Saturday, July 30, 2011


This week we had some landscaping done. One of the projects was the area under the deck. It doesn't get much sun, and grass has never grown well there. The area gets muddy when it rains, and in the summer turns into an expanse of dust. We decided to have rock installed over the whole area.

Here's the deck after the first day. They've dug a trench all around the area to lay edgers, and removed some scraggly-looking day lilies that were growing around the near and far deck posts. The dark-looking area in front is the remnants of the compost bin, which they've removed.

Here's the finished project, with edging installed and rock spread.

The stones are a bit bigger than Tony or I anticipated, but I like the way it looks. Next year I think I may experiment with setting some potted plants here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

May I Help You?

A big part of my job at a mall Customer Service desk is to answer questions.

The most common query is the location of the restrooms. I also get a fair number of questions about getting to the mall's restaurants. Some shops are more popular than others and generate a lot of interest. For example, I quickly learned how to direct people to the computer store.

I don't know why, but sometimes questions seem to come in clusters:
  • In one day I had three people ask me if we'd be offering gift wrapping. (The answer is no.)
  • Another shift brought three inquiries about bulk candy stores.
  • One day, I had two CONSECUTIVE questions about the post office (one on the phone and one in person.)
  • And once, over the course of three hours, I had six queries about a clothing store that we don't even have.
Strangely, once I fielded the initial cluster of these questions, nobody's asked them again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Barrel Bob

Tony and I were driving through a construction zone on Route 141, a highway in our area that's being widened, and we saw this:

This was the most creative thing I've seen in quite some time. It's hard to make out, but the "worker" has a SLOW sign in his right hand. We did (after we stopped laughing).

After doing a little research, I found out that we'd met Barrel Bob, an eleven-foot tall sculpture made of recycled orange and white construction barrels. As "spokesperson" for work zone safety for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), his job is to warn motorists that they’re in a construction zone and need to slow down.

I wonder if I'll have any more Barrel Bob sightings soon?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tumbling Tumbleweeds

If you have a pet, you know about their hair tumbleweeds, those balls of hair that roll around on hardwood and vinyl floors. In our house, cat hair tends to gather in a couple of different places. The stairs to the second floor curve at the bottom just before they reach the foyer, and there's a tiny nook behind them where the hair accumulates. The other is under the kitchen table. It doesn't matter how often I sweep it; every time tiny cat hair bundles go flying.

However, the cats aren't the only hair-producing machines in the house. I tend to lose quite a bit, too. Every time I wash, comb, or fiddle with it a few strands come loose. The average human loses between 50 and 150 hairs per day. (I think I'm on the higher side of that range.) In warm weather we shed more, so this month's oppressive heat should lead to quite a shedding season!

This afternoon when I walked into the bathroom, I noticed a small pile of hair on the floor next to the rug. Then I saw more on the other side of the rug. And more by the toilet. What a mess! I'm not sure where it came from. because when I comb my hair, I purposely turn my back to the mirror so any loose hair falls on the vanity and I can throw it away. Wherever it came from, it had to be cleaned up. I got down on my knees and went around the room, sweeping the hairs into a pile with the side of my hand. When I got done, I had a pile of hair that rivaled anything the cats ever produced.

Is that something to be proud of or embarrassed about?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Flutterby Butterfly

The first time I went to the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House in Faust Park it was a chilly, rainy day in March. I thought it might be nice to experience it during another season, and Tony had never been there before, so today we decided to visit.

We had vouchers for admission, so the first thing we did was stop and exchange them for tickets. Although there's a nice display of invertebrates and arthropods in the lobby, we didn't spend a lot of time looking at them. We did, however, watch a short movie about butterflies in the theater before we moved to the conservatory area, entering through the double door vestibule into the sultry atmosphere. Our glasses immediately fogged up. After a few seconds they cleared enough for us to see butterflies of all shapes, sizes and colors.

The butterfly conservatory area is like a miniature rain forest containing free-flying tropical butterflies. It's hot and humid (85 degrees with 75% humidity.) Within five minutes I felt like I was in a sauna, although it was more comfortable today (since I was wearing shorts and a tank top) than it had been in cool weather jeans on the last visit. It was warmest around the perimeter of the glass-walled building, but if you stood under the shade of some of the towering vegetation it was cooler. We walked along all of the meandering paths, stopping to look at both the butterflies and the tropical plants.

