I think when a place is too pristine I get a little anxious. The Village of Merrick Park during the day is a perfect example of that, and I feel it needs some hoodrats and annoying middle school skateboarders to make me feel at ease.
I had never been to Merrick Park on anything but evenings to get my drink on at the Yard House or one night to buy a suit at the Hugo “We Designed the Nazi Uniforms and People Overlook That” Boss store. I didn’t realize it was so family-friendly and picturesque. It’s unsettling. They had some dudes playing live Caribbean music, there were cute little future bullies running around on the grass while their fathers in khakis and their mothers in sundresses chatted about how much they hate Obama. Puppies frolicking freely. I felt like I was in Latin Broward.
…but that was in a third-world country so it doesn’t count.
With my sister visiting from San Francisco for the weekend, this was the first time my entire nuclear family had sat down for a meal together since her wedding last year, but that was in a third-world country so it doesn’t count. Even with the time apart, we still behave the same way we always have together. My mom talks and talks and talks, I zone out while trying to check out potential talent around the table without being noticed, my sisters compete over who can roll their eyes the hardest at whatever it is my mother is talking about, and my dad has to be as diplomatic as possible and not pick sides.
To sum up typical mom chatter:
To my older sister: “When are you going to have a baby?” or “Why don’t you call more often?”
To me: “When are you going to settle down with a nice girl?” or “When are you going to stop going out with all those whores?” (She hasn’t met a girl I’ve dated since high school.)
To my younger sister: “Why are you wearing that?” or “Fix your posture.”
So sitting through all that, there’s the restaurant menu. The menu is physically large enough to list all the reasons why Lil’ Wayne sucks, and the number of meal options reflect that size. They should seriously consider redoing those menus in something smaller because it was awkward as hell moving that thing around a round table. We sat outside because it was a nice day and I noticed the indoor area is very large as well. The restaurant is put together nicely.
The menu is physically large enough to list all the reasons why Lil’ Wayne sucks…
Bread. They give you a lot of bread, and it’s all awesome. They throw some complementary bruschetta and you’re all like, “whaaaaat?” and they’re all like, “siiiii.” The portions are huge. I don’t remember what everyone had, but it played out like it usually does. Dad ate his meal, mom ate her salad, little sister nibbled her food and coveted mine, older sister just looked her pasta and claimed “no, no, it’s really good, but I’m so full”, and I ate my meal. Nothing has changed, except my little sis dined exclusively on chicken fingers until she turned 18.
Their service is pretty on-point and from what I understand they have a great dessert selection. The prices were reasonable as well.
At the end of this whole ordeal my sisters got into an argument with my mom about her persistence in taking a photo every 12 seconds. Ah, family.