Friday, August 30, 2013

August 27, 2013 Maine Wineries and Fresh Restaurant

August 27, 2013 Maine Wineries and Fresh Restaurant

We got a late start because Cynthia made us lovely lobster omelets.  She chopped fresh Italian parsley, and sautéed onions and yellow bell peppers, and sliced and sautéed mushrooms and I sliced Fresh French bolle and toasted it and poured apple juice. Ricardo went to the store and returned with Maine wild blueberry preserves and we were set for a fabulous breakfast.
Finally at 11:00 we left and started north up I-95, I-295 and Maine 1 toward Camden.  Suzette noticed on the tourism map that there were several wineries near Camden and suggested a side trip.  We turned north at Waldoboro toward Sweetgrass Winery and Distillery.  It had a small still and made lovely gin and bourbon and rum and apple brandy.  We bought bottles of Gin and vanilla extract, and interesting vermouth.
Then we drove to Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery where we were amazed by the quality of their wines.  We bought three bottles:   Daybreak Blush (rosé), St George (white) and Come Spring (red).  All were medal winners and were well made wines, mainly at the biggest completion in New England at Springfield, Massachusetts.   The Big E.  Savage Oakes also raises their own pigs, so we bought a lb. of sausage to take to Cissie.

Then we drove into Camden and met Cissie at the Market Place and she drove us to her house.   When Rick got home we drove down town to the waterfront marina and restaurant and shop area.  We looked at the menu of the Atlantica Restaurant and did not like it so we walked next door to Fresh and I liked its special, Poached Halibut on a bed of risotto with fresh asparagus.  There was also fresh fish chowder and a lovely appetizer of Tuscan Figs, arugula and Parma ham ($12.00), which Cissie ordered.  Rick and I ordered the halibut and Suzette ordered the Fish Chowder.  Willy ordered haddock baked  in cream and potatoes.  Suzette also ordered a lovely mixed a light fish ceviche and salad.   We shared and Suzette commented that the halibut was the whitest halibut she had ever seen.   I don’t know if it was due to the cooking method or the species of halibut.   I was impressed with the freshness of the fish and ingredients.   We drank a bottle of 2011 Spanish Numero III Monastrall  rosé.

We went home after dinner and a little sightseeing around Camden.   

Bon Appétit 

August 29, 2013 Camden to Arundel, Maine Lunch – Lobsterman’s Wharf

August 29, 2013 Camden to Arundel, Maine   Lunch – Lobsterman’s Wharf

We go up and I had a bowl of granola with wild Maine blueberries while Cissie went to buy fresh baked Croissants  (three chocolate and three plain).   I had a cup of tea with Willy and a croissant and we left around 8:454 a.m. after saying goodbye to Cissie and Rick.
We drove south on Route 1 until we came to Dammascotia, where we took the road to Boothsbay.  After about 1/2 driving through the woods we arrived at the Boothsbay information office, where we picked up maps and suggestions for dining and sightseeing.  Dining suggestions including the prescient statement, “just look for the funkiest place you can find.”  And sightseeing suggestions seemed to point to Ocean Point, so we drove south to Ocean Point, but on the way I had one of my food epiphanies and made Willy stop the car at the Lobsterman’s Wharf, which turned out to be both a place and a restaurant, where I saw a hand lettered sign that said 2 lobsters for $21.99.  It is hard to know what restaurant is best when one is new to a town and area.  For example, when we asked the information lady where the best oysters could be found.  She said, “Just up the road at Dammascotia”.  Well I wanted to turn around and drive back the thirty minutes to Dammascotia but I was outvoted.  I had to settle for fresh lobster, so I tried to be philosophical about it.

We arrived around 11:30 at the Lobsterman’s Wharf restaurant and were seated at a booth inside facing a window with a view of the open bay.  I ordered the lobster special ($21.99), Suzette ordered steamers, but the restaurant was out of steamers so we ordered mussels steamed in white wine and butter ($10.99) instead and Willy ordered a Haddock basket ($18.99).  Everything came at once.  The mussels were lovely but a little tough.  The fish basket and my lobsters were each in rectangular cardboard baskets.  Willy’s Haddock basket was piled to over flowing with what must have been a whole haddock, four large filets of fried haddock, sitting on a bed of French fries. I immediately tried a piece and it was delicious, possibly the best dish of our lunch.  But I had to eat my lobsters.  I immediately gave one to Suzette and then started eating mine.  Suzette suggested that I give some to Willy, so I gave him the tail meat and he ate a bit and gave the rest back.  Suzette ate her mussels and then started on the lobster but only ate the tail and claws, so I had to help her with her innards also.  Willy and Suzette finished eating all they could eat in about 40 minutes, but I kept going and finished all the lobsters in about an hour.  The waitress said the record was two hours to eat the two lobster special.  Having finished almost both lobsters in an hour, I almost said, “What kind of record is that?”, but I held my tongue and asked for the check. The waitress appeared to be Eastern European, so I thought the irony would be lost on her anyway.  

