Posted by Christine on April 11, 2011 in food, Kids |

Last Friday we decided to head out to a new Greek diner with some friends. While we were perusing the menu for ourselves, there was a flurry of activity going on behind me. I paid no attention as waiters were coming and going with other patrons meals and checks.

That is until there was a sudden rush of heat and flame like activity that caught me out of the corner of my eye. Still unsure what was actually going on behind me, I whipped around to see that one of the waiters had come out with an appetizer dish that is commonly referred to as Saganaki or Greek Flaming Cheese.

I’m not kidding when I say flaming either, as the fire is produced when a shot of vodka is poured over the cheese and lit. With the flames going, the waiter yells out OPA in jubilant celebration. Granted the flames only last for a few seconds until the alcohol burns off, but it’s like chucking lighter fluid on a fire; a sudden and exaggerated burst of flames.

This sudden and exaggerated outburst was similar to Cardin’s reaction; complete and utter hysteria. The ENTIRE restaurant turned and looked at my kid. Probably a good 100+ people, all staring at this flaming concoction and the screaming, crying toddler trying to claw her way out of her highchair and onto my lap.

This is what the Saganaki looked like:

And I imagine that this is what Cardin saw:

It took a good 10  minutes of convincing and soothing to calm her; assuring her that the nasty man with the fire was gone and it was again safe to retract her claws from mommy’s skin. We got her settled back into her highchair and our food arrived.

As we were finishing up our meal,  two things occurred simultaneously.  To my left I heard the hot sizzle of a skillet and to my right, I heard Cardin begin to scream. Before I knew it there was a mess of flames, OPA had been yelled, and Cardin was reacting in mass hysteria. We thought the first time was bad, but the second time…..whoa boy….triple that reaction. Her tiny body shook in her highchair and I saw her brain go through the fight or flight response right in front of me.

I jumped up, grabbed her, and ran for the nearest vestibule. Of course this only brought a flurry of attention as I carried her screaming, sobbing frame throughout the restaurant. Listen Lady, we clearly have a fire phobia.

At this point the waiter felt so awful that he came over to us and brought not one, but two huge cookies in attempt to cheer her up and distract her. She was having none of it as she sat in a sobbing heap on my lap, shouting “GO WAY” to the fire waiter.

Since we were almost ready to go, I left the bill and cleanup in the hands of Brett and our friends and Cardin and I chilled in the vestibule. It was a little chilly, what with the doors opening and closing, so I decided to venture back in and grab our coats. It was at this time that I was practically mauled by an onslaught of waiters shouting that someone else had just ordered the Saganaki appetizer and they were about to bring it out to the table. RETREAT!!!!

Clearly we will not frequent this establishment again.

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