Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Saturday! -- No, Wait.....

Old patterns die hard. Yesterday was my second day “back on the job”, and concluded my obligation for the week. So this morning, after I got up, I was puttering around and suddenly remembered that I had to go to the bank. “Holy Smokes! I better get going, it’s going to close at noon!” Got as far as racing for the shower before I remembered that today was actually Friday, not Saturday. Of course the day after your last day of work is Saturday! Decades ingrained. And, along the way, I discovered yet another reason to return to work after you have retired. There is nothing like that sweet feeling of “By God, I don’t have to get up today!”. Yes, if you’re retired, you can say that every day but somehow doing it every day lessens the thrill of it. Food for thought...

oh, here's another reason to return to work after retirement:

Moving on, tonight I’m attending a little (for members and volunteers only) program at Sotterley that will feature the story of the last person to “own” it, Mabel Ingalls. Her daughter and others will share their memories. I know nothing of her, so it will be a learning experience for me. I’ll take notes.

And the fact that I am going now to that at all is a result of another indication of the brain going (further) to mush. One of the local eateries here was going to have a “demonstration dinner”, and I signed up and subsequently was asked if I would like to offer some comments about the food. Wow! Great!, oh darn it, since it was Friday night, I wouldn’t be able to go to that Sotterley program, but hey, food is king. So I was sitting at my newly assigned work station Wednesday morning, and got a call from a friend who said “Hey! Why weren’t you at the dinner last night?” what dinner?. “the demo dinner” with cold chills developing I answered because it’s this Friday. “nope” last night. Somehow my non-functional brain had changed the 26th to the 29th. Damn it. As Mick might say – “what a drag it is getting old”.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mid Week....

Today was the first day of my “second career”. No more schedules, budgets, manpower, just back to technical, arcane, flutter stuff. Refreshing, really. Plus I just get to “recommend”. What a life.

Today I attended another “goodbye lunch” for one of the veterans of the ITT. Richard Bringardner has elected to retire, along with one of the lowest clock number remaining in the hangar. He’s on his way to South Carolina. A nice group assembled, including John Grigg who preceded us both into retirement. He looks great. Anyway, we had the said lunch at Lone Star. I had not been there for a long time, so the feeder kept his antenna up. A scrambled reservation resulted in a little delay but they accommodated us in the “atrium”. It’s always hard to judge a place on the basis of a group experience, but I reluctantly had to give them credit. Our server did announce her name, but I don’t recall it. The bucket o’peanuts is still present, although another bucket is supplied for the shells Drinks were ordered and menu considerations ensued. Lots of options for lunch. Leaning heavily toward burgers, but other sandwiches are available, salads, all sorts of stuff. I was trying to eat light, so gravitated toward the salad section. I had some confusion as to whether a half main Caesar was smaller than a luncheon Caesar salad, but I went with the luncheon (Chicken) Caesar. Drinks were delivered, although were auctioned off. With a party of 12 or so, a “team” approach was used, necessitating the auction of items. The food began arriving sporadically, like those that did the “soup and salad” combo would get their soup (or salad) and then watch several other lunches delivered before their other half showed up. Apparently Lone Star has had a change of heart, because you can now order your hunk of beef ‘medium rare” or whatever, and from my observation, it was pretty well honored. There is that little note on the menu about undercooked meat can be bad for you, but at least they’ve moved away from the mandatory well done. The food was pretty tasty, the burgers big, the salads fresh. Our server kept a full glass of drinks in front of you without asking, and also without being asked delivered separate checks. SO, I would say that an occasional visit for lunch wouldn’t be too disappointing if you are looking for a high calorie experience.

The latest edition of the Washingtonian arrived yesterday, and they had a little feature on where the politicos are eating in DC. The Prez at Ben’s Chili Bowl, Ray’s Hell-Burger, the Veep, the mayor, etc. It was mentioned that the First Couple did a “date night” at Michel Richard’s Citronelle, and upon leaving, the first lady told Michel how much she enjoyed the evening, in French. How cool is that?

A pickup window sticker observed yesterday in the park: “Say No to Foie Gras”.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In the Good Old....

Well, the unofficial start of summer has come and past, so welcome to unofficial summer. Sure doesn’t look like it this morning.. with MFO in WI, just a few this, that’s, observations and one phase change..

The weekend started off with seeing of the airshow practice on Friday, done from a boat anchored off the end of the runway. It’s a different show out there, at least the Blue Angels portion. A friend was kind enough to let me use a couple of his pictures, much better than my point and shoot (which is about to be replaced, by the way – it’s only money)

Pretty nice, eh?

Aside from the airshow, there was a plethora of sporting events to observe, at one point had to toggle between golf, Indy, and the hockey game (go wings), and I think I sprained my clicker finger. In the course of those events, I got another quote to add into the ever growing athletic category of pithy sayings. They were interviewing some young baseball player recently brought up to I think the Nats (boy, there’s an honor), and they asked how he liked it (or some other inane question) and he said: “My goal was to just have fun out there”. Gee that’s nice; I sure would like to own a team where all the guys are just out there to “have fun”. Whoopee! Another pitch in the seats! Wow! That was fun!... Hey buddy, you’re out there to win, not just for your own personal recreation.

The things you see in magazines..The latest issue of Gourmet is a “Travel Issue” where they highlight destinations around the world, and of course talk about the food. One of the articles is about “cruises” and what the various lines offer in the way of food. It also announces the launching of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, as the largest cruise ship afloat. Get this, it will have seven restaurants “including one for 3,056 served by a waitstaff of 550”. Boy that sounds like a great vacation doesn’t it?

I decided to conclude the weekend by doing some brats according to “Bill’s Brats” method. So, off I go to Shoppers to procure the main ingredient (brats). There is no other than Johnsonville, make no mistake. Wisconsin made, ya you betcha. They have had a great product for years (?). Apparently they have decided to improve upon success. Now, besides the standard brat (basic), there are now “Beer N’ Brats, Italian, Hot Italian, Spicy” and so forth. Apparently wise consumers took all the plain ones, so I had to settle for the Beer variety. After pre-cooking in Guinness Stout and Onions, finishing on the grill and then refreshing in the Guinness for a few minutes, I don’t think I got that “hearty beer flavor” they advertised.

Phase Change

After settling into retirement a bit and enjoying doing nothing – I am starting today to work part time for a little outfit that supports NAVAIR. So, you may see the old horse again somewhere on the base…

Now maybe I can afford to


Friday, May 22, 2009

Backyard Blues

It isn’t everywhere that you can exit Giant with your pastrami for lunch and look up and see the underside of a blue F-18 in a tight turn, then come home and see another one zipping (a technical term) around right in your back yard.

