to business. "I'll take a Harp," I said.
"Guiness," Warren said, getting on board the beer train.
"Water is fine for the kids," I said.
"Do you want that in styrofoam cups?" the waitress asked nicely as if children hung out on the patio on Friday nights all the time.
"That would be great," I said.
Once she was off, we got busy deciding what to order. I perused the menu but didn't really see anything really exciting to order. (Exciting as in something I've never had or heard of before.) Well there was one vegetarian crepe thing, the Boxty Crepe--a thin potato scallion pankcake filled with vegetable green curry, but it quickly lost out to the Cooper Young Gouda Burger. Mmmmeat. (Perusing the menu for this write-up, I see that I missed the Shepherd's Pie. Maybe next time...)
When I told Warren what I was getting, he was visibly disappointed. "Now, what am I going to get?" he said.
"What about the Boxty Crepe?" I said. "If you get that, I'll split my burger with you."
Not one to fall for my forced adventuresomeness he said, "I think I'll get the Prime Rib sandwich."
Just when I thought we were all ready to order, Warren said, "We could get the kids Beer Battered Chicken and Chips. Jiro would like that."
"Sounds like a glorified chicken nugget," I said while scanning the menu for something else monkey friendly. "What about the "Classic" American Potato Skins? It's potatoes, cheese, and bacon. Can't go wrong with that." I said.
Satchel's ears immediately perked up. "I want that!"
"Potato skins it is," I said.
The waitress returned with the drinks and took our order. Someone (the waitress?) had drawn faces on the monkeys' styrofoam cups featured with ball point pen. "Look!" they pointed excitedly. I thought it was a very nice touch and felt a little less crazy being there in the first place.
Satchel tried to squirm out of his chair several times while we waited for our food, but I was able to achieve a tone of voice when saying "Keep your butt on your seat" that actually made him comply with my wishes. Jiro, who was obviously starving, was kept in place by Warren saying, "Do you want to eat? Okay, then stay in your seat."
As the minutes dragged on, we did our best to keep the monkeys entertained. We named the faces on their cups, we played spelling games, we looked at the moon, counted motorcycles going down the street, you name it. After a half hour or so, I asked the waitress what was taking so long.
"Half's up and half's not," she said with a shrug.
"Can we have the half that's up?" I asked hopefully.
"I like to do it that way, but the kitchen doesn't," she said. Then she looked at the monkeys and said, "Let me check."
A minute later she returned with the potato skins. Once we removed the giant scallions, the monkeys jumped right in. "This is my most favorite dinner ever!" Satchel announced as he took a big bite. Jiro, who was less vocal, seemed just as happy.
The rest of our food arrived soon after. My burger was good, but nothing exceptional. The was a little overcooked and the carmelized onions were kind of gooey. The gouda didn't really pop out and say, "Hey! Look at me! I'm fancy cheese!" like I thought it would. The prime rib sandwich was most impressive and nearly spanned Warren's entire plate. I don't know why, but I was surprised to see Warren eat every single bite of it save one hunk of fat that he saved for the dogs. The monkeys alternated between their potato skins and our french fries, excuse me, chips.
Satchel continued to sing the praises of the potato skins throughout the meal much to our amusement. Jiro and I had a quick run to the restroom (of course) where we encountered another employee who was most friendly and helpful to us when it was pointed out (by Jiro) that there were no paper towels with which to dry our hands. As we left the bathroom I watched in amazement as Jiro maneuvered through the crowd like a pro and went straight for the front door as if he had been in the Celtic Crossing a million times.
Back at the table with all of our food eaten, I began to get a little antsy for the check. We had held the monkeys at bay for over an hour and I knew our time was limited. The waitress was so focused on serving the other bazillion diners and drinkers that had filled the patio that she could not see my polite, yet somewhat gestures, for her to bring us our check. Even my less polite gestures were ineffective. After ten minutes of being ignored/unseen and then watching the waitress go inside, I hit my limit. "I'm going in," I announced.
"I want to come!" said Satchel.
"Me too," said Jiro.
"Fine," I said too tired to argue.
We all held hands and went ins earch of someone to take our money. We walked through the whole bar/restaurant and found no one. In a huff, we headed back outside and ran into the waitress as she was coming in. "I was right behind you," she said sweetly.
"I'm sorry," I said gesturing to the monkeys. "They're getting restless and we really need to go." I handed her my card and headed back to the table where Warren was enjoying a moment of solace.
"I tried calling after you," he said as though I was the most obnoxious person ever.
"Sorry," I said and took a deep breath.
The waitress quickly brought the slip for me to sign. I left a big tip, and we once again held hands as we jaywalked across Cooper.