We've been home eating canned goods due to Warren's lack of tonsils and lack of desire to eat anything other than soup and milkshakes. Thankfully, Melissa, co-owner of Mothersville and sophisticated foodie, finally decided to make her DWM debut.
The Beauty Shop
966 S Cooper St
Rain’s pouring. There’s nothing but cheese and pureed carrots in the fridge. Definitely no wine. I will eat the entire bottle of Zoloft if I have to make a Ninth Circle of Hell, i.e. Schnucks, run in this weather. The anemic vampire that is my stomach bleats that I need red meat. Bloody red meat. Baby girl smiles and waves. Husband shrugs. Beauty Shop it is! If only all decisions were this easy.
The lights are low, a soft bass line thumps. For a former beauty parlor complete with shampoo sinks and the old dryer chairs, it’s feeling kinda sexy in here. Too bad we can’t ditch the kid. Located so close to our house, the Beauty Shop with its gimmicky space yet seriously good food makes me feel like I’m in a much bigger city - a big city before the hipsters have come out to play.
The communal dining table set with mismatched glasses and silver sits empty. The place seems pretty deserted, and then I remember that it’s 6:30, and we became lame somewhere back in ‘06. A guy doing the crossword gives us the once over from the sleek bar and returns to his puzzle. Yes I brought my baby, I smile at him. Prepare to be amazed by some awesome baby behavior, Puzzle Guy. We nestle into one of the back booths and order a glass of Conundrum, our wedding wine. Harlow sits in her highchair facing the mirror, entranced.
Peacoated, hipsters arrive and sprawl out at adjoining booths. Caleb and I smile and have a conversation, the kind with actual complete sentences and eye contact. It’s almost like we’re on a date. Our other favorite waiter, not the smoky-eyed baby doll who plays bass in a local band, but the sweetheart with the salt and pepper hair, tells us about the specials.
He smiles genuinely at Harlow, and out loud thanks God that his is turning 18 and will be out of the house shortly. We order the guacamole to start, and out loud toast our amazing sweet baby who is on her best behavior.
God is watching us.
The guacamole arrives. For $7 I’m expecting food of the gods, and it’s pretty killer. It’s of the quality that’s often prepared table-side, like in one of the fancy Mexican establishments minus all the unnecessary theatrics. Little Miss gets a taste. She likes it. A lot. So much in fact that she starts up a high-pitched shriek that won’t abate unless guacamole is in her mouth. Hipsters twitch. I cannot shovel the stuff down her gullet fast enough. She even gets chunks of onion and cilantro and she is still lapping it up. And I’d be lying if I weren’t a little perturbed that she’s eating more of the $7 guac than we are.
The entrees arrive. I hold the baby and try to distract her while Caleb cuts up my gorgeous steak frite plate. The frites are the parmesan truffle kind, not the sugar-cayenne that usually comes with dinner and they are delicious as I scarf them down. The steak is wonderfully, perfectly pink in the middle, I notice as I shovel it down one-handed. Caleb eats his fish in grim silence, still chewing when he scoops up the now hollering baby and takes her back over to the bar to point out the blown glass light fixtures. I gulp my Conundrum and savor the last of the frites. Yeah, this would make a great date spot.
We decided to go back for brunch. Armed with toys and shiny things to distract the baby, we are thrilled to see that the place is packed this time with a noise level that instantly puts us at ease. Rumpled thirtysomethings wave at Harlow and even Karen herself, the owner, fetches a high chair and coos over Miss Thing. Service is a bit spottier today, and with Caleb nursing the effects of a long night out, he needs food immediately. I ask for a cappuccino. No luck. I get a Coke instead. They are out of the beignets with blueberry compote ($7). A reason to come back!
Deviating from my usual buttermilk biscuits (basically eggs benedict, with ham and apple salsa on a biscuit) I get the country sausage ($10) which is served up as a frittata with mildly spicy sausage, mushrooms, peppers, cilantro, a touch of cream and some sweet potato that elevates the dish from ho-hum to extremely tasty. Caleb gets the egg pizzette ($10). Harlow gets some turkey and cheese from a container and seems happy about it until the biscuits arrive ($ priceless). She gets a little taste of those, too.