The Blue Angels have come to town!

Even if you’re not a current or ex-pilot or an airplane nut, there’s still a thrill in looking up to see four jets in tight formation looking right down at you. Today will be a practice for the airshow with the Blues scheduled to fly at 3:25, preceded by “Fat Albert” at 3:00. You won’t have to be on the base to see it, just keep your eyes peeled. The real deal is tomorrow and Sunday.

This and that

It’s my impression that today is Mary Cassatt’s birthday.

Music this weekend could include Hank Williams (are you ready?) Jr. at 7 at the CMM tomorrow night, or you could forget the bridge hassle and go over to Leonardtown to see Gretchen Richie kicking off the Leonardtown concert series (which I didn’t know there was one). Starts at 6. Does Gretchen ever perform out of Leonardtown? Anyway, something for everybody.

There’s a nice (hey, I’m feeling magnanimous) article on Morris Point Restaurant in the emptyprise today. It’s on my list, as I’ve heard good reports (the emptyprise has zero credibility in that department) from more reliable sources. Sounds like one of those "real" places that we all love.

With the “start of summer” there is more coverage of “gas prices”. Did you notice that about two or three weeks ago the big news was the “spike in gas prices”? Well, apparently somebody talked to somebody because now the only reportage is telling us how “cheap” gas is, because it’s down over a dollar from last year. Never mind it’s “up” over a dollar from a few months ago..

Also with the start of "summer" it's time to bring out those whites – Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, try a Prosecco, and maybe a less oaked Chardonnay..

We’ll see what the long weekend brings in opportunities for ramblings..

DFD and have fun!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Muses Day Off

MFO is leaving for yet another road trip to Wisconsin this morning, so prep for that along with general ennui will result in day off - probably a relief!!

Bachelordom ensues

Dirt moving on field of dreams.

Check the Google Doodle today


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Culture and Burgers

Yesterday we cashed in on a silent auction item we “won” at a fund raiser for the Chesapeake Charter School. It was a tour of the National Portrait Gallery hosted by Marty Sullivan, former director of Historic St. Mary’s City and now director of the Smithsonian’s Portrait Gallery. A surprisingly easy drive to Branch Avenue and Metro transit found us at the museum a bit before our scheduled time, so we spent some time (and money) in the bookstore. I’m sure the readers know that the Portrait Gallery shares spaces with the American Art Museum. These bookstores are quite a good resource, they have very focused books and even some music that you probably won’t find generally available. I picked up a disc of classic blues from the American folklore collection.

We were met by our host and went up to a private room where Dr. Sullivan gave us some background on the Portrait Gallery, its relationship to the American Art Museum and his thoughts on the Gallery’s mission in the 21st century. He doesn’t want it just to be a lot of “paintings of dead white guys from the shoulders up”. There are many stories to tell. We walked around some and he gave us his perspective on some of the paintings and why they were grouped together and how they interact. Some of the highlights for me was a gorgeous recently debuted painting of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. It depicts her on a Massachusetts beach with several (actual) kids from Special Olympics. The painting just jumps off the canvas at you. Try and see it if you can. In another of the galleries they had some photographs of contemporary people including the only known photograph of the Grateful Dead together with Big Brother and the Holding Company. There was Janis, Jerry, and the others. Memory rush there..We also spent some time in a room devoted to (for want of a better term) “freedom movements”, a collection of paintings and drawings of people like, Betty Friedan, Malcom X Chief Justice Warren Burger, Dr. Martin Luther King, and a particularly striking carving of Rosa Parks in the arms of agents, notables from the Native American movement, and so forth. The perspective on how all this sort of fits into the fabric of American evolution was really brought forth through Marty’s explanations. Sometimes you just sit in wonder at people.. Strongly recommended visit, and they are open until 7 unlike several of the other institutions..

On the way home, the couple we were with suggested that we stop at Bert’s for some food. We had not been there (in the “we gotta stop there sometime” category) for years so thought it was a good idea. They advertise themselves as a “50’s Diner”, and although the feeder was alive then, I really don’t have a baseline to measure them against. Probably most peoples impressions of a “50’s Diner” are formed by Happy Days and the Fonz. And, to be sure, that’s what you get. A starkly white interior with black and white tiled floor, chrome chairs and red vinyl seats and tables, booths along the wall with those little Juke Box floppy paged things where you put in quarters, blaring music, memorabilia on the walls, it’s all there. (not sure about those Keno screens however). The waitstaff (at least last night) was exclusively female, and for the most part young and perky. We were seated in a booth along the wall. The other clientele was composed mostly of family groupings and there were several sports teams of youngsters whooping it up in various sections. I think they got the 50’s thing pretty good. The menu is a tri-fold plastic coated affair (just what you would expect) offering five large pages of options. Apps, Subs and Sandwiches, Blue Plate (what else?) Specials (classic hot roast beef sandwiches, etc.), Fries Wings and Pizzas, and of course desserts, with banana splits, sundaes, cones, shakes and malts (what else). All this is presented in colorful blue and white checked background with cutesy little 50’s license plates adorning some of the pages. All fits. I gravitated to the burger section (why not?) and after figuring out that a 10 Oz. Cheeseburger was big (let’s see, 16 oz. is a pound, so…) I opted for a more reasonable 1/3 Lb version which came with fries. I was not asked how I would like it prepared. MFO went with the “hound dog” and our companions opted for the “Berts Famous Fish” dinner and a Reuben. Drinks of sodas, iced tea, and lemonade were served in those big red plastic glasses of course. Ordering was matter of fact, no names, no inclination of taking care of anybody, just a pencil and the little green pad. Fits. Meanwhile, the music still blared, the kids with uniforms were behaving like kids, and it was generally a fun spectacle to see. Food arrived in red and brown plastic baskets with waxed paper liners (except the dinner which was plated). My burger had an almost melted square of kraft cheese, a burger that wasn’t round or square, some chopped lettuce, onion slices that sort of hung out the sides on a Wonder Bread Bun, no multi grain here. The famous fish were several chunks of Haddock, fried, with hush puppies, the Reuben on a marble rye (oh well), and the dog on another Wonder bread bun. The “golden” fries were actually pretty good, had some skin attached and although I’m sure the emanated from a bag were tasty. The burger had pretty good flavor and was exactly as expected.

