Tonight, we went out (with the kids, even) to a "nice" restaurant - "nice" being defined as "no one can wear their sweatpants here". We went to Texas de Brazil, which is a churrascaria (dh, a returned missionary from Brazil, says something like "shoo-hoss-ca-DEE-a"), which is delicious. I will now describe the experience - vegetarians, you will not be that interested, so stop after the salad bar.
Upon being seated, you tell the waiter what you want to drink, and then you are released to the salad bar, which beats the pants off any other salad bar you will ever walk around with a plate - aside from the usual salad greens, you can choose from soup, marinated vegetables, imported cheeses, sushi (which you would never find in a Brazilian churrascaria, dh was careful to point out), hunks (not slices) of smoked salmon, potatoes au gratin (also not Brazilian, but yum!), olives, breads, and many other delights I did not have room on my plate or in my stomach to sample. After you are finished with your salad bar findings, you signal to your waiter to bring you a clean plate. Each place at the table has a small round token, green on one side and red on the other. You flip this to green, and immediately thereafter, men with huge skewers of grilled meat will flock to your table and slice off small chunks of it right in front of you, which you grab with your very own set of tongs and put on your plate. Different cuts and varieties of beef, pork, sausage, chicken (wrapped in bacon), filet mignon (!) - shazam; right on your plate. When you want them to stop, you flip your token to red, then back to green; etc., etc.
What a feast! I think the kids enjoyed it, for the most part. Stuntman, who is truly a little carnivore, was quite speechless: guys coming at him from all sides, one at a time, like bad guys in a Jackie Chan movie, and each one bringing meat - meat! On a giant SWORD! I think he was even a little overwhelmed - at one point he put his head in his hands and looked like he might need a little air (it was rather noisy and very busy; easy for a little system to get overloaded). Flip, a picky eater, did try everything on his plate and found several things to his liking. Miss Bee did surprisingly well for a 3 1/2-year-old who doesn't like wearing "nice" clothes, waiting for tables OR very many kinds of meat. (Her dinner: carrots with a bit of greens still on the end, bread, sausage, baby corn on the cob, bread, bacon from the salad bar, cinnamon fried bananas, cheese, and bread. We're okay with that for one night.)
Needless to say, this is a once-a-year (or even every couple of years) kind of an experience for our family, because of the gastric overload and because of the pricey bill, but the only reason we went was because Mom was scouring the internet for any kind of a coupon to this place for dh's Christmas present, came up with nothing but did sign up on the restaurant's website for emailed offers, and received one a couple of weeks ago for 50% off your bill Jan. 1-3. Not a bad deal! And now, dh can start on his New Year's resolution to lose 15 lbs. in preparation for the Cowtown Marathon (which I am planning to run also, but only the half marathon, so I don't have to lose so much) and Redman Triathlon in Oklahoma City this year. For a "last meal" (as he put it), it was worth every calorie.