Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Interim Restaurant & Bar
5040 Sanderlin Avenue

As cruise director for Team Oster, it is my job to plan fun outings for us. Warren and I wanted to attend Wayne Edge's art opening at David Lusk on Friday night, which gave me the excuse I've been looking for to suggest another dinner at Interim. The challenge? These plans came together late Friday afternoon and did not include a babysitter. No matter, I thought, the monkeys (Satchel, 7, and Jiro, 5) have survived art openings and fancy restaurants in the past. I actually thought it might be even more fun to have a "grown up evening" with them in tow.

As usual, I was right. (But it took some forethought.)

The monkeys were starving when I picked them up from school at 5pm. (They go year round.) I was faced with two options: 1) feed them and risk having them not eat any of their expensive dinner (and be bored/antsy) or 2) not feed them and risk having them go apeshit at the opening (and possibly cancel our dinner plans).

I decided to go with option #1. I of course tried to steer them towards a small snack, but they clamored for macaroni and cheese. "Guys, the restaurant we're going to for dinner has great macaroni! It has bacon in it!" I said. They did not care. Satchel was near tears he was so hungry, so I gave in. They snacked on cashews until the mac was ready, then between the two of them they polished off the box.

I didn't sweat it.

Wayne Edge's art was absolutely amazing and the monkeys found it very appealing as well. He uses a lot of sticks, rocks, wood, shells, and other natural materials so it was very "familiar" to them. I got them each a Sprite and we walked around and talked about each piece. Then we chatted with Wayne for a bit. (He and Warren know each other from Kendo, and I interviewed him for the story I did.) Then we left without incident. (Okay Jiro was on the floor giggling about something, but just for a minute.)

We arrived at Interim at 7:00, which was 15 minutes earlier than our reservation, but it wasn't a problem. I requested that Johnny G. wait on us since he is an old friend and he swore to me earlier in the day that I would not be the only person in the restaurant with kids. (There was another table with a few tweens when we arrived, one with a eight-ish looking boy, and later a family came in with two boys about the same ages as my monkeys.)

The hostess led us to our table in the dining room and we all took our seats. Unfortunately Jiro took a seat on the floor. "Get in your chair, silly," I said in an attempt to meet him halfway. He didn't budge. Uh-oh, I thought, here we go. "Get in your seat." I said a little more sternly. Nothing.

"Jiro, now," Warren said. Finally, he complied. I began reviewing our restaurant rules so that he might get with the program, but I could see that he was in a mischievous mood (and not hungry). He started lining up his silverware, then everyone else's, in front of him. Not my favorite choice of activities, but it kept him occupied.

Johnny G. asked for our drink orders and Warren and I each promptly ordered a beer. (Red Stripe for me; Stella for him.) The kids got water.

Meanwhile Satchel was busy reading his menu. "What's this word?" he asked pointing to "tenderloin." I can only assumed he cared because it was next to the word "beef," one of his favorites. (A boy after my own heart. When I was growing up we always went out to eat steak.)

I asked Jiro if he wanted the macaroni and cheese, but he didn't seem to be interested in eating anything. (Uh-oh.) I turned my attention to Warren and we started discussing appetizers. "Forget the macaroni," I said, "Let's get the crab cakes or the oysters with roasted red pepper & chili granita." (I also suggested the cheese plate, but Warren reminded me of the one super stinky cheese featured on our last visit.) The oysters won.

I already knew I was getting the orechiette pasta with grilled gulf shrimp and chorizo for dinner, so I didn't have to look at the entrees. However, Johnny G. pointed out that they had changed the pasta a bit since my last visit. It now featured pancetta instead of the hard chorizo. I love pancetta, but I'd been dreaming of the chorizo. (Insert sausage joke here.) Graciously Johnny G. agreed to ask the kitchen of they might make a substitution for me.

"Can I get the burger?" Warren asked me sheepishly. It normally drives me nuts when he orders a burger in a nice restaurant, but Interim is fairly famous for theirs. (It features Neola Farms beef, bacon, white cheddar, roasted tomato, pickle, lettuce, roasted garlic aioli & house-cut fries.) Besides, it was clear that Satchel wanted the $30 Grilled Beef Tenderloin with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, crispy onions & red wine reduction.

