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The Villages, Here We Come

August 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Odds are, we’ll be staying in Seattle when retirement comes. And if we don’t, Gail’s preference will be to head straight to Nantucket. After last night’s dinner at neighborhood favorite Cactus, though, I suggested we should consider The Villages. You know, that Florida retirement community with all the advertisements on TV? (And if you don’t know, watch the video above.)

Why not? Restaurants. Nightly entertainment. Activities galore. No need to drive anywhere, except in golf carts. Plus, no kids! I mean, I love kids and all. Really, I do. But last night we were the only people at Cactus without children under the age of 3. Well, it was early, but still.

I always think of Cactus as a young adult hangout. The big bar. The noise. The excitement. That’s the usual reason I drag my feet when Gail suggests we go there. The place is packed nightly, and everyone seems to be having way too much fun.

Evidently, those young adults got a little older and decided to have children, all of whom showed up yesterday.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But we clearly didn’t fit in (as I first realized when our overwhelmingly friendly waitress greeted us by asking if this was our first time in. It was all I could do to keep from saying we’ve been eating there since before she was born. Which might be true, by the way.) The kids hanging over our booth, babies bawling, parents standing over other people’s tables with children in their arms were too distracting.

As we walked out, I suggested to Gail that we rethink our retirement and take a closer look at The Villages. When we got home, I did so.

There’s a video about their newest restaurant, City Fire American Oven & Bar, that gives me confidence we won’t be missing much.

It looks good, doesn’t it? I suppose kids are allowed in restaurants when they’re visiting with their parents, but all in all I picture life as quiet and idyllic. Lord knows, it’s cheaper than Nantucket. And we could build our dream home there.

What’s that? The Villages is owned by Gary Morse, major Romney supporter last year? Fox broadcasts from there frequently? Glenn Beck held a massive rally there in 2009? Oh, and this story from last November might give us pause. Here’s one paragraph:

If Villages transplants aren’t already disposed to conservative values, they’ll get a good dose of them through the Morse family’s small media empire. Fox News Radio is pumped daily out of speakers in town squares by the community radio station, WVLG-AM 640, making for an odd blend of sunny Villages-themed dispatches and distinctly right-leaning political news reports. A driver listening to Villages radio can step out of his car in one of the town squares and hear the same broadcast without missing a beat. In talking to HuffPost, several liberal residents likened the public speakers to Orwellian propaganda.

Darn.

Gail, what are we to do? But watch the video below. Aren’t they having fun?

Categories: Life, Restaurants

Anniversary Dinner, 2

June 23, 2013 Leave a comment

georgianview

We were married 28 years ago today at the Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle. As I wrote last year, “we therefore make it a habit to return to the Olympic for our anniversary dinner. Not every year, but many, including this one. We eat in their Georgian Room, one of the most beautiful dining spaces in the city, and with excellent food too.” The Georgian Room is closed on Sundays and Mondays. That’s the main reason that we sometimes celebrate elsewhere. This year, we decided instead to stick with the Georgian Room but eat a day early, i.e., last night.

In reviewing last year’s post on our anniversary dinner, I see that this year wasn’t much different. Nearly the same menu; nearly the same choices. I’ll write about the meal anyway.

As has become my custom, I had called Topper’s, the excellent florist that resides in the basement level of the hotel, ahead of time to arrange for flowers to be delivered to our table. I had also called the restaurant to request one of the two-tops spread throughout the room that has a banquette on one side for side-by-side seating (and no chairs on the other side). I particularly like the table by the rear window toward the right that affords a view into the entire room, and I successfully explained to the host which table I meant. When we arrived last night, all was in place. We were led to the desired table, and a floral arrangement of modest size—so as not to overwhelm the space—was there.

We had decided before arriving that we would follow last year’s plan and start with glasses of Prosecco, to be followed later by a half-bottle of red. As we studied the menus, we ordered the Prosecco from our waiter. We’re especially fond of the Georgian Room’s long-time sommelier, an Austrian gentleman named Joseph, and were pleased that he came by to pour the Prosecco. This offered us the first of what would be many occasions to chat with him. (You can learn more about him here and click on the embedded links that take you to youtube videos featuring him.) His own anniversary is near ours, a fact we keep re-learning each year. He has two older stepsons and two teenage sons.

