Oddest Food Recommendation on “Miles To Go”? Well — Up There

It’s a lunch discovery in Washington DC. I am exploring the same unfamiliar neighborhood where I ran across the lovely non-profit book-and-music store. Chance on this place called Stone Fish Grill which I check out because I think Stone Fish are cool and the menu looks intriguing. So here’s what makes this pick odd:

Place seems to be primarily an Afro-Caribbean disco that serves lunch from 11-2 and dinner from 5-9. So the lighting and decor is, well, not suited to relaxed narfing.

I only ate one dish.

But it was the most exquisite crab cake and veggie side I can remember.

The side was green beans cooked to perfect firmness with what tasted like a Southern-style sauce (Carolinas or Caribbean I couldn’t tell).

But the cake itself — oooh. About the size of a hardball and done the right way — all crab meat with spice and a bit of sauce and no sinful filler stuff — with the right crab, Maryland, which I find deeper flavored and more delicate than even fresh Maine.

Completely satisfying. A full meal. Only. 10. Bucks.

And I was the only person in there eating lunch. You people are missing out.

If in the area, don’t join the missers.

Death OF Venice

When we went there a dozen years ago, this all had been a terrible problem for a long, long time.

We were fortunate enough to spend a lot of most days with a couple of high-school teachers who were native of the city. We got a real tour of the canals in the family motorboat, not some gondola or package-tour rip. They were sad about the population decline and none of their own children elected to live there.

Here are my two favorites of the insider-scoops we got:

  1. Venice seems to pretty much close up after dark unless you go to the casinos or the very few theaters. The serious night life, we found out, is at private parties in palazzos. The two we attended were easily among the most wonderful get-togethers we’ve experienced. Really was like you were living in a movie with literary characters come to life.
  2. Our male host confided in me that when he was growing up in the ’50s, getting his first powered boat was exactly how he could understand teens getting their first shiny Chevy in the United States.

San Francisco/Berkeley Swag, Pt. One: Books

Yeah, been Out West for almost two weeks. Get with it, NY — these two towns make you seem like a money-mad artist-fan hellhole nowadays. Serious record stores, serious book stores (not nearly as many as in the past, but not teetering on extinction, either), with eager customers dropping cash. Learn. Change. Use Paris as a model if you must.

This is basically in order of purchase:

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Led Zeppelin by Benjamin Darling. Sure, kinda silly that it’s a riff on those insipid “Golden Books” series, but, you know, Zappa-like sassy. Finest bathroom-book addition in years.

Trust by Jim Marshall . Copped for a knockout low sum at Half Price Books, a hugely recommended spot in Berkeley. Somebody(ies) has a helluva eye for out-of-print and cut-out. Very very little junk. Marshall is fundamentally a B&W guy, but the color shots are key to making this his most overall collection. There’s about a dozen shots in here that are little-known that a serious music fan has to have. (Marshall was in the karma mix in the area. I was shown a wondrous, rare photographer-signed shot of John Lennon backstage at the last concert — Marshall was the only one allowed — and then this book turned up.)

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams (Signet-paperback movie version with eight pages of photos!) I love these cheesy but dreamy old editions. Found at the recommended Alexander Book Company in SF. It’s got class and taste and spirit. But I can remember when indies like this were not so unusual.

[Another Post to Come]

Toby Oft’s Fight to Flight

BSO trombonist has a helluva time flying home on British Airways.

There’s loads of information in his post I did not know — about flying with instruments and more. Essential reading.

I’ve had airplane anxiety on and off for as long as I can remember. First because I was repeatedly made nauseous as a kid by rough prop-plane flights from Portland OR to Bozeman MT (taking two days to visit the same relative by train was a delightful adventure — I’ve mentioned my fond train memories). To this day a rugged, mountainous route. For quite a while as an adult I was fine in the air, but then flights back to MT for winter holidays were so jagged sometimes that I developed near-panic attacks during take-offs and landings every time I got on a plane. This was bad for me professionally as well as emotionally. We stopped visiting out there in the winter but it took me years and years to calm down at the start and end of flights.

It was just around 9/11 when I was clearly getting better. And of course the experience of flying has gone nowhere but downhill for non-1%ers ever since. It’s a creepy parallel to the decline of civil society in general.

But hey — people say bad things about Air France, but it’s the only one I enjoy stepping on any more.