THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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The Best Crabcakes

The Best Crabcakes – All of them. No really, I setting out this year (2019) on the hunt for best crabcakes. For I’m blessed to live in the great state of Maryland and if this state gets anything right, its crabs. The tastiest critters and the best spices in the WORLD. OK I might be biased a bit there, but I’d run it up the flagpole against anything, if food orgasms are the measure.

Crabacake
Photo by Mike Hartley

I love those tasty crustaceans, prepared in many ways, but the crabcake is something that’s special. Yeah I like to pick crabs. Yeah I like stuffed shrimp and crab imperial. I love crushed crabcake over rockfish.

Actually in all truth, this is a post I started last year and found in my drafts folder. We will call that background effort to this years event. I did do some extensive research and it paid off handsomely. THEY TASTED GREAT. I learned of some new and serious contenders. I sampled some old favorites. I just got lost in eating them. My apologies. This year I’ll do better.

Really few things will get Marylander’s riled up like arguing about the best crabcake. Hell just look at the confusion the word itself creates. Is it spelled “Crabcake” or “Crab Cake” or Crab-Cake”. Or maybe with the Eastern shore drawl  “CwabcAke”. Or if you’re at a fancy restaurant where eating a crabcake isn’t as comfortable because you’re in cloths you wear once or twice a year. And the waiter says you can get one crabcake if preferred in for the crabcake dinner and it takes all your strength not to get up and slap him silly and say “do I look like someone who eats only one crabcake, do I?”

The Wonderful thing about THE Best Crabcake is that they can be found in so many places. Part of that is personal preferences of the consumer. Some like fried, others broiled. Some like a little moist and some a bit dry. Some get mad at any filler to speak of, some prefer a plumper cake like. Some have to have a HUGE crabcake and others the more traditional size.

Some crabcakes just taste better looking out over the waters of the bay. Some are best with that lump backfin you brought home from the beach to make your “SPECIAL” crabcakes for your better half. Some are best while sitting on wooden tables and benches at some local joint that is a hidden secret. Some of course can be found in your finer dining establishments but are never as fun to eat there because I don’t feel comfortable uttering even in a low voice “this is the best F’ing crabcake in the world” so those places will never get my number one vote.

I’m going to enlist a few friends also in this adventure. I will make note at the time of year and as much positive things I can find to say about them. I’ll also be adding evaluations of Cream of Crab soup which is a long time favorite of mine and anything else they throw in. Please NOTE. these friends are “Professionals” Lifelong Maryland residents and some raised crabbing on the bay at their parents home. The kind of place you walked into that had multiple steamer pots, BIG ones. Multiple cages for caught crabs tied to their docs. They know Crabs. Ah the old days.

For those of you not from the Maryland/Virginia area, Old Bay is a seasoning that we love to put on crabs and other seafood dishes.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I’ll provide a review as I eat through the state this year and do a wrap in the end. Don’t hesitate to suggest a spot.


Random Thoughts of the Day 

There are few better feelings, then when the weekend starts. Except all the feelings your having going through the weekend.

A lot of things seem to be missing heart.

Some decisions make sense over time.

Go Terps – back on track after last nights victory.


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Steak and Cake

As I was eating a chunky peanut butter sandwich last night for dinner, I was skimming some family shots when I found a few food/dinner shots mixed in. And I’m sitting here almost drooling over this plate of steak and crabcake  (this is how I choose to spell crabcake, I’m from Marland and that is what its called) I had at Fagers Island a few weeks ago and trying to decide where we should go out to dinner this weekend. No I’m not at the ocean again. We are home here in Howard County. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get a good meal around here.

Steak and Cake
Photo by Mike Hartley

But there were several very good meals at the beach a few weeks ago. I’m going to touch on a place that has been there for 25 years and I’m disgusted I’ve missed it up to this point. Its in Fenwick Island and its called Nantuckets. This was a wonderful meal and complete dining experience. So was Fagers Island fine dining. BJ’s was also good as well as the Dumser’s ice cream.


I was blessed with another wonderful day. I hope the same holds true for tomorrow.

There are somethings that laughter just can’t get you through. But it works for a majority of things.

Take the time, work the time, share the time, cherish the time, use the time, appreciate the time, don’t waste the time, just my dime’s opinion.

