Posted in Dining, General, humor, humour, Uncategorized

After 14 months, Dining-in In a Restaurant! Ah!

My Beloved and I are well-known for our proclivity to dining out. But for 14 months of CoVID-19 we have been unable to do so. Until we got our first shots.

While we appreciate that the first shot does not provide total protection, it does provide much better than no immunisation, so when Karen said Dee was leaving for Ontario at the end of the month of April and were we up to a lunch to bid her farewell, My Beloved and I said, since we had the shots two weeks earlier, we were: with apprehension.

After anticipation lasting a couple of weeks and after due discussion as to whether Karen and Peter were going to walk to the restaurant or we would pick them up, Karen said, since you don’t know exactly where the Restaurante A Mano is, pick us up and we will walk back afterwards.

Well, Italian is not my first choice – or even my second or third – but since our guest of honour had requested it, Restaurante A Mano it was.

So, we picked up our friends and, after zipping out of their street, which means accelerating asap left across two lanes when there is a gap in the traffic into a, hopefully, empty lane, and after turning across in front of a cyclist and having an oncoming car trying to make a left turn across our bow in a traffic light intersection and having him honk at me – the cheek of it – we turned into the courtyard wherein is Restaurante A Mano and a zillion other restaurants and there, as Karen had predicted and as she now shouted, ‘There – there – at the end of those cars on the right – oh and there are two on the left!” – I pulled into the blue wheelchair parking space on the right. All safe and sound.

Now, the entrance to Restaurante A Mano does not open onto the courtyard, which maybe explains why there are no blue parking spaces near it, only those ‘over there on the right’. So, we hiked across the courtyard and up to Lower Water Street. To be fair, we found out after the meal that there is an exit onto the courtyard, which cuts off half a kilometre.

Excitement rose to My Beloved and me, along with greater apprehension than we would have thought necessary. Our minds, however, directed our feelings. So we sat at a very nice window table Karen had reserved. It was a gorgeous day and I could see all through the meal people enjoying themselves in a patio off another restaurant. Karen had originally said on hearing my initial apprehension, maybe we could sit in the patio at Restaurante A Mano. Apparently, they had not yet opened their patio. Maybe just as well, for it might have been too cool outside, the temperature being about 14C. Whatever, we had a lovely table with our lovely best friends. Awaiting the arrival of our guest, Dee.

Now, while being a bit of a linguist, my knowledge of Italian is limited to trying to figure out the Latin root of words. And knowing that left hand in Latin is that very sinister couple of words, sinister manus, I thought Restaurante probably meant Restaurant and A Mano very probably meant ‘by hand’. It does, but I also did my M-W (Merriam-Webster) search along with my friend Google Translate and found out that a mano, as an adjective, which it could be referring to the noun Restaurante, also means carry-on. Well, we were not going flying, so that rules that translation out and leaves the first translation. It’s a restaurant by hand, whatever you think that means.

Thank God Dee arrived. Not that we were not enjoying Karen and Peter’s company, but My Beloved and I were still feeling maybe a trifle uncomfortable and had not taken our masks off since sitting down.

We haven’t seen Dee since she arrived at our front door one day just before Christmas, when she backed away from us on our opening the door, but she had put a lovely bottle of Port and some daughter-made jam on the deck for us to pick up. She kept her distance, knowing we were being very CoVID-19 correct. What a friend!

So, it was good to see her again and her arrival quickly put a stop to any hesitations about taking masks off a tavola (at the table). My Italian is improving.

As the wine and the food arrived – and got consumed – any inhibitions about dining in a restaurant seemed to diminish and, eventually, disappear.

I recall that Karen and Peter shared a pizza. They had no inhibitions, having been to this restaurant a number of times before, even being known by the staff. Dee had some form of an insalata (my Italian broadening again). My Beloved and I shared a garlicky soft bread with a dip, while, simultaneously, she had calamaretti fritti – flash fried calamaretti served with lemon garlic aioli and my additional choice was the Crostini Trio – Goat cheese, honey, fig & pistachios – Gorgonzola, roasted pears, and mascarpone – Ricotta, basil pesto, pomodorini confit.

Pomodorini, you ask? So did I, my Latin being totally useless, since tomatoes of any sort, especially cherry tomatoes, which this word turns out to mean, had not been introduced to Europe until the early 16th century.

Well, it was, Italian or not, all exquisitely delicious.

However, My Beloved and I had not finished: we wanted, nay, needed, a desert. We shared a decadent Torta al Cioccolato e Arachidi – Chocolate cake with not one, but two layers of peanut butter icing, chocolate ganache, candied peanuts and we added a scoop of chocolate Gelato.

