The End of Week Forty-One

It's Victor's Birthday, today! We actually left the house and got sushi to celebrate. Sushi is just not on my top ten list of things to make at home. I've almost kinda made it, before, but... it wasn't quite what one would call a total success. I'm going to need a few lessons from our niece, Christine who is a stellar Sushi Chef in Portland. It really is amazing to see the edible works of art she can create.


We went to Hakata in the Gateway Shopping Center where I used to work. This was their version of a California Roll with a slightly spicy sauce. It was pretty good and the white tuna nigiri was exceptional. Plenty of condiments at the table to dip, plus the obligatory wasabi, ginger, daikon, etc... All-in-all, pretty good for the suburbs.

As for the gym... No loss, no gain, this week, but we're officially in large shirts! All of the XXL shirts have been donated, along with all of the XXL t-shirts, the XL shirts, and many of the XL t-shirts. The t-shirts are the hard part - we live in them and had a lot - but we're now swimming in them! Buh-Bye shirts from our travels... I guess we're just going to have to travel more! It's good that we're doing this when the weather is turning nicer (although you couldn't prove it, today...) Shorts and t-shirts will get us through to September and my nephew's wedding in California.

A good day all around....


Dixie Chicks, Chocolate, and What If...

Last summer we learned that The Dixie Chicks were going to be touring - and they had a show planned for Hershey. Tickets wouldn't go on sale until November, so we set a reminder and bought them the first day we could. We printed them out and put them away.

Fast-forward seven months. Friday was the show.


All I can say is The Dixie Chicks are back with a vengeance! What a fantastic show!

Neither of us had ever been to The Sweetest Place on Earth™  so we arrived early to check out the town. First off, if you've never been to Hershey, Pennsylvania, be prepared for chocolate.


It's a company town. Chocolate Avenue, Cocoa Way, Hershey-this, and Hershey-that. Street lights downtown are shaped like Hershey Kisses. Hershey dominates. And all roads lead to Hersheypark. One word.


Not really knowing where to start, we went logical - Hershey's Chocolate World. It's a faux-factory tour and a dozen ways to get you to part with your money. My complaint is you don't actually get to see that real chocolate being made. We toured a Hershey factory in California when we lived there, but that plant is now closed and the chocolates are now being made in Mexico - thank you, NAFTA. This was a very Disney-esque ride done with props and a lot of video.


It was fun - it just wasn't seeing real chocolate being made - which really is kinda cool.

Not wanting to spend exorbitant amounts of money on Hershey-Logo'd clothes or other really dumb items, we left Chocolate World and headed up the the Hotel Hershey.

When I first started looking at where to stay, the Hotel Hershey was the first place I looked. And, at $456.00/night, I started looking elsewhere, right away. After seeing the hotel, I may have been a bit hasty. The place ain't half-bad. This is the back of the hotel. Pools, fountains, and huge expanses of green lawn abound.



The hotel was staffed. And I mean staffed. There were people everywhere to do anything for you - with smiles on their faces. We walked into a couple of the gift shops and walked out with a couple of trinkets and bottles of Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar and Chocolate Raspberry Vinegar. We tasted it in the shop - both are ridiculously good!


Besides the obvious topping on ice cream, there are a few ideas floating around in my mind... Stay tuned...

We headed back to our hotel for a bit of freshening up before the concert. This is the hotel next door to us - and, yes, they were open and renting rooms.


A little rustoleum, a little paint ...

But I digress... It was off to Hersheypark Stadium for the concert!


The place is pretty big - Paul McCartney's going to be playing there in July - but not arena huge. And we had good seats - 18 rows back, center stage.


The concert was scheduled for 7pm. At 6:45pm, a few raindrops fell. At 6:50pm, the skies opened and a deluge fell from the shy. They cleared the seats and had us all under the stands.


It poured for an hour. Everyone was soaked - and after a few minutes, in ridiculously good moods. We finally were able to get back to our seats and at 9pm the concert began.

