Hell of a Guy

Thinking of Food


Last week I spent of couple of days working with one of my reps up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.  I found Minnesota to be an extraordinarily beautiful part of the country – very green and rolling, but, still, somewhat flatter than I like.  My man shared a fair amount of the countryside with me as we made sales calls around the outskirts of Minneapolis.  I have only been to Minnesota one other time in my life and that was in January 2006, and it was a little on the chilly side.  This time the weather cooperated fully by providing me very pleasant sunny, rain-free days to roam around the farm-country outside of the city and wonder who the hell had time to count all those lakes in the state. 

I can’t say I ate very well while I was there, though.  Most of the meals consumed were of the junk variety, more by choice than by chance.  Breakfast at the Hilton Garden, in my book, is nothing more than “tide-me-over-to-lunch” fare.  Lunch, on the other hand, allowed us numerous choices.  Mexican (Tex-Mex) at Don Pablo’s one day – okay but not gourmet or really Mexican, and the second day, because we were under a little pressure to get to an appointment, we dined in an Applebee’s, with Spinach Dip and tortilla chips being my choice.  It was quick and easy and really not too bad as far as spinach dips go, but obviously not healthy.  Dinners consisted of rather weak ale and a mediocre pizza (two nights in a row).

I do know where I have had and can get some really great food.  I started thinking about this as I finished my sumptuous breakfast at the Hilton Garden my last morning in Minnesota (my omelet looked like something one would purchase at the Waffle House on the cheap).  So here is my list, or a least a start to it.  It is not necessarily in any particular order and some of these places may not be in business any longer.

1. Lot 12 Public House in Berkeley Springs, WV, my current favorite.  This one is open and hopefully The Nancy and I will be there one day this week.  If you are in BS, this one is a must.  Damian and Betsy Heath, the proprietors are the best.  Damian is as talented as any chef in New York City.  Check it out at their website http://www.lot12.com for directions and reservation number.  Sit at the bar and enjoy good drinks, good food and great company – maybe The Nancy and me. 
2. The Plaza Restaurant in Rome, New York, 229 E Dominick St, (315) 336-9961.  This is a place my Ex and I used to order pizza back in the mid 60’s when I was Airman Dave.  It is (okay, “was”) the best pizza I have ever had.  What else would you expect in Rome?  I was last there in 1992, my first trip back since 1967, and the pizza had not changed at all.  In fact, the owner told me he actually had folks from around the country (most likely former Air Force hacks like me) having him send pizzas to them.  He partially cooks them and sends them frozen and packed with dry ice.  I checked the internet and The Plaza is still there going strong.
3. Aupaka Terrace, Kauai Marriott, Hawaii.  I sincerely hope this one has not changed.  I was there in 1989.  This restaurant left a lasting memory.  It isn’t a Benihana style hibachi grill.  This is an authentic Japanese restaurant and the food was incredible.  Check it out next time you jaunt over to Hawaii.  My Ex will wonder how the hell I remembered the name of this place.
4. While in Hawaii, you must go to Moose McGillycuddy’s, Lahaina, Maui.  The Nancy and I have several breakfasts there in October, 2000.  Moose’s is a chain, but the food is consistently good at all its restaurants.  We ate at one in San Diego a couple of years and it was as good as Maui’s.  Breakfast is best, especially the juices (The Nancy’s Bloody Mary’s and my Sierra Nevada Pale Ales on tap), considering the five-hour time difference from here to there. 
5. Carmine’s at 200 W. 44th Street, New York.  One of the best Italian restaurants I have ever had the pleasure to dine.  Food and service is just wonderful.  Go early and get seated fairly quickly; go later and wait an hour.  Prepare to eat big, succulent dishes and plan to share with friend or friends.  It’s a fun place.
6. Café Cimino in Sutton, WV.  The Nancy and I ate there just once, but it was wonderful experience and we often talk about going back.  http://www.cafecimino.com
7. CJ Maggie’s in Buchanan, WV is part of a small chain located in college towns around West Virginia and Kentucky.  It was a date place for The Nancy and me for a number of years before we were married.  Many fond memories were born at CJ’s.  It is American fare, sandwiches and such, but, nonetheless, good stuff. 

I think if I had enough time I could really reel off about a list of hundred places where I over indulged, but really enjoyed the food; Trinkus Manor in Utica New York – from the 1960’s, Fuddruckers of years ago at the Woodlands in Houston, Texas (haven’t had the pleasure since I quit eating animal flesh in 1995), The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York – home of, well, you know, and Alioto’s on the wharf in San Francisco is a place I want to share with The Nancy, and the list could go on and on.

We are only limited by the restraints we put on ourselves, when it comes to food.  I made a decision a long time ago to eat abstemiously and healthily, but a few years ago I fell into a habit of quick, easy meals without the health aspect entering into what I put in my body.  I find these days, and I know this has to change, I eat solely for pleasure.  I have discovered it is easier to purchase larger clothing than to lose weight.  My mother used to say we should “eat to live, not live to eat.”  I think I am into the latter these days.  If fact, it is damn near lunchtime and I am already wondering what unhealthy, super fattening, succulent repast I am going to shovel into my mouth in copious quantity.  Ummmmm!

And that is all I have to say about that…   

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