Monday, May 31, 2010

Seafood and wine at Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco...

HomeR & R at McCormick and Kuleto’s Seafood Restaurant, in San Francisco's 
Note the wine flights (white on the right, red on the left -- somehow I suppose that is appropriate).
Great views, terrific food, fun wine.

Miss Pearl's

At Miss Pearl's Jam House in Jack London Square, Oakland.

Rita, Rex, and Louise (Rex's mother)

(More to come...)

Rita and Beth

Rita's first daughter (3 sons and Mary came later)...

(Courtesy of Kirk)

Four generations...

Great-Grandma Eva (Doc), Baby Beth (7 wks), Dad (Rex), Grandma Louise

(Courtesy of Kirk)

There was a time...

When Rex and Rita and Beth were a bit younger...
(Courtesy of Kirk)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

T and T's continue...

Monday, May 24, 2010

I've more than heard of this place

One of the Google Ads that I see on the blog (intermittently) is for NextCare.

On Blogger (or Blogspot, if you prefer), the ad option is controlled by Google, but tied to key words in the posts, apparently including the names of towns mentioned.

We've been to NextCare Arvada a number of times when it was after hours or we couldn't get a quick appointment with the family physicians. It sure beats the ER at the nearby mega-hospital (which I've seen too many times).

I'm glad to recommend NextCare.

Oh, and I've mentioned Great Clips in an earlier post and its ads are showing up too.

Remainder Table

I'm in Calgary on business and have time to duck into a local Cole's bookstore, before heading to the airport. I peruse the remainder table and consider a number of possibilities. Hmmmm. John Le Carre, A Most Wanted Man. Okay, I've read a number of his books over the years; hasn't he won some awards? The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a classic, isn't it? Usually his books are downers, but, nevertheless intriguing. I vaguely remember something about one of his recent books but I decide that CAD $6.99 was worth the risk (plus a CAD $2.00 chick lit paperback that Rita might enjoy).

I start reading in the terminal, then continue on the planes from Calgary to Salt Lake and Salt Lake to Denver. A few more pages at home and... POW! I remember, vaguely now. Le Carre must hate Americans, virulently.

So, I go to search: Bing first, then Google. Aha! Here it is, John Miller's brief citation of a review of this very book (my emphasis):

A Most Unwanted Man 
John Le Carré may be a fine novelist, but he's so anti-American that even NPR felt compelled to ask him about it in a recent interview. (Le Carré shrugged it off.) Here's the final graf in Jonathan Yardley's review of Le Carré's new book, A Most Wanted Man:
The anti-American note struck there is not new to le Carré — it has coursed through his work much as it did in the fiction of Graham Greene — but it is expressed in A Most Wanted Man with special virulence. No doubt this reflects the author's opposition to innumerable aspects of recent American foreign policy, but he seems neither to know nor to care that many Americans share that opposition. The CIA people who crash onto the scene at the end are mere cartoons. Le Carré, who is capable of great subtlety and nuance, here is all bludgeon and righteous anger. It is not pretty to watch, and it diminishes him.

10/09 03:04 PM
The book was a disappointment, not only because of its explicitly anti-"neoconservative" tone, but the shallow picture it painted of shadowy American "agents," what Yardley calls "mere cartoons." The irony is that the CIA is not composed of "neoconservatives"; what is Valerie Plame? Who are those who leaked so much negative publicity against the Bushies and approved the publication of "tell-almost-all" books?

Le Carre (David Cornwell) paints fascinating and sympathetic portraits of his principal characters, even the German spooks, and then defaces them with less than two-dimensional figures. Who hates whom?

What is the royalty an author gets from the remainder table?

Acoustic Pasta

I'm back from my Middle East adventure (see a future post). Rita has been watching the granddaughters, age two and almost one. What would she like to eat? Italian, she answers.