They opened with The Long Way Around and went right into Lubbock or Leave It, and  then Truth #2.


The backdrop videos were stunning.


They did a Prince cover - Nothing Compares 2 U - and the crowd went wild.


Song after song after song, the audience was on its feet. I'm glad we paid for seats - we never once sat in them.


And they got political. They had to have shot a ton of red, white, and blue confetti into the crowd. Caricatures of all the presidential contenders danced across the screen. It was a sight to behold. Goodbye Earl had a picture of Trump with devil horns. Great stuff.


My favorite song, though, was the first of their encores - I'm Not Ready to Make Nice. This has been my favorite song of theirs since the country music world vilified them for their comments about Dubya.

And while it's pretty hard to top this, their last song of the night was a dedication to the 49 victims in Orlando, played in front of a huge rainbow heart. A cover of Ben Harper's Better Way. Very moving. The crowd roared its approval. And it was an interesting crowd. All age groups, lots of folks who didn't look all that liberal on the surface - and everyone cheering the political stuff. The adage of don't judge a book by its cover was continually going through my mind.


One of the best concerts I have seen in the modern era. It had everything. I am so glad we were there! We got back to the hotel at midnight, totally wired! It was a great night - pouring rain delay, and all. I'm still singing I'm Not Ready to Make Nice!

Saturday morning arrived without a cloud in the sky. After a leisurely breakfast , we decided it was time to see Hersheypark.


We arrived just before the 10am opening and joined the queue. It went pretty quickly and in no time we were in the park and having fun.


We took a merry-go-round ride, replaying a day in Santa Cruz where we almost got arrested for throwing taffy from the alpine cars. No taffy, this time, and no police greeted us at the end of the ride.


But we did have fun.



It was hot. This fair-skinned little boy slathered on the sun screen, but after 4 hours, it was time to say goodbye. I just can't do the direct sun/water park stuff stuff, anymore. But there is a lot to do if you can take the heat and don't mind standing in lines for indeterminate amounts of time with no shade.


Back to the hotel for a regroup and we were off to an outlet mall. We need nothing. Could find nothing. Outlet Malls really are a ripoff. There was nothing that I couldn't buy online for less - from Jockey underwear to FoodSaver bags. We figured if the new stuff wasn't going to get us, maybe some old stuff would - we headed to an antique mall.

Antique malls are my kind of shopping. With no preconcieved ideas of what you're looking for, things just happen to catch your eye. And the first thing to catch my eye was some original Desert Rose china.


My grandmother had some of this when I was a kid and I thought it would be fun to have. This is the real stuff made in California - not the faux-stuff now made in China. 4 dinner plates, 4 salad/dessert plates.

We found another Santa for the collection, a tulip bowl to hold bathroom stuff... and passed on a ceramic chandelier made in Italy. It almost - almost - came home with us.


It would have been hell to keep clean.

The surprise of the trip, though was the restaurant where we had dinner Saturday night. The place is called What If... and it's in the basement of the Howard Johnson Inn where we stayed!

From an unpretentious motel lobby, one walks down a flight of steps into another world! I was really surprised. We had heard great things about the place and reviews online said not to let the outside looks sway you and to take a chance. We did. And my stomach was happy we did!

Victor started off with a Screaming OJ Martini. Vodka, prosecco, fresh orange juice, and peach schnapps. A dangerous drink, for sure.


Appetizers were Fried Calamari with Thai and Marinara Sauces and the Black Bean Margarita. It had black beans, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream. It was really good. the calamari was perfectly fried and the sauces were excellent.


We both had salads with Blueberry Pomegranate Vinaigrette. Excellent, although I think I would have made the vinaigrette a bit more tart. Personal preference. It was excellent the way it was.


Then it was time for the main courses. Victor went for the Lobster Ravoli - Lobster-stuffed Ravioli with a Mimosa Sauce and Parmesan. Rich without being overpowering.


