Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Restaurant All to Ourselves

On Christmas day, my Sister #2 and her family gathered in a new spot--a restaurant that was closed to the public, but open for us and only us!

Our darling Nephew-in-Law #1 (on the right, below) is the manager. He was such a gracious host! He gave us the run of the place, turned the game on, showed us all the fun stuff behind the bar, and let us loose to play:

Oooh! Pretty bottles!:

The men especially seemed to have fun around, behind, and near the bar:

Maybe it was partly the attraction of the fancy computerized cash register, which could read employees' fingerprints, verify a person's age, and spit out little printouts of drink recipes. With this machine, a patron can order a "Fuzzy Bellybutton" or something equally obscure, and the bartender can make the drink, every time. No need to memorize hundreds of recipes!:

The Boy had a lot of fun messing around with this machine:

The bar's attraction might have had something to do with this gizmo, which can dispense different liquids with the touch of a button. Anything that looks like it has a handle and shoots stuff seems to attract men....

What is it with guys and Stuff That Shoots Stuff? This is Niece #4's Best Beau:

And this is Niece #4, striking a cute barmaid pose:

Here's my Nephew #3, looking handsome as ever:

Speaking of handsome, I am blessed to have these two dudes under my roof:

Drinks and nibbles in hand, we settled down to the serious task of having fun:

This is my sister's first grandson. Isn't he a cutie?

Daughter #2 and Grand-Nephew, getting some one-on-one time in:

Mistletoe alert: Incoming!


Meanwhile in the kitchen, those of us who wanted to cook got busy. There were potatoes to boil:

Milk to scald and butter to melt. Mmmm!

Here's my Sister #2, prepping something or other and laughing as her family swirls around her:

My super, computer-skilled Brother-in-Law #2 hacked in to the restaurant's computer to fix up a few things and make systems run better:

And I poked around the kitchen.

I love restaurant kitchens. I'm fascinated by the stacks and stacks of china:

They have things I'd never have, like steak knives by the dozens:

And enough plastic film to entirely wrap up a minivan:

Restaurant refrigerators are amazing places. Look how huge this is!

Even in such unfamiliar surroundings, we cooks got to work and turned out a delicious roast of beef:

My Nephew-in-Law-the-Manager's grandpa carved the beef to perfection:

I was in charge of making the batter for the Yorkshire Pudding:

I guess they don't do much blended stuff at this place--the blender was normal size.

Here's my mom's recipe for Yorkshire Pudding, in my sister's handwriting, with many spills attesting to its age. This recipe is fantastic!:

I'll include it at the end of this posting, so you don't have to strain your eyes making out the writing, okay?

Meanwhile Sister #2 and Niece #1 tackled the potatoes:

And Brother-in-Law #2 had a heckuva good time wielding this wicked-looking whisk. The mashed potatoes never had a chance!

Stand back! Men with power tools!

At the end of the night, we'd accumulated quite a lot of dirty glasses:

Nephew-in-Law showed The Hubby and The Boy how to use the three-sink system to wash and sanitize the glasses:

Here's a real Christmas miracle--The Boy washed a glass!:

And then he washed another one, and another, and another:

Hallelujah! Now, if only I could get him to do this at home....

By the end of the evening, we were starting to feel like a gingerbread man who'd been mangled by a five-year-old:

And when the bottles start looking like this:

We knew it was time to go home. Night-night, everyone!

Yorkshire Pudding

1-1/2 C. milk
1-1/2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
4 Tbsp. butter or drippings from a roast

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a 9x13 casserole into the oven to heat up.

Pour milk into a bowl or blender. Combine dry ingredients; pour into bowl or blender. Blend until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Remove hot casserole dish from the oven; put butter or drippings into the heated pan; pour in the batter and return dish to the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until pudding is puffed and golden.


  1. Thanks, Sis! Such a lovely gift to see all your wonderful photos of the family Christmas gathering this year. I almost feel like I was there, too. SO HAPPY to see and hear that everyone had such a great time! Love and miss you all. xoxo Sis #1

  2. Yay, such fun pictures! Makes me want to do it all over again.



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