The menu presented us with some familiar choices. For instance, which salad to start with? The Young Spinach Salad with truffled quail egg, bacon lardons, and white balsamic, or the Olympic Caesar Salad with aged pecorino and toasted crouton? I asked the waiter’s advice and he said he loves both, but maybe I’d enjoy the Caesar more with the Prosecco. That decided it.

Looking back now at my post a year ago, I see that I went then with the spinach salad. And I see that Gail repeated last year’s order, described on the menu as Dungeness Crab Bisque, Tarragon Infused Mini Crab Cakes. The bowl comes with two stacked crab cakes and, above them, two pieces of crab meat, over which the soup is poured. The Caesar has a long, thin-sliced piece of pecorino, above which is an equally long lettuce wedge, with dressing and some shaved cheese pieces on top. And to the side is a long, thin, crisp “crouton”. No, it must have been served on top of the rest. I simply removed it first thing. Great presentation.

I enjoyed the salad. The dressing was applied lightly. Perhaps a little too light for me to appreciate how well it matched the Prosecco. And Gail enjoyed the soup.

On the entree choice, this is what I wrote last year:

For our main dishes, I was leaning toward the rack of lamb, but when Gail ordered it, I went for the T-bone steak. Hers was listed on the menu with four accompaniments. Each was prepared in a block about one-and-a-half inch square and maybe three-fourths of an inch high, the four squares laid out in the center of the plate to form a three-inch square with the lamb on top. It looked beautiful. One of the squares was a mashed pea concoction with tomato jam on top. I ate some of it at the end. It was sublime. Another was spinach, another lamb shank, and I don’t remember the fourth. Gail chose well.

This year was a near repeat. Perhaps I should have read last year’s post before we went. Once again, I was tempted by the lamb, totally forgetting last year’s experience, and once again, when Gail told me she planned to order it, I decided I would have steak instead. Here’s the menu description of the lamb: Roasted Rack of Lamb, Herbs of the Garden Crust, Quadrant of Flavors & Textures: Crushed Peas, Braised Shank, Spinach Gratin, Crispy Prosciutto-Whipped Potato. Once it came to the table, I knew I really wanted those peas. Oh well.

Last year’s T-bone came with three sauces—béarnaise, peppercorn, cabernet jus—each in its own small square plate. This year’s menu has in its place a Black Pepper-Crusted Bone-In Ribeye Steak, Bacon Whipped Potato, Roasted Bone Marrow, Truffle White Asparagus. The steak comes in a large metal plate with handles on left and right, as if straight from the oven, with asparagus below. Also on the plate is the potato, in a miniature metal pot about two inches in diameter, and the bone marrow, in a deep cup. I’ll confess that I didn’t eat much of the bone marrow. Everything else was superb.

Oh, the wine. Well, when you go with a half-bottle of red, your choices are constrained, and there’s not a lot of advice for Joseph to offer. In recent visits, we’ve chosen the Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Domaine Vieux Télégraphe. Not a novel choice, but we love it, so much so that we have several bottles in the basement waiting for suitable occasions. Also available was the Pirouette from Long Shadows, a Walla Walla winery whose wines we have been trying in recent months. The (sold out) current release is a 2009, a classic Bordeaux blend: 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec. We had never tried a Pirouette of any vintage, but do have a bottle of the 2009 downstairs, also awaiting a suitable meal. On the menu was a 2007. We conferred with Joseph, who agreed that it would be a good option, so we chose it. And we weren’t disappointed, though Gail did admit at the end of the meal that she might have preferred the Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Pirouette

As with the rest of the meal, dessert presented another opportunity to do what we always do, which in this case means ordering the soufflés. (Can you blame us?) There is always a fixed option on the menu, black and white chocolate, and a nightly special, which last night was white chocolate and strawberry. Gail chose the classic black and white; I went with the special. And they were perfect. I couldn’t have been happier, except that mine didn’t look as cool as Gail’s, with its split down the middle into black and white halves.