If you’re in the mood for that kind of thing, and do that “expectations” consideration, I think you would enjoy it. As I said, the authenticity is hard to judge unless you’re at least a septuagenarian, but it’s an experience. Prices are reasonable, service perky and at one point the lady who greets you at the door circled all the tables asking if everybody was happy. All in all, a surprisingly good experience.

So, we had a day of American culture maybe at both ends of the spectrum.

DFD (except suspended at Berts)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Weekend mop up and ....The Field

The weekend did provide a few ramblings, other than the cheese experience. Friday I dropped MFO off at the library in Leonardtown so she could work for a while and then meandered over to mid town. Stopped in at the kitchen store to sign up for a couple of classes, and then drove down to the “waterfront”. I hadn’t been there for a while and was surprised to see how it had developed. Actually once you get to the waterfront, it’s fairly nice. If you could close your eyes on the way there and then open them you would be pleased. Since that’s dangerous, you’ll probably keep them open and have to see the approach through run down, um, “older homes”, half built Tyvek - clad houses, chain linked off construction areas, and generally shabby stuff. And, (apologies to any readers who reside there) I really don’t like those half million dollar town houses. That pastel stuff reminds me of a bowl of Jordan almonds. This isn’t Provence.

Parked the car, got out, dodged a few wasps, and walked down to the river. Surrounding the flag pole, there’s a fairly nice compass rose made of tile. It has eight of the compass points, and each one has a “name” on it. West is “Ponente”, which I find is “West” in Italian. NW is “Maestro”, which I couldn’t figure out along with the rest of them. You might try. Anyway, the whole area is sort of incongruous with the rest of the town. I wish them luck..hope to be around when it’s harmonized.

Somewhere in there we went to a Healthshare fundraiser reception at a lovely house out in Drayden. Food was prepared by some church ladies, and was quite tasty. There were some shrimp and pineapple skewers that smelled lovely.

Over the weekend, I had occasion to dine twice at the Tides, one a very nice retirement reception for Betty Freeman, a cornerstone of our (oops! I mean Boeing’s) New Business office out in Wildewood. It was a great send off, and so nice to see her family attend. She’s off to Ohio to be with family and cats. We're glad for her, but will miss her smiling countenance. The second was a dinner with some friends on Sunday night. The feeder is pleased to report that on both occasions, two knives were part of the set up. I did experience an occasion to hand out one of my DFD cards, but eschewed. What are ya gonna do?

Field of Dreams..

Well, it’s begun. The area across from First Colony by Shady Mile road is ready to be destroyed. While it used to be home to deer and butterflies, it will now be populated with Deere and Caterpillars. You know, I am not a vehement tree hugger, but what I do enjoy is to be able to drive around here and see some mature trees, open fields with a nice palette of greens and browns (depending on the seasons), and not just asphalt, neon, and more stop lights. Instead of pleasing the eye, we’ll now be able to gobble the never ending salad bowl, a “red robin” (whatever that is), Buffalo Wings and Beer, and processed steak from some sort of chain. Is that a good trade?



sigh, and DFD

Monday, May 18, 2009


Or Fromage, Queso, Käse, Formaggio, no matter where you are, most likely it is too. Brie from France; Stilton from England; Kaseri from Greece; Telemea from Romania; Fontal from Italy, I could go on and on. But won’t. Ever since humans had animals that produced milk, there has been cheese. Some sources say that it has been around for over 4000 years. We normally think of Cow, Sheep, Goats, there are cheeses made from Yak, Reindeer, Camels, Buffalo and so on. So it’s no wonder that varieties are almost endless. For instance a list of cheeses by country revealed that France has over thirty that begin with the letter B. Long time readers of the ramblings of the feeder have heard him say that cheese might be considered a perfect food. If you can’t find a cheese you like, it’s because you haven’t looked hard enough. Soft, hard, (even semi soft and semi hard), subtly flavored, strong, with rind, without, amazing.

Now that Woodburns “consolidated” their cheese offerings, you have to look for that Morbiér or Emmentaler in amongst the Kraft and Cabot (which, by the way, are not all that bad for everyday use), and with limited shelf space, the “classic” selections have (IMHO) been reduced. So it was with pleasure that I learned that Blue Wind Gourmet had gotten in some “specialty” cheeses (I don’t particularly care for the overworked term “artisanal”), A trip to do some tastings resulting in bringing home some selections. There were cheeses from a Wisconsin source (Roth Käse, USA) as well as from Maryland. Roth offers several kinds of cheeses, while Firefly Farms from Bittenger Md. specializes in Goat cheese. After tasting around, I selected a Gruyére, a Bleu, and a Cheddar from the Roth offerings, and a Buche Noir from the Firefly folks. Without going into several paragraphs of rapture and “layers of flavor stuff” all are just wonderful. Each of the Roth cheeses was true to its kind, and exhibited all of the characteristics of its variety. The Firefly Buche Noir (‘Black Dog”) is an aged chevre log, first coated in vegetable ash and then aged for several weeks to develop a white-bloomed rind that gives a wonderful play of texture and flavors on the tongue.

Although it is gaining favor locally, a cheese course is probably not given its due in America as it is in Europe. Considered just part of the meal there, here it is usually for special occasion dinners, or maybe just a first course. I still consider probably the best meal of my life (so far) to be on 18 Juin, 1998 at (3 Star) Lameloise in Chagny, France. When I think of that experience the first thing that comes to mind was the flawless service, but usually the next thing was the cheese cart that followed the meal. I remember eye popping flavors and textures of things I had never before tasted. Not to mention the Pigeonneau rôti aux Champignons des Bois and the Griottes-Chambertin 1984.

Anyway, my point is: try to enjoy cheese more, find the real stuff such as at gourmet shops. Just like wine, you find what you like by stretching your boundaries some. And first and foremost, don’t just take the cheese from the fridge, cut it up and put it on a plate and eat it Serving at the right temperature (usually just room) greatly enhances the flavor and lets you enjoy the real texture and get the full flavor. And, as with wine, appreciate it first with your eye, then the nose and finally in the mouth. Give it some respect.

Here’s a image of our cheese plate, with (clockwise from top left) the Roth Gruyére, the Firefly Buche Noir, (fruit, crackers – we didn’t have any baguettes), the Roth 4 year aged cheddar and the buttermilk blue. Oh, and yes, that is an ’89 Ch. Longueville au Baron de Pichon-Longueville in the background. And no, you can’t have it.

more on weekend ramblings later--


Friday, May 15, 2009

Phases and Changes

Now residing on the other side of retirement, it’s always nice to welcome new members to this phase of life. Last night, at the JTD Center here in the Park, I was fortunate enough to witness the transition of one of the icons of the old (now more accurate than ever) E/F ITT. Bernie Kneeland who, (to borrow phrase that has been applied to me), has been around the F-18 “since the beginning of time” will now join us on the retirement bench. It was a great time, with many of those “old” faces that we’ve not seen in quite a while. We all looked great! Bernie received many well deserved accolades for his 38 years of service to the F-18 and the US Navy. A great event, with lots of kudos deserved for those involved in the planning and execution.

Several people inquired whether or not there would be a “Feeder Report” on the event. Well, yes there is, but it’s always difficult to separate the food from the event. We’re there to honor Bernie, see old friends, share experiences, and have some food along the way as part of a good time. Those goals were met and exceeded. But, since there are expectations, I’ll doff my tasteful social DFD garb and put on my Bottom Feeder bib, and offer a couple of observations.

In the “social time” before eating, having only one barkeep at a cash bar resulted in long lines, which provides opportunities for conversation but also makes for dry palates and less repeat business. Table wine service was handled nicely and appreciated through the generosity of our guest of honor, thank you very much Bernie! As the food service began, the salad was as expected at such an event, greens, onion rings and croutons. Speaking of salad, here’s a nice little test you can do on your own at any restaurant. Most table set-ups feature two forks, a spoon, but only one knife. Of course you use the salad fork for the salad, but you might need to use that knife as well, to cut up the pieces of greens or onions or whatever, resulting in your (only) knife being coated with dressing, and bits of things. Here's the test: when you’re done with the salad, leave your fork and the knife on the salad plate. When it is cleared, do they take the knife or “helpfully” take it off your plate and set it aside (back on the tablecloth) for your use in the next course? Yes, a banquet setting is different, but geez, having to use a knife coated with salad dressing for your fish course is not very appetizing in any case. I really don’t think that’s asking too much. Tonight we were expected to use the same knife again. If I were at a table service restaurant, I would have requested a new knife (which I shouldn't have to). The food choices were beef, chicken, or fish. Regardless of the center of the plate selection, all contained mashed potatoes and haricot verts. In the case of the chicken and fish, it didn’t provide for much contrast. The beef/demi glace did provide a little more interest. Reviews around the table were mixed. Service remained timely all evening; water, coffee, and the aforementioned wine were fine. It kind of gets back to that expectations thing again, what’s a realistic goal for a big plated dinner?

All that aside, it was a nice send-off, and Bernie should feel proud of the things that were read and said, and welcome to that: “Gee, what’ll I do today?” world. Come on in!!

Paving Progress

The surveyors were in the field yesterday, progress begins.. sigh….

DFD at any event

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I noticed that there were surveyors active at the intersection of Shady Mile and 235 yesterday. No doubt part of the inexorable march to pave the Park, and bring that long awaited Olive Garden into the milieu. It would seem that in the current climate of restaurants trying to be inventive to put people in seats that throwing three or four more mid-range chains in here wouldn’t be too smart.

As further evidence of the lag in going out, I am hearing that the venerable Dry Dock has “re-vamped” its menu for spring/summer, with lower priced meals, offering “something for everyone”. They also have a daily "2 dollar off drinks" happy hour from 4:30 to 6:30. They used to have reasonable sized libations, so it might be a good deal. While the Dry Dock once boasted (?) some of the highest prices in the area, the new menu seems more in line with other venues. There is a $20 chicken entrée (“Samurai Chicken” – with Udon noodles, shiitakes onions and a Dashi broth), $21 for bay scallops, and the lone item exceeding thirty dollars (by one) is the surf and turf. Their “secret recipe” crab cakes are $28 which aligns pretty well with others in the area. They also are “recommending” a wine with each entrée in case you can’t figure it out yourself. I think the “steak/lobster/meat loaf” nights, will be relegated to the winter. Sounds like an opportunity for the feeder to check it out!

In another “I’m not so stupid” light, here's the lead question in the “ask the foodist” column of the most recent Bon Appétit: “Isn’t the whole “local and organic” thing on restaurant menus getting overplayed? Shouldn’t that be assumed of a good restaurant?” The response from the “foodist” (where did they get that term, anyhow?) actually contains some pretty good thoughts. He says that putting a source of every ingredient (e.g., Eagle Rock Farm Cilantro, Skogly Fields butter beans) makes for costly menus and gives one pause for thought that if there isn’t a name associated with an ingredient, it implies that it comes from a food service truck. He mentions with approval that in lieu of the names, more and more places are putting a little note somewhere on the menu that says something like: “we take pride in using only the freshest and highest-quality locally and organically farmed produce, meats, and seafood”. I’m sure you have seen that yourself. But, he also advises patrons to hold the restaurateur accountable, by seeing if the menu changes seasonally, or to inquire why they are serving sweet corn in March, or Fava Beans in January. Good thoughts, methinks.. Always question! Be alert!

Lastly a random quote from the “pinching pennies" section of my pithy little tome “1,001 Secrets of Great Cooks”: “Save the nutrient rich cooking water from beans to use in soups and stews”. I’ll bet we all do that!! I have a refrigerator full of bean water..

Nice game, Caps..


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bridge to Nowhere...

pretty much what we saw this morning...burned off now. Also provided some (poor images) of "ghost ships". Visual was much more eerie than the picture - I gotta get a better camera!!

This and that:

There is a new phrase that is creeping more and more into our lives, and is going to challenge the “right for you” so often associated with the plethora of medical products out there. Although often used in that vein, it is more and more appearing for other things. After a minute or so telling you how wonderful their product is, how much weight you will lose, how much better you will “perform”, how that spot will magically disappear, hohw big your tomatoes will be, somewhere on the screen in grayed out letters or softly spoken will be “results may vary”. Watch for it in a media new you..

in preparing your steaks and chops, do you know what "quadriller" means? you do it often..

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Weekend, Driving, and Dinner....

Due to the Rémoulade piece (thanks for all the responses!), I didn’t get to say much about the mother’s day weekend. Partially because there wasn’t much to say (on my part). MFO was returning from Wisconsin and we spent the real mother’s day sort of recovering from that. She was pleased to get a call from both FOJTE and Y.

