My Fucked-Up Family and their disgusting Pea Soup

I think that a Mexican restaurant called Casa de Isaac should be avoided on general principle. Casa de Isaac? What, Casa de Schlomo was taken? Seriously. That’s fucked up.

I once went to a Mexican restaurant called O’Hara’s Cantina. Dad and the old lady from across the street liked it. I thought it was very bland.

No, you’re right, actually. I included some of the details of his appearance and whatnot just to give a more vivid mental picture for my story. But he IS my family, not some kind of evil monster or something. (And he’s not ugly, he would actually be considered very handsome especially for a guy his age. But his personality is totally not “cool.”) Yeah, he’s a lawyer, he’s just doing his job - it’s true.

DanBlather, my mom did not “leave” my dad - it was a mutual decision that was actually quite friendly and respectful, and they are still very close to this day. Also, my dad and I were extremely polite and respectful for the duration of our visit.

Everyone who mentioned that my grandpa shot down the idea of going to the Parthenon - yes, this is true. But as my dad said, my uncle could have taken us to a really nice restaurant in downtown Chicago or in downtown Evanston (which has some really great restaurants) but instead he drove all the way to some completely different suburb which was 40 minutes away, to go to a restaurant that totally sucked donkey dick.

Glad StG posted what I was thinking half way through the OP and through the rest of the thread. Sure, there are a lot of wealthy personality-challenged whoring lawyers living N of the city, but it sure sounds like AT and dad come loaded with a surfeit of attitude for just about any gathering. Hey, we can’t all be handsome cool musicians living in the cultural mecca of Bloomington IN!

I would be interested in hearing the aunt and uncle’s - or grandparents’ - impression of what transpired. Then, we’d have some chance of figuring our what really happened.

Maybe, despite being related, they simply are not interested in your father or various choices he’s made. Doesn’t necessarily make them wrong and your dad right - just makes them different.

Having said that, tho, that basic good manners require being prompt and attentive to your guests. Of course, if they always act the way your dad complains, then his reasonable option is to not subject himself to such aggravations. Unless having something more to bitch about fuels the 'tude…

I’m not going to deny that my dad and I both have a lot of “attitude,” but there is an art to being a good guest just like there is to being a good host, and part of being a good guest is to drop that “attitude” and be polite and respectful - which is exactly what we did.

Argent, has your dad’s band made a record?

If not (or if they make another), I suggest they use the title My Fucked-Up Family and Their Disgusting Pea Soup.

The OP makes no sense to me.

Uncle and aunt: “Come for dinner at 6.”
OP, Dad, and Grandparents: “Hello, we’re here!”
Uncle and aunt: “We’re going to a play.”
Missing shot?: “Sounds good, but we’re kind of hungry. Didn’t you say we should expect dinner at 6?”

Everyone returns from the play.
Uncle and aunt: We’re going out for coffee.
Missing shot: “By yourselves? It’s already 7. We haven’t eaten yet. Didn’t you say dinner was at 6?”
Uncle and aunt: Yeah, but we really want coffee.
Everyone: Okay, then we’re coming with you.

The OP’s uncle may be a passive-aggressive bastard, but that’s not the only problem in this family. Where’s the communication?

We got to the house before 6. It was probably about 4. Then we went to the play. We were supposed to have dinner when we got back from the play, I guess.

When they slipped out the door to “get coffee” we figured they’d be right back. My dad didn’t want to make an issue of it, he said. But they weren’t right back, they took forever. I suggested ordering a pizza, but my grandparents (and dad) insisted that we be good guests and just wait. (I think this is ridiculous, but I think the rationale for my dad not being more aggressive is that 1. it had been years since he had seen his brother and he was desperate to not get into an argument with him, even if it would have been justified, and 2. we didn’t want grandma and grandpa to get all riled up by starting a conflict, seeing as how we don’t see them very often.)

Didn’t you say that the restaurant gets lots of good reviews? Perhaps they make good food that doesn’t appeal to you?

And I guess he could have taken you to a really nice restaurant, but perhaps he was afraid that, if he did that, you would be thinking he was showing off, like when he served

A couple of things they did sound inconsiderate (disappearing for two hours, but like Dan Blather said, that could have been because they were having a fight or were sick of the complaining relatives), but from reading your OP I get the distinct impression that you (and your dad) went there with a chip on your shoulder.

Of course only the people actually there can accurately judge what was going on, but that’s my impression from your description.

They weren’t sick of the “complaining relatives” because nobody was complaining. We took all of this like gentlemen - without complaint and with a smile. Oh yeah, and I’ll add one thing more: the trip to Chicago to visit these folks was my idea. I encouraged my dad to try to make peace with his brother, and I was all ready to go there and be nice to him and have a good time with him after years of not seeing them. The details about his yuppie lifestyle were not on my mind during the experience, at least not at the beginning - I was having an alright time until I realized how poor of a host they were being.

Wow, I have had the fish tacos at Casa De Isaac and they were delicious! You do know they are a Kosher Mexican place right? You must have caught them on a very bad day. The only quibble I had with the fish tacos was the use of lettuce instead of cabbage.

