Monday, September 25, 2017

Long Island Food Porn

Let's be orderly here and start with breakfast.  Long Island is home to a lot of commuters who take the train into the City five days a week.  Very often they don't have time for breakfast at home, so they slither in to a deli for a Breakfast Sandwich.  When I list the ingredients of a typical breakfast sandwich, you may snort in disgust and think, "Just a Mickey D's Egg McMuffin."    

My turn to snort.  The Breakfast Sandwiches were being eaten long before Egg Mc-whatever came into being.  Toast a pair of slices of white bread, butter them, add scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, American cheese and double wrap.   At least three mornings of our five day stay, that's what I had but Himself preferred ham instead of bacon.  We'd take the steaming hot bag straight to the parking lot overlooking the harbor and eat and admire the view of sail boats shifting slightly in the current made by the clammers charging toward the Sound for a day's work. 

The Bar at Oheka Castle; we ate in the dining room, but I suppose you could eat here as well.

This is an interesting way to present an apple tart.

Bourbon pecan pie with vanilla squiggles

Lobster BLT salad

The lobster BLT salad was something new ... heritage cherry tomatoes to the left, Applewood-smoked bacon to the right with a generous portion of lobster over chopped Romaine, dressing is a lemon vinaigrette.

Desserts are all $12; my salad was $28,, but that's got to be 1 1/2 lobster tails!



Saturday, September 23, 2017

Gate Crashers and Crumb Pizza

Richie went to the motel office for morning coffee and on the way back to the room spotted these three deer.  Plop! went the coffee cups on the table; swoosh went his hands grabbing for his camera and -- viola!

It really is a beauty shot, but they didn't come back for the Murphy Family and Friends Reunion at noon.  Just as well - have no idea what you feed adult deer. 

I don't think they'd like our menu particularly and, of course, plates, silverware and drinking cups are utterly foreign to them. 

This reunion thing was my idea which was reasonably pushy of me; I'm only one by marriage, but if no one else will do it (and they haven't so far, 34 years later) I, by God, will! 

We were staying at the Chalet Motor Inn, Centerport, as we have for some 30 years and behind our backs, management/owners have really spiffed the place up - added a pool! a covered patio where we established ourselves and another covered patio with fat, cushioned chairs (ours were plain wrought iron.)  The view is the woods and the pond behind all of these new glories and that's where Richie got this shot of the deer. 

In an attempt to cover all food tastes (vegetarian, non-vegetarian, diabetic) we laid out a buffet of cold cuts - all Boar's Head, one of which we don't have out here - "sweet ham."  O/T they have the new Caramel M & Ms and I haven't seen them out here.  A fruit plate, a veggies and dip platter, two cheeses, Kalamata hummus,  and crackers and rolls for the meats - another thing they do that we don't, rolls for sandwiches.    And iced brownies and the box of "French" cookies Richie insisted on getting, too.  We had bottled water (they're nuts for it back there) and of course, a sufficient supply of beer and three bottles of wine.  (Hella buy - Bottles and Cases was having a three for $10 sale.  I got two whites and a red, but they were all from Italy and I don't speak Italian so can't be any more informative than that.)

Another custom of which I was unaware is this:  instead of bringing a bottle of nicer wine for mein host as we do here; they bring desserts there.  We were gifted with: an enormous lemon pound cake, a large cellophane-wrapped plate of fancy cookies; the bakery's logo was a gold decal and the cellophane was tied with real ribbon! 

And there was one more item ... Sonny, Richie's old friend from back in their clamming days, was the first to appear - carrying a pizza box!  While I was delighted to see Sonny, the pizza box was ... daunting.  It would surely get colder than a banker's heart before anyone else even got there.  Damn!  What was he thinking? 

So, thanking him profusely, I put the box on the table.  More people arrived, and, o horrors! another one was carrying a pizza box! Smiling on the outside, sighing on the inside, I put it on top of the other one. 

People ate, wandered around, trading old photos and asking, "Who's that?"  Old photos, BTW, make wonderful conversation starters.

I hadn't been paying attention to the buffet, other than to make sure everything was "proper" - forks for serving the meat, knives for the mustard, etc.  Housekeeping chores.  And then, with a great cry of delight, the first pizza box was opened. 

"Oh! Crumb pizza!" several guests shouted.  Crumb Pizza is:  rich, buttery pie crust covered in streusel crumbs, round, and cut into pizza wedges.  It was fallen upon with gusto while I just stood quietly to one side and pondered the mind that thought that one up.  These New York types are ... different.  But no less lovable.  Far from crashing our little do, the deer were last reported heading for the Hamptons at a good clip.  Too much noise.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Sketchy Portrait, Huntington, Long Island

The 5 p.m. Bunny
Charlie (Richie's younger brother) and his wife, Rosalind, live in the same house the boys grew up in, starting ages 11 and 9.  Connecting the house to the garage is what's called a "breezeway" in those parts.  It has always been my favorite place and in good weather it becomes the family living room with tables and comfy chairs and a great view of the spacious back yard.  A tree-covered hill climbs daintily up from the back edge of the lawn to the houses above.

It was our habit around 5 p.m. to repair there with a beer, admire the fine weather around us and visit.  Our reminiscences were interrupted by one of the party spotting movement out of the corner of an eye and -- it was a medium-sized brown field rabbit.  I just assumed it was a male because I think people tend to assume rabbits are males due to early exposure to Peter Rabbit, but that's an unproven theory. 

It would not be it's last visit.  Every day around 5 p.m. he would hop into view - at a safe distance, you may be sure - and nibble grass.  A brash squirrel intruded one late afternoon and the rabbit turned on the power and scampered at warp speed into a pile of lumber at the next door neighbors.  The squirrel sauntered away as if to say, "My work here is done."   I was surprised that he wasn't spatting his front paws together in satisfaction.

Of Lobsters and Wine Lists
The Feed and Grain restaurant at 73 Main Street, Northport, had a billboard on the sidewalk next to their patio advertising "6 lb. lobster - $49.00".  I snorted in disbelief, pointed and said something witty such as perhaps, "They've gotta be kidding!  Lobsters don't grow that big!"

But Sean, a bay man who ran lobster traps until some virus or other killed them off, corrected me.  "Yeah, they do - guy caught one so big that he put a collar and leash on it and walked it around on the dock."  Since Richie's nephew Sean is as honest as the day is long, I believed him.

It was too cold to be out on the patio so we were seated in the big dining room with a long bar running down the right side of the room. 

Our server, named Lucas L according to the check, popped up at the end of the long table of our booth and asked for our drink order.  When it got to be my turn, I asked politely for the wine list? at which  Lucas guffawed and asked, "Red or white?"   I will not vouch for the look on my face, but the rest of our party howled in glee at my faux pas.

Signage Seen
In residential neighborhoods - "Drive like your kid (grandkid) plays here." 

On the road encircling Lloyd Harbor, not far from Billy Joel's former gated and guard-housed residence, "Turtle Crossing."  with one depicted where the deer usually is placed.  Whose turtle it might have been, why it was allowed free range status?  None of us had any idea.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Long Island Scenes

Conclusive proof Summer is over

The 5 p.m. Bunny

Bistro Cassis

French Onion Soup - it was a cold-ish day - perfect!

Follow the water to the Long Island Sound

Huntington Harbor

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Decoding Notes to Myself for Your Delectation

Writers are urged to start at the beginning so ... MAA #2 left LAX at 8:45 a.m. which means it was a breakfast flight Up Front aka 1st.  As I mentioned previously, re another 1st breakfast, try to fly around lunch or dinner time. 

The first thing to arrive as we settled into our cubicles was ... let me explain "cubicle."  This is a new configuration for First and each seat very closely resembles an office cubicle.  So much so that three of our fellow 1sts were quietly crying - two men and a woman and what they were saying, between sobs, was "Oh, Gawd - can't I ever  escape my cubicle?" 

They all face the window with a desk next to your elbow, a hole for your feet when the chair is flat like a bed.   So much for being seated next to a chatty person, your own mate or a crying baby. "But our celebrity passengers love them," trilled an FA and he was a guy. 

As always, we were offered Mimosas or Straight Champagne which came in a stemless white wine glass and was a much more generous portion than the previous little plastic cup (the flavor does nothing for the drink) or real champagne flutes. 

So -after reaching cruising altitude,  the smiling lady walked around a basket with your choice of a croissant or a mini-bagel or an enormous biscuit.  All were warm, not icy cold!  The butter was splayed out like ocean waves charmingly in a little pot and there was a little plastic container of honey. 

We both ordered the same thing so I can only tell you one other choice which was Shrimp Avocado Toast.  Peon that I am, I thought that a bit much for breakfast.  Our choice was billed as Scrambled Eggs with Chives and Sour Cream, Chicken sausage and Chipotle Oatmeal.  Let us attack the eggs first.  They were not visibly scrambled, but they did look like what they were - curded as in a Crème Brule.  The four slices of sausage, apparently cut from a whole that was as thick as a baby's arm, nestled between them and an enormous amount of what looked like it had been fried, like corned beef hash, but was instead, orange-ish colored oatmeal with little lakes of orange oil dotted over it.

If this is a common dish at your household, I do apologize for my ignorance about it. I liked it! let me hasten to add. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Getting To Be A Habit With Us

We got 1st out; Steerage home. 

Took notes and tomorrow I hope to tell you about the 5 p.m. bunny; the lobster so big the guy who caught it put it in a harness and leash and walked it all over the dock and more tales. 

East or West though, Home is best.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Vacay! - Additions

Going to New York tomorrow.  It's part business - to try to con Book Review, a veddy posh book store in Huntington, Long Island, into carrying "And the Best Blog Is: Word of Mouth" and pleasure - seeing Richie's side of the family. 

Later this same day ... if we are lucky enough to get 1st or Business, will liberate the menu and tell you what they served, if anything. They list breakfast and snack as the food service.   I seem to remember a breakkies in 1st some time ago where the excitement was a small container of strawberry yogurt, a blue berry muffin (ice cold) frozen butter pat...dish of fresh-ish fruit (canned peaches, I swear it.)  No chickens must have laid eggs anywhere the airport.  Certainly no hogs were harmed in the making of bacon ... 

But the rule of commercial flight is:  if they serve you something to eat, do so.  You never know when you'll see food again.  We have logged personal bests for a Quarter Pounder, small fries eaten in airports across this glorious land.  Once more won't kill us.