Anyway, my only other Mother’s Day comment was an observation. First, let me put in a caveat that anybody who takes time to be with their mother/wife/family is doing a good thing regardless of the venue. The “being together” part trumps the “where” part. Anyway, Sunday I was going up to the Greenery (which seems to be experiencing somewhat of a revival) and happened to glance over at Lenny’s. I was amazed to see the parking lot jammed full, a line to get in the door, and several groups of people just standing around their cars. I have never heard anybody say they’ve had a good meal there, so it was surprising to me. A quick glance also revealed that DFD did not have many fans…and you know what I think about buffets.

Last night I was able to observe yet another County driving practice (I’m not tailgating, I’m drafting). We were heading over to Leonardtown for the annual Friends of the Library (FOL) dinner (more on that in a moment) and chose the Hollywood/Leonardtown road route. Being as how it was “rush hour” there were quite a few cars on the road. Ahead of us was a van of some sort, and the driver must have been trying to read one of those NASCAR bumper stickers on the car ahead of it, because the gap could be measured in feet, not yards. Ahead of the car the van was "drafting", there was quite a gap before the next vehicle. I should say that speed was acceptable, 52 or 53 mph. Nobody was crawling. At one point the vehicle in front of the van turned off to it’s driveway or whatever. Immediately the van hammered it (is that the term?) and, as fast as possible, narrowed the resulting gap to attach itself to the next vehicle. As fate would have it, this was repeated several times, and every time the car in front left the road the van quickly bridged the gap to affix itself on the license plate of the next victim. All this time, the flutter mobile was under the control of the cruise device, maintaining the reasonable speed. Sure enough, when we fetched up to the light at Rte 5, there we were right behind the van. But, by golly, (s)he showed them! Sheesh.

The dinner for the FOL was held at Café Des Artistes. I have been worried about the co-existence of them and the newer Corbels. I think I am beginning to conclude that they are complimentary, not competing venues. There’s a certain comfort at Café, sort of an eclectic homey feel, while Corbels provides a more “modern restaurant” experience in the nicely renovated Sterling House. Menus also reflect differences, with Café featuring cuisine by sure French trained hand of Chef Loic, while Chef Leo at Corbels emphasizes the modern American fusion kind of thing if you know what I mean. I am pretty sure there is a niche for them both. Depending on your taste for a particular evening out, I don’t think you can go wrong at either restaurant. Anyway, we had a nice evening with the Friends along with several of the Library folk. Commissioner Mattingly spoke briefly about the importance of libraries and books, and had some nice things to say about the restaurant. Passed appetizers of chicken wraps, crab balls, and a lovely cannellini bean dip, were followed by dinner (served pretty much by table), and a little program. MFO, who is retiring after 6 years as Book Sale Chair, received some very nice accolades and little mementoes. She (along with volunteers, etc.) has pretty much elevated the book sale from a cute little event to a major fund raiser for the Libraries, this year netting about $20,000. A nice evening..

During one of the lulls while libations and appetizers were being consumed, I found myself next to Chef Loic. I asked him about the sauce for the little spoons of crab balls and confirmed it was green goddess. I then inquired about sauce Rémoulade and his first response was you had to use home made mayonnaise. Yes.


Monday, May 11, 2009

A Saucy Story

It all started when I was browsing a menu for mother’s day at one of the local eateries (not one that serves quarter pounders) and under the crab cake, it said it was served with “Cajun Rémoulade”. That sort of caught my eye, and I allowed as how that was probably redundant. After a couple of conversations with more knowledgeable folk (believe it or not there are some), I decided I better check my facts. So, I set out to do some research. An interesting story unfolded (those MKF are probably rolling their eyes at the moment).

I started out with the most classical sources I have, James Peterson’s “Sauces”; Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art….”; and “Larousse Gastronomique”. The latter said it was a cold sauce which “may originate from the Picardy word rémola, meaning black radish, although radish is not an ingredient” , and the French origin was more or less confirmed by a quick look at Wikipedia (okay, okay). All three of those erudite sources agreed that it consisted of mayonnaise, chopped capers, anchovy paste, parsley/chervil/tarragon, and some mustard. It apparently is closely related to Sauce Tartare, except that that venerable sauce is made with hard egg yolk mayo instead of the regular mayonnaise, but generally the same stuff. Obviously, that ended my perception that Cajun and Rémoulade were redundant.

Jumping to more modern sources, I checked the CIA (Culinary, not the other one) “New Professional Chef”; “Joy of Cooking”, and happened to pick up a book sale find of “Modern French Culinary Art” by a Henri-Paul Pellaprat. The recipes therein still based the sauce on mayo, capers, cornichons/pickles, parsley/chervil/tarragon, some sort of anchovy, but each one now called for “French style” or Dijon mustard, and the CIA called for Worcestershire and Tabasco, so things had evolved.

At last turning to Cajun/Creole, I reminded myself that while Creole generally is defined as evolving from classical European style, “Cajun” came from the Acadians whose cuisine had roots in French provincial cooking using rustic ingredients, eventually blossoming in Louisiana. I looked in a couple of books by Jude Theriot (La Cuisine Cajun, and an earlier A Meilleure de la Louisiane), “Louisiana Cooking with Ambrosia” by Sebastian “Buster” Ambrosia; and a dog eared Charleston Receipts by the good ladies of the Junior League of Charleston. Gone was the mayo, instead olive or salad oil was used along with plain, cane, or wine vinegar. Of course we see the “holy trinity” so prevalent in Cajun, but along comes garlic, Creole mustard, horseradish, allspice, etc., drastically increasing the amount of ingredients. It would be interesting to know why the mayonnaise was abandoned, along with the anchovies, perhaps further research is required. With the advent of the food processor, the Cajun recipes are fairly easy to make providing you can find some of the ingredients. Basically put the stuff in the bowl, grind it up a bit and then dribble in the oil for the emulsification.

The recipe that I have used over the years came from a cooking class I attended in New Orleans some 18 years ago (where does that time go??) and I have found it to be relatively serviceable and people seem to like it with cold shrimp. My problem has been finding the “cane vinegar” it calls for, but I haven’t searched lately. I suppose there’s always the good old internet.

Bon Appétit

Sauce Rémoulade

1 Medium Onion
1 Bunch Green Onions
1 Stalk Celery
2 Cloves Garlic
¼ cup Parsley
1 Tbsp Paprika
¼ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp. salt
½ cup Creole Mustard
2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Cane Vinegar*
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 Shakes Tabasco
¾ cup Oil (corn, vegetable, peanut, etc.)

