2013 Madison Ave
Sunday evening we decided to take the monkeys (Satchel, 7, and Jiro, 5) to see Alice in Wonderland at Studio on the Square. We didn't have much time to squeeze in dinner, so I started running through the nearby restaurants in my mind to figure out which one might be fast enough for us to eat dinner in less than a hour. I had a hankering for Bosco's and I think they could have had us in and out pretty quick, but Warren balked.
So I suggested Kwik Check. "Is there even anywhere to sit?" Warren balked again. I explained that they had recently absorbed the Petra Cafe and that I thought they probably added seating. (I didn't know for sure, but figured the pre-existing counter would be just fine.) Warren loves Kwik Check, so he had a hard time saying no. He did wonder what we'd feed the monkeys, as did I, but I assured him I'd find something for them to eat. Kwik Check would also have the added bonus of selling candy, which we planned to sneak into the movie. (Shhh!)
We arrived to find the store completely remodeled. Ok, not completely, but gone is the bulk of the convenience store. There's beer, chips, drinks, and cigs and that's about it. Everything else is seating. I can only assume they brought in the tables from Petra. There were only a few other people in the store, so I felt pretty good about our chances of making the opening credits.
Now the hurdle with eating at a convenience store with monkeys is the aforementioned drinks and chips. I don't fight this. I just let them get what they want. They of course pick crap, but man, it sure does make them happy! While the monkeys giddily ran through the store picking out Cheetos, Pringles, Hawaiian Punch, and Coke (!!), Warren and I examined the new menu. It took about 2 seconds for me to decide on Bi Bim Bop (my favorite from Petra) and Warren needed .5 seconds to decide on a gyro, which is what he always always orders.
I scanned the sandwiches but didn't see anything the kids would like, and there was no burger option, so I went with the beef shish kebabs. I assumed it would be big enough for them to split and hoped it would come with rice. (I could have confirmed that, but what fun would that be?) I also lingered at the grab and go cooler for a minute. There were some fruit cups, but I figured the kids would be hard pressed to eat melon between bites of chips. I couldn't resist getting some pork dumplings though.
I'm not sure what the standard process is for paying when you eat in the store, so I just went to the check out with the various extras we picked up and told the guy what we ordered at the deli counter. This seemed to be acceptable. He did ask if I wanted to heat up the dumplings. I said sure and he then pointed me back to the deli counter. However, Warren pointed out a microwave near our table, so I just used that.
While waiting for the food, the monkeys decided that they desperately needed Tic-Tacs for the movie. I told them to pick out their flavor, set them on the table, and that I would give them money once they made a happy plate. Meanwhile, Warren and I started on the dumplings, which were really good despite being re-heated. After a few bites, I glanced over at the monkeys and noticed how incredibly dirty their hands were. (We'd been on a bike ride and in the yard prior to dinner.)
"I've got bad news for you," I said to them. Their faces dropped. "What?" they asked. "You're going to have to wash your hands." [Insert whining here.] Seriously, washing hands and all other basic hygiene are such a major inconvenience to these two. I marched them over to where I assumed the bathrooms were and was pleased to see that there was a sink outside the doors so that we did not have to enter the restroom. (Although I did half-heartedly ask if anyone needed to use the bathroom. I'm just going to assume that they are standard convenience store quality bathrooms. If you know otherwise, please leave a comment.
While washing, I noticed that there's actually a little tiny patio out back. There were two people sitting out there who did not appear to be employees, but they didn't appear to be customers either. They just seemed to be hanging out, and possibly smoking. Frankly, it looked like fun.
Once the monkeys' hands were clean we headed back to the table. Warren informed me that the woman came over and told him that next time we should order dumplings from her and she'll bring them out hot. Ah, yes, that makes better sense than what I did.
About two seconds later our food came out. My Bi Bim Bop was still sizzling and the woman warned me that my bowl was hot. Similarly, they monkeys' shish kebabs came out on a sizzling platter and she warned them of its hotness. The shish kebab meat was not on a stick like I had imagined, rather it was served on top of white rice. This was perfect. Both monkeys were eager to dig in. The plate was a little closer to Satchel so he got the first bite. I directed Warren to push the plate closer to Jiro just as Jiro was going in for his first bite, which resulted in Jiro burning his finger on the sizzling platter. (The woman had brought two small plates for the kids to use, but they didn't wait for me to divvy up the food.)
Jiro immediately burst into tears and cried, "Daddy burned me!" I tried to assess the situation and calm him down before everyone in the place came over. I asked Jiro if he wanted to run cold water on his fingers and he said yes, so we went back to the sink. The guy behind the counter came over to see the damage and suggested putting Vaseline on the burn. (I think "burn" is an overstatement really as I didn't actually see a mark.)
The Vaseline seemed to appease Jiro and we went back to the table. Luckily Satchel hadn't eaten all of their food and I was able to separate it onto plates for them. Warren was halfway through his gyro and was greedily eying my Bi Bim Bop. I can't blame him. It is a very eye catching dish. It's also totally delicious. I think minus the kim chi sauce (or whatever the red stuff is) and the onion, I could get the monkeys to eat it. I would however, not let them near it until the bowl cooled off. I ate most of it and left a few good spoonfuls for Warren. The monkeys did a great job on their dinner and only left a few spoonfuls for Warren too.
The woman behind the counter came to check on Jiro and make sure he was okay, which was nice, and I assured her that he wasn't permanently damaged in any way and that we had thoroughly enjoyed our food.
Since we had ended up getting quite a bit of assistance during our meal, Warren asked if we should leave a tip. I said sure, and we did (about 10%), but I wish I actually knew what the tipping rule is in this situation. (Anyone know?)
I gave the monkeys money to pay for the Tic-Tacs. Warren and I laughed about how they act so shy sometimes. The actual going to the register and handing money to the cashier was very hard for them, but they managed to complete the transaction thanks to the cashier's outgoing and helpful demeanor.
When everyone was done, we still had twenty minutes before the movie started. Warren suggested we go to Rite Aid and get a Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar, which I thought was a great idea.