Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Orange FO

Finally, an FO to report! I've finished the orange mohair-blend sweater. That's jumper to those of you across the pond. More of a cardiagn, really, if cardigans were 3/4 length sleeved and didn't have buttons in the front. Come to think of it, it's actually more of a shrug. Cardishrug? Shrugigan? Shrugijump? Jump-and-shrug?

Here's a photo of the shrugigan on the bed.

And one of Little Brewer #2 modeling the finished product. Note the pouty model face. Watch out Zoolander!

For fun I'm going to enter it in the Home Arts division of the local county fair.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Restaurant Review: Fish On

I’m blogging from the beach in Lewes, Delaware!

Fish On opens at 5pm, which works fine for the early bird crowd and those with small children. They do not take reservations. Fish On has the distinction of having both a good chef and a welcoming attitude toward children. This is an absolute must when traveling with the Little Brewers. Not everyone with children wants to eat in McDonalds 24-7.

We were there on two nights, Tuesday 7/11 and Friday 7/14. Dinner starts with a serving of homemade bread. It’s a lovely white bread with a slightly sweet crust, the kind I could sit and eat for hours with a good red wine on the porch of my small summer cottage. Ahh….

Tuesday is half-price wine night, which brings the prices down into the reasonable range. Clearly the locals know this because the place was packed by 6. On the advice of WineGeek, we chose a Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel. It was very enjoyable.

My order:
Appetizer: Pan Roasted Sea Scallops
Main course: imperial stuffed lobster

Brewguy’s order:
Appetizer: Spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette
Main course: Pan Roasted Scallops with spinach, roasted mushrooms and ham

The sea scallop appetizer is still the highlight of the menu for me. Three scallops, seared round with sea salt and pepper, served skewered on a sprig of fresh rosemary. The balsamic reduction sauce is sprinkled with chives, and clearly made by someone who knows sauces- a chef after Brewgal’s own heart! The sauce was scraped artfully across the plate in lines. It’s exactly the right amount if you use it sparingly. I could have used a tad more.

For main course I ordered the broiled imperial stuffed lobster. It was a good sized lobster, larger than I expected, served with a small side of melted butter and potato salad. The potato salad was topped with about five whole green beans, which I believe had been blanched, but I’m not sure. Disconcertingly, they were cold, as if they had been just removed from the fridge. This may have been on purpose- it’s hard to tell. The potato salad had a gentle flavor of potatoes, with bits of fresh corn mixed in. Good job there. The lobster was cooked just right, not to the point of being mealy, which is often a problem in large-scale, serve ‘em quick restaurants (
Phillips, are you listening?) The crab imperial was nothing special. In fact, I could barely taste it. Crab imperial at its best is a fluffy concoction of crab, flour, milk, and mayonnaise where the crab sits lightly inside its poufy mound, broiled to perfection. This was a light mixture, but did nothing to bring out the flavor of the crab. Perhaps they were trying not to interfere with the taste of the lobster, which can be easily overwhelmed. If so, why combine the two?

Here is where the service and the food fell flat. The lobster arrived without a claw cracker. The waiter failed to reappear to ask if I needed one so I was reduced to digging out what meat I could from the claw using the seafood fork. The spinach salad probably saw a bit of dressing in the kitchen but seemed to have lost it by the time it reached the table. It lacked flavor in that regard. Brewguy felt the scallop main course was oddly paired and overwhelmed by the Smithfield ham.

I found Friday’s dinner to be superior to Tuesday’s.

Friday we chose the Acacia Pinot Noir. Brewguy raved about it.

My order:
Main course: Crabcakes

Brewguy’s order:
Appetizer: Pan Roasted Sea Scallops
Salad: Mixed green salad with sherry vinaigrette and bleu cheese

The crabcakes were meaty and shell-free, served with green beans almondine. The tartar sauce was homemade, with a bit of tang and complemented the crabcakes quite well. Tartar sauce is usually nothing to write home about, at worst just mayonnaise-y. Here again you can see the skill of a chef that knows how to make a good sauce.

I compare all crabcakes to ones I had at
Jakes in 1997. Those crabcakes will live forever in my memory. Not so much Jakes itself. I got food poisoning there in 2003 and have never returned.

Brewguy rated this salad much more highly than Tuesday night’s. The sherry vinaigrette was tangy, with a bit of sweetness evident on the back edge. The greens were fresh, with no limp hangers-on.

Highlight of the dinner for Brewguy were the corn dogs we ordered for the Little Brewers. The batter was light and slightly sweet around a plump beef hot dog. It arrived, like Tuesday’s chicken tenders, on a mound of French fries. Honestly, I don’t think so many fries are required, but I guess they’re trying to make sure you feel you get your money’s worth. The Little Brewers barely touched them.

Final notes: the Swedish Fish at the door are a cute touch. The Little Brewers just love them.

Score: 3 1/2 out of 5 for Tuesday, 4 out of 5 for Friday. Recommended? Yes

Fish On
Village of Five Points
Lewes, DE

Monday, July 03, 2006

Happy Birthday USA!

The Fourth of July. A time when we all come together to remember the brilliance and sacrifices made during that hot, tiring summer in Philadelphia, 1776. And to eat large quantities of flame-broiled, nitrate-laden meat products.

July 4 weekend also means...reenactors! The Gettysburg battle was fought July 1-3, 1863 so this weekend typically sees the invasion of present-day Gettysburg by hordes of reenactors and tourists.

[sidebar: Why anyone would want to reenact a battle that killed more than 50,000 people is beyond me. Brewgal doesn't understand people who are nostalgic for wars.]
[other sidebar: They also scheduled Gettysburg Bike Week for the same weekend. Can you say culture clash and traffic jam four times fast?]
[other, other sidebar: Brewgal thinks Harleys are cool. ]

Except this year. The torrential rains that pounded the East Coast have flooded the Redding Farm, site of the reenactment. Check out the photos here. They've postponed the event for a week, hoping the waters will recede. Good luck finding a hotel reservation next weekend!