We paid, had a farewell conversation with Joseph, asked our waiter for the box our flowers came in, had him pour some water out of the vase, carried the box and vase out, then had yet another conversation with Joseph, just outside the Georgian Room entry at the top of the lobby.

But wait. The amuse-bouche. I forgot about that. Back when Joseph was pouring our Prosecco, the amuse-bouche arrived. A custardy concoction with a poached cherry on top, served on a spoon as a single bite. My custard stuck to the spoon, so I didn’t quite get it all out as intended. Maybe it had sat too long.

No matter. It was a beautiful evening. Food, presentation, wine, service, flowers, setting, and most of all, Gail. Happy Anniversary.

Categories: Family, Restaurants

Madison Valley Trio

May 12, 2013 Leave a comment

harvestvine

I mentioned in my last post that I haven’t been writing much lately, in part, because of house guests. But we sure had lots of good dinners, home and away. It was great to have Carol in the kitchen, both as Gail’s sous-chef and, one night, the chef herself (producing a superb salmon dinner). Among the meals out, I’ll mention three that were all within a block of each other in the Madison Valley neighborhood, just over a mile from here.

It’s a continuing wonder to me that Madison Valley has so many good restaurants. When I moved to Seattle a few decades ago, the Madison Valley commercial strip along Madison Street was non-existent. There was the New York Deli. And nothing else. Not just no other restaurants. No commercial establishments at all. The deli was an island. I’d drive home from the university through the Arboretum, making a left on Madison to go down to the lake and Madison Park, with Madison Valley immediately to the right. Another half mile up the road on the right were some stores, but I’d never head that way.

And now Madison Valley may have a more interesting collection of restaurants than Madison Park, among which are the three where we ate with Carol (and, in the first case, Tom).

luc

1. Luc. I’ve written about Luc before. It’s the more casual French restaurant that Thierry Rautureau opened a few years ago to complement Rover’s, his high-end restaurant about which I’ve also written many times. We will miss Rover’s. Thierry is closing it soon. But Luc will continue, and perhaps we’ll get there more often. We ate there on Mother’s Day two years ago, but made it back only once since then, until going two weeks ago with Tom and Carol, Jessica and Joel.

We shared a basket of soufflé potato crisps to start, along with harissa aioli as a dip. Then I had the salad Lyonnaise: frisée, mustard, poached egg, lardon, and red wine vinaigrette. My main dish was the trout amandine with potato. There was a trout special that several of the others had. And I had to watch Carol, sitting across from me, eat their amazing sausage dish: house made lamb sausage, roasted root vegetables, and spring salad. That sausage is really good. I had forgotten just how good, but Carol was kind enough to let me try it.

I passed on dessert, but did try a bit of Gail’s madeleines. Oh, and a taste of Carol’s ice cream. We need to eat there more often. One thing, though. The back seating area, by a small seating counter that overlooks the kitchen, is really loud, as I learned three Januarys ago when I ate a sort of business dinner there. It’s hard to hear one’s table mates. We need to make sure we get seating in front.

cotecreperie

2. La Côte Café. I’ve written about this also many times. I don’t have much to add. Ever since they stopped being a pure crêperie, dropping a lot of dinner crêpes from the menu and adding a variety of alternative French and Italian entrées, I pretty much always order the same thing: the côte salad with butter lettuce, shaved fennel, apple, and vinaigrette; the fettucini carbonara with slab bacon, parmesan, and cream (and a raw egg, not listed); and from their list of dessert crêpes, the Belle-Hélène, withpear, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate sauce. This time I mixed it up, going for the Martiniquaise crêpe for dessert—banana and chocolate sauce. And, of course, a glass of cider from Brittany—I never remember which—that I keep trying to convince myself I enjoy, though it tastes something like burnt rubber.

