829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Friday, July 30, 2010

Turned Tables

As they did last night, my wife and daughter stayed in
touch with me during dinner via text and picture messages.
I always have said, a family that eats together, stays
together.  This time, they were being served the good
stuff while I had a humbler meal.  In Boston's Faneuil Hall,
there are many  restaurants from which to
choose, and the girls chose Todd English's Kingfish Hall.
I told them this morning that if I found out that they had 
chicken caesar for dinner tonight, I'd be pissed.
Hannah had the Lobster Salad Roll, which I had suggested
someone have when in New England.  I think they could have
gone lightah on the house-fried chips, eliminated the beans,
and gone heaviah on the Lobstah meat and cole slaw.
But that's just me. 

Pardon the blurry next couple of photos; cell phone
cameras you know.  Above was my lovely wife's dinner:
lobster tempura roll, and tuna tartare on top of some
sticky rice with dollops of spicy mayo and eel sauce?

This may be the way it looked by the time my dinner
was ready, but I maintain it was the phone camera's fault.
Toasted potato roll with mayo, yes mayo.  Ketchup is for
french fries.  Cheeseburger, basil leaves, tomato slice,
lettuce, onion, and jalapeno slices.  Mexifornia Burger.
Two of them.

In honor of their visit to Beantown, I went out
to the local "quickie-mart" for dessert.  Sorry Doc,
no Haagen-Dazs offerings to be found.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nam revisited

My wife and older daughter left me tonight.  To, uh, go visit a
couple of colleges in Massachusetts this weekend.  Hannah is a
rising senior, and now is the time to do such a thing.  Dad has to
work on Saturday, so Mom is bringing older daughter to
New England to College Town, USA.  With younger daughter
at a friend's house for pizza tonight, I took the rare opportunity
to go where I, and only I, wanted to have dinner this evening.
I've eaten there half a dozen times, and have been blown away
every time I've gone. The place, Pho 99, a super authentic
Vietnamese restaurant, is in Franklin Park, about a half hour north
of us, and a more recent neighbor of our original honeymoon
dwelling,  this lower left condo unit in Society Hill II. 
So many good times were had at the condo.  Life was as simple
then as it could and would ever be.  Someone shoveled the walk
when it  snowed, someone cut the grass when it growed.  I get very
nostalgic and misty when I cruise by every so often.  Surprised?

Inside Pho 99, I asked to sit facing outside, and no sooner did the
menus appear, I made it clear that I needed no more time. 
Vietnamese Spring Rolls were first, with a ton of lettuce, cilantro
sprigs, sweet and fishy dipping sauce, and a trio of table-side
condiments: Hoisin, Sriracha, and the chile-garlic stuff on the left
whose name completely escapes me at the moment.
I put the roll in the fish sauce to saturate, then drag it through all
three condiments.  Take a bite, then shove a leaf of lettuce and
cilantro sprig in my mouth and chew, mixing all of the flavors and
textures slowly.  The lettuce and cilantro provide a cooling
effect and the result is pure heaven.    

Next came the Shrimp and Vermicelli Spring Rolls.  Rolled in the
middle of these were scallions and mint sprigs, which again provided
such a refreshing element to every bite.  I put some chile sauce and
leftover fish sauce (never wasting anything, ever....one of my finest
traits) into the peanut dipping-sauce.  What a great array of flavors!
Literally two minutes after these arrived, and I put my phone down
from photographing this amazing food and sending the pics to my 
travelling girls, this image below appeared via text message.  Was
this their comeback to my first two courses?  I felt so sorry for
 them that they were not as fortunate as I was.  No Vietnamese
restaurants on I-95 in Connecticut?     

The item for which this pilgrimage was made, is pictured
below.  Pho,  pronounced "fuh", is my one absolute favorite
Asian dish. And Asia is a big frickin place.  With lots of food.

Sam Le is the proprietor of Pho 99 and a real good guy.  I've had
the pleasure of talking with him on several occasions, and it's
immediately clear to me that he is passionate about his heritage
and cuisine, but at the same time cautious and somewhat 
worried about the direction of the business as he looks forward.
New Jersey is a tough place to live, pay rent, and pay taxes.
He's got a small place in Sarasota and I think when his kids get 
out of college, he and his wife may make a new go of it down
there, where property taxes and the cost of living are considerably
less.  Until then, Sam, please don't change a thing.  Some day, 
I'm gonna get my girls here and they'll be hooked too! 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mussel Beach

Gulls love Mussel Beach

aka Sea Girt, New Jersey at low tide, Saturday, July 24, 2010.

