"Aerin, we're trying something new!"
My mom had a huge grin on her face while she played shuffleboard at The Gin Mill in South End. I couldn't believe my P.I.C.'s parents convinced her to play. But there she and my pops were, having the time of their lives (I left out the fact that the game is more popular in retirement homes than among my generation and let them have fun with their new game).
My parents came to town for my dad's birthday a couple weeks ago and you know what that means. Not only was I able to party with people who can take care of me when I'm drinking but I
was also able to enjoy a staycation at the Ritz for a couple days — sorry, not sorry!
Let me start by saying that finding things to do when my parents are in town is a huge challenge. They aren't into drinking, packed bars, belligerent drunk folk, hookah or loud music. And based on my previous articles, you can imagine that limits our options quite a bit. In the past, we've found family-friendly activities in the Q.C., such as dressing up for a Halloween house party and jazz at Blue Restaurant & Bar. This time, however, the itinerary was completely up to me.
When they arrived on Thursday, the plan was for me to have all of my things ready to go so they could scoop me from work and we could go straight to the hotel. Obviously, drinking on Wednesday night got in the way of that. So I went home, gathered my things and had them pick me up from there. By the time they arrived, I was nervous we'd check in to the hotel and the birthday boy would go to sleep. So I made him put our first destination in the GPS — Sycamore Brewing.
Like I said, my parents aren't exactly the go-with-the-flow type. For the entire ride over to South End, my parents' banter was continuous. "Where are we going? I don't want to go to a bar. Is it that hookah spot? If so, I'm good. Are we in the hood?" I rolled my eyes and sighed with every complaint as we pulled into the parking lot at Sycamore.
"Is Guy here?" my pops asked as we walked in. I didn't even know what he was talking about at first. That's when I saw the Papi Queso kitchen menu in front of him. His eyes lit up as he said, "Shut up! That's what I meant by 'is Guy here?!'"
My parents are huge fans of Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Pops had talked about the "Papi Queso" episode for months, so I knew snagging The Pig Mac — complete with pulled pork, bourbon onions and mac 'n' cheese — was at the top of our to-do list. We sat down at one of the picnic tables outside — thankfully it wasn't Food Truck Friday — on one of the most perfect, cool Queen City evenings. After eating his Pig Mac and enjoying one of his favorite past-times of people-watching, my pops would've loved to hit the town, but my mom and I knew it was only a matter of time before he passed out for the night.
The following day, I went to work. They met me for lunch and I introduced them to one of my favorite people in the city and coincidentally, my favorite hot dog — Vic the Chili Man.
We ate dogs in Romare Bearden Park and made plans for them to crash my office's happy hour at 204 North a few hours later. I should've avoided the glasses of champagne I had before dinner, because that's when the P.I.C. hit me up asking what our plans were for the night.
We decided to head to Gin Mill and beat the tipsy crowd. Once I saw how entertained our parents were playing shuffleboard, I decided it would be a good idea to get an RBV ... I was wrong. On a weekend when I should've been showing how "grown up" I was, my mindset shifted quickly from PG to the border between PG-13 and quickly into rated R territory. SBy the time 10 p.m. rolled around, I was ready to rally and my parents were dragging me, kicking and screaming in my mind, back to the hotel. There, I proceeded to argue with them about why I should be "allowed" to take an Uber back out and why I didn't want to watch a movie they were watching until I passed out – fully clothed. Sighs.
Thank goodness for breakfast in the hotel, errands and a little brunch at Napa on Providence to tie off the weekend nicely. Otherwise, I might've single-handedly ruined a great visit. Oh Aerin, when will you learn?