A Grand Nite Out

The Varmint and I, in our wild imaginings of what Life with Offspring might be like, realized there would be sacrifices. For example, personal hygeine and Jell-o shots would be moving a few rungs down the priority ladder. As far as going out was concerned, we figured we'd get back to that in, say, 2010.

I'm proud to say, we proved ourselves wrong. We actually went out on a date Wednesday night to celebrate my birthday. And before you ask, it's numero 3 - 9, the last blast before official, card-carrying middle agedness kicks in and my health insurance premiums skyrocket.

Anyway, it's true that when you have a kid, going out becomes a much bigger to-do - what with the getting a sitter (thanks, mom!), pumping milk, and snorting multiple lines of coke to combat the exhaustion.

So we decided to do it up right and try for a nice dinner as opposed to the Greek takeaway we've been favoring of late. As San Diego natives who've never been to The Kensington Grill (it's a bit of a San Diego classic), we decided to remedy our faux pas. It has a great rep, and is not on the trendy radar, so it sounded perfect for our first evening out as parents. I'd describe the place as warm and stylish. It's casually chic fine dining, upscale food, without being too fussy - plus, it's nice and neighborhood-y.

As we arrive, the hostess greets us warmly. She leads us to our seats, asks if we're celebrating a special occasion. We tell her, "Well, it's our first night out after having a baby." (I desperately want to avoid the birthday candle thing.)

"How about a glass of champagne to celebrate?" she offers.

Being as I'd been fantasizing about a frosty cold beer all day long - and knowing full well that The Varmint would rather slurp down a flute of maple syrup than swig champagne - I smile and reply, "No thank you, but thanks so much for asking!"

So we sit. We order a couple of beers. I opt for the Downtown Brown Ale by Lost Coast Breweries in Eureka, not knowing I'd just stumbled upon a major find: This has become one of my most favorite beers, ever. I am shocked by how good it is. (Note to self: Buy a six pack ASAP.) It's brewed with a touch of brown sugar, but the only way I knew that was from going to their website to find this picture. It's really rich and complex, and has a nice brown bite.

For appetizers, we down some hot, succulent pulled pork empanadas and chase them with the cold beers. We order and wait for our entrees to arrive.

Ever the fishmeister, The Varmint goes with the halibut. I guess post-empanadas I'm still in a porky kind of mood, because I choose the sugar cane pork skewers.

Throughout our meal, we talk about our lives, how much everything has changed, our work, the baby, us, the future, where we plan to travel (road trip up the West Coast?) and music (The Decemberists).

Strangely, we never worried about Mak, or ached to get home to see her right away. We knew it would all be ok, and she'd be back in our arms within a couple of hours. It felt good to be together. Really really good. And it felt even better when the server sidlesup to our table with the dessert menu, and says, "Order whatever dessert you guys like. It's on us, to congratulate you both on your new baby."

We order thBabyCurlieQ.jpge banana bread pudding with caramel rum sauce and the server nods, "Good choice! Reeeeeeally good choice." 

She's right. It's absolutely fantastic. So good, in fact, we bring some home to thank Super Mom, our baby sitter, who's also a big bread puddin' fan. She nearly faints from the deliciousness.

The lesson? A night out can do wonders for rejuvenating your sense of self, but also your relationship. Also, it turns out life isn't completely over once you've got a kid after all...


Take tonight, for example. I get to go out for Thai food with Deb. And the best part is, that instead of being sad when the night's over and I have to say goodbye, I'll feel excited.

I get to go home and snuggle with two of my favorite people in the world: My husband and my girl. What could be better than that?


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >