We have a new favorite place.
The Rainforest Cafe.
Experience what it is like to spend money in an authentic rainforest setting, if rainforests were plastic and full of robots!
Since many of my readers are not blessed to reside in a state containing this amazing dining concept, such as the Great State of Texas ("Waiting for Alaska to Melt"), I should explain.
Imagine, if you will, a fairly expensive casual dining restaurant, combined with a fairly expensive toy store, combined with Chuck-E-Cheese. Then give it all an "environmental" theme, and voila! (French, meaning "poof"): you have the Rainforest Cafe.
We began going when Princess was just a little tot. Now that we have Dexy, going to Rainforest Cafe (what the kids call "The Jungle") is an exciting and costly adventure.
When one enters the Rainforest Cafe, one does not merely enter a "restaurant." One enters a "restaurant with a toy store." Helpfully, the hostess stand is located in the middle of the toy store, for your spending convenience. Heaven help you if there is a wait. I mean it. You could easily spend $100 just waiting to eat, at least at the one in Galveston: they have a special, Rainforest-themed Build-A-Bear Workshop right there!
Thank goodness. I can't tell you how neglectful as I parent I have felt, without a custom-stuffed rhinoceros wearing a safari outfit and combat boots.
One does not get seated at the Rainforest Cafe by a hostess, one has a "tour guide." One is not waited on, one has a "safari guide" to "lead you" through the "adventure" and "refill" your "Sprite."
If you are a savvy and frugal individual, like myself, you will fork over the $15 to join the Rainforest Club (but I confess I got the membership for $10 because it was "on special."). This membership card gets you a free appetizer (or 10% off adult entrees), 10% off in the toy store, and preferred seating. Our cheese sticks are now free. Nothing else is.
Kids' entrees are $5.99. That is huge, comparatively. The only other place I can think of where we spend that much is Outback Steakhouse, when Princess wants a steak. (Steak and calamari are her two faves.) Soft drinks are $2.50. The adult hamburger plate is $8.99, cheese $.50 extra, french fries $.99 extra. Really. So, doing the math, our meal yesterday:
Cheese sticks: free
Dexy's Jurassic Chicken Bites: $5.99
Princess' Sliders: $5.99
Sven's Burger: $8.99
Deb's Burger: $8.99
Really, $37.45 isn't that bad, right? For a nice meal out at a fun place? Right?
I didn't tell you about dessert.
Topped with a sparkler, this mountain of brownie, ice cream, whipped cream, fudge, and caramel sauce is a $12.99 flaming mountain of fun. We must get the volcano whenever we go to the jungle. There is no hope of Princess (or now, Dexy) forgetting about it, because the servers (excuse me, "Safari Guides") parade each one through the restaurant bellowing, "VOL-CA-NOOOOO!"
It also doesn't help that now, whenever we go to any restaurant, Princess plaintively asks for the Volcano. She had the waitress at Applebee's in tears with her trembling lower lip and orphaned-waif eyes.
With the addition of the dessert and tax, our bill came to $54 and change. Before we hit the toy store.