Tuesday, March 27, 2018

You figure out a title, i'm dry

Kind of helter skelter, but we’ll actually get to food toward the end..

Yard Guests

MFO is fond of saying “there’s always something on the water”, and it’s true.  Odd current patterns in the water, ducks (in the winter), weird boats occasional dolphins, aircraft of one sort of another etc.

Like the other day when we had an aluminum bird hovering over the water, probably the SAR folks practicing

Always fun to watch.   And then a rather disturbing couple of visitors showed up, which, while not common are (mercifully) relatively rare

They were urged to leave by firing the Red Ryder BB gun in their direction, the last thing we want is to have permanent guests, especially when the pool gets open.

A quick birder comment:  a couple of things that drive birders nuts (probably 80% there already), one is calling Vultures “Buzzards”. Happens a lot and when you politely tell them they’re Vultures, not Buzzards, they just kind of look at you.   A second albiet subtler but understandable (and still wrong) is calling the above birds “Canadian Geese”.  They may sometimes reside there, but the correct biological name is: “Canada Geese”.   Anyway, as anybody knows from walks in the park that are shared with these birds, their hygienic habits leave (ha ha) something to be desired, or undesired. 

Mary – land Day

As local alert readers know, this past weekend was a weekend when we celebrated the founding of our state on the 25th of March 1634 when the Ark and the Dove landed on St. Clements Island (previously Blackistone Island). Leonard Calvert and Fr. Andrew White were in the company and they named the land after the King Charles the First's wife Henrietta Maria calling it "Mary - land" (how it should properly be pronounced).  

Anyway, there are a couple of local celebrations, one at Historic St. Mary’s City (Saturday), and another at Colton’s Point, close to the colonists landing spot (Monday – always held on the 25th).   As another aside, this is the first Maryland day celebration at the City in over a decade that I have missed.  This year it was held at the site of the slave cabin by Brome Howard Inn, and between my condition and the length away from the parking lot, it was more than I wanted to handle, so I demurred. One of the things that is unique about our celebration is the “parade of the school kids” wherein 4th graders come in carrying the flag of their county.  A colorful and cute parade.

(From a few years ago) 

And yet another aside: besides the opening of the slave cabin exhibit at the City, the restored African American one room school house in Drayden that opened in 1890 held a ribbon cutting.  In honor of that, MFO (archivist extraordinaire) put together a little exhibit containing some of the school ledgers, documents, etc.
Probably tough to read

Here’s a close up of a list from Regina Hammett’s book that was kind of interesting

MFO also attended the ceremony at Colton’s Point yesterday..  a real workhorse.

Hey Feeder!  Isn’t this supposed to be a food blog?  Okay, Okay, Okay

Yellow again

Last Friday, I had another follow up at Hopkins which started at 10:15 (Baltimore time)!! Postponed from the day of the wind storm, causing us to be on the road at 0700.  Ugh.  Anyway, after an encouraging report from the medical side, we decided to take lunch again at Yellow Fin in Edgewater.  We had enjoyed a previous visit so decided to do a reprise.   It may be the “you can’t go home again” syndrome but this visit was not as rewarding.  To be sure the setting is really great, overlooking the harbor on the South River, very nice appointments, nice tables, lovely colors.  Started out with a glass of “house” chardonnay (Canyon Road)

Then did my all too boring perusal of the menu, trying to discern what might be lower sodium choices.  Certainly found many that were not so finally settled for a (chicken) Grilled Chicken Caesar.   I gave them the usual “no added salt” caution and asked if the dressing could be on the side, wherein I was peremptorily informed that “it is already made up”.  Hmmm, well, okay.  After a bit the salad came:

A bowl of tired greens (maybe because they had been dressed for a while) topped with a haphazard pile of hunks of chicken.  And I think the bird had also been sitting for a while.  Dried out, stringy and tough. Not a very satisfying dish.  MFO’s “fresh spinach” salad seemed to have more stems than leaves on the spinach, and her chicken topping was from the same cut of cloth as mine.  So although continued high marks for the venue, lowered our expectations for the food.


You of course remember my tip about the little Philly smoked salmon tub

Well, I got another one for you.  MFO happened to find little single serving cups of Guacamole.

We both like “guac” a lot, but if you buy the usual full size container, we can’t eat it fast enough that it doesn’t turn brown (yes, I know there are various schemes) and you end up pitching half of it out. This stuff is pretty good, does have a little kick to it, and is easily finished by two with a couple of drinks.  Not haute, but easy to serve, no mess to clean up, and tastes good. 

