Dining out with children is an exercise in situational awareness. Each experience is unique, with different variables leading to different possible outcomes, DEFCON-like in their escalating threat levels. Keen observation, forward planning and prior experience are critical in determining the proper strategy. Here at DEFCON Dining, we do the grunt work for you. It ain't always pretty.
Nicholas L. Hall The Holy Shiitake at Mellow Mushroom: sure to entice parents and amuse savvy children.
There have been four babies born to my extended family in 2014 (one of them mine). I'm pretty sure that's the last of them, but you never know with this group. At the start of the year, right before the first round popped (twins, no less), I began suggesting to my in-laws that we might be nearing the end of our family dinners out. With our combined numbers now swollen to an entirely unreasonable 18, we're reaching a sort of critical mass that threatens to run roughshod over the Hague Convention. At the very least, I have suggested that we call ahead before descending en masse, at least allowing for management to fortify its lines of defense in advance of the horde.
A few weekends ago, we threw out the rules of engagement and ambushed Mellow Mushroom.
It wasn't a coordinated attack. My wife's sisters had decided the night before that there was no better way to spend a Sunday than hauling kids around a field, taking pictures in front of various gourds, and so we had all trekked out to Spring for some forced festivity. It is, after all, the reason for the season.
(A little side-note: GPS is a fickle, lying jerk, and is not to be trusted. Taking surface streets from Montrose to Stuebner-Airline sucks. Yes, I realize I bear the bulk of the blame here, at least until the machines rise.)
After a couple of hours of train rides and hay rides that were indistinguishable from one-another in all but the specifics of conveyance, all eyes turned to me to find a place to feed the grumbling masses. I hadn't anticipated this. "I don't really know any places out here," I offered meekly, not wanting to be the guy figuring out where to take this motley crew for the greatest chance of pleasing everyone and the smallest chance of having one or more of our party escorted out by management.
It was mostly true, but the gears in my brain started turning unbidden, and Mellow Mushroom filtered to the surface. I suppose I figured that it was going to happen one way or another, and I was better off taking my fate into my own hands. Besides, everyone likes pizza, and I like beer.More »