had Bauhaus playing on the stereo.
Enjoy your ridiculous food, you beautiful non-breeders (and the probably statistically tiny number of parents who can afford both a babysitter and a night at this restaurant).
You know how you teach them those things? By taking them in public and letting them interact with clerks, waitstaff, other patrons, etc.
It almost never hurts to look at people's behavior in the most charitable light. It costs you nothing.
The Joker: I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan". But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!
[Joker hands Two-Face a gun and points it at himself]
The Joker: Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!
[still holding the gun, Two-Face pauses and takes out his coin]
Two-Face: [showing Joker the good side] You live.
The Joker: Mm-hmm.
Two-Face: [showing the scarred side] You die.
The Joker: Mmm, now we're talking.
We talk a lot about exquisite food but we rarely talk about a corollary to our fixation with it — the financial toll it takes on people who do not in any real sense have the income to afford it. Last week Yaffa Fredrick, who is 23 and a production assistant at MTV, broke down the finances of her passion for me. After taxes, she makes about $30,000 a year, a little over half of which goes to rent. In an especially frenetic dining week before the holidays, she went to Morimoto in the meatpacking district one night, Fig & Olive the next and Spice Market a few nights later, with a drinks evening sandwiched in between at Experimental Cocktail Club on the Lower East Side.
I find it amazing that there are people who actually revel in having fewer options in life, even to such an extreme that they cannot help rationalize dragging everyone else down with them — taking active pleasure in it, even. It's a weird kind of externally-directed or inverted anhedonia, where the subject can only take pleasure in life by denying it to others.
Why should the chef have to cater to the baby market?
But the thing is, I think a lot of people are displaying some unconscious snobbery. There's nothing inherently anti-baby about eating at a 200$ a plate restaurant, or a $100 a plate restaurant. The thing is that most people have unconsciously internalized this idea of "If I go to a place that's expensive enough, the high prices will keep the riff-raff (people who do not behave as I personally think is appropriate to behave) out."
This year, there was a nine year old girl next to us and I have zero complaints. She was perfectly behaved and her mom was on top of things like "you are not swinging your legs at the seat in front of you." A+.
They don't have to specify it "No Babies", but they DID seat the family. Explicitly accepting the baby into their restaurant
He said he had no idea if the couple had lost their babysitter. "I didn't interview them," he said. "That was merely social media assuming they lost their babysitter. I thought I made that very clear with Good Morning America, but they edited it out."
So, no, the couple didn't call ahead. And in fact couple is the wrong word. It was a party of four sitting at one of five tables in a small, intimate downstairs room. When the group arrived the baby was fine. "But," said Achatz, "as many of us who have children, me included, realize, you have a very small window in which little ones behave themselves. If you can go an hour it's awesome. But Alinea is a four-hour experience."
Long before the four hours were over, the baby began to cry. Achatz could hear the crying from the kitchen in another part of the restaurant. "The general manager came up to me in the kitchen and said, 'What do you want to do?' I said, 'Take it easy. See how it goes. I don't want them to leave. I want them to enjoy the experience.'" But he also wanted everyone at the other tables in the room to enjoy the experience.
Eventually the general manager approached the woman on whose lap the infant spent the evening and suggested she step into the foyer. "She got up and took the child into the bathroom for a minute and came back," said Achatz, "and the child continued to fuss. And she never did anything else. It was like, 'I've done my part. I tried and failed. And now I'm not going to deal with it.' It almost felt like it was people projecting this entitlement. Like 'We're here, we can do whatever we want, we paid for it,' without any concern for the people around them."
This was not the first time an infant had crossed the threshold of Alinea, Achatz told me. There have been other infants, and there have been breastfeeding mothers. But this baby's disruption was unprecedented, he said, because the adults refused to take responsibility for its behavior.
Even so, he said he never seriously considered asking the group to leave. And despite the question implicit in his tweet and explicit in some of the reporting on it, he is not thinking of changing the policy that lets parents bring infants. Infants are fine, he believes, so long as the grown-ups with them act like grown-ups.
Achatz has heard from all four of the other tables in the room. They sent e-mails letting him know their evening was less than ideal. But he hasn't heard from the fifth table. Tell me who they are and I'll call them, I told him. "I can't do that," Achatz replied. He wouldn't even say if they were from out of town.
It seems like the irritation of a crying baby on an airplane - where you often do spend 500$ or so - sometimes babies do cry (even more, because there's no room to move, and pressure), and it's annoying if you're trying to sleep. But I don't think about plane flights with crying babies as having ruined my experience, because the plane flight isn't about quiet on the flight, but about the place you're going. It seems like it's the same with Alinea - your experience is about balloons of food, not about The Silence.
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