Restaurants redux

For Valentine’s Day I took my жена to a restaurant.

Alas, three times alas, I was not pleased. And I am pretty sure that I am not the only one in that predicament.

So why do people go to restaurants?
To me, the primary reason is to get out of the house and give the home chef a break.
The secondary reason might be the desire to dine in different surroundings.
And third, the odd chance of making a palate pleasing discovery.

Unfortunately, when you go to a neighborhood restaurant few things compare favorably with what you cook at home.
Most of the dishes lack flavor or are drowning in some “secret sauce”.

To avoid offending anyone’s taste buds, the kitchen deliberately underseasons every dish. Or that’s what I think they do.
The food is bland, bland, desperately bland!

I realize that taste is subjective, but within limits.
What tastes bad to me couldn’t possibly taste good to anybody else.

Last night, I chose “tuna ceviche” as appetizer.
Anybody worth his shot of Tequila knows that ceviche is basically raw fish marinated (cooked) in lime juice.
Well, in this so-called ceviche I couldn’t detect the faintest trace of lime.
The kitchen just slapped together a few pieces of raw tuna with a few herbs.
Tasted insipid.
Ceviche without citrus juice? Who are you kidding?

My second dish was called “Baja seafood salad”.
A bed of greens decorated with a few pieces of grilled salmon, scallops and prawns.
Not too much to say about the seafood, but the salad was totally bland.
Just grass! Would have made my neighboring cows happy.
Not much Baja in this Ensalada!

I understand that a restaurant, like any other business, wants to attract as many people as possible, but when trying to please everybody you please nobody.
A restaurant should specialize in a certain type of food and focus on people attracted by this kind of food.
And if the dishes demand garlic and spices, by golly, give them garlic and spices.
Nothing is worse than tasteless grub.

As usual, after this experience, I will refrain from eating in a restaurant for a while.
And as usual, in a near future I will fall off the wagon and return to one of these pseudo “restaurants”.

C’est la vie!

But no worries!
I am still hot.
It just comes in hot flashes.

Hasta luego!



Appearance is everything. Any political adviser will tell you that.
Some guys were blessed at birth with a great body, abundant hair, straight teeth, slim waist etc. and just when they started to believe that the world would be their oyster, Shazam! the Almighty cut them down to size by saddling them with knock-knees.

Knock-knees are the curse of power-seeking people. It makes them look awkward and unmanly.

No superhero or savior-of-the-world wannabe can be taken seriously if he is sporting knock-knees. Imagine for a minute Batman or Superman with knock-knees…
You simply cannot strike a heroic pose (legs apart, fists on hips) with such pathetic limbs. It would be laughable.
And leotards don’t help; they magnify this pitiful flaw. That’s probably why many men are loath to wear this garment. You simply cannot bang your chest and utter a war cry if your legs don’t stand straight. That’s probably why Hitler never wore shorts.

The same requirement also applies to women by the way. Forget about becoming a cheerleader or Miss America if your gams don’t look the part.
Bad legs are a curse worse than death. You can save the world even if burdened with a big nose, but you are simply not believable with weak knees.

The only way around this problem is to conceal the faulty equipment as much as you can. One possibility for men is to embrace the priesthood. The sacerdotal garment does a good job in concealing the knees and that could explain why the Pope or the Dalai Lama have managed to be successful for so long.

For a woman I envision a long evening dress, the kind royalty is wearing. Queen Elizabeth indubitably owes her enduring popularity to these long gowns. I am not implying that she has knock-knees, but if she did, it would be the perfect disguise.
Did you know that Sarah Bernhardt had her right leg amputated? She smartly concealed this flaw with long dresses and was successful till the end of her life.

People running for the office of President of the United States, should be required to wear shorts during their television debates. It would definitely weed out the weak candidates and substantially shorten the pathetic primaries.
I wonder what kind of knees Mitt Romney has? If he had good knees it might have helped him to show them. Lederhosen would have been nice…

Sturdy knees inspire confidence, knock-knees don’t.  And what a fantastic slogan the right candidate could use: “vote for a man who is not weak at the knees”.

I don’t know what kind of platform this job seeker would promote (it’s not that important), but with straight knees, you can hardly fail to inspire confidence.
Never mind unemployment, budget deficit, the price of gas, etc…

Show me straight knees and I’ll vote for you.



February 10, 2013 tournament

Yesterday, La Pétanque Marinière of Marin County hosted its first pétanque tournament of the season.
Despite sunny conditions, the attendance was rather small.
This might have been due to the fact that early that morning it was fairly cold. At 10:00 a.m. the thermometer showed 37 degrees Fahrenheit, a few degrees above freezing.
Later, conditions improved significantly and Sunday turned out to be a sunny and very pleasant day.

The club provided coffee and our local benefactor (Jean-Claude Bunand) provided croissants and “pains au chocolat”. Thank you Oh Bearded One!

David Riffo, sports director of La Pétanque Marinière, ran the tournament and was assisted by Christine Cragg our club president.

The format of the tournament was “triplettes a la mèlée”. Liking it or not, each competing team would stay with the same partners for the duration of the event.

David and Christine put together 8 triplette teams that were as follows:

  1. Jean-Claude Etallaz, Francois Moser, Helga Facchini
  2. Dan Feaster, Jurgen Weise, Eva Lofaro
  3. David Riffo, Christine Cragg, Mireille Di Maio
  4. Rene Di Maio, Henry Wessel, Genevieve Etallaz
  5. Jean-Claude Bunand, John Krauer, Nan Walker
  6. John Morris, Dan Velasco, Monique Bricca
  7. Antoine Lofaro, Joss Krauer, Calvert Barron
  8. Bleys Rose, Larry Cragg, Sabine Mattei

A total of four, 13 points games were scheduled, two before lunch and two after lunch.
2013 club membership cards were also handed out. If you didn’t get yours, be sure to ask Christine for it.

Due to a lingering case of Plantar Fasciitis, I regretfully opted out of this tournament and spent a few hours (sitting) photographing our athletes in action.
Be sure to look at them. You might see yourself like you never saw it before.

I was gratified to see new club members Henry Wessel, Calvert Barron and Dan Velasco participating in the tournament. Nothing like jumping in the water right away.

Yesterday was also Evelyne Marchand’s birthday. We were ready to party with her, but due to a severe case of the flu she elected to remain at home.
This didn’t stop us from gobbling up her birthday cake, gracefully provided again by Jean-Claude Bunand.
Happy birthday Evelyne!

Due to a calculating error made while determining the three winning teams (and caught after prizes had been handed out) it was decided to allocate prizes to four teams instead of three.
The team that was left out actually placed second. Its players were paid the percentage of money normally earmarked for the club.
They will also get waved registration fee at our next tournament.

Below are the corrected tournament results.    

1st Place:
Jean Claude Etallaz / Francois Moser / Helga Facchini  – $22.00 each

2nd Place:
Rene Di Maio / Henry Wessel / Genevieve Etallaz  – $6.00 each + waved entrance fee at our next tournament

3rd Place:
Antoine Lofaro / Joss Krauer / Calvert Barron – $17.00 each

4th Place:
John Morris / Dan Velasco / Monique Bricca – $11.00 each

Congratulations to all winners!

Many thanks to Christine Cragg for providing me with the final results, and to Larry Cragg who managed to take a picture of the 1st place team and the 4th place team.


To look at pictures of this tournament, turn on sound and click on “My photos” located on the left side of this page