Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ho..Ho...Ho..liday Adult Night Out

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As part of our family Christmas traditions my husband and I treat our adult children to a night out. This year it was on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and it kicked of our 2010 Ho...Ho...Holidays!

One year we rented a big passenger van as part of our evening because we picked up my parents (in their 80's) and the three generations of us toured the local Christmas light displays. It is always fun to ride together because the fun starts the minute we get into the car.

Most years I hire the babysitters for my house and all of the cousins stay together and I supply everything needed for the babysitters to put on a party for the ten cousins while the adults are out.

I chose to have my adult kids line up their own sitters for their own homes this year. (There had been some sick bug going around.)

This year we all loaded up in my daughters eight passenger SUV which worked this year because number nine who is our youngest is living out of town and she was unable to join us this year. (We sure missed her.)

Our evening started out with a 45 minute drive to the restaurant of our choice. The car was filled with laughter and lots of visiting as we made our way into the city. The restaurants are different every year and this year we chose a restaurant with some sentimental ties for our own children. We took them to a  steak and BBQ place, Bill Johnsons Big Apple. While they have multiple locations we had been to all of them in the area when the kids were young. Our children who are now in their late twenties and early thirties were filled with memories as we made our way to the restaurant. We had not been back as a family for many years.

We immediately missed the sawdust floors.  Something I think the health department has probably put an end to. The life size carved indian was still there to greet us in the foyer and the decor was just as we remembered. Our server although different of course was still wearing a big leather holster with a gun. My kids remembered far more details than myself. Including that one of the soundproof corners of the restaurant used to have a working radio station in it.

Our memories were overflowing. It was really fun hearing our adult children share their memories with their spouses. This was a place that we had frequented with our four young children. There was always great food but it was also kind of a noisy place so the chatter of our little ones just blended into the experience and the sawdust that used to cover the floor helped to hide the spills.

When the menus came.... the entire party ordered off of the adult menu. No one got the grilled cheese or the burger and fries. One of our favorites from this restaurant is their 1000 island dressing. We have done our best to copy cat the recipe. We all knew we wanted a salad with 1000 island dressing. And in the day it always came with a bowl of cellophane wrapped saltines and little pats of butter or cardboard.

There it was..... mmmmmmm.
We couldn't wait to dig in.

The flavor of the 1000 island came rushing back to our memory
and we all agreed that we needed to tweak our home
recipe a bit.

And the crackers. Well they don't serve them with their salads anymore but we were not going to allow our memories and taste buds to miss out on that. Our server was more that happy to wrestle us up a bowl of crackers.

There were no pats of butter on cardboard though!

When our meals came you could tell that their taste in food had matured.
Prime rib, NY strips, fillets, ribeyes, and more.

Over dinner we discussed the little behind the counter and glass store. It was where the cash register was to pay our bill. The kids had different memories of what was there. We asked our server for someone who had worked there a long time and she brought us someone who had been there for 3 years. Please!!!

After a great dinner and conversation we were all walking out together when we saw an older gentlemen that looked a bit familiar. He had worked there for 35 years. We had won the Bill Johnson's trivia solver grand prize! He confirmed the memory of moon pies being behind the counter  (something my daughter remembered but none of the rest of us did.)  He told us that there used to be all kinds of things that you would find there. All of our memories were confirmed by this walking encyclopedia on Bill Johnson history. I am so glad he was there. It made our experience complete.

Following dinner it was a mad rush to get to the show. My husband and I had purchased everyone tickets to go see Jim Gaffigan. A very funny yet clean comedian. It was wonderful seeing all of my kids and in law kids enjoying one another's company and just having a great time together. Mr. Gaffigan was hilarious and he put on a great show.

After the show we headed home. Our time together was winding down but what a great holiday kick off we had shared. As a party favor my husband and I presented each of the kids with a custom made Ho...Ho...Ho... card tucked into a cd envelope with some "Babysitter Bucks" tucked inside to cover the cost of their sitters.

I have great kids and I love spending time with them and I am very blessed that they like spending time with me too.

Adult nights out as part of the 
An absolute keeper!

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