Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dashed Expectations and a Bit of Knowledge

Monday night was the monthly dinner meeting of the Peppertree Apartments Four.  Some 34 years ago, when we moved there, our across-the-stairwell neighbors were Mouton and "D" who were roomies in a two-bedroom flat.  All three of the men are ardent Dodger fans.  Time passed and "D" bought a house in Hermosa, Mouton a condo in Long Beach and us our house.   But the friendship continued.

We all take turns proposing a restaurant for this monthly feast and that night was "D"'s choice, the Chart House, Redondo Beach.  Knowing where we were going, I promptly pulled up the menu and made my choices.  This was Saturday.  Plan ahead. 

The dessert called to me with a siren song ... "Our signature dessert" of Hot Chocolate Lava Cake, infused with Godiva liqueur, topped with chocolate sauce and crushed Heath bar candy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Even dividing it into quarters, it still carried a hefty punch of calories.  $11.50

So I down-pedaled my main   and ordered the Thai Coconut soup with shrimp, morel mushrooms, all ginger-infused.  $9.  I liked the sound of the ingredients and pictured a creamy (the coconut) soup with plump shrimp. 

I was wrong.  It was a thin, watery broth with slime-y mushroom slices - flavorless needless to say, and four or five tough, dried-up crayfish.  Thai flavors?  The ginger-infusion?  Nowhere to be tasted.  It had such a strong lemon taste that my face puckered up at the first spoonful. 

Since we were having cocktails, I ate about half of it just for something in my stomach for the booze to bounce off of and not render me incoherent with laughter. 

I love champagne and rose wines so I tried a split of the Banfi Rosa Regale, rose $12.  It was very, very sweet.  When asked if I'd like another, I promptly switched to a split of Korbel Brut. $9.  That was so good that I had another.  $9. 

The dessert arrived, splayed out on a long rectangular platter, prettily garnished with long, wide stripes of chocolate sauce.  The cake was not molten, but it was very dry.  One of the guys must have scooped out and grabbed any Godiva liqueur; I never saw any.  The Heath bar crunch was rather skimpy, but the vanilla ice cream was a big, fat ball. 

I was 0 for 2 on dinner.  After it though, we and "D" finished the evening with a now-traditional stop at Suzy's, Artesia, Redondo Beach.  They seem to have live music every night there as we have been there on varied nights of the week and someone was always up on the little stage bangin' away.

We ordered beers and halfway through mine, I went out to the smoking patio for a cigarette.  I wasn't to be left in solitary contemplation as a guy came out and lit up, too.  As bar creatures do, we fell into conversation.

He was a drummer, had been asked to sit-in, if needed.  I told him I thought drums must be the most fun because they get to ad lib and wasn't it true that the drums lead the band?  He agreed.  I said that I thought it was cool that drummers don't have to read sheet music, they just bang it on in and he corrected me and said that drummers do require sheet music.  When I expressed puzzlement, he tapped on his phone and pulled up a sheet of drum directions.

It looked like a piano score until he pointed out little tiny "x"s on the bottom clef - that's when the drummer tings the top hat.  The third clef down was for the tom tom or the bass; can't remember but just Google "drum sheet music" for a fuller explanation. 

We continued our conversation by comparing desires - football?  I'd be a quarterback (because they get to tell everyone else what to do.)  He countered that it is infinitely better to be the center - the guy who hands off the football to the quarterback.   "This is crucial," he said.  "Doesn't matter how good the quarterback is if he gets a badly handed-off ball."  Baseball - he said catcher.  It was a fun conversation.

The band was back on stage, we made cordial farewells and I went back inside where Richie and "D" were deep in a conversation about the Dodgers, a subject they seem never to tire of for some reason.

All in all, a lovely evening.  A good conversation where you can learn about something that you didn't know can beat out bad food every time.   Bon appetite!


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