Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tre Ristoranti...

First of all, and most important, I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas celebration.  We certainly did with FOJ’s both the “E” and the “Y” and their families.  We had lovely food at both the Northern (STL – The E), and Southern (Cape Girardeau – The Y) locations, with Christmas Eve at the former and Christmas day at the latter.  You know I go various ways on FaceBook, but it was nice to see so many pictures of families being together, often convening over food which is what it is all about.  On the other side of FaceBook, whoever posted the video of how to gift wrap a cat should be ashamed.  Let’s humiliate an animal for our silly personal aggrandizement.   Anyway the Feeder wishes everyone a happy remainder of the Holiday period, except the egotistical cat wrapper..

So anyway, most people know that St. Louis is heavily populated by people with Italian heritage and is the home to several Italian restaurants, including the (IMHO) flagship, Tony’s.  We didn’t visit this trip, but through kind of happenstance we visited three others.  A quick review of each is probably warranted.   And a reminder to any of the folks we shared the table with, I try to objectively divorce looking at the restaurant experience from the enjoyment of being with our friends regardless of the other stuff.

(sorry no photos for this edition)

On our first day here, we dropped in (announced) on some friends we see fairly regularly when in STL.  I used to work here with him and have enjoyed watching their family grow over the years to where their “little guys” have now become college and post college “kids”.  Amazing how that happens.   Anyway, a late afternoon visit turned into a spur of the moment unplanned dinner with them to continue “catching up”..  They live in “West County” and suggested a relatively newly opened branch of Charlie Gitto’s near them in Chesterfield.  This installation has been dubbed “Charlie Gitto’s From the Hill”.  St. Louisans will know that Gitto’s was a long time resident of “the Hill”, one of many little “homey” places.  They eventually put a branch down town, and now herald a venue in fashionable West County.   I would have to strain my failing memory to recall the last visit we made to one of the others, but this newer “From the Hill” seems to reflect the “fashionable” location in that it is filled with wood and chrome fitted chairs.  Although we didn’t have reservations, we were seated easily.  Our server let us know he would be “taking care of us” right away.  Sigh.  Water glasses were filled immediately, and I don’t think got more than one sip down all night with an arm extending to fill them almost as soon as you put them down.  Menus were distributed, and a request had to be made for a wine list.  Our table (of four) was one of many that what’s his name had to “take care of” so there were some lapses.  Barely a little conversation at the table took place before he arrived with pad in hand and had to be called off.  We had a great time chatting with our friends, and eventually she suggested that we get some “T-Rav” (STL speak for the local signature dish) which I thought was a good idea.  We also got a couple of wines by the glass, and eventually did consider the menu.  I guess it followed the National Standard for Italian food a separate paragraph for each item, generally listed by protein (beef, chicken, veal, fish, etc.), plus salads and soups.  The traditional dishes were there, although for some reason we call Veal Piccata “Veal Lemonata” even though the description revealed a classic definition of the Piccata (sautéed with white wine lemon sauce and capers).  Marsala and Parmigianino versions were available for both chicken and Veal.  Minestrone headed the “zuppa” category.  Anyway, the good and bad was that all the expected dishes were available.  The only “off the menu” item offered was a Veal Stuffed Ravioli. 

The T-Rav arrived (before the bread basket) and were really very good.  Table orders for entrees included the Special Ravioli (MFO), Lasagna, and Chicken Spiedini.   As for the Feeder, it was kind a coincidence.  The most recent issue of “Cooks Illustrated” featured an article about “restaurant quality Chicken Saltimbocca* (we wanted a simpler version with restaurant quality without… the usual Cook’s Illustrated approach.  Saltimbocca translates something like “explodes in the mouth” and generally involves the protein pounded thin, sautéed and topped with (also sautéed) spinach, prosciutto, and cheeses and some sort of sauce.  So I veered away from the Veal Piccata (call it what you will) to see how they carried it off.  I also decided on their “Wedge” salad as a change of pace from the standard green or Italian chopped salad.  Fair enough. 

Well, since we have two more places to visit yet, I’ll “cut to the chase”.  Since I don’t ever get Saltimbocca anything, I am not sure I am a judge.   But, I do know that sage shouldn’t be bitter, but sweet.  Also the sauce maybe shouldn’t be an unattractive muddy brown, and the chicken could be tender, and the cheese might be a little less time under the heat lamp.  Needless to say, I didn’t much enjoy the dish.  Again, maybe it was my lack of experience.  Everybody else seemed to enjoy theirs, although MFO’s ravioli arrived in a soup like dish swimming in sauce, not what I expected. 

