Friends, Family, Food, and the Playground

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Have you heard of the restaurant, the Playground? If not, it might be worth a visit, but not just for the food!  

Talk about a group of people who have a passion for what they do, for food and fun.  If we all went through life with the excitement of Jason Quinn, executive chef and owner of the playground, this world would be a better place. 

Sunday night is “supper night” where you take a group of friends, you can bring your own wine (no corkage), and be surprised as to what you are going to be served for dinner.

It usually consists of about 15 different courses, from Baby Octopus with peanuts to Halibut Cheeks with Peas, Maple Pork ribs that fall off the bone and the best Lemon Meringue along with Sticky Pudding.  And the food keeps coming until you are done, and I mean, full, satisfied, and in that happy place. 

Seconds on whatever they have is yours for the taking. Each dish has a narrative that the staff shares, from the organic vegetables that are locally grown, to the pork ribs that came from some interesting farm.  Cannot remember all the stories now, there were so many of them.  By the way, every week is different, so never expect to get the same dish twice. I’m still having thoughts about the sticky pudding and wishing I had had room for a second helping.

Although the food was good, what made this restaurant outstanding was the theme.  First of all, they treat you like family. They come and join the table and chat, have a drink with you and share their stories. There is no co-incidence, the logo at the Playground is “You and Me and All our Friends.” 

Secondly, you never get your own plate of food, the idea is to share it all. With eight of us, it just made for a fun evening. I only knew four of the people at the table; however, after sharing the different dishes, we were all best friends and figuring out when we would all come together again. It is not just about the food, but the sharing of the food that brings people together.

Looking around the room, everyone was having a similar experience, not just our table. I’m starting to question if there is actually anything better in life than being able to share food with friends and family. To me those are two staples that we need in life and without them we do not do well emotionally or physically. 

If you look at most cultures, you will see the importance of sharing food, family and friends. If you have not seen the documentary “Happy,” it might be worth viewing.  What I found interesting: the people who reported being the happiest were the people who had the best emotional support.

For this documentary, they journeyed through the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in India and found the happiest person to be a rickshaw driver in India.  His work is hard with long hours, but the reward at the end of the day of enjoying his family and food brought him much happiness.

Sometimes we forget to appreciate the food we get to enjoy on a daily basis because it is so ample, sometimes we do not appreciate our friends and family because they did or said something we did not like.

Take a moment this week, go out, share a meal with them, and enjoy them for who they are. Studies show this will make you a happier person.

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