The experience

Ogre and I will have to tag team this one.  I signed up for a last minute overnight hospital shift, so we’d have to do the whole let’s meet at the restaurant so I could leave directly from there to get to work.  Of course, things were made complicated by the fact that Mina had pies to make and deliver after school and Benji needed to picked up from Lolo’s house.  Since Ogre helps Mina with the pies, I went to Lolo’s house.  Now, Ogre and I have done this multiple times before and I explain it the same everytime.  It doesn’t matter where we go as along as it’s somewhere on the way to work and we leave for the restaurant at 5:30.  That gives me plenty of time to eat and drive to work.  Well, I left Lolo’s house at 5:30 and got to the restaurant at 5:40.  It would be quite some time before Team Bake-Off arrived to meet Team Stinkeye aka Team No More Pies!


Benji and I arrived and were the first ones at the restaurant.  They took our drink order and I sat down.   I took one dip of the olive oil and WHOA!! there’s some garlic in that baby!  I decided I better not eat anymore -my patients wouldn’t approve.  Benji ran around, which seemed okay since we were the only ones in the restaurant, but I did not let him go to far.  The boothed tables are actually recessed a little in the spaces that are partitioned by floor to ceiling walls, makes it very cozy AND good to shield other people from your misbehaving children!

Crazy garlic oil

Benji was pretty good about staying in “our area.”  Only a few times did he escape for a short jaunt around a nearby table.  He kept getting up onto the booth bench and then getting down and up an down.  Unfortunately, he did something that resulted in a tumble to the ground head first, which led to tears.  I comforted him and he got over that pretty quickly.  Unfortunately, the longer we waited for the rest of Team Phipps, the worse his behavior became.  And, of course, now other people were starting to come in for dinner.


The realization that families are not the most welcome sight to other restaurant-goers was quite clear when a couple came in and the gentleman looked at our table and told his wife to pick a table further down.  If I wasn’t uncomfortable with crazy Benji, I was now. 

At each wall partition, there are some long velvety drapes that he wanted to hide behind and, of couse, with my wild imagination, I envisioned these crashing to the ground. So, he was not allowed to do that, but really wanted to.  That led to a tantrum on the floor.  I had to pick him up and console him to quiet him, which I normally don’t do, but I did it for the other patrons.


It was now 6 o’clock and Ogre finally calls to ask me if we wanted to follow each other to the restaurant or just meet there.  I dryly replied that I was already at the restaurant and have been here for twenty minutes.  Not to mention that I ordered my food 5 minutes ago.  He acted like this was some kind of a surprise.  I’m not sure how if I left the house at 6 o’clock, I’d be at work across town by 7 o’clock.  He told me it’d be another 10 minutes before he got there.

Then, once I got Benji to actually stay in the booth, he decided he needed to pick up his styrofoam cup by the edge of the top.  The cup slipped from his grip and spilled all over the bench.  At least the bench was covered in vinyl, but it just added to insult to previous injury after injury.  I took the cup away.  At this point, I called Ogre to tell him to bring his Benji’s chair as he obviously needed confinement.  Ogre started to ask me why I hadn’t just brought in the chair from my car.  If I was the type of person to hang up on people, I probably would have, but instead I said, “Just bring it.”

I’m seriously starting to stress out just writing this post and reliving one of the worst 30 minutes of dining with Benji I’ve ever had.  But, on with the story.  The waiter brought out my salad and the Bruschetta. Benji was kind enough to let me eat it without too much of a fuss or need to intervene with his bad behavior.  In fact, when Ogre and Mina FINALLY arrived, he was seated beside me, happily rifiling through my purse.

Ogre and Mina got settled and Mina immediately asked for a pen.  I pulled out a crayon and handed it to her.  She asked for a pen again.  I was so annoyed at this point that I told her she should be appreciative that she has a crayon.  She started to say something else about it and nearly knocked her drink over.  I didn’t have to say anything to her, just a look was enough for her to piper down and color with her crayon.

