a taste of Paris in Philly – food

An art opening requires a celebration, and after the opening we had a nice brunch at Parc. On a nice day you can sit outside and gaze across to Ritenhouse Park where college girls in sundresses walk by, or you might see a woman saunter by with black and white poodles, a perfect fashion accessory. The day was perfect, and Parc is a fine place to have a brunch.

While you look at the menu, the pastry basket is a wonderful start…

a pastry sampler - croissant, chocolate croissant, madeline, lemon curd and wonderful butter and raspberry jam

a pastry sampler – croissant, chocolate croissant, madeline, lemon curd and wonderful butter and raspberry jam

And then of course the champagne arrives, a rose since it’s warm outside

when it's warm - rose is often just the right way to enjoy bubbles...

when it’s warm – rose is often just the right way to enjoy bubbles…

Next, the pate…. this was called “Chicken Liver Parfait” it came with a grain bread which was heavenly – it gave texture to the pate and the thin layer of rasberry on top of it. This was rich… a bit of pate.. a sip of champagne… a smile at the sun or the passers by…. This choice was a risk, but you know what they say about risk and reward…

pate with bread, mustard, and pickled onion....

pate with bread, mustard, and pickled onion….

And then “Eggs Norwegian” – a twist on Eggs Benedict – replacing the ham with smoked salmon. The fried potatoes were perfect – this meal required no seasoning… every flavor complemented the other

Perfectly poached - the salmon, egg yolk, muffin and sauce were perfect

Perfectly poached – the salmon, egg yolk, muffin and sauce were perfect

I thought Parc was a small place, but inside it was bustling – I will absolutely dine here once again. And… how can I not like a restaurant with this wallpaper in the men’s room…

Now that's a French men's room decorum.

Now that’s a French men’s room decorum.


nothing like an art show PAFA

There’s nothing like an art show, a gala event – especially when your favorite youngest daughter has her first wall in the show…

a beautiful artist...

a beautiful artist…

a proud father by a tapestry.  Art is the voice of the artist made real.

a proud father by a tapestry. Art is the voice of the artist made real.

Soon… the wonderful celebration brunch in downtown Philly.


heroin – the deadly seduction

I know a young couple who live under a bridge. It sounds a bit like a fairy tale, but it not. It’s tragic. They’re both hooked on heroin and she’s pregnant. No matter what anyone does to help, the siren call is too strong. Hard to believe it’s a problem in the affluent community in which we rent.

Jan and I went to a presentation and the policeman said that now drug deaths outnumber gun deaths. He showed us some pictures of OD victims, the drug shuts down the signalling that tells the body to breathe and the lungs fill with a brown mucus fluid that is oozing from the nostrils when the body is found. Pretty horrible sounding isn’t it, but the police say that when they administer the nasal injection to counteract the heroin opiate often the drug user is angry that their high was ruined.

I was surprised by the “corporateness” of the problem. The cartel ships to Chicago, the supply-chain uses gangs to deliver and sell. Often people start on prescription pain killers which are costly and then dealers use the marketing bait and switch. Try this, its less expensive or dealers tell the users it’s a new designer drug. Anything to get the product used and keep the revenue stream moving, and the user hooked.

What can parents do ? Get unused prescription meds out of the house as soon as possible. Be in touch with their kids. If the kid’s behavior changes or their friends change don’t be afraid to drug test. Some of the new tests can detect up to five different drugs and give the results in about seven minutes. If the kid passes, reward them. If they fail, you know what you’re facing. If you find pills in their possession, use an online app to identify them. Information is important.

Testing also gives the kids a face-saving out. When their friends ask them to try something the child can say “No, my parents test.” One of the mothers who spoke said “He told me he just used a little weed.” She came into his room one morning and found him dead.

Early intervention is important. One constant was that despite their sorrow, many families say “At least it’s over”. The relief, the sorrow combine as the siren song ends for everyone that heroin has touched.


long roads – cycling

Wisconsin has a rolling heart of the country beauty. Living near the city we often forget how wide and bountiful the US is. Although on climbs there is often only one thought in mind, the next pedal stroke, I find cycling a good place to work on poems. It can be a solitary moving meditation, a place to pray.

Chris coming up a long hill

Chris coming up a long hill

After three days on the road, a stay at a legendary bad motel “Ikes”, and a thirty mile stretch of rolling hills, a glass of New Glarus Old Milwaukee Belgian Red hits the spot. Hunger may be the best sauce, but this Lambic like brew which tasted of cherries is the single best beer I have known.

