Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Payton's 19th birthday

Anthony and I had dinner tonight at Cheddar's Café in celebration of our friend Payton's 19th birthday.

If you are a regular Ken Carr blog reader, you'll remember that Payton stayed with us for a few weeks in the spring of 2014. It was fun to see him and catch up a bit. Plus, tomorrow (February 25) is his 19th birthday. Ahhhh, I remember when I turned 19. It was sometime around the beginning of the Civil War.

Anyway, we tried Cheddar's at El Con Mall for the first time. They just opened a few weeks ago. I was surprised at how busy it was for a Tuesday night (almost no where is busy in Tucson on a Tuesday, it's almost as dead in Tucson on Tuesdays as it is on Sundays).

Cheddar's has a dark wood themed interior (very 1970's of them) and was pretty noisy, but comfortable. The menu has a lot of dinner-ish items... meat and potatoes stuff, pasta, sandwiches, burgers, steaks, ribs. I often try to guess what a restaurant's point of differentiation is compared to other places. It's tough to tell with this one, the food tasted alright but there isn't anything that really stands out as spectacularly different than other restaurants. Maybe that's it -- "we're like other restaurants, but we're called Cheddar's, so that's what makes us different."

As far as prices go, a lot of stuff on the menu is in the ten dollar-ish range per item (give or take) so it's affordable as far as a sit-down restaurant like this type is.

Enough restaurant review. We were there to celebrate Payton's birthday. He got a camera for his birthday (not from us) and was shooting photos while we were there (I shot some of my own, because that's what I do) and we gave him a few presents and bought dinner. He's also going to get a used couch from our house once he locates a truck to move it with. Nothing says Happy Birthday to a 19 year old like gently used furniture to fill a first apartment (which was a nice studio apartment). I remember my first apartment which was in Denver, Colorado in 1986. The irony here is that it was the same rent ($360 per month) and had some similarities to Payton's (like having all used furniture that was donated to me). Funny how that works.

My favorite moment of the night was when we were in the parking lot of Cheddar's getting ready to leave, I was giving Payton a few pointers on his camera, and I asked Anthony to jump in the air to show Payton how shutter priority works on a camera. Anthony said he was too full of food and ended up looking like a flamingo with it's leg up. We all got a good laugh. That's what I love about Anthony.... no matter what I tell him to do, he ends up doing whatever that is in his own unique way. He's an individual to the end.

Cheddar's at El Con Mall in Tucson.
We had Payton's birthday dinner here.

Payton digs into his birthday present sack.

Nothing says Happy Birthday like opening
presents on a freezing cold bench outside
of a restaurant.
Happy Birrrrrrrrrrthday.

More present opening

Anthony and Payton

Host station inside the front door of Cheddar's

Here's the menu.
And some silverware wrapped in napkins.

We sat at a table near the bar.
They have a fish tank.
The fish are too tiny to eat
but were pretty to look at.

Appetizer (chicken strips, potato skins,
mozzarella bites)

My baKEN cheeseburger

Payton's club sandwich

Anthony's chicken strip dinner

Payton had a chocolate cake shooter for dessert

I asked Anthony to jump in the parking lot

He only lifted one leg on his jump.
Flamingos could learn a lot from this.