I forgot to tell a lot of people today that I love them.


I look forward to the day I can be fishing with brothers again.

Fishing moments are forever.
Photo by Mike Hartley


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Is it too early?

I was just regaling some friends with my strange diet. I can eat anything at anytime day or night and I usually do. Comes from decades of fluctuating schedules and shifts. So to me, there is no too early or too late for any meal. There are no boundaries. If you can imagine it, I’ve had it at any meal. That is what happens with shift work. And by shift work I mean anything other that the Monday-Friday 9-5 with a few hours either way.

Just Deserts
Photo by Mike Hartley

Shift work is brutal. You have to develop a mindset that it doesn’t matter and do your best to participate with the 9-5 world. I’ve worked about every shift there is in addition to that normal day gig. I’ve worked shifts with weekends, I’ve worked shifts that include any holiday that lands on your work day. I’ve worked shifts from mid afternoon to midnight. I’ve worked shifts from late afternoon to late evening. That is the worst one for the drive home. Yeah the streets at 2 – 4 am are nice and clear. Of everything but drunks that is, or people looking for easy targets. Not just animals are dangerous at night.

Key Lime Pie
Photo by Mike Hartley

I think those who have to do the rotating shifts of a few weeks or months at days, then mid evenings and then overnight must take a horrible toll. Those are the ones I suspect cause the most damage. Then it’s that late night overnight shift that is probably a close second to damage to body and mind. The kind where the sun is coming up as your shift ends. And then on the days off you flip back to a day scheduled because that is when all your friends and family are up normally.

I’ve been on shifts that are 10 hrs scheduled. A few of those have been lucky enough to be 4 night weeks. That is actually like working part-time because most of my life its been 10-12 hr days 5-7 days a week. I guess that is a curse of working around inspired and dedicated people, it has its perks and penalties.

But back to food. Unless you worked those weird shifts you wouldn’t think about getting up and grilling a steak at 3am or a pepperoni and sausage pizza at 6am or a seafood pasta at 9am. Or maybe waffles at 4pm. Doesn’t matter. I still love it all. But its hard to eat correctly. It really takes some discipline. And if I’m honest I lack in that area so I end up not eating right. Ah, to hell with it, bring me another slice of PIE.


I liked the passion that Chester Bennington sang with. Reminded me of the first time I heard Roger Daltrey scream. May Chester rest in peace. It troubles me that so many don’t have friends or family that can step in, during times of crisis. Yes I’m sure there are cases when everyone has done everything and more that could be done, that end tragically, but a majority I think could be stopped.

Its incumbent on all of us to try to make this a better place for all of us. Do something simple each day for someone. Maybe a complete stranger. An act of kindness or friendship. Depression and suicidal thoughts can be turned around. I’m living proof of that. But there are so many, that those thoughts win out. It’s not like people think like that all the time. Sometimes its a series of events leading to a downward spiral, that can be reset by a good action or interaction in between. Try to be that person or friend or loved one.

I’m far from perfect in this effort. At times in my life I’ve been told how important it has been for my help along the way. At other times I know I should have said or done more.

Never underestimate the power of a smile or simple greeting.  Call someone who is alone. Write friends you can’t see. Say hello to a homeless person. Just be compassionate.


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BBQ – Mission BBQ

I got to thinking about how much my friends, family and I like to eat BBQ. So I thought I’d start a trek to review the areas best BBQ and share it here. My first visit/establishment was to Mission BBQ in Ellicott City. Each visit, I’ve loved it. Service and environment are great. But I was really surprised with how much I liked it because I had heard two average reviews from some acquaintances.

Mission BBQ Route 40 Ellicott City. Photo by Mike Hartley

Mission BBQ Route 40 Ellicott City.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The Brisket, Pulled Pork and Chicken are very good and the sauces offered are a nice variety. Memphis Belle was my personal favorite. The mac and cheese is to die for and the baked beans are also very good. I’m looking forward to trying the Baby Back Ribs on the next visit.

I’ve been thinking of enlisting “The Crew” to join me for a feast of Howard Counties and surround area BBQ. Being that BBQ is a passionate debate in the least, I’ve decided to protect the names of my innocent companions.

Rest assured these are seasoned professionals. Maybe a bit to seasoned, just kidding. They are all grill masters themselves. Some of the meals they whip up certainly are right up there with some great restaurants I’ve eaten at. I’m sure 2 of them could be chefs.