Combine all ingredients except oil in food processor. Turn on and slowly dribble in oil. Allow flavors to marry for 24 hours or at least 20 minutes. Season to taste

Cookin' Cajun Cooking School
Riverwalk Festive Market Place
New Orleans, 9/91

Cook’s Notes:

*A substitute for cane vinegar (I have never been able to find it) is apple cider and red wine. For 1/04 I used cider vinegar and a splash of red wine. No comment on results.

Used Zatarain's Creole Mustard (Woodburns)

Pureed onion, celery, green onions (and some celery leaves) in processor, then took out a couple of Tbsp and added rest of stuff and turned on, used dribble cap to put in oil. Held out lemon juice till about half way through. When finished, I added back in the held out green puree for textural interest.

Also on occasion have added some ground up toasted yellow mustard seed per another recipe.

Friday, May 8, 2009


May 8, 2009

A short Friday entrée today, as the muses are preparing for the weekend, and the return of MFO (read clean the digs like a madman).

If I had that rain gage (which I found on the internet, but it costs more to ship it than to buy it) it probably would have been overflowing yesterday. About 5:45 we got a deluge that filled all the driveways and yards with water…zowie. Fortunately, there were no power outages associated with it.

Another nice piece on Slackwater in the Enterprise today, think I’ll go pick up a copy.

Speaking of the Enterprise, I can never resist seeing Mr. Mercer’s latest culinary find. This week it’s Carrabba’s Grill up in Waldorf. The guy is flirting with almost being critical, but somehow just doesn’t seem to be able to pull the trigger. For instance, the lead in says: “a chain, yes, and apparently one with a knockout Italian dish or two”. What’s that mean? Or later, “While I love Italian food, I will admit that I frequently wind up disappointed by restaurant experiences…..” Where? Please help us avoid those! Tell us! But, he proclaims that the founders “understand that the American palate no longer has a spot for anything remotely bland”. Really! American palate understood by Johnny and Damian. Gosh. Then after the rote description of the menu and prices—“(his wife) raved about her salad – nice mental image there, raving about a chain restaurant salad – I was less inspired by the Caesar”. Sooooo, that means you were just short of raving? Like it or not? Say something..

Okay enough of my raving..

Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget it’s Mother’s day this Sunday. Act accordingly

DFD (and Mom)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

rain, rain, GO AWAY!!!

Enough already! I think I detected some webs forming between my toes. Every freakin’ day it rains. The grass grows two feet tall, the garden is sodden, you can't do nothing!! This morning the sun poked through for a minute and the next think I know, it’s raining again. Speaking of rain, I have a yearly ritual. I watch the rain gage in the flower bed all summer, leave it out too late, it freezes and cracks and becomes useless. I go to Lowe’s get a new one and begin the cycle again. This has gone on for years. So this year I went to said emporium to obtain this years victim, and the shelf was empty. So I waited a couple of days, went back, and it was still empty. So I go to the (their term) “Customer Service” desk and ask if I could talk to somebody who knows the inventory in garden. Sure, the young lady replied, and reached for the phone causing the whole store to hear; “Customer needs assistance in seasonal aisle 23” and was told than an associate would be right over. After 7 minutes alone in aisle 23, I went back, and she said something akin to darn him, I’ll just call and reached for a cell phone. Sure enough on my way back, I ran into a nice young man who said how are you sir? (I think Lowe’s has really emphasized greeting customers lately – don’t know where anything is, but a nice greeting). Anyway he peered at the empty shelf with “rain gage” tag on it, stared at the boxes on the shelves above, finally got the ladder and went up there, all to no avail. No rain hard is this?

Passing Scene:

While sitting here filling the page with drivel, staring out the window(s) has resulted in seeing: A lady mallard crash landing in the yard to grub around under the feeder; Two F-18’s going round and round; an Osprey cruising by (the non-V22 variety); numerous squirrels bounding about; several birds visiting the feeders; “Daddy Frank” running his crab line (without much success apparently); a pair of Canada Geese, and lastly a small turtle roaming around – as much as a turtle can roam. Which means, I suppose, they will be crossing the roads now. Be alert!! Stop and help, or at least pause traffic..

Was watching news this morning on channel 4 (home of Pat Collins), and just before Today came on they ended with a report that today was “odd day” referring to the 05/07/09 date today, and said “it only happens six times a century! And it won’t happen again until……..2015? no, wait, how about 13?” Finally just before leaving the air they figured out it will happen in two years. I guess the 6 times a century is because there is no 15th month. We just happen to be living when those 6 times will occur.

I never have the camera when I need it. I fetched up behind one of those gigantic green trash trucks yesterday (from the new “bay area” folks), and on the tail end it had a big sign saying “We Cater Weddings”. You can’t make this stuff up, folks..

Have a good day – we’ll start thinking about warm weather wines… don’t think much “pairs” with rain..


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"(????) is the place for me"

For those of you old enough to remember (or are trivia freaks), “Green Acres” is the “place for me”. It definitely was yesterday. As county folk know that’s the name of a nursery out near Loveville. I used to frequent it for plants and flowers, but when it changed families, it sort of fell on hard times and I quit going there. On a tip that it “was back” I went out there again to seek some Basil that doesn’t taste like anise, along with hopes of finding a certain variety of ornamental grass I needed to complete the beds around the Grey Lagoon.

Since I hadn’t been there in over a year, I was a bit uncertain about the exact route from the Route 5 side, so took the Maypole road over from Leonardtown. I was delighted to see that there is still a “rural” road around that hasn’t been sullied by timber hackers, or populated with vinyl coated dwellings. It passes through woods, open fields, marshy places, with actual wild life and birds. Anyway, finally arrived at Green Acres and started my hunt. They had very many plants and little buildings full of flowers, hanging baskets, and vegetables. And, much to my surprise several 4” pots of virulent, robust, Panicum Virgatum “Heavy Metal”. Also got the Basil (they must have had ten varieties), and then thought I’d see if they had some Russian Sage which I decided I needed more of. My first search didn’t uncover any so asked one of the young ladies if they had some. Instead of the no eye contact Lowe’s type response of: “I dunno, if we do, they’re over there”, it was “I think we do, let’s go see!”. She walked me to a place that was right under my nose at one point, and said “yes, here they are!”. What a treat. Besides a great array of growing things, they have a very nice selection of ceramic pots, such as you pay hundreds of dollars for from Frontgate for very reasonable prices. So, bottom line was that I got all I wanted, and it had a very nice bottom line.