Tonight a second serving of Sea to Table Coho salmon with lemon dill brush… but I’ll be darned if I’m going to be


Oh, I did not do a “bracket” this year and quite enjoyed it.  Don’t have to root for a team/coach you don’t like.  And I’m probably the only fan in America that won’t be rooting Loyola and Sister Jean.  Go BLUE!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hat Trick of Meals

Well, when the world has shut down for Toby, what do you do?  Well, you drink coffee and look out at the precipitation while you catch up on the blogging

And, at least in my back yard, wonder how we’re going to get anything much (not that I’m complaining, mind you) like was predicted.  Fine with me.   And after you watch that a bit, you can always think about food.  Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve had a chance to get fed via three different sources.  A recap:

Source One:  a Gala setting

Got out the duds to DFD:

Struggled into them (can anybody ever get those studs to work?) and went over to the Hollywood Fire and Res….excuse me, Social Hall for the annual St. Mary’s Ryken dinner.  It was catered by Ken Upton of Ken’s Creative Kitchen, and over the  years of helping with the Hospital Gala, I got to know him fairly well.  He’s really an interesting guy.  Anyway, I sent him a note telling him about my “reduced sodium” diet, and he said he would take care of me.  He wasn’t going to attend, but would tell his staff.

So I donned the duds, strapped on my little oxygen generator and got to our table, and no sooner had I sat down than the room captain came over and asked what I would like to drink, went to the bar and brought me a Jamieson (it was St. Patrick’s day).  I did have a couple of the passed jumbo shrimp (pretty low on sodium) and in a few minutes she reappeared with a plate of apps that she said the kitchen made for me.


Crab cakes and mushroom tarts 

there was a salad of wild springs greens and then the main course for dinner consisted of a steak, (sans the burgundy shallot reduction), Dauphinoise Potato Medallion, Roasted Tomato Persillade, and my personal favorite, leek ribboned bundle of spring asparagus (which stayed on the plate)

which they do quite well (er, rare), and I was kept well supplied supplied with wine and drink.  Kudos to the catering team

A fun evening.. we left when dancing began…

Source Two: a restaurant setting

A smaller venue is the Ruddy Duck Seafood and Ale House on St. George Island, where we met a friend for dinner.   We started out with appetizers (well, we actually started out with cocktails), and i got my usual choice there for a starter

MFO got some fresh Rockfish bites  with house-made chips, which she greatly enjoyed.

For main courses our friend had a warm mushroom salad with Feta (as I remember) which was characterized as very good 

For her choice of main dish MFO selected seared scallops over pasta

Very pretty and well executed.

As for The Feeder, with some reluctance I ordered a pan seared Cod dish as a potential lower sodium option than some of the other choices (sigh).  Now those who know me are aware I am NOT a Codfish fan.  I find/think it is kind of a no flavor, nothing fish, with kind of a mealy texture, usually in a thick cut, and one of those dishes that require the flavors to come from other ingredients.  Well, it turned out to be probably the best cod dish I’ve ever had.  Chef Nelson pan roasted it and served it with a white bean sauce, and a couple of clams.   Note the sear on the fish, which gave it a very nice crunch, helping with soggy texture of Cod.  Still not a lot of inherent flavor, but with the beans complimenting the sweetness of the fish, it was a very enjoyable dish.  We are going to get some Cod with our next “Sea to Table” delivery so I may try to replicate it (unfortunately probably sans the beans)

Anyway, it was a good dinner, especially with the company of a good friend.

Source Three:  A home cookin’ setting

While it’s nice go out, it’s also nice to stay home.  With my dietary restrictions, it somewhat limits our choices (I will try to NOT keep harping on this, but is a reality).  MFO has done exceptional work coming up with things that not only taste pretty good, but also stay within the limits.  One of the things she uses is pork which is inherently low in the evil chemical.  Plus now days, it is also low in fat.   So last night she got a little pork loin and perched it on a bed of potatoes, red peppers, garlic cloves, and onions, and capped the little guy with sliced Beurré d'Anjou pears.
Where’s waldo?  Under the pears

Popped in the oven with convection setting at 450° for a bit and voila!

Quite tasty.

So, there’s three different venues for food, all unique in their own way.  I won’t play around with the “B” word. 

