Sunday's performance was sold out, so I got tickets for after Saturday morning's tennis lessons.
Chris skipped tennis to attend a birthday party and Jeff also took Ella. Tim may as well have skipped tennis as he didn't want to play. And I was too tired/too sick to insist. I spent the time sleeping in the car.
My memory was bad for getting from tennis in Manasquan to the former Grist Mill restaurant in Tinton Falls. I knew I wanted to take 34 instead of the Parkway. But how to get from 34 to Tinton Falls without going through Colts Neck? Well, I thought of 547 (Shafto Rd.) which I was able to get to from 33. And then from there, after showing the kids where we used to live, I took Wayside through Tinton Falls to the restaurant on Sycamore. It was perfect, but I barely remember the way.
The restaurant is now called The Falls. We were the only ones in it the entire noon hour. We picked the best seat, then. The lobster bisque was very good. When the waiter accidentally brought a cup for Tim, I almost suggested he leave it. Then, when I noted the price of it on the bill, I was glad he didn't. $4 a cup.
Kenny got crab cakes; Tim, a hotdog and I, a Reuben. The menu was very limited and consisted mostly of fancy hamburgers. I let the boys get dessert and Tim made a good choice of a chocolate chip pie. The bill was something else. I don't eat out often but I can't imagine three small scoops of vanilla ice cream running us $6. I know desserts and drinks are usually expensive and obviously the place is struggling. And instead of pricing Kenny's crab cakes from the kids' menu ($9), he charged us the appetizer price ($11). Now, I'm sure I could have said something and got it changed but I'm not really that concerned about a couple of bucks. It's just the idea of it, like we wouldn't notice.
And when I gave him 20%, he was strangely grateful. Well, why not? The food was good as was the service. I'm not complaining; this restaurant was purely my choice. We could have eaten elsewhere for less. $17 per person was just a bit beyond what I was willing to play for kids, for lunch. But it gives, I think, a clear picture of where the local economy is, even in rather well-to-do Monmouth County. I remember a time when it was necessary to park in the overflow lot at lunchtime, or just about anytime.
Then we drove over to the university and walked around campus a bit. The mansion wasn't open but we peered through the windows and saw the Christmas decorations. The show itself was very good. Our seats were decent. During the intermission, we did the usual thing of walking down the hall and peering into the darkened computer lab to watch the lights flicker. It wasn't much different from peering into the mansion.