Sunday, September 24, 2006

Firehouse Subs

Firehouse Subs
7685 Farmington Blvd. Suite 108

After spending two hours at the Germantown Center's indoor pool watching the monkeys (Satchel, 4, and Jiro, 2) jump (floatie-free) from the diving board into 14 foot deep water (and then repeatedly retrieving them one by one with a knot in my throat and a giant noodle between my legs), I was starved. (And so were the monkeys.) I had noticed a new sandwich shop with a fireman them nearby on Farmington Road, and decided to stop for a late lunch/early dinner. I could only assume that fireman theme=family-friendly.

I was right. I think. Firehouse Subs did seem to be projecting a wholesome and welcoming environment. The theme was clear, yet low-key. Picture Dalmatian print table tops and portraits of fires in Pottery Barn frames. When we walked in, the man behind the counter came right over and greeted us warmly. It was rainy out and since the place was pretty empty, I assumed he was happy just to have some customers.

As I perused the kids' menu (a variety of sandwiches served on sliced white bread or sub roll with American cheese, a kid's beverage, 2 Oreo cookies and a FREE fire hat), the man quickly rounded the counter and placed a red plastic firehat on each of the monkey's heads. He had a big grin on his face and expected the monkeys to be overjoyed by his gift. They were nonplussed. (Satchel slyly set his hat on the condiment table.) They only had eyes for the big chip display right next to us. As they grabbed chips in both hands (despite my pleas not to), I asked the dude if chips came with the kids' meals. "No," he said, "but the adult meals do." (I wanted to ask if we could trade the hats for chips, but held my tongue.)

I ordered Satchel a PB&J and Jiro a grilled cheese. I felt kind of ridiculous ordering these items, especially at $3.99 a pop, but due to the emptiness of their bellies, I needed to get something I knew they would eat. I got myself the Hook & Ladder (smoked turkey breast and Virginia honey ham smothered with Monterey Jack and served “Fully Involved”). Our total came to $14 and some change, which caused me to pause, swallow hard, and squint up at the menu.

I turned my attention away from my empty wallet and towards getting one of the monkeys to relinquish a bag of chips. Neither of them would acquiese. I decided to try and distract them with drinks. Lemonades in hand, they ran to a table and immediately popped open their chips. I decided to pretend like I thought we were acting kosher and quietly waited for our sandwiches to arrive. If asked, I would fork over the extra $1, $2, $3 or whatever exorbitant price they were charging for the contraband chips.

Our sandwiches arrived and nothing was said. I quickly grabbed the Oreos out of each of the monkey's baskets and held them hostage. Satchel ate his PB&J like it was the best thing ever. (I actually couldn't remember the last PB&J I had made him.) Surprisingly, Jiro dug into his grilled cheese and ate almost half of it before demanding his cookies. I ate half of my good, but nothing special, sandwich in relative peace. The monkeys were actually so hungry that it didn't occur to them to act up.

A first!

Warren called my cellphone and reminded me that the babysitter was coming soon, so I loaded the monkeys and their leftovers (but no fire hats) into the car and headed home. We made it a block before Jiro fell asleep. (He had black crumbs and a big smile on his face.) I considered the meal a success, but couldn't imagine ever spending that kind of cash on sandwiches again in the near future.

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