Sunday, March 29, 2009

Re-Enactment of The Last Supper

It's a quite involved Family Day for the First Communion kids. John is being remarkably tolerant so far!Re-Enactment of The Last Supper


Monday, March 23, 2009

Considering Coffee

How much would you pay for a good cup of coffee?

I am a Wawa man myself and pay $1.29 if I am not brewing at home from the Kona beans my brother put me on to.  The coffee down in the UArts cafe, run by 12th Street Cantina is pretty good and only costs a buck.  Occasionally I will splurge and hit up Starbucks for a Pike Place.  That runs me around $2.50.

Nothing prepared me, however for the coffee story I read today.  Kopi Luwak beans are from Indonesia, nothing unusual about that.  The unusual part comes in the harvesting and umm processing.  An animal, the Asian Palm Civet eats ripe coffee cherries and well, processes them.  The resultant waste is rather interesting.  The beans are seperated from the poop and washed. 

The beans are the most expensive in the world and sell for about $190 a pound.  Here's the shocker.  That's only about $6 a cup.  Oviously there's some SERIOUS markup in the retail coffee game, even at The Wa.

It's alleged that the resulting coffee is very full and rich, one commenter describes it as 'like drinking a fine cigar.'  Umm ok.  I think I'll pass


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Origins of The Madness

The Madness is upon us.  65 (now 64) teams will spend the next three weeks scratching and clawing their way toward a heavily modified Ford Field in Detroit for the 2009 edition of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Final Four. 

I generally think that today should be a national holiday. Office productivity will be at an annual low. Brackets will be on nearly every desk.  Water cooler conversation will for a brief period be diverted from American Idol.  Guys will slip away for slightly extended lunches.  Women who pick their brackets based on uniform colors will lead the pools by nightfall.

It's a colossus of television, athletics and marketing.  CBS does a masterful job bringing it all to us, and despite their ability to screw nearly everything else up, the NCAA gets this one perfect. First they get us enthralled in the week prior to the games by encouraging prognostications about who will just barely make it and who will be relegated to the NIT. 

Then they give us an orgy of conference championships that culminates in the 6 pm EDT Selection Sunday show featuring exultant invitees and petulant also-rans. That's followed by the pundits going over every detail of every team that made it and every shortcoming of those that didn't.  On Tuesday they feed us a game between the two worst teams in the brackets, allowing us just a taste of action that starts us salivating for the frenzy that will begin at noon today.

It's a monstrous pageant, almost excessive, but still so compelling that every year, regardless of whether my teams are in, I find a place to watch at 12 and tune in as often as I can over the next few weeks.

At its beginning though, the NCAA tournament was a small thing.  Nearly unheard of really, even in Philadelphia, the basketball-crazed town that hosted the first March madness 70 years ago.  Mark Kram had a great article in the Daily News yesterday that shows just how humble the beginnings of this thing really were.

Enjoy the spectacle. 

And GO CATS GO!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gotta Love Traffic

In case you are thinking of heading to Philadelphia via the Ben Franklin Bridge , think again.0318090850.jpg


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

3351098463_c62826881d For those who are wondering, I have the day off and when I have the day off so does the Friday Fantastic Four.  I'm sure everyone is heartbroken. 

It's hard for me to believe, but today is the day to register my little princess for Kindergarten.  It seems like only yesterday that she was small enough to fit in one arm ...

It's also picture day at Pre-K, hence the photo of Emma today.  As you can tell, it was a bit cold this morning before school!  She's happy her hair is growing out and also thrilled to be wearing her Easter Dress a few weeks early.  This is a quickie post since I have much to do today, but look for some new writing tomorrow.

Hope you all have a great day and a good weekend!



Thursday, March 12, 2009

What My Website Says About Me

There's a website out there that you can type your blog's URL into and get a reading on what the writing style says about your personality type.  It uses the basic types from the Myers-Briggs test and seems like a fun idea.

Mine came back as ETSP - The Doers.  Here's what they say about me:

       

ESTP - The Doers

The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.