Near the Fox River’s gentle boundaries Daffodils peek forth amongst the trees Iridescent in winter’s defiance As I and spring silently passed them by I did not stop and tarry there Though in Summer heat they’ll wane and fade And yes, I loved their beauty dearly But had places to be and promises already made

Near the Fox River’s gentle boundaries
Daffodils peek forth amongst the trees
Iridescent in winter’s defiance
As I and spring silently passed them by
I did not stop and tarry there
Though in Summer heat they’ll wane and fade
And yes, I loved their beauty dearly
But had places to be and promises already made


cycling back into time – rootbeer

If you start in Naperville Illinois at the crack of dawn and head toward the Fox River bike path, you’ll catch the mist rising above the ponds. Then Northward bound along the mighty Fox river the daffodils burst into sight and the frog princes croak their song of undying love to all the frog maidens as you silently pedal by.

Up near the Wisconsin border in Richmond after sixty miles or so along the path you’ll find a small fast-food joint still attended to by pretty teens who’ll take your order and bring you a hot-dog or a rootbeer and a smile. It was a long day riding, about 73 miles total and I hadn’t seen a Dog N Suds since the 1970’s. We pulled our weary seats in and enjoyed a root-beer as celebration of a day well done.

IMG_1300

It was 1973 she was sixteen, I was seventeen and her first real job was car-hop and the local Dog N Suds. That year root-beer was the taste and flavor of youthful romance. She brought the root-beer out in a frosted mug ( just like the old days ) and it was lightly carbonated, slightly sweet with just a hint of licorice, just as good as I remembered. I told the story to our server, did we look so young at sixteen too, and she smiled and told me there were only a handful of franchises left in the whole country, a place of distant memories and tastes.

a sip of tastes from the past

a sip of tastes from the past


premium popcorn – food

We’re a popcorn family. Popped up in the microwave with a little melted butter and salt added, eaten with chopsticks ( the kids discovered this to keep from getting their fingers greasy and it’s become a family tradition ) popcorn is the perfect movie food for at home while we sprawl across the couch or lounge in the recliner chair.

But can popcorn be gourmet ? Can you get popcorn non GMO grown from a family farm? Will it taste better ? The answer is a resounding yes.

GMO free popcorn from a family farm in Iowa.

GMO free popcorn from a family farm in Iowa.

It pops up with a crisp fresh flavor, and the butter and salt burst on your tongue. Alas, it’s chopstickability is the same as regular popcorn, but for those of us without greasy fingers – we just say it lasts longer. We tried butterfly ( which pops with a little hull ) and mushroon ( which doesn’t taste like mushroom, but pops into a bigger, rounder form ) I think either will delight.

You can find this popcorn, grown in the beautiful state of Iowa here: http://www.grubbpopcorn.com/ It’s a special treat to go direct to the family farmer.

Happy popping, maybe next time I can convince my wife to use salt from the Camargue ( Fleur de Sel de Camargue ) we just can’t tell my youngest who happened to visit the salt marshes in France where this salt is harvested. “Dad”, she said – “You know what flamingo’s do in the marshes.”


spring – the time of love and new cars

It’s spring, when thoughts turn to love and cars. Fondly I recall my first new car, a 1974 Toyota Corolla. I was so green I didn’t know you could negotiate the cost so I paid the full sticker price. I went in to pick it up tried to haggle with the salesman and he said, “You can’t do that.”

“Oh, OK” What did I know about the world?

Imagine $4,300.00 for a new car. It thrilled to drive it off the lot and if I lurched about trying to learn to drive a stick, that excited too.

It was the perfect car to drive about the Midwest for rugby matches, including the Ohio Under 23 select side match against Michigan. I drove with “Moose” and we won the game, on the
way home my mileage was way down and I was sure my car new car was failing. Imagine my relief when I discovered Moose’s bulk cost me six miles per gallon.

Now I dream of a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Corvette, but somehow I don’t think they’ll thrill like a Grey Toyota with a motor smaller than Harley Hog.

I’d love to hear about your first car.

We had such good comments, that I invite you to share a picture if you have it…

First car love from Diana at https://talktodiana.wordpress.com/

First car love from Diana
at https://talktodiana.wordpress.com/


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