Another place for me…

Is St. Mary’s College. Last night, I went down to St. Mary’s Hall (second time in 6 days) to join my “audience in residence” friends to listen to this year’s final recital of Brian Ganz’s students. It featured about a dozen of his students, this time not only piano but also voice, clarinet, and violin. For some of them, this was their last performance, while others will be around to treat us again in the future. Again with the caveat that I am not musically adept, I heard what I perceived as a couple of little flaws here and there, but I did remember that the word “student” means you are learning. A special treat for me was to be able to hear Jonah Yeh again. Some people “play the music” but some are able to “be the music”. I think this applies to Jonah. I can’t wait to see where his career will take him (assuming he doesn’t branch off to his other love, baseball). I hope he remains local so that we can follow his abilities. During a short intermission, Brian introduced each of his departing students, said some very nice and personal words about each one. You can see it’s not just a “class”, but very close to family. A real treat to be able to observe.

Which got me to (uh oh) thinking. I am currently reading a book called “Hidden Kitchens” (feeder highly rated) by NPR’s Kitchen Sisters, who seek out little food enclaves associated with say, NASCAR garages, street people with george forman grills, the Chili Queens, political rally back rooms, and so forth where good and interesting food is turned out for small groups in unlikely places. In a way, last night’s concert can be considered the same thing. The college has many of these little relatively unadvertised recitals and performances that are really gems. I’m sure COSMIC must have similar events. They are chances to see tomorrow’s musicians mature and explore their talents. Gotta find out more about them.. Nothing to do in St. Mary’s County… yeah, right.


There’s a nice article about the latest Slackwater book in today’s enterprise.. for those who have been under a cultural rock, it’s the latest in the series of journals about environmental and cultural change in Southern Maryland. It’s edited by Julia King an anthropologist at the College. Previous editions have centered on watermen or tobacco farmers, but this one concentrates on the economic and cultural changes of the 60’s and 70’s. You can get it at the college book store.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Minuses and plusses....

A rainy Monday sort of limited activity so just some short subjects today:


I’m getting tired of the weather channel. They started me when they anointed themselves as the “Hurricane Authority” (of which we will no doubt be repeatedly reminded of very soon), but now it seems that they are intent on bringing us more and more “specials” with things like “storm stories” and “it could happen here!”. Scene after scene of people being dragged from a swollen river, a flooded home, tornado victims still in shock, etc. I don’t need to see this stuff. They just seem to go out of their way to glorify natural disasters. The other day they showed some tapes from a storm chaser who called a tornado on the ground: “The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!!” Gimme a break. Wonder what the people under the thing thought. Their next big thing is “Vortex 2!” in which I suppose they will inform us stupid people about searching for tornados. Just show Local on the 8’s, the national radar, forecasts, and leave the damn drama to somebody else..

And, I’ve just about had it with Swine, er, excuse me, H1N1 virus. Well, not the virus, but the reporting of same. Our local news channel closes every segment of the news with “stay tuned for the very latest on the virus”, as if it changed every 5 minutes, or feature after feature on “what you need to know to protect yourself!”. I suppose it’s just the typical feeding frenzy of the press. The next thing will be “did we overreact?”. I can’t wait.


Now that I feel better, while doing research for an upcoming feature, I was browsing through Larousse and came upon one of those diagrams showing cuts of pork, that sort of exploded pig thing we all see showing ribs, hams, etc. Larousse being Larousse, they had diagrams for American, British, and French cuts. Guess what? The Americans have a mere 5 cuts, as does the British, but the French, ah the French, have 16! Where we have the “Arm Shoulder”, the French have the “palette”, the “épaule”, the “plat de côtes”, and the “jambonneau avant”. Beef? American 17, British 15, French 24. Lamb? American 6, British 8, French 9. Veal? 7, 8, and 13. It is left to the reader to ponder who is the more sophisticated about food.

Very Positive

Another reminder that tonight at 7 O’clock (that’s seven hours after noon), in St. Mary’s Hall at the college, there will be a recital by students of Brian Ganz. So, at 7 tonight, I hope to see you there. It should be something to hear. Good for the soul, and much better than swilling liquids from a bottle with a lime wedge stuck in it.. Until 7 then…..


Quick culinary tip: cold crab cakes are delightful for breakfast

Monday, May 4, 2009

weekend, etc.

Another rainy Monday morning allows a bit of time for reflection, as I didn’t have to get up to go to work!! What a deal. How was your weekend? Bachelor me had a weekend of contrasts.

Friday night I joined a couple of Rotarians and braved the vagaries of the beltway to attend the final farewell picnic for the visiting team from Greece. They were a really nice bunch of young people. The picture below sort of shows their enthusiasm. It was held at a “farm” in Northern Potomac, although I think “estate” might be a better description..

Saturday, the weather guessers predicted rainy and thunderstorm conditions all day, but fortunately they whiffed. Which meant that instead of drenching rain, we had pretty much drenching sun. Which also meant that the annual garden pilgrimage was held in ideal conditions without host home owners worrying about mud tracking gawkers. It was a splendid tour, featuring several classic southern Maryland houses and gardens that most of us wouldn’t have a chance to see otherwise. Before ending my tour at Clocker’s Fancy I decided to quickly check the activity at the Brick Chapel at Historic St. Mary’s City. Three hours and half later, I finally had to leave to make the next event. Between Pete and me we must have told the story of the Chapel and its history and reconstruction to maybe 50 or 60 visitors. It’s always surprising to see the range of interest in the visitors. Some patrons are really genuinely interested in learning the history of the Chapel and its role in early Maryland, and others are “yeah, yeah, okay we saw it, let’s move on”. I really enjoy the interaction. People continue to fascinate me.

The garden tour seemed to be a big success. The “one ticket does all” modification was a great idea. Hope they keep it. As usual, parking was problematical, and I don’t think that can ever be solved. Looking forward to next year’s edition.

The reason for terminating the Chapel duty was the Kentucky Derby fund raiser event at Sotterley Plantation. We had attended last year and enjoyed it. Solo this year, but also enjoyed it seeing the usual crowd normally gathering at these things. Food was available, leaning toward the Derby tradition, that is, with a southern flair. Pimiento and egg salad sandwiches, some really good Oysters that were sort of oyster stew in a shell (not sure how traditional that is), but they also served “Burgoo” which is a local stew native to Kentucky. A little research shows that it’s one of those dishes (like the overworked crab cake, chili) that there is no such thing as “best”, it’s where you are and what you like. Traditionally it contained wild game such as squirrel and raccoon, but now days generally barbequed mutton and chicken, along with potatoes, onions, cabbage, corn, in varying proportions. The Maryland version I didn’t contain mutton (I don’t think) but it was fairly tasty. Of course we all enjoyed the horse race and the surprise winner.

