Saturday, June 27, 2015

Meeting with Jim

 Jim Saylor and I go back to 1969, I suppose ... both college students at Miami University - Middletown. We met in a geology class and soon hit it off. Forty-six years later we're still the closest of friends. We may usually be separated by miles, but nothing else.

 Earlier this week he sent me an email from Toronto. He'd be arriving at the Dayton air port on Saturday mid-moring. How about meeting for lunch?

 So 12:30 pm found Jim arriving at the Fazoli's in Moraine just five minutes before I got there (five minutes early myself, I might add). We spent an hour and a half catching up.


 Thanks to Pam, the cashier who Mom and I always find working behind the counter at Fazoli's, for taking this picture. Pam's in her 18th year working here.


 Jim hasn't changed much in that nearly half a century (I can't say that for myself). Seems the same young guy I met so many years ago. By the way, Jim and I traveled a bit in those early years: a weekend at Clifty Falls in Madison, Indiana, and two spring break trips to Florida (Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach). Jim and his wife, Pam, now live in Florida.


 For Jim, lasagna with meat sauce.  I'll have to remember, Fazoli's adds the meat to the sauce, not the pasta. I can order this with marinara and have a vegetarian version. It looked delicious.


 For myself, the usual spaghetti with marinara. We "shared" the breadsticks: one for Jim, three for me. Jim was worried about the carbs; I wasn't. I should be.


 And here's a parting shot taken with Jim's cell phone. Yes, I need a haircut. I'm at my 13 week target date next Monday so it's almost time. If my hair was shorter, it wouldn't look so white and I wouldn't look so old.
 Anyway, a great afternoon of catching up. Time with a friend is priceless.





Thursday, June 25, 2015

Captain 9's

 On Sunday (June 21) Mom and I celebrated the first day of summer with pizza at Captain 9's in Germantown. We usually have lunch at Sycamore Medical Center because they offer vegetarian items and the price is low. But we decided to splurge this time and share a pizza.


 Mom's sitting there with her coin purse, already fretting about paying for half the meal. We ordered a Cheesy Bread "to go" and a medium pizza (nearly $18 total) so it wasn't cheap. Usually we eat at SMC for about $2 each.


 Their pizza is truly excellent. Though I enjoy Pizza Hut's pan pizza, it's nice every now and then to have a traditional thin crust. Mae always ordered hers "extra crispy" and this one was done more along those lines. I sprinkled on a bit of pepper flakes ... quite hot but it gives the pizza an extra punch. And salt ... even with green olives (and mushrooms), more sodium was hardly needed.


 Paper plates? Yep, works fine. And plenty of napkins.
 And so summer begins and we start it off with a pagan show of gluttony.



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Loopy

 As children of the 40's and 50's, my brother and I had to satisfy ourselves with simple toys. When Bob was sick and had to stay home from school, he always got our Monopoly game down from the shelf. It was a good way to pass the time and I remember Mom was always drafted to play a game or two.

 When it came to ideas for making money, I often opted for printing a family newspaper. Both of us would set up Kool-Aid or lemonade stands in the summer.

 But one thing we both did was create pot holders.


 The loops of fabric were sold in plastic bags at most toy stores and they were offered in a variety of colors. The potholders shown above are surely 55 years old and Mom still uses them. There has never been a need for Mom to buy a commercial potholder.


 A couple of days ago Mom was looking through an old trunk for a piece of fabric and uncovered this box that Bob used so many years ago. The Hanes box, I remember, was how my grandmother used to buy us underwear for birthdays and holidays.
 Bob has noted "Pothold ... ers For Sale". He's hawking them at "twenty cents a pair".


 Inside the box is the loom that both of us used, a simple metal frame where the loops of fabric could be interwoven. I still remember occasionally having a loop pop off a metal hook and having to get help wrestling it back into place. It doesn't seem very complicated - over, under, over ... - but for a young child it could be challenging when things went wrong.


 Here's the loom itself with the long wire hooks that were used to weave the fabric.

 How much money did we ever make with this enterprise? Probably a lifetime of potholders didn't equal what we would make in an hour later on. And yet there was pride in creating these items, something of use, and I remember Bob piling them, one atop the other.

 Today's kids probably wouldn't spend a minute making potholders. Our electronic gadgets are too enticing. And yet on those snowy winter days with nothing to do, or home sick from a day at school, these allowed for hours of creative entertainment.

 And at a dime a piece, they offered the rare reward of profit.



Saturday, June 13, 2015

LuLu's

 Yesterday (June 12) Tom and I had lunch at LuLu's Rice and Noodles on Kemper Road in Cincinnati. We had planned to eat at the Spaghetti Factory but found it closed when we arrived (they open at 4:30 pm for dinner). We had both enjoyed LuLu's once before and it wasn't too far away so the alternate choice was easy.