Oh, since I’m complaining, one more thing.  I have to confess that I am a “slow eater”. and tend to linger over my dish.  My friend is (by comparison) a “fast eater” and had finished his plate when mine was maybe a little less than half consumed.  The very MINUTE his fork hit the plate, a minion arrived at the table with one hand on the plate “are you through with this sir?” dragging it toward him. Well, yes and no.   He was finished, but the table wasn’t.  I know there are various schools of thought about this, do you want other diners to feel they should “hurry up” or do you want the fast guy to sit and look at an empty plate for a while, as the rest of us finish.  I much prefer the clear the table when the last person finishes, but I can understand another viewpoint.

Anyway, although we had a great time finding out what we had been doing since last year, (IMHO) the food didn’t do much to enhance the experience.  I would like a chance to visit one of the longer occupied places.


The next day, we had an appointment with our financial advisor, to make sure the Flutters can still gallivant around the British Isles, Grand Caymans and so forth.  We always schedule about an eleven AM appointment, and although this is a bit over simplified, the meeting usually progresses something like this:  “Well things seem to be going well, the growth in the account is about matching your withdrawals” a couple of generalities about the Market, and  “Let’s go to lunch”.  Our advisor has a good palate, and does get around to local restaurants a lot. So after a bit of discussion he suggested Remi’s Kitchen & Wine Bar, located in Clayton.  Like Charlie’s it started out in one spot, but unlike Gitto’s, it has stayed right there.  It is in a kind of a run down building in down town Clayton and requires a few steps down to gain entry.  The space is nothing sleek, probably been the same for the twenty years they’ve been in business.  We got “the greeting” (will we ever move past this), but the wine and cocktail list was delivered with the menu.  It may be somewhat of a stretch to include this in a “Italian” review piece, but the do have a category of “Mediterranean Grazing”, and they do list a Tuscan stew, a Carbonara pasta dish, and several Mediterranean leaning dishes on the menu.   They also (at least for lunch) have a list of “daily specials” which are deemed to be favorites, and Tuesday featured Roasted Chicken in Puff Pastry, with seasonable vegetables in a buerre blanc sauce.  That actually sounded so good we all ordered that.

A little quirk is that they had several wines that were “WOT” meaning Wines on Tap.   These suffice for many (but not all) wines by the glass.  They have one of those octopus like systems with hoses running  to several refrigerated bottles.  Most of these systems have a nitrogen arrangement to maintain freshness.  I of course seeked out one that was NOT WOT, a very nice Chardonnay.   We quite enjoyed the lunch, although it might have been a bit slow due to Christmas week, but nonetheless a very solid lunch.  We won’t go into the luxuries of lunch, although we do remember the Oscar Wilde quote of “Don’t ask what you can do for your Country, ask “what’s for lunch”.  Advice for the ages.  We’ll remember Remy’s next time


Remembering another sage quote from Thumper:  “If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all”.  Well this is kind of inverse, but our third Italian experience was at another Clayton haunt, Café Napoli.  It precedes Remy’s by a few years, and has been near the corner of Forsythe and Hanley forever.  So, if you expect paragraph after paragraph of Feeder pickiness, forget it.  I have visited the place over the years for (mostly) lunch and some dinners for years, and found that it never changes, is always reliable, and the food is good.  Service is also friendly and at dinner you are apt to see many of the customers greeted by name by the servers, usually a good sign.  We were joined here by our STL ex pat friend who was in town for the holidays, and now resides in DC, and his wife who still maintains a residence here. 

They still maintain the practice of presenting the tray with raw “Stuff’ and an explanation of tonight’s preparation of same, plus a nice menu which is pretty much arranged as enumerated above as typically Italian , although I am pleased to report that here a duck is called Vitello Piccata, as it should be.  Thank you..

Since I see I have entered Page three (tre), all I can say is that everything was properly prepared, served right (including my pan seared diver scallops).   Always a lovely experience no worries.

So I would rate our experiences as increasing in satisfaction as listed.  A pleasure to be in St. Louis with so many options, and I haven’t scratched the surface.

Our last restaurant experience was a dinner at Libertine (nee Chez Lyon) with FOJTE the following night (between Napoli and the Christmas Eve feast).   Another edition to follow.  At Napoli, we of course were


we leave for the return to the Digs tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Moving on...

This is not exactly riveting reading material, and is only a prelude to the next edition which i promise you will have actual food content.  

