Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer Flies By ...

Closing down the laptop this morning, popped up and I couldn't have had a happier surprise. was long my go-to about aviation information.  I loved to focus on flight attendant reports about passengers, pilots, airports and much more. 

Famous destinations and what to see that's off the usual tourist rut, but interesting never-the-less - the special finds of people who routinely spend a two or three day's leave several times a month  in the destination site before saddling up and working the return flight.  This is true for international flights with a shorter layover for intercontinental like LA to NY.  Turn-arounds are LAX-DFW-LAX for example and barring weather or some other delay, the FAs sleep in their own beds that night.  .

I came to a section on unusual dining spots and read with some interest about a place called Eats in Brooklyn that is a totally silent dining experience.  Upon being seated, you are allowed to tell your server about any special requirements ("Please cut my steak in the kitchen") or food allergies because restaurants hate it when some diner puffs up, turns blue and slides off of their chair and lies gasping on the restaurant carpet like a goldfish whose bowl broke and then all of the drama when the paramedics come storming in.    And the pushing and shoving from other diners and wait staff to take a picture...and those who see it as a God-given opportunity to walk the tab.

The owner of Eats once spent time (I'd say, "did time") in a monastery and the total silence all through the meal appealed to him. 

There are other themes in the sensory field ... Deaf dining (San Francisco) means you communicate with your server by such as pointing to a picture of a dish and/or using a little tablet or slate to write what you want such as "well done" or "hold the mayo."  

If you fly a lot or once a year, if you're lucky, is a fascinating site for either type of flyer.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Something in the Washington, DC, Water?

John McCain, recently diagnosed with a glioblastoma or out-of-control-growth brain tumor shares that diagnosis with Ted Kennedy, who died of it in 2009 at the age of 77 after a 15 month battle.  Joe Biden's son Beau lasted longer, nearly two years, only to die age 46, in 2015.

It does make me wonder about the drinking water in DC ... except many politicians seem to prefer bourbon or Scotch to water.  Maybe they know something the voters don't?

Writer John Gunther's son Johnny died of glioblastoma brain cancer when he was 17, having been diagnosed at 15.  The book was written in 1949 shortly after he died  after a three year struggle when treatment protocols were nowhere near as sophisticated as they are now.  At that time, treatment was largely brain surgery to remove the mass and to leave a hole in the skull to accommodate new growth.  You can imagine the danger from infection with not only your hair free to blow in the breeze, but the surface of your brain as well. 

Measuring the poor kid's "bump" sticking out of the skull was a near-daily experience for parents and doctors. 

It's an informative if depressing book and provides a great contrast to treatment then and now.  "Death Be Not Proud" by John Gunther. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Entire US Weather Map Today is Orange

Wherever we are, we are not alone in our suffering.  We have to suck it up and  put on some spin!  If this is Summer, can Fall be far behind?  Fall with it's beautiful crisp air, the trees changing their leafy petticoats, that hint that something nice is going to happen ... such as Fall foods!

Leafing through (couldn't resist) the menu at Oheka Castle, Huntington, NY, because we plan to go to Long Island this September, I came across rather perfect Fall foods ...

This sandwich is apparently sold all-year round or else they never change their menu on their Website.  And when you think about it, why not?  We are limiting ourselves with a once-a-year dinner.  Do we only eat hot dogs 4th of July, Memorial and Labor Days?  Tsk.  I think not.

Oven-baked turkey (substitute with deli turkey,) bacon and baby greens (both questionable in my mind) cranberry compote, stuffing, apple-cinnamon vinaigrette on cranberry-walnut bread. 

Having happened on it at the Ragin' Cajun and liking it very much, I became a fan of Corn and Crab Chowder.  So much so that I searched for half an hour trying to find the chowder or soupy part of this dish to make my own.  Making it is problematic as the recipes I ran across all called for such as "two cups heavy cream" or as that's known colloquially as "Death By Big Spoon."

There is one new ingredient that surprised me though -

CORN AND CRAB CHOWDER a la Oheka Castle Bar and Restaurant
Grilled corn, lump crabmeat, Yukon Gold potatoes, chipotle and a chive oil drizzle. 

Chunks of chipotle?  Chipotle juice?  Powdered chipotle?  It wasn't specified.  I'll just have to order it when we're there.  Ah, the sacrifices... (snort)

Monday, July 17, 2017

So Precious!

Cheerios: bagel seeds   Water: snowman blood   Milk: cereal sauce

Can't you see some proud parent cooing about their kid's sophistication and all-around cuteness?


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Burratta - First Cousin to Caprice

We are hoping to go to Long Island sometime in September to see Richie's side of the family.  Naturally I wondered if there were any new restaurants since our last visit.