So watch for the BBQ ratings to flow in 2017 and hopefully my waistline can remain somewhat intact.


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TGIF

Our friends had to cancel out of dinner plans this evening due to one of them being under the weather. But I’m still going to be hungry as well as my other half so a meal out sometime today is still in the plans. Not really planning on the Oysters in the photo but some type of seafood I think is going to tickle my palate.

Right time, right place. Bethany Oyster House. Photo by Mike Hartley

Right time, right place. Bethany Oyster House.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Didn’t know which photo to use so I put them both here. The bloody marry and bottle of Tabasco are good but the oysters didn’t pop like the one above.

Breakfast of Champions Photo by Mike Hartley

Breakfast of Champions
Photo by Mike Hartley

Never developed a taste for the raw oysters but fried or stew or Rockefeller I’m in. My best friend and his wife said these were great. We were at the Bethany Oyster House this past summer for a wonderful lunch. I’ve got to work more on my food photography this coming year. I enjoy it for some reason, oh yeah I LOVE to EAT. So maybe I’ll get a start today with some shots of our dinner if I think of it. That is the key to doing more. Thinking and acting.


Seasonal Thought

Shopping, not my bag but out I go. Should be fairly easy, got a plan and list. And my better half takes care of most of the family stuff. I do some things also but she gets credit for the success of our holidays. We both decorate but she really makes it look great. I do some lights and the tree’s, but the rest she does. And she does a good bit. Kind of reminds me of how special my parents would make the home with seasonal items and decorations.

So as the preparations come to a head for the holiday weekends, I hope you all are able to appreciate the company of family and friends. Only one more week to get through and then I’m on vacation. HELL YEAH.


Thoughts on Craig Sager passing

Traits I admire. Courage and perseverance. So it left me with a heavy heart Thursday evening to learn of Craig Sager passing.  I’m a big basketball junkie and TNT really does the best work in the pro’s so I saw a lot of him. Genuine person is what you would feel through the camera.

In watching the tributes this past evening it was touching in many ways. It was fitting and ironic that he passed on a Thursday night with TNT having a double-header. Because you could see how far and many friendships he had fostered. You kind of thought this person would be the sharing type but then you hear the specific stories of him helping and sharing all his experience and knowledge is a special trait. One of the main things wrong with business now is that people don’t share, its to competitive. But I’ve tried to do the same in my career. I don’t use knowledge as power, I give away freely of what I know. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blowing my own horn, it doesn’t take all that long to share the experience I have professionally. But I’m also always learning so the well never runs dry.

But that was just one things he seemed to bring to his work family. It sounded like he also gave very wise career advice to some of the successful people who worked with him. Craig sounded like the whole package because was the person always glad to see you and greet you with a smile. And it was genuine because you see it in the people talking about it, that felt it. Another behavior I admire.

The quality of the people he impressed as a person is impressive indeed. But that fight to the end was something to behold. And his speech at the ESPY’s getting the Jimmy V award was something impressive. A quote from him follows:

“Time is something that cannot be bought, it cannot be wagered with God, and it is not in endless supply. Time is simply how you live your life.”

And that for some reason has stuck with me and made me a better person. Because no matter what, I’m glad of the gift of another day, another chance to love and be loved. To create and converse. To smile, laugh and cry. To live.


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Grill’in group

Well we have another month or so that the grills will be active. Or group has been known to grill year round but not as often as we age gracefully. Now while this meal might not look that healthy, we always have veggies and salads with these slabs of meat. Think I’ll do some chicken later today. These steaks below were done by my best friends, both grill masters.

Nice 1 1/2 " steaks from the Laurel Meat Market. Photo by Mike Hartley

Nice 1 1/2 ” steaks from the Laurel Meat Market.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So let’s get this coming week off to a smoke’n start. I’m ready mentally. Feeling better physically also. The last few days were a struggle at times but I’ll take a fresh start.

The Weber is an all season appliance. Photo by Mike Hartley

The Weber is an all season appliance.
Photo by Mike Hartley

 

  • randomthoughtsNow I know why they put the election so close to the holidays. So we can get back to practicing getting along together again.
  • This weeks weather is like a shot of positive mental health.
  • So is the weekend here yet?
  • I miss watching my grand dog.
  • I have the best better half in the world.


