Back to Basics

Terrific weather has kept us moving, and eating all over the SE Minnesota area. We have tried lots of new places to eat and have been generally satisfied, but truth be told, I think the restaurants have quit trying to provide ambiance. Sure the location may be nice and the parking sweet. The restaurants are clean and the rest rooms followed suit. However, I sure miss some of the things that made restaurants a fun place to go, places that were a lot different from my home, our home kitchens.

I miss the juke boxes and the quarters the owners would hand out when things got a bit too quiet. I miss the old Sinatra tunes at the steak houses, because it’s so loud when they have a full house, which is because it’s all tables and walls and no booths to buffer the sounds. What happened to booths? Why are we all being sat down in open seating. What about the lighting? I cannot tell you when I have seen anything in the way of lighting that suggested a thoughtful plan on comfortable, non glaring, non harsh lighting. Or too much lighting. I sometimes feel like an experiment in a scientific lab, the light is so great.

I’ll admit, walls seem to have gotten some attention at one time and there is usually some collection of paintings or objects that fit the bill. Nice.

But, what about a few kind words. The last place we went the hostess said, You can have either table that’s available and one of them was still not cleared. No, welcome, how are you this evening, or anything. Gheesh. Well, anyway. What can I expect when they have taken our pickles, our lemon wedges, our lettuce and our spoons. One waiter asked me to keep my used fork for dessert. Hang me now.

Oh, this isn’t all the restaurants, and I am not meaning to damn them all. But we all know which ones I mean and they should take heart and provide offerings that bring people a nice experience to the restaurant guest.

So, I am protesting by eating out less. Back to basics for me means rice and red beans. with whatever I have on hand tossed in…red peppers, eggs, onions, garlic, oregano, or curry, cumin, maybe dill and fresh lettuce. I can throw in
a handful of cheese ravioli, some salmon or chicken. It’s a world unto itself, rice and red beans, and I make it healthier by using either half white and brown rice or all brown rice, long grain and organic. Keep it basic.

For dessert, any fruit or fruit juice and an oatmeal raisin cookie. Nothing better and I can play any music I want on
my dvd player.

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