One I noted is called "Swallow" and the name alone was ... distasteful.  I leave it to your own imaginations to supply the reason. 

One of the dishes on their menu is described as "Burratta" with Granny Smith apples, walnuts, sopressata and a bourbon cider "gastrique." Having no idea what either was, I hied myself to our friend Google. 

Burratta, in addition to being cheese curds cooked in water and covered in mozzarella so that there is a shell-type exterior and a creamy interior, is also the name of a dish which has a combination of cooked vegetables  and Burratta.

We had dinner at Charlie's the other night and the special was "Burratta" and our server said it was a combination of cherry tomatoes, basil strips and Burratta.  Richie ordered it.  To my jaundiced eyes it looked like a really tired Caprice which is fresh tomato slices, with a round of mozzarella on top of the tomatoes, garnished with a fresh basil leaf and drizzled with olive oil.  Come to find out, all of the ingredients in Richie's order had been sauteed in olive oil, no doubt accounting for it's fatigued look. 

Still, they are cousins since they both have the same DNA.  They were just raised differently.

But what's a "gastrique"?  It's a reduction  of a fruit for the juice and vinegar.  So I supposed Swallow's gastrique would be considered a reduction of an apple and the bourbon substitutes for the vinegar.  We'll never know.  I'm not about to eat in a place named "Swallow." 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summer Reading

You don't have to be at the beach or a pool to enjoy a "summer read" which is defined as "not a taxing read - like The History of Algebra" or something similarly dry. 

Mrs. L - Conversations with Alice Roosevelt Longworth by Michael Teague   203 pages   $19.95

Author Teague was lucky enough to have spent many afternoons visiting with Mrs. L at her Washington, DC, home where she had ruled since 1961.  The daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, she lived in the White House - and hated to leave "like everyone did."  But not for any sentimental memories of having been married in it.  When asked at Tricia Nixon's wedding there whether it brought back any memories, she replied, "Not a goddamn thing."

Dying at 96, she knew and most certainly had opinions on 18 Presidents.  The book has 170 photos showing her with such as the Dowager Empress of Japan and with her five brothers from Roosevelt's second marriage; Alice's mother having died not long after her birth, as well as life at Sagamore Hill and various ultra society events such as being presented at Court.

Blind Item by Kevin Dickson and Jack Ketsoyan   360 pages   $26.99

Both authors are long-time entertainment PR specialists and can dish with the best of them (who are mostly dead anyhow - Rona Barrett, Hedda Hopper, and so forth.) 

The plot line involves three wanna be's in that field and while they are interesting enough (once you get into it) the absolute stars of it are a pair of rival talent agency heads who have had a running feud for years and years.  Sample -The women are lunching at The Ivy.  Crystal's lunch is a martini with a rack of olives.  Gaynor is having fried chicken and raving about it.  The myth is that Crystal never eats.  But it's equally well-known that she will excuse herself from the table to go to the bathroom where she devours the neatly-wrapped sandwich the waiter hands her on the way in to the Ladies.

Crystal says:  "My clients are booking lots of things."  Gaynor shoots back, "The only thing your clients are booking is hospice care" and it goes south from there.  Very enjoyable.  I love witty bitchery and this book delivers.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Silly Food Season - Unicorn Food and Outrageous County Fair Foods

The discerning and the literal among us would say that since there is not and never has been a "unicorn" it would be impossible to eat "unicorn food."

When I first heard the phrase, I wondered, "Some kind of designer hay?"  Because except for the single horn thing, they have always been pictured with a horse's body.  And the depiction of this mythical creature is always white.  Wait'll BLM hears about this!

Turns out it can be a Starbuck's Unicorn Frappuccino or a cupcake, ice cream sundae or cone, or a slice of toast or a waffle ... what these all have in common is being decorated to within an inch of their lives - or yours if you eat this crap - with heaps of sprinkles and frosting, most often cream cheese.  However, the dyes used to create rainbow colors for a cream cheese frosting are made with vegetable dyes -- "So organic, Dahling" - blueberries for blue, beets for red ...

The Orange County Fair kicks off the fair season with some extremely strange things you can ingest if not, in fact, digest.  We'll warm up softly with last year's biggies - caviar-topped Twinkies.  Deep-fried dill pickles stuffed with peanut butter. 

This year's biggie is the back leg - 5 lbs. worth - of pig leg.  Bacon-wrapped Brussel sprouts or asparagus are flying off of the counters ...  bacon clearly isn't "so last year" yet although it's been more than a year since Denny's offered bacon sundaes. 

Which I'm happy to say I missed.