Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dim Sum c/o Good Fortune

On the Sunday after the Preakness, Dad and I went to Good Fortune for dim sum. The place, thankfully, doesn't really change. The same dude, greyer and maybe a little heavier, greets us at the door, and the food is still hot and continuous.


Salad and Pasta c/o Jackie's

After the drive back to Silver Spring we quickly regathered ourselves and went to Jackie's for dinner. Their menu had quite a number of things on it that looked appealing, but I ultimately decided on a salad and an entree. Our waiter was not the warmest of servers and when I asked about how the tuna on the Nicoise salad was prepared, he told me that there wasn't any tuna at all. I found that to be quite confusing, as I have never before run into a Nicoise Salad lacking in tuna. In fact, I would go as far as to say that a defining characteristic of a Nicoise salad is tuna. So that was weird. I went with the salad with Le Bocage spicy greens, sugar snap peas, Chinese peppercorn and a mango infused vinaigrette. I loved the bit pile of greens and the look of the peas and ate the entire thing, though the peppercorn and vinaigrette's overall presence could have been better enforced. What?
My father had the shrimp and squid ink gnocchi with mustard greens and spring garlic, as well as mussels and peas from the looks of it.
I had the orecchiette primavera with pesto, broccolini, foraged mushrooms and Idiazabal manchego cheese. I liked it very much. A little oily at the bottom but good.
I generally try to say no to dessert, but once I looked at the dessert menu and realized that my father was going to split a little sweet treat that I might as well jump on the wagon. This was a butterscotch panna cotta I think, with little cookies. It was a little soupy, but tasty.
I think elements of this chocolate cake dessert were heralded as good, though my father was a little less positive about the cake itself. Alas. Or was that D? I forget.

The Preakness Backwards

I am on a beach vacation right now and have tried to pretend that I do not have full internet capabilities, but I began to have nightmares of all the meals and photographs collecting dust and unaired for all to see. What? Before I left I carefully chose and edited down the photographs I thought I would use to depict that which was Preakness Day. But somehow in the drive to NC, I have completely lost that piece of paper and far too lazy to spend the dedicated time to be similarly thorough a second time. So here, folks, you get a slew of Preakness photos starting at the end and working back to the beginning. Could I do it differently? Yes. Am I? Well clearly not. Here is Shackleford a few furlongs away from winning the Preakness. I love how there really is a second when a horse is running and all four of its feet are in the air. Neat-o.

The Preakness beginning. Just having gone through all the photos quickly, I was surprised to learn that Shackleford was in the front of the bunch from the starting gate all the way til the end. Or maybe he pulled back a little and then surged again. Often if a horse I bet on is in the front clump at the beginning of the race, I'm fairly certain that they'll be at the back by the finish line. So well done Shackleford. I lost more than I won, but I did have the exacta.
This dude's job was mainly to sit on a chair all day and make sure no one went up or down a flight of stairs. I'm sure if there had been rowdiness or fights he may have tried to clean it up, but mainly he sat and, from the look of it, got sunburned.
I forget exactly what task these guys did, but the two on the right seem wiped and not all that happy while the two on the left seem tired but in good spirits. They didn't seem like the best of friends.
There were many worrisomely skinny rich women, take this woman for example. Yes, she's buff, but girl needs to eat some things. Look at her waist. It gives me the shivers. There are times when I'm jealous of the slender and sleek, but in this instance I just worried that these women were going to fall over. And I felt sad that some aspect of their lives (husbands/boyfriends?) compelled them to this level of crazy town. Or maybe their metabolisms are naturally that good. Scoff.
Never bet on a gray. They will lose, no matter how pretty you think they are.
So this is all before the Preakness, here is the woman who always interviews the winner on their horse after the race is done. Well, she doesn't interview the horse but the jockey, of course.
The ordered colored chaos of the saddling area.
Note the horse rearing. Everything was fine.
Pretty horse. Didn't win.
This is what I looked like.
This is something I saw in the sky. I wonder if Nancy said yest to Ozzie. I wonder if Nancy was a wee bit annoyed to be proposed to in such a public way.
Men and women came out of the sky. I took one million photographs of them, but here is one.
What it looked like inside.

Surf and Turf c/o D. and B.