At first we consider 3 Sons, but the coupon is only good Sunday-Thursday and today is Friday. A bit further away is Buca di Beppo. We hadn't been there together for some time. BdB is explicitly and completely over the top. Statuary and paintings and pretend frescoes. The hostess leads us through the kitchen (what's Italian for "kitch"?); yes, I remember this.

We are given a very attractive table in an alcove across from a big family party -- the grandpas are wearing Stetsons and there is a full range of ages of their grandkids (and great grandkids?) They're having a great time and we can't help but share a bit of their good humor... except for the acoustics. The ceiling above the party tables is concave downward, like a quarter of a cylinder. The voices of the family reunion are focused downward and laterally along the axis of the cylinder towards our alcove. Rita can barely hear me; I can hear her (her contralto vs my baritone). Happily, the waiter is readily willing to re-seat us. I suggest a table on the side, away from the acoustic focus, and, yes, the ambiance is now tolerable. We can enjoy watching the younger kids (reminding us of our grandchildren) without induced headaches.

What to order? BdB encourages family-style dining. So, we decide on an appetizer, and entrée, and a side: stuffed mushrooms, prosciutto stuffed chicken, and spaghetti. Excellent choices! Oh, yes, and sangria made with Barefoot Merlot.*

I notice that BdB offers a big cupcake for birthdays. I mention that my birthday is coming up, but I'll be out of town.**

As usual, we didn't finish our shared dishes (except for the mushrooms). We requested take-home boxes.

In the meantime, I made a quick trip to the men's room. Again, over the top: pictures of assorted statues of Roman copies of Greek gods and kouros and photos of little boys against walls, doing what little boys do, occupy all of the walls.

I return to the table and mention that we really didn't need the cupcake. Rita scowls in a remarkable, hands across the chest. Okay, I say, go ahead and request it.

Just then the cupcake arrives. She is such a sneak.

And, half the cupcake also goes home with us.

Finally, we have to ask directions to get out.

Subtlety is not BdB's thing, except in the food, which is excellent.

Starbucks Gratitude

On the way to meet Christy and David, we pull into the neighborhood Starbucks in Rita's Mustang (top down, of course -- it's 75 degrees), with Rita driving. Fortunately, there are only a few cars in the drive-through. We place our order and move around the corner. There's a woman in an SUV ahead of us. It has a bumper sticker urging anyone behind it to not forget the troops; we can agree with that sentiment.

The woman receives a tray with three different sized drinks. Then she accepts a bag with some kind of goodies. Then, curiously she talks some more to the window barista, who hands her a receipt (I think).

It's our turn; Rita drives forward. The young woman at the window speaks: You're not going to believe us. The woman ahead of you doesn't know you. However, she wants you both to have a great day. And she paid for your two coffees!

Wow! We express our delight at this mysterious benefactor. Somehow my Grande Pikes Place Blend with nonfat milk tastes better than usual. And Rita is pleased with her Tall Mocha.

It was a good day, indeed.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Steamboat Friends at OTB

Is there a better place to meet friends than On the Border?

David and Christy emailed Rita -- we're coming out of the mountains to pick up some plants at... (pick one: Home Depot, Lowe's, O'Toole's). How about we meet for lunch (at OTB, Denver West)?

Of course, we answer YES! C & D are the best of friends from the days in which we, too, lived above 6700 ft.

Text message arrives on Rita's phone: we're at Home Depot-Golden, see you at OTB at 11:30.

(See subsequent post on Starbucks gratitude.)

We arrive at 11:25. And, there they are, right after us. Into the popular Brinker's outpost.

I can't remember when we last saw C & D (note that I don't right D & C -- it means Drilling and Completions in my company and something else somewhere else). The time before we were with them, they were with us in the hospital (while I was sleeping, so to speak -- so I'm told; I don't remember.)

As we get our act together, Rita and Christy agree with the cute server: we definitely need guac with the chips.

We catch up further -- where their son is with his Hollywood ambitions and where we are with, especially with the grandkids.

C & D & R each order Pick Two or Three (I can't remember which two/three each chose).