 The helpings are huge. We both ordered Lard Nar (#4), a dish of "broccoli and carrots in a light brown sauce over wide rice noodles". Tom always orders the noodles "extra crispy". He added extra snow peas to his dish; I added cashews.
 Both dishes seem to have crinkle-cut zucchini as a prominent vegetable; also water chestnuts and miniature ears of corn. Everything was perfectly prepared and arrived at the table quickly and steaming hot..

 Lard Nar (#4) with extra snow peas

Lard Nar (#4) with cashews

 We orders a couple of vegetable egg rolls before the meal, too.


 The server brought two condiments for the egg rolls: a mustard sauce that is surely better to clean out sinuses than most decongestants and a hot chili sauce. While Tom thought the chili sauce too hot, I found it had little heat for me.


 The hot mustard, by contrast, not only clears the sinuses (and presumably those at nearby tables), it had a sudden effect on me after swallowing that made my eyes burn and my forehead feel hot. The stuff is powerful!
 So, a wonderful day and one we used to celebrate a year after our first meeting, coming up next week on June 15.



Monday, June 1, 2015

Penn Station

Friday, May 29, and Tom and I are thinking about lunch. We drive north on Hamilton Avenue. "If you see anything you like, tell me," Tom says. When I'm hungry I like anything. I was hungry.

Tom suggests Perkins. OK, I like Perkins so we stop there, are seated and check out a menu. Trouble is, there's no vegetarian offerings. Oh, I could have them make an omelette but it's over $8 and that price assumes I'm going to be adding meat. I like Perkins. I just wish they had specific vegetarian specials.

Tom picks up a dessert menu. "How about we have dessert here and then go somewhere else?" Tom asks. I settle on a slice of apple pie. Tom decides on a slice of chocolate pie topped with fresh strawberries. My pie is excellent, tastes homemade. Tom picks a bit at his and says he's disappointed, just run-of-the-mill chocolate pudding with a few strawberries tossed atop.

 We eat our pie and wait for a bill. Then we head to Penn Station.


 It's not so busy, either, but I'm anxious to have one of their vegetarian subs which I've always loved. Something hot. Something fresh. The bread is to die for.


 Tom and I wait while the subs are made, sip our drinks and talk.


 I admire this sign on the wall beside us. Penn Station's fries are wonderful ... cut with the skins still on. Lightly salted. Scalding hot from the deep fryer.


 My veggie sub is enormous. I just ordered the 6", their smallest, but I had it topped with ... everything. It's a little too much to fold up and eat so I grab a fork and go after what falls out. What's in there? What isn't?


 Tom opted for the artichoke sub and if I had noticed it on the menu I'd have ordered it, too. For once, here is a place which actually adds artichokes. They're stuck in melted cheese. Tom ordered the 8" sub and gave me a healthy taste so I'd know next time. Yep, gotta get one.


Well worth the $9.23 I paid.
Now it's time to work a bit. Tom and I head for his house and continue with removing items before the June 1 deadline. It's hot on the third floor - no electricity and no air conditioning (and little light, for that matter) - but Tom has been making nice progress in the past month. We load boxes and carry them to his Prius and then head for his apartment.




Friday, May 22, 2015

El Rancho Grande

 Bob, Sam and I usually meet at El Rancho Grande a couple of times each year and enjoy the fine Mexican food and a chance to enjoy each other's company for a couple of hours.


 We usually meet at the location at 2008 S. Alex Road in West Carrollton. It's on the way home from work for Bob and Sam lives in nearby Miamisburg.


 Nachos and two bowls of hot sauces ... that's a great way to kill the time waiting for our meals. The nachos are bottomless and the wait for our food is minimal.


 Bob and Sam always share a pitcher of margaritas. Some years back I started with a "taste" but soon graduated to a salt-rimmed glass (just one!) of my own. I don't like to drive after drinking more than one.

  Sam (l) and Bob

Me!


 I always order a bean burrito with re-fried beans and rice. Yes, a dangerous combination.
 A great time was had by all three of us. I came home stuffed and was in bed by 8:15 pm. I suppose it was the margarita.



Saturday, May 16, 2015

Return to IHOP

 It's been years. IHOP hasn't had a location in the Dayton for some time - why, I wonder? - and it's a place our family used to frequent. Yesterday Tom suggested we go there for brunch and it turned out to be a good choice.

 We went to the location on Marburg Avenue in Cincinnati.

 The restaurant was clean as a pin and the people working there - from the cashier to the waitress - were beyond friendly. That's always a good reason to return. But the food was what we mostly came for and it didn't disappoint us, either..


 Tom had a wonderful salad ...


 And something IHOP calls a "Strawberry Splashberry" ...


 And I had a Garden Omelette which filled a plate. Underneath were a few eggs and atop were tomatoes, broccoli and plenty of shredded cheese. It came with toast (I always order wheat).


 And I added a pot of regular coffee and a glass of water. The coffee was dark and rich and plenty hot for the entire meal. I understand it's endless, but one pot turned out to be enough for me.

 It looks as though IHOP is coming back to the Dayton area. It'll be a great place for a return visit.