Edit add follows:

To address Johhny LA’s point, they are Orthodox jews from Mexico City who emigrated here and opened a restaurant. I have eaten there 4 times and had good food at each meal. It’s not my favorite by any means (check out Xni-Pec in Berwyn for mind blowing Yucatan style food), but very good for the area.

Besides the over-drenching of the semen-sauce, they were honestly not bad. (My dad’s salmon was truly awful, though.) If they had just had a tiny bit of semen on them instead of the whole nutsack, they would have been great.

I still would rather have gone to The Parthenon!

For Greek food I’d say hit Psistaria a half block East of the corner of Cicero and Touhy in Lincolnwood, better than The Parthenon, super convenient to Evasnton and the surrounding area and no parking hassles.

But back to the OP, them’s some fucked up relatives. HOWEVER I believe there was no malice in the choice of restaurant; the place gets rave reviews and in general has a high level of quality. It’s also pretty damn pricey for Mexican food but I’m used to the taquerias and that price point.

Like I said, I wasn’t there, but the verb tenses you use when describing the events make it seem like the complaints are happening during the visit, not after. e.g.

That sounds like your dad was complaining during the visit. (Also, why is your dad blaming your uncle for not going to the Parthenon, when your grandfather is the one that decided not to go there?)

If I have relatives at my house and invite them to do something, and they don’t like it, I usually am perceptive enough to understand that they are not having a good time, even if they are smiling.

You get there and notice that your uncle is wearing ridiculous yuppy clothes. His christmas music sucks. Their crackers are overpriced. They take you to a play, you think the play is retarded. You hate their pea soup. They play a game during dinner, you think the game is stunningly ridiculous. etc. etc.

Perhaps you are a master of deception, but if someone was a guest at my house and that unhappy, I like to think that I would pick up on it.

One last thing I was going to say: if your grandparents are good people, and walways take the side of your aunt and uncle, maybe they have reasons for that?

I’ll repeat again that I can’t really know what the dynamics of your family are, but I’ve been to many family events where I didn’t like the food or the entertainment. I realize that not everyone will spend their evenings or their holidays the way I am used to. Try to find the good in your week-end, instead of dwelling on the bad.

My grandparents take the side of my aunt and uncle more often simply because they spend way more time with them. It’s easier for them to come to Chicago than to come to southern Indiana. I don’t blame them for that, it’s alright.

There was good in the trip:

I have a sweet remote-control helicopter that I can fly indoors!

I drew a comic in the hotel room because I was bored, which turned out really good.

I saw Into The Wild which I thought was a great movie.

I went to a great bookstore in Evanston called Bookman’s Alley and talked for 2 hours with the very interesting people who owned it.

I met a guy in a red plaid suit and tweed jacket.

I got to go on a road trip with my dad, which is always extremely fun (he always lets us split the music every other CD [although he did make me skip over an Animal Collective song because it was too crazy for him.] We always share new music with each other and he’s always open to whatever I’m listening to.

I had a good breakfast at the Dixie Kitchen in Evanston (pancakes, bacon and four Beignets.)

I got to see my grandparents, and my grandpa gave me the sweetest keychain in the world (a red leather fob with a red-lacquered and brass-framed plate and the Dunhill logo in gold.)

I got to go to the Shedd Aquarium and I saw a Beluga whale.

I got two pairs of lambskin gloves at Jos. A. Bank

The other possibility is that, due to the Chistmas season, the regular cooking staff was away on holidays leaving a shift of less experienced staff. I find restaurants to be hit-and-miss over the holidays for that very reason. Places that regularly serve great food, put on a sub-par performance while the regular crew is away.

I still cant fathom leaving your guests for two hours. Even if it was “sending someone for coffee”, I’m sure only one person could have handled the job. And if “coffee” really meant “argument”, those are the kind of things best left until after the guests leave or for message board rants. You don’t just up and leave your guests sitting in your living room while you go out for two hours.

Googling it, it appears to be a Jewish-Mexican restaurant… closed Friday night till sundown Saturday. Now THAT’S an unusual combination. Trying to imaging some of the dishes… matza ball soup with mole sauce? Latkes with chipotles?
Seriously, sounds interesting… too bad I’m not in Chicagoland that often.

Do a search on www.lthforum and you will see the latkes, they were fantastic if a bit too pricey for me.

Argent Towers, keep up that good Christmas spirit! Tis the season to be jolly! Try and remember a couple of nice things that your aunt and uncle did, and then it won’t seem so bad.

Swallowed My Cellphone, I agree that the two-hour disappearance is odd. My first thought was actually not that they had an argument, I was thinking last-minute emergency Christmas shopping, as in “holy crap! Do you think we were supposed to give X a present? It looks like X brought one for us!” and then the rush to the mall. But of course it could be many things, none of them sinister. You don’t leave guests for two hours, but on the other hand I don’t know if I would call family members guests. And if there are other family members there, then it’s not out of the ordinary.
Example: I go to my brother’s house. My nephew and niece are there (17 and 16), my dad is there. My brother says “make yourselves at home” and then goes off to run an errand with his wife. I wouldn’t view that as being rude at all. To the contrary, while he was gone, I could take advantage of his absence to go to his computer and change his desktop background to a big picture of me making a funny face.