Everyone knows by now, The Jersey Shore has plenty of Mussels.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My favorite boatyard

Stuck at the Mantoloking Bridge.  Looking westward here,
829 was and is to the right, about a mile and a quarter away.
From the sleeping porch there at my Nana's house, you 
could see when the Cantalopin' bridge (called that by my
cousin Adam) was up. Then it was an old, rickety bridge,
where the gates would take a lifetime to open after the big boat
passed under. Now, it's a state of the art computerized bridge
where you still have to wait forever after you see the mast
cruise through.  Now that's progress. 

On the other side of the bridge:  Hallowed ground.

The Big Shed at Beaton's.  I couldn't begin to tell you how
many classic boats have been in and out of there, but if
these walls could talk........

Already thinking of fall, they were in the process of splitting
this prime seasoned firewood.  There's nothing like walking
through Beaton's when there's a chill in the air and smelling
the smoke coming from the woodstove in the shed.

Steam Boiler and Wood Stove in the shed.

If you have 4 grand to spend on a sweet little rowboat,
this is your place to do so.  And may I say, it's worth
every goddamn penny.

Table saws and milling machines abound.  This place reeks
of history and tradition.  I was brought here by you-know-who
on no less than a few weekend afternoons, and made to stand-
by while conversations of boring boat-related topics were
discussed.  I just wanted something to eat. 

Paul Smith works on the bottom of a Barnegat Bay Sneakbox

 Over one hundred years ago, this timeclock kept track
of the boatyard workers' hours.  The International Time
Recording Company eventually changed their name to IBM.  

Sjogin, a Swedish workboat, actually built in NJ in the 60's,
is in the well, ready to be hauled for her annual re-fit.
 Suzanne, in the background, is the Beaton family's boat.
They work awfully hard; I hope they get enough time to go
out and enjoy her.

This shot is a post-post image.  After reading and
re-reading this as well as every other entry I have ever 
posted, I realized the one picture of Sjogin really didn't
give the reader a true idea of her sweeping lines.
I believe this photo does just that. 

Sjogin's wooden mast.  What a sweet boat!  This mast
will be taken down to bare wood soon, before several coats
 of varnish  will be applied.  I thought it looked fine, but her
owner and skipper, Russ, assured me that it was time.

My friend Russ, from Hove To Off Swan Point,
looking over plans for a slightly modified Sjogin
reproduction. Evidently there are some out there
 who don't want Russ to be the only one with this 
honey of a sailboat. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What do we have here?

Try to name the fish, vegetables, sauce, and garnishes.
Hint:  The top garnish flavored the sauce as well.
Then imagine how damn good it tasted.

Update 7/21:  Good job my friends.  Only one major component
was not guessed, but without smellavision, everyone did well.

What we have here is:
Sauteed Halibut Fillet (Joe),
with Jersey Zucchini (O Docker),and
Sweet Corn (Tillerman, Carol Anne, O Docker),
Roasted Red Pepper (Nobody) and Basil (Carol Anne
and Tillerman) Sauce, with Basil (Tillerman)
and Kalamata Olives (O Docker) to garnish.

I love Truffles of all colors and I also love Sole, Mahi,
Celery and Cucumbers. But they were not there.
 And I'll take Charles Nelson Reilly to block.
Or was that Match Game '75?   

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bayday 2010

My Brother and his family came from 
Massachusetts to NJ for the weekend.  They usually
come for one long weekend each summer, and at least one
of those days we plan to spend on the boat. Sunday was
the day, and being Olivia's birthday proper,  it was great that
her cousins were there to spend it with her. Bob and
Mom came along too, and including my niece's friend,
we had eleven all day.  A good boatload!

We spent the day sailing first, then anchoring at, you guessed,
Tice's shoal. The kids pretty much humor us while we sail,
but when we turn and head for the shoal, they start blowing up
the rafts and tubes and talk turns to clam-digging and walking up
to the ocean beach for some fun in the waves. A unique setting,
Tice's Shoal is just inside the western shore of the thin strip of land
known as Island Beach State Park. From your anchored boat,
you can swim, wade, or motor by dinghy to that shore,
follow a boardwalk through bayberry bushes, across the road,
through more bayberry, then through the dunes and out onto the
pristine beaches of the park. Dump your flip-flops and towel
and into the surf you go. You don't even need a badge, provided
you arrived by boat! One of the still free things in life!

The bay was like bath water, seeing how many brutally hot
days we've had lately, so when we made it up to the beach and
stood at the water's edge, the chilly ocean water made us hesitate
for a moment. The brisk westerly wind had blown the warm surface
water out to sea and the iciness beneath had taken its place.  After
a few minutes of acclimatizing, we forged ahead, squealing and
 hooting into deeper and deeper water.  I don't know if you 
ever become completely used to frigid water, or if the
 partial numbness just makes you think you do.   

