I still don’t get it. Lolita quickly won her over – twice. And for nine months straight, she craved the beef cheek pierogies and super thin and perfectly salted fries. The laugh alone over the TV has made her smile and throw her arms all around in excitement. But something changed. Of all the places and all the chefs, leave it to my daughter to be unimpressed with a James Beard win and Iron Chef title.
After months of cancelling, Natalie and I headed to East 4th on Friday to meet my friend for lunch. Now while we take Nat everywhere, I would pass on Lola during dinner service with a little one. But for lunch, I figured we’d be safe. Actually, for the most part we were. That is until the food came where Natalie seemingly was unimpressed with the selection and presentation.
The restaurant was packed. In fact, all of East 4th was. Since I no longer work downtown, I don’t get down there often during the day. It was nice to see so many people out and about everywhere. Inside, we were seated way in the back but still surrounded by enough people (many of whom I’m sure were having a working lunch) that I knew weren’t happy to see a baby carrier headed their way. None the less, the servers were all great and accommodating and kept coming back to take a peek inside.
I ordered the soup and salad combo: creamy artichoke soup with hazelnuts and I believe crumbled pancetta and chickpea salad. I managed to get a few bites in and then Miss Natalie decided she had enough of this so-called Cleveland favorite and was ready to go. At first I tried to console her, which bought me a few more bites, but then she became more persistent with her dislike. While other diners didn’t really seem to notice (or were just being super polite), I knew it was time for our second mass exodus from a restaurant (Umami wins for her other least favorite restaurant). I apologized to my lunch date, threw her my card, asked the server if I could get this wrapped and told my friend I’d meet her upfront.
And within 5 seconds, that’s exactly where we were, in the safety of the hostess stand. And wouldn’t you know it, the crying dissatisfied diner was suddenly happy, even cooing at the hostess and flirting with a server. Figures.
Oh well. She is only six months after all. I suppose Michael has plenty of time to win her over. In the meantime, her mom is a big fan. Even after we got home and a good hour after I placed my order, the soup and salad were wonderful. I can’t say that I’ve had artichoke soup before but now I can’t wait to have it again. Creamy and savory and truly wonderful. And the salad – so simple yet I was almost more impressed with that. There couldn’t have been but a few ingredients to the dressing and if anyone knows what they are – please share. I absolutely love chicpeas and would really like to recreate this salad at home. Until then, I’ll have to go back, sans Natalie, and try the full version of this salad with hanger steak.