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Seafood

Nothing like a good seafood dinner. And there are few states better than Maryland for seafood. I’ll give the upper northeast the corner of the lobster market and maybe clams. Good thing I’m not a food photographer, I’d be 500 lbs. While this wasn’t on the menu today, but we did have a great lunch at Facci in Turf Valley. We took my wife’s parents and all had a wonderful time. Great service and food. We will be back again.

Scallops, slaw and baked potato w/sou cream. Photo by Mike Hartley

Scallops, slaw and baked potato w/sou cream.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The crabs were excellent at Crab Bag this year.

I could claw my way through a few of these.  Photo by Mike Hartley

I could claw my way through a few of these.
Photo by Mike Hartley


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Loving Friday

Much accomplished in parts of life. So behind in others. Like proper attention to this blog on the behind side. Good thing this race has lots of starting lines because I’m a long way from finished. Fridays are wonderful. I get to spend them with my better half. I sent her something the other day which I’m sure someone has thought of before but I don’t remember seeing it. I think the thing that triggered the thought was seeing the movie Scarface. Where the blimp goes over with the words “The World is Yours”.  I wrote my better half the following. “The world is mine. You are my world.”

Yeah kind of sappy but I get that way now with people who mean a good bit to me. I’ve been a lot more honest with friends than I ever have in a number of ways. Mostly telling them how important they have been in my life. Where I feel I might have let them down. Reflecting on events and good times. All kinds of things actually.

Flood in the lobby provided this nice reflection. Photo by Mike Hartley

Flood in the lobby provided this nice reflection.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve put off shooting much the last month. And I’ve got to get back to that now because I didn’t have a lot of skills to start with and if you don’t practice than those few abilities might disappear. So despite the sloppy weather I hope to grab some frames the next days and work the tools.

Also going to finish several drafts that I better publish soon before they become obsolete. So this is another comeback pep talk for myself. It was kind of inspired by a friend who has her own company doing a re-evaluation and focus on her own business and what she wanted to do and accomplish. I’m not at that level but it was inspiring to see her doing that again because she was so good at it when we worked together many years ago.


Food Thoughts

Had a great breakfast at Cafe Mezcla in Ellicott City this morning. Wonderful food and people. Give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed.

Also a great lunch a Bahama Breeze in Towson last weekend.

And as always some of the best ribs in the world. The Corner Stable on York Road.

I’m starting to think I better watch how much I eat out. Nah, the hell with it. Life is short, enjoy a good meal.


Random Thoughts for Friday April 29th 2016

  • I find people who listen are much easier to communicate with.
  • I find it interesting how we live, and don’t learn. Must be the reason the phrase “if you don’t learn from history you’re doomed to repeat it.”
  • I went to a hospital the other day and I wasn’t the guy in the bed. Made me feel good.
  • Funny how some people just have to have it their way because they are in power.


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Relaxing Saturday night

I have to start this off with the fine meal we had a Portalli’s this evening in Ellicott City. It was excellent company, with great food in a wonderful environment close to home. We sat downstairs for the first time for dinner. I found this very comfortable and might asked to be seated down there in the future. I found it a bit easier to talk. But I did like the piano music last time we were upstairs. Well give and take and just alternate. Or go with the mood in the future I guess.

Portalli's in Ellicott City. Photo by Mike Hartley

Portalli’s in Ellicott City.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Anyway service was grand. We did have to wait for a valet for a short bit but I think he was the only one working so its hard to be in two places at once. Regardless he was very nice and we were seated quickly with the exception of waiting for someone to take a family photo at dinner. No problem at all. Our waitress (I’m very sorry I didn’t catch her name) was very good. I though her timing was perfect. I didn’t feel rushed. She was there confirming all was well several times (after each course), cleaned up any dishes promptly and most of the time without interrupting the flow of our multiple conversations.

I didn’t have to ask for a thing all evening. Drinks and refills were always there. New silver between appetizers and main entrees. A steak knife for yours truly. Plates for our appetizers. Waters refilled. Crumbs cleaned from the linens. Everything went well. You know a waiter/waitress has to have a good sense of timing and people. And when you have multiple people finishing it can’t be perfect for everyone but tonight was about the best table service I’ve had in a good while.