Lobsterman’s Wharf seemed to be geared to eating lots of seafood.  It did not have a fancy interior or exterior and its wait staff skills seemed to be marginal, mainly limited to taking your order and bring you your food.  For example, this was the first restaurant in Maine where there were large squirt bottles of tartar sauce and cocktail sauce on each table.  
After lunch we drove out to the southern end of Ocean Point and walked on the rocky shoreline on a path provided by the City of Boothbay out to where a couple of beautiful beach homes were located.



Then we drove to Freeport and bought clothing.  Suzette found skirts at Talbots, Willy found a shirt at Banana Republic, and I bought a cotton sweater at Banana Republic and a pair of Cole Haan loafers to replace my Sebago’s.  Freeport has a large area devoted to several outlet malls and an extensive array of L.L. Bean stores.  We went to Bass, Cole Haan, Nike, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Talbots, Banana Republic, and many others.   We shopped until 5:15 p.m. and then drove to Cynthia and Ricardo’s house.   
When we arrived at Cynthia and Ricardo’s house in Arundel at 6:00 we found that they had bought lovely pizzas from Alex the Greek Pizza man, so we opened the bottle of Come Spring red from Savage Oakes Winery and the bottle of 2010 Perrin Côtes du Rhone Reserve and ate pizza with Terry and Gundin from Albuq. and Ricardo and Cynthia.
Later Cynthia’s son Ewen and his wife and Cynthia’s grand daughter, Emma, arrived but I got sleepy at around 10:00 and retired after a long day of travel.

Bon Appétit

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 26, 2013 Pier 77, Cape Porpoise, Maine Dinner – Soft shell lobsters, corn and salad

August 26, 2013 Pier 77, Cape Porpoise, Maine   Dinner – Soft shell lobsters, corn and salad

We had a lovely morning and the best lunch in many a day.   Cynthia drove us to Parsons Beach after passing through Kennebunkport (Disneyland for grownups).   We parked on the side of the road near the beach and walked through a beautiful field of beach roses (rosa rugosa) behind the dunes that skirted the beach.   We first walked to the spot by an old driftwood trunk of a tree where Cynthia and Ricardo will wed.

Then Willy and Ricardo ran into the surf and did a little body surfing and swimming in the 72˚ water, while Suzette and Cynthia and I walked toward the point where the largest house was located.
Willy and Ricardo caught up with us and as we all walked back from the point we collected shells along the high tide line on the beach.

Cynthia was our driver and drove us along the beach road north through Kennebunk past the Bush’s (actually Barbara Walker Bush’s family’s) summer home located on its own point.  Finally we arrived at a point called Cape Porpoise north of Kennebunk where a small marina with fishing boats and several restaurants were located.   We parked and walked across the road to the restaurants and down a ramp to a restaurant called the Ramp that was on a lower level below its fancier sister restaurant upstairs named Pier 77. 

The Ramp was full but the Maitre D’ d told us that Pier77 served the same menu at lunch, so we walked back up the ramp and around to the front of Pier 77 and went in.  It was not very crowded and the Maitre D’ said he would set a table for five for us.  In a few minutes he escorted us to the corner table of the restaurant that faced the window looking over the marina and the coastline to the north.