     (Christy, Rita, me, David)

 I order the grilled Mahi Mahi tacos. In answer to the question(?),  I reply "refried," not "black."

This is the second time the four of us had met at OTB. Clearly, C&D liked the last experience.
OTB has both a tragic and intriguing history. It was a separate chain back in the early 90s. Then it was announced that the Brinker group liked what they saw in OTB and purchased the chain, to join Chili's, Macaroni Grill, and Maggiano's. Sadly, a private plane crash took the lives of the OTB chief exec and his son. About the same time Brinker founder, Norman Brinker, had suffered a serious injury while riding a horse in a polo match. (The chronology of OTB's aquisition by Brinker, the plane crash, and Brinker's accident are a bit unclear from Internet sources; this recent history occurred prior to the advent of pervasive web-documented news.) Brinker was associated as founder or executive of a number of familiar restaurant brands: Jack-in-the-Box, Steak and Ale, Bennigan's, and Burger King as well as the Brinker brands,  (Brinker passed away June 9, 2009.) More recently, OTB and Macaroni Grill have been taken over, apparently, by a San Francisco investment company. 
At one time David managed a restaurant location that was, subsequently and temporarily, part of the Brinker group.)
Stories and bad jokes followed. Rex: You heard about the really humble guy, didn't you? Christy: No. Rex" He was so humble they gave him a medal for humility. Christy: Really? Rex: But they had to take it away. Christy: No! (if she didn't say this, she should have). Rex: Yes, because he wore it.

It's good to have friends that put up with really, really lame jokes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Adventures with Granddaughter

In preparation for my "adventure cruise" I have started "training".... I walked for 30 min. on the bike trail this morning.....I admit I had a go-cup of coffee in my hand and peppy music from my Ipod to keep me going but at least I worked up a sweat.

When Abbi came mid-afternoon, I decided to put her in the stroller for another round of walking. All was well as we went down the greenbelt. When she spotted the little park yet still far ahead, I asked if she wanted to play. Of course she did!!! So for the next hour "we" had fun on the swings, slides and playing in the gravel. When our play time got to be over an hour long, I started to get really hot in the sun and tired out. I suggested we head for home to get some juice but Abbi adamantly said "no".

 I waited a little longer while she continued to play on the playground. Eventually she branched out to playing in the grass. I watched her carefully and suddenly I saw her in motion. She was taking off across the park heading to the big playground at the neighboring elementary school. I grabbed the stroller with her baby doll in it and took off after her. Problem was the thick grass had just been cut and all the trimmings of the grass bogged down the stroller making it a real effort to plow across the freshly cut grass. When Abbi looked over her shoulder and saw I was in pursuit, she took off even faster.

I had to work hard but eventually caught up with the travelling Abbi. I grabbed her intending to put her in the stroller and buckling her in so she couldn't escape. However, as I lifted her she let out a blood-curdling non-compliant scream . I started laughing so hard I almost fell over struggling with her as she arched her back and continued her screaming.Luckily I was able to get her buckled into the stroller but she struggled so hard against it, I actually thought she'd pull the straps loose.

With my strength waining, I decided to call Matt to come help. Our house was only around the corner a little ways so I knew he could run over to rescue me. When I called he heard the screaming in the background and could hardly hear what I was saying. Besides I was still laughing at how such a little one could command such a performance.

By the time Matt arrived I had managed to push the stroller from the center of the park closer to the sidewalk. Matt saw how sad Abbi looked so he offered to hold her hand and help her out of the stroller to walk home. She used the favorite 2 year old word: "no". Eventually she slid out of the unbuckled stroller and complied in holding our hands to walk home. She was happy to drink her lemonade when we got home, so I knew she was probably as hot and thirsty as I was, but just unwilling to give up the fun of the park.

