Food snob revisits Denny’s

OK, I have already admitted in blog posts past, I am a food snob. Even if I had not spent years being one of the Southern California Restaurant Writer’s Association critics, I would still be a food snob.


I like adventuresome eating. I like chef creations that take time, talent and fresh ingredients.  IMG_1324

So these are not what chain food is likely to have. Really, no self-respecting food critic would even consider reviewing a chain store.

But, every so often, the gourmet in me just wants some comfort food–done the old-fashioned way. Diner food. And, when, recently, hubby and I were in the mood for pancakes, we said to ourselves: Denny’s.  Unknown

We were pleasantly surprised by more than the comfort food quality. So, the pumpkin pancakes were made from a mix–I suspect with refined sugar, white flour, and very little to do with actual pumpkin. But, once-in-awhile, it’s OK to have a little sugar and even some white flour. Denny’s delivered an excellent comfort meal of pumpkin pancakes, with two eggs, bacon, and hash browns. We enjoyed it. I didn’t gain any weight eating this meal. And, the price, at $6.99 was very friendly.

But, the best part of this Enfield Denny’s experience was our waiter, Walter, and the Manager Edgar Ayala, who stopped by our table to make sure we were doing well, and that there had been no issues.

When I told him that after five years in Enfield, this was our first Denny’s visit, and that as a food snob, I would not have put Denny’s on my radar, but that after this experience, we would be back, he smiled.

There is nothing wrong with this Denny’s. On my second visit, I tried a skillet breakfast of Yukon gold potatoes, grape tomatUnknown-1oes, mushrooms, onions, spinach, sausage and fried eggs.

This was really excellent. And, my request to have as little oil as possible (I imagined the gallon of partially hydrogenated oil used at our Marriott that put 30 pounds on me in the 17 months we lived there), was cheerfully granted.

Edgar, thank you. Walter, thank you. And, kudos to the line cooks who do seem to put together a meal even a food snob can enjoy.

When Walter delivered our bill to our table, he said, “Hope to see you next Sunday night.” He remembered us, remembered even the day of the week we had been there, and he was genuine in his invitation. This is not what one expects at Denny’s. And, maybe not all of the stores do this. But at Edgar’s place, they do, and we appreciate it. Service this good deserves to be applauded.

Wounds, angels and band-aids

Unknown   It is really amazing that in almost six months, we have mostly gotten through injury-free. And when I say “we,” I mostly mean Jay.

However I am the one known for tripping, falling and generally being the klutz around the place. (We will not do this statement in pictures.)

That said. I. too, have had more “almosts” that actuals when it comes to injury. I have visions of knocking my front teeth out (again), and worse, falling forward at the head of the stairs from the upstairs coming down, where the inspector pointed out we have a window without safety glass, where “someone” could fall headlong through and be cut. I really do not want to hover over that imagery.

Jay has had some serious incidents: falling off the ladder, heavy drill in hand, where he wrenched his shoulder pretty badly; almost cutting off a finger with a chisel; and lately, driving a screwdriver though his thumb.    IMG_1429

IMG_1427   We are not mentioning many cuts, bruises, and bumps on the head.

Luckily, most of these have been remedies by antibiotic cream and band-aids. No stitches yet.

I don’t believe in jinxes. I believe in God. And I don’t think it is too early to thank Him and our angels for protecting us from near tragedies and serious, permanent injuries.

Almost a kitchen 4

Everyone says we will soon be living in luxury on the river. I believe them. It is hard to see the end at this stage. Our entryway still looks like a third world country. But, hey, in my defense, this is still a “contraction zone.” It says so right on the front door!  IMG_1423

It just seems silly to organize and clean up the area, when I know 1) I will have to move it again soon, and 2) soon we will have a kitchen.IMG_1422

We are pretty far away from the luxury lifestyle everyone says we will soon have. I suppose I could tidy up a bit.

Motivation is low, but looking at the picture makes it seem more real that living with it.

But our kitchen is starting to actually take shape. I told you I would report on the oven installation.

They did it!  Like I said, not much margin for error–but no errors IMG_1559were made. The oven is IN.  IMG_1555 IMG_1553


IMG_1420    Yay Jay (hub), Bill(talented kitchen installer guy), Norm (LCN Kitchens in Windsor), Donney (salesman par excellence at Sears), God (He may not need an intro to some of you)–not necessarily in that order. It is perfect!

Now, after the island is installed (anchored) and the countertop template people come out, we will be ready for the counters.

There’s a little touch up painting to do because we moved the countertop vent forward 6 inches. But, hey, that’s not problem for these talented people.