Well, I've usually tested as ENTP using the Myers-Briggs, so this is a bit of a departure.  I can see where the ESTP is pretty close to the mark in a lot of ways, though.

If you've got a blog of your own, see what Typealyzer says about you.  Or put in some of your favorite places on the web and see what comes up.  Just a guess, but I will assume you're not going to see a lot of introverts with a blog.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just Another Night On the Road - Or Not

This is another piece that I recently got back to after a few years' hiatus.  It's got some problems, but ultimately I like it.  It was originally written in the first person, but I think I am going to try to do this thing in the third person.  It's also got two different scenes and moods, but then so does life sometimes.

New writing after the jump - let me know what you think!



<p>There were a few flakes of snow on the windshield of Mike’s car</p>

There were a few flakes of snow on the windshield of Mike’s car.  Clouds of steam hid our faces.  The cold had me short of breath after only a short walk.  Tommy and Mike settled into the cold seats and waited for the car to warm up. 

 

“So what do you think,” asked Mike, blowing into his hands.  Tommy’s teeth were actually chattering.  It took a conscious effort to form words.  “Well we can beat them, but not every night of the week.  The big kid is good and they don’t turn the ball over.”

 

“Yeah.  Did you figure out the thing they are doing on the fast break?  Do they release the forward early?  Or were they just that much quicker than

North West

?”  Mike shifted the car into gear and drove across the near-empty parking lot

 

Tommy squinted at his notes in the dark.   “Well on a long shot they were staying in to rebound, but once

North West

established the post, they kinda sagged off on the weak side.”

 

Mike drove with both hands on the wheel.  Tommy thought he could probably walk faster.  The pale green of the instrument lights made his face glow.  Mike licked his lips.  “Want to go to The Cemetery for one before we head back?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

No one ever has just one at The Cemetery.  Tommy had been there every time he had been to

North West

since 1993.  Two guys were playing pool when he and Mike walked in.  Billy was behind the bar.  “Ahhh!  The Chancellor guys!”  he boomed.  “Sit down.  Have a beer!”  Why Billy liked Tommy and Mike was simple.  They always came in if they were in town, and often they spent lots of money. 

 

That night they had three or four beers each and Billy bought Tommy a shot of Jack for the road.  It was midnight when Tommy and Mike got back out into the cold.  Mike took a deep breath of freezing cold

Reading

air.  “Mmmmmm. I think it’s warmer.” 

 

“I think you need to give me the keys.  You are apparently fucking drunk.  It’s like eight degrees,” Tommy bitched.

 

“Nah.  I’m fine.  Let’s go.”

 

The thing about basketball coaches is that we can talk about games and players forever, mused Tommy.  Mike remembers every game Chancellor has ever played.  He remembers details Tommy forgot before the game was over.  He remembers player names, how many they scored on us and what we should have done to stop them.  Tommy sighs, thinking, I just love to talk and I’ll talk hoops with anyone anytime.  The 6 pack Tommy bought as we left the Cemetery made the ride fly by.

 

By the time we got back to Pickle’s it was close to 2. Some guy held the door for us so we could get in.  Danny Scallan started to tell us he was closed, but stopped when we waved.  George Omirou laughed, “Do I even need to ask where the fuck have you guys have been?”

 

Danny brought more beer.  The notebooks came out.  The SportsCenter relay started on the big screen.  We each gave our reports.  George took notes of his own. At 3:15 the bar was as clean as it ever got and Danny wasn’t bringing anymore beer.

 

George looked into his little pocket calendar.  “Ok Tommy, we’re at Washington Learning at 2 tomorrow.  Meet me at the gym at 12, or 11 earlier if you want to do the practice plan.”  yawned George.  “Mike, you’re off for PTO night, but you need to call the Annunciation kid.  Mic, you and Matt have Eastridge at

Atlantic

at 7.  Gimpy, if you actually made practice tomorrow it would be nice.”