Since I’ve rambled on as usual, I will only tease you with an upcoming post involving:

Meanwhile the snow continues to fall in varying intensity, with barely any accumulation at the digs.  And, looking at the clock, I see that it is almost cocktail time, and tonight no need to


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pie and a Tip...

There’s the old joke which occurs occasionally in geometry class when calculating the area of a circle (A = πr2) and some wise guy will say “no, pie are round!”.  Well, today is what is referred to as Pi day, which is always fun.  Back in 2015 when it was 3/14/15, and then you could cheat with some sort of warped logic, and maybe append the hours, minutes and seconds to come up with 3 14 15 92:65:35 etc., or something.  Today’s two decimal places are kind of lame.   Anyway, Pi day has taken hold and is now a kind of a National event mostly allowing people to eat an actual pie (or a piece-a-pie or maybe a piz-za pie), so anything that relates to food is fine with me. And on a more somber note, it also marks the anniversary of Stephen Hawking’s death, which is somehow fitting. 

Speaking of food, I think I mentioned that the Urban Barbeque in Leonardtown has shuttered, but don’t think I’ve included the fact that Smokey Joe’s over here in “the Park” is going to move in.  Apparently the property it currently sits on will be sold some time in the future, so the owner has been looking around for another venue.  Perfect fit.

Apparently our newest addition to the Leonardtown food scene will open for burritos and tacos on 2 April.  Yippee!

Lastly, and I really don’t know enough about this to be speaking about it and far from authoritatively, but just to let you know in case you hear/heard something about it.   The state legislature is considering some form of a “minimum wage” bill that will mandate a $15/hour minimum wage by 2024. Just for reference, the current minimum wage in Maryland is $9.25.  so on the surface, we all would say “hooray” helps the workers, boosts the economy, etc.  Well, maybe not so fast.   These bills will now include what are referred to as “tipped workers”, which would include the person that comes to your table at a restaurant and asks “what can I get started fer ya?”; just after being seated, or later wants to know “if you’re still werkin’ on that”.  And the person who hands you the check at the end with usually a line for “tip”.

How all this figures into that person’s income is a mystery to me.  I believe that most restaurants pay their servers, bus boys, line cooks, a hourly wage much lower than that minimum wage, but that tips make up the difference as they get “credit” for the tips.  How those tips get distributed and accounted for to the staff is a mystery to me, and since cash is involved, it can get murky.  Usually there is a tip pool that gets divvied up by some scheme.  So if the “tip credit” gets eliminated and the owners have to actually pay all staff the (by 2024) $15 per hour, they will have to up prices, etc.   Many of my restaurateur friends are not in favor of this legislation.

One scheme that is being used at some places in New York is to adjust the cost of a menu item so that the costs of food AND service are included, and in the end you are expected to pay what the total of the food you enjoyed amounts to.  No fuzzy math required at the end of the meal with an alcohol clouded brain. 

I’m not so sure how people around here would feel about that, prices would most likely increase, and maybe you kind of lose the option to adjust your tip to reflect the service you received.  But it does take the normal end of meal struggle, and would certainly raise prices.

Anyway, keep your ears tuned…  perhaps as I learn more I’ll update this confusing report.  Let me know if you have some thoughts... while you


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Errata and venting..

Well, did you ever wonder how to recover from a dumb mistake?  I’ve wrestled for a couple of days on various strategies.  In his last posting (March 6th) the Feeder lamented the closing of Café Des Artistes, saying it was one year ago “today”.  Well, due to I’m not sure what, I somehow thought I was still living in 2017, so when CDA closed on March 6th (2016) it would have been one year ago, and so reported.  Well, due to overwhelming criticism from hundreds, well, many, er, one reader, I figured out that March 6th 2016 was two years ago from last Tuesday. 

So, I thought maybe I could claim I was testing the alertness of the readership, and purposely planted the false information.  Another would be to say it was all a lie and fake news, a strategy that seems to be in vogue in certain circles these days.   But reality is reality, and I guess just had another instance of an increasingly common occurrence, usually gratuitously called a “senior moment”.  So we’ve been without “fine dining” in Leonardtown for two years, not one.