Suzette, Ricardo and Cynthia ordered a lobster roll, I ordered Steamer clams cooked in a Provancal sauce and Willy ordered the sandwich of the day.   The meat of the lobster was a whole lobster that had been mixed with mayonnaise, celery, garlic aioli and tarragon and placed in a special lobster roll bun that is made in Biddeford, Maine.  The lobster roll was served with homemade potato chips and a slice of tomato and a pickle.  My steamed clams were wonderful.  They were larger long necks than any I have ever seen and were cooked in a sauce made of fresh sliced basil leaves and thyme sprig with fresh cooked, garlic, chopped tomatoes in a broth served with a fresh piece of French bread slathered with aioli and fresh chopped basil.  Willy’s sandwich was a salmon filet on bread. 
Suzette suggested that we order a bottle of Gloria Ferrar Champagne ($38.00) and I thought that was a great idea.  Annie our waitress brought the bottle and lovely large American style champagne glasses to the table in few minutes.  She expertly open the bottle and poured small amounts of champagne into each glass. We all immediately noticed that the bubbles aggregated in the middle of the glass and made a small geyser of bubbles in the middle of the galas.  When I asked Annie about that unique feature of the glass, she said, “The glasses are laser cut.”  The glasses were marked C&S.  We will need to look for them in the future.   




The Maitre D’ brought us a bowl of the Soup of the Day which was a Mulligatawny made with fresh chick peas and fresh made curry with the vibrant spiciness we had experienced only at Jolly’s in Vancouver in May 2012.  It was a hit to say the least.

We were ambivalent about dessert but when I asked our waitress what she would suggest she said, “The Blueberry Crumble”.   Willy decided to try it and we all asked for spoons to try it also.  Like the soup, we passed it around the table as each of us took spoonfuls of it.  It was a stiff ramekin like shell of baked shortbread within which was filled with a puddle of Maine blueberries and a crumble on top and garnished with marigold leaves, a puddle of honey, two orchid peddles and a scoop of vanilla gelato on top.  When she brought our check Annie asked, “Do you live around here?  Cynthia, told her that they owned the house at the corner of Log Cabin Road and Old Post Road and then Cynthia discovered that Annie was the girlfriend of one of their best friends, Allan, who is from an old family of lobstermen.  They talked about their eggs and garden and stuff like that.  The point is there was an instant connection of friendship with Annie through their old friend Allen. On the way home Cynthia mentioned that is very common in this close knit community to find folks who are friends or a friend of a friend in normal everyday life.

After lunch we went home and dropped Willy off so he could see Manchester Union v. Chelsea on the T.V.   Then Suzette, Ricardo, Cynthia and I drove to Rout1 and toward Kennebunk and stopped at the Ace hardware where Cynthia purchased a large canning pot to cook the lobsters in. we then drove to the Hannaford Supermarket and bought three bottles of wine a Santa Rita Torrontes from Argentina, a Le Vielle Ferme rosé for $6.99 and a Murphy Goode Sauvignon Blanc $10.99, plus some groceries, like honey and asparagus, lemons, limes, Tonic water, and a bolle of bread.

We then drove to the Lobster, Inc. fish market and Cynthia and Ricardo bought 7 1½lb. soft shell lobsters ($4.99/lb.) for about $40.00.

We then drove home and took naps. 

After our naps, at 6:00 p.m. we watched the PBS News Hour and started cooking.  I made vinaigrette dressing with balsamic and olive oil, garlic oregano, chopped red onions, parsley and capers.

Suzette made garlic croutons and steamed the asparagus and then made the salad with arugula and baby spinach and the asparagus and croutons.  Ricardo filled and heated water in the large canning pot and Cynthia cooked boiled the corn.  When the water in the large pot boiled we put the lobsters into the pot to cook.  It took about twenty minutes and then Cynthia removed the lobsters to a large platter and served them on the table with a lemon butter sauce and I opened the bottle of Torrontes and poured glasses and Suzette dressed the salad.

The soft shell lobster was the best lobster I have ever eaten.  It is like the oysters in Cancale, Brittany, France, that are flushed with seawater and filled with sea water when opened.  The lobsters’ meat was padded with seawater that allowed one to easily suck out or lift out the meat.  There was more liquid that I have ever seen in a lobster.   We ate the fresh sweet corn on the cob and the salad of baby greens with asparagus and croutons and drank Torrontes wine and had an amazing meal.

After the rich dinner I made a drink of Mount gay Eclipse Rum and Cointreau and Cynthia, Suzette and I played a game of bananagrams.  I have never played it before and like the game very much.








Saturday, August 24, 2013

August 23, 2013 High Desert Shell Club Dinner Party

August 23, 2013  High Desert Shell Club Dinner Party

I like to attend the Shell Club Meeting because its membership includes some of the most interesting group of people I ever have the opportunity to meet.
Although our common interest is shells, most are broadly knowledgeable in many areas of nature.  