3. The Harvest Vine. How could we never eat here before? We went a few days ago, our last meal out with Carol. I always thought it was just a wine bar. We’d drive by and people would be squeezed into the small space at the far end of the Madison Valley commercial strip, seeming to fall out of the open windows. What I didn’t know is that there’s restaurant seating below and a Basque menu. Carol knew her way around the menu, having spent plenty of time in Spain with Tom, so she could advise us, as the waiter was more than eager to do.

We shared all our dishes, as is the custom, starting with Tabla Ibérica, a selection of dry-cured meats from the pata negra pig. There were four meats, all fantastic, each thin sliced. We had Gazpacho and the Tortilla Española—a warm potato onion omelette with alioli. And Calçots—grilled Catalan green onions with almond romesco. The Cordero en Torrefacto, or grilled lamb in torrefacto with sautéed artichoke and some other stuff. And Venado, or grilled venison with oyster mushroom-leek ragout.

Hmm. I may have forgotten a dish. If so, perhaps Gail or Carol can comment. For dessert, I had the coconut flan (perfect), Gail the olive oil wine cake with roasted muscat grapes and whipped cream, Carol the rice pudding.

Three wonderful meals. Thank you, Carol and Tom.

Categories: Restaurants

Athens Restaurants

April 14, 2013 Leave a comment
Five Points, Athens, Georgia

Five Points, Athens, Georgia

First off, I should clarify that I’m talking about the Athens in Georgia, not Greece, and about Georgia the US state, not Georgia the country in the Caucasus.

As I’ve indicated in previous posts, we flew down to Atlanta from New York last Sunday, then drove to Athens, home of the University of Georgia and fifth largest city in the state. (What’s bigger? Atlanta of course. Also Augusta, Columbus, Savannah.)

That night we had our first of many superb meals, though not at a restaurant. This one was at Dan and RuthElizabeth’s home. Ribs, macaroni and cheese, green beans and Vidalia onions (with or without bacon). A great introduction to southern cooking, even if Dan’s from right here in greater Seattle and RuthElizabeth is from Syracuse. And the red velvet cupcakes that their daughter made were a perfect ending.

Monday morning, Gail and I explored the university and downtown. Having not eaten a real breakfast, we were hungry, so we stopped for an early lunch downtown at Al’s Beef, a Chicago chain whose only non-Illinois locations for now are in Athens and Scottdale. Why Athens has one is a mystery, but I tell you what—if you stumble on an Al’s Beef somewhere, give it a try. It’s implausibly good. We both tried their classic, the Al’s Italian Beef with hot and sweet peppers and provolone.

alsbeef

The Masters golf tournament may be what brought us to Georgia, but once we decided to make Athens our home base (getting accommodations in Augusta would have been hopeless by the time we decided to use the tickets we won in the Masters lottery), a visit to UGA’s math department also became part of the plan, thanks to Dan’s kind invitation. I spent the afternoon in the department, after which we were taken out to dinner at 5 & 10, just down the street from campus at Five Points, pictured above.

5&10

This place is great. It is owned by Hugh Acheson. From the website:

Five & Ten is Hugh’s flagship restaurant, started from scratch in 2000. “The menu,” says Hugh, “has always been an open interpretation of Southern food, melding Georgia cookery with French and Italian influences I learned growing up. It’s been a very fun restaurant over the years.”

Acheson’s fresh approach to Southern food has earned him a great deal of recognition including Food & Wine’s Best New Chef (2002), the Atlanta Journal Constitution Restaurant of the Year (2007), a James Beard winner for Best Chef Southeast in 2012, a 2007 Rising Star and 2012 winner of the Mentor Chef award from StarChefs.com.

In 2012, the James Beard Foundation awarded Hugh’s first cookbook A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen, published by Clarkson Potter, Best Cookbook in the field of American Cooking.

newturninsouth

Gail and I shared two appetizers. One is described on the menu as 5&10 “Little Ears Pasta” stinging nettles, garlic sausage, favas, calabrian peppers, lemon. The other was Romaine Hearts classic caesar dressing, crisp parmesan, bacon, pressed bread. I started with the Caesar and didn’t want to give it up. But once I switched to the pasta, I wished I had more of that.