I went for the Veal Frangelico - Veal Cutlets with Mango, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, and a Frangelico Sauce. This had a lot of textures and flavors going on - including a smokiness that I think came from the breading on the veal. Not a bad choice!


We were stuffed. But that didn't stop us from getting the Dessert Sampler! Turtle Brownies, Chocolate Decadence Cake with Raspberry Coulis, Titamisu, Chocolate Mousse, and an Oreo Cream Pie.

Ridiculously Good! Our server, Jenny, was charming, knowledgeable, and just fun, good people.

If you're ever in Hershey - don't judge a book by it's cover...

What If...
845 East Chocolate Avenue
Hershey, PA 17033






Jakes Wayback Burgers


Ever have one of those kitchen-disaster days where it's better just to walk away than try and fix it? That was me, earlier this evening.

A few months back, our dog, Cybil, stopped eating. Since she was a total chow-hound prior to this, we took her to the vet, where we learned she had kidney failure... At 12 years of age, she's getting old. They put her on a special renal diet - that she promptly refused to eat. They changed the diet and she ate for a few days - and then quit, again. After another vet visit, they said it was okay for us to just cook for her. I've written enough renal diets in my life that cooking a renal diet for a dog really wasn't that difficult.

For quite a while, she was pigging down on the beef and chicken stews I was making - and then, a few days ago, she decided she was getting tired of them, as well. This, of course, was right after I had make a beef and pasta and rice dish with about 5 pounds of beef. Being that I can be the cheapest SOB on the planet, sometimes, I packaged it up and put it in the freezer - I sure as hell wasn't throwing it out. She's back to eating regular canned dog food and loving every bit of it. Go figure.

Last night, I pulled a container out to rework as a stew for us for tonight's dinner. Heck, I can rework just about anything. It was still pretty frozen when I went to start dinner, so into the microwave it went for a few minutes. It was still icy, but I put it in the pot on the stove.

Well... that was my intent, anyway... What I actually did was get part of it into the pot and the rest of it all over the stove - under the grates, all over the burners... A real mess. My first thought was no wonder the dog won't eat this crap and I threw it all away. All of it - including the two other containers in the freezer. What I didn't do, however, was curse, yell, or otherwise lose my temper. I mean, a couple of expletives did come out under my breath, but definitely not the string I'm capable of. I was actually quite proud of myself.

Victor came walking in after I had cleaned everything up and was getting ready to thaw some chip steaks for a quick Swiss steak dinner when I semi-laughingly relayed my story.

He said "I'll go get sandwiches."

As if I need another reason to love the guy... he just knows the perfect thing to say at just the perfect time.

And in moments he was off to Jake's Wayback Burgers. We're pretty equi-distant from both Jake's and Five Guys. We've become Jake's fans over Five Guys... Good burgers, good service, and less expensive, to boot. Victor came back with a chipotle burger and a bacon burger for us, and a plain cheeseburger for Nonna - and lots of fries.

We split the burgers so we could both have a half of each and enjoyed every not-overly-greasy bite.

And clean-up was a snap.

In the meantime, the puppy girl is eating and we don't have to cook for her. We'll see what next week brings, but I know what she won't be getting...



Dinner FAIL

It happens once in a while. Even after taking the proper precautions, it happens once in a while.

I had a lovely organic, free-range, $14.00 chicken that I was going to grill tonight.  I made a lovely Mexican-style rub for it, and then set it on the upper rack - well away from the fire.  I wanted a nice, slow cook.  It was a nice, meaty chicken and a slow cook would just do it wonders.

Since it was up out of harms way, I let it go for about 20 minutes while I waited for the bread to finish baking.  I had already had issues with it, but...  even bad homemade bread is good.

The timer went off for the bread.  I took it out - not impressed - but... even bad homemade bread is good.  I kept my sense of humor.

And then I looked out of the kitchen window and saw billowing clouds of smoke.

Blocking-the-sun-billowing-clouds-of-smoke.  And flames.

Smoke and flames are generally not a good sign when one is cooking dinner.  And they weren't this time, either.

