THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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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