- I finished Loving Frank. The middle got a little bogged down, but the ending was quite interesting. Disturbing, but interesting. It’s really made me want to learn more about Frank Lloyd Wright and gave me an appreciation of him and his work that I didn’t have before. I highly recommend the book.
- Dean and I went out last night. We were going to see a movie, but the movie we were going to see was sold out at the time we wanted to see it. So were all the other movies at that theater. So we went to a bar for a couple of beers then to a restaurant I thought was a favorite of mine. The last few times I went to Jaleo in Bethesda I left disappointed. It is very expensive and the food isn’t that good. Last night we were again disappointed. Too bad, I like the idea of tapas. We’ll not be going back.
- We’re not going anywhere for Thanksgiving, nor having anyone over. We may not even do a turkey since I’m the only person that likes turkey in this family. Maybe we’ll see a movie.
- It’s ginko ginkgo ball season. You can probably smell it from your house. P. U.
- What does P. U. mean anyway? Is it supposed to be pew?
- Ok. that’s it.
So Dean and I went back to Visions Restaurant last night. We left home, not knowing where we were going to eat dinner. We looked at the menu of a Latin/Spanish restaurant that we’d never eaten at and at the menu of the New Orleans’s Bistro. We also considered Red Tomato (one of my favorite restaurants in town). After wandering around a bit, we saw that we were on the street near Visions Restaurant. Dean knew I wanted to try it again and said he’d be happy eating there, although he may have preferred somewhere else.
The food at Visions is excellent. I ordered the Arugula Salad and can honestly say it was the best salad I’ve ever eaten. The bitterness of the arugula was offset by the sweetness of the cranberries and smoothness of the goat cheese. Simply wonderful. I want some right now. For breakfast.
For dinner I ordered the spicy shrimp. It, too was very good. True to the name, it was spicy, but not so much that I couldn’t eat it. (although I did end up taking half my plate home — the portion was huge). Dean ordered the Rib eye and proclaimed it delicious. I tasted it, and agreed with him.
I did get to meet Chef Tony this time, but only, I believe, because I asked to meet him. I noticed he paid visits to other tables and expected him to come to ours, but he didn’t until I asked our waiter if she could ask him to come see us. It makes me wonder if perhaps we looked unapproachable in some way (are we too old? were we too underdressed? Did we look like we were always deep in conversation?). Perhaps he now only visits regular customers. Chef Tony was pleasant when we did meet. He shook our hands and recognized my username. He said he liked to meet everyone he feeds.
The thing is — the reason I first went to the restaurant was because it seemed like a welcoming place — and, don’t get me wrong — the wait staff is very welcoming. As soon as you walk through the door you feel like you’re home. I just had never really been anywhere where the chefs made frequent table side visits, and was hoping to have that experience. Silly reason for wanting to go to a restaurant, but there you have it. Sometimes my reasons are not altogether sane.
The food and welcoming waitstaff will entice me back to Visions, perhaps for lunch next time — I see they have my favorite. salad. ever. on their lunch menu too. I’ll just have to give up the idea of chefly visits.
The only thing I’d suggest to Visions is to clean up its web site. Right now it is sort of a mess and much of it is not accessible — meaning it cannot be accessed with a screen reader. I’d suggest Chef Tony learn about WordPress and use a WordPress blog with an elegant template to create his website. The site is packed with valuable information, but the information is a little hard to locate and not exactly pleasing to view. I have no idea how it is updated, but I suspect Chef Tony would find a WordPress blog easier to update.
But — the website is a minor thing. Chef Tony and Chef Iddi are masters at their craft. They are excellent chefs who know how to put together an intriguing menu and create the kinds of dishes you have dreams about. They also know how to hire and train friendly people to work in their restaurant.
Mmm, I think I’ll go have some Spicy Shrimp pasta for breakfast….
Back in 1983 or so, Dean and I spent the summer in Southern California. Dean had a summer job at Rand and we got to stay in various homes in the area — house sitting for other employees of Rand. I’d just begun to “bird” in earnest and California held a wealth of birds I’d not seen before. I especially remember seeing my first California towhee and California thrasher. I also saw dozens of Anna’s hummingbirds and several Bullock’s orioles. I don’t have my California list in front of me, but it goes on and on.
One place we stayed was near the Topanga Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains. The house overlooked the city of Los Angeles, had a courtyard and was full of Real Art. The couple who lived there were high up in the Rand administration and somewhat wealthy. They had a woman who came in and cleaned their house — daily. This woman and I talked a lot — she loved cats (as did I) and she was an avid birder. She invited me to accompany her on an overnight trip to see some of the few remaining California condors in the wild, but I declined for a reason I don’t recall, but could kick myself now.
Her favorite bird was the white-crowned sparrow. In fact her license plate read wht crwn or something like that. She said it meant white-crowned sparrow. I’ve wanted to see one ever since, but never did. Until yesterday morning.
I’d just slipped a half a bagel into the toaster and was waiting for it to pop up so I took a look out the kitchen window. There, hopping among some spilled seed was a large sparrow with black and white stripes on its head. And no yellow spot between its eyes nor white at its throat. My first thought was white-crown! I ran to get the camera and of course it was gone when I got back. I thought I might be seeing one soon since one had been spotted a few streets away according to the Maryland birding email list to which I belong.
I sort of feel like my long ago connection with the birdwatching housekeeper in the Santa Monica Mountains was rekindled for a while when I finally saw the bird she cared enough about to pay extra for vanity tags.