Monday, March 19, 2012

Nikki Post: Paper Moon Diner

I flew home to Baltimore last weekend to be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding. Claire will be telling you ALL about our trip in the coming days, but while she's distracted by watching Being Elmo on Netflix, I thought I'd sneak on and update about a trip I went on without her. (Don't tell!)

That Friday I spent the day with my dear friend Agnes, who recently hit her third decade of life on this planet. (Happy birthday!) To celebrate, I took her to lunch at Paper Moon Diner in Baltimore, one of my favorite, hip, overpriced restaurants in the city. (Warning, the website has loud music when you first enter, so turn down your speakers!) I first went to P-Moon when I was 17 or so and my friend Chuck suggested we go there late one night during the summer. The thrill of going someplace in the wee hours of the morning and goofing around in such a wacky environment was wonderful for my almost-an-adult self. For years, it seemed that every time I went to the diner, no matter how late or early in the day or night, I'd run into someone I know or who knew me through a series of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" kind of steps. (Also know as the "Smalltimore" effect.) I once went there my sophomore year of college and sat next to an African-American man in his 50s who knew of me through a high school ex-boyfriend he was in a bicycling collective with! The effect has worn off in recent years (and thank God, because most often, the people I saw at Paper Moon were people I didn't want to see!), but the diner remained one of my top spots to take people from out of town. Steve and I actually had our first date of sorts there the night we met. <3

Paper Moon is mostly a diner but also mostly an ever-evolving work of art. While many of the collages and pieces you can see in these pictures have been around for the decade or so I've been a patron, many new pieces are added all the time at the expense of others. My favorite (not pictured) is a mannequin located in the gender-neutral restroom on the first floor. Nothing quite like trying to pee while a bald, mostly-naked mannequin stares at you!

View from our table, looking up and towards the back of the diner

View from our table, looking up and facing the main entrance of the diner

Near the bar area, upon first entering the restaurant. The table right in front there is where Steve and I sat on that fateful night we met one another. <3 <3

This lovely lady is at the cashier's station, next to a disembodied hand covered in pennies.

I had meant to bring Claire along on this particular excursion, but Thursday night was the first night in TWO WEEKS that I had slept through the night, and I ended up running late for what was supposed to be a *brunch* with Aggiebell. In my rush to get out the door, I left Claire tangled in my bedsheets. No matter, because Agnes and I found a way to represent Claire in spirit:

So if you've found this blog via the little note we left at the Paper Moon Diner on March 9, 2012, please leave a comment and let me know! It'd be nice to know that someone read our little love letter.

All of the tables and chairs at Paper Moon are repurposed furniture, and our table happened to have a "secret" drawer in it on Agnes's side. Over the years, I've sat at such tables, and patrons had always left little notes inside for others to find. Finally, Paper Moon compiled these notes into a binder so everyone could share their adventures.

Agnes and I left our own note to mark such a momentous occasion:

Once done with our meal (I had the bananas foster French toast; Agnes had a black bean and avocado quesadilla), Agnes and I took silly pictures outside of the restaurant.

Agnes is a total groupie for mostly-naked dudes riding bareback on cows.

I'm trying to do my best impression of the mannequin behind me and failing spectacularly.

Every restaurant should be required to have an adorable elephant statue on its roof. Think of how much easier it would be to give directions! "Oh, it's the one with the purple elephant on the roof. No, you're thinking of Taco Bell; their elephant is red and white."

Signs you're an art school kid: you're walking the streets with a shopping cart full of mannequin legs. Sign you're from a big city: you're walking around with said shopping cart, and no one is looking at you like you're a freak.

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