Our last two (big deal) trips (Ireland, Cayman Island) involved air travel, which requires you to think enough to get stuff in a suitcase that weighs less than fifty pounds.   That is a struggle for the Feeder who tries to pack for everything from hurricanes to blizzards.  So when the time arrived for the annual trek to Missouri, it was a treat to know the MOMSTER was at our disposal.  You might want it?  Just chuck it in the back and if it fits, it goes.   Well, MFO is a gift wrapper extraordinaire, who usually has most ribboned and bowed by oh, Halloween at the latest.   And with such elaborate parcels, you can’t just pack ‘em in.  Nope they have to be carefully arranged such that not a single bow is crushed.   So suitcases, boots, this and that personal stuff has to chink in where it can.  So on the morning of the drive here’s what we had for Santa's MOMSTER

At about 9:30 am, we left the friendly confines of the digs and headed west (young man).   We were not alone on the highway, on roads we have traversed innumerable times (301 to I95, to I64 etc.)  Waiting for those programmable self driving cars, but until then we sit and drive (rather I sit, and MFO drives)

But we have developed diversions to kind of help the miles slip by, such as keeping a record of license plates from the various states.  That day we saw 25.  Since our route involves a small piece of I95 it’s usually rich in snow bird folk.   Besides the plates there’s always interesting places along the way, which somehow fascinate me

Traveling in the winter (which was some 60 degrees) is more enjoyable since you can see “stuff” not obscured by foliage.  
Due to favorable winds or something we made it to Beckley, W (BG)V before stopping to give the MOMSTER a drink

At a little gas station which was accompanied by a local independent restaurant (which we didn't investigate further)

we continued on through the mountains, seeing some interesting advertising somehow appropriate to West Virginia (some of my best friends are Mountaineers)

Intriguing, but not worth a side trip.  Would certainly be interesting.  

Finally exiting the mountains in Charleston with its landmark capitol dome of West Virginia

And eventually we got to our normal place for the night at the Courtyard in Lexington, Kentucky.  Unfortunately our restaurant there has remained shuttered, so we just dined on some cheese and salami we packed along for the purpose (with suitable adult beverages of course).  Our first day accumulated 586 miles in pretty close to ten hours.. Long day

Before launching on the next (shorter) day, we decided to eat breakfast in the hotel, which was not too bad. The Courtyard was fairly empty and we had a chance to chat with the manager, who was also doubling as the kitchen help.  She asked where we were going and we said Missouri, Oh, where in Missouri?  St. Louis.  She said she lived in St. Louis for a while in a small town outside of the city called St. Charles!”  So we had to talk about the fact that FOJTE resides there.  Small world.
Eventually we refueled the MOMSTER and headed out again.   Passing through Indiana into the flatlands of Illinois bathed in their winter garb

And finally we got to our destination, as evidenced by the famous “arch” and the skyline of St. Louis, which is pretty much obscured by the white truck.  It never is easy trying to get a shot in a (rapidly) moving car past MFO at the controls…  best I could manage.

We passed some familiar St. Louis landmarks, kind of at both ends of the spectrum 

and finally we arrived at our st. Louis hotel in Earth City, our home until Christmas when we transition to FOJTY in Cape Girardeau

We arrived early enough that we had time to visit some friends and eventually went out to dinner with them.  It was the first of three straight meals of Italian food, which of course St. Louis is famous for.  I'm pretty sure their food wasn't delivered by

Rather than lengthening this any more, I think we’ll do a trifecta next time.
Our dress varied, but the third place we were definitely

Friday, December 18, 2015

Chicken and Old Man Time

Although travel is fun (not to mention broadening), so is coming home for a while.  During the “lull” between the return from the Caymans and the (now imminent) departure for Missouri and the FOJ’s for Christmas, we had a few days to ourselves (give or take 7 or eight events).  One of the things the feeder likes to do and seldom has or takes the time is actually cooking.  Recently we had a nice dish at a local restaurant of Chicken Marsala, and I thought, hey, I might be able to do that.  So, I found a recipe I kind of liked (was from Saveur) and invaded the kitchen.

Didn’t require too many ingredients so I did the necessary prep and accomplished the all important mise en place.

Chicken pounded thin with my trusty culinary rubber mallet,(~1/4 in), Marsala wine, Olive oil, thinly sliced (white button) mushrooms, Stock (okay, used Swanson’s, could be upgraded), shallots (never onions if you can help it), flour, some garlic, salt and pepper and fresh parsley for garnish..