There were butterflies everywhere, flying, eating, and resting. A couple of times I had one fly straight at my face, but at the last minute it changed direction and zipped away over my head. We watched butterflies get nourishment from flowers and a few dining on rotting fruit that had been placed on trays. Tony sat down on a bench, and had a butterfly land right next to him.

After we'd seen everything, it was time to leave. We went through the set of double doors and back into the exhibition area. After the humidity of the conservatory the air condition felt wonderful.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Baked Kale Frittata

I needed something for dinner tonight that I could cook before I left for work. I decided to use the kale that was already washed and chopped in the refrigerator. Last night it had been part of a hearty salad, but today I decided to turn it into a frittata.

I like frittatas (an egg dish similar to a quiche, but without a crust) because they're very versatile. You can include almost any vegetables, cheeses, or meats. They're easy to put together. They can be cooked on top of the stove or in the oven, and can be served hot or cold.

After the frittata came out of the oven I let it cool, then covered it and put it in the refrigerator. Tony got home before I did, and had dinner ready when I walked in the door.

1 small bunch kale
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped finely (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup water
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash kale; remove tough stems and chop. Heat oil in skillet on medium-high heat. In an ovenproof skillet, sauté onion, garlic, and jalapeno 3-5 minutes. Stir in kale and water. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow mixture to cool. Combine eggs, milk, cheese, salt, and pepper. Add mixture to kale; stir well. Bake 20 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let set 2-3 minutes. Slice into wedges.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On The Spot

This morning I was going to run errands. I got in the car, turned the key in the ignition, and........nothing happened. I tried again, and got the same result.

I suspected I had battery issues. After saying a quick prayer of thanks that it happened today and not tomorrow when I had to go to work, I came inside and called AAA. I figured they'd come give me a jump, then I'd drive the car to the repair shop and get the problem fixed.

It only took 20 minutes for AAA to show up. In the meantime, I called the shop to find out if they'd be able to fit me in today. The receptionist said it would be possible, but depending on what time I got there I might have to leave the car for a while. I went upstairs and applied sunscreen, then gathered everything I would need in case I had to walk home. (At that point the temperature was almost 95 degrees, so I was not looking forward to it.)

The first thing the service technician did was test my battery. He confirmed my suspicions that it was dead as a doornail. However, before he charged the car, he mentioned that he could replace the battery on the spot. I didn't know that was an option, but it didn't take long for me to agree. He got the proper battery from his truck and went to work. It was hot in the garage, but when I opened the back door a slight cross breeze came through, which made it little more bearable. I passed the time by chatting with the technician, stepping out into the yard to pull some weeds and stepping into the house to empty the dishwasher and get some cool air.

In the middle of the job, the technician's battery tester stopped working, and he called another mechanic who was near by. While he waited he filled out my paperwork, and soon a second AAA truck parked in front of the house. It didn't take long to confirm that my battery was indeed installed correctly, and the second truck left. A few minutes after that, I received my bill and warranty information. I signed where indicated, and the technician left. It was time to get on with my day.

I had a pleasant surprise waiting for me when I started up my car. Since the battery had completely discharged, my radio wouldn't work until the anti-theft code was punched in. I'd found the code on a piece of paper in my glove compartment, and set on the front seat, figuring I'd take care of it when I left the house. The technician had already done it for me. He also set the time on the clock. All I had to do is fix the radio presets.

I suspect I paid a bit more for the convenience of not taking my car to the shop, but the price didn't seem out of line. I'd certainly use this service again, but I hope it's a long time before I have to.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Solar Yogurt

At the beginning of the year I bought a yogurt maker at a thrift store; since then, I've made batches of yogurt on a regular basis. It's amazing what milk, powdered milk, starter yogurt and hours of waiting time can produce.

Each batch of yogurt takes a half gallon of milk, a cup of dry milk powder (which adds extra nutrients and a bit of firmness) and a half cup of live-culture yogurt. After filling the maker's five containers, there's about a half cup of liquid left over. Usually I end up drinking the leftovers, although I don't care for warm milk. Today, since the outside temperature is supposed to get to almost 100° (with a heat index of 107°), I decided to put the extra milk outside to see if it would culture, too.