For the main dish, Gail had Low Country Frogmore Stew gulf shrimp, potatoes, corn, andouille, leek & tomato broth and grilled bread. I’m not a big shrimp eater, but it looked fabulous. And at the end Gail let me try it. Fabulous indeed. I had the Roasted Hanger Steak, anson mills farro, fiddlehead ferns, beet greens, abalone mushrooms. No, that doesn’t sound right. It’s what’s on the online menu, but I didn’t have farro. I had oats. Incredibly good oats, as was everything else.

They have an extensive wine list, plus additional choices by the glass. I tried a glass of Sicilian red, as did Brian. Gail had a rosé, and later a syrah-grenache blend, both French. I can’t remember what, but all were good.

For dessert, in addition to their pastries, they have a daily selection of ice cream, sorbet, and cookies. I went for a scoop of coconut ice cream and an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. I can’t remember what Gail had. The online menu lists Chocolate Nemesis cake with malt ice cream, white chocolate crumb, brandied cherries, bruleed banana, whipped cream. I know she didn’t have that, but maybe she had a variant.

I was learning fast that people eat well in Athens.

Tuesday was Masters day. We were on the road to Augusta with Dan and RE by 6:45 in the morning, back around 7:15 in the evening. Once we collected the girls (well, they were collected in stages, but no matter), we headed to Cali-N-Tito’s, which is just a block up from 5 & 10, in walking distance of both our on-campus hotel and Dan and RE’s house. It’s a Cuban restaurant, the kind of place where you order and pay at the counter, take a number, and wait for the food to be brought to your table. The line to order was about 25 minutes long, giving Gail and me loads of time to study the menu.

Given Cali-N-Titos’ proximity to campus and the preponderance of students among the diners, I might have had low expectations if not for Dan and RE’s having chosen it. The food came quickly after ordering, and it was good. More than good. I’ve never had a better Cubano sandwich. Standards are high in Athens.

Wednesday Dan and RE joined us for a tour of UGA’s Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. It’s the UGA sports Hall of Fame—the central atrium anyway—with the offices of the Department of Athletics, workout space, and more in the corners and below. And it’s amazing, to the extent that a university sports museum can be amazing. National championship trophies, Heisman trophies, history, photos, old football helmets, and on and on. One could wander the space for hours.

UGAhelmets

Next stop was the Georgia Museum of Art, the university art museum that doubles as the state art museum. We were running into time pressure at this point, since we were all supposed to meet Natalie (another Washington native who has found her way to Athens) for lunch, after which Dan and Natalie had to get on with their days. So we cut the museum visit short in order to get over to The Grit.

Natalie had suggested The Grit while we were texting back and forth from the art museum, and I remembered reading about it before the trip, so I instantly agreed. We would meet up in about half an hour, with Gail and me returning to the museum on our own after lunch.

According to The Grit’s wikipedia entry—which is where I must have read about it, since the website information is minimal—

The Grit is perhaps best known for its relationship to the Athens music scene. It is located on the edge of downtown Athens, site of numerous performance venues. The Grit is a popular stop for touring performers and local musicians. Although he is not involved in the operation of the restaurant, the building is owned by R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe. In 2001 the restaurant’s owners published The Grit Cookbook: World-Wise, Down-Home Recipes, which contains testimonials from many of The Grit’s fans in the music industry and elsewhere. Admirers included Stipe, Kate Pierson (of the B-52’s), Kevn Kinney, Vic Chesnutt and Spalding Gray, along with members of Pylon, Widespread Panic, Fugazi, The Jayhawks, Counting Crows, and even Hee Haw’s Marianne Rogers. The Grit’s menu is entirely vegetarian, and a significant portion of items are vegan.