Later, back at the boat, the kids clammed.  No digging around
with their toes; it's just dive straight down and scratch around
with your hands.  It seemed like shooting fish in a barrel how
quickly they were coming up with the clams.  In retrospect, I
know that it was the spot in which I chose to lay my anchor
that provided them with the fertile hunting ground.

When we got back to the dock, I went right over to the picnic
area and dumped the bag of Matchlight  (I'm not messing with
the chimney charcoal starter tonight) into the grill and lit it.

First on went the 19 clams they dug.  They steamed open perfectly
and all partook in the festivity.  Salty, creamy, chewy, lovely.
Barnegat Bay on the halfshell.  Pinch me.  Marinated chicken
breasts went on next, cooked by my older daughter.  They were
accompanied by a german-style potato salad that Mom made.
Birthday brownies and s'mores finished the evening just as the
Jersey state birds (mosquitos) started to move in.

We all departed around 9:15, going our separate ways.
It was a great day, as it always is, and I left wanting more.
With me, it often seems like I don't realize how much 
I need to be with my brother and his family until they've 
gone home.  As different as the two of us are, we still
share alot of great memories and always laugh really hard
at a few things, at least.  And our kids love the hell
out of each other.  I wish they could be together more often.
We'll just have to work on that.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2004

My Dad, with his Dad Earl, and older brothers
Pierson and Gordon. Nice knickers, Uncle Gordy!

At 829 South Drive with unidentified dog.

  As far as I know, Earl was not at all a sailor,
but a fisherman. He had a great motorboat,
Mike II, for which  he had arranged a friend as 
 captain so he and the rest of his friends could fish 
and drink.  My Dad preferred sailing.
Earl died when Dad was 11.   

 2 minutes before the gun.  This was
  Lightning "Vision",  #5805.
It's definitely honking there. 

La Salle College Crew, Varsity Heavyweight 8.
Dad Vail Regatta Champions, 1957.
Schuylkill River, Philadelphia, Pa.
Way before Rocky.  And the steps.
Dad got to stand next to legendary coach
"Bear" Curran.  Coach left his houndstooth
hat at home that day.

Hell's Bells, Jet 14, #475.
Beautiful varnished wooden hull.
It always blew hard on the Metedeconk River.

Tough as nails, they had worms for breakfast and
dirt for dinner.  And they politely asked for more.

Probably Easter, 1964, Jenkintown, Pa.
To this day I wear shorts every day of the year.
I don't plan to ever change that habit.

1966.  Hans is really getting a kick out of the kite. 
A boxkite,  always a boxkite.  
That raft to the left floated up during a storm
and spent the entire summer there.  It was
another imaginary ship for our cousins and
us to play on.  We rarely had nothing to do.

Penguin  #5158, "Vapor".  She preceded "Wassail",
#8839, a Christmas punch-red boat in which
I first started to crew for my dad.

Dad and I did well in Wassail, and I still have lots
of crew mugs to show for it.  34 years later, this silver bowl
was filled with beer and we drank from it
 before sifting his ashes into the Barnegat Bay.
The banner is hanging over the workbench in my garage.

I suspect he spent hundreds of hours at the Sultana
Shipyard in Chestertown, Md.  It really was great
therapy for him in that very difficult time of his life.

Customized business card.

Master Gunner Emeritus

 He was aware of his mortality.  And it was
a huge plus that the guy who was to arrange 
his cremation not only sailed, but raced a J-24
at Havre de Grace. 

Sultana's tribute.  If you have a minute,
it's worth a read. Thanks to Dave and Lucian.
And every other soul at Sultana.

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Crossing The Bar
Alfred Lord Tennyson

My Uncle Gordon's funeral program included 
this poem, and Dad's did as well.
  I fully believe they have both seen their pilot.

Dad, you were never as content as when you were
sailing.  And if it weren't for you,
I may never have had my love for sailing like I do.
  We all miss you as much now as we
did six years ago, which is a whole hell of a lot.
Sail on, Sailor.  We love you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Good show

Every two years would get even more Americans into it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

There's a bathroom on the right

Didja ever sing along with a song for years, thinking you
 had the words right, only to find out years later that you were
  completely wrong?  I've got two examples that I'd like to share
with you.  I couldn't figure out how to inject them into the actual
 video clip, so I'm hoping you get the picture.  Here's the song.
  It's a classic, so I trust you won't suffer through it.

(1:17) But I didn't, and I wonder why.
I feel like letting my Greek (Freak) flag fly

(2:19) It increases my paranoia,
like lookin' in my mirror and seein' a Polish guy
(Police car)

Oh man, I can't be the only one who's gone through
life singing the wrong lyrics!  Can anyone else contribute
 to this list of mistaken lines?  Surely there's someone.....