Saturday night – Torrential rain, freezing temperatures, hurricane-strength winds. Miserable.
I dressed the girls in matching dresses and cardigans; they wore their Pretty Coats and their dress shoes. We rarely go out for dinner, and even more rarely go with the girls. Forget family-friendly restaurants; my children are not restaurant-friendly. But we had a birthday to celebrate and the little ladies wanted to come.
We did our research and found out that The Keg was surprisingly accommodating to families. We got several glowing reviews from people who had children of approximately the same age. Fruit and veggies to snack on before the meal, crayons and activities to keep them occupied. Perfect.
So we packed up all nine of us – seven adults and two kids – and drove three towns over to The Keg. Oh, we were excited. Steak! for six of the adults and Glazed Salmon! for me.
AH dropped me and the girls off at the door because the parking lot was full and the weather was gross. There we walked into pandemonium. The waiting room was full. The bar was full. The air was hot from other people’s hungry breath and it was loud from stomachs grumbling. We were informed that for a party of our size, the wait would be two hours. Two hours. It was already almost 6, so waiting two hours before we even sit down was sort of out of the question.
Before you say “But, Jen, you idiot. Why didn’t you make a reservation?”, I’ll have you know that The Keg does not take reservations of any kind on Friday or Saturday nights.
So, let’s try this again. We drove to the next town to Lone Star. We parked the cars and unloaded nine wet, hungry bodies. Once again, we found a room filled with starvation. This time the wait was an hour and a half, even if we squished all nine of our bodies into a booth. It was after 6 now.
We all huddled into one van, frozen and getting grumpy, while we strategized and brainstormed. Our options were 1) Give Up and Go Home Hungry or 2) The Mandarin. But again, The Mandarin was a full town away, so we were smart this time. We called ahead to see what the wait was like and we were in luck! They take reservations!
We were starving. We were exhausted. We were grumpy. But we were about to be fed. Fed from the trough that is a Chinese buffet with an enormous dessert bar. So we were hopeful.
The Mandarin didn’t disappoint. We got our table at the exact minute they said we would. The food was good and plentiful. The desserts were sugary and fattening.
And the girls actually behaved themselves. For being carted in and out of three restaurants in what seemed to be a hurricane after their bedtime, they were practically little angels. Well, for my children. I mean, Avery did take her shoes off and refuse to sit down in her booster seat, but that’s fine. If that’s the worst given the situation, then that’s fine.
We were finally fed, and that’s all we were hoping for.
The moral of this story is – If you have nine people in your party, make reservations.
Quote of the night goes to Anonymous Brother-In-Law –
“Let’s huddle together to keep warm.” (Anonymous Mother-In-Law)
“I’m fine. I just farted.” (Anonymous Brother-In-Law)