And from the website:

If you’ve never visited The Grit, you should know that we’ve been an old favorite in Athens, GA for more than two decades. We serve vegetarian food in a way that appeals to ALL kinds of eaters. The lure of delicious homemade food served in generous portions at inexpensive prices, coupled with a lovingly restored pair of handsome dining rooms in a splendid historic building…it all brings people back and back again. So again, welcome to TheGrit.com!

gritcookbook

I started with the day’s soup special, the lentil soup, though the split pea dal sounded tempting too. Then I had the Falafel Platter: Five chickpea fritters served with lemon-tahini dressing, pita points, cucumbers, carrots, celery and radishes. I’ve been eating falafel a long time. Like, since my Israeli cousin ordered them for me in an Arab restaurant in Jaffa in July 1970. And these were as good as any I’ve ever had. Tasty and light.

Another option is The Grit Veggie Plate, in which you choose three items from among the dishes on the special board or from a selection of regular menu items. Gail went for this. I can’t remember which three she chose, other than one being two falafels and another being one of the soups. Maybe the other special of the day, a bean soup. Oh, and tabouli salad. She was as delighted as I was.

We don’t seem to get to vegetarian restaurants too often. One thing we realized is that when it comes to desserts, their offerings aren’t much different from the offerings of non-vegetarian restaurants. For instance, a beautiful red velvet cake from which one can order slices. And homemade cookies. Natalie and I split a cookie. We all shared a slice of cake.

The Grit’s website description is accurate. Their food does appeal to “ALL kinds of eaters.” It is indeed “delicious homemade food served in generous portions at inexpensive prices, coupled with a lovingly restored pair of handsome dining rooms in a splendid historic building.” And it would bring me “back and back again.”

That last line applies, by the way, to Athens dining—and Athens—in general. I’m hooked.

Categories: Restaurants, Travel

La Grenouille

April 14, 2013 Leave a comment

lagrenouille

I’ve developed a backlog of over a dozen posts, partially listed here last night. With this post, I begin the process of digging myself out.

Two Thursdays ago, Gail and I flew to New York on the occasion of my mother’s 93rd birthday. I wrote a week ago about our dinner that evening with my sister, my cousin, and their spouses at a place on 84th called Italianissimo, and about Joel’s arrival from LaGuardia (and North Carolina) late in the meal. The next day was the birthday, which we celebrated with a meal at New York’s great French restaurant La Grenouille.

La Grenouille celebrated its 50th anniversary this past December. From the website, we are told that it “serves classic French cuisine and spontaneous creations in a glowing setting that many consider home.” Among those people would be my parents, who have eaten there many times over the last five decades. I believe I ate there twice—back in the 1970s—but not since.

grenouille2

The dining room is beautiful, as the photo above from their website may suggest. And the service is impeccable. While waiting for the rest of the family to arrive, we were offered bread that was a treat on its own.

grenoillebread

To start, I chose Le Potage Saint Germain, or the “Saint Germain” Split Green Pea Soup. Perhaps I should have been more adventurous. Joel had the Pâté de Campagne et Céleri Remoulade, or Country Pâté with Celery Root “Remoulade”. Gail might have had Le Confit de Canard au Pistou, or Duck Confit With “Pistou”. (These descriptions are all as on the online lunch menu.) But I was extremely happy with my soup.

For a main dish, one simply can’t go wrong with their classic sole: La Sole Grillée, Sauce Moutarde, or Grilled Dover Sole, Mustard Sauce. Four of us had it. Before filleting it, they brought a platter with the four servings to show us, then carried it to a side table where it was placed on a warming tray and prepared. I miss sole here in Seattle. Gail keeps telling me that it’s readily available, but mostly what I see on menus is salmon and halibut. The sole was perfect.

Once again, I’m having difficulty remembering what Gail chose. Joel had Les Quenelles de Brochet “Lyonnaise”, or “Quenelles” of Pike “Lyonnaise”. Maybe Gail did too.