Johhny G. returned with the good news that there was some chorizo in the house, and we placed our order. (I asked him to split the tenderloin into two servings so Jiro could share and it was not a problem.) Next a couple we know came in with a visiting relative and a few minutes later I saw a colleague of mine and her spouse. None of these people are parents. The pressure was on!

"Let's go wash our hands!" Warren said in his most inspirational tone. The monkeys just looked at him. "Come on, you can see the black toilets in the bathroom!" Still not interested. "Let's go see if they have a gumball machine!" he said. Now this interested them. They went off and I took a big gulps of beer until they returned.

Soon we had some bread delivered, and shortly after, the oysters. "Oh--gross!" Satchel said when he saw them. "Ew!" Jiro concurred. I told Satchel that I didn't try a raw oyster until last year and that I had always thought they were gross too, but that now they were one of my favorite things to eat. "Really?" he asked. I could tell that this information was making an impact.

"Want to try one?" I asked. Furiously he shook his head no. "I'll give you $10," I said. (Seven-year-olds will do just about anything for $10.)

"Okay!" he said.

"You can't spit it out," I said.

"Can I drink water right after I swallow it?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. (It was like we were on a reality show or something.)

Satchel ate the oyster, took a big sip of water, and put out his hand for the $10. "Did you like it?" I asked.

"NUH-UH," he said, but he couldn't help smiling. He was proud--and rich!

Warren and I happily ate the rest of the oysters, which were great. The granita was just shaved ice, and with the lemon squirted on top, was quite refreshing. "They're like oyster sno-cones!" Warren raved for the kids' benefit.

The boys were behaving just fine, but Jiro was still on the verge of blowing our cover. Warren, who was nervous about the whole production, decided to pull out the big guns. "Behave and we'll go to Target when dinner is over," he said. I gave him a look, but Jiro's complete attitude change kept me from saying anything.

However, this benign gesture turned all dinner conversation away from the art we just saw and the food we were about to eat towards one topic only: What DS game to buy at Target.


Then out of nowhere Warren said, "I feel like I'm in Hell's Kitchen." I laughed and asked why. "Because I can see everyone cooking," he said. "Look boys, see them making our dinner?" The monkeys looked briefly before returning to their Pokemon talk. "We should paint our kitchen black," Warren said still dreamily staring into the kitchen.

His reverie was cut short with the arrival of our food. I had a huge serving of pasta, the monkeys each had a cute little plate of tenderloin, and Warren had the burger of his dreams. Warren put ketchup on his finger and convinced us (for about 10 seconds) that he had cut himself with his knife. This of course, led Jiro to repeat this joke about 15 more times WITH THE VERY SHARP STEAK KNIFE THAT WAS DELIVERED TO HIM ALONG WITH HIS TENDERLOIN. Good times!

Jiro ate Warren's french fries while I cute his steak; Satchel ate all of his mashed potatoes before starting on the asparagus all the while begging me for some of my shrimp; and Warren bit into his burger and accidentally squirted tomato juice all over Satchel's white shirt. We were off to a great start! It wasn't a total disaster though. I eventually convinced Jiro to take at least one bite of everything on his plate, and I convinced Satchel to let me cut his meat rather than watch him tear it apart with his teeth (and hands). Satchel ate every single bite on his plate plus two of my giant shrimp. (Warren gladly helped Jiro finish his dinner.) My pasta was just as good as I remembered and I had plenty to bring home.

Warren pointed out that the two little boys I mentioned earlier were happily splitting a burger at their table. I looked over and smiled at them.

Next it was my turn to check out the black toilets. Jiro tagged along and I convinced him to wash his hands again by pointing out that the soap smelled yummy. (He loves smelling soap.) On our way back we saw chef Jackson Baker at the bar, and he greeted me by name (bonus points) and asked how our meal was. "It was great," I replied genuinely.

It was.

I can't wait to take the monkeys out again. You know what they say, practice makes perfect!

Project Green Fork Certified Restaurant
Interim on Urbanspoon


Courtney said...

jealous and hungry. You're a great mama.

Sonya said...

My nephew and future niece are both chefs there. :)

I haven't been back in a while, but reading that...IT'S TIME!

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