Sunday, September 04, 2011

Same old, same old.

Denise and I took mom to BJ's last Friday. It was her turn to pick a spot, and she'd let me to believe we were going to the Olive Garden. But in the end, she changed her mind (I wish I had a dollar for every time the women in my life have done that). I think she prefers their Top Shelf Margaritas, and I know she loves their pasta. She got no arguments from ether of us. We love it too, so we headed to BJ's.

You can still see a hint of the black eye mother got a week or so ago when she fell out of her chair trying to get up. When we came over to eat her fried chicken last weekend, the shiner was still fresh. She looked like I'd had to beat her to get her to cook that wonderful chicken. We did a lot of joking about it all, but it worries me to death. The last thing she needs is to fall and break a hip.

I'd love to see her get her hip joint replaced, solving the issue of her having pain when she walks and tried to get up from a chair, but she's decided not to do it. She fears the pain and trouble of healing, and fears that the operation would never really heal. She was all ready to have it done six months or so ago but changed her mind. So there you go.

Anyway, the trip to BJ's was fun. I left mom and Denise out front and went on to find a nice shady parking spot. When i got into the place, I was expecting them to be over at the bar, ordering drinks and waiting for a table. But the hostes was already leading them to our table. The waiter arrived shortly thereafter and I ordered the drinks, appetizers and entrees. We knew what we wanted.

For mom, it was a top shelf margarita on the rocks with salt. For Denise, a Brewhouse Blond and Sprite, and an empty glass to mix them in (the waiter was amazed), and for me, the special. An Oktoberfest off the tap. "This traditional seasonal lager has a malty, toasty character with a mild hop bitterness in the finish. Amber in color, medium-bodied and very smooth from a long lagering process." Good stuff

As for the appetizers, we went for the traditional stuff we usually order. Mom and I love the Santa Fe Spring Rolls. "Crispy spring rolls filled with tender chicken, black beans, fire-roasted red peppers, cilantro, sweet corn, jalapeƱos and Monterey jack cheese. Served with our Santa Fe dressing and avocado cream sauce, then garnished with green onions, fresh red peppers and red cabbage." I have the waiter bring me a little cup of honey mustard, because everything goes better with honey mustard.

Denise loves the Potato Skins, but was only willing to order them if I promised to help her eat them. So I fell on my sword there, and we got to enjoy some wonderful little spuds.

"Shredded jack and cheddar cheeses melted over lightly fried potato skins, topped with Applewood smoked bacon bits and green onions. Served with sour cream dip and ranch dressing." It's like they start out with a twice baked potato, scoop out the inside of the tater, and then decorate them with all the cheese and goodness, and then toss them back in the burner to melt the cheese.

For the entrees, Mom went for her favorite thing; the Angel Hair Toscana with Cajun Shrimp. "Our delicate angel hair pasta," a HUGE pile of the stuff, "tossed with olive oil, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, fire-roasted red peppers, fresh basil, feta cheese, pine nuts, Roma tomatoes topped with fresh Parmesan cheese and parsley." One reason why mom loves it is because they give her enough, with a take-home box, she can have it two days in a row. I've tried it myself, and while I do love it, I like more sauce with my pasta. The dish just seems to me poor when it comes to sauce. I feel like I'm just eating, filling up on pasta. Having said that, it's a wonderful dish. Just order extra sauce if you decide to go there.

Denise ordered one of her favorites, the Parmesan Encrusted Chicken. "Our marinated chicken breasts coated with Parmesan cheese and crunchy Panko bread crumbs, lightly pounded and pan fried to a golden brown. Served with white cheddar mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, and topped with a lemon Chardonnay butter sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil and Parmesan cheese." It's wonderful, and ordering it gave me a chance to check out their version, as compared to mine. I tried to make it a week or so ago, and did a great job. But looking at their version, I saw that they'd cut or pounded their chicken thinner. I'm sure that helps cook the chicken faster.

For my pleasure, I chose the Spaghetti with Marinara and meatballs; Basil tomato sauce, slowly simmered with garlic, onions and herbs," with chunky meatballs tossed in. I LOVES me some spaghetti, and I'd been jonesin' for the store bought version for a few weeks. I made myself some, and liked it well enough, but there's something about the way they put it all together in a good restaurant. Hmmm, maybe it's the fact that I don't have to clean up the kitchen after. Yea, that might be it.

One of my fondest memories of my childhood is a two week long bus trip through Italy, when I was about eight or nine years old. It was an eighteen day trip from Munich to Naples and back. dad had to work, so it was just mom and sis and I, and a bus load of other yanks. We flew from England to Germany, got on the bus and headed out.

I've already told you how I LOVES the pasta. Well, when we got into Italy, the waiters started bringin' me spaghetti for lunch and dinner EVERY DAY. I was in heaven. Not only was I walkin' around all these cool Roman ruins (I was and am a HUGE junkie when it comes to the Romans).

That's mom and I, standing on the platform of the Temple of Apollo at Pompeii. Zoom in and you can see the plaid pants she's got me wearin'. Those were the days. Funny thing, it was summer, and I don't remember it being rainy that day.

I went back there in 1990, when I was teaching on the USS Thorn, and realized what was up with the past thing. Whenever you're on the bus tours, they take you to some local restaurant and they give you the choice of ether pasta or veal. Not that I don't object to the way they make veal, but I just don't enjoy the taste of it. So I pick the pasta, every time.

Anyway, dinner Friday night was wonderful, and it was great to spend some time with mom. Denise and I hit Dairy Queen on the way home, for her a strawberry Sunday and for me, a dip cone. And that was it.

Now, we're getting ready to go see The Debt at the local multiplex, and then we'll see about eating out somewhere. Ya'll be good. W'ell do this again some time. Cheers.