I poured the leftovers into a pint-sized jar, wrapped the jar in a dishtowel and set in in the sun on the black wrought iron table on the deck. After a couple of hours the deck, which faces east, lost the sun, so I moved the wrapped jar to the west-facing front porch. On the walk through the house I opened the jar and tasted the milk. It was ALMOST cultured!

When it was time to start dinner I retrieved the jar from the front porch. I took the lid off the wannabe yogurt; it smelled good, but was curdled. (I guess it had gotten too hot in the sun.) It still tasted OK, though, so I added it to the can of cream of chicken soup that was the base for the turkey and vegetable casserole I was making. Served over brown rice, the whole thing was quite tasty.

My experimental container may not have turned out too well, but in the meantime the other containers are gradually fermenting. I'll be able to put them in the refrigerator when I go to bed tonight, and they'll be waiting for me for breakfast tomorrow.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Where To Live When You Retire

I received this as an email from a friend.  I've tried to find the author, but no luck.

When I retire, there'll be no nursing home for me. I'll be checking into a Holiday Inn.

With the average nursing home costing $188.00 per day, there's a better way when I get old and too feeble. I've already checked on reservations at the Holiday Inn. For a combined long term stay discount and senior discount, it's $59.23 per night. Breakfast is included, and some have happy hours in the afternoon. That leaves $128.77 a day for lunch and dinner in any restaurant I want, or room service, laundry, gratuities and special TV movies.

Plus, they provide a spa, swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge and washer/dryer. Most have free toothpaste and razors, and all have free shampoo and soap. For five dollars worth of tips a day you'll have the entire staff scrambling to help you. They'll treat you like a customer, not a patient.

There's a city bus stop out front, and seniors ride free. The handicap bus will also pick you up (if you fake a decent limp). To meet other nice people, call a church bus on Sundays. For a change of scenery, take the airport shuttle bus and eat at one of the nice restaurants there. (While you're at the airport, fly somewhere. Otherwise, the cash keeps building up.)

It takes months to get into decent nursing homes. Holiday Inn will take your reservation today. And you're not stuck in one place forever -- you can move from Inn to Inn, or even from city to city. Want to see Hawaii? They have Holiday Inns there, too.

TV broken? Light bulbs need changing? Need a mattress replaced? No problem. They fix everything, and apologize for the inconvenience.

The Inn has a night security person and daily room service. The maid checks to see if you are ok. If not, they'll call an ambulance . . . or the undertaker. If you fall and break a hip, Medicare will pay for the hip, but Holiday Inn will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.

And no worries about visits from family. They will always be glad to find you, and probably check in for a mini-vacation. The grand kids can use the pool. What more could you ask for?

So, when I reach that golden age, I'll face it with a grin, and see you at the Holiday Inn!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


At my former job as a preschool teacher assistant, I wore shirts (style of my choice) embroidered with the school logo. Of course, now that I'm not working there any more I have no use for them, so last week I finally decided to get rid of them. There were about 20 tops--sleeveless, short sleeved, and long sleeved. Tee shirts, button-downs, sweaters, and fleece. I emailed one of my co-workers to ask if she wanted them. She let me know that with the new school year (which just started) they were using a different design on the shirts, and she didn't need mine.

Since the shirts had the preschool logo, I figured I shouldn't just donate them to a thrift shop; the school wouldn't want just anyone wearing them around. Just to be sure, I checked with the director, who verified my suspicions. She suggested I just throw them away. However, I'm trying to reduce my ecological footprint, so I didn't want to toss them and have them end up in a landfill. What to do with them? If I cut the logo off could I donate them?

This morning as I was headed to the grocery store, I stopped in at a thrift store that was on the way and asked the manager about my shirts. Much to my surprise, I found out they wanted them! When you donate clothes that a thrift store can't put on the shop floor, they sell them to rag sorters, which turns into another revenue source for their programs.

Back at home, I cut around the logo on each shirt in a haphazard circle, put them in a bag, and attached a note indicating the shirts were for recycling so they didn't have to waste time looking through the bag. When I went out again in the afternoon I dropped the bag off at the donation center. It's a win/win. I get to feel good that I did the right thing, and they'll get a bit of money from my discards.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Please Don't Eat The Tomatoes

It's almost July 15th, and I've yet to taste a tomato from my garden.

