Saturday, March 7, 2020

Even More Stuff

Well, my analog calendar tells me that today is the 7th of March.  When I intended to post on the 4th of March, I was going to use the old saw about “Today is a command to go forward ~ March Forth!”, but as usual where DOES that time go anyway?  Somehow  March Seventh doesn’t seem to have any clever meaning attached.  It does however mark the return to "Standard" time.  Ugh. up and at'em early tomorrow. Ugh.

So, I’ll just use some “ink” on this’s and thatses which have come to my attention lately.

Emoji’s.  Have you noticed lately that facebook, Messenger, and similar social media sites seem to be trying harder and harder to drive you to the use of Emoji’s?  When you click on the little moon face in a text, you get either a page full of those inane animated cartoon like things (gifs??) or a bunch of emoji’s.  can’t just get the little winking guy, no, no, no, I just want a face.  “wouldn’t you like to try the new Emoji keyboard?  Click here!”   NO DAMMIT, I just want the little guy.

As kind of a corollary, a friend once sent me a rather scholarly paper on the use of emoticons.  Ancient men carved what now might be called emoji’s on the walls of their caves telling stories without a written language.  We’ve maybe come full circle!  Anyway, it’s annoying.. 

Cooking Videos.  I think I have mentioned that I succumbed to watching instructional videos as offered by Master Class , primarily sucked in by the prospect of a Thomas Keller course.  I bought a single class, and wound up buying the complete access to get to his other (two) courses.  While I never would tell the loyal readers how to spend their hard earned cash, I found them well worth the (fairly dear) investment.  Keller explains every step, offers little insights as to why you for instance off set the stock pot on the heat to drive the impurities to one side for easy skimming.  Full of stuff like that.  Plus, he just wants to teach you, not show off as a Guy Fieri might.  He generally tells you the French name of what he is doing, or cooking.  Great Stuff!!

So, I finally finished all three (lengthy) lessons, and although I am unlikely to roast a chicken taking three days (dry age, brine, etc.) it is fun to see what things they do in the French Laundry or Bouchon and why they are world class,  three starred restaurants.   So, eager to continue watching cooking videos, I started a Jamie Oliver series.  Well, (over stated a bit) Jamie shouldn’t carry Thomas’s dirty pans.  He is informative, and has a bit of braggadocio about him, and does seem to care about what he cooks.  A couple of contrasts:  Keller points out that the purpose of the steel in most knife sets is to hone the edge only, not “sharpen” it.  Jamie, on the other hand routinely says “keep your knife sharpened by using the steel”.  Keller cautions you to NOT push your spoon against the screen in your Chinois, but tap it, where Oliver says you should use the back of a spoon to force the liquid through the mesh.  Besides culinary videos there are photography ones by Annie Leibovitz for instance.  Not bad.

“Philosophy”   A loyal (and vocal) reader asked me the other day if I ever came out of a restaurant saying “that was great!”.  Fair question.  My usual rambling answer was yes.  BUT not because it was at a Michelin starred place, it is because it met expectations.  An example:  If I go to Abell’s diner down in Clements, I expect to share my lunch with HVAC, electricians, and other tradesmen, who might look askance at me with a “who’s this guy?” gaze; a lady behind the counter older than me who might call me “Hon”.  A pre-made burger on a Wonder bread bun, Cisco fries (but crunchy and hot), a little Caddy on the counter with catsup, mustard, perhaps a little bottle of hot sauce, AND malt vinegar.   If all those things happen, it’s a GREAT MEAL.   Alert readers might remember I term these places “just right”.  Enjoy them while they’re still here. 

Cuppa Joe. We stopped by St. Inie’s coffee shop, hearing they had installed a “elevator” for poor schlubs like me that can no longer negotiate stairs.  Well, not quite what comes to mind with the word “elevator”.  It’s one of those (in this case) two “cars” that only go vertically, requiring a change mid ride. 
AResized wcm T1i 200302 -7977.
Being first time users, we had to ask for help and a gracious person came out to assist.  Well, you need a fist full of keys, one to open the door to the first cubicle, one to activate the system, requiring the rider to hold down the “up” toggle the whole ride, and then transfer at top to the second car.  There is no room at the top to do a “180” which in my case is required to bump backwards over the threshold. Another key to open the door, then you can go into the coffee shop.  Once inside, it’s very pleasant, the staff is kind, and there are plenty of varieties to choose your beans from
Which can be ground to your preference or just come along as whole beans.  No machines, they employ the “pour over” method only.  No lattes, no macchiato’s, or froo-froo drinks.  Just honest great coffee. 
Now, I have to applaud them for attempting to provide “access” but what they have is not something we would repeat on a regular basis..

Comings, Goings, and Stayings.  Well St. Inie’s is located in the middle of (“old”) Lexington Park, quite near this venerable building with a storied past.  Long timers will recognize it as “The Roost”.  It is in a new guise,
Featuring the very popular and well known and ubiquitous Vietnamese dish
A tough locale as has been proven by a string of failed attempts.  Never uphill since “rue’s roost” went dark.

Elements apparently is holding to closing this spring sometime, and rumor has it that the building will become part of the ever-expanding Ruddy group.  We’ll see.

There is a place on Great Mills (with I think a branch on the solomon’s)
That I keep hearing about.  Anybody familiar with it?   Good/Bad??

And lastly, there has been buzz about a replacement for the “Bottom of the Hill” place which has apparently shuttered after two(?) years or so.  My initial report was that it was going to be a “seafood” restaurant.  Have you ever had a Dover Sole deboned at the table by a server in a Tux, removing the delicate flesh and bone from a perfectly sautéed whole fish?  One of the joys of a real Seafood staple.   Well, I really wouldn’t expect that (I can dream can’t I??) but maybe a decent place for fresh fish, nicely prepared (other than fried).  Well, the same alert reader sent me a picture that dashed any thoughts of that
OMG here we go again, fried crab balls, perch, or maybe catfish.  Happy Seafood House?  Oh, dear.  Wonder who…

Okay, I’ve held you long enough, just some stuff to get off my chest.   Not sure how you would

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well
Virginia Woolf

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