Spring is certainly here once the patio is open and bustling at Sea Salt by Minnehaha Falls. Sunday started unlike any other day I've had this year. This day was Mother's Day - and for once, I was on the right side of this flower driven holiday. After years of poking my fingers on limp necked roses, cobbling together pathetic homemade cards from old photo albums and crayon sketches (I was 24 - not 4 last time I tried that one) or desperately phoning my mom's house phone, cell phone and then my sister's number at 3 in the afternoon to say, "Seriously! I love you! I do! Thank you! You're awesome! Seriously!"
This year, I slept in as late as I wanted without guilt or even a hangover. I smelled coffee already brewing for me and heard the chirps of my own little bird as his father struggled to remove the poo sodden diaper from his bum. This year I am a mother! And I deserve... STUFF. Oh hell yeah, I can get on board with this.
Of course, once up and caffeinated, I couldn't quite figure out what to do with myself. I was give carte blanche with my day and oddly, all I wanted to do was spend it with my son and husband. Weird. Usually, I'm crashing into Starbucks for a mocha, or rumaging through some store for shoe discounts. Spend the whole day with... boys? Boys that tend to accidentally yank down my shirt and tug on my hair? Boys that can occassionally smell? Weird. Grownups are weird.
After I opened and cherished my adorable cards, and coaxed my boy in the hopes that he'll say, "Foie Gras," as his first words (his constant babble of Da-DEE doesn't count), I decided we might as well leave the house. There was much debate and an aborted trip to the Arboretum (duh - PACKED. Mother's love flowers. What was I thinking? And Chanhassen is FAR.)
We decided to chance a trip to Sea Salt. I haven't been since I was largely pregnant and had to sneak sips of Matt's beer under scornful eyes of passers by. We astoundingly enough found a parking spot within walking distance of the falls.
We unloaded my dapper little fellow and headed over to the spot. Even more amazing - the line wasn't even out the door! Matt took his place in the queue and I strolled the kid around, swelling when I heard one woman remark, "Oh, look at that one! He's so cute!" You bet your bippy, lady. Cutest baby here. I also chose not to look in her direction on the off chance she was instead examining a "caterpillar" she'd been talking about - really just an army worm. Those things were everywhere.
We seated ourselves out back and watch the people. It's great people watching with families of all shapes, sizes, nationalities and social circles. Gutter punks, little Hmong ladies, sparkly Mexican princesses, suede elbowed college professors and football tossing sk8ter boys all roving around the park. Everyone seemed to be with a mom and each one was beaming.
I was too, the minute Matt arrived followed by our food. We've tried out a lot of dishes at Sea Salt, but the absolute best thing has to be the crawfish po' boy.
Each succulent little sea (swamp?) creature in cornmeal batter fried to crispy perfection and jazzed back to life with a little Tabasco sauce. The cool lettuce and creamy mayo melt against the dark charred toasty bread - all coming together into one of those mythical creatures of the deep. The Nessy of Cheap Eats - the Perfect Sandwich. It's zippy, crunchy, crispy, creamy, smokey, bright, fresh and fried. It's all I could ever ask for and more.
And there was more! More in the way of a really good cup o' beer. They were serving Moms a free cup and I got a rich and carmelly Surly. God bless the good beers. He'd also ordered a couple of oysters on the half shell. They were so good - so fresh. The concrete feeling of the jagged shell on my lips as I sucked down the cool tasty mollusk, spiked with cocktail sauce and a dab of horseradish. It was like swallowing the cool mist of the Atlantic coast that I haven't felt against my cheek since I was a toddler. All in all, I could seriously get used to these kinds of days. I enjoy being on the other side of this holiday.
It was just about then that I realized I hadn't yet talked to my mom. I took another long pull off my Surly and knew she'd understand.