And I was almost out of content, when something just kind of popped up.  I’m watching soccer at the moment (Newcastle vs. Southampton in the Premier League) and looked for an NCAA basketball game to oscillate with.  Found one that was on the (HD)CBS Sports Network on Metrocast 793.   Punched it in to the clicker, and was taken to a replay of last night’s Duke/UNC game.  Huh?  Oh, I see, it somehow jumped to 794.  “Channel Down” took me to 792! The roll around confirmed that 793 was not in the cable lineup, nor was the standard def 149.  What the hell?  So I called tech support and after giving them my life history spoke with “Kelly” who confirmed that yes, CBSSN was no longer in the channel lineup, but a standard def could be on 89.  Well, yes it was.  Grainey and almost unwatchable.  So since I was talking to a Metrocast rep, I made my standard gripe that I really wish they carried the Big Ten Network.  Yes, she said, we get a lot of requests for that, and since Atlantic Communications took over Metrocrap, she said it was being considered and possibly would be “coming soon”.  Not holding breath. 

Well, I see Tiger is in contention for the Valspar golf tournament this weekend, and you would think it was the second coming (which it might be in some bizarre way) with many of the sports talking heads reporting “Tiger’s Back!”, and Tiger worship is in full roar.    So I’m sure today’s TV coverage will show a single point broadcast.  Not sure I can take that.  And again, my real anger is not with the person but the “media” feeding frenzy.

Okay, since we’re mired in the weeds today (if there’s anybody still reading at this point), another annoyance is still with the automotive industry or rather the ad agencies that shill for their products.   Subaru still leads in the obnoxious category, with a new entry that depicts a blind person “showing” his misty eyed family “sights” that he senses with his ears (snowy owl for instance).  Heart wrenching.  Makes me want to run out and purchase a love… er Subaru.  And the arrogance of Lexus goes on, with a car that is largely made in Japan pushing commercials with the spokesperson droning on in a broad English accent.  I suppose to create an aura of sophistication.  Ads finish with “See yo Lehhxsuus deelah”.

Okay thanks, out.  Going out for dinner tonight, Ruddy Ale house. So I’ll have to be correctly


Tuesday, March 6, 2018



just a short note that I wanted to get out today.   There is a saying in some blues songs about "you never miss your water till the well runs dry".

Well, one year ago today, Cafe Des Artistes in Leonardtown went dark.  From a year's perspective, it is apparent what a hole it left for Leonardtown which is trying to be a bona fide arts district.  There are other ingredients there, a coffee shop, a kitchen store, a gallery, and a few other eating options.  However, IMHO, there are no dining options.  Loic and Karleen offered what we now see was a unique setting where creative food was available, along with caring attention from the Chef and his charming wife. And also from that year's perspective, we see how hard that is.  La Rive Breton did their best, but the model that worked in DC didn't translate well, and they also went dark.  

Plus through the grape vine we now know what the Jaffres had to put up with in the building.  The "Rive" team invested a large sum of money trying to fix what Loic endured for years.  So after a long period of vacancy a Tex Mex restaurant will be moving into what was the cornerstone of Leonardtown.  Maybe not, but it seems to me that the whole aura of the town is lowered.  I know the businessmen's association is populated with smart people so maybe they can work something out.  I don't think Dos Amigos will have Creme Brulee on the menu..

Perhaps a good thing is that Loic is loving rural life in Pennsylvania, and his chickens.  He deserves it! 

And I have also learned and verified that the Urban Barbecue place has also closed shop.  Personally I never tried their product, but reports reaching the feeder were never very positive.  As I recall, it was a young couple that opened the place ("we've always dreamed of....") I hope they didn't suffer financial hardship.  Tough business. 

anyway, just another milestone.  


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Apres Storm

Last look was during the storm, so we’ll wrap this up with an “after the storm”, report.  Here’s a time history of the maximum gusts (blue) and the barometric pressure (gray) starting midnight (M) through noon (N) on the first through about noon yesterday

We didn’t experience the 60 – 70 mph gusts reported elsewhere, but 55 is sporty enough. If you would like to see real time what’s going on up on the Feeder’s roof, click here

Yesterday morning, there was remaining evidence of the storm as the water was as low as we could remember, the westerly winds forcing the water from the river out into the Bay.

We don’t remember seeing the waves breaking beyond our neighbor’s pier.  During my neighborhood recon trip (see below) I ran into our landscape guy who was out doing tree duty, and he said he was going  just walk out and harvest oysters.