Mina eating brocolli

Ogre and Mina decided on their dinner and as they were ordering, my food came out.  Ogre and I discussed the Bruschetta and I left most of mine on the plate, but Ogre thought it was great.  I ate my Ravioli and cut up a a few for Benji.  Ogre had gone down the slippery slope of buttering the kids’ bread, so it was nice to be able to distract Benji from his ongoing need for more “burr! burr!” (butter).  Ogre and Mina’s food came out at lightning pace, which was great!  I ate a nice portion of my Ravioli before deciding it was time to head to work and leave Ogre with our crazy children.

Benji eating spaghetti

Unfortunately, as I got up to leave and Mina got up to give me a hug and a kiss good bye, Benji also thought he was going, too.  He hurriedly handed his plate to Papa and started to push himself up as I headed toward Mina to get my hug and kiss.  I gave Benji a kiss, too, but he was very sad and cried as I walked away.  This all makes me feel very bad for complaining about him all through this post!

I’ll let Ogre fill in the rest of the story…

Luckily I got a kiss too after my transgressions.  But really not much more to tell.  Mina finished up her meal and Benji had been done since Mommy left.  I gave him some more butter to keep him happy until Mina was through.  I ordered an espresso while I waited which was actually quite good.  I’m a coffee snob.

Double Espresso

I tossed the chair I nearly got hung up on for into the back of the car on our way out and nearly crushed one of the hard made pies.  Luckily, I just nicked off some of the crust.  No major damage. One good thing about Sweet Mina’s pies is she will have lots of Christmas money to sponsor a child.  Hopefully Santa’s Favorite Cookie baking will go more smoothly so Mommy won’t be so stressed.  Its the hour long baking that creates the pie problem.

The food

Good ol’ Italian food here.

BruchettaI ordered the Bruschetta, which was advertised as having proscuitto and cheese.  We got these very large pieces of bread with ricotta, olives, cheese and proscuitto.  I did not care for it very much, but Ogre liked it.  I was somewhat surprised at how massive the pieces of bread were and that made it difficult for me to eat and I don’t much care for ricotta, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. 

Beef RavioliI ordered the Beef Ravioli with Marinara sauce as I wanted to share with Benji and Ravioli is easy pick-up food.  I thought it was good -nothing to write home about, but good.  The red sauce had a nice sweet robust flavor to it.  Benji liked it, too!

Chicken PizzaiolaOgre ordered the Chicken Paola, which was very tasty.  The sauce was a red sauce that had a hint of berry -like there was Balsamic Vinegar infused in it.  I definitely was a fan of the sauce.  Ogre did not think the chicken was dry even though I queried him on it based on the appearance, so you’ll have to take his word for it, even though honestly, I didn’t.  Again, take my opinion with a grain of salt tonight, I’m in one of those moods.

LasagnaMina ordered the lasagna.  Unfortunately, I left just as she started to eat it, so I’m not sure what she thought of it.  I know that she liked her broccoli dipped in her marinara sauce!  Maybe Ogre can fill in details…

She definitely enjoyed the lasagna AND the broccoli.  I managed to taste a small bit of broccoli that I hadn’t given to Mina and it was clearly because of the heavy butter flavor.  She ate nearly half of the quite large piece of lasagna after some initial prodding.


The service

Our service was pretty good tonight.  Nothing stellar, but nothing bad to speak of either.  Our waiter thought it was great that Benji would say hi and bye to him everytime he came by and commented about how “quiet” he was.  Was he not listening to my child throw tantrums?  Anyway, he seemed to just think it was all very amusing, which was nice because I was a little on edge with the Benji behavior tonight.  Food came out a good tempo for having kids around.

The kids

I’d say this is an average kid friendly restaurant.  It’s got a good child’s menu and the waitstaff seemed to love the kids.  Notably though, once the restaurant started filling up, I was very aware of the fact that I had kids with me.  I would recommend coming early if you’re kids are hard to keep in their seats or a little on the loud side.  This is not a “loud” restaurant -Benji still doesn’t care so this was a little bit of a problem. 

The tables are set up with paper atop them, perfect for kids to write on, but they did not give out crayons, so bring your own.  I happened to have a green crayon in my purse!

It’s a quaint little spot for Italian and definitely has a nice ambiance to the place -when my kids are disrupting it!!  I thought the food was pretty good, but we’d probably go other places for an Italian dinner with our kids. 

The total: $46.18

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