Outside I went... I turned off the gas and carefully opened the grill.  Daddy was a fireman.  I try to pay attention now and again...

Even with the gas off, the four, formerly-beautiful chicken quarters were all in flames.  I took my tongs and picked each one up to try and extinguish them and then set them back on the grill and went into the house for the camera.  What the hell.  Photo-Op.

I saw Victor in the living room and said I had just burnt dinner to a crisp.  He said "Want me to get pizza?"

It's why I love the man.  No what happened, how stupid, no recriminations.  Just a simple "You put out the fire and I'll take care of dinner."  Love it.

So... instead of pizza we decided on Ping Pong - the new Chinese place in the Gateway Shopping Center.  I had a menu, so we called for a take-out order.

Service was quick.  Food was "meh."  Not bad.  Just not what I was hoping for.

I'm spoiled.  I grew up with excellent Chinese restaurants on every other corner.  Yank Sing for dim sum, Andy's for some of the best chow mein ever.

And I expect something labeled "Hunan" or "Szechuan" to have a little heat.  I picked out two items with the red pepper supposedly denoting spiciness - and Nothing. Zero. Zip.  No heat or spiciness at all.  It was disappointing because the menu looks as if it has some very authentic items.  It could have been the most bland Cantonese cooking around.

To be fair, I know from experience that black pepper is an exotic spice to a lot of people around here.  But there should have been something...

I think I'll give it another chance, but do an eat-in instead of take-out and try to convince the staff that I really do like spicy.

Really. Like. Spicy.

Oh...  And that burnt chicken?  Stay tuned for a southwestern chicken salad.  I ain't throwing away a $14.00 chicken.



New York, New York

We did a spur-of-the-moment trip up to New York yesterday.

It was Pride weekend, and with the passage of same-sex marriage in New York a couple of days earlier, it promised to be a bit of a raucous celebration.  We had to be a part of it.

We got into the city just in time for lunch - and experience parade-goers know one can never get raucous on an empty stomach - we headed to Eataly at 23rd and Broadway.  It just happened to be right on the parade route.

Eataly, for the uninitiated, is a huge food emporium put together by Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali.  It's an unbelievable experience of food court, restaurants, and groceries.  And it ain't cheap.  (But to put it in perspective, at Penn  Station on the way home we had an appetizer platter at TGI Fridays and two drinks that cost the same as our lunch.  And the service was surly and there wasn't a pleasant employee in the place. The better deal - by far - was Eataly.)

We wandered the areas and settled on lunch at Le Verdure - the vegetarian eaterie.

I had peaches and portobello mushrooms with greens and balsamic vinegar.  The peaches were perfect.  The mushrooms meaty and flavorful.  The balsamic wasn't the cheap stuff.  The sweet, the bitter, the sharp tang...  It worked perfectly.

Victor went for a caponatta.  Roasted eggplant and roasted red peppers with pinenuts.  It was stellar.  Both of these will be replicated at home.

Our dining companion two tables over was one of the latest cooking stars, Curtis Stone.  He just did an appearance on Good Morning America this morning.  He's easy on the eyes...

Eataly is huge.  There are breads, cheeses, meats, dried pastas, fresh pastas, fabulous-looking desserts...

Dried pastas range from about $2.69/lb to $6.99 and more.  They looked great, but we didn't buy.  We have a cabinet full of pastas right now.  Maybe next trip.

But they did have a great variety of sizes and shapes.  I had a lot of concepts and ideas running through my mind.

Fresh seafood.  Lots and lots of fish.

And the cheeses.  Oh.My.God.  The cheeses.

There aren't enough hours in the day to consume the amount of cheeses I wanted to bring home.  It was breathtaking.  There's just no end to my love of cheese.

And then we found the bakery counter.

A score of different cakes and even more individual desserts.  Calorie-laden gastronomic goodies.  I was in heaven.  Again.

Having been a baker, I just love the colors, textures, and flavors.  I also know just how difficult it is to try and replicate things like this at home.

