As I was leaving Lexington Sunday night, there was a beautiful rainbow spread across the city after the rather nasty electrical storm we had. I snapped a couple of pictures of it.
I also took a couple of pictures of myself in my new shades. It's kinda funny cos I think the kid in the van beside me saw me taking the pictures and was making faces. There's also a zillion new pictures of my wonderful cat, and some pretty photos of lilypads in a lake in Ohio.
My trip to Rhode Island went as such: Lexington- Cannonsburg, KY (sleep), onto Carlisle, PA (nap), onto Totowa, NJ (nap), onto Richmond, RI where I had my first delivery of the morning. Ah, those northeastern accents. I made three stops in Rhode Island then headed on up into Massachusetts.
This evening, I got into Dartmouth, MA around 5pm. It was too late to unload cabinets so it would have to wait until morning. I chatted with the security guard who was on his way out and asked for suggestions for seafood. I love seafood and there's no better place to get it than when you're on the coast I've generally found. He suggested I drive on down to New Bedford and try Davy's Locker on the waterfront. This sounded excellent to me, so I dropped my trailer and bobtailed down the highway a few miles to New Bedford. New Bedford is a decent sized city on the south coast of Massachusetts. If you're looking at a map of the state, it kinda sits in the "heel" of the boot created by Cape Cod. It's a town full of those New England-y three and four story houses with wood shingles or painted bright yellow. They have the second story porches or the bay windows, one on each floor in succession making up the corner of the house. Kinda like the old Victorian homes, but smaller. Bah, it's hard to describe, you just know it when you see it. I followed the directions the guard had given me and soon found myself driving through the blast doors of the wave breaker which protects the city during hurricanes I presume. Beyond this breaker is the public beach, a couple of neighborhoods (the poor fools, I wonder what land values are outside the breakers?), the UMass at Dartmouth Marine Campus, various boat ramps and wharfs. This area is a small bay that is part of the much larger Buzzards Bay, so the waters are calm and lap quietly against the shore. No crashing waves and surf. Bummer.
I finally find the restaurant Davy's Locker. It happens to be located right next to the auto/passenger ferry which services Martha's Vineyard. My immediate thought is, I bet they have some really nice restaurants over there and inquire about the ferry at the ticket counter. Alas, the ferry only runs three times daily, basically the two rush hours and the lunch hour. Dejected, I walk over to the restaurant. It's a nice place with picture windows side-by-side and floor-to-ceiling on the two walls which faces the water.
I should state for the record that I worked in the restaurant industry, in both full service and quick service in various positions and responsibilities, including general manager. This was my vocation for 15 years before trucking. So, please understand that I tend to be at the same time, incredibly forgiving and yet the worst critic at the same time when I eat out. The simple human errors like a botched order or a misprepared drink that many people get all bent out of shape about doesn't phase me, so long as it is corrected gracefully and it doesn't happen throughout the course of the meal. At that point it becomes clear that it is a simple case of ineptitude, either on the part of the waiter, the cook, the bartender, or the management which oversees any of them. Aside from service, the quality of the food should at least meet the lowest expectations you have from the moment you hit the door. When you go to McDonald's, you know what you're getting for 3 bucks. At $15-$20 per entree, you have certain expectations as well.
I was immediately impressed with the menu which stated first off that all of the seafood was delivered daily from the "local catch" of area fisherman. So I knew the seafood would be fresh. This is why I love to eat on the coast, it's something you just can't get once you get a few hundred miles inland. Sure there are freshwater delicacies to be had, but there's nothing like saltwater shellfish, which is the main reason I enjoy seafood. My waiter was pleasant enough, but it was obvious that he was the shy type. He didn't have the gift-of-gab which makes an excellent waiter, however, he didn't even have much self-confidence speaking to me or any of his customers. He frequently tripped over his own words. But that's ok, maybe he'd only been doing it a week or so. Most of the wait staff appeared to be college-age kids, probably working part time while studying whales and seaweed, or whatever it is they do down at the Marine Campus. I was wishing the young lady in the next section was waiting on me, not for her skills so much as the tiny black mini-skirt she had every right to be wearing.