The online dessert menu doesn’t seem to match up well with what we had. We were asked as we ordered the main meal if we wanted some of the options that take extra preparation, like soufflés. (According to the menu, there are three options: Grand Marnier, Chocolat ou Citron “Meyer”. Other options offered were an apple tart and a tarte tatin. I chose the apple tart, Gail one of the soufflés. Once again, I couldn’t be happier. The meal was delicious, the service both warm and unobtrusive.

I ought to have more to say, but I don’t remember much more of interest. There was a salmon special that both my parents had. I believe my sister had the tarte tatin. Maybe my brother too. Well, suffice to say that I’ll be happy not to wait another 35 years before returning.

Categories: Family, Restaurants

Catchup Time Coming Soon

April 13, 2013 Leave a comment
All the Devils, RA Miller, enamel paint on barn door, Georgia Museum of Art

All the Devils, R.A. Miller, enamel paint on barn door, Georgia Museum of Art

With work and travel, I haven’t been posting, being content instead to add to my coming attractions list (here and here). One more time, with catchup scheduled to begin tomorrow, if I can tear myself away from final-round Masters coverage.

The list so far:

1. Lunch two Fridays ago at La Grenouille, one of the great restaurants of New York.

lagrenouille

2. Andrew Delbanco’s College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be , which I started reading on the plane flight to New York two Thursdays ago and finished last Monday.

delbancocollege

3. Hockey on ice. A silly little post about a pun.

4. Our flight to Atlanta last Sunday, views of New York and Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake and downtown Baltimore, and my inability to come up with a clue to the Delta flight magazine crossword puzzle clue “New York’s ____ Island” even as I looked down on the very island and pointed it out to Gail.

5. Last Monday at the University of Georgia.

ugaarch

6. Dinner Monday night at Athens’ great 5 & 10.

5&10

7. Last Tuesday at the Masters. A dream come true.

12th hole, Augusta National Golf Club

12th hole, Augusta National Golf Club

[Photo by Dan Nakano]

8. Wednesday visit to the University of Georgia sports museum (Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall).

Herschel Walker's 1982 Heisman Trophy

Herschel Walker’s 1982 Heisman Trophy

9. The subsequent visit to the Georgia Museum of Art (the state museum, on campus).

Jimmy Lee Sudduth, self-portrait, homemade pigments and house paint on tin, Georgia Museum of Art

Jimmy Lee Sudduth*, self-portrait, homemade pigments and house paint on tin, Georgia Museum of Art

*A year ago we went to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke and saw an exhibition that featured another Jimmy Lee Sudduth painting, which I featured at the time leading off a post.

10. Wednesday lunch at another great Athens restaurant (who knew they had so many?), The Grit.

gritcrown

11. Our drive to and then around Atlanta Wednesday afternoon, with a stop at the MLK National Historic Site and The King Center before heading down to the airport.

mlk

12. Our flight home Thursday in a 767 set up for international travel, with a change in the weather.

Hmm. Maybe I won’t get through all of this. But doing so is the plan.

13. Oh, and one more post, on yet another long history book I need to add to my ever-growing list: William Dalrymple’s Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, due out Tuesday and reviewed today in the WSJ. It came out in January in the UK, to strong reviews. And Dalrymple has an op-ed piece on Afghanistan in tomorrow’s NYT.

returnking

Coming Attractions

April 6, 2013 Leave a comment

lagrenouille

My time for blogging has been limited this past week, and it will remain so for a little longer. I’ve just written about our dinner at New York’s Italianissimo two nights ago. Here are two coming attractions:

1. Lunch yesterday at La Grenouille, one of the great restaurants of New York, where I last ate some time back in the 1970s.

2. A short book I downloaded Wednesday night and began reading on the plane Thursday morning, Andrew Delbanco’s College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be from a year ago. (Yes, I’m still reading Amanda Foreman’s A World on Fire and thorougly enjoying it. I’m just taking a short break, since I have a feeling I’ll be reading A World on Fire forever.) I’ve been meaning to read Delbanco’s book for some time, and now I am.

delbancocollege

Consider these placeholders for two posts to come.

Categories: Books, Restaurants