The experience

Did you notice that it’s freezing outside??  We decided we’d better stay close and avoid the highway for dinner tonight.  I had Ogre pick up the kids and me from Lala’s house where we were camped out for the afternoon because I did not want to have to load them up by myself in the freezing cold.  He obliged and we headed out to dinner.  We settled on BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse, where I thought I could get some good ol’ comfort food to warm me up on this frigid evening!

Ogre dropped off Mina and me out front so that we could avoid prolonged exposure to the cold, yes, I’m a wuss when it comes to cold weather.  We were seated right away and Mina immediately began to work on the Word Search on her placemat.  I ordered drinks for the table and probably wasted a couple bucks getting iced tea for Ogre, who of course wanted a beer instead.

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Ogre and Benji joined us and we perused the menu.  When the waiter arrived to greet Ogre, we went ahead and ordered pot stickers on a whim, in hopes that it would occupy Benji.  He was given crayons and paper, also, but unlike his sister Mina who was kept very entertained with the crayons, Benji kept getting frustrated with the “crons.”  They kept getting “stuck” in the box when he wanted to dump them out of the box after putting them all back in.  And when they rolled off the table, he was absolutely devestated until Ogre or the poor waiter saved them. 

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Our pot stickers came out and we ordered dinner.  Ogre cut up a dumpling for Benji, who seemed ambivalent about it, Ogre, on the other hand, was notably impressed.  He told me that they tasted like the dumplings at May Dragon.  That I could not believe and after Ogre convinced me that Benji was not going to be eating many more of these, I tried it myself and was also pleasantly surprised, but refusing to put these in the same sentance with May Dragon.

It seemed like no time had passed before my Wedge Salad came out.  Mina had finished her Word Search and had now moved to the Color by Numbers.  Apparently, someone else at the table had also discovered the Color by Numbers…and it wasn’t Benji.

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Mina noticed in the mirror next to her that she had a brown spot in the middle of her forehead and immediately began obsessing about it.  I reassured her that it was nothing. Ogre thought it was hot chocolate from last night.  Gosh, I hope not!!

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After less than five minutes, the mini-burgers came out and we split up the cute Potato Smily Face “french fries,” which Benji called “cookies.”  Ogre was able to drag himself away from his coloring long enough to cut up Benji’s burger.  Benji was more interested in the large red cabbage leaf and we gave him that to eat, too.

Next came the pizza and my soup.  The pizza was placed right in front of my nose, and man did it smell good!!!  I swear that Ogre’s pizza sat there a good 10 minutes until Ogre finished his Color by Numbers picture.  He and Mina bonded over it as she was also busy with her coloring by numbers.  Of course, she does not eat nearly as fast as her Papa, so I had to remind her about eating her burger.

FINALLY, Ogre finished his masterpiece and handed it over to Mina for safe keeping.  She told him that she needed to check his work.   He offered me a piece of pizza, which I gladly accepted and enjoyed!

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As Ogre and I ate, Benji decided he was done and handed over his plate.  Ogre and I finished up our dinner and that, again, left Mina.  She tried to inform us that she was “done.” We told her otherwise and ordered dessert.  We told her that she needed to finish her burger before she could have dessert, which was already ordered.  Too bad the restaurant was on her side and would be taking FOREVER to serve dessert tonight. 

Benji took the lapse in restaurant fun to scream for no apparent reason at the top of his lungs and for a LONG time.  The boy has some lung capacity!!  I was so annoyed with the wait for our dessert, that I embarrassingly thought that the restaurant “deserved” the noisy Benji for being so slow with dessert!  Ogre was not too happy with Benji’s antics and tried to get him to be quiet.  I think this just fed in to his desire to make a bunch of noise…that and the fact that it made Mina laugh.  I told Ogre to just ignore him, and Ogre informed me that Benji’s screaming is “highly annoying” to everyone else in the restaurant.  I’m not sure that was true as the restaurant is pretty loud and the patrons I saw just kind of laughed it off. 