It's not from a lack of trying. The plants (slicing, roma, grape, and cherry varieties) are booming, despite a rocky spring that brought unseasonably cold weather right after I planted them on Mother's Day. There's plenty of green fruit, but every morning when I go outside to check on them I see that some critter's been there before me. At first it was half-eaten cherry or plum tomato laying on the ground, but the past two days it's been a good-sized green tomato torn off the vine with one set of bite marks on it.

I don't know how it's happening. I have chicken wire around the whole garden securely tied to uprights. I've checked multiple times, and there aren't any openings that something could squeeze through. Theoretically, squirrels could jump down from the deck steps into the garden, but I don't know how they'd get out. I bought an environmentally-friendly product that claimed to repel rabbits, groundhogs, chipmunks, and squirrels. The active ingredients are putrefied egg solids, castor oil, and garlic oil. It stinks to high heaven, but it isn't working. (I wonder if my critters could have clogged sinuses?)

I've grabbed a few green cherry tomatoes off the ground that somehow escaped and brought them inside, where a different type of danger lurks. Last week I put the small fruits in a custard cup and set the cup on the counter. The next morning I came downstairs to find a small green tomato laying on the kitchen floor with a bite mark in it. The only things living in the house are me, Tony, and the two cats-and I know Tony prefers his tomatoes red. Of course, neither one of the cats would confess.

I tried again. This time Tony found the little tomatoes in the dining room and by the front door. Green tomatoes are supposed to be toxic to cats. Didn't they get the memo?

This morning I went downstairs to throw some scraps in the compost pile and see what was going on in the garden. Once again, something had helped themselves to a nice large green tomato and left it on the patio with an inch-long bite mark in the side. However, on the ground in the garden I saw another fruit. I picked it up and noticed it was unblemished. What a miracle! I brought the tomato inside and washed it, set it in a custard cup, then slipped the cup into a large plastic produce bag. I loosely gathered the top of the bag with a twist tie. The cats don't like the sound of rustling plastic, so I hope that's enough to deter them.

I hope the fruit will ripen on the counter. I'm determined to get some results before the season's over!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


This morning I woke up with a headache that wouldn't go away. I took some acetaminophen, then drank a big cup of coffee. After breakfast I took some allergy medicine, which helped a bit, and I decided to go to the gym since I hadn't been in almost a week.

I've been getting plenty of aerobic exercise lately, but not enough strength training work; the easiest way to do it is to use the gym machines. I always have good intentions, but after I've done my aerobic stint I tell myself "I'm tired", or "I've done enough. I'm out of time." Even if I guilt myself into using the machines, I rarely give it my best shot if I do it second. I decided that today I'd do the machines first.

I know you're supposed to warm up before using the weight equipment, but I thought the hot steamy weather outside (with almost 90% humidity) made my muscles loose enough. I scanned my pass at the front desk, then instead of heading to the rows of cardio machines I moved to the machine side of the room. My music of choice today was The Allman Brothers A Decade of Hits 1969–1979.

I'm proud to say that I did a complete circuit of all my normal machines. It was hard and not fun. Afterwards I migrated over to the cardio side and used my favorite elliptical (the one that has closed captioning on the TV screen, so I can follow along with the show and listen to music at the same time. Can you tell I'm not a real fan of the gym?) When I got to the song "Whipping Post", I realized that Gregg Allman perfectly echoed my feelings:

Sometimes I feel
Sometimes I feel ... like I've been tied to the whippin’ post
Tied to the whippin’ post
Tied to the whippin’ post
Good Lord I feel like I'm dyin'

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Over The Meadow And Through The Woods

In this area, it gets hot and humid in the summertime. I have an inclination to stay inside where it's air conditioned, but that gets boring so I try to take advantage of every chance to get out of the house that I can. The forecast for today was "only" 90 degrees, and even hotter weather is on the way, so and I decided to do an outside activity. We took a look at our list of things to do and chose one we haven't been to in years--the Shaw Nature Reserve, the "natural" part of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

We packed a picnic lunch, applied sunscreen, and started on our adventure. The Shaw Reserve is located in Gray Summit, 35 miles southwest of St. Louis. However, from our house it's closer to a 25 mile drive, most of which is on a scenic section of Interstate 44. The Reserve was founded in 1925 when coal smoke from the city of St. Louis threatened the plant collections at the Botanical Garden. They actually moved their orchid collection there in 1926, but the pollution in the city cleared up before it was necessary to move anything else. Now it's a combination of natural Ozark landscape and managed plant collections. They also have offer educational programs and have an overnight center for groups.