To give you a flavor for the group, Tom Eichhorst, our host, who sat at the end of the table nearest me, is the editor of the national shelling publication, “Conchology” and is one of the few experts to whom questions regarding shell identification are referred to in the U.S.   Tom also raises tropical fish and had a lovely aquarium filled with fan tail guppies and a large 180 gallon tank of African fresh water Cichlids from Lake Tanganyika.  He also keeps a collection of live snakes in his study.
Although now retired, Tom used to fly air tankers for the Air Force all over the world.  Donnie, Tom’s lovely wife is the cook in the family and she made several dishes for the party, but the best two were a roasted pork loin with raspberry sauce and an absolutely killer rum soaked bunt cake. 
Tom also is also in a wine club and put out a bottle of 2012 Bacan Sauvignon Blanc from the Couric Valley of Chile, that I had never drunk before.   

Sitting on my left was Mike Sanchez, who works for the New Mexico Natural History Museum.  Mike was telling me and Suzette, who sat on the other side of him, that he just returned from Kazakhstan, where he attended the launch of the Russian rocket carrying his relative, Lucca, an Italian astronaut to the Mir Space Station and how Lucca had done several important experiments including one in which he guided a rover on the surface of the Earth from the space station in space and also almost died when his space suit malfunctioned.  Mike made a wonderful guacamole.
 Laura and Bill Krausmann came later bearing a large bowl of warm Thai cellophane noodle, chicken, carrot and fresh basil salad tossed with a Thai fish sauce made with fish sauce, brown sugar, a little rice vinegar and a touch of Sriracha and two killer Cabs from Napa.   Bill, who sat down beside me, holds a PHD in Geography and works for the U.S. Forest Service.  Laura is also extremely smart and is the more avid shell collector.  She is also a great cook and her sister and her sister’s husband own a boutique wine club in Napa, so they always bring wonderful wines.  Only one bottle was opened and everyone agreed that it was fabulous,  a 2007 Esply from Tietjen Vineyard in Rutherford, CA.  I think her sister’s company identifies wines as silver, gold or platinum selections and Laura informed me that Esply was a platinum selection.  
Laura’s Thai chicken salad was the best dish at the party. 

 Sitting across the table from me was Bruce Neville.  Bruce used to be the Science Librarian for UNM and now serves in the same capacity at Texas A&M.   Bruce is as knowledgeable about all things scientific as anyone I know, probably because that is his job.   I like to throw out questions at these meetings and the one I threw out this evening was, “How does the evolutionary process adapt to introduction of new organisms?  during a discussion of invasive species, such as the tumbleweed, African snails and grass carp.   Bruce took the position that species can kill off a host population such as the white nose fungus that attacks bats and wipes out whole caves full of them.  Mike was of the opinion that the successful predatory organisms are those that do not wipe out all of their hosts.  Everyone agreed that there are species being created and being destroyed all the time.  To prove that point, Mike said the thing that I shall remember most vividly from this evening, “The average life cycle of most species is around two million years.”   Tom then referred to his experience with the African Cichlids.  He said, there are peninsulas of land around Lake Tanganyika that form bays and the variation of a species of Cichlid from on bay to the next is such that those nearest each other can interbreed with each other but as you go farther away from one fish’s habitat they cannot breed with each other and therefore are different species.  Wow!       
Where are the Neanderthals?  Some of them are within us.  That raises an entirely different level of discussion.  Inter-speciation, which is an important issue in shell identification.  When a species goes extinct, are parts of it that have been subject to interbreeding with similar species still in existence? What does extinction of a species mean under those circumstances? 
The other member of the club, Pat, was also in attendance.  I think Pat, who is our oldest member, was in the military in the Pacific where she learned how to scuba dive.  Pat has live collected shells from all over the Pacific and when she lived in Florida she used to visit the shell deposits of fossils and collected lots of fossil forms of shells.  Fossil shells are also a large body of shells that are collected.  Pat gave me several Cretaceous cowries from her collection.  Several years ago she distributed lots of her collection to members of the club.  I picked some of them and they all had beautifully notated labels describing the location and circumstances of their collection.

