Skyline Day

I’m all in favor of eating regional food. In Maine, it’s seafood all the way. In the Midwest — well, how about some Skyline Chili, which is totally unknown in New England?

Russell thought some Skyline would be a good way to celebrate Labor Day and our return to the heartland, and it was an inspired choice. I went in, as always, for a three-way and a cheese coney with everything, some extra crackers, and a large water with lemon.

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Steamers And Beer

One of the great things about Maine is the abundance of absolutely fresh, succulent seafood and shellfish options that you can find on just about any restaurant menu.

Consider, for example, the enticing combination of steamed clams — i.e., “steamers” — and draft beer.  I first developed a taste for steamers and beer when I worked at Alpine Village in Lake George, New York in the summer of 1976.  It’s the perfect after-work bar food combination.  A plate of piping hot steamed clams and bowls of drawn butter and clam broth are put in front of you.  You fish the clams out of their shells and dunk them in the broth and butter, chew and swallow, and wash it all down with cold brew.  The shells then get casually tossed into a refuse bowl.  The process is a bit sloppy and a lot of fun.

These kinds of local food options makes a visit to Maine special.  You can’t get clams and beer in Columbus.  A platter of steamers, some draft Shipyard summer ale, and a Red Sox game on the bar TV lets you know you’re not in Ohio anymore, Toto.

A Taste For Steak

Last night I went to dinner with friends and was delighted to find that my host had selected a steakhouse for our meal. On some occasions, after a hard day’s work, only steak will truly satisfy the taste buds.

We went to a restaurant called XO, in Cleveland’s warehouse district.  XO offers only prime cuts of steak, as well as the other food items you come to expect from steakhouses, like seafood, soups, a la carte side dishes that are big enough to share, a good wine list, and the obligatory breast of chicken.  (Does anyone really ever order breast of chicken at a steakhouse?  If so, why?)

The only thing that was unusual about the place was the music selection.  It was distinctly on the new age side, where most steakhouses go for the vintage Frank Sinatra/Tony Bennett/big band background music soundtrack.  XO’s dreamy tune choices made me feel like I’d be given a massage and a glass of herbal tea after the meal.

Who really cares about music, though, when you are getting ready to tear into a thick, juicy, well-prepared steak washed down with a fine dry red wine?  We had a seafood platter appetizer, which featured excellent oysters, king crab legs, huge tiger prawns, and a lobster salad.  For my meal I ordered the bone-in ribeye steak, cooked medium rare.  It was succulent, and I gleefully sliced it up and gobbled up every bite. The meal was brought to an appropriate close with some apple cobbler.

When we departed after a very enjoyable evening, I pointed my well-nourished gut in the direction of our destination and left a happy man.