And a tip of the hat to the Chef. The Baked Oysters were the best I’ve had in some time. The cold seafood appetizer we also shared (a special of the day) was very good also. The melting butter candle was unique and good. My three dinner mates all had salads. They seemed to be very happy with them. I think they were the Portalli’s salad. Sorry, I’m not a salad person, but I have had their Caesar before and that was great.

Instead of going with my favorite Seafood Carbonaro, I decided to go for the Filet Minion with friend eggplant as a side. The steak was ordered medium. It was perfectly cooked and had some nice seasoning. Very tender. My better half had the Surf & Turf Rigatoni. Our friends had the Cioppino Over Pappardelle and the Prosciutto-Wrapped Cod.

Everyone was very pleased and it was a great meal and conversation. It was a great way and place to spend a Saturday evening. It also was another great reminder to take every opportunity possible to get together with friends. I love my wife dearly and enjoy her company very much. But it’s also nice to have friends to socialize with. For both of us and anyone really its a healthy thing to have and do often.

And I say often because the more you do with friends, the stronger those relationships are. The more fun is had and the quality of life for everyone is improve. Thanks for the great company last night C&J.


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Saturday in the saddle for some

What a beautiful day. The blue of the sky this afternoon is hard to describe. I know I watched it from my hammock and it was very soothing. So I applaud this gentleman on the bike that keeps our skies blue. I put a lot of miles on a bicycle at one time in my life. Damn good exercise and a good way to see things. Of course with the traffic in this area it’s fairly dangerous also. But the thought of it has me thinking I might have to go wander that new bike shop (Race Pace Bicycles) on Bethany Lane.

I think I can smoke that van and bike going up this hill. Photo by Mike Hartley

I think I can smoke that van and bike going up this hill.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Had a wonderful dinner at Portelli’s in Ellicott City on Friday night. It is great to see them thriving and busy. It’s a tough town to sustain a business so when you find one who is standing the test of time, it’s going to be good. Service was great and my in-laws were very happy. My favorite is the first dish below. Was perfect last night.

Seafood Carbonara – sautéed shrimp, scallop & crab with spaghetti tossed in an egg pancetta cream sauce. Photo by Mike Hartley

Seafood Carbonara – sautéed shrimp, scallop & crab with spaghetti tossed in an egg pancetta cream sauce.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Surf & Turf Penne – jumbo shrimp and Filet Mignon tips with arugula & peppadew in a red wine cream sauce, served over penne with sautéed mushrooms. Photo by Mike Hartley

Surf & Turf Penne – jumbo shrimp and Filet Mignon tips with arugula & peppadew in a red wine cream sauce, served over penne with sautéed mushrooms.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Just a Reminder — OK, you have been on the rides down in Ocean City while you were on vacation. You have been to your local county fair. Only one more big one to go. Yep the Maryland State Fair on August 28th to September 7th. This is a special time of year for me because the State Fair was the first date I had with my wife. And despite this she married me anyway. There is no luckier man than I.

The Old coaster on the pier in Ocean City. Photo by Mike Hartley

The Old coaster on the pier in Ocean City.
Photo by Mike Hartley

You have been to the Howard County Fair. Now hit the big rides as the State Fair.

Ride at the Howard County Fair. Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride at the Howard County Fair.
Photo by Mike Hartley


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Sweltering Sunday and a few thoughts

Summer Thoughts on a Sweltering Sunday – Boy do I love the hot summer days. My favorite season of the year. The time when I throw on a pair of gym shorts and flip-flops and I’m fully dressed. The time when I can ride with the car windows open. The time when you can go swimming OUTSIDE. The time when people take vacations. The time when traffic is low because schools are out. The time when a holiday marks the beginning another one square in the middle and one signifying the end of Summer (Memorial, 4th and Labor Day).  The time when you play basketball outside that the ball doesn’t lose its bounce because of the cold. The time when there is color everywhere from nature. The time when fruit is sweeter and fresher. The time when you can sit by a fire pit and not need the warmth of the fire to be outside.

Ready for the water today. Photo by Mike Hartley

Ready for the water today.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I even loved summer before I rode a motorcycle, which also is the favorite season of all cyclist I believe. But my season is quickly coming to an end again. So I had better get away from this electronic device and get my behind outside again.


