Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Fleeting Experience...

Answer to quiz:   everybody who took time to respond was correct!  Downy Woodpecker indeed..  cute little bird..

So, somehow Monday evaporated in a flurry of meetings and a fun time spent passing out dictionaries to third graders at a school (a project of one of my local civic organizations).  You couldn’t pay me enough to be a third grade school teacher..  Thank goodness there are dedicated people in the world.. teachers!!  And, now Tuesday fades.. as I have said before where DOES that time go..

Anyway, as you might remember, last weekend we decided to go up to Baltimore to visit the American Craft Council Craft show, and an evening meal. With the restaurant Charleston out of the question we picked Fleet Street Kitchen which was number four in the Baltimore “B-word” List, and was very near our hotel.  So after yet another board meeting Saturday morning we climbed in the MOMSTER II and headed north.  A relatively hassle free drive found traversing Pratt street to President, and then on Aliceanna street quite easily, and even found a parking space in the parking garage that (barely) accommodated the MOMSTER. With no valet opportunities, we schlepped our luggage to the hotel through said garage.  For once we really did “travel light” and had only one valise (nice word, eh?), a garment bag to DFD and (of course!) the road wine caddy.  The downtown Courtyard is undergoing extensive remodeling so the lobby was a kind of nightmarish setting featuring black plastic drapes.  The staff was pleasant and soon we found ourselves in a sixth floor room with a nice view.  We had enough time for a small glass of wine, and then got DFD, and set out on foot for dinner.   Just a block away, across from a Whole Foods Market was Fleet Street Kitchen (FSK). 

And dear reader, it is at this point that I am unsure as to how to proceed.  I have been thinking of how I would relate our experience, and still am not completely settled, so I’ll just have a go.  Normally when we go to a highly rated restaurant, I am a sucker and eager to go along with the reviews and enjoy the experience, and not often dissapointed.  Well, this one started off poorly and I am not sure I ever got over it.  FSK is a large place in an old building.  You enter into a little lobby with the station at the end, and we were greeted nicely, confirmed our reservation and idled a moment while the staff discussed whether or not we would be seated in “Ralph’s” or “Betty’s” station (I’m sorry, do this ahead of time).  Immediately behind the station were stairs that led up to a larger dining room which looked very nice, but off to the right was another space with tables at street level with large windows for viewing same.  That is where we were ushered.  The tables were nicely set with linen and crystal, but somehow I had the feeling we were being shuttled to the “tourist section”, despite nice clothes and demeanor.  Diners already seated there were nicely enoughed DFD, not slovenly, nor discourteous, but I couldn’t get by my feeling of being dumped.  Shut up Bill, get over it, it will work.  And indeed it did, but I never could crest that feeling of not being shown the (IMHO) best they had to offer.   Priggish me?

With a couple of gaffes, the rest of the evening didn’t give me any reason to suspect we were being sloughed off but the damn tone was remained in my mind.  We were seated at a two top along a long wall with a banquette on one side and chairs on the other.  The tables were quite close together, just short of feeling crowded.  We were greeted by our server and to be truthful I was still enough wound internally up that I don’t remember if he did a speech.  Most likely not, or I would have remembered it.  We were presented the menu and the “wine list”, in the form of an iPad. This was my second encounter with this form of wine list, and I am not sure I object.  No, it’s not classical, but it does potentially allow a correct and current selection of the wines available.  This tablet was quite organized and in fact is the same as what you see if you go to “wine list” on their web site.  Very “clickable” and gets you to the individual bottle with photos and notes.


One could spend a long time browsing it..  At any rate, about this time we were asked if we would like a drink (desparately) and we ordered both MFO’s and my standard drinks.  I always try to make it very clear I want my DRY Manhattan ON THE ROCKS, with A TWIST.  Very good, sir.  Soon(ish) he returned with what could be a gimlet, and an UP GLASS of a pinkish fluid that had a suspicious sweetish nose.  Um, I think I asked for this on the rocks, and check with bartender to make sure only DRY vermouth was used.  Very good, sir.  It returned a much lighter color in a “rocks glass”.  Now, I should state before going further (as I drone on and on) that reviews do give FSK a plus for cocktails.  I think my “twist” was actually an orange zest, and the “rocks” was singular, one of those inch and a half cubes that are all the rage.  Not bad, and the drink was passable.  MFO said hers was quite sweet so I suppose they mucked about with that also.  Okay, that’s fine.  And in fact, finally calming down a bit called for another drink now that it was made to my taste.

As is our wont, we finally began to peruse the menu which was a one page affair with (12) starters, (10) entrees, and (4) “vegetables” (what we would normally call sides).  In a sign of the times, the vegetables consisted of various preparations of Celery Root, Cauliflower, Kale, and Brussels Sprouts!  Every single menu entry contained not only a description of the dish, but also its source.  Very trendy these days, and what the restaurant apparently prides itself on: “The menu is an ever changing collection of seasonally inspired selections with a strong emphasis on locally sourced, ethically raised, sustainable ingredients”.  Here’s a sample description of the short ribs: “Braised Beef Short Ribs – Liberty Delight Farms, MD;  Roasted heirloom carrots, faro, date puree, carrot crumble”;  not bad, short and to the point. 

As our cocktails soaked in, we finally began to discuss. Food.  MFO decided on a Heirloom Beet Salad (Cunningham Farms, MD), and an intriguing main course of “Crispy Farm Egg & Ricotta Gnudi” with Maitake Musthrooms, pea shoots, butter beans, and pine nuts (also Cunningham Farms).  I decided on a diet busting appetizer of Duck Confit followed by the off the menu special Lamb Dish whose description I did not write down.  Then the challenge of the wine.  I began thumbing around the wine tablet and was sort of settling on the Pinot Section (go figure a pairing for those dishes!!) when I became aware of a gentleman behind me who turned out to be the sommelier.  “were you thinking of a new world Pinot sir?”,  yes, I kind of was.  I had kind of narrowed in on an ‘09 Calera de Villiers Vineyard Mt. Harlan (for a hefty $96) and he said, “you know, you might like an Inman Family selection, it has some of the same characteristics, and is a much better value”, and pointed out both an ’08 Russian River Valley, and a Thorn Ridge Ranch, which were $72 and $73.  For a dollar more, he said, the Thorn Ridge is nicer.  Okay fine.  We’ll do that. I was pretty impressed he steered us away from a much more expensive bottle which I was ready to pop for, and suggested a much lower priced one.  And, without tasting the Calera, the Inman was very good.  Nice body and fruit, it was very enjoyable.  I told him I really appreciated his assistance and he seemed pleased.

The appetizers appeared about this time, and both were very good, although I thought my Confit was a bit on the dry side.  It’s kind of a tough dish.  The beet salad was fine.  The entrees arrived in due time (as the Inman Pinot bottle decreased in volume).  At this point, I swallowed hard and took out the camera and only got a reasonable picture of the lamb dish with ingredients I forget..


MFO’s crispy egg was worth a shot, and maybe I’ll give it to you with apologies to my shutter friends, crappy picture but maybe you get the idea of the dish..especially the "crispy egg". 
somewhere in the background are the Gnudi   To save you the trouble, Gnudi is “ a type of gnocchi made from ricotta cheese and a little bit of flour. The result is a dumpling that some describe as "nude" ravioli, or filling without the pasta — that is to say, light, fluffy, and creamy."

We actually quite enjoyed the meal… along with the conversation of the tables next to us..  Get over it!!  As we were finishing, a slice of cheese cake like dessert with a candle was placed in front of us.  Happy Birthday Sir!  What the hell?  It was VERY good, and I can only surmise that it was delivered to offset the mess with the cocktails.  Who knows.  Maybe the sommelier noted my appreciation of the wine and took pity on us.  Speaking of which as we were leaving, he said “would you like to see the wine cellar?”  OF course!!  He led us down a flight of stairs into a long room with shelf after shelf of wine bottles.  OMG.  He gave us a little tour, but didn’t offer any souvenirs.  He was a nice guy.  Give them some respect.  They work hard.

So what the heck. Despite the good food and wine, I never got over the perceived slight of seating us with “commoners”.  Am I an idiot?  (Don’t answer that….) If I spend over two hundred bucks for dinner and wine, I ought to leave satisfied and a feeling that I would come back.  I would for the wine guy, the food was good, but darn it, it is fleeting…  think I’ll go for Charleston again next time.. and through it all we remained



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bits and Bites...

Well, here it is the 21st of February..  today at least I don’t have to report another restaurant closing that I know of…

You might recall that a week or so ago, I attended a program at the Calvert Marine Museum, only to be annoyed by some idiot who felt it necessary to take a picture of almost every slide that was presented, and apparently was not familiar with any way to silence his (bleeping) “beep beep”  phone.  Tonight there is another in the series, this one entitled “Invasive Species in the Chesapeake”, presented by a Jonathon McKnight..  MFO and I are planning on going, partially out of interest in the subject and partially to see if beep beep is there.  If so, you might read about me in the newspaper: “Last night at the Calvert Marine Museum a local resident was arrested when he tried to shove a phone down the throat of another….”.  anyway, I passed along my displeasure to the museum folk and they shared my aversion and said they would make an announcement..  hope so.

Since the (free) program starts at seven, we’re going for a quick app/nip at the Dry Dock prior to the lecture.  Portends to be a nice evening (if BB) doesn’t show.  I wonder if one of the “invasive species” will be indentified as homo sapiens?

 Crafty Plan

And this Saturday we’re venturing north to Baltimore to catch the last day (Sunday) of the Baltimore Craft Show.  We’ve not been to one in a couple of years so thought it might be nice to make a visit.  Our favorite craft show is still the Smithsonian one (later in April), but this one is also nice.  Only problem with it is that it contains oh, maybe a thousand booths.  With the economy the way it is, maybe there won’t be so many this year.  Although the selection on the third and last day may not be as broad as the first two, sometimes prices are “adjusted”.  Like maybe that $20,000 gold necklace might be knocked down to 15…

Another reason of course for going is to have a nice dinner.  Kind of a late decision so our attempt at a table at Charleston was laughable, the first open slot was nine.  Of course some of my more sophisticated and worldly friends said we should have gone for that, showed up at eight for cocktails and hoped for an early table.  We didn’t.   which left us with the quandary of where to go.  As fate would have it, the latest Baltimore Magazine is devoted to their “50….. wait for it….BEST Restaurants”.  While our fav Charleston has “dropped” to number two (Below Ouzo Bay) we’ll probably use that as a guide.  And in fact while sitting here looking at the choices I found at Number Four the Fleet Street Kitchen, which is quite close to our downtown Marriott.  Did a quick open table and secured a booking at 6:30.  Not too bad.  I’m sure the kitchen has already been alerted to the pending visit of the Bottom Feeder and has stuck fear in the staff…  yeah, you betcha..  Another (recommended choice) was Aldo’s over in Little Italy, which came in at lucky 13, but that’s a bit far..  So, we’ll see!!  I am becoming more and more reluctant to take pictures of the food, so not sure you will share a visual..
Different Dining

And speaking of feeding, don’t forget to care for the birds in this weather.  We’re getting a steady stream.   I was only able to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count on Monday, but did tally 19 species (we extend our backyard to about halfway across the river).  Our suet feeder is really popular, drawing in the titmice, chickadees, wrens, nuthatches, and various woodpeckers.  In fact today I just took in the Thistle Feeder (no action from the Goldies) and replaced it with another suet feeder. Here’s a little quiz for you:  what am I?  (and just "woodpecker" doesn’t count... which one?).


One might note that he/she is indeed


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Short read...

Banned Word (of many):
Let’s say you’re coming out of a concert where you just listened to a full orchestra play Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at An Exhibition”.  You see a friend, and are asked: “how did you like the music?”.  Would you answer with: “Catchy!”?.  I would hope not.  Not an appropriate response for that piece of music.  Or, maybe you see Van Gogh’s original “Starry Night”, and answer a similar inquiry with “Cute!”.  Both works required an immense amount of work, and a flip answer such as above seems to me to display a lack of knowledge and appreciation of the work.

Now consider a plate of food that is set before you in a restaurant.  And into that single dish went hours of preparation, maybe starting with making a stock that is then used in a delicate sauce. The center of the plate might be a carefully monitored piece of (fish/foie gras/etc.) seared to perfection, with perhaps a risotto that is made to order, freshly prepared vegetables, and robed with that sauce.   To use the word (I hate to even type it) “yummy” in relation to that is abhorrent to the bottom feeder.  Complete lack of understanding and respect for what went into that plate for your enjoyment.  Yet how many times do you see it appear in Facebook or similar social conversations (which might lead to a larger discussion).  As I have said before, it might be appropriate for “s’mores” around campfires with adolescents, but let’s try to be a little more mature about food.  People dedicate their lives to creating food for our pleasure.. lay off the “y” word..grow up.

Obits (?!)

Probably not what you were expecting, but MFO has a habit of reading obituaries in various newspapers we get.  I suppose as we gather more years about us, we start to pay more attention to those who have crossed over, and unfortunately there are more we know.   Anyway, she came across one in the Washington Post that we both felt was something that we would like.   I have not started on my own yet, but it is on my mind.  Anyway, it was regarding one Mr. Edward Taylor Jr., who passed at the age of 77.  I won’t quote the whole thing, but it was good reading, I think a fitting tribute to a nice guy, not just a litany of “beloved husband of....; dear uncle of....” and so forth which is more common.  A small sample:  From a Schwinn bicycle bought as a boy from money earned in a butcher shop, to the massive Cadillacs of Americas least fuel efficient era, to series of convertibles bought and wrecked in his retirement, Mr. Taylor always indulged in a flashy set of wheels.”  There were more, but I especially liked the conclusion: “ET lived his life as he pleased, ...As he would himself have said, with a slightly impish grin – and a decisive clink of Tanqueray on ice... end of story”.  Well played, Sir!!



Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pictures... 1000 words


Well, some words… Consider this:

The “Row of Chains”

Olive Garden/Texas Road House


Red Robin


Cracker Barrel


(stupid sign)

St. James....
Sign in front door


CoCo’s Cantina (at weekday high  noon)

Sign in front door


Quiz:  Notice any differences between the two groups?   Any relation?   Left to the conclusion of the readers…
Two places with no need to


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Slow Cookin'... sort of

Been a bit since an out and out food post… here it is:

Some may remember that I had a gift card from Amazon, and it began to burn a (figurative) hole in my pocket, and I was kind of torn on how to “burn” it (card, not pocket).  And you might also recall I was going back and forth between a deep fryer and slow cooker.  After a bit of introspection, and fielding comments like: “you’re not coating MY counter with grease!!”, the cooker got the nod.  Naturally snobby me first thought of All Clad, but some research on the net revealed a lot of reports about unreliable, cracking inserts, and so forth.   Pans okay, electronics not so much.  So, after a visit to Amazon (with added cash of course), the mystery of logistics worked and within two days this was on my porch


And after wading through miracles of modern packaging, pieces and parts that looked like a slow cooker began to appear


And weeding out the packing materiel (with some assembly required), there it was in all its gleaming glory


Okay, fine, now what?  Well, I found a recipe for “Senate Bean Soup”, a time honored classic dish that was made for a slow cooker.   Same snobby old me had kind of looked down my classical nose at slow cooker technology for a long time (I had a Rival hot pot that was a nightmare to use and clean).  But with recent (?) advances like removable insert, the ability to sear or steam in the same vessel, timers, and so on sort of made them more attractive to me.  I had the vision of just throwing some stuff in there, set the knob, walk away for five hours and Voila!.... here’s dinner. 

So I set out to prepare the soup as my trial run.  Piece of cake, right? how hard can soup be? Well, since we don’t have ham hocks in the fridge, nor a bag o’navy beans (although there could be one in the deep dark recesses of the pantry, with expiration date of 1997, who knows?) a trip to the store was required.  Okay, ingredients assembled, ready to throw them in.  Hold your horses sparky, not so fast!  First step:  “soak the beans overnight”; okay check.  Dice (various measures of) celery, carrots, onions… sauté until soft, add garlic and cook until fragrant.   So a few boards, knives, and pans later we had


FINALLY, add meat and dump in slow cooker


Set the dials, and push "start"...


And so after a dedicated trip to the market, an overnight, and an hour or so of prep then you can proceed  to "slow cooking".. (leaving said pans and assorted tools to clean).

Well, I must admit the final product pretty much offset the work, it was very good soup.  And it will remain very good soup, as the recipe turns out enough to feed a starving army.  Guess that is what freezers are for.  So I am happy with the thing, have a little more perspective on its use and potential and will have another go…  Braised Short Ribs are calling me..
A quick musical note:
I'm sure most of the "hip" (another dating term, eh?) readers know that the Grammy Awards were presented earlier in the week.  At some point I ran across a list of the nominees.  I am happy/sad(?) to report I had no idea who these people were... time has passed me by, plus the music (excuse me) is stupid..
A better note
Did you happen to see any of the Westminster Dog Show (in between the State of the Union and the Indiana/OSU basket ball game) earlier in the week?  It is always so fascinating.  The dogs are fun to watch, but it's those darn "handlers" that are the real show.  The pooches are groomed to the nines, but who dresses their handlers?  Don't they have mirrors?  Some people are just not meant to trot around a ring.  Nuff said there.   I'm sure you note that one of the techniques they use to show off the little pups is the use of "treats".  Remember that commercial (beer?) where you could read the dogs thoughts, and it was "Sausage!  Sausage!  Sausage!".  Kind of like that.  But did you see that most of the humans on the end of leash keep the treats in their mouths????  Yikes!  something very wrong there.  Anyway quite the spectacle.. did you like the best in show?

Things seem to be moving fast with the local restaurants, so we need to talk about that real soon.  Speaking of local stuff, I have put together my second piece for the tourism people, which can be found on their web site.  Long time readers will relate to the topic.

Enough for today, and if you see this today (Valentine’s Day) don’t forget to do something.  Like have a bowl of bean soup..


Friday, February 8, 2013

Shutters and Shudders....


As you may remember, I often admonish that “nothing is forever”; especially when it comes to food service places.  Well, nothing IS forever.  After what seems (to me) like forever, I learned that St. James Pub will be closing in the middle of the month.  As you may further recall it is right near the top of my list of “Just Right” places where everything is in harmony.  Food, service, and the setting all work together.  I really enjoyed going there for lunch with the white board of daily specials (like meat loaf, spaghetti), the servers that are more of my generation than you see elsewhere in the box stores, the Keno machine over the bar, pool table, and so on.  A real place.


It is a shame to see such a county treasure (a bit strong, but you get my drift) close, especially a restaurant.  There are of course many reasons a restaurant will close, and food quality is probably not the top one (although it can assure it).  I always have to remind myself that a restaurant, like any other business, is in fact a business.  They are not there to make me feel good by putting a wonderful dish under my nose, they are there to make money.  They may love food as much as we do, but they depend on it for a living.  It is hard, hard, work. One of the red flags for me is when I read about a new place and I see something like “I’ve always dreamed of opening a restaurant!”.  I mentally give those places a year.  Anyway, more often than not, they are driven out of business by things like leases, increased competition, cost of food, location, and so forth.   One of my “sources” says that one of the reasons that St. James closing is that Gate Three, the southernmost exit from the base is now closed during lunch hours.  Anybody who is alert around here knows that the base supplies a huge number of mouths to feed around lunchtime.  Almost an institution.  I kind of wonder if closing of the gate is a major contributor, it’s only a few miles further from gate two.  Another speculation was pressure from Charlie’s Deli which is a bit closer to the base.  Given a choice I would personally keep driving past Charlie’s, for a lot of reasons I won’t go into now.  Also, as much as I would like to, I wouldn’t think the proliferation of the chains would be a big factor, although God knows that their parking lots are always jammed.  So, we see another unique place leave the scene.. Butts in seats… put yours in one, we need those special independent places. I hold my breath every day for Courtney’s..

