Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Barn in Ligonier

by Carson's Premier Catering; Scottdale, PA  (Premier?  Seriously?)

     I went with a group to celebrate Thanksgiving at the Barn in Ligonier with Carson's "Premier" Catering.  Unfortunately, Carson's failed the most important requirement for a buffet:  The items on the buffet line should have a nodding acquaintance with heat ... at least warmth.  The only reason I make any reference to the word 'warmth' is that the room temperature was so cool that indeed anything with a modicum of heat would seem 'warm.'
       I asked for coffee and was served what I can best describe as a tea cup of coffee - I had no idea they made coffee cups so small - in fact, so small that one creamer was almost too much for the cup.  However, I didn't feel so bad when I saw my friends with, for instance, a rocks glass with iced tea in it - not the alcoholic beverage 'iced tea' but just plain ordinary iced tea!
      Back to the buffet line: NO buffet line should EVER be permitted to get that cold if for no other reason than health safety.  Back at the table, I placed some of the linguine against my wrist to see if I was being unreasonable.  I would be surprised if any part of the buffet was over 100ยบ F.  To save time, let me say the entire line was dry where no additional liquid was involved.  That included stuffed breast, white meat turkey, baked fish, dark meat turkey - which I thought was ham from the color, and Brussels sprouts baked within an inch of their life.
       I had taken some linguine noodles - in a white sauce - which I found out later was actually 'clam' sauce - apparently ONE half naked clam dragged through a bucket of cream sauce!  The stuffing came out of the pan like a dry slice, but like the mashed potatoes, was much improved after you added a ladle of gravy. The corn was obviously from a restaurant sized can of corn which was then cooked in a huge amount of butter.
       I went back to try a small serving of the fish and just a taste of the filet mignon.  The fish was cod near as I could tell, and it was very flaky - anything that dry couldn't help but be flaky!  For the filet I asked for a very small taste and I was not disappointed, it was indeed a small taste.  I expected a nice rush of beef flavor, but instead, since the filet had been marinated apparently with Italian Dressing, I experienced nothing that I enjoyed.  You should never have to marinate a choice piece of tenderloin. Especially filet mignon. It is the most tender part of the cow.
       On the plus side, the desserts were outstanding  - particularly the pumpkin cheesecake.  Amazingly, there were two perhaps ten gallon size containers of ice cream with a slotted spoon for your serving convenience sitting on the table - good luck trying to dislodge any ice cream from the solidly frozen bucket with a slotted spoon while trying to hold onto a plate!
       One final note:  I was surprised to see guys in shorts and tee shirts, or dirty, worn and / or torn blue jeans in the mix of customers.   That suggests to me that many who sing the praises of this caterer are not necessarily given to knowledgeable and honest assessment of their product.  Many locals swear by this local caterer.  However, 'local' is not in any way an indication of quality, only a potential recommendation of community support - quality not withstanding.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Post Election Rant to a Friend

I'm okay ... just trying to recoup after the elections.  While I have the opportunity, I have to say how glad I am that you kept the political discussion page going.  Initially, I would have thought that we would have been reduced to more social and casual conversations in the aftermath, but then I never expected the bat shit crazies to "have a new birth of freedom," as Lincoln would say.  It's one thing for the Gophers to stand in a burning house and claim they don't smell smoke, but it's quite another to stand in a pile of ashes and say, "What fire?"

But alas, on our side of the aisle we also have a loose spoke or two. After Lincoln's Gettysburg address, the next day the Democratic-leaning Chicago Times observed, "The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States."  In contrast, the Republican-oriented New York Times was complimentary.  In Massachusetts, the Springfield Republican printed the entire speech, calling it "a perfect gem" that was "deep in feeling, compact in thought and expression, and tasteful and elegant in every word and comma."  I guess I can take some solace in the observation that Lincoln's GOP looked more like today's Democratic party.

I am having some difficulty comprehending the absolute outrage of the GOP members - as if they have every right to lash out at anyone who doesn't perfectly agree with them.  Given the shenanigans from one end of the country to the other to limit access to voting and otherwise limit the number of Democrats who could make it to the polls,  you and I both know that President Obama's margin of victory in both the electoral college and the popular vote - as outstanding as both are  - represents in reality a minimum number of supporters.  Had the election been truly open equally to all, the GOP with have been all but destroyed.

In short, I guess I'm trying to get over the undeniable reality that former President Bush did not 'leave any child behind" ... he practically left entire states behind ... starting with Mississippi!  The last ten days after the election has been for me one jaw-dropping reality after another.  From Poopy-Head to Rush Limbaugh to Bobby Jindal - it's one thing to claim political rhetoric, it's quite another to claim allegiance to fantasy!

I suspect I will be over my bad self shortly.  I certainly have realized that we have a lot more work to do:  supporting a two party system and working to create a 2nd party whose ass is something other than a gorgeous hat, or a "Ticket to Ride" to planet Kolob.