Selfies – must be a youth thing? – I’m not sure I understand this. Mainly because I guess we never had this option much in the days of old technology. Some advanced cameras had a time delay and if you could find a flat surface to hold them (not everyone carried a tripod), you might get in a group shot. Actually I’m a bit self-conscious doing something like that. Don’t know why, but it doesn’t seem natural. So that is why I said its a youth thing, because it’s not something this old-timer is comfortable with.

A guy doing a family selfie downtown Baltimore. Photo by Mike Hartley

A guy doing a family selfie downtown Baltimore.
Photo by Mike Hartley


Glory Days Grill – Ellicott City – Had a wonderful experience their last night. I was wondering how prepared they would be after just opening recently but who ever has done the training did a good job. Service and food was great. Comfortable booths and good views to many TV’s. I opted to just not do the sound in the both to a specific event because I enjoy talking with my other half. Well most of the time. Except when she is really mad. But I digress. I’ve had two different burgers here and they have been top-notch. Cooked to order and delivered as ordered. The Blue Cheese and grilled onion burger last night was great. Fried pickles were good also. My wife had the Shrimp taco which she also enjoyed very much. Looks like we will be back.


Random Thoughts for Sunday August 16th 2015

  • A lot of my tough times have taught me great things.
  • I have been blessed with wonderful parents. And also again with wonderful parent in-laws.
  • Today I’m cancer free. Tomorrow they will tell me if that is still true.
  • I believe in making my office a place for personal comfort. That is why I fill it with photos everywhere.
  • I’m no longer taking responsibility for others at work. See, there is one way to get rid of stress.


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Hump Day – feeling peachy

Actually I’ve lost track of days of the week, being off and pretty much home bound for over 2 weeks. But the calendar says it’s Hump Day, so be it. And in some ways it does feel like crossing a hump. The last two days have been the first in weeks that I’ve felt somewhat comfortable in a number of ways. Yesterday I tried driving again. Kind of strange when something you do at a clip of over 100 miles a day easily, to none at all for weeks, I felt a bit rusty. But being a veteran of the Washington/Baltimore madness, it only took a few minutes of orientation. So with that milestone I’m feeling just peachy again. Even though my better half insist on rest and healing.

Feeling just peachy.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Feeling just peachy.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I had a co-pilot on my first drive out, just in case I had any issues, but the drive went fine. So after a good lunch and Snowball, I took the opportunity to get my better half a dozen roses to surprise her with when she got home from work. It’s the least I can do for a wonderful partner in life.

Still can't touch the beauty of my wife.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Still can’t touch the beauty of my wife.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Like I said we went to lunch:

Howard County FoodBare Bones Bar and Grill

My daughter kindly came over to go to lunch with me and run a few errands.  I suggested Bare Bones in St Johns shopping center. Close by and always pretty good quality food and service. And it was a wonderful lunch. I had the Rockfish Fingers with corn fritters and coleslaw. Melissa had the crab pretzel and corn fritters also, and both meals were great. I like their menu because it always offers a good variety. The shrimp salad sandwiches are always spiced to my liking. The cream of crab soup is another one of my favorites.  My wife has always been a fan of the Bare Bones Special Salad. I’ve only tried the BB BBQ burger and Chili Burgers but both were great. Also the BBQ Pork and NY Strip steak sandwiches were tops.

The salmon, crab cakes and ribs have passed before me many times. But I just realized I’ve never tried a steak here. Well, we will have to make sure that it taken care of this year. And I already see the one I want. The Brewmiester Steak. Guess I’ll have to take the family next time to have my Son and Son in-law do a beer sampling/review. I’ve always enjoyed taking our parents and kids there so it covers the range of needs. And I’m guessing everyone knows about the bar side because that place always seems to be hoping whenever we go in.

Random thoughts for Wednesday July 8th, 2015

  • It seems like every commercial during the day is trying to take advantage of some older person for final arrangements or some kind of medical coverage. For middle-aged people we have the accident chasers or medical malpractice. And for the youth the promise of a great job through this or that online school.
  • It is better to be able to appreciate things in life, than have adversity set you back to make sure you have the proper perspective and respect for everything.
  • It was nice to pick up my camera again to FOCUS on an image instead of the pain and recovery issues. Even those will be there a while. I now have the ability and desire to shoot again.
  • I’m writing again. YES – lets see if I can sustain it again.