So as I said, I decided to drive around our “hood” and found a lot more evidence of the force of the winds man made things:

As well as things that took Mom Nature a while to erect



And those are just what you can see from our streets, all within our Neighborhood.
After that,  MFO had some errands to do around town, and I rode along, seeing more damage

(Our New Nissan dealer)

While parked in Wildewood Center with MFO going inside a store, I watched the State Police helo going round and round, perhaps training in the still pretty brisk wind.

And there were also other birds training, providing “traffic”

And finally, to inject a tiny bit of food content, the good folks at Golden Corral wanted us to know about their “Butterfiy” shrimp being served for your “Diner” and maybe a harbinger of things to come if they don’t pay their rent

So we bid adieu to winter storm Riley, which left many monuments


If I were to go for the Butterfiy shrimp, I don’t think I would bother


Friday, March 2, 2018


Weather Pages
Well, it’s not a hurricane but winds are almost in that range.   Thought I would take a minute to comment on the weather.  You may recall that I used my Christmas money (from The FOJ’s; MFO, and some of “my own”) to check a bucket list item that I’ve had for a long time.  Have my own personal weather station! And not just some pretend device, a real semi-professional station.  So after a lot of research, I finally settled on a Davis Vantage Pro 2.  Next question was where to put it.  Well, sticking it in the back lawn would be one solution, but I wanted to get data unsullied by local conditions, wind currents, warm surfaces, etc.  So what about the roof of the digs!  The peak of the roof is probably feet off the ground, and we’re one of the highest locations nearby anyway, so maybe 90 feet or so up in the pristine air.

Well, at my age (and present condition) I’m not about to clamber up there, so we contacted Lincoln Contractors who had done an excellent job of fixing roof leaks for us in the past.  They said sure, and sent out “Mike” who took the project to heart.  He’s a neat guy.  So I assembled the various piece and parts, got the mounting hardware put together, made sure the thing “talked” to its display console, and eventually they came back and installed it on the roof.  It was an excellent choice of location since it is quite unobtrusive on the digs, you can hardly notice it

Kind of reminds me of a lunar lander

It collects and measures rain amounts and rates, temperature, wind speed and direction, and calculates relative humidity, dew point, wind chill, heat index, keeps track of maximum gusts on and on. 

Well, today it got a real workout.  With the Nor’easter bearing down on us, high winds and strong gusts were predicted.  And mother nature didn’t disappoint.  The river was in full roar

We watched the console as it gave us real time data on wind speed

31 mph (MFO doesn’t like Knots) from the NNE, at 3:02pm on 3/02 (hey!) 

And with the push of a button, the maximum recorded gust
of 54 mph at 9:53am

Neat! But wait, there’s more! By hooking it to the router you can (with days of hassle) upload the data real time to Weather Underground which has a nice display.

Along with graphs (near and dear to an Engineer’s heart!)

Don’t know if it will be readable in this small format but here’s the wind speed (blue line) and gusts (red dots) for today.

note that after starting this morning it has more or less increased all day.   Anyway, I greatly enjoy watching it..  great stuff.   You should be able to find “me” through Weather Underground; station ID is KMDLEXIN32.

Natural History Pages

We often tell people that one of the joys of “living on the water” is that there is always something going on.   The other day when we had another front/storm pass through I am pretty sure there were some waterspouts.  Hard to tell, not well formed, but quite possibly were
And same day/time there was “something” over by the base

And not only are we treated to meteorological events, but we get a lot of “visitors”
Like the Canada geese

Tundra Swans (the good kind)

Always stately Herons

And “Henry” (I am terrible at raptors, so won’t guess – assume probable red tail or shoulder)

Food Section
Not much to report, we went back to a Blue Apron today, but it arrived too late to thaw the proteins, so MFO is going to do what she calls “Chicken Rags”, those boneless skinless (tasteless) chicken breasts.

We are still very pleased with Sea to Table, the seafood has been excellent, and you are not bound to a recipe (and ingredients) that come with “The Apron”.  Had some Maine Redfish the other night that was superb. 

Cocktail hour approaches, and I think maybe I’ll use some of my precious Plymouth Gin and have a martini (Stirred NOT Shaken, up, with a twist) so pleasing to the eye and palate.


Yesterday was Frederic Chopin’s 208th birthday.  I hope Brian Ganz raised a glass (or piano lid) to him and maybe celebrated with my faithful reader ABusyBee.

We were supposed to go up to Hopkins today, but we bailed and they thanked us..

Okay, cocktails are neigh, as is