When we got there we stopped at the Visitor Center to pay our admission fees and pick up maps. The Reserve has over 14 miles of hiking trails, but we only used two. The first, the Brush Creek Trail, meandered through sections of woodlands and tallgrass prairies. We veered off the trail to stop at the Whitmire Wildflower Garden, a five-acre demonstration garden which showcases Missouri and eastern U.S. native wildflowers, native grasses, shrubs and trees. The beautiful displays left me inspired but frustrated, as I compared them to the meager scraggly beds at my house.

We ate lunch on a bench by a lake under some huge bald cypress trees. When we took the cooler back to the car we noticed that the trailhead of the Wolf Run Trail was right there, so we decided to make that our next walk. This trail had a lake at the halfway point, which was a nice spot to sit for a few minutes. It was getting quite hot, though, and we decided it was time to head back to the car. The air conditioning felt so good!

Even though I had a great time, I think next time I go to the Nature Reserve I'll choose a little more temperate day.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I heard on the radio yesterday that today is National Chocolate Day. According to the announcer, on this day in 1550 chocolate was introduced in Europe. I don't know how could they determine a precise day for this, but I was going to celebrate it. I decided to incorporate chocolate into everything I ate today.

Breakfast was easy. The batch of muffins I made on Sunday just happened to be chocolate, so I pulled one out of the freezer, put it on a plate and heated it in the microwave. When it was done I added a slice of cantaloupe and a few strawberries to the plate; the meal looked wonderful and tasted just as good. For good measure, I added a pinch of cocoa powder to my coffee to give it a mocha taste. At lunch, I heated up some leftover pasta and ate it with carrots and green pepper strips. To drink, I made myself a big glass of chocolate milk. In the middle of the afternoon I wanted a snack. The strawberries had been so good in the morning, I decided to have some more. This time I dipped them in chocolate. They were yummy.

Dinner was a bit harder to plan. I was meeting Tony at the gym after he got off work, so I wanted something I could prepare in advance. I decided to make a pot of "Cincinnati style" chili (a new to me dish), which includes cocoa powder, cinnamon, and allspice in addition to the spices I'm used to using. I looked at dozens of recipes on the Internet, then used parts of several to make my dish.

The first step was to cook hamburger in simmering beef broth. Next, I sauteed onions and garlic, added spices (chili powder, oregano, cocoa, ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ground allspice, and black pepper) and cooked it till the spices were fragrant. I added tomato sauce, a splash of cider vinegar, and a spoonful of brown sugar and let it simmer for an hour. When it was done, the chili had a thinner consistency than what I'm used to, more like a sauce than a chunky soup. After it cooled I put it in the refrigerator. While I was at it, I got everything else ready to go so dinner could be put together quickly.

In Cincinnati, a bowl of plain chili is One Way. Add spaghetti to it and it becomes Two Way, a topping of shredded cheese and it's Three Way, chopped onions make it Four Way, and adding kidney beans turns it into Five Way. I knew how I was going to have mine (with everything), and I suspected Tony would do the same. When we got home I put a serving of spaghetti in a bowl, ladled chili on top of it, added kidney beans, and heated the whole thing in the microwave. I put bowls of cheese, onions, and oyster crackers on the table along with the hot sauce. Tony fixed his bowl, and we sat down to eat in less than five minutes. I don't know if this was authentic Cincinnati style, but I liked it. Thankfully, I made enough that we can repeat the whole dinner again tomorrow night.

For dessert went to Dairy Queen, where I had a Chocolate Extreme Blizzard--brownie bits, cocoa fudge, and chocolate chunks mixed into their creamy ice cream. It was a proper chocolate end to the day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fold, Shape, Stellate

I was catching up on some Independence Day reading today and came across a story about Betsy Ross and the making of the first American flag I don't remember hearing before.