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Manic Monday

Sometimes my mind feels like these wild onions on Mondays. But I never know which one I will get. The one in focus and electric in the foreground or the unfocused and fuzzy one in the background. Actually cancer gives you a bit of both each day. It helps you sort out what is important in life and focus on those things. But at the same time it defused everything else. Time becomes kind of twisted. You have trouble focusing on the task at hand. Sleep becomes erratic. The mind is like an overtaxed race engine running at peak rpm in a race that doesn’t end until everyone collapses in exhaustion.

A wild onion and his friends. Photo by Mike Hartley

A wild onion and his friends.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The thing that I have noticed in this round of cancer is that I find it affecting my patience more. I used to try to find a middle ground in situations but now I find myself standing at the extremes at times. And I don’t care to be there because I don’t consider myself indifferent or aggressive.

And while I couldn’t be more impressed with the state of medical technology/knowledge/experience and all the treatments that are offered, I have learned that each one of us is like our own individual medical library or more precise “Experiment”. For each of us are so unique and the possibility of infinite variables even in the “known” areas is staggering.

I marvel at the skill and knowledge and constant progression a medical career takes. It makes me think of the dedication it takes to keep treating each patient as an individual and not as a number on an assembly line.

But what I marvel at is there is NO certainty that anything you have done medically is completely effective or without many risk. You learn those things clearly when you go through “the process.” You know, I think that needs to go in the book as one of the top things that can happen in life. For someone to go through LIFE and skip “The Process.”

Howard County FOOD – 

We have been eating at The Canopy the last few decades and have always enjoyed it very much. Well technically we don’t eat at the Canopy because its pretty much a carry out, but you get the drift. I’ve sampled just about every menu item they offer and its all very good. Of course I’m a fan of the pit beef but I also have favorites in the pit ham, baby back ribs and beef ends in BBQ sauce. And of course the Ocean FRIES. I always order my fries “crispy.”  The coal slaw is great. Oh yeah, try the wings and potato salad.

About the only thing I haven’t had there is the crab soup. And I think I’ll remedy that next week. But if you want the cream of crab, that is only on Friday and Saturday’s.

The Canopy  Photo by Mike Hartley

The Canopy
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random thoughts for Monday June 15th.

  • Don’t ever forget to tell your family and friends how much you love them. That would be a horrible regret to have at the end if you miss the opportunity.
  • You don’t learn by walking away from problems.
  • While it’s always nice to look ahead and think about all the change and wonder in the future, I prefer to live in the here and now.
  • Now that I’ve worked 5 decades I’m left wondering what the hell these management schools are teaching people?
  • Driving is very fun. Driving to DC is not fun.

Another slide from my parents below. I believe it was dated 1953.

Lady Liberty Photo property of Threw Mikes Eyez

Lady Liberty
Photo property of Threw Mikes Eyez


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A Mary (crab) land, or is it?

I love this great state of Maryland. One of its wonderful resources is the Maryland Blue Crab. I love them. I like to catch them, I love to eat them and eat them and eat them. So therefore I am part of the problem and solution I guess.

Actually I had just intended to post a picture of some crab balls we made recently at a friend’s home. That was to go along with the rockfish we caught that day. I’d love to go on and on about the different styles and techniques of cooking or using crab in many types of dishes but I think I’ll take the opportunity to remind us all that mother nature isn’t attuned to the supply and demand needs and nor is the general public good at adapting to mother natures change.

Maryland Crab  Photo by Mike Hartley

Maryland Crab
Photo by Mike Hartley

What triggered this though was the report from Mitch at Exploratorius. This got me thinking about the responsibility we all have in helping nature along because it for most part is our food supply. Yeah you can set catch limits. But what accounts for people poaching or kills from run off and pesticides. Then there is industry and the number of people the region can support threatening the bay all the time.

So while I will eat my favorite crustacean, I will be mindful that I may have to decrease my intake in coming years. Prices alone may take care of that. And hats off to Mitch for making us aware of this issue. And lets hope that it’s a great season coming up and its our science of measurement that needs improving. But I don’t think so unfortunately.


