the hungry toddler

Nothing from the Makery today.  It is a holiday after all, although my daycare provider opted to swap today for another Monday so the little one is there and I'm working.  Well, okay, my printer is printing while I essentially take a break from working to update my blogs.  And in an effort to whittle down the family budget a wee bit, this may be my last childfree Monday until said child goes to preschool in the fall.  For my childless readers, going from four days of daycare down to three does not in fact save a whole lot of dough but every little bit helps.  And I think I can swing the wedding invitation orders in three days.  I hope.  What it does mean, however, is that I'm having to streamline the kinds of activities I do during my daycare days, prioritizing the things that make me money over the things that don't necessarily.  So the Makery is officially on hiatus for a few months.  If I have a brilliant idea, I'll figure out a way to make it happen, but I doubt it will happen every Monday.

In the meantime, since it's been awhile since I blogged about anything else, I thought I'd take this opportunity this final Monday to write up a little review of a new restaurant in Oakland's Temescal neighborhood.  Homeroom is dedicated to a food we've gotten to know pretty well around here the last few years: mac 'n' cheese.  I wouldn't normally try a new restaurant during its lunch-only opening week, especially with my toddler in tow, but with a playdate planned Friday morning at Sadie Dey's, right around the corner, and considering their child-friendly fare is almost as much, I thought it would be a fun adventure to end the pre-quiet-time activities with some comfort food.

And adventure it most certainly was.  The restaurant is, I think, in the lower limits of the trendy neighborhood (when did Oakland become hipster central?); it took us a solid 15 to 20 minutes to walk there from Sadie Dey's, a long walk with one infant and two toddlers in steady drizzle.  And when we got there around 12:30 or so there was, not surprisingly, a line nearly out the door.  The line, lack of seating, and undeniable hipster vibe didn't dissuade me so much as the almost unbearable wait in our immediate future.  We waited in line. For so, so long.  In the meantime, a booth opened up so I continued to stand in line and ultimately order for the group while the rest of the group staked claim to the one open table, entertaining the toddlers with smart phone shenanigans.  Unless they anticipate business slowing down considerably (which I'm sure they don't want), I'm not convinced one register is going to cut it.  And while I appreciate the card catalog/gold star return customer reward system they've got set up and how it's in keeping with their overall "homeroom" theme, it's a tad fussy.  Several times while I was in line a customer ran back up to the front of the line so the one cashier could put their gold sticker on.  Then they had to weave back in and out of the line to get to the card catalog, where you file your personal card until the next time you visit.  Nice idea; less successful in reality.

By the time I ordered and got back to our table, the toddlers were already beyond antsy.  Aside from YouTube videos, all we had to distract them were the banana puffs intended for the infant among us.  Shortly after placing our order, the server brought the two homemade oreo-style cookies I'd ordered for dessert to "tide us over."  Not such a good idea to bring dessert to a table with two toddlers well before the meal was to arrive.  And the wait was, as I mentioned before, almost unbearable.  I didn't time it exactly but I know it was at least 45 minutes from the time I ordered to the time we got the first of four dishes.

Our order did not come out together.  Mine came out first, several minutes ahead of the kids' orders, and a final, fourth plate came out several minutes after that. 

The worst part is, in spite of waiting for what felt like forever for our food to the point of overly hungry crankyness, the kids' "little macs" were too hot too eat!  There was much eager biting and subsequent burnt tongues and spitting food out.  Eventually I used the plate under my bowl to spread out the bowl of "little mac", helping it to cool down quicker. 

Anyway, waiting aside, the food was good.  I had the trailer mac (classic cheddar mac with hot dog bits and crushed potato chips) while my companion had the little mac.  I can't say I was blown away, but I would go back (after the crowds die down and sans toddler).  I think the problem is it seems like they're making each bowl of mac 'n' cheese to order.  And I get it - I understand that the whole point is to sort of elevate this basic comfort food.  But it's mac 'n' cheese.  Several dishes, for example, seem to use the classic cheddary mac as their base.  So why not have a big vat of that ready to go, with toppings prepped ahead of time?  I mean, it's not an Italian restaurant in North Beach, you feel me?

But at the end of the day, the entire experience was redeemed by this deliciousness:

Homemade oreo cookies, like chocolatey Little Debbie oatmeal creme pies.  So. Good.

I think we were all, "Wait? What wait?!" after sharing a couple of these. You should go and get one. Just allow ample time to enjoy it. Don't worry if your skinny jeans are feeling a little snug. It's worth it.

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