According to the tale, several members of the Continental Congress (including George Washington) made a secret trip to Ross's upholstery shop and asked if she would create the first American flag according to their plans. Betsy agreed, but pointed out that the six-pointed stars the group wanted were more difficult to make than five-pointed ones. She used a sheet of paper to demonstrate, folding it and making one cut to prove her point. The group agreed to change the design, and history was made.

I was intrigued by this easy way to produce a star, and wanted to find out how it was done. I got the answer to my question on the 5-Pointed Star in One Snip section of the Betsy Ross Homepage. I grabbed a piece of paper from the recycling bin, cut it to the right size, and got started.

The Website had detailed directions and great illustrations, so making a star was easy to do, even for me. After I'd finished the nine steps, I ended up with a perfectly symmetrical star.  Unfortunately, since I'd chosen to use recycling paper, my star had information about filing for unemployment on the back, so I placed it back in the bin. I'll remember this for next time I need to make a good-looking star, though!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mall Observations

Malls are great places to people watch, and from my vantage point at the Customer Service counter I get to see the shopping habits of a great cross section of humanity.

I'd expect to see well-dressed people carrying something from Brooks Brothers (traditional clothes), or ladies of a certain age with Coldwater Creek (traditional classic clothing) or Easy Spirit (comfort footwear for working women) bags. However, a woman wearing modest Hindu dress carrying a package from Hot Topic (teen-centered pop culture clothing, accessories, and music CDs) seemed a bit odd, as did the 60-something man dressed in shirt and shorts with predominant Hollister (Southern California "beach vibe" style clothing) logos, carrying a bag from the store.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fun With Cats

We bought a new kind of cat food today. When we got home, Tony emptied the food into the container, then put the bag on the floor to see what would happen:

 Hey Jackson!  Come check this out!

I like the way it smells in here.

Pepper, quit hogging it.  I want a turn.

OK, Jackson.  It's all yours.

You're right!  I hope it tastes as good as it smells.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bar None

I managed to complete my first week of work at the new job. After two days of training, Wednesday was the first day for our team, and Biggest Boss came by to shake everyone's hand. Because of the time of year, it's been a bit slow, but I've sold a couple of gift cards and answered a few questions about the mall. Yesterday night I felt like celebrating, so Tony met me after I got off and we went downtown to use some Groupons for the Burger Bar at Lumiere Place Casino. Last month they had two offers--one for a American Kobe beef hamburger and the other for a King Salmon Steak sandwich. You could buy one of each, and use 2 per visit. Perfect for us!

Tony and I had an understanding that we'd each get to get a sandwich the way we wanted it, but we'd be it sharing fifty-fifty with the other person. The restaurant wasn't busy when we got there, and we had our choice of a sitting at the bar, a table, or a booth. We chose a booth, which had high sides and a small flat-screen TV showing the Cardinal game. The waiter was there immediately to take our drink orders, and told us all about the menu.

We already knew what we'd be ordering, but the choices were still a bit overwhelming. There were six types of buns, and almost 50 different toppings, ranging from the normal (cheese, bacon, grilled or caramelized onions) to the unusual (fried egg, cranberry sauce, or homemade beetroot pickle). Our deal specified we could each choose three toppings for our sandwich, but if we wanted lobster, foie gras, shrimp, or black truffles we'd have to pay for them. (That wasn't a problem.) After we placed our order we talked and watched the game while we waited for our food.

Tony ordered his hamburger with zucchini, grilled onions, and cheese. I had a hard time figuring out what would be good on a hunk of salmon, but in the end went with asparagus, grilled onions, and portobello mushrooms. We both got fries-his skinny and mine steak. I was surprised when the waiter came back and told me they were out of some of the ingredients for tartar sauce--they make it from scratch. He gave me a couple of other suggestions, and I settled on pesto, which turned out to be a great compliment to the salmon.

When our order came we cut each sandwich in half and passed it across the table so we could try both. The salmon steak was about an inch thick, and had been rounded to fit the bun. It was very good, although hard to eat with stalks of asparagus trying to fall out of the bun. Tony's hamburger was very good, too, but I don't know that I could tell that it was a special kind of beef.

We were too full for dessert, but the waiter told us they have sweet burgers, using a donut for the bun, chocolate ganache or cheesecake for the "burger" and fruit for toppings and a great banana split. I thought it might be worth another visit just for that.

We got the bill, paid it, then gathered up our things. The Burger Bar was a great way to top off a great week.