Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Saybrook Fish House

The Saybrook Fish House is a seafood restaurant in Rocky Hill, CT, which is south of Hartford. The web site is goofy, but the food is good. I'm going to skip over the entrees and talk about the unique things the restaurant offers.

First, a large salad is brought out for diners, and two house-special salad dressings are offered. The key, according to the people I went to dinner with, is to mix both salad dressings. I was skeptical at first. But after trying it, I realized mixing the dressings really brought out wonderful flavors.

Second, a fruit basket is served at the end of the meal, consisting of slices of watermelon, cantalopue, honeydew, grapes and whole nuts in the shell is provided at the end of the meal. Again, quite tasty.

Finally, hot, moist towels scented with vanilla extract are provided after the fruit basket. I've had a moist, hot towel before, but never scented with vanilla extract. It's a memorable experience.

If you are interested in seafood and want to try something new, give the Saybrook Fish House a try.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

BWI & Pittsburgh

Wednesday, August 22, 2006 – 12:45 PM, EDT

I’m sitting in the terminal at Gate D-45 at BWI. It took close to an hour to get through security. The new security procedures in the aftermath of the foiled terrorist plot to detonate explosives on airplanes flying from Britain to the U.S. have slowed screening down. The bigger problem was the lack of open screening gates. Approximately 300 people were waiting to get through two screening gates and one air-puffer screening gate.

I don’t mind waiting a reasonable amount of time, so long as the line is moving and enough screening agents are working. But there were clearly not enough agents on hand today.

I’m flying BWI to Pittsburgh, then transferring planes and heading off to Hartford, CT. Both legs are flown by small regional jets. The weather is clear, with a bit of haze from pollution. Relatively good flying weather.

One of the biggest surprises was seeing a Roy Rogers fast food restaurant in the terminal. Roy Rogers was the dominant fast food chain in the DC-area for over 20 years. Then Hardees came along and bought the chain out, attempting to convert many of the stores from Roys to Hardees. That effort failed miserably. Hardees eventually sold many of the former Roys restaurants to McDonald’s. And now Mickey D’s is the dominant chain in DC. A group of independent Roys owners got together and bought out the remaining restaurants and have been working towards keeping the chain active. Last I heard, there are about 100 locations in PA, MD and VA.

Speaking of which, it’s time for lunch. I think I’ll give the Roy Rogers Roast Beef sandwich a try!

Pittsburgh Airport 2:30 PM

The flight from BWI to Pittsburgh was quick – about 35 minutes. I driven to Pittsburgh a number of times, but have never flown in. I was surprised to see a Pennsylvania National Guard base with a half dozen cargo planes sitting on the tarmac. And I was pleasantly surprised with the airport terminal.

Most airport terminals are very functional. A lot of gates and chairs, a few small shops and a few fast food restaurants. The Pittsburgh airport looks more like a shopping mall. There are a number of shops, restaurants ranging from fast food to mid-quality dining and a lot of space to move about. It was quite nice.

Hartford Airport 6:30 PM

The flight from Pittsburgh to Hartford was smooth. Flight time was a little over an hour. I’m waiting for my co-worker, who got delayed on another flight. We are supposed to catch up with some other co-workers for dinner tonight.

Monday, August 21, 2006

DC Restaurant Week

Twice a year, DC-area restaurants get together and sponsor a “Restaurant Week.” Most offer pre-fixed menus for about $20 for lunch and $30 for dinner. The concept is great. You get to try some nice restaurants for a fixed price. But the delivery can be disappointing. In order to accommodate the large number of patrons who come out for restaurant week, the pre-fixed menus are often quite limited. And the food comes across as being made via a conveyor belt production process.

I actually prefer going to restaurants during non-restaurant week. That way, you get to choose from the entire menu. And you aren’t herded in and out. The Mrs. and me went to Kinkead’s last weekend with some other friends. I have been to Kinkead’s several times. It’s one of the best upscale seafood restaurants in DC. And the dishes I ordered were very tasty. But I was disappointed with the portions.

We each received two appetizer-sized portions and dessert for $30. I’d much rather spend a few extra dollars and get a proper entrĂ©e and dessert, than a skimpy meal. So, I post this as a word of caution to those of you thinking about trying DC Restaurant Week in the future.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ferrying Across the Potomac

A few months ago, the Mrs. and I were driving around and at the spur of the moment, decided to take a trip to Leesburg, VA. From where we live in Maryland, the fastest route is to take the American Legion Bridge across the Potomac and then the highways to Leesburg. That's about a 40 mile trip.

Instead, we decided to drive up to Poolesville and take White's Ferry across the Potomac. The drive to the ferry and the ride across the Potomac was a memorable experience.

That part of Montgomery County, MD and Loudon County, VA is very peaceful. It's like taking a Sunday afternoon drive in the country. While we were waiting for the ferry, we saw over a dozen different migratory bird species, a fish hawk with a fish in its talons, and a wild turkey - a full grown Tom with a long beard and full plumage. It was quite the site.

Not being the outdoors types, my wife and I did what most other Leesburg tourists do. We hit the outlet mall. And we grabbed a hot dog at the Leesburg Costco. We both agreed their hot dogs were the best we ever had. It was something about the freshness of the bun - like it was straight out of the oven. Definitely a memorable experience!

If you are ever out in Leesburg or Poolesville, consider taking a ferry ride across the Potomac. Just remember to bring enough cash with you for a round trip - $6.00 the last time I checked.