Off we go, dredged the seasoned chicken in the flour and into the (medium high) pan with oil and butter, keeping well separated.

And Finally, Finally, the Feeder is learning to resist the temptation to “peek” to see if they are browned, usually leaving part of the meat in the pan…  So left alone they caramelize and you can flip them over

After the other side has had its chance, remove and set aside and add a little more oil and butter to pan, and cook the 'shrooms until golden brown

remove them to the "set aside" plate, a little more oil, with the shallots and garlic, maybe a little more butter and flour letting it thicken (the old "scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan"   

Returning the "Set aside" stuff, let the sauce thicken some more, and plate it up, garnish and maybe serve with Dauphinoise potatoes..  Nice dish.  Not hard.  would do it again, but would try for more sauce at the end..

The wheels of time:

I think I mentioned this before, but one of the longest running forecasted in Facebook (what's this world coming to?) and soon the familiar Pine Tree sign that stood guard for decades had a partner with a different message than the usual daily features

If you have sharp eyes you can see part of the reason for shuttering Lenny’s between the two signs (the sign of the “no rules just right” chain), and the rather ugly more recent edition of a CIB chain.  (Thank you Mr. Buffett – it ain’t Paradise). 

Before the final day, i had a chance to enjoy lunch there with a friend (and partner in seeking "just right" places).  Last dish was the trusty cheese sandwich with bacon.  Can't beat that.

Dan Rebarchick opened the place as the “Knotty Pine” in 1952 and has held sway since.  He has done so much for the local food scene, it will be sad to see him go, at least as a restaurateur.   (Keep reading).....

Wheels of time have not yet stopped for another iconic restaurant in the County,

Courtney’s has been in the county longer that a lot of us, and is still going strong.  Down near Ridge, it has far outlasted its long time neighbor Scheible’s.  We had some out of town guests staying over with us last night, and we took them to Courtney’s for a real (just right) SOMD experience.  The weather was crappy, and it turned out that we were the only table that was occupied.  Tom greeted us, but soon Julie took over.  It turned out to be an enjoyable evening.  Besides friendly banter, she took the order, cooked the food, served it, and cleared the table.    We had fried and broiled seafood, a rockfish and oyster basket.    I don’t think you can do better no matter where you go.  One of our party has a marginal seafood allergy ordered the chicken, which raised Julies eyebrows but with good natured kidding served it up.  She was worried it was overcooked and checked a couple of times. I told her how good the fried oysters were, and asked about the preparation, and she cheerfully divulged her technique (a subject for a future feeder).  I don’t know how old they are, but that is their life.

I have emoted about this before, but like the rest of us, they won’t last forever, so enjoy while you can. 

Okay, back to Lenny’s before ending. You noted the sign said that they were closing on December 13th.  I decided that I should go wish them well on that day, and about four o’clock I drove out to the restaurant.  I didn’t of course pay attention to the sign that said they stopped at one o’clock.  So, as I wheeled into the empty parking lot, one car was leaving, and I recognized Mrs. R and waved.  The second vehicle contained Danny and he stopped and we chatted a bit.  A remarkable man, he’s not looking back, just forward. No regrets, “it is what it is” was mentioned.  Nevertheless it was a good chunk of his life in the brutal food service business, but now he said he’ll have time for things like grand children, and I think we’ll find him busy around food service somehow.

Eventually I said so long and thanked him for his many contributions to the local food climate, and as I pulled out, he was over to get his mail from the mail box. I grabbed my little point and shoot and got what I thought was a fitting closing shot.  

Bye bye, Lenny’s.  

where, I am told at one time you had to be


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Return FROM Paradise, concluded

Saturday, the day after the wedding was quite low key.  We walked around the town some seeing the local economy drivers

and saw some of the other citizens also out for a stroll

After walking around, we headed back to the wedding venue for the last time, walked the beach a little

and enjoyed a little brunch buffet while the "younger set" enjoyed the pool with their “stuff” spread about

After conversing with our new and old friends for a while, we took our final leave, thanking our hosts who were leaving the next day for birding adventures in Trinidad and Tobago and made the last drive back to the Hotel.  In the daylight, the return trip was at last mastered without visiting our favorite hospital parking lot and we had a late dinner on the veranda, and enjoyed the entertainment.

