Peas on a Pizza

I’m sure some people will read this title and think the recipe sounds “kid-friendly”.

But, just so we’re clear, I am not.

Recently, a friend of mine posted on Facebook a scathing comment that she would never go to a newly-opened restaurant because of their policy on children. She and those liking her comment were saying the place was elitist and snooty. This opinion was not isolated to my friend and her newsfeed either. Looking at the restaurant’s Facebook page many women–definitely all married based on the hyphens and double last names, and probably also all parents–had similar negative reactions they publicly were willing to express.

Here was the restaurant’s policy verbatim [it has since been removed]:

To eliminate any confusion or future misunderstandings, we enforce a dress code that provides an upscale dining experience for our customers. This includes no tee shirts, workout attire, or any cutoff sweats/jeans or jeans with holes in them. Furthermore we are not children friendly, we do not have high chairs or children’s menus. We hope to be the place mom and dad can come and enjoy an elegant, peaceful night out without any interruptions from their children any other customers children.

Here’s the first problem I see: they had to spell out the attire bit. Like I said, this place is newly-opened, so I couldn’t find a menu online. But during construction the local paper wrote (with quotation marks, by the way) that it would be an “upscale” restaurant offering wine, beer, spirits and food. It’s sad that within a month of being in business they then had to come out and say to customers that they would like to be upscale (no quotation marks), and would appreciate it if patrons wore something nicer than what you’d wear to wash your car or mow your lawn.

Now for their word choices: I’ve seen worse. Take the Vortex for instance (though they’re far from upscale). That’s some not-really, but comparatively, harsh language. If anything, I think the above lines about the dress code are more aggressive than the lines about the children. But on that note: how do you indicate that you are not children friendly and that you lack accompanying accoutrement like high chairs or children’s menus beyond simply saying exactly that? Even if the restaurant lacks high chairs, that may not stop people; they do make portable high chairs just for these purposes. These lambasting comments from these clearly angry never-to-be customers say that the wording on the kid-issue was snobby and their tone was unappreciated. Give me an alternate wording, please. I dare you.

I suppose they could have made their point by simply serving “non-kid-friendly” dishes like Brussels sprouts or raw oysters. But talk about a niche market. My friend told me that they probably could have gotten the kid message across just by their prices, which apparently are upscale (again, no quotation marks). But then again high prices couldn’t even get the dress code message across. Another friend suggested that if they had emphasized the bar aspect of the place and not the food aspect that the message would come across. But again, maybe the place wanted to be a restaurant with a bar and not a bar that serves food.

These comments got me thinking. Why should the only places where you are guaranteed to have a kid-free night be bars and budget-straining restaurants? In essence, what’s wrong with being non-kid friendly? Can you really never open an affordable place serving both food and alcohol that solely functions as a date-night spot and not a family-night spot (and here, I’m making the terribly false assumption that you’re only a family if you have kids)?

I feel bad for this restaurant. They clearly were misguided and didn’t gauge the area and local customer base appropriately. They quite possibly made a fatal error with their statement and its wording if not also with their entire business model.

But philosophically? Can I hear an “amen”?

Because, as we all know, I love to cook. Hell, my whole family loves to cook. So if we were going to go out to eat, it’s because we wanted a certain experience and in particular would like to relax and treat ourselves in ways that we couldn’t at home. Back in the day, my parents would always ask for the smoking section. Why? Because smoking sections didn’t have children. The ambience created by the inhalation of second-hand fumes was more relaxing to them than the ambience created by other people’s children.

Now I don’t have the luxury of requesting smoking sections–at least in this country–because they basically no longer exist. But I still don’t find being around children while trying to have an adult meal and adult conversation with adult company to be relaxing. It is not a treat and, especially since I can cook, I might as well stay home. So I do. And what that increasingly means as a reality is that I *have* to dine at “upscale” places because they are the only ones that are kid-free. And that’s sad. Maybe instead of smoking and non-smoking sections, we could have kid-friendly and kid-free sections? A girl can dream…

So, now for the pizza. The only complaint I have on this was that I didn’t make my own pesto. I used store-bought stuff, which other people may like but this particular brand I thought was too sweet. Believe it or not, there was minimal pea-spillage (this was what my guy was most concerned about). With or without kids, I hope you enjoy it.

PEAS, PESTO AND PROSCIUTTO PIZZA

INGREDIENTS:

  • pizza dough
  • pesto
  • prosciutto
  • peas
  • mozzarella

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425*F.
  2. Roll out your pizza dough.
  3. Smear a thin layer of pesto.
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  4. Evenly distribute the peas, then the prosciutto, then the mozzarella.
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  5. Bake until done–about 20 minutes.
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