But back to the menu. While my waiter fetched my glass of water, I delved further into the menu. I was kind of disappointed with the appetizer selections. I mean they had the standards: fried everything, crab cakes, things stuffed with the crab meat used to make the crab cakes, oysters on the half shell, clam chowder, and french onion soup. I had hoped for something a little more interesting in the soup choices. I'm a big lover of soup and I love clam chowder as much as the next guy, but lobster/clam bisque is good every now and then, too. I guess I was just in the mood for bisque tonight. I took the chowder and while the mushrooms stuffed with crab meat was somewhat enticing I opted for the fresh oysters. That is something you just don't get to do very often - caught-that-day- oysters on the half shell. I decided on the seafood linguine for the entree. My waiter returned with my water and bread and I placed my order.
In this day and age of politically correct diets, one of life's simple pleasures is getting served real butter. So this was a good thing, not to mention, they thoughtfully had let it warm up slightly so that the pats were soft for spreading. Their rolls, though, left much to be desired. I think they were the frozen, bake and serve variety. My waiter returned very shortly with my soup and appetizer - the instant advantage of ordering soup and something raw, it's received expeditiously. The oysters were absolutely incredible, I should have just made a meal of them. The chowder was rather ho-hum. I've had worse, but I've certainly had better.
When the main course arrived I was beginning to wish I had paid more attention to the menu. Anyone who knows the slightest little bit about me knows these things: I'm perpetually horny, I love rock and roll music, and I'm nuts about pasta - more or less in that order of importance. What you may not know is that I'm not a huge fan of alfredo sauce. I can eat it, but I'm more of a oil and vinegar or a marinara sorta guy. I don't like cream in my coffee and I don't like it in my pasta. I must've somehow just overlooked this morsel of information while getting excited about the thought of clams, mussels, scallops, and shrimp over linguine. I can eat alfredo sauce, so it wasn't a huge deal, but at least it could've been good alfredo sauce. Uggh, at least the seafood was good. Scallops big as half-dollars and the mussels and clams were baked whole, just slightly popping open in the process so I could get at the goodies inside. The shrimp was a little, mmm, grainier than I would've liked. I don't know if this is the result of overcooking or maybe just a property of the local shrimp population, but it didn't have that plump, almost elsatic-but-not-quite texture to it. "Grainy" is the only way I can think to describe it.
Under any other circumstances, this meal would've been acceptable, but I guess I had higher expectations of a place on the waterfront in New England where the cheapest entree was 12 bucks. Don't get me wrong, there are certainly more expensive places to eat in the world and I guess for fresh seafood that ain't so bad of a price. But I've had better seafood meals in Lexington than I did tonight.
After dinner I stepped outside and smoked. I walked down to the pier where there were two boys who I deduced to be of Portuguese descent fishing from the seats of their BMX bikes. Why Portugese do you ask? Well apparently Massachusetts has a large Portuguese population. Today I saw no less than 4 different American-Portuguese restaurants and the table tent in the restaurant boasted having 5 different wines of Portugal. Who knew? I sure didn't. The kids apparently were just beginning to leave and asked me not to take their fish as they rode down the pier toward the street. When I got to the end of th pier, which jutted maybe 500 feet out into the bay, I saw 4 scrawny fish lying on the deck. I looked back and the boys were yelling for someone then took off up the street on their bikes. Maybe they were planning to come back for them, I dunno. I stood on the end of the pier and finished smoking my cigarette then drove the truck back to my trailer.
Turned out to be a rather crummy evening. Tomorrow I'll actually be out on Cape Cod with my last two deliveries. I'm kinda hoping that whatever my backhaul is will give me a somewhat loose schedule. Plymouth Rock is just up the coast toward Boston and that would be a cooler place to visit than the heel of Cape Cod.