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Saturday night out with the kids?

It was Saturday night when my husband declared a need to actually eat OUT.

As in take the kids out to eat.

Apparently time does heal all wounds because I readily accepted and we set our sights on Red Robin which I kept telling myself was "kid friendly."

Within five minutes of sitting at our table, we managed to hide the four salt and pepper shakers (why four at a "four-top” -- are we really that impatient for salt and pepper?) and the two ceramic bins of sugar varieties while I scoffed in my head, "kid friendly my..."

AB and I looked around though and did see a lot of kids. Kids who were all politely sitting with their parents instead of crawling over booths, tables and chairs. Kind of like how mine just might have been behaving.

Might, I said. I am not admitting to anything here.

I keep telling myself we need to continue to go out to eat so that our kids learn how to behave in restaurants despite the process being excruciatingly painful. After an hour in a restaurant with my kids though, I only looked forward to getting home to our "quiet" house and not leaving for the foreseeable future. I could see the same look in AB's eyes.

My sanity was saved a little though when a couple was seated next to us with their four kids. I smiled knowingly as they immediately removed the salt, pepper and sugars just like we had done earlier.

And then I snapped out of it... here I was swearing off restaurants with my TWO kids and the table next to us had FOUR with the youngest just slightly older than my youngest. I snapped out of it and then felt like THE biggest wuss ever.

So now I am asking the question -- do you eat out with your kids? Any tactics? And where do you go?