Yesterday I decided to take the girls out for dinner while J was working. We ended up at the Eno River Eatery in North Durham on Roxboro Road. (Yes, you're right, I should have known.) I hadn't been in the place in ten years or more when it used to be Le Coco.
I suppose right off the bat I should've known that a place that uses that much duct tape to reupholster their booths would have some other issues. But I plowed ahead full steam. Z ordered a poached egg (her favorite), bacon, grits (instead of the home fries option) and an English muffin. L initially wanted a pancake but I for some reason talked her into her other favorite, pasta with Parmesan cheese. I was so fixed on their orders that I just skimmed the menu quickly and ordered a BLT -- I mean, how bad can a BLT be?
Next bad omen: there were two games on the badly photocopied kids' menu, tic-tac-toe and dots, the kind where you connect the dots to make boxes and put your initials inside. But we didn't get anything to write or color with, so fortunately the girls had books to pass the time. I spent my time not noticing the stains in the booth fabric behind them or the sketchy looking ceiling tiles above.
So the food comes after a while and I'm surprised at what's in front of me. It's an open-face BLT on a hoagie roll; the whole thing is in a skillet and covered with a thick coating of melted Cheddar. Again, this is my fault since I didn't read the menu, but I just never imagined a BLT like this. I ended up peeling a slice of cheese-coated bacon off for Z, trading her unadorned bacon to L.
Z's plate comes with a poached egg, bacon, and a white cup that's foamy at the top. Turns out that was the grits with an inch of airy margarine on top. She makes it clear that she's not about to eat it. L, poor thing, has this big bowl of pasta that's fettuccine. If you know your pastas you know that a long wide noodle isn't usually the best thing for kids, especially when you sprinkle it with parsley. She eats a couple of bites and is done.
I start taking something from this plate and that, trying to find some combination they can eat. When the delayed English muffin makes its appearance I'm delighted, except when I find that both halves have been covered in the aforementioned margariney stuff. I put jelly on it and L ate a few bites, but that's about it. I give out all of my fries, which (true to form) appear to be those fries that are assembled out of potato bits, frozen and then fried. Bad but not horrible.
On the car ride home the girls are just a riot. "My poached egg wasn't runny," says Z. "Why on earth would someone put parsley on pasta?" says L. "Yeah," says Z, "you're supposed to eat parsley after your meal for fresh breath." "I should have had a pancake," says L. Etc.
"Was it the worst restaurant meal you ever had?" I ask.
L nods. Z right away says "No, it was 2nd worst." I feel a bit better about this and so I ask what the worst one was. "I don't know, I haven't discovered it yet," she added, in perfect 7 year old logic. This morning she said what made it not the worst ever was the cheese-coated bacon. I'll be sure to use this in the Healthy Living portion of my application for Parent of the Year.