Friday, January 14

The Sip

So...continuing to work on kicking my Coke habit. And I've been really good (even if a certain person has a hard time believing that)! We've been super-busy at work and there have been the usual stressors: weather, mechanical issues and the delightful folks that seem to believe we are sitting around with our quarter-million dollar trucks just hoping that they will call so that I can send someone to immediately shred their 2 boxes. Sort of a demented version of the classic show Taxi. Of course, that would make me Louie. I don't think I look too much like Danny DeVito...but, as usual, I digress.

On Tuesday - after one of these typical days - Carl came out from the warehouse with a frosty can of Coke. And I asked for a sip. And it was granted! And it was delightful. I don't think that was cheating too much. After all - I DID fully embrace and enjoy the moment. And that may be what it is all about.

Speaking of enjoying and embracing an experience - had dinner at a new restaurant in town last night. I just wanted to have dinner before choir practice and since (as usual) my dining companion refused to choose a place, I tossed out 3 choices: sushi at Kings Island, the stupor buffet at Hibachi whatever, or...and in searching my mind for a third choice...I happened upon the thought of this new place. It took FOREVER to open (remodel of a failed restaurant) and I wasn't really convinced that it would be anything special. So far that location has been Cedar Street (good), Boodles (good for awhile then eh...), JT McWaynes (good for a couple weeks then bleh...), Claytons (rebirth of a burned down restaurant - good but kept being mysteriously closed) and then was a combo of Jazz Street Grill (a great restaurant that had to move to escape the encroachment of Walmart) and Mudpuppys (sports bar - never was a fan). I still mourn the loss of Jazz Street and the chef/owner Walter. But that seemed to fail on some sort of management thing.

So - went in not knowing what to expect. And it was AWESOME! Great service, Great menu, Spot-on execution. I will admit that I am hyper-critical of restaurants. I think it is because I know what it takes to make one stand out - and some of the things are simple. And I am not afraid of giving honest feedback to the restaurant management. Real constructive criticism - with suggestions. Not just answering the "how are enjoying your meal tonight?" with "it's fine" - and then telling everyone I know that it sucked. And I'll give them more than one try - everybody can have an off night/day. The thing that drives me completely bonkers is when there is a great menu: the food sounds great, the combinations are creative, the descriptions draw you in. And then they can't execute. There was a restaurant that closed not too long ago - their specialty was unique and creative breakfast/grill items. Open 24 hours a day 6 days a week. They failed me over and over. I loved the concept, loved the menu. Every once in awhile there would be a spark of potential - only to be snuffed out by failure. Out of juice, warm beer, coffee maker broken (seriously? Go get a Mr. Coffee from CVS until the main one is repaired - this is a breakfast place!!!), never did they have their "signature dish" when I wanted to order it, and they never, never, never got a biscuit on the plate that was good.

I don't forsee that being a problem for the Stoney Badger Tavern. Super-knowledgeable staff helped us pick a beer from the list of about 30 draft choices. Then we had the most incredible appetizer - Badger Balls - luscious cheese balls with a marinara that was more of a tomato chutney. Followed that with a Crab cake on buttery croissant and a side of handmade potato chips. And the remoulade that came with...holy cow. Equally good on the crabcake, chips and my pinky finger. Carl had an upscale version of a cheesesteak sandwich and waffle fries that were so perfect...incredible texture and perfectly seasoned. And then...peanut butter pie. O. M. G. Carl literally (and I do mean literally) licked the plate.

I was late to choir.

I didn't care.

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