At one point I had considered a double stroller to take Abbi and Mackayla for a walk. After today, though, I think I had better keep my walks with the little ones just one on one!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Traveling with R&R's Daughter

Rita and Rex's oldest, Beth, is becoming a widely known travel writer. Read about her two children and their grandparents at a Hollywood-in-the-Desert attraction from a few years ago.


Another Rex and Rita are a couple of reading dinosaurs from the Eighties. Then First Lady Barbara Bush (who shares a birthdate -- month and day, not year -- with this blog's Rex) got to know the puppet mega-reptiles quite well.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mystery in Louisville

Doesn't that look like the cover of a telescope observatory on the right? Could it be that it's going to be installed on top of the silo?

Photo by Rita

This may require some monitoring.

By the way, there appear to be beehives on the left side plus a weather station on top of the silo. There could be an interesting story here.

If it is an observatory being prepared for installation, will the telescope be remotely operated with a video camera capturing the view?

Cold Saturday -- Yellow Tulips

May tulips in the front yard:

Photo by Rita

Mod, but not post-Mod

Up the road, formerly known as the "turnpike," from quiet suburban Arvada is Boulder. And, in Boulder is the neatest little eatery, Mod Market. It's our third lunchtime encounter; each one has been delightful.

Photo by Rita

What do they specialize in? Flatbread brick-oven pizzas and salads. Rita always orders the half-salad/half-pizza; I go for the full pizza. This time Rita had the Mongolian salad and Greek pizza. I had the M'Pizza (basically a margherita) -- the red sauce is thick and spicy without being too spicy; the other two times I had the steak pizza. One of the nice bonuses of Mod is the $ 2 wine (in stemless glasses); Barefoot is Mod's primary choice. In addition to the simple water fountain, soda water (without the soda pop) is available, plus lemon wedges. (Unfortunately, the soda water doesn't take out margherita red sauce stains.)

Order from the counter (watch the salad being prepared), take the salad and pay, receive a number (placed on top of a combo condiment holder on your chosen table), and have your wine and pizza delivered. Six white-coated chefs/servers take care of your order from beginning to end.

The clientele is quite diverse, from suit-and-tie to spandex. Parents with young children are common. Background music is jazz, from electronic to Take Five.

Mod Market is located within the newly rebuilt 29th Street (now outdoor) mall. It's full of eating places, many of which offer the same kind of service as Mod. Most are chains: Rumbi's (Hawaiian-Tropical), Daphne's (Greek), and Islands (California burgers), each of which we've enjoyed; we've visited other locations of the three, including Westminster, Denver (now apparently closed), and Encino. More upscale is Cafe Laredo. Rita, speaking about Mod: "It's worth the trip to Boulder."

"Mod, put not post-Mod?" Everything about Mod Market hangs together, from the food to the decor to the pizza plates; nothing is deconstructed. The curve on the north wall-to-ceiling is visually extended by the outside patio cover to the west. The single entrance-to-patio bench possesses the same, mirror-imaged curve, while the facing chairs have the same white finish. Green grass "sprouts" from a narrow box the full length of the wall, illuminated by bead-lighting, while the bench is back-lit from start to finish. One's first entrance into the clean, white, and bright, with circular curves and cylindrically-repeated space can be intimidating. It's interesting to watch first-timers attempt to get their bearings, especially as they step inside and back to take-in the hanging menu. Friendly chefs/servers answer questions and offer suggestions. It's easy to imagine that local residents are quick to join the Mod squad of regular diners.


(Or perhaps Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Where?)

Where is Arvada Ridge Marketplace? Look at today's links...

