CLOSING TIME ~ OUT OF TIME DESIGNS

….COMBINING LIFE AND ART


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O’Charleys – Part Deux

So back in April I posted about my dinner at O’Charley’s Eastgate how it left something to be desired-mainly the appetizer which wasn’t brought out until after the dinner. If you read the post you also saw that the manager and our waitress were right on top of the situation and we went away willing to give  it another try.

Last night Date Guy and I went back. As neither of us had lunch we were hungry and went early. Being friday afternoon/evening and Happy Hour the place was crowded!  We were seated within 10 minutes and our waitress Deanne was right on top of our drink order. After looking at the menu I saw what I wanted and it wasn’t on the menu. Here I’ll explain…what was on the menu was a Chicken Bacon Bleu on Ciabbata Roll.  Ok all of that sounded good but I had chicken the previous two nights and wanted a burger.  I asked Deanna if the kitchen could substitute a hambuger making it a Burger Bacon Bleu, and sure enough they did without blinking an eye.  Date Guy had steak the previous two nights so he opted for chicken.

We both enjoyed our meals and as the picture shows my burger was wonderful ( the fries were great as well).  Date Guy is not too expressive but he did enjoy his chicken and pasta (and happy hour draft).  Our waitress checked on us often enough to show she cared but not so often as to annoy us.  I have to say a kind word for all the staff here:

We were sitting by the bar and three blond bimbos (sorry- I call it as I see it) were leaving when they spied someone they knew at the bar.  They descended like colorful parrots and proceeded to hog the aisle between the bar and the row of tables where we were seated.  Totally oblivious to the wait staff and other patrons also trying to leave they stood and talked for half an hour or more.  Meanwhile, the staff was trying to carry trays of food, drink jugs and plain just get by them.  These gals must have had tunnel vision because the staff was clearly having a hard time navigating that tiny space but they weren’t going to budge until they were ready. At one point another gal joined them!  Kudos to the staff for not “accidently” spilling a drink jug on them (this is why I was never a waitress!) They didn’t even say that  it was creating a fire hazard, they just kept on working as best as they could under the circumstances. Hats off to you guys!

So our return trip to O’Charley”s was a success; the food was good, the staff has always been great and I will certainly return again.


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Lust For Life…

“I’ve looked on many women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times. God knows I will do this and forgives me.”~~ Jimmy Carter

It was supposed to be a once in a lifetime trip – Paris, the city of love!  Elaine would never have a chance like this again; a discounted trip courtesy of the senior class.  She and her husband Henry, were going as extra chaperones; Elaine was beyond giddy.  She always had an expressive, romantic soul- perfect foil (she thought) to Henrys more staid demeanor.  While he was not given to displays of affection Elaine thought Paris might change his mind and put a little spunk in him.  One could always hope!

Just a week before they were to leave he started acting funny.  Not thinking much of it Elaine blithely went about packing and arranging what needed to be done.  Then she got “that call” informing her that there was someone else in her husbands life and it wasn’t his golden retriever.  However, the trip was paid for-no refunds, so on they went.  Obviously a volatile situation, Elaine tried to make the best of it.

The flight over was uneventful if a bit tense.  On the surface Elaine looked calm but her mind was boiling with the years of deceit that had come to the surface at this inopportune time. Her romantic  side warred with her scorned, hurt side making her quiet and morose.  Being a school tour nearly everything was arranged in groups, check in at the hotel, trip to the Louvre, “typical” French restaurant.  All orderly and scheduled with no room for error.

“This isn’t the way to see Paris,” she thought, “I should be on the back of a motorcycle, zipping through traffic, arms around the waist of a hot hunk.”  She intended that to be her husband until plans changed.

One day they got a “free day” to explore as they wanted.  Being motorcycle enthusiasts they and another couple went to the Paris Harley Davidson. The strain must have showed on her face because as the others were browsing the clerk approached Elaine, making pleasant small talk.  She wasn’t used to the accent but she tried to keep up with the conversation.  Suddenly she thought she heard him say “Would you like me to arrange that for you?”.  “I’m sorry, what did you say?”  “Mademoiselle, does she like zee French boys?”  “B-b-but you do see that I’m here with my husband?”, she finally managed to stammer out. “Zoot alors! What does that have to do with Paris and fun?!”, was his pragmatic reply.  Joining the others she returned to the hotel.  Elaine sadly reflected on the irony of the proposition presented earlier in the day.

In the middle of the night she realized that Henry was no longer in bed. Dressing quickly she hurried downstairs to find him whispering sweet nothings into a lobby phone, apologizing for not bringing “her”.  Quietly slipping back to their room Elaine started packing her bags; they were to board the plane tomorrow.

Early next morning as everyone stood groggily in line for the airport bus Henry’s eyes searched for Elaine.  “She has to be here.”, he mused since she had already packed, leaving the room before he was awake.  Unable to find her they checked the American embassy to no avail.  Henry returned home.

That afternoon, zipping through the cobbled streets, a smiling blonde perched behind a lusty Frenchman.  Her arms encircled his waist as she surveyed her future.

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**This is another piece inspired by a contest over at k8edid on the 7 Deadly Sins.


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“Comps”…It’s What’s For Dinner!

So today, Date Guy and I went to dinner at O’Charleys in Eastgate.  We had spent the afternoon at the Cincinnati Art Museum and were ravenous by the time we got to the restaurant.