Instant Salad:  We got a late start.  At 5:30 I called Tom and asked if anyone was bringing salad and he said, “No”.  So I said I would bring salad.  I then asked Tom, ‘When does the party start? and he said, “At 6:00.”  I said, “I will get there as soon as I can” and asked if they had any balsamic vinegar to which he answered, “No.”  Suzette and I then went into emergency salad making mode.   We ran to the garden.  I picked a basket full of lettuces, a cucumber and several onions.  Suzette picked an onion and several carrots.  I then washed and spun lettuce while Suzette cleaned and chopped up the onions, a different cucumber and carrots and put them in the large teak salad bowl.  I then threw the lettuces into the bowl and then started making a salad dressing.  I took a 12 ounce mason jar and poured about 2 Tbsp. of Kirtland Balsamic Vinegar into it and then 1 tsp. of Grey Poupon Dijon mustard and a dash of salt and white pepper.  I then ran to the garden and plucked a sprig of tarragon and plucked leaves from it and put them into the jar and then added several pours of Kirtland Extra Virgin olive oil, shaking the jar between each to emulsify the dressing.  Finally when the jar held about 8 ounces of dressing, it tasted fine and I ran to the basement and grabbed a bottle of 2007 Eguia Rioja Reserva and a bag of pear tomatoes, a large avocado and three fresh red tomatoes from our garden.  Bruce is allergic to tomatoes.  We grabbed the PPI bread pudding made with zucchini bread and jumped in our car at around 5:45 and drove to north Rio Rancho where Tom and Donnie live and arrived at around 6:20.  When we arrived Suzette chopped the avocado and put it in the salad bowl and then chopped the tomatoes and put them in a separate bowl and I dressed both with the dressing.

Tom made me a rum and coke with a Mexican Coke and while Suzette and Donnie were prepping the food I looked at some of Mike’s and Tom’s newer shells they had put on the table.  Mike collects lots of Volutidaes and he had a new Duponti that was beautiful.  To, collects everything but has a particularly strong collection of Carrier shells.  The one he had on the table tonight is a variety that puts a living sponge on top of its shell.   I would guess that among the five members of the club other than me their collections contain about 50,000 shells.  My collection of cowries includes only about 300-400 shells.  There are about 220 different distinct species of cowries and I probably have about 205 of the species (Some that were available are now unavailable and may be extinct) and are therefore so costly as to be too expensive for me.  Most species also have several sub-species and I have a few of them.   Shells are interesting.  They are beautiful treasures of nature but there is not a large market for them and therefore it is hard to value them.  The most I have ever paid for a cowrie shell is $4,000.00.
Bon Appetit

Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 21, 2013 Dinner – Fried Fresh Sardines with Cassarecca Pasta with Sautéed Purslane and Mushrooms

August 21, 2013 Dinner – Fried Fresh Sardines with Cassarecca Pasta with Sautéed Purslane and Mushrooms

I picked Harry up at 8:20 and we went to the IRS Headquarters on Montgomery for my tax audit.
My auditor, Nicole, was very business-like, but very pleasant, if that word can be associated with a tax audit by the IRS.  The result was that I did not owe any additional tax, which made me so happy I took the rest of the day off and made a pot of Vietnamese noodle soup with the beef Kabab from the Souder/Graf’s garden party Sunday evening and some Vietnamese beef balls, sugar snap peas, an onion, a yellow crock neck squash, a large Tbsp. each of pho flavoring and brown miso, two sliced mushrooms and four sliced okras and Vietnamese rice vermicelli and watched Chelsea v. Aston Villa with Willy.  When the match finished the Pro Challenge bike race from Colorado came on and I watched it.  It was almost a repeat of the last Saturday of the Tour de France this summer, but with a flat finish;  Jentz Voigt went out on an attach from the lead group with about 10 miles to go and the peleton caught him within three kms. of the finish and Peter Sagan won the sprint finish.

Then I worked some and took a bike ride at 5:30 p.m.

For dinner I wanted to fry the fresh sardines I had bought at Ta Lin ($1.69/lb.) on Tuesday and do something with mushrooms, because we still had the chanterelles and porcinis, we bought in Taos last weekend.  I looked in several cookbooks and finally found a sautéed mushroom recipe in José Andrés’ “Tapas” Cookbook that looked good.

When Suzette got home around 8:00 p.m. she suggested that we make pasta to go with the mushrooms and fish.  So she started a pot of water boiling.  I cleaned and removed the heads from the sardines.
Suzette went to our driveway and picked a handful of purslane and de-stemmed it.  Then she dusted the sardines with panko and flour and salt and pepper and sautéed them in olive oil and butter and one clove of garlic.

