Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Now That Was a Busy Weekend: Part 3 – Carving Our Jack-O-Lantern, and Dinner Out

Our Sunday wasn’t quite a busy as Saturday, but we still had some special activities.

After looking at all of the carved pumpkins at the pumpkin festival the night before, Kai wanted to carve our own pumpkin.

You may recall that I mentioned that we had bought a very large pumpkin the previous weekend when we visited my dad. Well, here it is:

Kai and I set to work on carving it. I cut open the top and scraped down the sides. I let Kai take out the “guts” of the pumpkin.

Kai had earlier gotten an Angry Birds pumpkin pattern book with my wife, so we picked out one of the patterns and I traced it on the side of the pumpkin. And then I set to work to carve out the design.

I found out that really large pumpkins have really thick skin. The carving tools that came with the pattern book barely were long enough to cut all the way in. And so it took a long time to carve that pumpkin.

Kai was interested for a while. But as I continued working on the pumpkin, he said that he would go play Wii by himself.

Periodically he would yell over from the family room to ask how I was doing.

It ended up taking me two and a half hours to cut that thing. And not all of the holes are nearly big enough as the pattern was designed for a much thinner pumpkin, I’m sure. After all that work, I’m not sure you can even tell what it is.

I grumbled that I would never carve this kind of pattern on such a large pumpkin again. But Kai seemed very happy with the finished product.

By the time I was done, it was time to go meet Kai’s grandparents for dinner. They were taking us out to Benihana for my wife’s birthday.

Benihana is one of those Japanese steakhouses where the chef prepares the meal right at your table. We’ve been to a similar type of restaurant before, but never to this particular one.

When the chef came to our table, Kai asked if there was going to be fire. At the other restaurant, a big part of the show is a huge flame that the chef ignites as he begins cooking. It’s a fun sight, but Kai always gets very scared.

“Is there going to be fire?” he asked our chef here.

The chef told him that there would be no fire, and we had to reassure him several times that would be the case.

The chef was quite talented, and his skillful slicing and dicing entertained us. One of his tricks was to flip the cut-off shrimp tails into his pocket.

Kai and my wife ordered combination platters that included lobster. My son doesn’t like regular fish, but he loves his shellfish.

The food was excellent, the atmosphere fun, and the company was great. Kai had a triple helping of shrimp (from others who knew he loved it so much) and finished all of his lobster.

It was nice to see Bubbe and Papa again. Bubbe told the wait staff that we were celebrating my wife’s birthday so they came and sang “Happy Birthday” in both English and Japanese.

It was a very enjoyable evening.

Kai had behaved very well at the restaurant, even though I had told him that he could not bring his iPad. I think the entertaining atmosphere helped, but he also just had a good attitude about it. The whole thing was a far cry from the old days when just the thought of going to a restaurant with him stressed us out.

And so, this was a great way to cap off our special weekend.


  1. Brilliant. Sounds like things are moving on really well for you. That was a HUGE pumpkin!! Well done you for having a go at carving it - even the little ones aren't easy to do! I think it looks great, and Kai was obviously impressed so top marks to you!

    1. Thanks, Steph. It's not all smooth sailing, but this was a really good weekend overall.

  2. That is one very large pumpkin! 2.5 hours? No...NO. I won't be carving any large pumpkins.

    Benihana.....your's was good going by your description. In our old town in California...we went to one about 20 years ago. I couldn't believe the lack of basic knowledge of the owner. The waitresses were wearing ceremonial Chinese wear...they served long grain rice...and instead of Miso soup...they served French Consume! We haven't been back to one since.
    We may try one again...seeing you had a good time at yours.

    I could just imagine Kai eating with a big smile on his face. I love Teppanyaki. That settles it...Teppanyaki for us this weekend! :)

    1. Shiroi, I do not promise an authentic experience at Benihana - they still do not bring out miso soup (though I thought I overheard the family next us special ordering it) - but we thought it was fun and the food was tasty. My wife and I agreed that the zucchini was one of the best tasting zucchini we have ever had. I had one bite of the lobster and it was delicious, and my filet was tender and tasty. If you go, I hope you enjoy!

      Yes, stay away from giant pumpkins! :)


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