Ever since my Grandma Vivian took us to Mrs. K's Tollhouse for dinner, I've loved eating out. I think I was nine or ten when she treated us all (our family of five, my aunt, and my Farmor and Farfar who were visiting for Christmas.) I remember feeling so rich to get to go to this landmark – an old house which actually WAS a tollhouse back in the day, now converted into an expensive, five course restaurant. I recall the delight as yet another lovely treat was set before me. At that time, my restaurant experience had been limited to a few buffet style restaurants in Sweden, where dining out is not the common place thing it is in the States. At Mrs. Kay's, I was in heaven, and I remember saying to myself, “I'm going to go lots of restaurants when I'm an adult. I love this!” And I have. Let me tell you about two wonderful places I've had the privilege to visit.
Newly married, The Engineer and I had the pleasure of a three night sailing trip with Dad. This was in the last sailboat my parents owned before they retired to Colorado. This was the one that slept 6. I was so thrilled to finally be one of the people who would be part of others' “inspecting the fleet.” (This is what my Dad and I called it when we'd wander around a marina, checking out the sailboats, and people watching. There'd be many cozy scenes to witness. The man and his wife sharing a bottle of wine. The retired couple who could be seen through the porthole, playing cards. Or the group, laughing loudly and obviously on more than their third beer each, not exactly a cozy scene, but fun to watch regardless.) I'd always dreamed of taking our boat somewhere, and then relaxing in the cockpit while OTHERS wandered around checking US out. That time had finally arrived!
We pulled up to the dock in Galesville, MD. just as the sun was beginning to set. Tired, smelling of sunscreen and sea water, we went to dinner at Pirate's Cove. There we had the pleasure of a dockside table. We sat, watching other boats arrive, sipping a wonderful chardonnay, and enjoying the sunset. There was a whisper of a breeze, and my hair danced around my face as I savored the ultimately creamy crab soup. They make it like no other place, and then give you a small bottle of sherry to drizzle over the top. It's a heavenly combination. No calories if eaten outside! Then there was the newly caught fish, sauteed in a magical marinade of freshness, tender and flaky and melt in your mouth. Well satisfied, we headed back to our boat, and enjoyed some more wine as we sat in the cockpit, being admired by the fleet inspectors. A perfect evening.
Another perfect seaside meal was at the Crab House in St. Michael's, MD. It's a quaint, preserved, historic town with lots of character and charm. And awesome crab! I've been a Maryland blue crab fan since childhood. While my sister freaked herself out at the thought of crab, I attacked with precision, as taught by my best friend's dad. Even with skill, eating crabs takes a long time. It's best to go with others who are also eating crabs. Then it's a party with good beer to marry perfectly with the Old Bay seasoning. If it's only your daughter having crab, well then you'd better bring a newspaper. (My dad would treat me to crabs for my birthday each year. We'd go, sometimes just the two of us, sometimes the whole family. I teased him about the newspaper, and being easily bored, but it didn't matter to me at all. As long as I got my crab.)
We'd again arrived by boat. (It was the same sailing trip as Galesville.) The restaurant is ON the dock, so our boat was close by. We were enjoying another perfect, sunset meal, feasting on those crabs (I taught The Engineer how to pick, and he was of course was better than me right away. He's like that. Brilliant at anything.) Then the show arrived.
An idiot in a catamaran much like this one, was approaching the dock.
At great speed. With his sails still up. This is NOT how you do it. First of all, you're going to slam into the dock, damaging both your boat and the dock. Then you've got this flapping sail to deal with, and a swinging boom, which is an accident waiting to happen. There we sat, watching with horror as he came closer and closer. “Isn't he going to take down the sail?” “When will he slow down?” “Maybe he's going to turn around and try again.” Nope. He crashed into the dock, the boom swung around and connected, with a sickening thud, with the nearest pilling of the dock. And then the swearing started. We could hear him THROUGH the window. He was blaming everyone within earshot for his disaster. Are you kidding me? How could the poor deck master have helped you? He's standing on the dock, showing you which slip to take, and barely got out of the way of your boom! Despite his rudeness, many people jumped off their boats to help wrangle the sails into place and store them correctly. I've always loved dinner theaters, and this was very amusing tableau, in a “can't stop looking at that accident even though I should” sort of way.
I have a lot more stories of wonderful meals. But I'll leave my patient readers with this question: What's your favorite meal?
Thanks for visiting, and please check out the other great “R” posts at the fab Ms. Jenny Matlock and her Alphabe-Thursday meme.