According to the Shea Properties website, it's in Wheat Ridge (Colorado):
Arvada Ridge Marketplace

Wheat Ridge, CO RETAIL
For leasing information: Shea Properties • Patrick Bunyard • (303) 804-3907
Conveniently located in a high traffic area just off I-70 and adjacent to a future light rail station, this 43,873 square foot neighborhood retail center is part of a revitalization district in Jefferson County. The center is home to several national retailers inlcuding [sic] GNC, Hallmark, Payless, Qdoba and Verizon.
Google "Arvada Ridge Marketplace".  After the Shea website, look at the next two finds (red bold is mine):
Great Clips Hair Cut Salon - Arvada Ridge Marketplace - Wheat Ridge CO Welcome to the Arvada Ridge Marketplace hair salon located in Wheat Ridge, CO. Our success has been built around one simple goal: Making sure you get ... - Cached

Great Clips Arvada Ridge Marketplace savings and coupons, Arvada ...Find and share money saving printable coupons discounts and deals for Great Clips Arvada Ridge Marketplace in Arvada Colorado 80002. - Cached 
Checkout the fourth find:
Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA): Arvada RidgePhase One consists of the Arvada Ridge Market Place, a 260000 square foot retail development anchored by a Super Target, this center opened in 2005. ... - Cached
... and link to it. Following the About Aura link we find...
About AURA
Who we are
Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) is responsible for revitalizing urban areas designated throughout the community by creating successful, high-quality projects that will help produce a vibrant cohesive city and enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Arvada.
AURA is an independent body, corporate and politic under the State of Colorado law and governed by a seven member volunteer board appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. The Board works under a common vision dictated by the legally approved urban renewal plan.
Under state law, AURA is charged with assisting the City [Arvada] in eliminating and preventing the occurrence of blight. To carry out this mandate, AURA works in collaboration with elected officials, city administrators, private developers, financing sources, as well as the community
Note that one of the Great Clips finds refers to Zip Code 80002 (an Arvada Post Office code). Returning to the Google search, the sixth find reads...

Play N Trade - The Only Game in Town! play n trade arvada. arvada ridge market place. 5095 kipling street. suite 120. arvada, colorado 80033. phone: (7529). gaming news ... - Cached - Similar
Zip 80033 is a Wheat Ridge P.O. code.

So here is the apparent explanation: The old Ridge Home in Jefferson County (part of which was destined to become the future Arvada Ridge Marketplace) had a Wheat Ridge zip code. Arvada annexed the property and opened it for development through AURA, but the plot retained the old WR zip.

Yet, this offers a dilemma for merchants or franchisees. Should they say, for example, that the Arvada Ridge Great Clips is in Arvada or Wheat Ridge? Or can they even control their choice? Witness the two contrasting finds for Great Clips, above. The Great Clips corporate website reads "Wheat Ridge." The coupon website reads "Arvada." But if you mailed a letter to Great Clips, /with street address/, Arvada, 80002, would the letter reach its intended destination as fast as one with zip 80033?

Here is how a discount sporting goods company has identified the top two finds when searching their website for zip code 80002:
Arvada, CO

5185 Kipling Street, Wheat Ridge, CO
Tel: 303-432-6532
Map & Driving Directions
Daily 10am - 9pm, Saturday 9am - 9pm, Sunday 10am - 7pm
View Weekly Ad Specials at this Location
Big 5 Sporting Goods
7669 West 88TH Avenue, Arvada, CO
Tel: 303-420-3189
Map & Driving Directions
Daily 10am - 9pm, Saturday 9am - 9pm, Sunday 10am - 7pm
View Weekly Ad Specials at this Location
They have the first store listed correctly! (I wonder if this was in response to an email I sent them last year?)

However, the second store is incompletely identified. Yes, it has an Arvada zip code (80005), but it's actually in Westminster! Darn that Post Office!

Sears Outlet, in the same shopping center as Big 5 has this address:
Sears Outlet Store
N.W. Corner of 88th Ave. and Wadsworth

7647 W. 88th Avenue, Westminster, CO 80005

(303) 940-2739
It reads Westminster, with an Arvada zip!

I guess this is the solution to the second puzzlement, if not the first.


