Good Times, Except For Ikea

Jack Rose | Los Gatos, California

Emu Australia Boots | Stripes Boutique Dress

My parents came into town for Memorial Day Weekend so we could all be together on my 35th birthday, and our weekend was a mix of day trips to fun places with the kids, hanging by the pool, and taking care of stuff around the house (wildly exciting projects like fixing closet door tracks and replacing fluorescents; all things that my dad cares about and I care much less about but do anyway when he’s there because he makes me and because whining doesn’t work on my father).

Jack Rose family-friendly bar in Los Gatos CaliforniaJack Rose family-friendly bar in Los Gatos California

There are few things as wonderful as a bar to which one can bring one’s babies.

On Friday night, we joined our friends Elise and Miles and their kids at Jack Rose – the family-friendly outdoor bar/restaurant/live music venue that I’ve written about before, and will likely be writing about all summer long because it’s GREAT. Our kids danced and climbed up on the stage (don’t worry, I wasn’t being That Parent; this was encouraged by the band and the venue), we ate really a lot of hot dogs and drank really a lot of Blue Moon, and made it home while the sun was still up. (Which is how I always prefer a “night out” at a bar to end. During the daytime, so I can be in bed by 9 like a grandparent.)

And then on Saturday, we went to my favorite day-trip town, Carmel, and discovered…well, first we discovered that it may have been 90 degrees in San Jose, but it was more like 65 in Carmel. Oops. One trip into town later, we were the proud owners of a fluffy pink bear-ear zip-up for Goldie (to call this item of clothing “a hit” would be a vast understatement), a cool little retro jacket-thing for Indy, and an insanely overpriced tourist sweatshirt for me. I was all rage-y about the price until I realized that I actually will wear the thing every day because god knows I love me a good Dorky Tourist Top, and also because it has built-in thumb holes, which is WONDERFUL.

Vintage sweatshirt with thumbholes

Witnesseth yonder amazingness

After a few hours at the beach (which was, oddly enough, about 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the town), we rebundled and headed to Carmel Valley, where we had my Official Birthday Dinner (aka one that I did not have to cook) at The Corkscrew Cafe.

The Corkscrew Cafe restaurant in Carmel Valley

Good food = happy face

(OK fine, she’s actually eating the cookie that came with Mom’s coffee in that picture, but the rest of the food was good too)

Hoooooly delicious.

The restaurant, first of all, is kind of magically beautiful – all overgrown plants and hanging lights and rainbow flags. But oh man, the brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are one of those foods that, even when prepared very well, tend to go in the “Pretty Good But Would Not Order Them For My Last Meal” category. These? Were totally Last Meal-worthy. I think they involved an orange juice reduction, but clearly there was some sorcery going on there, because they were wayyyy beyond the degree of deliciousness that brussels sprouts should be capable of attaining. We ended the night with the best lemon meringue pie I have ever had in my life (no exaggeration), port (which I had never tried before, and now know to never try again), baby kisses, and a sunset drive through the mountains.

And then the next day we went to Ikea, and discovered yet another fun fact about the store: the things that they say are in stock when you do a pre-visit online search because you have two children and even though you have reinforcements in grandparent form you have learned from vast and terrible experience that the key to surviving Ikea is “Get The Hell In And Then Get The Hell Out”? Those things are not in stock.

None of them.

The only thing worse than a trip to Ikea is a trip to Ikea that must be repeated because despite the fact that you spent two hours navigating past endless racks of Things That Children Must Not Touch And/Or Hide Behind, you left without the shit you came for.

(More photos – not of the Ikea trip, but rather of the more photogenic and less fury-inspiring parts of our weekend – are below.)

The Corkscrew Cafe brussels sprouts in Carmel Valley

DAMN brussels sprouts, you look good.

The Corkscrew Cafe restaurant in Carmel Valley

Kiss for baby.

The Corkscrew Cafe restaurant in Carmel Valley

Kiss for mommy. (Heart explosion.)

The Corkscrew Cafe restaurant in Carmel Valley

The Corkscrew Cafe garden patio


Mussels steamed in white wine and North African spices 

(My children stole this from me.)Sunset on the 101 from Carmel Valley

Sunset in the mountains.

Low mist in the mountains in California

Clouds touching the treetops; a uniquely Bay Area weather pattern that I ordinarily refer to as “Mordor-like” but was very pretty on this particular evening.

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