3295 Poplar Avenue
After a morning of duck feeding, the monkeys, their friends, their parents, and their friends' parents were starved. Discussions started about going out to lunch. I had my mind set on Lobster King and despite normally being a team player, decided to split from the group in order to satisfy my craving. As we headed towards the car, Satchel asked if JP (of Urf! fame), could come with us. Knowing that JP has a strict diet of PB&J sandwiches (as documented here by his dad and here by his mom, I felt certain that a trip to Lobster King would erase all of his preconceived notions about what tastes good.
Richard and Kristy both scoffed at my hubris and made disparaging remarks as we set off. It was about 1:00pm and I was extremely hungry. My brother had warned me that Lobster King gets pretty crowded on Sundays and I was anxious about possibly having to wait a long time. (My brother also told me that he didn't think Lobster King was very kid-friendly, but I let that go in one ear and out the other.)
When we pulled up to an overcrowded parking lot and a line out the door, I knew my dreams of starting JP on the path towards new and exciting food adventures was not meant to be. Warren and I quickly tried to come up with a backup plan as we drove down Poplar. "Pho Vietnam?" Warren suggested.
"Eh," I grunted. "I don't feel like noodles." And I've already reviewed it my internal monkey meter chimed in. "India Palace?" I spewed out before I remembered that I don't much like Indian food.
"Really?" Warren said, excited at the prospect of actually going somewhere that he likes.
"Didn't Satchel like it when you took him?" I asked.
"Yeah...do you think Jiro will eat anything there?"
I looked in the backseat at JP's big, worried eyes. "Uh, maybe we should just go somewhere kind of normal," I said. I turned to JP and asked, "What kind of food do you like?"
He stared blankly at me. "I like pretzels," he said.
"I like salad and broccoli and..." Satchel interrupted most obnoxiously. That's my boy!
"What about Los Compadres?" Warren said.
"Do you like Mexican food?" I asked JP.
He nodded. "I like nachos."
"Okay, Los Compadres it is!"
We pulled in the parking lot to find it pretty empty and all three monkeys seemed happy at the prospect of eating Mexican food. I saw a big bowl of cheese dip in my future and had a deep sense of calm come over me.
My calmness was short lived thanks to Jiro spotting the jar of lollipops on the counter and loudly demanding that he have one. He continued his litany as I dragged him to our booth and throughout most of the ordering process.
We soon discovered that when JP says he likes nachos, he means he likes chips. Plain ol' chips. "Do you want a hamburger?" I asked.
"No, just nachos."
Alright, I could see that I was terribly deluded at the duck pond, but I wasn't ready to give up. I thought that if Satchel ordered something then JP might want to copy him.
"What do you want to eat, Satchel?"
"I want what JP wants," he said.
Wait a minute, this was not part of the plan.
I ignored him and ordered tacos, rice and beans for them all to share. I got my old stand-by, the Quesadilla Mexicana, and Warren ordered something with pork. Carnitas maybe.
There was only one waiter and the restaurant was quickly filling up. We weren't getting near the level of service that I would have liked, but the dude was doing the best he could. While we waited for the food, I worked on JP some more.
"Have you ever tried X?" I asked.
"What about Y?"
Our food arrived and Warren, Jiro, and I dug in. "Satchel are you going to eat?"
"Don't you want to be strong?" I asked.
"Yes," he unwillingly replied.
"But JP isn't eating!" he said.
I turned to JP. "Don't you want to be strong too?"
"Look, Satchel, just eat, okay?"
Finally he took a few bites of his tacos, demanded that I remove the tiny hidden pieces of carrot, and then got interested in his beans and rice. Jiro, now covered in cheese dip, started licking the bowl clean, decided to dance around the booth with a knife for a bit, then (meowing) climbed under the table to annoy Satchel and JP for awhile before needing to (of course) go poop or pee or both. Satchel went too. At some point JP just went to his happy place and quietly waited for the meal to end.
To reward everyone for their *cough* good behavior, I offered everyone a lollipop at check out.
"I don't want one," JP said, finally using his power for good and not evil.
"Oh, me neither!" Satchel said as he handed his back to me.
Jiro, never one to be a follower, stuck his right in his mouth and began to suck eagerly.