A Puzzlement

I took Rita to her regular writer's workshop at Einstein Bros Bagels. I placed my order at the back of the store (cinnamon-apple coffee cake) plus coffee for each of us. The clerk asked my name (and I immediately thought, what do you need my name for? You gave me the cake already.), I named myself, and proceeded to pay. Oh, no, she says -- pay over there (oh, yes, that's right -- I've been through this before. We used to pay up front, now we pay at the end. Why can't I remember these changes? And, of far greater importance...)

Why did this Einstein's change things? (Maybe other Einstein's* have done the same thing. Come to think of it there's one way down south where you pay at the end -- but I think that's always the way things were at that store.)

To complicate the ponderings, the Quiznos across the parking lot from the first Einstein's mentioned (which brings up another puzzlement -- see the next, subsequent post), also did a switch. Only, it was in reverse. We used to pay at the end, now we pay at the beginning -- as soon as we order.

Can anyone explain?

*Another question: Should this read, "Einstein'ses have"?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Local Italian - Arvada

In terms of local "mom-and-pop" restaurants, Arvada, CO, has a wealth of Italian restaurants.

Mama Sannino's is an R and R favorite. Rita loves Mama's Roasted Italian Chicken. Rex thinks the lasagna is fantastic. Usually, both R and R request take-home boxes for half their orders -- too much to eat. The wine list is short; the house wines are a bargain -- the Merlot (or Chianti) one-half carafe is Rex's preference. Rita always requests Lambrusco. The restaurant is small and intimate; come early to avoid waiting.

Randi's is an Arvada West tradition. On a typical week-day evening, A-West and Ralston Valley graduates can usually recognize any number of acquaintances and friends from their school days, either serving, ordering, or eating. And, their parents often encounter fellow church-goers from St. Joan of Arc or Faith Bible or other nearby churches. The pizza is great, especially with the option of ordering half and half (like half-Hawaiian, half-Taco). R and R's son Andrew is partial to the calzone, while Rex often orders simple sides of thin-noodle spaghetti (actually more of a fetuccini) and link sausage (anything else is too-big-to-eat). Daughter Mary almost always requests a link sausage side no matter what else she orders. Rita likes the chicken special (with the tortellini alfredo). Andrew's wife Sarah is partial to the tortellini. Other son Matt varies between pizza and calzone. When toddler grandchildren are along, the three-quarter-circle booths are ideal -- plenty of distraction while being subtly "entrapped." The wine and beer specials during happy hour are a great deal. Randi's often provides 10%-off coupons in local mailers. (Hint: there are actually two sets of restrooms, off the main dining room and the back "party" room; if one is locked, try the other.)

To the north of Randi's, across 64th Avenue is a more upscale and newer restaurant, Cucina Roma Roma. While CRR provides a popular lunch buffet, the real attraction is dinner, often accompanied by live music. Rex loves the Mediterranean Style Pasta, with shrimp, mussels, and calamari. (Calamari always reminds Rex of Kirk Douglas -- remember the giant squid in Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?) Watch for CRR's coupons in mailers various times during the year (based on past experience).

Newest to west Arvada is 3 Sons Italian. A northwest Denver tradition for many years, the transfer to Arvada was accompanied by lower prices. Each time R and R have patronized 3 Sons, waiting time was short, but virtually every table was occupied. With two dining areas, one of which flows into the bar, it is apparent that the restauranteers made a good decision by moving west. The menu is extensive, as is the wine list. For dinner, Rex is partial to the cioppino, with salmon, mussels, shrimp and clams (Is there a theme here? See CRR above). For lunch, Rita was impressed with the calzone (which she split with her friend) and arugula salad. 3 Sons is also providing occasional coupons via mailers and also to diners for their subsequent visit.

McD's creamy innovation

There's something that McDonald's principal competitors need to emulate.

Say you're en route to work or play in the AM. You order the breakfast meal with coffee plus two or three creams from the disembodied speaker in the drive-through lane. BK, JnB, and CJr give you those creams in little foil-covered cups. So, you can either be a worse-than-texting risk to other drivers on the freeway, or pull over and add the cream one mini-cup at a time, after removing the lid from the (careful!) hot paper/styrofoam cup. But, McD adds the cream to the coffee for you (and before snapping on the lid). Even if you prefer the sausage and egg croissant that BK offers, the convenience of McD's creamed-coffee beckons.