I wanted two of everything.

If we lived in new York, this would not be my daily grocery store.  But I'd definitely be down here on a regular basis.  It was a lot of fun.  There were enough unique items at a reasonable-enough price to make it worthwhile.  They also had ridiculously over-priced items, as well.  Shop smart, as they say...

But our real reason for being up in the city was the Gay Pride Parade.  It was time to head back outside.

New York is wall-to-wall people on any given day.  Throw a parade into the mix and it really becomes crowded!  Fifth Avenue was jammed solid with the most wonderfully-diverse people imaginable.

Just a wondeful, fun-loving crowd.

And I do mean crowd.

There were the scantily-clad disco-boys showing off their wares to bare-breasted ladies

and everything in-between.

It was really a celebration of people.

From all walks of life.

It really was diverse.

With both fun and somber messages.

Of course we had to pay homage to The Stonewall, where the modern gay rights movement started 42 years ago.

I've had more than a couple of cocktails there in the past and I do have to say the place was pretty much a dive, but I haven't been inside in 25 or so years.  It may have changed a bit.

The neighborhood has changed, too.

It was a great time in a great city with great people.  We had some really fun conversations with celebrants all over.  The young guy in the subway station who started taking off his veil - until we convinced him it was a good look on him!  The young girls on the subway, the guys across from the Stonewall.  And our sweet waitress at Eataly who couldn't wait for her shift to be over at 4pm so she could join in the festivities.

I've always loved New York but have been a bit disillusioned recently because of just how much everything costs - from hotel rooms to theatre tickets to getting there in the first place.

But all of that was swept aside yesterday when I really saw New York at her finest.

I was proud to be a part of it...

New York,  New York.


Porchetta in Norristown

This past Saturday night I worked a function at the Elmwood Park Zoo.  It was a fundraiser called Beast of a Feast and local shops donated their wares for charity.  The event attracted close to 500 people from all walks of life and the vendors were just as diverse.

The table next to ours was from an Italian deli/cafe called Sessano.  They were making huge roast pork sandwiches on great bread made locally in Conshohocken.  Naturally, I had to schmooze with the owner and get one for myself.

And was I ever glad I did.  It was totally different than anything I had had before.  And absolutely delicious.

This was actually the first time I had ever had Italian pulled pork.  I have made pulled pork many many times, but I always do it with a southwestern/Mexican style.  I've also had it many times in may restaurants, but, again, with that southwestern flavor profile.

It was impressive!

I had read about Italian porchetta in La Cucina Italiana magazine a while back.  Street food of Italy.  It was a bit (okay, a lot) more labor-intensive than I wanted to do.  I filed it away.  But after having it Saturday, I knew I was going to Norristown on Monday to get some for home.

The folks working the booth were really, really nice.  Fun, friendly, and justifiably proud of their product.  The kind of folks you would want to shop with and support.

One of the guys working the event was behind the counter and recognized me the minute I walked in.  In a matter of minutes I was heading home with two pounds of porchetta, a container of peppers, and another container of extra broth.


The flavor is rich and vibrant.

It's beautifully balanced and at the same time screams Italy!  You can taste the Italian herbs but they're not overpowering.   It's easy to see how they have won numerous "Best Of" awards over the years.

There are a few things in this world I just never make because someone else makes them too good to even bother.  Sessano's porchetta has just been added to the list.  Out of this world good.  I know I shall be doing a monthly trek to Norristown to get more.  It's only $7.50/lb.  Worth every penny and the travel time to get there!

I used Italian rolls and sliced thin slices of aged provolone from a ball I picked up earlier.  Topped with the hot peppers.  I didn't have to do anything to it.  It was done for me.  My stomach is smiling.

Sessano Cafe and Deli is in a fairly nondescript shopping center and you could easily pass by without seeing it.  I had a GPS and still missed it the first time around.  The center looks like it's getting a nice face-lift, though.  Lots of building going on.  A good sign!