It was a wonderful re-introduction to living the way we like it. Thank you Dee, Karen and Peter for not only getting us back into the flow of things delectable, but for introducing us to another great restaurant.

The only issue from the lunch was that we came home and slept for over an hour. And later, I must admit to a little bit of nausea, which disappeared quickly, in the middle of the night.
Food I am not used to and so rich.

So that was, as I said, our re-introduction to dining-out.

Our wedding anniversary was two days afterwards, on the 9th April, so I mooted to My Beloved that it might be an idea to dine out again. It did not take too much urging. Seems like our apprehension of a few weeks back was nowhere to be found. I had had a hankering for fish and chips for some weeks and this was the time to go for it.

Lefty’s. A family style restaurant (no Italian necessary) just ten minutes away. We checked if we needed a reservation, but, no, they do walk in or take outs.

On arrival, we were welcomed and shown to a booth immediately. Pinot Grigio for My Beloved and Malbec for me. Small glasses only. It did seem strange, however, to be back at one of our customary spots again after so many months.

Two pieces of beer-battered haddock and chips for me;

honey-garlic chicken wings for My Beloved.

In times past, we would have ordered garlic toast as an appetiser. Not nowadays.

So, we enjoyed this dinner and gave thanks for the fact that in Nova Scotia, people have been very good over the pandemic, resulting in relaxed regulations. Friends, Gloria and Ken, from the church came in while we were eating and were shown to an adjacent booth and on answering the question, we replied it was our anniversary dinner except for the lunch two days previously, it had been fourteen months since we last did this.

And then came the time for paying. I gave the server my card, only to have him return it, saying, it has all been taken care of by your friends in the next booth. Oh, how wonderful to have such friends. Bless them for their generosity and love.

So, getting back to dining out has been an adventure we have enjoyed with five great friends. We consider ourselves so lucky to have such friends.

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Posted in humor, humour

Why don’t I post more frequently?

I have ideas. I enjoy writing. I can write.
So, why don’t I write more frequently?

They say you must write about things you know. And that makes sense. So what do I know?

I know our business of Risk Management Consulting – but no ordinary, sensible lay person wants to read about that.
I know the English language.
I know German, French and some Spanish. And a smattering of Latin.
I know the foods My Beloved and I cook or eat dining out.
I know quite a lot about music, particularly classical and church.
There may be one or two other subjects about which I have good knowledge, but I can’t think of one of them at the moment.

I could write post after post on one or other of those subjects, so why don’t I?

Because, when I sit down at the computer, I get involved in something else, such as, first and foremost, reading, answering, even deleting some without reading, many of the fifty or so emails I receive every day. After all that energy has been expended, I need a coffee, so I get up and switch on the Keurig, only to find it needs more water. So, after filling it, waiting for it to get hot enough, selecting which sort of coffee I want, only then do I return to the computer and search for some food recipe I have seen on a food TV channel. Or maybe look at the weather forecast. Or look up on Google maps a town I had heard about on the news.

By then, I realise it’s time for lunch. And after lunch, I must take my nap. My Beloved likes to watch one of the food channels, which she does. But, oh no, when I awake from my nap, she is into her nap and I dare not push the footrest on the La-Z-Boy down for fear of waking her. Perfect husband I am.

It is now mid-afternoon and we have to think about either getting dinner (usually) or getting ready to go out to dinner. But, first, I must check to see if there are any more emails to read, answer or delete. And, of course, there are, so that takes more time.

By this time, somewhere in the world, and certainly in our part, the sun has gone over the yardarm, so I pour our drinks. White for her; red for me. Unless it’s a hot summer day, when it is likely a Spritzer for her; a Gin and Tonic for me.

And now it depends on who is cooking. Usually, My Beloved cooks; if we are barbecuing, it is I who cooks. Sometimes we sous chef for one another, but not generally. We like to do our own thing. But the other’s duties are to set the table and clear the dishes away after the meal. Seems to work in our house.

After dinner, we find we return to our respective La-Z-Boys to watch – or take another nap – some idiotic program on TV. What else has there been to watch over the past two years except the well-documented truly idiotic exhibition of how Americans elect their President? Well, recently, that has been (almost) usurped by the equally American sport of baseball and whether a team which hasn’t won the World Series since 1908 and a team which hasn’t won the World Series since 1948, is going to win. The one which hadn’t won since 1908 won. And everyone, it seems, was happy. Even the other team.

But, did I say World Series? The only place baseball is played is in America with some fringe players in Japan. Oh, some say that is the world. Certainly one of the candidates for Presidential election this year believes so.

Soon it becomes ten o’clock. We watch the CBC National, or part of it, and then retire to bed.

That’s why I don’t post more frequently.














Posted in Uncategorized

Chada Thai Restaurant

Saturday afternoon and it was getting towards dinner time. Neither My Beloved nor I could decide what we were going to prepare for dinner.

If you look at the last post “Recycling and lamb’, which was posted 27 January 2013, you will see I said there that we were going out for Thai. I do not understand what happened, but that was Sunday, yet I am writing now about the previous day, Saturday, 26 Jan 2013. Now, how can that be? Well, it was because I had drafted the Sunday post, but not published it. It’s all about a learning curve, this blogging game, and a learning curve for this old brain is a shallower one than it was fifty years ago.

So, now we are back on track and I am writing today, Tuesday, 29 January 2013, about a visit to Chada Thai Restaurant on Saturday, 26 January 2013.

Although the clouds had crept across the San Jacinto mountains, there were no drops of water descending from them, so My Beloved and I set forth for Chada. Well, I am not exactly correct in saying that, because while we knew where we were going and to which restaurant, we did not know the name of it.

We were shown a table for two as soon as we walked through the door. We are pretty savvy diners, having dined in many countries, but we have rarely dined on Thai fare, so the menu had a certain mystique about it.

Nevertheless, when the Maitre d’ came (whom we believe to be the owner) to get our order, we boldly spouted out “Tom Kah as an appetizer, please,” to which he responded, “Bowl or pot?”. As My Beloved and I looked at each other wonderingly, he said, “Pot – better for you two share.” So he had made the decision for us. And we were, subsequently, delighted he had. However, he had not obtained all the information he needed. “What meat?”, he said. I had no idea what he meant: did he mean what did I want for my main course? Fortunately, My Beloved chimed in with, “Chicken, I think.” Obviously, she had read the menu better than I. So, Mr. Owner went away happy with her answer.

We were sipping our Merlot when he returned with a two-tiered apparatus, into which he plunged     a fire-starter and. lo and behold, flame shot out through the centre of the apparatus, a good 30 centimetres high. Never had either of us seen anything quite so exotic and lovely as a way of serving a soup.

And what was, or is, Tom Kah? A hot and sour coconut milk soup with Image
delightful little straw mushrooms, Thai name Hed Fang, which resemble tiny little helmets, lemongrass and, yes, the chicken pieces. It was delicious! Truly delicious!

Additionally, as our mains, My Beloved chose the lightly breaded calamari, which were lovely and tender with a side of hot sauce, and I chose the crispy catfish, which came with a very tasty mildly spicy red sauce, broccoli and a few discs of carrot. A bowl of steamed rice served well as a foundation for excess sauce from my plate.

We denied ourselves any dessert and the whole came to $55 including $10 tip. A lovely meal and we will return to Chada.

But now, it is time for dinner at here at home in the condo.

ceriỵ xāh̄ār – Thai for ‘bon appetit!’
Posted in Uncategorized


Who hasn’t any leftovers in the fridge? Particularly after Christmas and New Year and after all those visitors have left.

My Beloved and I have been eating leftovers, it seems, for ever. Not really. It just seems that way. But today’s dinner was an example of leftovers:

  • We had leftover cheese-stuffed sausages from when we had grandchildren and some parents here over New Year – 2013, that is, not 2012!
  • We had leftover mashed roasted cauliflower and sweet potato from a dinner the other evening of huge barbecued pork chops.
  • We had leftover piece of sweet Mayan Onion from a couple of onion sandwiches I had made and eaten for a couple of lunches – oh, yes, not two sandwiches for one lunch. Have you ever had my onion sandwiches? They must be made with sweet Vidalia onions or the others which are nowadays available tasting even sweeter, with a fair amount of salt, a lot of pepper a little mayo spread on both pieces of bread, and sometimes a slice of Velveta cheese. Today, I sliced a jalapeno on it, too. Tonight, however, this leftover slice of onion was chopped up and mixed in with the mashed roasted cauliflower and sweet potato.
  • I’m not sure tomatoes can be considered leftovers when they have just been sitting on the shelf since we bought them a week ago, but, if they can be considered as such, then we also had leftover fried tomato halves.
  • And we had red wine. Not left over from anything, unless you consider the fact that if there is any wine in our house, it is left over and should be consumed.

So, the sausages were barbecued, the mash was fried up and crisped on one side, the tomato halves were also fried, all eaten while the red wine was drunk.

Then we sat down and watched the new young 19-year old American lass, Sloane Stephens, beat Serena Williams to gain the semis of the Australian Open Tennis and the Brit, [Scot] Andy Murray beat the Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

All the while sipping some leftover red wine. Until it was bedtime.