Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The pack.

Also known as my family... had a mini get together this weekend. The good news is that we all survived, with no permanent damage; and I have to admit, it was actually kind of fun.

At present, our activities together are limited to those of a child-friendly nature. No mountain climbing, kayaking, or scuba diving for now. (Maybe one day) Rather, we indulged in that one special activity we could all agree on ... eating. Even Little Monkey participated. Over the course of the past few weeks, I have come to the conclusion that Monkey's hunger strike has nothing to do with food. Like real estate, it's all about the location. As long as the food is placed before him somewhere other than home, he's just fine. Restaurants, pubs, bagel cafes, and diners are all perfectly acceptable places to eat. At home, at the dining table - is not.

I digress.

The dilemma in feeding a large group of people, apart from the whole cooking and cleaning thing, is that it gets boring. So, to mix things up a bit, and just because I am a glutton for self-abuse, we decided to take the gang out to eat.

In a restaurant.

Among the vast quantity of child-friendly establishments we had to choose from (read, sarcasm) I finally made an executive decision and booked us a table for eleven at The Cheesecake Factory. Say what you will about the soul crushing nature of chain restaurants, the lack of imagination, and the mediocre food. Cheesecake factory was the PERFECT place to take the monkeys and assorted relatives.

There were at least 15 pages worth of food to choose from, a huge table with plenty of elbow room, and an entire mall to run around in while we waited for the food to arrive. The staff were accomodating with special requests (hi mom!), patient with those who felt like complaining (hi bro!), and unfazed by those who chose to bring their own food along (hi Mina!) All things considered, I would highly recommend the place for large group gatherings.

Go early. The place is always a madhouse. And save some room for dessert. Or, do what the Monkey does - ask for it first.

Going out to eat warrants an appropriate outfit. Here, Miss Mina models her latest.

Right down to her black-patent Mary Jane's with rhinestone buckle.

My parents made it.

And so did Uncle Osman, and Auntie Dallice.

With some, I applauded the attempt at eating healthy.

And with others, I just applauded the attempt at eating anything.

The drinks were pretty good too.

The topics of conversation at the table varied. There were light hearted discussions of Middle East politics, the nature of Iranian leadership, and of course, Britney Spears' latest haircut.

Miss Mina seemed as confused by it as I was. Oh well. Time for dessert.
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