Being in the Addison area meant stopping by Ida Claire for some Southern inspired food. Growing up in South Carolina practically makes me an instant expert in this highly important food category. The menu is simply dreamy if you aren’t on a diet. There are options for those trying to be kind of healthy, like hummus and a few others, but who wants to count calories at Ida Claire? No one around here, that’s for sure.
There’s a big trailer sitting on the patio beside the entrance. For some reason I didn’t care about this cool-looking trailer even though it has tables inside. All thoughts were focused on making it past the host stand without answering questions, which is my all-time favorite feat to complete when entering a restaurant.
People working the host stand will go above and beyond their basic job description to find out precisely what a customer has planned. “Do you have a reservation? How many? Is everyone here? Are you going to have a drink? Eating at the bar??” This is why walking fast past these eager employees makes my heart race with joy. This also works when attempting to have lunch while wearing flip-flops at Cafe Pacific. The best decision is to always bypass the host stand.
Maybe I run from all host stands faster than the speed of unfair-yelp-one-star-reviews because I was a hostess in high school and the job description is actually a mild form of torture. Having to display niceness to everyone the entire time a person works is too much to handle. “Good morning! Good afternoon! Good evening! Good night! Please come back! Hope things were GREAT! We can’t wait to see you again!!! Drive safely! We appreciate your business!!!” All while scrubbing menus. I’m pretty sure Oprah included menus as one of the top dirtiest things on the planet, minus escalator rails and gas pump handles. In reality, host people do not care about customers all the time. Sometimes it has to be a forced behavior, in my opinion. And with the Dallas debacle of having to have a reservation, a host probably gets fussed at more often than not. I’ll bet the host stand employees at Ida Claire aren’t annoying.
After sliding by the host stand without making eye contact, sitting at the bar is something everyone should do when dining out. There’s no chasing down your server while they are weeded. Instead, customers are in front of the bartender’s face eating food and slurping drinks. Bartenders are usually trapped in a tiny space with maybe one or two exits– max. They hardly ever leave this tiny area which means they are forced to give exceptional service. Anyone who complains about service when a restaurant is brand new or super busy could have avoided the experience by sitting at the bar. That’s right.
Yesterday there was a bartender with big muscles. These particular muscles were worrying me in an above average way. I soon found myself consumed with why his upper muscles were so big, while his lower arms didn’t match the upper arm area filled with big ripples of shiny muscles. The lower part was abnormally small. He wasn’t even wearing a total muscle shirt to emphasize the muscles. It was like half of a muscle shirt adding to all the muscle confusion. After realizing I was sitting beside an employee who was off work, I sincerely asked him what is up with his co-worker’s oddly shaped upper-lower arm muscle mystery. He quickly said his friend’s muscles were regular and basically didn’t understand the question. While I silently disagreed, moving on seemed like the right thing to do.
The off-work-waiter sitting beside me has lots of tattoos. The phenomenon that is his tattoos is that each tattoo has meaning to the deepest part of his soul. I had to immediately confess to him that I would probably get a sunshine tattoo on my ankle if it were 1988 again. My friends were getting dolphins and sunshine tattoos all over the place, but for some reason I knew this was a really bad idea. If you don’t love something enough to look at it becoming droopy and depressing as your sadly old skin turns 96, then don’t do it. That’s the best advice around town besides: Don’t be mean to Uber drivers.
The first and most important item to order from Ida Claire was the shrimp & grits! Raise. The. Roof. Shrimp & grits easily make the world a better place without even trying. A different bartender, without puzzling, mismatched muscles came over to take this precious order. I told him to please leave off the— lardons. The bartender’s question was exciting. “You do know what a lardon is, right?”
I was wearing none other than my school uniform chef coat for no reason whatsoever, so he should assume I’m familiar with lardons. Wearing my school chef coat of massive importance means I know the definition of almost all existing food, minus pink cheese. Lardons have scared me for years. Of course lardon is a part of my vocabulary, sir. I secretly wear this coat as my outfit sometimes because it makes me happy. Culinary school uniforms have the power to change the world. There are so many positives to wearing my school uniform as an outfit. I’ve decided to not keep this school-chef-coat-as-an-outfit a secret anymore. Place me on the nearest rooftop to tell the world. I have accepted that this is an unacceptable fashion statement and am prepared to face the consequences of total internet judgment.
The rest of lunch at Ida Claire was just as exciting as the shrimp & grits, minus lardons. I would recommend giving Ida Claire a chance. If they seem slammed, eat at the bar and relax without worrying about shady service.
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch
5001 Belt Line Road