Traditions. There are some I remember. Lisa could make a German chocolate cake better than any other I have had. Scratch. Yup. She made this from scratch. Even the icing was made from scratch. It was as good to eat as to photograph. The candles mean that this was a special order for someone’s birthday.
A Maine institution in Wiscasett. Lisa and I used to laugh over how to pronounce the name of the town. Red’s sits at the bottom of a hill just before a bridge crossing. It is a given that traffic in both directions is moving slowly at any and all hours of the day. There is always a line waiting to order. I have peered at the menu time and time again. I have not been able to see anything special that would induce me to wait interminably. I’m from NYC. No one waits. There are simply too many choices. Red’s remains a landmark and is depicted in many many shots of Maine. This shot was from ten years ago. Not too much has changes – just the faces on the line. A true Maine native agreed with me. She told me that the place across the street if cheaper and faster and better. Fine dining it ain’t.
There are classic hot dog stands in Maine. Bob Draper and Kevin Frary introduced me to Wasse’s in Rockland. They have a couple more stores now. And the market carries hot dogs in a brilliant unnaturally red casing that you know is bad for you. Here is a lesser know institution in Boothbay. The name is self-evident. It looks like a one-man operation. Lots of folks come around. Even on this cold chill September day, there were folks braving a cool breeze and threatening rain. Business is enough to support a souvenir shop next door. Or is it the souvenir shop that brings people by? There is a menu with lots of other stuff. But why would you not order a dog?
Plop! Yes bring a rug and plop down in any open space. No one seems shy about bringing along a rug and just claiming a spot in the middle of everything. I can’t say that it appears comfortable. Selfies in the background!? It’s midnight and joint is hoppin’! I’d ordinarily think a nice soft patch of grass would do. But there ‘s no grass in sight. Folks will set up in the most unlikely and most uncomfortable looking locations. And despite the hour, no one appears ready for bed.
My guide told me that there were typical drinks that were served at Ramadan. These things create the familiar memory of a holiday as eggnog would remind me of Christmas. The dark purple drink is served everywhere. The origin or berry is unclear to me. The taste is distinctive. The other drink is newer and is seen together. But it is the purple stuff….has an odd distinctive flavor. It is sweet without citrus tartness. Initially I did not like it but it becomes an acquired taste. It was new for me but is typically served where ever I go. Most vendors served it up from plain plastic containers. Here at least the display had some style and was worth sharing the image. Otherwise for the rest of the year I don’t see this drink.
My guide told me that this is typical food served at Ramadan. It is liver she said. Diced liver and mixed vegetables are added to a hot grill. The savory smell beckons. It seems this is the specialty of the house and at every table multiple orders were being eagerly shared. No one seemed to mind me taking images, so I did.
This is a pocket food. It starts as a small ball of dough that like pizza is stretched to paper thinness. And then a filling is added. The package is folder and thrown on an oiled hot grill. Make it golden brown. It looked good. The picture says it far better than a description.
I am just realizing that the restaurants around here run lunch specials. Restaurants do this everywhere, I suppose. But bargains? This one was a pretty sweet deal. Zucchinni soup, pasta with bacon (it’s really beef), and a pounded tender chicken cutlet; the salad, bread, and soft drink are included. That’s my iPhone ebook reader in the background. Peaceful setup as anything…All this goes for the price of an entrée menu item. I’m trying to be good and not overdo this. I noticed the steak house has a lunch special too. And with Ramadan the Indian place will run an all you can eat buffet. So many restaurants, so little time. I’d mention the name but you probably won’t be dining in this restaurant.
If the candles are correct it’s fourteen. Otherwise there might be one there for good luck and it was the thirteenth birthday. I’ve reached the point where memory is fading. I don’t remember this cake. I remember this gathering of cousins. John had three sons. Eric had one. Count ‘em. All boys on my side of the family, Jules was the exception. On Lisa’s side it was two nieces. Symmetrical? I was one of three boys, Bill (grandpa) was one of three boys, and Vinnie (Lynn’s husband) the same. Yes, it was very symmetrical. It can’t last. This cake was in Lisa’s wedding cake decoration phase. The lace work and decorations would later be used in building a tiered wedding/celebration layer cake. She enjoyed the challenge. And once mastered, she never did it again.
Today the post inspired the picture.
This doughnut and my family have a long relationship. We pretty much loved the chocolate covered doughnuts with unconditional love since I’ve known Lisa and certainly all of the lives of my children . I’ve had others of their products but no no no, it was all about these doughnuts. This was not as bad as Oreo cookies. We couldn’t and never had Oreos in the house. Mom unashamed and unabashedly ate them all before they reached the cupboard. From the earliest time the kids (Jules) could walk we would routinely hide the doughnuts in the freezer. That continued until and beyond the time both kids could reach the freezer. I got to like eating frozen doughnuts so there was no need to store then anywhere else. When we would do our annual Bear Mountain hike I was always sure to pack a full box (8 large) and we would snack our way around the lake.
I did occasionally experiment like the time Entenmann’s made raspberry flavored chocolate covered doughnuts. A thin layer of raspberry jam was in between the chocolate and the doughnut. And there was the chocolate doughnut covered with chocolate. Neither product was a big seller in my house. In my kids’ opinion you don’t mess with a classic. However, the regular chocolate covered doughnuts never seemed to be around when I wanted one.
Therefore, I devised a devious deception. When the raspberry doughnuts were done, I filled the empty box with the regular doughnuts. My kids’ eye would light up at least once a week when they thought mom had brought home another box. Then there would be disappointment, “raspberry again,” and the freezer would close upon my stash in plain sight. I ate doughnuts whenever I wanted for a about six months before anyone discovered my secret.
When I recently returned to Jeddah, Eric brought me to the airport and he thrust a box of Entenmann’s doughnuts into my hand. He insisted I take them and even eat the whole box on the plane if they wouldn’t survive the trip. I scarcely had room to carry one more thing. But that darned box survived the trip and didn’t melt. So I savor them as I write this post. Yeah, Proust and la madeleine….