Remember when dreaming up the perfect baby name was fun? I haven’t had to do it myself, but I can just imagine it was a fun task in the 60s and 70s. Young girls in poodle skirts and pigtails doodling them during home economics. Bobby if it’s a boy, and Lucy if it’s a girl! The world was a much simpler place back then. But things are different now. As a guncle (that’s gay-uncle) to three nephews, one niece, and a fifth one on the way, I’m no stranger to the modern-day challenge of coming up with a baby name. It’s the 21st century, so naturally us millennials feel the need to complicate even the most simple of tasks with our smart phones, iPads, social media apps, baby-name-blogs, and child rearing books about child rearing books. Our generation has this need to be different, and unfortunately that seems to manifest itself in coming up with names like Apple, Rocket, Harper, Clovis, Achilles, and Axa— pronounced Asia— which is only going to lead to being teased, and a lifetime of insecurities. Observing my brothers and friends, I’ve learned a thing or two about baby naming in a digital age.
The biggest takeaway I got from my oldest brother—while traveling through Tuscany with his pregnant wife—is to keep whatever names you’re considering a secret. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but they learned firsthand that if you have a name or two you like, it’s in your best interest to keep your mouth shut. If you don’t, you run the risk of having friends and family members tell you why they do or don’t like a name, and it’s those unsolicited opinions from the peanut gallery that will ruin any names you’ve come up with.
Your cousin telling you they know a fat uneducated bastard with an eye patch named Mason, doesn’t mean your kid with the same name will befall the same fate; being fat, a bastard and saddled with peripheral vision issues. Given the chance, people will a poke a hole through your dreams; I mean baby names—so don’t give them the opportunity.
Flash forward ten years; my middle brother is about to have his first baby, and all anyone can talk about is what he and his wife are going to name the baby. And rather than take the advice of our older brother, and keep his favorite names close to the vest, he’s screaming them from the mountaintops. Being the consummate Generation Y’er, he’s got all the baby names they like in a Google doc, and his analytic approach to “testing” them out is to use each name for a week. Here’s how it works. Whenever they reference the baby (all the time now that they’re in the third trimester) they use whatever name is next on the Google doc. That way they can get a sense for how the name rolls off the tongue, and how it will sound in various contexts. Once the week of trying out a name is over, they jot their notes into the Google doc (probably with some oral dictation baby naming software they bought from babynames.com), and then move on to the next one. Eventually, they’ll settle on a name that just “feels right.”
If you ask me, it sounds like a lot of work—and the baby isn’t even born yet! That’s why I’ve decided, that if and when I have children, I’m going to throw a bunch of names I like into a hat and go with the first one my pudgy fingers pick. And, because I still have this innate need for individuality, no matter what name I select, I’ll throw in a silent Q and P for good measure. Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter what you name your child, high school is going to be miserable, being near the start of the alphabet can be just as bad as the end, and crazy names build character…or at least I hope so for my little Daqvipd’s sake.
If you find yourself east of the Caldecott Tunnel in Lafayette, and you’re looking for a family friendly place to eat, than Chef Steve Jaramillo’s Metro is the place for you. Metro doesn’t sacrifice delicious cuisine for fish sticks and cheese pizza just because it’s family friendly. In fact they embrace the challenge of finding innovative ways to introduce young palates to more sophisticated ingredients, and kids love it! It’s an unassuming freestanding restaurant in the parking lot of a Safeway grocery store, but don’t let that fool you—the food is fantastic, the full bar is well equipped, and the heated outdoor patio is the perfect place for the kids to run around while you’re sipping on your Glenrothes single malt scotch whisky and enjoying a grilled peach and burratta appetizer. It’s the go to place for dinner when we’re meeting up with my brother, sister-in-law and their little rascals, and here’s what we had on a recent trip.
Gnocchi parisienne with roast kabocha squash, leeks, brown butter and sage. The gnocchi was perfectly cooked like little pillows of potato dough with sweet soft-roasted root vegetables mixed in.
The Lamb meatballs baked in Spanish-style brandy tomato sauce with grilled levain crostini are moist and delicious.
Crispy Brussels sprouts with lemon and aioli. I’ve tried to roast my own Brussels sprouts at home, and they never come out as good as they do at Metro. They’re like candy and probably the only way to get your kids to eat their Brussels sprouts.
Duck confit spring rolls with spicy lime dipping sauce. Lots of duck meat paired perfectly with a nice hint of sweetness to the lime dipping sauce.
Fresh tagliatelli with a white pesto of walnuts, ricotta, cream and parmesan cheese. This was essentially a gourmet version of fettuccine alfredo—tons of cheese, perfectly salty, and the walnuts added a nice hearty earthiness.
Organic roasted beet salad with arugula, chevre, butter-toasted almonds and sherry-orange vinaigrette. There’s nothing really exciting and new about a roasted beet salad with arugula. In fact, if I don’t see it on a menu, I wonder what’s wrong with the restaurant. That being said, Metro’s beets were perfectly cooked and delicious, so I have to applaud them on making a classic well.
Crispy gulf prawns with spicy cilantro dipping sauce. This was actually my least favorite dish of the evening. The batter on the shrimp was a little greasy, but that didn’t bother me that much….after all, I ordered fried shrimp.. It just wasn’t memorable.