To make matters worse, once Benji settled down and started playing with the crayons and crayon box again, he threw it across the table and it splashed into Ogre’s beer.  Ogre was not happy. 

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A server dropped off the Pizookie and Benji promptly grabbed for it and burned his fingers (not majorly or anything).  Of course, he started crying, and I quickly went to save him and give him kisses.  We sat down together and shared the Pizookie with Mina.  Benji tried to hand a fork to Papa, but it seemed that Papa was not in a Pizookie mood tonight.  Once the ice cream was gone, Mina and I were done.  Benji was not.  He kept saying “hep me” (help me) as he tried to scoop up the chocolate chip cookie.  So sweet.

Ogre flagged down the waiter to finally get our bill so that we could pay up and head back in to the cold.

 

The food

I don’t know how you would classify this genre of restaurant.  Barfood?  Nah, it’s better quality than what I have in mind when I think barfood.  American??  Maybe, it’s got all kinds of stuff though, a few Tex-Mex choices, Pastas, it’s got a little bit of everything.  I guess I’ll call it American, since that’s what’s America’s about!

IMG00226For an appetizer and munchie for Benji, we ordered the Chicken Pot Stickers. They were quite tasty!  The chicken was flavorful, the wrapper was not too soggy, not too crisp, and the dipping sauce was a nice ginger soy.  Ogre even compared it to the pot stickers at May Dragon, which I think is slightly blasphemous, but a nice compliment for BJs.

IMG00225 I ordered the Wedge Salad and Tomato Bisque.  I order the Wedge Salad every time we come here.  It’s a tangy dressing with chunks of Bleu Cheese and has diced tomatoes and red onion atop the wedge of lettuce.  I typically ask for no bacon or for it to be on the side, but I forgot today. IMG00230 This is good example of the Wedge Salad that I enjoy!  The bleu cheese dressing has a tartness and sweetness about it and there are chunks of bleu cheese.  The Tomato Bisque was a new item on the menu and it didn’t disappoint.  It had a nice tomato flavor and was very creamy -it was not as good as the Tomato Basil Soup I had at Fritzl’s, but that one was tough to beat!

IMG00232Ogre ordered the Cilantro Pesto Pizza on Thin Crust (actually an appetizer).  I tried it and I liked it a lot.  But, I gotta tell ya, I LOVE Cilantro and this has A LOT of cilantro, so if you’re just so-so about cilantro, I would proceed with caution.  Ogre really liked this one a lot, we have never ordered this before and he typically orders the deep dish pizza, but said he wasn’t too hungry tonight, so this was a great alternative.  He also likes cilantro.

Mina and Benji shared the mini-hamburgers (with cheese and bacon added).  She liked it well enough to finish one of the minis with only a moderate amount of prodding, but did mention to us that it was not as good as Whataburger.

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The pizookie needs no words…

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Other kids menu items include macaroni and cheese, chicken tenders, pizza, spaghetti or a grilled cheese sandwich.

 

The service

Service here, overall, was average.  It actually started out very promising.  Our drink orders were taken quickly, Ogre’s beverages stayed filled, the tempo of the food coming out initially was great!  They brought the kids dinner quickly, which is usually a plus!  Then we ordered dessert.  I cannot recall that this is one of those desserts that they say takes 20 minutes, but it took at least that!!  It was another fork in the eye moment for me as we waited and waited.  This is also when Benji was screaming.  I was also annoyed that the guy (who wasn’t our waiter) did not think to clear the rest of the dishes from our table when he set the Pizookie down.  It was another 10-15 minutes to get the bill.  Arghh.

 

The kids

Definitely a kid friendly restaurant.  Good crayons, a fun activity placemat to color and work on.   A decent selection of kids menu items.  I felt comfortable with my screaming Benji as the restaurant is loud and casual.  (Although, Ogre was apparently a little stressed by Benji’s screaming!).  There are a ton of food choices, so it should appeal to the masses!

This is a good spot for a fun dinner with the kids. We always have a good time when we eat here!  And the dessert is the best part!! 

The total: $53.92

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