Sessano Cafe and Deli
1840 Markley St.
Studio Centre Norristown
(formerly Logan Square Shopping Center)
Norristown, PA 19401





Omaha Steaks

When in Rome, do as the Romans.  When in Omaha, have a steak.

The cousins took us out to a steakhouse that's been around for 80 or so years - Piccolos's.  On the south side of town down where the stockyards one dominated, it has transitioned from neighborhood bar to night club to a cavernous restaurant with some damned good steaks!

We headed off to the bar while awaiting the gang.  Old-style drinks poured by people who know how to pour a drink.

Into the restaurant we went - a party of 20.

The steaks are all served with an iceberg salad and choice of sides.

I ordered the 20 oz T-bone for $21.00.  Rare.  Really rare.

It was one fine steak.  The sides were a foil-wrapped baked potato and canned green beans, but ya know?!?  I was here for the steak, not the side dishes.  Besides, they were slightly fitting for the environment.

It was the perfect local haunt.

Tea & Cakes Tea Room

A dear friend of ours opened up a Tea Room in Media, PA a while back and I was down there yesterday taking pictures of some of her offerings for her new website.

OMG!  The food is fantastic!  Pots of wonderful teas, sandwiches, cakes, pork pies... She has it all!  She calls it "A Tea Room with a Twist" and she's right!

Carol's background is cooking and catering as well as working for a couple of high-end national grocers.  She knows her food!

A pork pie...

Cakes and tartlettes...

Unbelievably wonderful soups.

Sweets and cakes galore.

Tea Sandwiches.

Wonderful foods, wonderful presentations.  All served on wonderful mix-and-match china.

She serves a full breakfast on Saturday and High Tea on Sunday.

There will be more details on the new website.  I'll let y'all know when that's ready to launch!

In the meantime... Go.  Today.  Don't wait!

Diner Dinner

Since we actually had to leave the house this afternoon, we decided dinner at the diner was in order.  Considering how seldom we actually eat out, this was almost a big deal.

I kept tossing greasy cheeseburger and club house sandwich back and forth.  Either would have been fine, but I finally decided I can make a pretty good greasy cheeseburger at home any time.  I seldom make a club.  As the picture attests, the club won.

It didn't disappoint.  Three slices of rye toast with turkey, bacon, iceberg lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.  Thick steak fries, cole slaw, and a pickle.  And coffee.  Ya gotta have coffee at the diner.

Victor opted for this weird east coast concoction called a Corned Beef Special. It's a hot corned beef sandwich on rye, with cole slaw and dressing on it.  Not grilled, cold cabbage.  I don't get it.   Then again, I wasn't eating it.  I don't have to.

I was a good boy and didn't finish it all.  Weigh-in tomorrow.

And we still have madeleines.....

Dinner in a Bookstore in DuPont Circle


When we were in Washington last month, we happened upon a great little restaurant in DuPont Circle - inside of a book store!  We had a cute-as-a-button waiter, and even more importantly - fantastic food.  They did some flavor combinations and plate presentations that were simply stupendous.


We decided this trip we would check it out, again.

As we walked up through the book store to the restaurant, our waiter spied us.  A couple minutes of bantering back and forth, and we were being led upstairs to a table in his section.  It was promising to be another fun meal.


Cocktails ordered, it was time to seriously check out the menu.


What to have, what to have...

The menu is pretty extensive and varied.  Lots of regular items and lots of weekly specials.  We saw the items we had last time - lobsters, crab cakes - and this fantastic corn and lima bean sucotash - but opted for new and different.

Victor went for a sushi-grade rare tuna with a wasabi dipping sauce that was out of this world.  I had a scallop dish with a honey sauce that simply rocked.


What was really fun was the side...


That tower is white rice, spinach, more rice, roasted red peppers, more rice, pickled ginger and a seaweed salad, cucumbers and caviar. Unbelievable.

