As part of birthdaypalooza, Chickadee was allowed to choose any restaurant for dinner out, on Monday. We don’t eat out all that often, and we almost never go out to eat during the week, so this was an auspicious occasion, indeed.
Her debate with herself was arguably the most entertaining part of the evening. Should we go to the Mexican place she likes? No, Otto and I had had Mexican the night before. (No amount of assuring her that if that’s what she wanted, we would happily eat it again would convince her it was a good choice.) The vegetarian restaurant? Possibly closed on Mondays, and also quite possibly not worth Monkey’s whining. (Monkey would’ve been fine there, but the IDEA of it was kind of freaking him out.) The diner? Last time what she got there wasn’t very good, so maybe not.
Too many choices! So much agony! But finally she remembered that she really enjoyed the Big Buffet Place, so we packed up and headed over there for an appropriately American stuff-your-face adventure.
Every single community has one of these restaurants, yes? It’s Asian. And Italian. And Other Stuff. All capped off with macaroni and cheese and other kid-favorites and random generic foodstuffs most people will eat. One long table houses giant slabs of carve-your-own roasted meats and another is endless trays of Chinese food, while the salad bar always looks sadly ignored and the counter of sushi looks really good until you remember that you are, after all, at a flat-rate buffet and maybe you should be careful about anything that allegedly contains raw fish.
The vegetarian options at this place are pretty sparse, so I was surprised that Chickadee picked it, but she happily loaded up her plate with tempura veggies and some spanikopita and melon wedges.
Monkey finds too many options completely overwhelming, so I ended up walking around with him and helping him pick out a few things to eat before his brain short-circuited from all of the CHOICES. Of course, he was ready to head back to the table when I pointed out that he had an entire plate of tan carbs (fried shrimp! eggroll! bread! noodles!) and “encouraged” (read: demanded) that he come with me to find some broccoli, first.
Eventually we all settled down at the table with our plates and enjoyed a rare meal where no one is eating the same thing. For whatever reason, this place gives you a fork and a set of chopsticks, so there was a bit of hilarity as Chickadee tried to figure out how to eat a particularly large wedge of sweet potato and Monkey tried to figure out how to butter his roll, all without knives. (Then Monkey went and found a knife, only it was a steak knife, which was functionally fine UNTIL Chickadee found a butter knife, which then sparked the first argument of the evening, because when your kids are older they graduate from “he’s touching me!” to “You need to tell me where you got that kind of knife because it’s more appropriate for what I’m trying to do here and I couldn’t find one.”)
Everyone ate and then ate a little more and then someone came by with our check and four fortune cookies. We were headed out for dessert, after dinner, but fortune cookies are sort of like after-dinner mints, right? And of course I couldn’t eat mine, but I had to crack it for the fortune.
Chickadee paused with her cookie on her palm. “Wouldn’t it be hilarious if I cracked this and it says, ‘Today is your birthday!’?” We pointed out that in fact, that would be 1) creepy and 2) not actually a fortune. She was disappointed by our unwillingness to play along.
The cookies were cracked, and that’s when the fun began.
Look; I realize that most modern-day fortune cookies do not, strictly speaking, contain actual FORTUNES. But it irks me a little, anyway. And Monday night’s dinner was a veritable cornucopia of fortune cookie missteps.
Let’s start with Chickadee’s cookie. While it didn’t announce her birthday (oh well), it was the closest to a fortune of all the cookies we received:
Good things are coming to you in due of time.
This one gets an A for cheerful fortune-like-ness, but a C for grammar.
A good time to start something new.
I’m sorry, but that’s not a fortune, that’s just a sentence fragment. And a declaratory one, at that.
Otto also got a statement cookie:
You have a deep appreciation of the arts and music.
Well, that one’s true. But it’s not a fortune.
And finally, Monkey got this one:
You will be unusually successful in business.
“Oh!” I said to him, after he read it, “I think you got mine! Wanna trade?” He shrugged and handed over his little piece of paper. I passed him mine, assuring him that my sentence fragment was surely meant for him to take as a positive sign about middle school. But I did remind him that I expected his grammar to be better than the cookie’s.
A good time was had by all. And I’m CERTAIN that word of my impending success arriving while I was eating a $9 plate of mediocre sushi was TOTALLY TRUE.