 

Leaning against the bathroom wall trying to focus on getting out the door, Tommy hoped that he would make it home.  Was this what it was all about?  Yeah, he mused.  This was pretty fucking good.  He blew his breath out hard and went thought the swinging door into the now brightly-lit bar. 

 

“Yo Tommy, you got a second?” Danny called.  “You ok there?”

 

“Yeah Danny, fine.  What’s up?”

 

“Well I probably shouldn’t say anything, but I have known you guys forever and …”  Danny trailed off.

 

Tommy frowned, suddenly sober. “Yeah?”

 

“There were two guys at the bar this afternoon when I came in.  Drinking Scotch both had suits on.”  Danny twisted the bar towel in his huge hands.  “I wasn’t really paying attention until I heard George’s name.  I mean, it’s not a common name.”

 

“Yeah.” Tommy said, still not sure where this was going.  “So who were they?  What were they talking about?”

 

“Well they got pretty quiet when I came over and chatted them up.  I thought maybe they were friends of his.”  Danny looked up at Tommy.  “Maybe I should talk to George about this.” 

 

“Yeah sure, Danny.  Whatever you want,” Tommy shrugged.

 

“I just know you are his best friend and all, so I thought you could tell me if anything is going on with him.”

 

Tommy’s patience for the conversation was fading quickly.  “Huh?  What the hell are you talking about Danny? We’re in the middle of the season.  Nothing’s going on except fucking basketball all day and night. What are you asking me?”

Danny looked at him and said, “Well they were talking about what Chancellor would be like next year after George was gone.”

 

“Huh.” Tommy sat back in the bar stool.  “Well that’s weird.  Wonder what that is about.  Are you sure you didn’t mis-hear the name?  Can I have some Jack?”

 

Danny pointed at the door. “Get the fuck out of here.  It’s late and I wanna go home.”

 

He came around the bar with his coat and pushed Danny toward the door.  “C’m on.  You need to get home and I need to go to sleep.”

 

As he locked the door, Danny called out across the empty parking lot, “You gonna talk to George about this?”

 

Tommy stopped and thought for a moment. “Yeah.  He’ll know what to do.  He always does.”

 

“If I thought that, I woulda told HIM,” said Danny as he climbed into his car.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Tommy Lives Here

This is the first in my series of posts that are designed to get me writing something more than blog posts about my life on a more consistent basis.  I wrote this piece a few years back, before my divorce was final and I moved to Moorestown.  The exercises was designed to get me to know a bit more about my main character by writing about the place he lives.

What's amazing to me reading and editing this piece a few years later is how eerily similar some parts of it are to the life I have led for the last few years.  There are major differences of course.  My kids live with me and Tommy's don't.  He's got leather furniture that I won't have until the kids are grown and gone.  Someone cuts his grass for him.  But still the early days of my bachelorhood and his life have some interesting correlations.  The kitchen and the kids' rooms are near dead-on for what we've got here today.

Please read more after the jump and let me know what you think.


Tommy opened the old wooden porch door and bent over to pick up the mail that had been stuffed through the slot.  Mostly ads and a few bills.  There was one card from his mother.  He put everything on the small table next to the front door and picked through his keys looking for the right one.

 

“Hey coach!” came a voice though the less-than clean window panes.  “Nice win last night.  I watched your press conference on ESPNews.  You were funny!”  One of the downsides to the university giving him a free place to live was that he was surrounded by college students.  “Thanks, Matt.  I am glad you got a laugh out of it.”  Tommy waved at Matt and turned back to the door.

 

Matt Carroll and four of his buddies lived next door and took care of Tommy’s house when he was away.  During the spring and fall, they cut the grass and trimmed the few shrubs he had.  In the winter they shoveled and salted his walks and made sure that no one parked in front of his house.  They were good kids and he liked them, but god could they get loud sometimes.

 

Some one had enclosed the porch years ago, creating what he guessed real estate agents would call a ‘three season room.’  It was cold in December, but in the spring and fall he loved to sit out on it with the windows open and listen to the sounds of the nearby campus, sipping single malt and smoking the occasional cigar.

 

There were a few old books on a book shelf under the front window and several struggling plants on the deep window sills.  He really should bring them inside.  He turned the key in the lock and picked up his overnight bag, leaning against the dark wood of the door and pushing.  His shoulder hurt as he rocked into the door again, and it swung open.  He reached out quickly and caught the handle before it went smashing into the plaster wall behind it.

 

The house was old, but he had spent a lot of the last year making it homey.  The university had wall to wall carpets everywhere and the walls were what Tommy called ‘slum lord beige’ when he moved in.  He had paid the brother of one of his assistants to paint the place in some warmer colors.  Cecil had done a great job for just a few hundred bucks and all the beer in Tommy’s fridge.

 

After that he had pulled the carpet up and rented a sander to revive the old oak floors.  It had taken some work, but finally last spring he had all the floors re-finished.  The living room stairs had been too beat up to re-stain, so they were painted a crisp white, though he had labored for a week to get the banister and newel post refinished a dark mahogany brown.

 

He dropped the bag on the small club chair next to the door.  It was a soft brown leather and matched the sofa that ran the length of the far wall.  It looked like the nice stuff at Pottery Barn, but Tommy had bought it off the back of a truck in his home town and he still smiled at how little it had cost him.  He frowned at the pizza box on the coffee table.  There was an empty beer bottle on the cheap, but nice carpet.  He had forgotten that he had fallen asleep her the night before he left and had not bothered to clean up.  It didn’t really matter he thought.  It’s not like anyone ever comes to visit.

 

The sofa was too soft to really watch much tape.  He always seemed to fall asleep before he got much done.  There was a layer of dust on the matching end tables, and he promised himself he would polish them later.  Right now he needed a glass of juice, a shower and some sleep.

 

He walked through he archway door into the sparse dining room.  His stereo was set up in a corner and the table and chairs came from an auction he had visited.  Nothing special.  1950s dark cherry with slightly fraying seats.  No one had sat at the table in 6 months.  It was the next rest stop for the mail after he brought it in from the porch.  The message machine on top of the small liquor cabinet blinked furiously.

 

He dropped his coat over the back of the chair and walked into the kitchen. Tommy loved to cook, but this was no chef’s kitchen.  The university had put new cabinets and countertops in before he had moved in, but they were cheap and he hated the way the overhead fluorescent light made everything look a bit too sterile.  The stick-on tile floor did not help matters.  The fridge kept things cold though and he reached in for the carton of orange juice. 

 

He poured the juice into a glass he had probably had in college and headed back thought he dining room to the stairs.  They creaked and there were dust motes in the corners as he headed up to start the water.  It took a while to get hot and he wanted it good and hot.

 

The bathroom was another university remodeling special.  The plaster walls must have been terrible, because they had covered them with white faux-tile paneling.  This met the real tile all of the bathroom at about eye level and the contrast between the 1940s hot pink and the icy white was startling.  The bathtub had an old-fashioned wire ring that held up the shower curtain.  The massive toilet wasted huge amounts of water and the pedestal sink had two separate, balky handles to control the water temperature. 

 

After starting the shower, Tommy walked down the hall past little Tommy’s and Caitlin’s rooms.  They didn’t visit as much as he would like, but they always had a place to stay when they did.  Tommy wasn’t sure if they felt like they lived here or were always on vacation when they were here.  He hoped they felt at home.  Sometimes it was hard to tell with kids.

 

Little Tommy had loved Thomas the Tank Engine and the room was painted Thomas blue and there were appliqu├ęs on the wall.   There was a Thomas rug, bedspread and lamp.  The dresser and desk were painted a coordinating red.  Tommy was growing out of the Thomas phase now and soon the room would have to change as his little boy had changed.

 

Caitlin remained a baby in his eyes and her room reflected it.  It was all bunnies and soft colors.  He loved the way the sun lit that room up and made it seem like his tiny angel was there even when she was not.