Sunday can be dealt with in one sentence. Rain. Wind. Cool. Hockey, golf, the Tudors and HD TV. Okay, a few more than one. But pretty gloomy all around which seems to be the case today.

This and That:

Petruzzi’s in Wildewood has shuttered, and word has it that it will be replaced with a (same owner) “Irish Pub”. Worked for Leonardtown…(hold the Irish part)
The 7 – 11 in Lex Park has “plywooded”, leaving only the one in Solomon’s open (?).

Without comment - a decal in the rear window of a pickup caught my eye over the weekend: “Body Piercing Saved my Life” which brought me up short until I noticed other decals with religious content.

One time only:

While I never, ever, would recommend going to Applebee’s for the food, today might offer a good reason – one of the local youth basketball teams (Southern Maryland Elite) will receive 15% of your bill.

A final quick musing:

There was an article in this weekend’s Washington Post magazine entitled “Foodie Free – For All” which accounts numerous food blogs in the DC area. “Call them reviews, posts, essays, whatever. Basically, anyone can be a food critic now. If you can chew, swallow, and type, you’re good to go……It’s all part of the rowdy on line food world that has changed the dynamic between restaurants and the public”. Somehow, it sort of depressed me. I don’t know why, maybe the “bigger, better, faster, prettier” syndrome. Besides the better known Chowhound and Yelp, it listed 5 more local ones. I didn’t look.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Music, Musings, Oysters, and Other Others....

When I was 13, I was doing……..I can’t remember. One thing I know I was NOT doing would be sitting on a stage at a grand piano giving a recital of Bach and Beethoven. IF in his later years, Jonah Yeh remembers, he WILL be able to say that's what he was doing. Last night I joined a family oriented audience of about 60 people at St. Mary’s Hall to listen to Jonah’s solo recital. I am not a knowledgeable judge of such performances, but it is obvious that Jonah has talent far beyond his years. The fact that he is tutored/mentored by Brian Ganz is certainly a testimony to that. A very bright and happy kid (?), Jonah has an engaging smile and enthusiasm for the music that shows. And, he didn’t (as I would have) play something like chopsticks, either. He began with Bach’s French Suite No. 2 in C minor, followed by Beethoven’s Sonata in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1. Both pieces required a dexterity that he handled with ease. No sheet music, never a missed note (that I detected) and always in command of the music. Pretty impressive. After the intermission he played pieces by Debussy and Chopin, no slouches either, and finally, after a couple of standing ovations, did a very pleasing Minuet in G.

As fate would have it, my just in time arrival put me at the door just in front of Mr. Ganz, and he happened to sit in the same aisle as I did. It was fun to steal a glance at him occasionally, and most of the time he sat with eyes closed, absorbed in the music, with the look of what I might characterize as “a proud father”. During the first part of the performance the open windows let in the music of singing birds, sounding as if they wanted to join the concert as well. During the intermission, through some friends I got to meet Brian and also Jonah’s real father. Wonderful people, boy I like living here.

During the performance I got to thinking (I always get to thinking). In my more familiar world of wine appreciation, I think most people know there is such a thing as “blind tastings” where the wine bottles are put in a bag or poured into glasses out of sight, and they are evaluated for what’s in the glass not what’s on the bottle. They sometimes produce surprises, like the famous time when California cab outscored a first growth Bordeaux, or a Maryland wine wins a medal over a California. That got me to that thinking what would happen if they had a “blind listening” (maybe they do), and have Jonah play a piece behind a screen, and then a “Van Cliburn” (to pick a name) play the same piece, and then try to distinguish the performers. What would be the difference? If asked, I would be unable to say where Jonah could improve. It would be an interesting conversation to have with Mr. Ganz.

If you’re interested in listening to more, there is a Student Recital today at 3 in Montgomery Hall, an Senior Recital by Andrea Scher tomorrow at 3 back in St. Mary’s Hall (type of music unkown) and then next Tuesday (5th) there is another of Brian Ganz’s students (5 pm St. Mary’s hall). What a treat to hear live music. Boy, I like living here..

Other Other’s:

With MFO on the road, I stopped in at the Tides prior to the concert to get a bite and a libation. Went to the bar to find it pretty packed with the hanger on’s from happy hour which included a few old ITT veterans. They had an appetizer of Blue Point Oysters of which I took a half dozen on the shell, and ordered mini crab cakes as well. You forget how nice oysters can be. These had great flavor, but since I have to retain my chops as a critic, I would have to say that given my experience at numerous Oyster Festivals a couple could have been shucked more cleanly. The mini crab cakes were good, and I especially enjoyed the “Cajun Remoulade” sauce that accompanied (Cajun Remoulade got me to thinking again, subject of an upcoming ramble). One nice thing about “mini” cakes, they can get cooked throughout with out overdoing the outside. Drink test passed with colors at the hands of their experienced barkeep. Nice quick light meal, couple of apps, a drink, see a few friends, go get culture.. Nice evening.

And, for all my maligning of the Enterprise, I begrudgingly have to admit today’s (5/01) edition is pretty informative. The front page has a story about the fire (says pier started first, spread to boat – according to “unofficial sources). There’s also a nice story about preservation that features Historic St. Mary’s City’s craftsman Peter Rivers. If you have ever had a chance to chat with him, you know he’s another local treasure. The “Weekend” insert has a nice piece about First Friday (that would be today) in Leonardtown, and since I’m being magnanimous, I have to say that for once Mr. Mercer’s writeup on “the Pub” is good. It mentions all the spots in LT, Café des, Corbels, Brewing Grounds, etc. And I think for once a fairly objective review of the Olde Town Pub – and even mentions (albeit tentatively) a few “downs” along with mostly the “ups”. I know that it has become “the place to be” lately in Leonardtown.

A reminder that tomorrow (10 - 5) is the House and Garden Pilgrimage, unfortunately there are no directions published in same newspaper so you have to rely on the website. Too bad..a difference I note this year is that there is a single ticket instead of the fee at each site.. Hope to see some of you around. This year’s chairperson is Cherie Heely so you know it will be done right. It starts at 19583 North Snow Hill Manor Road, and maybe there’s a brochure with maps..

enough, the little grassies are asking to be planted...