Friday, November 17, 2006

El Porton

El Porton
65 S Highland St

After having my Beer Garden Fantasy crushed last Friday, we made a quick last minute decision to take our crew of twenty (10 monkeys and 10 parents) to El Porton. It was a pretty easy call considering El Porton has a very nice patio, quick service, and chips & salsa at the ready.

As Steph mentioned, Team Chockley was the first to arrive. Although denied a table for twenty, they did manage to get a spot that allowed us to easily add table upon table as each consecutive family made their entrance. (Unbeknownst to them, their decision to place Chloe and Connor on the west side of the table set off an undeniable pattern: Multi-breeders with rowdy children at one end and single-breeders with well-behaved angels at the other. You can guess where I was.)

Warren had to work late, so the monkeys and I joined the Chockleys for some cheese dip and conversation. The weather was beautiful and there were plenty of families with young children occupying the patio. I felt very relaxed and confident about the upcoming meal.

Then Team Alley arrived. Satchel immediately shunned his cheese dip in favor of scaling the patio railing with JP. (C, S and Jiro soon followed.)

Now that the Alley monkeys and the Greenberg-Oster monkeys have spent almost every weekend together in some form for the past few months, there’s no 30 minute “warm up” time at the beginning of the meal in which the parents could normally get the bulk of the ordering, waiting, and eating out of the way before losing control. Due to our stunted arrival times, the presence of one menu, and the level of activity amongst our children, it took quite some time for us to actually place our dinner orders. (Inexplicably, Kristy was the only member of Team Alley to actually order any food.)

Once the Chockleys made their exit, most of the monkeys congregated to the eastern end of our tables. Thankfully the patio was enclosed and the monkeys stayed pretty contained in the small area between our tables and said railing, but their shrieking, jumping, hooting and hollering was a bit much even for El Porton. “People hate us,” I said to Kristy.

I hate us,” she replied.

I tried my best not to get stressed and to make the rounds among the single-breeders, but I could imagine what everyone was thinking. Please don’t let Jiro eat my monkey while Stacey blithely chats away.

The overall service seemed slow, but considering our girth and demeanor, I’d say the service could have been a lot worse. Satchel did get pretty antsy and asked every few minutes, “Where is my dinner?” But it did seem to make him extra hungry when it did arrive, because he ate almost all of his tacos. Jiro had no interest in his rice and beans, but happily ate the chicken tenders and French fries previously abandoned by Connor. My usual cheesesteak burrito was tasty, but sorely lacking in cheese. Whatever Warren had must have been good because I never saw what it was. The thing that seemed to draw the most interest from my dining companions was my beer. At least every person over the age of 30 (and one aged 2.5) asked me, “Ooh what are you drinking?” when they saw the frosty mug before me.

“Uh…Bud Light,” I replied.

“Oh,” they said dejectedly as they ordered their fancy Negro Modelos.

Jiro took the news that he couldn’t drink my beer pretty well and was satisfied by his water for the most part. On one of our bathroom runs, he spotted the drink fountain and happily rushed over and pleaded for “Juice!” (I later caught him sneaking a sip of Warren’s beer when he thought no one was looking.)

I desperately wanted Andria to get some practice for the looming Funniest Mom in America contest, but she flatly refused to do her schtick for us. She did, however, do some improve when Shiloh, who was busy nursing Lydia in her lap, asked in all seriousness, “Has anyone seen Lydia?”

Andria replied, “You know you’ve been nursing too long when…”

Maybe you had to be there.

When we were all done eating and unable to justify ordering more beer and tormenting the patrons and employees of El Porton with our wild children for a little while longer, we decided to call it a night.

“What next?” RJA asked.

“Ice cream?” I suggested as if sugar was just the thing the amped up monkeys needed at 8pm. “Peabody Park? It can’t be that scary in the dark, can it?”


“Anybody want to have everybody over?” I asked hopefully.

More silence.

“I guess this is it then,” RJA said.

“I guess so.”

It was disappointing that we had no where safe and fun to go with ten monkeys on a Friday night, but we took solace in the fact that we left the restaurant with no casualties and hopefully without scaring anyone into sterility.

The mood was heavy though. I sensed the end of a brief but fun era.

“The next time we do this, it’s got to be at someone’s house,” Kristy said.

“I know,” I agreed. “But I don’t want to wait weeks or months to get together again.”

“I know,” she said.

El Porton Mexican (East Memphis) on Urbanspoon


Stephanie said...

I would love to have you all over to our house, but I know no one wants to make the trek. But if anyone finds themselves with a full tank of gas and no plans. ..

Secret Agent Mom said...

Aw, it wasn't that bad. I think we were all just sad that we weren't cavorting in the Bavarian-Middle Eastern Beer Garden.

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