Dear Future Stella,
I fall asleep most nights thinking about things I want to write to you about and then by the morning I convince myself that they are boring and uninteresting so I don’t go through with it. I’m also having a lazy week where simple tasks (like removing my makeup) seem like a job that someone should pay me for. If you ever have felt like life would be so glorious if it could happen entirely on a couch, then you can thank me for yet another trait that I gifted you with. In fact, you are already showing signs of this genetic lethargy. Recently, you have turned your favorite blanket into “a boat” that you row around our house to get from room to room. Some child expert would probably say this was just another example of a child’s active imagination, but I can spot an apple that has fallen from my tree and I can almost guarantee this is just an excuse not to walk. It also could be the very early stages of inventing Uber Apartment, an app that physically moves you from room to room without having to actually use any energy.
Finally, tonight something happened that was worth telling you about. Your dad and I had a date night. We like to do this on Thursdays and I cannot think of anything more important to know than a very detailed account of your parents alone time together…..20 years ago.
We decided to try a new restaurant that just opened in San Francisco, after all, that’s why we pay a nauseating amount of money to live here, right? We picked a spot that comes from a strong lineage of very successful popular eateries in SF. It was a Spanish tapas restaurant in the Castro that just opened their doors a week ago. That played hip hop music. 90’s hip hop. Specifically Dr. Dre and Eminem. No, exclusively Dr. Dre and Eminem. Makes sense, no? Being a party of 2, we of course were sat at a table that was barely bigger than a clipboard and wedged between 2 other itty bitty tables. You know the kind im talking about- where you have to suck in and lift all of your belongings over head just to squeeze into your seat? Even though we were inches apart from eachother it sounded like we were speaking through prison glass but without a phone. Meaning, we literally couldn’t hear a word the other person was saying. So San Francisco. Thank God for the Eminem beats. Naturally you could perfectly hear everything the stranger next to you was saying so this place was designed for married couples. We hear eachother talk all the time.
The menu was your standard list of pretentious words in a foreign language that make absolutely no sense at all. We made the fatal mistake of asking our waiter which items from the menu he suggests. He proceeded to list all the items that sounded the least appealing and made the least amount of sense.
To stall, your dad ordered us a glass of rose and made a comment about how he really enjoys going to restaurants where you are legitimately terrified to try the food. Not allowing his sarcasm to sabotage date night, I act like I’m so down to try snail penis and rabbit guts and calmly tell him that he really needs to broaden his horizons.
We order a bunch of shit that we have never even heard of and we both guzzle our wine in hopes that we won’t taste, or at least remember, what we are about to eat.
First thing the kitchen brings out is bread. We both let out a giant sigh of relief. Starvation is officially out of the question. Just when that warm glutenly goodness is about to reach our lips, our waiter brings us a jar filled with mussels swimming in a red sauce to dip our bread in. Reluctantly we go for it. Phew. It’s good. Not delicious. Not repulsive. I look around (because I cannot make out a word your dad is saying) and I’m bobbing my head to “Forgot about Dre” and I’m thinking we should totally go to Spain. We are so totally in Barcelona right now and it’s epic.
Next thing that came out was an $18 charcuterie plate. We both love meat so we figured this dish would be a slam dunk. On a plate no bigger than Current Stella’s palm sat 6 slices of chorizo and 5 tiny pickled carrots. It’s worth mentioning that the slices of chorizo were the exact size of a quarter, except they cost 3 dollars each.
There was a section of the menu called pintxos. The 4 items listed under that were all unrecognizable words (hopefully in Spanish, but could very well have been written by Eminem) with a few English clues that referenced possibly the most unappetizing, shockingly considered edible, items on the planet. At the bottom of the list was an option to try them all. The restaurant called this a Pintxo Flight for $12.50. Sold. The first thing we tried was on a skewer and since I have no idea what it actually was, I can only tell you what it looked and tasted like. It looked like a a piece of pepperincini pepper, a sliver of green olive, and a sample of those worms that come out after it rains. It tasted like a salty-rancid-fish-dare. Something that would require a reward of sorts for a person to actually swallow and digest. We both took a moment after we swallowed and I can’t be sure what your Dad was saying or thinking, but I was appreciating Current Stella a little bit and wondering if this is how she feels when we require her to try green beans.
Next on the sampler plate was a Sea Urchin egg. I’m not a fisherman or a marine biologist but I don’t think Sea Urchins lay eggs but, to be fair, I didn’t go to college. This dish tasted just like a devilled egg. I was just starting to feel adventurous and then they serve us the most basic american appetizer ever.
Following this utterly confusing treat was a cured duck toast. This was a slice of toast with asparagus and goat cheese and a tiny harmless slice of cured duck on top of it. I’m not in marketing at all, but maybe include the words asparagus and goat cheese on the menu? This was super yummy but I was sweating thinking about what a cured duck toast was going to be like, and man, the reality was so much better than the verbage!
Last on the sampler plate was a fava bean and chorizo croqueta. This actually sounded good but it was the size of a marble, so splitting it in 2 was a small miracle and the taste of my own saliva overpowered the whole dish.
To finish off our meal we ordered the patatas gravas and some spicy onion dish that our waiter recommended. Oh, and a glass of red wine. Patatas gravas are a given in every Spanish restaurant so it would be Un-American not to order them. For instance, if you are in Japan and eating at an American restaurant you better order the hot dog. The patatas (I like saying that word because you get to say ta-tas) were as good as any hot dog I have ever had. To best describe the onion dish, it’s easiest to just provide a recipe. First, buy a bundle of giant scallions. This restuarant claims their’s is a special onion only grown in Spain but that one person figured out how to grow in SF and exclusively grew it for this dish. Let there be no mistake about it, it’s a scallion. Take the scallion and throw it in a pan (don’t bother to cut it, they didn’t) and cook it for barely 10 seconds so it still tastes raw and then toss it in some spicy pasta sauce and, voila. Sounds great, right?
The waiter asked if we wanted dessert. Yeah. Fucking. Right. No thanks, Buddy. I heard you tell the table next to us that you only have 1 dessert and then you said about 6 words that sounded Latin and then the words creme brûlée. We are going to pass.
After dinner we still had an hour left before the sitter was off and considered what we should do. We narrowed it down to making out in the car parked in the Castro or rushing home so we could kiss you goodnight. I’m not telling you which one we picked….
Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, this morning Gail the Puppy chewed up the sandals you really wanted to wear to school. You were so pissed and while I was trying to find the sandals on the Internet to reorder (because I’m the nicest mom ever) you slapped my phone out of my hands. I raised my voice at you because we were late and we left the house both totally angry. As soon as we got on the bus you said nothing but slid on to my lap and enveloped me in a hug and said you were so sorry. Sometime I wish I could just apologize as quickly as you can. You inspire me to want to try harder at that. I should have been saying sorry to you for getting so impatient. I should say sorry a lot more in my life and I hope that trait of yours rubs off on me. I’m teaching you how to be lazy and you are showing me how to say sorry and make amends before problems fester. This is a mutually beneficial relationship.