Luxury living here I come. Almost.


Almost a kitchen 3

We have a friend named Bill. He used to install kitchens. His wife, Mary, is my dear friend too. These lovely people took pity on Jay and me, learning that Jay was about to install our kitchen cabinets at our new river house, all by himself.  IMG_1517IMG_0007

Because of Bill and Mary, we really do almost have a kitchen. Really, the cabinets were almost all installed, until they realized where the spice cabinet had to go. It meant unscrewing half the cabinets to get it in where it belonged. It is not a normal cabinet.

Jay went to our cabinet people’s showroom (LCN in Windsor–great people), and looked at how to install the spice rack cabinet (which even our cabinet company says the installers hate, it is so difficult).  IMG_1400

Last night, Bill and Jay (and Mary) installed it. I mostly tripped over the floor outlets for the island cooktop. They do not invite me to help installations. I am the Home Depot errand person.

After the spice rack was installed they tackled the installation of our oven. It is a 30″ wall oven. Our cabinet guy, Norm at LCN says it will fit.  Our sales person, Donney, at Sears both think a 30″ oven will fit into a 30″ base cabinet, with a little creative woodwork. Jay wasn’t sure.  He measured once, he measured twice, he measured thrice. Admittedly, it’s a tight squeeze.IMG_1542    IMG_1540

Now the 30″ base cabinet is cut out and ready.

Jay still isn’t sure, but Bill says it will work.

It is very, very close and requires major surgery on a $300 base cabinet.  And, when I say surgery, I mean there is now a base, and 1/8″ on each side, no back and a 12″ hole for the electric wire. But, hey, if it can hold the 30″ oven, it has done its job!IMG_1398 If it works, we can get countertops soon.

That is the soon we have all been waiting for…as in “almost a kitchen.”  IMG_1397

Tonight will tell the tale. It is going to be very interesting.

I considered a 33″ cabinet (six more weeks of waiting for a kitchen);

I considered a 27″ oven (I really like making pizza and cookies–so no small cookie sheets and pizza pans for me!). Jay loves pizza and cookies.

We will see. It is going to be very interesting, very, very close. Oh, I said that.

Pictures tomorrow. Here’s a prayin’ and a hoping’! The river house needs a kitchen–soon.



Almost a laundry

Hard to believe how excited I am about doing laundry.

6019-Housewife-Putting-Wet-Clothes-Into-A-Dryer-Clipart-Picture    But you have to understand: I haven’t had my own washer and dryer for six years. I have been doing laundry in an apartment laundry room, with front loading washing machines that never give me fresh, clean towels, sheets, bedding and clothes.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Do you know Bed, Bath & Beyond actually sells a product for “stinky” laundry–the stink coming from the front loaders that have that ridge that catches the rinse cycle water. That water sits there and stagnates. It causes stinky laundry.

So yes, the prospect that I might have my brand new Kenmore, Energy Star, washer and dryer, hooked up as early as tonight has me singing.

I can’t wait to smell the freshness of my liquid SA8 towelsUnknown-1 without the stagnant water smell, and without bleaching out my good clothes and wearing them out well before their life should be over.

I can’t wait to be able to separate my loads into sensible sizes, because it is right here, on my first floor, where it does not require me to lug heavy laundry bags and baskets to a basement laundry room.

IMG_1396  I can’t wait to have a dryer that dries, rather than dumping $1.50 into a machine that often doesn’t get the clothes dry, or that dries so hot it ruins the delicates.  IMG_1395


I can’t wait to be able to put a load of laundry in my own washer and not stress about getting it out into the dryer exactly 30 minutes from start, so that someone doesn’t use expletives about me because there are only six washers for 200 people.

And, I can’t wait to be able to do laundry every day, and not just Tuesdays, when I am pretty sure I can get two washers for my stuff, rather than a more convenient weekend day, when I am sure all of the six will be in use.

Wow! I didn’t realize I had such an extensive laundry rant. But now you know why “almost a laundry” would be cause for singing.

Ramblings on the river – Almost a kitchen 2…we have paint

IMG_1318   Once the dry wall chalk dust settled–mostly on the bottoms of all my shoes–after three days of mudding and sanding, we could wet it down, sweep it up and get ready for paint.

Now, we have the laundry-mud room painted, and the kitchen paint almost finished.   IMG_1352

So Friday we should be able to start installing cabinets, and then even get our antique sink installed in the laundry room.

Hub took out my laundry sink so we could dry wall, and I can tell you that traipsing upstairs to rinse blueberries, get a dish washed, and generally clean up things, is NOT fun.

IMG_1512      Soon. A kitchen. Soon.