Saturday, December 16, 2017

Could've Done Better

Logan's Roadhouse
8310 Interstate 40 West
Amarillo, Texas

There are three steak places within half a block along the freeway here: Saltgrass, Longhorn, and this place. Saltgrass was too busy, so the wife picked Logan (she meant Longhorn, but said Logan, and by the time I got into the bumper-to-bumper traffic along the access road, I wasn't about to try and get back; so Logan's it is.)

The wait wasn't too long, although waiting by the outside door on a frigid evening with a strong wind made for an intense 15 minutes of self-doubt.

The place was clean enough, if you allow for the obligatory peanut shells on the floor. It was loud, but not too loud; and there were enough TV screens showing college and professional football to satisfy anyone with a gambling addiction (plus one screen with local news and Wheel of Fortune, for hostages to fate). The service was prompt and pleasant, and the prices were in line with what you'd expect in a chain restaurant of this sort.

The food seemed promising on the menu. My wife went for a small steak, which she said was fine. It came with two sides: steamed broccoli and a small salad, with bleu cheese dressing that started off on the side, but by the time it reached the table it had slopped over onto the salad in copious amount, sort of defeating the "on the side" instruction.

My choice was glazed salmon and shrimp served atop rice pilaf, with broccoli and a mushroom skewer as my sides. Both the fish and shrimp were reasonably well-prepared; the salmon was slightly charred on the bottom, but not enough to detract from the overall quality. The shrimp were medium-sized but plentiful, and the glaze on both was excellent: sweet and piquant, and applied in unexpected moderation. (That's a good thing, by the way.) Unfortunately, the rice pilaf (which, incidentally, was also flavourful) was served cold and slightly undercooked -- something that I managed to get through a lifetime without experiencing in a restaurant, but have now encountered twice in two weeks. Is there a fashion trend that I'm unaware of? The broccoli was, you know, okay; the mushrooms were plain ol' white mushrooms grilled on a skewer without benefit of any oil or butter. They were overcooked on one side and undercooked on the other.

Makes me wish I'd fought the traffic after all.

THE CURMUDGEON’S RATINGS (explained, sort of, on the Curmudgeon-About-Town blog):

FOOD: 2 chili peppers (out of 5)
SERVICE: 2 1/2 chili peppers
AMBIENCE: 2 1/2 chili peppers
VALUE: 2 1/2 chili peppers

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Just Desserts?

The result of the election in Alabama yesterday caused a general sigh of relief in most of the country outside the Beltway, but for the current leadership of the Republican Party, it's probably the worst possible outcome.

We rank-and-file Republicans -- I still count myself as a member of that embarrassed band -- have long known that the party has been hijacked by angry libertarians. I'd say most of us have reacted by tut-tutting, more or less openly, and by quietly voting for Democrats more often; I know that's been my response, being not really politically involved.  But the loss of what should have been a sure Republican senate seat points up the scruples of much of the party leadership. To be sure, there were those, like Mitch McConnell, who initially criticised the party's candidate. That small clique of Republicans can at least claim to have some fundamental principles in line with the mainstream of America.

But too many -- far, far too many -- Republican office-holders in this political stageplay have demonstrated that, for them, power is everything. No sin is too reprehensible for these people to overlook where even a bit of political control is available.

Had the Party organization reacted to the (thoroughly believable) allegations against its candidate in a proper way, even at the cost of a senate seat, it would have come out of the election with a shred of integrity intact. Instead, taking its cue from the angriest people who, cynically, claim the mantle of Republicanism, the Party rallied 'round the flag-cloaked sleaze produced by that angry crowd, and lost. And now it has neither senate seat nor integrity.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

El Mariachi
1442 North Broad Street
Tazewell, Tennessee

It may be, as other reviewers on Zomato.com have
what's that mean?
claimed, the best Mexican food for miles around. The style is GuerrereƱo, which is not as familiar to me as other distinct varieties of Mexican cooking. It was good, though. The salsa -- one of the most important aspects of any meal in a Mexican restaurant -- was fair, as were the tostadas; not great, but not bad. I ordered one of the lunch-menu burritos, filled with ground beef and cheese and served with beans, rice, salad and crema. The portion was large enough to satisfy without being as large as I'd have expected for the price (which was otherwise reasonable). The beans seemed unusually light, which I found gratifying; the rice was not as highly seasoned as Mexican (or "Spanish") rice generally is. I'll put that down to the culinary style of Guerrero. The service was okay; the atmosphere was reasonably pleasant and the place seemed clean. It was well after the lunch rush, about 2pm, so I suspect the servers were feeling that I'd interrupted their down-time. On the plus side, there was Mexican music playing lightly and no sound coming from the televisions (which were showing a SEC football match; my Lord, do those teams play EVERY day? It was probably a re-run.)
El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato