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Sunday, May 8, 2011

In search of Mother's Day dinner

For the past several years, I've had a rule about Mother's Day. I don't travel. I love my mom and my mother-in-law, but I've chosen to celebrate Mother's Day by spending it with my own husband and children, enjoying each other's company.

This year, however, I suspended that rule because we wanted to go for what is likely a last visit with Mike's mom. (I know, I've said that before. Apparently this end-of-life stuff is not an exact science. I was glad to have another chance to let her know how much I love her.) Because, as a family, we are a force to be reckoned with and because Mike's dad is pretty worn out by Mike's mom's condition, we decided to just make a it a day trip. Down and back all in one day -- a total of about 7 hours of driving. (Have I ever mentioned my kids are not great travelers?)

The trip down went pretty quickly, probably because I slept through most of it. The trip back, however, went about as fast as the schoolyard bully walks to the principal's office. We decided to break it up a little bit by stopping for Mother's Day dinner on the way home. I had a hard time deciding where I wanted to go. Thanks to the Urbanspoon app on my iPhone, I settled on Gray Brothers Cafeteria. (It's Mother's Day; don't judge.)

As we were approaching the exit on the highway, I was already contemplating meatloaf, green beans, rolls and some yummy institutional chocolate pudding. (Again, don't judge.) But when we pulled off the highway and made the necessary right turn, we were faced with a "Road Closed" sign. Having no idea what alternate route would get us to Gray's, I decided I would just choose another restaurant.

After we'd been back on the highway for about five or six miles, I decided Maxine's Chicken and Waffles would be a fun place for Mother's Day dinner. It sounds 100 kinds of wrong, I know, but trust me, this place is all right. I'd first eaten there earlier in the week and was anxious to try the sweet potato waffle on this trip. So we followed the highway into downtown Indianapolis, navigated the one way streets and pulled up to Maxine's at about 6:19pm. Only to find out they closed at 6:00pm.

Ugh! This was just about the time I decided to get a little pouty.

How about Scotty's? Mike suggested.
Bazbeaux Pizza?
We had pizza for lunch.
Wrong direction and too pricey.

I was rocking the prima donna thing, but it was Mother's Day and I'd been in the car for over 4 hours (on the return trip) and I was hungry. As we drive all over kingdom come, I finally agreed to Binkley's Kitchen. I haven't eaten there in a long time and after being twice foiled in my attempts to eat decadently, a salad was beginning to sound good.

So we arrived at Binkley's, piled out of the car and didn't even make it through the door when the people who'd gone in ahead of us came right back out, saying the wait was at least an hour.

Seriously? For the love of Pete, it's Mother's Day and I'm a mother. A very hungry mother at that. Why can't all those other people just get out of my way and let me eat in peace (or at least not in a moving vehicle)?

Wanting something inexpensive and fast, I directed Mike to head to Five Guys. I've never known those French fries to do me wrong. Of course, he had to take the scenic route there, just in case we'd happen upon another restaurant that sounded good.

If you've never been to Five Guys, let me tell you a.) it's GOOD, b.) it's not necessarily good for you, c.) the menu is pretty limited. But I was determined to make it not a total nutritional fiasco. I ordered one order of fries (ok, it was size large) for the whole family to share. Then instead of choosing the hamburger or hot dog, I went for the veggie and cheese sandwich. My choices of veggies, grilled, and served on a bun with one slice of cheese. I figured I needed the protein, right?

It turns out Five Guys was pretty darn busy for Mother's Day, too. So after about a 15 minute wait, our food came. I couldn't wait to bite into my grilled veggie sandwich, proud of myself for making a reasonably healthy selection at a place known all over for it's greasy food fare.

My grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, grilled green peppers, grilled tomatoes and cheese sandwich, turned out to be raw onions (blech!), mildly warm mushrooms, crisp green peppers and regular old tomatoes with wilted cheese. Still somewhat of a nutritional victory, I ate it anyway because it was almost 8pm and I was too darn hungry and tired to make a fuss.

And so that's how my search for Mother's Day dinner came to a close. But honestly, the day itself -- for all the driving and frustration and imperfections that came with it -- was a great one. I got to take a nap (in the car); I spent the day with people I love; and I climbed into bed when we got home, free from bath and bedtime duty.

In the end, I have just one thing to say about Mother's Day: Next year, reservations.


Ellen aka Ellie said...

I was going to make fajitas (my husband usually does all the cooking), but I forget a few ingredients. I'm on Slim Fast right now, so by dinner time, I was pretty hungry--no time for B to go to the grocery store for the missing items.

We had ravioli.

I really wanted Subway, but I think B thought I was joking. Since he worked today, ran an errand for me and then came home to help me sort compost and plant flowers, I didn't push it!

I'm glad you got to see your mother-in-law.

Unknown said...

OYE! Should have come and picked asparagus with me! No big trick, just put it in boiling water for a minute or so, then into ice water to stop the cooking process, and then into a baggie. ZIP and into the freezer it goes.

Amy said...

Ok Lana, but then when you take it out of the freezer, do you have to finish cooking it? Or can you just thaw and eat? (Have I mentioned I'm not a good cook?)