Thursday, February 06, 2014

"Five Star Shops"

Before embarking on this wacky post, here is the background you should know:
Fortune Street has been one of our favorite family Wii games. It isn’t particularly easy (Skadi isn’t old/interested enough) and it is long as hell (Monopoly on steroids). Basically you buy shops (properties), some you build on (vacant plots) and others are already established. There are a lot of nuances – like if you build a home, everyone gets warped there. Or you can build a tax office where when you land on it you receive payback, while others land on it and they pay you. That all is the Monopoly part. The “On Steroids” part comes from the investment and stock options. You can purchase stock in your or other people’s properties. And “real-ish” stuff happens, stocks go up, some go down a bit, you get interest when someone lands on and pays and you own stock.
Leif latched onto this game from an early age and mastered it. This triggered his interest in stocks and he now has his own (very small) stock portfolio. (Yay Bank of America, Boo Nintendo) In the game your shops are awarded stars as you build them up and invest in them. Eventually you might get to the point of having “Five Star Shops”. If you are Leif, this is your ultimate goal and certain recipe to winning. We have told Leif that yes, there are in real life, five star shops.
And that is where the story begins.
Well lately this has turned into a rating system of sorts to him. Walmart, one star. Target, two stars (I push for the third, but he is a stickler). The shops at the mall, they are three star. And Leif someday hopes to own his own string of Five Star Shops - in real life.
Going to a “Real Five Star Shop”
We went to Seattle for a day last week. Skadi had a doctor’s appointment and we decided to haul everyone over for some good food and a zoo visit. AB declared that if we all go over that he wanted to eat some really good food. Poor guy. I have gone on travel lately and have been able to partake of “five star” restaurants in relative peace. Not AB. He has been stuck at home.
I honed in on a few options for dining and we had a plan in mind since we would have all three kids. We would go early – like 5pm – heavily armed with every sort of distraction a 9 month old may want. And then with the other two? Impress them.
Impress upon them the importance of behaving well. Impress upon them mommy and daddy’s need for good food. And then – simply impress them! So when we sat down leery-like at Wasabi Bistro in downtown Seattle I blurted it out.
“Hey Leif,” I said, “this is a five star restaurant.”
And well they probably don’t even have one Michelin star. But it was definitely the nicest restaurant they have been to.
“Really!!” Leif gawks.
“Yep,” I told him, “and you can order whatever you want on the menu.” (Knowing full well it would probably be chicken teriyaki.)
And you know what? It worked. They behaved. Silas was a notch below “behaving”, but we dealt.
Leif settled on the Wagyu beef sliders (amazingly no chicken teriyaki), he was a little disappointed that they didn’t have bacon that you could pay $1 extra for. Honestly I didn’t ask if they could put bacon on them. He added a sashimi plate (happy hour special $7) and a bowl of miso.
Skadi ordered teriyaki chicken. Or more accurately I discreetly ordered the Crispy Miso Chicken with a side of steamed rice for her.
Silas had applesauce and a few grains of rice and then a case of the fussies. AB and I grazed on sushi rolls. And clam miso. And sake. And nigiri.
The kids loved it and raved about the food and they weren’t totally obnoxious. Phew.
Five Star Cooking
Leif’s teacher has them set goals, they write up the goal, she checks it and then sends it home for a parent’s signature. This month’s goal is to read more cooking books with the ultimate goal to “be able to cook a five star restaurant quality meal”. I read this and smirked.
Lofty goal for a 9 year old.
And I love it. Challenge has been set.
He picked up my Culinary Institute of America Textbook to get a little background and start honing in on his goal. Shellfish.
He has eaten a clam before and declared “I like it, but not sure I want to eat another right now.” He loves shrimp. Cold peel and eat shrimp or shrimp sushi with a little soy sauce. He has absolutely no interest in shrimp that has been altered in any way with sauce or cooking methods.
“You know if you cook it, you have to eat it?” I asked him.
“Umm,” he said. “I thought I would just cook it for you.”
“Tasting your food is a major part of cooking. You can’t cook and not taste your food,” I told him channeling my best Tom Colicchio while my husband smirks off to the side.
AB decided to jump in for the save.
“How about you cook filet mignon or pork chops? Those can both be fancy meals and they are things you love.” AB asks him.
This weekend I am looking forward to very fancy meal researched and prepared by my nine year old in his every effort to create for me a Five Star Restaurant experience.

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