Actually, this wasn't my originally planned adventure to report on, but as we used to say in back when I was employed, go with the "teachable moment." So, here's a report on the other end of the dining spectrum: dinner out with the whole of the Small World.
Tonight, we were scrambling around trying to get out of the house to get some dinner after a day of getting various odd things done around the house. J. took down the outside Christmas lights after O. directed him this morning "Daddy, we forgot to take the deer down, and it is a Christmas decoration." I worked on invitations for my cousin's upcoming baby shower, and as usual, the computer sucked time right out of nowhere, so it was 5:30 before I even thought of defrosting some chicken or something.
O. originally wanted to go eat pizza somewhere, which was kind of surprising, as he usually only expresses a preference for the "quesadilla and rice place." We were all set for a new restaurant adventure -- maybe LaRosa's? That would be a real adventure, since usually that is a banned substance in our home. Contrary to most Cincinnatians, my husband is NOT a fan of LaRosa's, claiming their sauce smells like vomit. I'm sorry to even have written that, for I may have forever spoiled the experience for others. I have to admit, he has nailed the distinctive odor that haunted Kings Island and the zoo food stands while I was growing up, and I have not been able to really enjoy a slice of LaRosa's pie at a group gathering ever since he identified it for me.
Anyway, O. quickly changed his mind, and decided quesadillas really were what he wanted, that and chips. We headed down the stairs to get shoes, etc. on, and he shouted "Here we come, food!" Then, to Scout: "Sorry, you can't come. You don't have hands."
We enjoyed a meal with service slower than usual at our favorite Mexican haunt, El Picante, with an obviously new server. It is really embarassing how familiar EVERYONE in our family is with the procedures of family friendly restaurants. O. doles out the little bowls for salsa and helps himself right to the basket of chips and his personal bowl of salsa. "If you put just a little, it is not too spicy." No crayons necessary here, though we get a little antsy if the food doesn't come before the chips run out. J. gets the chicken fajitas and asks the inevitable imponderable -- why do you only get three tortillas at dinner, and four at lunch? Someone else in the restaurant always orders fajitas after his arrive, and luckily, at this place, they actually taste good, rather than just smell delicious as they pass by your table -- nothing worse than a bland fajita for taste bud anticipatory disappointment. On a recent visit, a teenaged girl approached our table and asked what J. was eating, because her mom wanted to order whatever it was. Really? Has she missed all of Don Pablo's marketing of the last decade? I order my new favorite -- chilaquiles -- I've been looking for something new for months now, after feeling like I was in a taquito rut, and am quite pleased with the discovery of #56 on this menu -- saucy, melty, and as flavorful as spicy -- J. says it is like Mexican/Indian food, perfect for me.
Tonight, our newbie let us down a little, as there was little follow up on our meal. J. only got one Pacifico, and was a little parched by the end. I'm prone to think we exude invisibility as diners for some reason -- seems we're always the ones straining to make eye contact with a server. We really do go to this restaurant a lot, so you'd think by now we'd get a little more love than we do, but mostly the employees are smiley and I feel like they mean well, so it's hard to complain.
We got out before N. got too vocal, stopped for a few chiclets out of the machine, and spent the ride home doling out the different colors of square gum to O. All in all, not necessarily an adventure, but a good experience for the Small world anyway. Next week, maybe we'll branch out to the sports bar.