I hear on a consistent basis, at least twice a week, from my kids, "Dad can we go eat Hibachi or Chinese buffet?" Don't get me wrong, I love both options, however, the wallet and my stomach do not. Honestly, my family doesn't even eat enough from the buffet, for me to justify spending that amount of money. My wife, Emily, usually gets a small portion of General Chicken, some rice and a salad on one plate, then she is done. My youngest gets chicken, rice and those sugary donut things. He eats half the chicken, which he dips in sweet and sour sauce. He consumes half the rice, because the other half ends up on the table, floor and his chair. He devours the sugary donut hole looking whatchamadoodles, then proceeds to look for ice cream or anything else sweet that he can find. My middle son, will load his plate with cucumbers, carrots or any other stupid thing, which I could have fed him at home. His second trip has him throwing things on his plate without reading what he has chosen. He takes a bite of each, then pushes a full plate of food to the side, because he doesn't like any of it. He will then grab some S&S chicken and rice, eat half of it, then load his plate full of every dessert option. Again, he takes about a bite of each, and pushes the plate to the side.....and he's done. My oldest, is the only one who actually eats enough for justification of such a meal. I usually only get one plate of food finished before the evil toilet baby in my belly starts crawling through my intestines as if it were trying to escape Shawshank Prison.
The Hibachi meal is a great option, because everyone gets a lot of food and we have enough leftovers for another full lunch the next day. The problem is, with a family of five, it is expensive. It was a little less costly when the kids were younger and their meals were cheaper. I did make the mistake of trying to cheat the system once. I should have known a family meeting was necessary prior to taking a stab at executing my deceitful ploy. At that time, the kids were 4, 10 and 11. I was pretty sure kids 3 and under were free, and 10 and under were discounted. Naturally, I thought I could bump all of their ages down one, and cash in on the savings. The waitress took our orders and asked ages, to which I replied, "3, 9 and 10." Immediately, my youngest shouts out, "Dad I'm 4!" My middle child shouts out, "I'm 10 and she is 11!" My daughter, the only one who understood the scam I was trying to pull, just put her hands over her face and shook her head. The waitress just looked at me, smiled and said, "so.......4...10 and 11? Got it!" Occasionally, if I see an age related discount on a menu that I think we can obtain, I'll huddle the kids up and let them know the plan. As for now, the Hibachi restaurants are for special occasions only.
Recently, during one of the weekly Chinese buffet beg sessions, I decided to instead take them to a new Korean restaurant that I saw had opened. I had never eaten Korean food, but didn't think it could be much different than what we were used to. I've never been one to branch out and explore different ethnic foods, so neither had my kids. Although.....there was that time, a female date, insisted we eat Indian cuisine at a local restaurant. I have no tolerance for spicy foods, so I shouldn't have been surprised, when the following week, I was admitted to the Hospital with Pancreatitis, Gallstones and had to have my Gallbladder removed. I'm sure the Indian food didn't directly cause all of the above. Nevertheless, the pain I felt from the moment I ingested, digested and egested that diabolical fare, did not stop until the Doctors poked five holes in my stomach, inflated my abdomen, and sucked out my Gallbladder.
We entered the doors of this new establishment. It was a familiar place for us, because it previously had been a Mexican restaurant our family had enjoyed often. The place was very quiet, we were the only customers at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. A lady sat us at a table and took drink orders. We began looking at the one page menu. The first thing I noticed....no kids menu! I did some quick calculations.....yep this was gonna get Hibachi expensive, so it better be good. The only recognizable item I could find for the kids was teriyaki chicken. My youngest, oldest and wife ordered that. I had eaten beef bulgogi before and enjoyed it, so I figured that's what I would go with. I talked my middle son into ordering chicken bulgogi, and I would sample some of his as well. A Korean lady took our order, and said some other things which I did not really understand, so I just kind of nodded and hoped for the best. Soon after, she came out with a tray of different sides, which she began placing on the table. There were four different items, duplicated in eight dishes. My kids were used to chips and salsa or egg rolls and crab Rangoon being served prior to our meals. The look on their faces when pickled radish salad, dried seaweed and squid strips were presented, was priceless. I began taste testing each dish. I knew all eyes were on me, so if I showed any visual acknowledgement of disgust, there was no chance any of them would attempt to try any of it. I used my best poker face to choke a bite of each down. My youngest took a bite of the seaweed and without hesitation, spit it out! The middle child tried the squid, shot me a look of pure horror, then spit it out. The waitress came to the table and asked, "are you enjoying?" Emily, who is still laughing, from witnessing the torture the boys just endured, starts shaking her head no. I quickly distracted the waitress from looking in the direction of my wife, by saying how delicious it was, as I took in another painful bite of pungent pickled radish salad. I doubt she believed me once my entire face puckered, as I struggled to hold my gag reflex.
Our entrees arrived and she asked if she could remove the appetizer plates. Obviously, a quick "yes" would have been the smart and proper response, however, I had told her how delicious it was, and now felt obligated to eat it. Everyone began to dig in as I contemplated how I would make these 8 tiny plates of repulsive provisions disappear. My youngest quickly asked why there was no fried rice. "I don't eat white rice!" he says. My middle child took a few bites, then asked if he could try mine. Clearly he was not digging the chicken bulgogi. My wife and daughter slowly and silently ate their teriyaki. "I've got it!", I thought. I'll Shawshank this sh#%t to the bathroom trash, just like Andy Dufresne had done with the rocks he hammered out inside of his cell. I'll just dump some in napkins, ball them up, and send a family member to the bathroom one at a time, to ditch these vicious vittles.
As I was about to unveil my genius plan, the kids started complaining about upset stomachs. My oldest will not use a public restroom, and began to beg for us to leave. I asked if anyone wanted food to be boxed up, to which they all refused. At this point, getting rid of the apps made no sense, since we were going to leave behind 5 plates of half eaten food. Everyone loaded into the car as I paid the bill. As soon as I got into the vehicle, a wretched stench materialized under my nostrils. Not one of the three kids looked well. As I was about to ask which one of them created the smelly smog, my 6 year old erupted. It was the Coca Cola of farts, just the classic blast of stink gas. About thirty seconds later, my middle son snaked us with a minute long hissing fart which he was unable to control. It was like a deflating balloon, only with a whole lotta stank! I instantly begin to sweat, because if the food is upsetting their stomachs, I know the impending pain I'm in store for. During our 10 minute drive home, each person was calling dibs on the throne they plan to occupy once we arrive. For some reason, I still felt fine, was it possible the Korean chow would not go to war with my insides? We arrived and everyone scurried off to handle their business. I felt bad for everyone, because I knew what they were going through, but I was ecstatic that I felt fine. My daughter came out of the hall bathroom spraying a can of Ocean breeze air freshener. To be honest, it made the house smell like hot dog water and ogar butt. I went to check on my youngest who had just finished up. I sprayed a can of lemon scent freshener, which left his room smelling like Shitrus! After a couple hours and many visits to the porcelain poopers, everyone began to feel much better.
Needless to say, there will not be a second attempt at Korean food for this family.