The big birthday celebration on Sunday was pretty awesome: J had a really great day overall, which makes me happy.
The one thing that didn’t go as planned was that Jim didn’t join us for lunch due to the fact that he was really sick. It was not only a bummer because it was J’s eighteenth, but also because we had reservations at our favorite, only-eat-there-on-special-occasions Brazilian steakhouse. For those of you who aren’t familiar, what makes this kind of restaurant unique is that there is no menu; rather everyone gets to enjoy the “salad bar” first, which is huge and actually has very little salad on it. It’s got cheeses, salmon, various vegetables, soup, breads, rice, sushi, and all kinds of other things they want you to fill up on so you don’t eat as much of the main course, which is MEAT.
Not just any meat, either.
IT’S MEAT BROUGHT TO THE TABLE BY GAUCHOS ON SWORD-LIKE SKEWERS, SLICED OFF RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, AND SERVED ON YOUR PLATE ONE PIECE AT A TIME.
Sorry for the shouting: I get excited about this place.
There’s a gaucho/server walking around with flank steak, another one with top sirloin, another one with parmesan chicken, another one with filet mignon, another one with garlic filet mignon, another with…gosh, anyone else hungry?
Each person at the table has a little round disk. One side is red and one side is green. You flip the green side up when you want someone to stop and offer you meat, and you flip the red side up when you’re taking a break or completely finished.
Fun AND all the meat you want. I mean, does it get any better than that?
ANYWAY, where was I? Oh yes, birthday lunch.
Inspired by a story D had just told us the night before (about how he and his college buddies go to a restaurant late at night for half-price appetizers and how, because that restaurant doesn’t allow take-home bags, one of his friends wrapped half a plate of nachos in napkins and stuck them in his pocket to take them home, and after he told us that I explained to him that they didn’t allow take-home bags because college kids would be buying double appetizers and taking most of the food home), I stuck a sandwich-sized Ziploc bag into my pocket, figuring I would sneak a piece of meat or two home for Jim, who was really angry that he didn’t feel up to going with us.
D and I were the first ones to get into the car, and I excitedly told him about my plan. He was horrified, and I got “OH MY GOSH, MOM. DON’T.”
I said, “Come on! It’ll be fun, like an adventure! Dad can’t come, so let’s just bring him a taste.”
He shook his head, annoyed.
When we were seated at the restaurant, my sister and I realized that it might be more difficult to smuggle out some flank steak than I originally thought. The restaurant has servers everywhere. Some are moving around quickly (like with meat or water pitchers) and some are just standing around on the sidelines, ready to make a beeline for any table that showed signs of needing anything. I had also forgotten about the floor-to-ceiling mirrors in the place, which serve the dual purpose of making the restaurant look bigger and allowing the staff to see virtually everything.
My sister started strategizing about how we could accomplish the task at hand while I collected an extra slice of top sirloin and pushed it to the side of my plate. J looked around, scoping out the area while being talked through it all by Julesie, and D just sat there, begging us to stop. I said, “Come on! This is like fun college stuff! You should be enjoying this!”
Alas, he wasn’t. It was a little funny.
Sidenote: I have NEVER done anything to intentionally embarrass my kids; that’s just not me. I did get a kick out of D’s protesting, though, because he reminded me of me. I used to give my mom grief just like that when I felt like she was going to humiliate me.
We finally decided that we weren’t going to get meat into the bag without getting busted, and then J spotted the little basket of cheesy rolls, which are as delicious as they sound. Jim also loves the cheesy rolls–not nearly as much as the meat, mind you–and J remembered that, pointing at them. “How about these?” Julesie said, “Great idea! But J, I think you’re in a better seat than any of us to be able to stick those in the bag.” I crumpled up the bag in my hand and stealthily handed it to my sister, who handed it to J. I started laughing and said to J, “You know what the best thing about this is? If you get caught, I’m not legally responsible!” We all had a good laugh about that. (J laughed only after a brief pause to consider how likely it was that he could be arrested and thrown into the clink for taking three cheesy rolls that were already on our table and bound for the trashcan if we didn’t eat them.)
As he unzipped the top of the bag and shoved it in his coat pocket like a liner, Julesie exclaimed, “This would be Mom’s proudest moment! Look at us!”
Alas, she was correct. In fact, I know that when our mom reads this post, she will see absolutely nothing wrong with pilfering cheesy rolls from the basket on the table to take home to my sick husband, and in fact will probably try and figure out a way to re-enact this entire episode at a restaurant visit in her future. Not that she hasn’t done this kind of thing before. Oh, and Mom? OH MY GOSH. DON’T. PLEASE.
One by one, J casually took those cheesy rolls after Julesie–who played the lookout–gave him the “All clear” and placed them into the bag in his pocket like a boss, all the while D was silently dying of embarrassment.
The “procedure” didn’t take long, and before we knew it we were enjoying dessert and then leaving the premises–after I paid the bill of course. What do you think I am, a thief???
On the way out, we verbally high-fived each other (well, all except for D), and I took this picture of the evidence:
Conclusion: It has been confirmed once again that my family really knows how to have fun. Thank goodness. Also: I predict that D will do this with his own children someday, and I’ll be laughing.
(By the way, it DID occur to me that I could have asked the manager if I could take two pieces of meat home to my terribly sick husband who was missing the eighteenth birthday celebration of our younger son and he might have said yes, but where’s the adventure in that??)
For more food-in-pocket fun, click here.