Cheers to the Dinner I Didn’t Have to Cook

I’m not great at meal planning. It always sounds good in theory, but I can’t seem to make it happen on a regular basis. I’m kind of embarrassed about that because grocery shopping is easier now than ever before. I can pick up my groceries or have them delivered, which means I don’t have to trek through the pasta aisle and pray my toddler doesn’t break any jars of spaghetti sauce on the way. On one of our more recent trips, I had to abandon a case of beer in the main aisle of the grocery store so I could chase the toddler, who thought it was loads of fun to run away from me. During that same trip, he purposely knocked three large cupcakes off their display. They landed upside down (of course) so I felt obliged to buy them. I’m happy to report that frosting tastes just as good smudged as it does swirled atop a cupcake. I love that there’s a plethora of shopping options out there but I’m partial to Walmart Grocery because it’s free and sometimes they give me fruit snacks at pickup time.

Despite all the help, I usually just put bagels and frozen pizza on the list and hope for the best. On the rare occasions when I make a thoughtful menu, home cooked meals are still not a guarantee. Whether I forget to thaw the chicken or can’t recall what dish the chicken was supposed to be for, dinners have a tendency to go sideways in my house.

Relationships are just two people constantly asking each other where they want to go eat until one of them dies.


Given my tendency to drop the ball, it should come as no surprise that by 2:00 yesterday afternoon I had already decided we were just going out to eat. Since we were poised to arrive around 5:00 we figured the dining room would be sparse, with only a few other people there to witness the dumpster fire that is going out to eat with two small kids. We picked one of our favorite Mexican joints (Lucha Cantina, for my readers in the 8-1-5) because the cocktails are really good and the setting is kid-friendly. It’s quiet enough to hear the person sitting across from you but loud enough that when the toddler broke into a rousing (and unsolicited) performance of “Five Little Pumpkins” no one batted an eye.

Southwest chopped salad

Shortly after we settled into our seats our server came over to ask if we wanted anything to drink. I replied with an enthusiastic “YES!” and ordered a cocktail before I realized he meant water. I must have been giving off some desperate vibes because I swear he brought me that drink in under two minutes.

The “Enigma” cocktail

It’s always a crapshoot when you take small kids to a restaurant. Something embarrassing or unfortunate is bound to happen, and this outing was no exception. At some point the toddler knocked over a large plant near our table, spilling the contents of the pot onto the carpet. Later, the toddler decided he had to use the bathroom. Upon returning to the table, he proudly – and loudly – announced he had pooped. I’m sure everyone appreciated the update.

This restaurant gives kids Etch A Sketch tablets. Pretty cool, eh?

Still, despite the mishaps and hassles that come along with taking the kids to dinner, I think it’s worth it. They learn lessons, like how to put a plant back together, use an 80’s toy, and poop in foreign toilets. All valuable teachings if you ask me.

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5 responses to “Cheers to the Dinner I Didn’t Have to Cook”

  1. oh the memories that came back to me….

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