But, McD's could benefit from Starbucks' approach. Drive-through Starbucks add cream to your coffee -- or low-fat milk -- or even non-fat milk for their barely-awake guests.

Of course, there's still Sonic: get your coffee as part of a "chiller" -- blended mocha and soft-serve.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Joe's, Tomatoes, or Saltgrass

For some reason Matt and Rita didn't want grilled brats Saturday night. So I began driving. "Where are you taking us?" Matt asks. Repeatedly. I respond: not Vietnamese (we'll drive by one Pho), not Chinese (we'll drive by four of them), not Japanese (past one), not Mexican (by one that used to be right there)...

When we get to another "there," you'll have a choice of one of three (not four). "Saltgrass," Rita guesses. Correct. Or Joe's Crab Shack. Or Sweet Tomatoes. (But not Pappadeaux -- costs more than I want to spend this time.) Rita is OK with any of the three. Matt claims to have never been to Saltgrass. SG it is.

Fortunately, there's a handicap space only a few steps from the door; placard is hung. Enter, party-of-three, booth. Terrific!

Beverage? Matt chooses Shiner Bock. Rita and I parley... Beringer White Zin. (I usually prefer Merlot, but Rita likes fruity.)

In retrospect, this is Matt's 23rd birthday dinner with M & D, as I'm out-of-town (actually out-of-country) on the 14th.

We pass on an appetizer - my experience is that I'm "full" before the entree if we get the stuffed mushrooms or fried onions or ....

The nice thing about Beringer's White Zin is that it is not too fruity.

Matt orders what I pondered... prime rib. But, I know it's too much for me to eat.

Rita and I each order the steak-and-shrimp special. She gets it with coconut shrimp, medium steak, sweet potato and salad. I go for grilled shrimp, medium rare steak, baked, loaded potato, and baked-potato soup. (That's a lot of potato; I would have liked the salad and veggies, but need to avoid vitamin K.)

The restaurant is full tonight, but there doesn't seem to be too long a wait for the folks coming in after us. Service is efficient (used dishes are removed promptly), but the arrival of drinks and each of the two courses is leisurely. The server who brings the main course forgets to provide requested steak sauces, but the assigned server brings the Heinz 57 (my preference) and A-1 (Rita's) as soon as we request them of her.

I've eaten at Saltgrass in Houston a few times, but none of those times was it as busy as this Westminster, CO, location this time and our previous visits. Why? We talk about it and realize that suburban Denver doesn't have that many medium-price steak places. There's Outback, with several locations, Lone Star, Texas Roadhouse, and the Keg (pricy Canadian) near Mills. Otherwise, there are the neighborhood chains with a only few steaks on the menu: Applebees, Mimi's, and the sports bars.

My grilled shrimp was served kabob style, without the skewer. I found myself attqcking the shrimp and veggies first. Rita enjoyed her coconut shrimp, too. Matt cleaned his plate (what's an ex-football player to do?) I could eat only half the six-ounce steak and didn't even touch the loaded potato. Rita, too, wanted a take-home box, too.

No room for dessert, either.

Visit Saltgrass again? Yes. I like the quality of the food and the service better than Outback or even the pricier Keg.

But, it would be nice if some local restauranteer started up a good northwest suburban place with Colorado beef, maybe supplemented by bison and elk -- sort of a Ted's without Ted or Ted's prices.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

R and R blog their T's and T's

Rex and Rita post their wanderings and challenges (travels and travails).

Parents of five adult children and grandparents of three girls and one boy, R & R find each day filled with joy and oops. Follow us as we wander around the Rocky Mountain Front Range and beyond.

Rex works for a geoscience software company and is a Catholic deacon. Rita is writer and specialist with a local recreation center.