An evening at Bogie’s

Last night my wife and I had dinner at Bogie’s, a small San Rafael restaurant now run by Luc Pouget, a pétanque playmate.

I consider Luc a friend and I was predisposed to like his offerings, but as a reporter I am bound to put my personal feelings aside and be as impartial as can be.

When evaluating a dining establishment, my judgment is basically formed by two almost equal criteria: food and service.
The rest (noise level or atmosphere) while being important does not carry as much weight.

After having made reservations, we promptly arrived at the restaurant at 6:30 p.m.
We were met in the dining room by Luc who took a few minutes out of the kitchen to greet us.

Greetings are important to me. If we are properly greeted and promptly shown to a table, it shows that the restaurant is primed for business and ready to take care of its customers.
But last night no waiter was readily apparent and we were left to pick our own table.

Let me say right away that the biggest shortcoming of Bogie’s is service, or lack thereof. It desperately cries for a professional waiter (preferably a waitress) and we never saw one, not even the shadow of one.

After sitting at a table (in a sparsely occupied dining room) we had to wait a long time to be offered menus.

We finally picked Marinated Calamari Salad and Escargots en croute for appetizers, but again we had to wait about twenty-five minutes for them to materialize.
A rather long waiting time for items that should have been already prepped in the kitchen.

The salad alas, was not properly seasoned and had to be sent back to the kitchen for a booster shot of dressing.
The escargots were equally uninspired. They were served in little pastry shells while drowning in a rather insipid sauce.
To me, there is only one way to serve escargots: bathed with butter, parsley and garlic. That’s it.

We also had to beg for water and bread, and wine seemed to have skipped the waitperson’s mind altogether. We had to remind him to bring it over.

In the dining room incidentally, we noticed and said hello to Catherine and Jean-Claude Bunand and Eve and Antoine Lofaro.

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For our main course, we chose the Rib Eye steak and the Duck breast (magret).
I am pleased to report that the steak was tender, cooked to perfection and that the duck breast was equally tasty.

This being said, I cannot decently give this place my seal of approval.

I wanted to like this restaurant and sing its praises.
I would have liked to make it a regular hangout like Cheerswhere everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad that you came”.

But a place where everybody knows your name should also serve good food and provide decent service.
And the latter was definitely hard to spot.

One final unfortunate detail.
After paying in cash and intending to leave a generous tip in spite of it all, I waited a long time to see my change.
When nothing materialized, I had to walk to the cash register and demand my due.
Not good! This casual attitude doesn’t reflect well on the establishment.

In order to survive, Bogie’s will definitely have to hire a competent waitperson (preferably of the female persuasion) and up its game in the kitchen.

I wish Bogie’s all the luck in the world, but I am afraid that it is going to be a long uphill battle.




Offense versus defense

A vaincre sans périls, on triomphe sans gloire
To win without danger is to triumph without glory. Pierre Corneille.
My kind of dude!


To win a sporting event you need a combination of skills, strategy… and luck.
In pétanque, like in many other sports, some players favor defense versus offense.
To each his own, but personally I prefer the latter.
I prefer to take chances rather than playing an overly cautious, colorless game.

Don’t shoot, don’t shoot! Hate to hear these apprehensive words from my partner. Hate to play with a timid, scaredy-cat teammate.
Declining to shoot when the occasion presents itself shows a lack of confidence, an admission of weakness, a white flag ready to be hoisted.
And a reluctant shooter is seldom a successful shooter.

One of my life biggest regret is to have been deprived of a twin. An ideal teammate, a guy who would think and act like me.

In sports there have been famous twins like Bob and Mike Bryan. Gifted tennis players born with a tremendous advantage: they are “mirror twins”, meaning that one is right-handed and the other one is left-handed.
Can you imagine? Thinking alike and being able to equally cover the right and left flank… Absolutely unbeatable combination.
Useless to say that they have won multiple tournaments and Olympic medals.

To make my life complete, one of these days I will have to have myself cloned…

When you shoot of course, you expose your partner(s) and yourself to friendly fire and collateral damage, but the benefits of a successful strike far outweigh the risks.
Shooting is like approaching a girl… you might get slapped a few times, but the end results could be highly satisfying. Girls like dashing fellows.
You just need to dare.

Winning is nice, but winning without “panache is like shooting a wild caged animal.
Absolutely nothing to brag about!



Mass hysteria

I chose a long time ago to shun large assemblies. I do this because crowds are inherently stupid and prone to mass hysteria.

I refuse to go to any place where thousands of already excited people gather to cheer a single individual, a rock group or a sports team.

I might go to a meeting where I could question the speaker (such people don’t like to be questioned), but I will never go anywhere to solely listen to the impassioned rants of a fanatic.
And fanatics are legions. Like bad weeds, they are impervious to pesticides and grow just about everywhere.

Preachers, prophets, demagogues…
I am of the opinion that any of those people should submit themselves to a brain scan prior being allowed to speak in public. For surely, these individuals have a loose screw somewhere.

Don’t ever believe that any of those lunatics have your best interest at heart.
They are just seeking power, absolute power, and once they get it, watch out.
Nobody is safe from the whims of a “Leader”, a “Führer”, a “Guide” or an “Ayatollah”.

And above all, don’t ever fall for clerics. Since “invested by God”, they cannot be questioned, and people who are immune from questioning are the most dangerous and the most vicious of them all.

Be especially weary of anybody wearing a beard!
It is my personal opinion that beard sprouting sucks up most of the energy that normally feeds the human brain, and therefore stunts intellectual and emotional growth.
The longer the beard the more feebleminded the individual.

And it is beyond me why after hearing or watching such rabble-rousers, supposedly sensible people get whipped into murderous frenzies.
Nazis will murder Jews (or just about anybody), Hindus will slaughter Muslims and Muslims will butcher Hindus (or anybody else), just like Catholics tried to wipe out Protestants not so long ago.

And don’t forget the so-called sports fans who will go on a rampage, regardless if their team wins or loses.
Mass hysteria is highly contagious and can spread like wild fire.

Just like the Australia of yesteryear, Antarctica would be the ideal place to dump and cool off these psychopaths.

My advice to you: stick to mildly hysterical events like pétanque tournaments and avoid patronizing mass gatherings.

And last, if you ever see me growing a beard and using the word “holy”, I beg you, give me a good whack on the head and a solid kick in the ass.
These quick, life-saving actions have been known to save many lives.