Tag Archives: restaurants

Reservations

Yes, I’ve had a few over some of the life choices I have made.

Back in the day I was kind of the organizer for staff and team events. When there was a birthday, newborn, engagement, retirement et al I was the go-to gal.

What little gem did I find? An old beanery from the Depression era, still the same. In the 1930’s folks would line up around the block to get a bowl of beans for five cents.

Nearly 60 years later I found it. Great corned beef and cabbage sandwiches on rye bread with deli mustard and Pabst Blue Ribbon quarts.

I would call and ask for a reservation and was always told there were no reservations. Is David there (the owner)? Tell him it’s Dee. Table for 12 at 11:30 a.m. OK. When we arrived on time there were linens on the table, four quarts of PBR and corned beef and cabbage on the stove. Yes, I can make things happen. That’s why they call me Dee. Cheers!

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Daring Foods

My sister and I had a game as kids when one went out of the kitchen and the other made the most disgusting mess of food that the other had to try. It was usually overly salty or sugary and may even have coffee grounds in it.

Ick.I went easy on my sister. She played hard ball. That game did not last very long. She liked to let me win at board games, but was a wizard with family politics.

One rule in cooking school is that you had to try everything, unless you were a practicing Jew which prevented contact with pork or shellfish. I never killed a lobster. We did four and the guys in our class of eight relished the thought of placing a 12″ chef knife between their eyes and cutting them in half. I ate them, just didn’t kill them. Yes, I know.

If I was lost in the woods I’d eat crickets but I don’t have to do so and really don’t want to eat one preserved in chocolate. Perhaps I should take a trip that encourages me to do things on my own. No, I’m too old for that. Plus I’d need more survival techniques to survive an endeavor that would make me… survive.

I have tried liver, kidneys, sweetbreads and other delicacies. They’re difficult to find so I do not cook them. No prairie oysters, sorry. I tried octopus in Greece and it was a textural thing. It tasted great but was chewy, same with squid, calamari which must be cooked quickly or stewed for a long time to be edible.

Ideas about this post name abound but I’ve none to know why I chose it. Just tired and have to go to sleep. Favorite foods next? I’d love to stop talking about crosswalks. Dee

How Big is the Pizza?

A college kid (me) asked that once. “Eight slices.” I asked again, for the table, how big is the pizza? Eight slices.

Student money is hard to come by and I knew that eight slices of an eight-inch pizza was different than eight from a 20″ that would feed all of us. It all worked out.

Now I’m wondering if my dog thinks she has more food if I slice/chop it smaller, or whether she’s asking for pizza by the slice.

Think about it. Cheers from Dee and the Hip-Less Wonder Dog Zoe

The Beanery

Right out of college I went off work a few miles from my college town. I found this place, my local “dive” as I find in every town I live in. It served corned beef and cabbage sandwiches on rye with spicy mustard, and quarts of PBR (that’s for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer for newbies).

Pretty soon I was arranging every birthday and going-away party there for colleagues. Why me? I was the organizer, cook, and the only young single gal who actually owned a punch bowl to bring to company events.

What is most interesting about this place is that during the Great Depression (no, not 2008) people would line up around the block and for a nickel they’d get a plate of beans so they wouldn’t go hungry.

I never went by myself except once, to ask about hosting a staff birthday. After that there were always 8-14 of us.

I’d call the owner’s son and ask for a reservation for 12 for 11:30. He’d laugh and say “we don’t take reservations.” Then I’d say, “It’s Dee.”

We’d show up at 11:30 and the tables were put together and there were already 3-4 PBR’s on the table.The birthday person or person leaving the staff was paid for equally by everyone else.

Ah, yes. I had to arrange for my own birthday parties as well, but didn’t have to pay for lunch!

My husband and I saw part of a series on NYC this morning, about the Depression, and I thought of beaneries and thought fellow readers and cooks might enjoy it. Cheers! Happy Mothers’ Day! Dee

Dog-Cation

When one starts a new job, vacation is the last thing in mind. There is so much to do and never time to take a day off.

We finally took three days off Thanksgiving week to see our folks. It would have been great if we had the OK two months ago when we could have had flights and I had a dog sitter. But we didn’t so the flights went away and I released the dog sitter to another worthy client.

We drove 3,000 miles to have Thanksgiving with the family. With the dog. Now, our dog is eight years old, well-trained and loves the car. She sleeps on her 4″ orthopedic mattress in the back of my SUV and only pops up her head on off-ramps and stop lights.

We found high-end hotels that accepted her in large cities. All require waivers and fees and we can’t leave her in the room and it was too warm to leave her in the car so we were slaves to our dog. Once we found patio dining for BBQ and she was allowed to sit out on the sidewalk with us. Otherwise we’re trapped.

Of course it was wonderful to see everyone before and on Thanksgiving day. We had a birthday party for a newly nine- and ten-year old that allowed us an early get-together.

Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday morning were extreme cooking times for me and my mother-in-law. Over the years we’ve developed a rhythm and have our stations. There was a great kitchen renovation last year that gives more room for cooking and family, but things have been moved around so I’m back to asking “where’s the _______?”

Turkey day was different. After supper people went their own ways. The babies are getting older so a lot of young kids went out to play tennis, the nursery was booming, and the kitchen scene was not as hopping as usual.

My husband and I joined different groups then I had to go back and take care of our dog after six hours or so, then returned after talking to my family by phone and giving turkey advice.

I did make the brussels sprout and cauliflower gratin with modifications and have made even more mental modifications to make it easy to do and still as tasty. For that, I must cook it again to test then I can give you results.

Also on deck were spicy almonds, cashews and pecans; plus mincemeat tarts. I only brought the mincemeat and before I could make the pastry they were already done. MIL Magic! M also brings much to the party, including Italian Cream Cake, brisket, iced tea by the gallon and more.

We enjoy seeing the little ones grow and learn their personalities. Two little ones with a teacup pup hijacked the big TV with a Dr. Seuss Christmas special, keeping some of the older kids from watching The Game.

No-one played “Risk” and the evening was capped by a musical event featuring violin solos, then guitars (acoustic and electric) then with violin, and much singing.

Now we’re back on the road, less than four hours from home sweet home. Husband and dogma are sound asleep and dog has taken over my pillow. It’s 4:30 in the morning and I can’t wait to get out of this nice hotel and on the road home.

Please share any Thanksgiving stories and recipes! Safe home, dear reader. Dee