The next day (Sunday) was not only our last full day, but the only day without needing to "be" someplace at some time.  It turns out that the Caymans is a very religious country and many things we take for granted on Sunday are closed there.  So shopping, some tourism items like glass bottom boat cruises are not open on Sunday.  So, darn  the luck we were forced to don more casual garb

And I should point out that those of you who have been to continental beaches abroad, my beach clothing WAS NOT what you see hairy, overweight, "gentleman" (almost) wearing, revealing much more than you want to see..  As I’m sure you would know, the Bottom Feeder would be properly and tastefully DF’d..

So with correct attire, and shopping opportunities not available, we were forced to endure a whole day like this:

Watching the passing scene

Staying healthfully hydrated

And interacting with the local residents

Under the watchful eye of others

And so we spent the entire day!  No tours, no gardens, just absorbing the scene.  So, while we don’t have very good answers for “did you see the……?” questions about the Caymans, it was a wonderful relaxing day spent doing….. nothing! (except as noted above).  We finally retired and had a restful evening.  So the next morning we had one more breakfast

And went back to the room.   The clothes I took in case there was a DFD opportunity never saw the light of day, and went back in the suitcase

And we took our last trip through the lobby

And succumbing to heavy coercion from the staff we posed in front of “the wall”

And drove to the airport, leaving the palm trees, iguanas, and beautiful azure waters behind for…

The trip home was routine, this time going through Charlotte, which is a huge facility (why are our gates always at the end of the concourse?)  and finally we boarded the flight for the last leg back to BWI, and decided to stay overnight since we didn’t arrive until after ten.  Next morning we drove back to the digs.

Musings (you didn't think you'd escape did you?):

While we never thought we’d be taking this journey (as we are approaching our "twilight years" we kind of have adapted a "do it while you can" attitude), it was a wonderful experience (well, okay I’ll give you the somewhat harrowing auto trips “LEFT, LEFT!”).   The people of the Caymans were kind and gracious ambassadors for their country.  And a special thanks to our San Diego friends for the opportunity to see new shores (so to speak), meet new people, and experience our first “destination” wedding.  

And to the readership, that is the last trip on the books for a while, although we leave a week from today to go back to Missouri for our annual Christmas visit.  We’ve lined up a few food experiences with the FOJ’s.

After that, we can maybe return to actual food stuff, I have to recount my bout with Chicken Marsala, talk about restaurant movements and so forth.  Will try to do some of that before our trip, although the social calendar is heavily booked.

And of course through it all we will maintain our staunch commitment and mission to convert all to be


A late postscript, today saw the final shuttering of Lenny's one of the icons of early independent restaurants in the county... more later.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

O K Mon!

get it?   

So after we rested for a while we set out for the pre wedding night thanksgiving dinner  to find the venue for all the activity associated with the wedding.  As I said before the Island is kind of stretched out (as a reminder)

And, as you recall the Marriott is kind of in the middle of the vertical leg, and the wedding was to be held on a property that was a bit farther east than a place Bodden Town.  I suspect you can’t see it on the map, but Bodden Town is located on the horizontal portion of the Island, kind of just past the “pink” stuff which denotes settled land sort of.  We were told it was about 10 miles, an easy drive.  Well, part of that was true, but you have to get from the “vertical” part to the “horizontal” part which means you have to traverse this area:

Which is kind of a maze, and at each intersection of brown road, there is a traffic circle.  Being a veteran of Irish traffic circles, I was not (overly) worried.  Well, turns out there is a difference between the Irish and the Cayman implementation of traffic circles (not that I’m complaining).  In Ireland before each circle is a large sign with arrows sticking out of a circle diagram with clearly marked indication of what that road would be.  That practice is not repeated in the Caymans, and road signs with the name of the road you’re on are virtually non-existent.   Plus, the GPS was reluctant to load.  We did have turn by turn directions courtesy of the Marriott Concierge lady who couldn’t have been more helpful, but they were “Take the second exit from the circle” type of thing.  Counting spokes on a wheel while trying to avoid a collision is daunting.

Well, not to draw this out, but between the “other side” driving, the helpful use of horns by the citizens, and a bit of MFO occasionally reminding me of “LEFT!” it was not a pleasant experience.  Many cell phone minutes were burned between us and our friends, with “Look for the Rubi Station”; “Do you see a Domino’s?” and eventually our friend who posted himself  beside the road as a sentry waved at us as we whizzed by.  “Hey!  That was Ed!!”  So finally we pulled into the driveway of a gorgeous house

Which had an ocean side pool and a view that kind of made you go wow!

