Cheers to Better Babies in Restaurants
I am a Foodie. I go to restaurants. Babies should not be allowed in restaurants. Things have gotten out of control. You think MELISSE, the high-end restaurant in Santa Monica, is baby-free? You are wrong. When I was there, across the room was a mother with a 12-month-old baby. Did she think that it’d be good exposure for little Tiffany to try the Golden Imperial Osetra Caviar or the Lobster Bolognese with Brown Butter Truffle Froth from Chef Josiah Citrin? What kind of expectations does she think she’s setting up for Tiny Tiff? By 9, her preteen will crave Kobe beef stroganoff on Thursdays, by 16 she’ll whine for White Truffles every Friday, and by 21, who knows. Bad idea.
Last week, the boyfriend and I attempted Sunday brunch at GJELINA. Suddenly, a screeching baby hijacked our peaceful meal. Screeching, not screaming. Screeching, as defined in the Restaurant Etiquette 2013 Handbook, as: “A ‘squawk’ coming from a baby or toddler, often in a restaurant setting, recurring at regular intervals at a volume high and acute enough to stop most adult conversations. A Type 1 Restaurant Violation.” Type 1 categorized by the Restaurant Health & Well Being Association as the highest level, next to food poisoning, which shuts down a restaurant if it’s issued three times.
After experiencing more than my share of Screeching Type 1 violations, I now remove myself the second the infraction occurs. If I don’t, I fear my Pediatric Auditory Wrathitis (“PAW”) will get out of hand.
Upon leaving, we nearly tripped over the mother in the lobby changing her baby’s diaper in clear view. Is this acceptable behavior? Would Emily Post approve? I’m thinking Type 1 violation.
That begs the question, where is an LA diner seeking peace without screeching babies or visible diapers to go? Below my picks, though options are limited:
FATHER’S OFFICE. They’re about the only place in town that insists on carding people (though, not me for some reason). Under no circumstance will they let anyone under 21 in – especially no munchkins. That’s because FO is a bar first, a restaurant second. I’ve witnessed several parents with toddlers being turned away, to their dismay and my delight.
Beyond FO? Sorry, I’ve got nothing. Even worse, what’s with babies in bars? I’ve seen many toddlers saddled right up to the bar with their parents. When you’ve gotten yourself together to go trolling for men with your girlfriend, the last thing you want to see is a little one parked next to you. Kind of repels the men as they wonder if runty Rhys is your wingman. So all that hair curling, foundation setting, jewelry accessorizing, and perfume spritzing goes down the proverbial hatch – along with your $15 Cab. Plus, isn’t the legal drinking age 21? So why is the pint-sized prattler propped up there in the first place, pooping on any possibility that you’ll hunt down a man?
Rather than regulate the burgeoning barflies and toasting toddlers, here are three ideas to help:
- Breastfeeding Bars. Open up the bar scene to new moms, too. At their bar, it’s milk, pressed juice or coconut water versus the Cosmos, Moscow Mules or Dirty Martinis. As mom sips her healthful potion, wee Wyatt can enjoy his Sippy Cup.
- Courtesy Curfews. No children under the age of eight after 7pm like La Fisheria did in Houston. That way, man trolling can continue unfettered.
- Poop Nooks. People love nooks. Breakfast nooks. Reading nooks. Even the restaurant, NOOK BISTRO. So why not a Poop Nook? Set aside a private dining room for the newborns where mom can luxuriate in a massage chair, with optional blowout, while freshening up teensy Tobias at the same time.
Restaurants, take notes. Diners want baby-free options too. Let’s ban together so we can all dine together. Peace through dining.