I had cut the stems off the mushrooms, so they would sit flat on the pan and sliced the three remaining porcinis into flat thick slices.  Then I heated about 3 Tbsp. of oil in a large skillet and placed the mushrooms in the skillet.  The recipe said to turn every minute, but we turned the mushrooms about every three minutes for about three times.  Then I ran to the garden and got some sage, basil and marjoram and chopped it and threw it into the mushrooms with the five cloves of sliced garlic and the purslane.
After another minute I poured about 2 Tbsp. of Spanish sherry into the mushrooms and flipped them again and cooked them for another few minutes.  I then fetched the bunch of Italian Parsley I had bought at Ta Lin and removed the leaves from the stems and chopped about 2 Tbsp. of it and threw it into the mushroom pan.   Then Suzette drained the pasta and tossed it with the mushrooms in the large skillet.  I fetched a bottle of Chateau de Nages rosé from Costieres de Nimes ($9.99 at Total Wine) and we were ready to eat.

I must admit that the porcinis (the dark capped mushroom on the right in the above picture) did not taste much different than the white mushrooms after they were sautéed in the same ingredients, so it was a waste to use the $15.00/lb. porcinis in this recipe (unless you are leaving town on Sunday and need to use them).

We ate on the patio and fileted the sardines as best we could in the low light and removed as many bones as possible and found that eating any small bones was not a problem after they had been thoroughly fried. 

We loved the meal.  As Suzette said, “What can be bad about fried fish.”
The rose was wonderful; smooth tasting, yet full of flavor and light enough to be a good complement to both the light fleshed sardines and the mushrooms and pasta.  It is one of the best French rosés I have tasted in a long time.

It was a beautiful evening and after I had begun reading in bed, Suzette came and got me  go out and look at the moon, which was surrounded by an amazing halo of light that appeared to be graduated  in tone from light in front of the moon to the darkness of space around it.

Willy and Suzette then took a walk in the moon light, while I went to sleep.

Bon Appétit

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August 18, 2013 A Middle Eastern Garden Dinner Party at the Souder/Graf’s

August 18, 2013  A Middle Eastern Garden Dinner Party at the Souder/Graf’s

We were invited by the Souder/Graf’s to join them and a group of their visiting family members and neighbors.  The theme was Mediterranean/Middle Eastern.  We brought a bottle of Brillet Pineau (a combination of cognac and the fermented wine from which cognac is distilled).
When we walked out to the patio and back yard, we were greeted by a table filled with an assortment of appetizers, including hummus, Manchego cheese, pita, crackers, potato chips, artichoke dip, baba ghanoush,  tzatziki, almonds, olives, fresh vegetables and an assortment of beverages. 

After about an hour the grill was heated up and a large platter filled with shish kebabs was brought out, chicken marinated in a yogurt sauce and a Turkish beef recipe that Diane and Jim gathered in Istanbul, on a trip last year to Turkey.   Later a platter of skewers filled with onions and bell peppers came out to be grilled over open flames.  


We each took a skewer of meat and went to the dining table inside that was filled with interesting dishes that complemented the shish kebabs, such as couscous and chickpea salad, spanakopita, Tabouli, and chocolate brownies and baklava.

We sat at one of the tables set in the back yard with Rachel, Diane and Jims’ daughter, who is attending University of Oregon and is taking a semester of her junior year abroad at University of Aberdeen in Scotland.  The Souder/Grafs are planning to visit Dublin and Willy on their way to Aberdeen in September, so we talked about Ireland and Scotland and soon Jim Graf joined us and we shared a discussion of old times and future times, and he explained how they found the restaurant and the recipe for beef shish kabab in Istanbul.  Jim and Diane’s other daughter, Emily, is Willy’s age and traveled with him and two other neighborhood kids who grew up together to urope several years ago.
Jim’s Mom is living with them and Jim’s brothers and their families were in attendance for a family reunion.  I enjoyed helping at the grill and the sumptuous dinner.  I ate so many appetizers, I became completely filled before I had finished my first skewer of shish kebab.  Baklava and brownies were out of the question, but Diane was sweet and suggested we take a plate of food home for Willy and a plate of desserts home, which we did.

The evening was lovely, cool and with a clear sky and a half-moon overhead.  
Bon Appétit