We decided to have the 2 for $20 special (appetizer and two entrees).  We ordered the spinach dip/chip for our appetizer to share. We also told the waitress that we wanted rolls which she brought out hot and fresh – so far so good.  We were talking about the exhibits at the museum so when the food arrived we were surprised.  However, it was not the spinach dip, it was instead our entrees.  I inquired as to the whereabouts of the spinach dip which surprised Katie, our waitress.  The kitchen said it had been sent already, so apparently it went to the wrong table.  Katie went back to the kitchen to send another, but since our entree was there we went ahead and ate. Since the meal price included the appetizer we couldn’t really tell them to deduct it from the bill. It actually wasn’t busy so I am not sure what the problem was in the kitchen.  The manager, Tim, came out to apologize saying again that ‘the kitchen was working on it.’

I kept thinking that our spinach dip would be out soon but we were nearly finished and still no dip. Now I’m not too hard to please in a restaurant; just bring me food and let me eat it in peace….but I was a little frosted this time.  Once again Tim stopped at our table asking if we would like the chips and dip boxed up to take home, I said, yes please and he then said “Folks, I am very sorry this happened, I don’t know what was wrong in the kitchen but tonight your dinner is on me. No check, I hope that you will give us another try.”  Guy Friend started to protest in manly fashion that it wasn’t necessary, but Tim insisted and when Katie stopped by she said the same thing, she was sorry, no check, please give us another try.

Today, would have been a good day anyway-beautiful weather, a trip to a museum, company of Date Guy, but then to have the dinner comped was the icing on the cake.

As I said I’m not hard to please and I wasn’t going to make a fuss about this but it was gratifying to have the manager step in and take charge of an unpleasant situation.  Too many times management doesn’t care enough about customer relations and little things snowball into larger-than-it-should-be situations. I won’t let one small incident deter me; I will indeed give O’Charleys another chance (I probably would have even without the comped meal) and I am writing this to thank Katie and Tim for being courteous and pleasant while dealing with a problem they did not create.  And if you get the chance stop in O’Charleys-the food is really good.  And say hi to Tim and Katie.

P.S. Real names used (except for Date Guy)


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Not A Ken In The Bunch

I decided to teach my granddaughter about the joys of thrift shopping at my favorite thrift shop Valley Thrift in Evendale.  It was insanely crowded, taking us quite awhile to find a parking spot. But I thought it was worth it just for the weirdness discovered there.

We quickly checked through the purses (I once found a mint-condition Kate Spade for $4), then through the household items; Sarah finding several good deals on Christmas ornaments.  And as I rounded the corner this came into view!  I was speechless! The whole aisle was festooned with naked Barbies hung up by their hair!

I took out my phone and got several shots and as I turned around I saw some guy looking at me and edging away… I don’t even want to know what he was thinking. Obviously he thought I was stranger for taking pictures of the Barbies than it was to have a whole aisle of naked, hanging Barbies.  I’m sure if I tried I could come up with some relevant social commentary, but I just love it for the sheer bizarreness of it all. It’s all relative I suppose, but it did give me my tiny dose of freakiness to offset the holiday hysteria.


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Tradition!

 I love Fiddler On The Roof, and I love having traditions.  When I was a kid my family had quite a few, but as I got older and then married it was harder to keep the traditions of my youth. Even though Tevya bent the traditions a bit for his girls he was still a believer that it is the glue that holds society together.  I totally agree with him and this could be a whole subject of itself. This post, however, is about the beginning of a new tradition that a friend is starting for her granddaughters, and to which I was invited last Sunday.

Patty (the grandmom) is a fun lady who never met a stranger.  She can talk to practically any person regardless of age or circumstance.  She manages a farm with her husband Jim, is active in her church, brings produce & family raised meats to several farmers markets, and runs her own business on the side.  Her granddaughters work in the business and have several friends who work there as well.  So Patty thought it would be fun to have a tea party to celebrate her granddaughters birthdays with “the girls”.  It was a nice mix of fun teen-age girls and adult ladies (also fun) so no one was left out.  Patty arranged the tea at the Parkview Country Inn,  located in the quaint town of Augusta, Ky.  They have a wonderful website with lovely pictures of the inn. I took a few of my own photos but to get the full effect you have to see it in person.

After we were seated we were served a bounty of treats by Phil, resplendent in a festive red shirt and Christmas tie;  his wife Jenny is the fantastic chef who whipped up our delicious treats.  I understand that in a ‘regular’ tea only 3-4 items are served but this tea consisted of nine different items!

The list follows with savory items being served first and then sweet:

Golden Coins Cheese Bites

Bistro Beef Bites

Ham Pinwheels

Turkey Salad Puffs

Orange Nutbread and Spread

Christmas Scone with strawberries and cream

Mini Cheesecakes with fresh raspberries

Lemon Curd Puff Pastries

Mini Apple Pies

We each had a pot of tea at our place setting and we served ourselves the tea.  As each new treat came out we oohed and awed over it, thinking surely that it couldn’t be topped.  Of course, everyone had their favorites, and mine were the wonderful Ham Pinwheels. I don’t know if I could tease the recipes from the cook but I did taste brown sugar, apple butter, and a hint of maple….yummy! The bite-size portions of the food fools you, and the taste tempted me back for seconds.  We all ate more than we realized and were drowsy and full before we knew it.  The talk was light and fun; mostly school and the coming holidays.    I thoroughly enjoyed myself and hope the younger generation did as well; hopefully they will continue this tradition allowing them to touch base as the years roll by.  Altogether it was a very pleasant and fun way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.

*While this is not the recipe for the Christmas Scones we were treated to, it would still be fun to bake these for the holidays.  Remember to serve with (real) whipped cream and strawberry preserves.