With a quick trip to the well equipped

The travails of the road soon melted away, and we had a great Thanksgiving dinner and met all the relatives and soon to be in-laws.  Quite the evening.

The trip BACK to the hotel provided more adventures.  Turning the directions upside down we set out (now in the dark) and after a while found ourselves god knows where.  (I thought it said the third exit!).  The road we were on kind of led us into a Hospital parking lot.  Not a bad thought.  Anyway, MFO went inside and soon appeared with a helpful person who gesticulated and pointed the way, we got back on the right road (after going through a gas station as directed) and got back to the Hotel without further incident. 

The next day was the Wedding day, to take place at sunset, so we had the morning and most of the afternoon to ourselves.   We had a lovely breakfast in the Marriott, and it turned out the food was very good, eggs as ordered, plenty of smoky bacon, and the hash browns had a little cheese in them which raised them above the commonplace.  A pleasant surprise

And looky who made the butter!

After breakfast we enjoyed a restful time at the beach (under an umbrella)

The hotel provides guests with any number of water diversions, snorkeling, kayaks, sailboards, catamarans, etc., including something I’ve never seen before.  You apparently strap on some boots that had an water jet on the bottom, and the guy in the chase boat regulated the air power to elevate you up in the air

Now, anybody knows that any system with a forcing function at the “bottom” of anything is pretty much inherently unstable (why rockets have fins) and this was no different, as most of the experience was this:

However, this individual eventually got the hang of it

Why that’s fun escapes me, but whatever. 

We had lunch on the veranda, preceded with drinks

In this case, a margarita for MFO and I branched out with a “Gin Julep”, basically a mint julep made with Gin.  Was fresh muddled mint and quite refreshing, and there were no umbrellas in the drinks.

Our food was a quesadilla and a lobster taco

And again, a pleasant surprise, quick service, and the food was fresh, hot, and nicely presented.  Quite the nice experience.  (Cost?  Ptooie!)

So after lunch and a quick rest we got ready for the big ceremony.  Some relatives of our friends were staying at the same hotel, and we gave them a ride to the wedding, this time traversed expertly and flawlessly giving the mistaken impression I was a veteran (a lucky one).

Won't dwell on the wedding, but it was lovely, certainly a memory maker for the bride and groom

Quite different from the Michigan State University Student Chapel that saw the Flutters getting hitched lo these 52 years ago.  After the ceremony we had lovely food and even music supplied by some of the guests

It certainly was a memorable experience. The groom’s mother baked the wedding cake, quite the experience in a far away place.  She is a terrific baker (and cook) as is her daughter.

And we even had one more experience on the way home again demonstrating the kindness of the Cayman Island folks.  

We finally had to take our leave, and at least we’re consistent, we wound up in the same Hospital parking lot, but this time we said “Hah! We can do this!’ which we did until we fetched up against some yellow tape that was fencing off part of the road we used on the previous evening, they were having a street festival.  A young lady whom I assume was a volunteer came over and said that I would have to turn around and where were we going?  Back to the Marriott.  “Ah, that’s easy, just turn around and go back to the first circle, take the second exit, go to the next one, straight through until you come to another round about being careful to…..” At this point she paused and said “Sir, you look stressed”, well, yes I am to tell the truth.  She said; “wait right here” which I did, and soon she appeared in her auto and said “Just follow me”, and this unbelievable good Samaritan led us all the way back through those circles to our hotel which was a good 15 minutes of driving.  Once in the parking lot, she just waved and went on her way.  In this time of terrorists, bombing and shootings, it’s good to know there are real people out there.  God bless you young lady!

Once back to the hotel, we headed for the bar, and I had another dose of resort reality.   I thought I deserved a special drink since our “duties” were pretty much performed and were looking forward to a day of recovery.  So I said:  “What scotches do you have?” and was kind of surprised that the answer was Johnny Walker types, Dewar’s, and oh yes, we have Chivas.  I suppose there were some single malts, but I didn’t got there.  Okay I’ll have a Chivas.  12 or 18 year old, sir?.  What the hell, eighteen, and you might as well make it a double (knowing the penchant for um, well, er, thimble sized pours.  MFO asked about a Gimlet, and sure they could do that.   Fine Sapphire please.  Fine.  Soon enough we had our drinks (we wanted to take them back to the room and sit on our little balcony) and I was presented with omnipresent piece of paper to sign for the drinks.   52 Dollars!  What can you do?  Thanks mate… and off to the room.

Quite the day, and we didn’t really have to get

Tropical shirts sufficed…