Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Make Reservations

Trying to go out of the house to eat dinner anywhere in Bergen County, specifically the Paramus area on down to Riverside Square (or whatever it's called now- Shops At Riverside?) is actually comical. You have to have that shit down to a science. And I thought I did, and I also thought I could spit in the face of all I know this past Saturday night.

We went to a nursery school Havdalah program at the temple which was 5:30p-6:30p. But it actually ended a little early. B and I LOVE Houstons so he asked if I wanted to eat there. Now, everyone knows that Houstons usually has at least an hour wait even at an off time, but if you know your way around it, you can usually figure out how to get in quickly. Plus, McCormick & Schmick's was next door. They did well taking the overflow from Houstons. I could eat there if need be. They closed but a new fish restaurant was supposed to have opened "Fall 2013" so I assumed they were open already. That would leave SIX restaurants to try to get into. There was no way we wouldn't be able to get into ANY, right??

If you go to Houstons during the week, if you get there before 6:15p, you're looking at 0-20 minutes. WELL...I was just pretending that none of this waiting nonsense was going to be an issue because I wanted their grilled salmon something fierce. Yeah, we got there at 6:37p and,"75-90 minute wait", we were told with a sincere smile. I didn't think that one was going to work out. But B put our name in.

Then we had the brilliant idea to just put our name in almost all the restaurants and take whatever one called us first. So we walked over to Cheesecake factory- 60-75 minutes. Then on over to Maggiano's- TWO HOURS. But, we did know someone working there. My friend Jenn's brother was there. We thought we had an in! We put our name in there. Houstons and Maggiano's have these awesome new systems where they can text you instead of having to stick close with their buzzing pager. While I was putting our name into Maggiano's, I sent B off with Ethan to PF Changs. They gave him a pager, which I added to the one from Cheesecake Factory in my bag. After I took a photo of the pagers and my phone just to immortalize the silliness of the whole thing.

We had to sit somewhere to wait so we picked outside of Cheesecake Factory since they had the shortest wait. I thought my friend's brother would be able to make some magic happen but that would be via text so we could sit anywhere waiting for that call.

Ding ding ding! At 8p, we had a winner. Cheesecake it was to be. I really wanted Houstons- I was jonesing for their grilled salmon and their house salad. But it looks like we're going to have to do the early bird special at like 5-5:30p if we ever want to eat there on a Saturday night again. Granted, it was the Bloomies Friends & Family sale that weekend so the mall could've been crazy due to that, but honestly, I think it's just Bergen County. It gets more and more crowded with every condo added. And they keep adding up. So I think we just have a ridiculous surplus of people. And apparently they're hungry.

By the way- 8:55p I got a text from Maggiano's saying our table was ready and B got the Houstons text at 9p. Yeah, no. We were just leaving Cheesecake then. Laughing at those texts. I can't imagine anyone would seriously wait that long unless they were on a date and drinking at the bar at either place, with time to kill and no small children. Or, they just REALLY love chain food.

There's not much of a point to this post besides the comedy of having a bag full of hopeful dinner reservations - either in the form of awaiting text message or pager. Personally, I'm loving the texting systems and think those pagers should be eliminated completely. It's antiquated and annoying to have to stay so close to the restaurant when it's in a mall and you can at least walk around the mall. It's better for the mall as a whole if people feel like they can walk around the mall and shop without losing their precious reservation.

If it was just B and I, we could've eaten at the bar at Morton's. We've done that before. We still had to get there by 6:30-7p to be able to eat but it was fine. We just weren't doing that with E. He doesn't need Morton's and the bar area isn't exactly the most kid friendly. They don't even HAVE butter knives there. It's the weirdest thing. They only give you steak knives. They only HAVE steak knives to give. I'm not giving my four year old any knives, but only having steak knives is a good indication they aren't really kid-friendly.

Another interesting observation was all the ridiculously expensive cars that were parked outside the mall. We saw a Lamborghini outside Mortons. It used to be that a Mercedes was a status symbol. Now, no one would even notice your paltry Mercedes because at Riverside, chances are high you will be parked next to a Maybach or a Maserati. Hello, people? You're still in a MALL. A busy mall in the Paramus/Hackensack area. Maybe people who have money to burn like that don't mind paying to get a ding out of their car? I don't know. I was going to take a picture of the Lamborghini as we went by but there was a guy outside wearing a diamond encrusted pinkie ring, smoking a cigarette, that it looked like it could belong to. I didn't want him to get all Sean Penn on the paparazzi on me so I erred on the side of caution. But really? You take your shit car to the mall. The spaces at Riverside are made for Smart Cars, not for cars you don't want getting messed up. Half the time people take up two spaces there because the spots are so narrow. I don't know if they're there because they need to show off or what. But it seems so ridiculous to be driving sports cars meant for speed when you can go about one mile an hour in Rt 4 or Rt 17 traffic on a Saturday evening.

All in all, the evening was fine. We got in to eat by 8p, E was fine- he rolls with the punches. He doesn't even like food. Because it was so late, he actually ate. The key to getting him to eat, obviously, is starving him till he's hungry enough. He's used to going out to dinner. We have gone out just about every Saturday night for dinner with him since he was born. We had crayons, paper, and B's cell phone. We were totally prepared. Maybe because we were so hungry, the food tasted like the BEST MEAL EVER. My Cheesecake Factory grilled salmon was perfect as was my strawberry shortcake dessert. We just won't be going there again on a weekend unless it's before 6p. Or I will try to make a reservation.

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