While my childhood memory was being shattered by present day development, D. was creating us dinner. With his bare hands. Well. Cooking may be the better word. B. made a lovely salad.
And there was salmon.
And steak.
And roasted potatoes too, though there isn't any proof. I know they were there, I have faith...in the existence of potatoes I ate two or three weeks ago. I just finished reading a book all about faith and space. The end. Thanks to D. and B. for a lovely meal!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Seeds of Change

Once we returned to the Ts' homestead, I decided to take the old dog walk, or at least part of it, to stretch my legs after all that sitting. I also wanted to check out all the things I remember from childhood in the woods and make sure it remained as I wanted it to be. As I left, Dad had some nice light surrounding him.
This used to be grass.
Deer in the background.
There was a giant puddle on the bridge. I ran and jumped over it because there was not a way around it that didn't involve inches-deep mud.
But it really was a wide puddle, and I wasn't all that successful in not getting my feet grimed.
In November when I took this walk, this view would have looked like this. The angle isn't exactly the same, but I think you can tell that there's a pretty huge difference between the two, angles aside. It was rather traumatic. The path we usually took to get to the field has been overgrown a bit, and the break in the fence is no more. The entire former field has a huge fence around it. Made me sad.

And a whole lot of trees and honeysuckle are no more.
This was a big tree.
This is how I feel about changes and surprises that are negative and not fun at all.

Black Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico Race Track

On Friday we departed Silver Spring for Baltimore, as it was Black Eyed Susan Day, and that's just what my parents and the T.s have done off and on for years. D. has a number of routes to get to the track, one of which led us through some bad construction in the downtown area, but we got there eventually. Man Baltimore is a weird place. So many boarded up buildings. So much obvious poverty. But at least in the one small section of a neighborhood we drove through, it also seemed like there was a sense of community. People out on the streets talking, church ladies getting things out of cars in church parking lots. Yard sales outside the abandoned buildings. I don't know what I'm talking about. Soon after arriving I had the signature Black Eyed Susan drink in my hand, I never did track down exactly what it was. Mainly orange juice and maybe vodka, I'd suppose.
B. also created a lovely little bag of snacks for us to munch on throughout the day. Salami sandwiches and pretzel chips and such. My previous Black Eyed Susan included steak sandwiches, so you'll be blown away by what happened on Preakness day. Not really at all.

I wore my strappy sandal wedges. These are miraculous shoes. I wish I had time to go to DSW and get pairs in different colors.
Daddy-o looking stern.
B. and D. looking less stern. It was, of course, strange to be at this event without my mother. In some ways I was filling her fourth role, but not really because I'm not her. It is what it is: hanging out with the grown ups, minus one of the grown ups.
Me with a very strange smile on my face. I look like I'm trying to imitate a movie star or game show host.
B. was nice enough to take a photograph of the two of us.
I forget which race we arrived for, maybe the fourth. I proceeded to lose all the money I brought. It was sad. But I had budgeted (sort of ) to lose it, and it didn't all go to the track's coffers. Some went to beer, which I guess means that in one way or another, it all did go to the same place. Or maybe not. I really don't know.
The little red headed girl was yelling up a storm. I"m not 100% convinced that she really knew which horse she was rooting for as she was yelling for the entire race, even when the horses were behind the huge obstructive tents. I should mention that it was a little wacky that the infield's construction blocked pretty much everyone in the grandstand's view of the far side of the track. Didn't seem exactly right since I'm pretty sure the grandstand seats cost more than many of the infield's options. But I don't really know about that either.
She was very excited. I couldn't tell if her horse won in the end or not.

God bless the zoom lens. I kind of want an even more zoomy one for birds and the like, but I also want a macro one for foods and whatnot. Decisions, decisions.
And that is a little collection of the photographs from day one. I took many, many photographs of horses running, figuring I could sort out and crop some to make more dynamic images. But I'm lazy. Maybe at the beach next week. Beach!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ominous Skies and Crisfields

Last Thursday I went to work and once I was done for the day, I got into my car and began my drive to Silver Spring. I had hoped to avoid rush hour by leaving early, but this plan was entirely foiled by extremely heavy rain, toll booth construction and D.C.'s rush hour. Actually, it was mainly the rain and the construction, which caused me not to get into the D.C. area until 7. This is what the skies looked like as I drove south after leaving the Philadelphia skyline behind me.
I arrived in Maryland and sat around with my father and our former neighbors and friends the T.s. After a bit we got ourselves together and hastened to Crisfield's before they closed. Silver Spring is greatly changed from the city it was when I was a kid and a teenager, and though whole streets have been replaced with apartment buildings, diners with Discovery headquarters, Crisfield's remains almost exactly the same. From the signed photographs of Jimmy Buffett on the walls, to the collection of oyster plates and beer steins on shelves, it hasn't yuppified itself like the rest of the city. I like it that way. I appreciate and value continuity, especially in things that are good.
They have $1 beers. They are served in tiny glasses. I had the ESB.
And the soft shell crab entree platter, which came with two sides.
I went with apple sauce and french fries.
The crabs were good on the whole. I am arrogant and think that mine were actually more succulent, but their's were definitely more crispy. It was a good return. The bar/clam man was friendly and ended up giving me half a glass of beer 'gratis,' which I appreciate. Did I just just 'gratis' wrong? I mean that he didn't charge my father, who paid for the meal. Thanks Daddy-o!