Saturday, February 12, 2011

Exotic hideaway overrun

Sometimes you just want to find a secret, exotic hideaway. Dark, a bit mysterious, and - let's face it -touched with a bit of the exotic Other, however cliched it might be.

So when [The Man I Love] and I thought we'd meet for a cocktail Friday night, we tried to think of a place to go.

In quiet Pacific Palisades, where we run our dry-cleaning, grocery, hardware store and pharmacy errands, there's a little place that used to be known as the only place with a license to serve hard liquor. It used to be a Chinese restaurant; now it's an Asian Fusion joint named the Pearl Dragon.

We haven't been there in a couple years, but remembered it as the kind of place where it's dark and quiet; where you can get Mai-Tais, or cocktails made with lichee juice or drinks with umbrellas in them - and maybe get some crispy egg-rolls or a flaming Pu-Pu platter to nibble on. Just the thing, we thought, for a mysterious yet sophisticated brief getaway.

Well.

This is Pacific Palisades.

When I walked in past a trickling fountain and a stone Buddha, the hostess smiled and directed me to where [The Man I Love] waited at a candle-lit table with a cold martini in front of him. As my eyes grew accustomed to the gloom, I could hear a high murmuring that wasn't from the fountain....and then I realized something.

Every single table but ours had at least one child seated at it.

There were children fiddling with chopsticks. There were children eating caterpillar rolls. There were children pouting, children precociously sitting at the sushi bar. There were children swinging their feet and kicking their siblings under the table.

The parents hovered over the childrens' menu, offering noodles and steamed broccoli and plain rice. Or indulged in the little darlings' yen for fried shrimp, eel-roll or California rolls.

Tall tumblers of cokes and cherry garnished ginger ales were festooned with paper umbrellas.

Beside us, a fourteen year old sulked with her grandparents. A studious long-haired kid in a soccer uniform expertly nibbled at maki-zushi.

What had happened? An invasion? What was this world coming to?

7 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

KIDS TODAY!!!!

;)

Alexia said...

oh dear! you'll be looking for a new hideaway.
I hope the 2 of you managed to enjoy yourselves anyway!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

You just can't escape the stroller mafia.

kcinnova said...

As a parent, that was always the one thing that I hated : paying a babysitter and thinking I was going to have a quiet night out, only to find the restaurant filled with other people's kids. Ack!! (Not that I'm opposed to teaching your kids how to eat out. I'm just thinking selfishly. I usually prefer to leave mine at home.)
It might even be worse to lose an exotic hideaway. May any future grandchildren be the non-sullen type. ;)

yogurt said...

There really has been a seismic shift in the past ... oh ... twenty years? Where bringing kids to restaurants is concerned. And I don't like it one bit (when I'm out with my man trying to enjoy a quiet evening).

Karen S. said...

It's funny about dining today...when I was growing up going out to eat was a big thing, and you better believe if we didn't behave like adults.....but these days...some parents don't think about the people sitting next to them, trying to dine quietly! Hope your next adventure is better!

Mrs. G. said...

We've had this experience when we've gone out for special (expensive) meals. Things have changed. When I was a kid, we ate out like three times a year and kids didn't go to fancy places. I can't imagine paying $18.95 for an entree for a child. Too cheap!