A while back we had an excellent Valentine’s Day. We are beyond cards and flowers. Heresy! I shall say, though, we had a splendid day. There was even time for a costume change.
And dinner?! It was our (Colleen’s) favorite restaurant! We have lots of restaurants we like. But there is a number one! Above all others, this was the place! An excellent stout (beer) and crab imperial. Yes!! Flowers? I did a fake bouquet at pottery barn. Hey! It’s the sentiment! And no, we did not buy that $39 bunch. Geez! Good looking and a good $$$ too. No, I followed the road to the heart via the stomach.
It was lady’s night. The respective husbands were otherwise unable to attend (the restaurant). Chicken parm comes on a plate – a large plate. Did I say, “Large plate?!” The pounded cutlet fills the plate to the point where the spaghetti on the side was served up on a second plate. The portion was large enough to take home and serve up to the absent husbands. Me? I was at the head of the table. That means I picked up the check. I feel like I got caught in the headlights. Next time….
We were stopped in a coffee shop Colleen adores. Turmeric latte. What can I say? It’s good for you/her. I deferred. I sat and took in the ambiance. We were also here for the ambiance. A graphic image caught my attention. Drat! I almost had a great shot. It’s okay but it could have used a bit better focus.
Meanwhile, I noticed a family moving about, ordering, and eating. It took me a while longer to realize that there was a sleeping child on the table. I mistook the shoes for mittens and hats. There were two kids not one. Consider it an optical delusion.
Sometimes it’s not about the picture. I grew up in Elkins, a small town. This was before fast food, before McD. There was Dairy Queen and Tastee Freez. The later is down to 25 stores. DQ has 6400 in 25 countries. McD is between 14k and 16k. The DQ burger of my (memory) youth was akin to the White Castle “grey” disc. Nothing special, they were a treat whenever mom was feeling like a night off from feeding us real food. So, for the first time since childhood… yes, the first time in many decades, we were persuaded to stop in one while traveling through WV. It was an eyeopener. The burger was huge and greasy. It was as good as any diner burger I have had recently. And the chocolate shake was thick, like a soft serve ice cream. Good!? It was as good (burger) as I could get without making it myself. That good? Maybe I was hungry? Would I return? Maybe it won’t be decades.
Mike rebuked me. I take pictures of everything. “Useless!” he intoned sarcastically. I take pictures of plates of food. Ha! I guess we don’t see eye to eye. (I don’t think – never have seen – he owns a camera. He doesn’t run a blog and he doesn’t care to. Though we’re friends, one might question the commonality of our ways. Since, we’ve (Colleen and I) been here I have passed this joint many a time. I picture it as a fast food type place. No interest. But, finally, on a cold winter night, we looked up the menu and decided to give it a try. Boredom? Not Mike, you know who? and me. We parked and walked to the door. Locked! Lights on! Blazing in the night. Closed! Private party. Ha ha. We won’t be coming back. Sorry. Bad timing?! I was saved! And for Mike, there will be no food picture this time.
Pronunciation is “close” as in “close to you” not “close the door.” It’s uniquely British/Scottish. We encountered one in Edinburgh that led to a charming little courtyard. And in Stirling it was a garbage filled back alley that led to the next street. You pick. The USA equivalent is a back alley. In Britain it is named (on a map) and designates a narrow alley/walk between two buildings to cross over or enter another space. In our first example it led to a courtyard of buildings. Charming. In the second it led to the adjacent street where we sought Nicky Tam pub – famous Cullen skink. No! It was a dive! We felt unsafe and unclean and quickly exited safe with our lives and our money. We lit upon Brea a few doors down where we slipped in just before dinner rush. They gave Colleen a lovely ½ order of Cullen skink and of risotto, two birds with one stone! And, now for the kicker, I dreamt this post up. Literally, I was sleeping and dreaming of two alternatives to pronouncing the word “close.” So, here we are.
Best Cullen skink in Glasgow? Café Gandolfi. How do they make this up? It’s online. And we were parked right across the street. Serendipitously! Purely! And, Colleen read the menu and we made a reservation. It was later we searched and found this restaurant to be rated. Ok! It was still pure luck that we dropped in.
Ubiquitous Chip restaurant was near the top of every list for restaurants in my online search. We were curious. The name derived and was counter to chips – they served none. The food was pretty. The service was great. We were glad we came. I think probably once was enough. That’s just my opinion. The potatoes were good.
Scottish things. Harris tweed vest? Cullen skink? Ummm, that would be a fish chowder with smoked haddock and potato… think rich, delicious clam chowder in America – no clam, of course. Good! We searched it out and Colleen loved it from the first taste. Thereafter, we sought it again and compared preparation in various restaurants. Eventually, we barbecued some haddock and made our own version. She enjoyed each and every try we made. The unappetizing “name” is derived from the Scottish town of origin for the recipe and the shank (skink) bones used for the broth, hence Cullen skink. “Skink” in West Virginia refers to a small pesky lizard. Me? I was bemused and ‘passed’ on the whole culinary experience.
By the time I will have posted this to my blog, the Impossible Burger will be commonplace. It’s not meat! It’s plant based. It’s nothing to look at. It tastes just like a Whopper. Which is to say, it was never fine dining, but, for fast food, it was a meal. I hedged my bet and got a $1.49 chicken nugget special to go with it. We are not craving our next burger. But for what it was advertised, it wasn’t a disappointment. … been there, done that.