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Food – Catonsville Gourmet

Good meal, good friends, freezing temps. Well restaurants can’t control the weather outside or the friends you have but they certainly have the reigns for the food. And Catonsville Gourmet does a great job. Both the service and food are very good and it seems to be evident with the crowds that were there.

The place was hoping and they were slinging the food. The wait and kitchen staff seem to be like a well oiled machine. I’ve had both seafood and steaks here and you won’t go wrong with either but I would suggest the seafood because of all the specials they have and various ways, styles, sauces you can combine. The seafood itself is wonderful and whomever is picking it or the place that they get it from is doing a great job. The BBQ bacon wrapped shrimp skewers was a great start. The Grouper St Martin entrée was one of the best I’ve had ever. And I’ve eaten a lot of fresh caught Grouper fishing in Florida so I know the freshness, preparation and style was perfect.

Desert was an Amaretto/Raspberry cake which was also the tops. This was our 4th visit there and each time I very impressed and I keep having meals that top the last time which is hard to do being I’m very pleased each time I leave. Trying new things always comes out great.

I have to mention the service again. Very knowledgeable, very attentive and very good at keeping you posted on progress and checking on the quality of each dish. Refills were always coming before I even gave it a thought.

To me the place has a homey feel. It can be a little loud when packed. I thought it was great they had a space heater right near the front glass windows when the temps were in the teens and it would have been difficult to keep the temperature balanced for all people but that was a good touch. I didn’t even notice it till we were ready to leave.

I’ll certainly be returning.

 

Tips.

  • Call ahead seating (30 minutes) take advantage of it.
  • Parking can be tight. There is a thin alleyway on the side and a good number of spaces right behind the building. It can be tight if you have a big vehicle.
  • You won’t feel rushed. There can be a wait, they are getting more and more popular.
  • You have to BYOB. Liquor store right across the street in case you forget.
  • They have a great number of oysters and ways of preparing so if you like them, get them.
  • Try the seafood.
  • Good list of specials each day.
  • Save room for deserts. Get up out of your seat and walk back to the case they have some of the cakes/pies and other treats in. Can you say Sugar Bakers Bakery and Smith Island cakes? They can.
  • Oh. almost forgot the great start – the bread is excellent.
  • Enjoy please.

 

 


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Howard County Maryland

Some times you just got to eat right and spend a day with your best friends and watch the big game and you know the rest. And that is what I did yesterday. And here is the proof below in the photos of the food we cooked up before the game. This put a serious crimp in my plans to do some night shots on the way home from the game.

But just to maintain the true spirit of the Post. I’ve included a few reflections shots of one of my favorite Italian Restaurants Portalli’s in downtown Ellicott City from a warm summer day in mid August this past year.

Front windows of Portalli's

Front windows of Portalli’s
Photo by Mike Hartley
© Threw Mikes Eyez

Front windows of Portalli's

Front windows of Portalli’s
Photo by Mike Hartley
© Threw Mikes Eyez

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Seasoned Fish

Seasoned Fish
Photo by Mike Hartley
© Threw Mikes Eyez

Seasoned Lobster

Seasoned Lobster
Photo by Mike Hartley
© Threw Mikes Eyez

Brisket. Forgot how many hours (est 12hrs) it was smoked

Brisket. Forgot how many hours (est 12hrs) it was smoked
Photo by Mike Hartley
© Threw Mikes Eyez

Seasoned Shrimp

Seasoned Shrimp
Photo by Mike Hartley
© Threw Mikes Eyez

Seasoned Scallops

Seasoned Scallops
Photo by Mike Hartley
© Threw Mikes Eyez

The Corn is a simmering

The Corn is a simmering
Photo by Mike Hartley
© Threw Mikes Eyez

Muscles, Clams, Mahi Mahi, Cod, Rockfish, Shrimp, Lobster, Scallops

Muscles, Clams, Mahi Mahi, Cod, Rockfish, Shrimp, Lobster, Scallops
Photo by Mike Hartley
© Threw Mikes Eyez

Muscles, Clams, Mahi Mahi, Cod, Rockfish, Shrimp, Lobster, Scallops

Muscles, Clams, Mahi Mahi, Cod, Rockfish, Shrimp, Lobster, Scallops
Photo by Mike Hartley
© Threw Mikes Eyez

Chili and gumbo pot starting

Chili and gumbo pot starting
Photo by Mike Hartley
© Threw Mikes Eyez