More fun conversation with our waiter - he's straight, but knows how to play his customers... He also lived for a while at Lake Tahoe, so we had a lot of fun conversations about that (alas, he was all of 2 years old when I LEFT Tahoe in 1980) but we had fun, nonetheless...

We decided we'd go for dessert - since it's our anniversary, and The Dysfunctional Family Sundae was recommended.


A warm brownie drenched in liqueur, topped with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, cndied walnuts, raspberry puree, hot fudge...  OMG!


We ate the whole damned thing!

We really had a fun time - and know next time we're in DC, we'll head back for more.

Kramerbooks and Afterwards Cafe

1517 Connecticut Avenue, NW. - Just Above Dupont Circle
In The Heart of Washington, D.C.
Across from The Dupont Circle 'Q' St Metro Exit
Open Early to Late 7 Days a Week - All Night Fri & Sat
Serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner - Late Supper and Brunch on Weekends
Live Music Wed - Sat Night
Serving Latte to the Literati Since 1976


A Smithsonian Luncheon


We were out museum-hopping today in Washington, DC.  The Sunday before Thanksgiving seems to be a perfect time to visit... The crowds are definitely elsewhere!

We were at the National Museum of American History lusting after Julia Child's kitchen


when we decided to get lunch... The Constitution Cafe or the Stars and Stripes Cafe?!?  Decisions, decisions...  We opted for the Stars and Stripes.

$34.48 later, we had 2 cheeseburgers, 2 fried cheese curds, 2 bags of chips, a coffee, and a soda.  This is how they keep the museums free - over-charging in the eateries.

The food was okay and the service what one would expect from folks who have to deal with the general public all day long.  It was just expensive for what it was. Oh well... everything else is free...

So it's four museums later and time for a bit of a rest before heading out again tonight.  We did see a lot and did a lot of walking.  Good for working off the fried cheese curds!

I think we'll be traveling back to DuPont Circle and to the bookshop cafe where we had dinner last month.

Tomorrow is Ford's Theatre and A Christmas Carol.

Oh... and when we were checking in and chatting with the Front Desk clerk, I casually mentioned it was our 15th Anniversary.  We were upgraded to a king suite.

What fun!


We hadn't seen Renee in far too long, so we made sure we would make time to see her while we were here.  After deciding Sunday Brunch, we made her choose the restaurant.  In honor of the presidential election, she chose Maverick.

What an excellent choice.  Located in just about my favorite part of the city - 17th and Valencia - the menu was perfectly innovative and ecclectic.  Our waitress had just a bit too much attitude for not being a native - she was probably from Des Moines or Peoria - but the food was just excellent.

Victor and Renee started out with Pomegranate Mimosas. They were flavorful and unique. I had coffee.  Good, strong coffee.  A pretty bottomless cup, too.  They kept it filled.

The menu was fun, with quite a few interesting items, but one item jumped right out and said "Order ME."

It was an Andouille Sausage “Benedict.” Diced grilled andouille sausage and crawfish on an English muffin, topped with perfectly poached eggs, and an outrageous jalapeno hollandaise.  Crispy cubed potatoes on the side. OMG!  This is one I will be reproducing at home as soon as we get back.  It was just unbelievably good.  If I say much more I'm going to be accused of gushing, but damn, it was good.  Victor ordered it, too.  He did a bit of raving, as well.

Renee went for the Pecan Crusted French Toast. It was three slices of heavily pecan-crusted toast, Nueske bacon, and warm Vermont maple syrup.  It was really good, with great flavor and texture - but I thought our "benedict" was better...  This is one that will be easy to recreate, too.  Except the bacon.  It comes from Wisconsin.  I'll stay with my Niman Ranch...

The star of this show, though, was Renee.  It was just so much fun seeing her and talking to her.  It really has been too long.  We need to somehow work out a way to have an income without actually having to spend time going to work somewhere.  I'd really like to be able to spend time with family and friends and do things like this on a regular basis.

Time to buy a lottery ticket.  And then head to Eileen's.  There's more food to be eaten today.

3316 17th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110