Shudders (although “shutters” of another kind are involved here too)

Last night I went over to the Calvert Marine Museum to hear a lecture by Dr. Henry Miller from Historic St. Mary’s City.  It was the inaugural of the museum’s series of PEM talks, condensed from a mouthful of Paleontology, the Environment, and Maritime History.  Henry’s topic was “An Overview of Human Use of the Chesapeake through History”.  It was a fascinating talk and if you ever get to hear it, do it.  A lot of food stuff in there...

Has this ever happened to you?  Maybe it’s just me and my overworked sense of propriety.  Soon after Dr. Miller began speaking I noticed a gentleman at the other end of my row of seats mount a clipboard to his lap with some device, I suppose to take notes.  Fine.  BUT he then proceeded to take out his phone, hold it up over his head and take a picture of virtually every slide that went up on the screen.  While I think this is rude to begin with, what really set me off was that the damn thing gave out a loud “Beeeeeeeeep” EVERY time an image was captured.  EVERY time.  Stern glares from me went unnoticed, although I have to admit people sitting near the person didn’t seem phased.  Is it me?  Excuse me?  Can’t some people have a little regard or consideration for others than themselves?  Well, once it started, despite my best attempts to “put it out of my mind”, I couldn’t.  “and on this slide (beeeep) we see…”;  “here is how early colonists farmed (beeeeeeep)  corn”;  “a map (beeeep) of early Maryland….”; for fifty minutes!  What a jerk. While I enjoyed the lecture I was unable to give it the full attention it deserved. By the time I left I was all worked up.    The next lecture is the 21st, when Jonathan McKnight presents “Invasive Species in the Chesapeake”.  There is no charge except for the toll on your nerves if “beeper” shows up.  I think if he does, I won’t. I was going to speak to him afterwards, but he escaped.  Probably for the best.

So, although you normally don’t have to for St. James Pub, and won’t have to in the future, consider when you go out to



Monday, February 4, 2013

Super, super....

Well, being a sports junkie, I probably can’t let the opportunity pass to comment on yesterday’s glut of sportsdom.  Of course the bowl takes the honors, but I will note that my hero Phil Mickelson won a golf tournament.  It’s so refreshing to see him interact with the crowd, smile, rather than the stone faced iron visage of Tiger.

Anyway, I suppose fans and commentators alike were glad the damn game took place after two weeks of endless analyzing, “breaking down” and continual yammering about the quarterbacks, this fault and that, on and on rehashing over and over the same crap. 

We started the day with a pleasant (if I do say so myself) breakfast of a Leek, Mushroom, and Fontina frittata along with a glass of bubbly…  good start to the Super Day.

Chef Feeder at the stove


It was the first time I tried the recipe (from Bon Appétit) and it was okay, but I think I would make some mods the next time.  Called for sautéing the leeks and mushrooms and then adding the egg (and crème fraiche) mixture, letting the edges just set and transferring to the oven.  Well, the “shrooms” stayed on the bottom, kind of making a base.  Next time I might reserve some of them and put them on top.. But, it turned out well and was quite good.  (Aided by the Mimosas)


As the day wore on, and eventually eading up to the actual game we snacked on a cold poached salmon with flat breads.  As Phil wound up his round we cycled over to the “phoo pherah” of network pregame crap. We broke out the cocktail shrimp (another recipe another story) with house made cocktail sauce, cashews (yes, recently diagnosed high cholesterol) be damned (Hey, it’s the SUPER BOWL for God’s sake). 