 

Tommy’s room faced the front of the house and had windows on both sides as well as two on the front of the house, over the front porch.  His bed with the Ralph Lauren spread and sheets his girlfriend had bought on closeout was unmade in the middle of the front wall.  He had left the computer against the far wall on again.  There was a profusion of half-read books on each end table.  He didn’t remember the last time Carrie had spent the night, but her things were still here.  Weren’t they?

 

His small closet was immediately on the right and he stripped out of his clothes and left them on a heap under the side window.  The raw cotton woven rug was just there to keep his feet from sticking to the floor when it was hot and also cut the chill on cold mornings.  Carrie had picked put the gauzy curtains that hung from simple iron curls over the windows.  He sniffed the air and thought he just barely caught a bit of her scent, but he was probably wrong.

 

He pointed the remote at small TV on the bureau that had come from his aunt’s house.  A SportsCenter re-run blared.  He didn’t have a bed frame yet, but he had been thinking about a wrought iron frame or maybe a simple Shaker wood frame. 

America

thought all college coaches were well-paid, but with the alimony and child support, there wasn’t much left for extras.  Tommy kicked the laundry with his foot and headed back to the bathroom, where steam was beginning to billow into the hallway.

Getting Back To Writing -- Really Writing

More than fifteen years ago I got into coaching because I had an idea for a novel where the main character was a college basketball coach.  I hoped I might get some insights into the character by living the life for a year.  I really was only planning on doing it for a single season.  When it got warm again, I would get started on the novel and by next winter be on to my next project.

Ten years or so later, I had been to countless practices and games, met a lot of great people, traveled all over the country, but somehow never wrote a word.  Realizing my new son was a pretty important development in my life and that I wasn't going anywhere as a basketball coach, I hung up my whistle.

In the next few years, I still never found time to write anything about that coach character that had seemed so important to me back in the early 90s.  It took the wrenching jolt of realization that my marriage was dead to get me to pick up my pen again.  I started by working through some old writing workshop exercises, designed to get the words flowing again.  Then, as it always seems to, real life took over again and I left the project again to put my life back together.  I distracted myself with my children, building a new relationship, taking pictures and traveling while changing jobs and enjoying life.

Recently, as crazy as life has been, I have been feeling the need to start doing some real writing again.  I started this website two years ago to force me to do some kind of writing every day, and it's done that.  An old high school friend (and recent Facebook friend) described the Another Delco Guy site as 'eclectic,' which I recognize as a kind way to say, 'jesus man, you're all over the place here.'

So the other day I dusted off a few of those short pieces that I did three years ago.  I'm planning to spend the next week or so cleaning up the spelling and typos and post them here one by one.  Maybe you'll see something you like.  Maybe you'll hate it all.  One way or another, drop me a line and let me know what you think


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Wow! What a Saturday

The windows are open, kids are playing ball in the back yard and it's warmer in Moorestown than it is in San Diego.  I finished a book on the back patio watching boys be boys while discovering that apparently mosquitoes are not just summer insects.  I think it's amazing actually!

Last night Another Delco Guy headed back to his roots and got a chance to catch Widener's first-round win over Virginia Wesleyan in the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball tournament.  Widener used a number of different press defenses en route to the 74-66 win.  Charles Jones carried the Pride with 28 points, showing us all why he's the MAC Commonwealth Player of the Year. 

It's been a while since I was back on Widener's campus.  I worked there for 8 years in the 90s and spent a ton of time in the Schwartz Athletic Center.  Everything they've done to transform that facility makes it a true top-notch D3 venue.  traditionally the locker rooms were pretty gritty, and I didn't make it down to that level, but if they have been upgraded anything like the weight room, I am sure it's pretty plush.

Thanks to AD Jack Shaeffer, Coach Chris Carideo and assistants Bill Leahy and Ian Simon for their help last night.  They made me feel very much at home after all these years.  It was a lot of fun to do color analysis for the game along side a true pro, Pat Cummings.  I'm just sorry that the only reason I was on the air was Gordon Mann's family emergency. 

The Pride will take on Salem State tonight at Schwartz at 7 pm.  Salem State came off a rough loss last week to shut down Rochester Tech in the second half, loping to an 83-71 win to move to the second round. 

Tonight I'll be helping out Dave McHugh on the call as Richard Stockton College hosts Gwynedd Mercy College down in Pomona, NJ.  Stockton powered past RPI 79-65 last night as GMC stunned last year's national runner-up Amherst, 68-62, to set up the second round matchup.

Get out and enjoy the great weather.  I'll see you at the game!


Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Fantastic Four

My friend and co-worker Joe Manning is ... well I guess the best word is stoked ... for tonight's reunion show of Phish at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia.  He's hanging out with 75,000 of his brethren neo-hippies drinking beer and doing god knows what else down there.  He'll probably make it back to work by Tuesday.  He was so thrilled about the approach of this concert that we needed to tie him to his chair to keep him from floating away.  It's his 57th Phish show and he's been waiting nearly five years for the reunion.

Which got me to thinking ...

What Four Things Do you Most Wish Would Come Back?

  1. The West Wing - great show that had rejuvenated itself only to wrap
  2. Harrison Ford's acting ability - He just growls his way tough the parts these days.  remember when he was witty and charming?
  3. Villanova playing its Big 5 games at The Palestra - 'nuff said
  4. The inch or so of hairline I seem to be missing - I got it in the back, but the front is lacking a bit

Have a great weekend and enjoy the spring-like weather


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Steve Russo: Father of the Year

This story from the Daily News is great for two reasons.  First it reinforces my belief that you should have to get a license to be a parent.  Second, Will Bunch has one of the best leads ever in the story.

Bottom line is that some nimrod named Steve Russo in Bethlehem, PA 'allegedly' let his 16 year old son have a party in the basement.  No big deal, right?  Yeah, but maybe the part where he 'allegedly' gave them beer and rum was a bit over the line.  Or the part where he 'allegedly' got some high school girls to kiss him and dance on the stripper pole he has in the basement.

In case you need further proof the guy is a total and complete moron - the cops wold never have found out if he hadn't let the kids take pictures and post them all over Facebook.

See all this goes back to my point that it's just too easy to have kids.  It's more red tape to catch a fish legally than it is to have a kid.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I Was Wrong

I take back all the bad things I said this morning about the people who run school districts. They're not weenies. The people who clear the roads here in South Jersey clearly have not done much in the last 24 hours. The roads are awful!0303090953.jpg


Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow Photos

At 7:30 am , there is 7 inches on the ground here in Moorestown. Still no peeps from upstairs. It's only a matter of time ...

More photos up here.


Snow Day!

I got the call at 5 this morning that the job was closed. All of us are off today and I am enjoying my last few minutes of peace before the family awakens.


So far we have about 6 inches of snow here in Moorestown but Fox29 keeps telling us that the second wave of snow is on its way. Hopefully we get plenty because the kids want to make snowmen!


We've got hot cocoa, tomato soup and grilled cheese fixings waiting and I can't wait!


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Memphis Taproom

Last night the kids headed to their cousins' for the night so we headed out for dinner!

I was in a beer mood and looking for something outside our normal Center City haunts.  I have been hearing good things about Memphis Taproom for a while now, so we headed over the Betsy Ross Bridge and ventured into "Port Fishington," an area north of Northern Liberties, east of Kensington and South of Port Richmond.  It was worth the trip into the unknown.


We got a parking spot right across Cumberland Street and headed into the packed corner bar.  The front room is dominated by the 12 seat bar, but also features two high top tables an a wonderful floor of one inch square tiles.  When we went it, the room was comfortably full.  When we left it was packed to the gills with folks who really, really wanted to sit down.