So after all the hype, the analysis, the prognostications, the game finally began.  A herb roasted pork tenderloin with oven crisped potatoes supplied the main course.  We opened an ' 09 Joesph Phelps Sauvignon Blanc (Hey, it's the SUPER BOWL for God's sake).  wowee..
I really had no favorite for the game, although I have to candidly admit that the continual coverage of Ray Lewis with his mouth open, looking toward the heavens (or roof of the dome) and arms spread out began to work on me.  His inane chanting before the game was enough to turn me. 

I am glad for the fans of Baltimore, especially Joe Flacco who is much underrated, the management and the overall team but (as I said on FaceBook) Ray was just baggage on the field. Too slow, missed tackles no factor at all.  And then in the postgame his pronouncement that God was behind him (not San Francisco, not anybody else mind you) just turned me off.  Ride into the sunset Ray, it is NOT all about YOU, it’s a team sport.

As to the commercials, I thought they were kind of weak this year.  I liked the Doritos (goat) ones, and the Volkswagen one with the “mon” theme… the smooching one was, well what it was.



Friday, February 1, 2013

Lengthening Chains..(?)..

Another link being forged (maybe, read on).. In the space beside our La Quinta motel, after a flurry of activity applying a “Spanish flair” exterior, it sort of lay fallow for a while, but now for certain it is a


Not exactly sure where the “plaza” came from, as it certainly doesn’t fit the normal definition of same: “A public square, marketplace, or similar open space in a built-up area”.  And I am not completely sure that it is a chain… my usual cursory google search doesn’t seem to turn up any “home pages” that chains are so fond of.  There is a “La Tolteca” in Waldorf, so maybe it is independent.  Perhaps some of the readership has some ideas.  I think it’s a bit gutsy opening another Spanish/Mexican place almost right across the street from Chipotle, which, judging by the parking lot census technique is wildly successful.  Plus this is what, the fourth? fifth? place to take a stab at a restaurant in this location.  One might think (as previous owners apparently did) that a general restaurant next to a motel would be a winner..  Not so much.  Anyway if you’re driving south (or North) on 235 you now will be unable to miss it

McKay's (again) 

Last night, MFO and I were going to attend the little forum of community groups, so since we were in Leonardtown we stopped at McKay’s for “dinner”.  Very pleasant.  I did notice a couple of signs of items on the food islands that I need to take a photo of.. worth seeing.. if you are there early enough (we were there shortly after five) the wine is priced for “happy hour”.  And I discovered last night that you and buy a “family” version of the little card for the wine bar that you can keep so any value on the card remains from trip to trip.  And I know it is NOT a restaurant and is set up for take away food, but if you are “eating in” you’re stuck with an amazing array of Styrofoam clamshells that are very difficult to manage, especially if you are more than alone.  Was a good crowd, so hopefully they have found something…
A Legend Speaks

And lastly I can’t help but comment on a basketball game I watched last night between Arizona at Washington. I have seldom seen a game played with as much intensity as this one was.  Intensity is a bit of a misnomer, it was pretty much out of control, helter-skelter basketball, racing up and down the court.  Arizona won there by a little, first time in five years I think.  But what was most fun was listening to one Bill Walton (whom you may remember) who was the color commentator.  Oh, my gosh he gave new meaning to the term.  The players weren’t the only participant out of control  No wonder you don’t see him much (at least I don’t).  Of course given that the home crowd was in a frenzy of high energy in the Washington gym, I guess it was infectious.  A small sampling:
After a breakaway gorilla dunk:  He’s feeding the salivating crowd!”
Following a give away by the home team:  the worst possession in the history of Husky Basketball!”
After another showboat dunk: “defying Galileo and Isaac Newton!”
And now I don’t remember how this came up, but he got off on Warren Zevon. I think maybe some player was from the same town or high school, but the first thing you know he was doing “Werewolves of London”, complete with the “a woo hoooooo, a woooooooo hooo"s.  That even made it to the following sports center.  At the end of the broadcast he said “Thank you Seattle for giving us this day in our lives!”  Gotta love it, much more entertaining than Dicky V and his diaper dandies…
Have a good weekend.   We’re not sure about First Friday tonight in Leonardtown, we’ll see.. if you go, you might want to replace “Dinner” with “Cold” and