You pass though the barroom to the tightly-fitted 30 seat dining area.  We had the worst seat in the house, in the middle of the room, between two aisles , the waiter station and another tiny 2 top.  It got tighter when a woman sat at the table to my right and insisted on pushing her seat back into the aisle, forcing all passersby to bump into our table on the way by.  No amount of cajolery by the waitstaff could get her to move her chair in.  I spoke as loudly as possible about rude people who sit in the aisle, but alas it's a pretty loud room.

The wide pine floors bow and creak in a homey way and the overhead spots pointed up some basic art on the walls.  The menu is quite clear that if you are sitting you need to be eating and the waitress clearly tried to move another party along when they were lingering over drinks before ordering. 

If it seems like I am spending a lot of time describing the room that's because I had plenty of time to observe it.  Our waiter Chris was personable, but it took him a good 5 minutes to take our drink orders.  I started with the Sly Fox Dunkel Lager, which was oddly thin and a bit musty.  My partner in this, and many other, adventures, had a sweet-sour PBC Walt Wit.  After delivering the drinks, Chris was attentive, but there were clearly some kitchen issues. 

Our appetizers took 25 minutes, but the aisle-sitter and her laptop-pecking companion got theirs in about 5.  One of the wait staff asked another to put a change into the kitchen because she was 'scared to go in there.'  Whatever problems they were having didn't affect the quality of the food, and in the end, the food made the night.

I had deep-fried dill pickles as an appetizer.  It was a small bowl of 5 large sour dill pickles coated in the most delicious golden crunchiness you can imagine.  Super hot and very filling, these were a big hit.  Unless you looked at the half inch of accumulated oil in the bottom of the dish.  I paired the pickles with a Yards Love Stout off the beer engine.  It was flavorful and smooth with a thick head, but had a hard time standing up to the tang of the dish.  My hottie had sweet onion rings. sliced thin and battered up nicely.  The side dip was billed as 'suicide' but wasn't very hot at all.  Maybe they were talking about what eating the whole thing would do to your heart.  The appetizers are share-sized.  Two was overkill, but what the heck?

Dinner arrived before we could finish the starter course, but that's probably just as well for my cholesterol count.  I decided to pay homage to my Polish roots and plowed through the Port Richmond Platter of grilled kielbasa, fried pierogies, and deep fried potato pancakes.  The sausage was about 9 inches long and crispy on the outside, wonderfully flavored and pleasantly chewy.  The handmade pierogies were topped with caramelized onions and were miles form Mrs. T's.  The potato 'pancakes' were really deep fired potato cakes and were reminiscent of a McDonald's hash brown.  Nice texture and saltiness, but not much flavor otherwise.

My raven-haired beauty went with my first choice, the Mahi-Mahi Moqueca.  While it didn't live up to the spicy nature of its Brazilian namesake, it did have overcooked mahi-mahi swimming in briny brown stew.  The sliced baby potatoes were the most satisfying part of the dish.  I'm glad I stayed with my roots. 

The bathroom is shoehorned into the edge of the front barroom and locks with an old-school latch.  It features what I call a 'strip club sink.'  You know the one where the place is required to have a sink, so they buy the smallest basin known to man and put a faucet on it that POURS water out and nearly splashes the front of your pants.  Luckily it also has the most amazing hand dryer in the world.

When we dared waiter Chris to spill a drink on the aisle sitter in exchange for a triple tip, he politely asked how he could make it up to us.  An awesomely flavored carrot cake on the house went a long way.  It was a bit dry, but reminded me of the old Sunshine Raisin Biscuits.  The date loved the thick cream cheese icing.  I paired it with a Pennichuck St. Florian Double Bock which was malty and a bit fruity, not bad.

Overall this place is about a 3 out of 5 on my scale.  The appetizers were excellent and the beer selection and my entree were very good.  The food delivery times were off though and the mahi-mahi dish was below average.  Even the very tasty and free dessert was off a bit, just a bit too dry.  One note on the menu - there is plenty to eat if you aren't into fried stuff, including a selection of vegetarian AND vegan items as well as some salads that looked wonderful.