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Category Archives: dining

Dining Dilemma

Why is it that as soon as you make up your mind to save some money, the only thing that sounds good for dinner is take-out?

As I write this (using ballpoint pen and a spiral notebook) (I’ll type it into my computer later, if this turns out to be usable) (and I guess it did; always feel so time-warpy when I write these things), I am sitting in the laundromat watching my laundry tumble and getting hungry. I certainly do not have the energy to go home and fix something worthy of a cooking post. I question if I even have the wherewithal to manage scrambled eggs or grilled cheese. A raw cheese sandwich? Can’t face it.

In the meantime, I have a blog post to write and I’m too hungry to think about anything beyond how hungry I am. Before I started writing this, I felt my brain was so fuzzy from lack of nourishment that I would not be able to write anything at all. Proved myself wrong on that one. I daresay I’m wrong about not being able to fix anything to eat. I could probably go home, pull out a frying pan and whip up something grand. Then I could write a blog post about it. I am da woman!

Or is that just a hunger-induced delusion?

There are a number of very find dining establishments handily located relative to where I am now. In fact, we can look out the window at one of them and get the phone number to order ahead on my cell phone. We don’t have a menu, but I happen to know they have delicious garlic wings and antipasto salad. Will we succumb to temptation? Tune in tomorrow to find out.

Just kidding, I won’t make you wait (as if the issue was even in doubt to begin with). While I was writing the previous paragraph, Steven made the call to Sorrento’s. Hurry up, laundry!

A Classy Dinner

Steven and I used to eat dinner out more frequently, often so that I would have a topic for a blog post. Unfortunately, we have fallen out of the habit. I think the last time we went was over a month ago, for Steven’s birthday. When our friend, Tracy, visited last weekend, I thought it might be time to go out again.

We decided to go to the Herkimer Elks Lodge, where they serve dinner on Friday nights. As I told Tracy, I think it used to be a Friday Fish Fry, but now it is — no offense to all you real fish fries — classier. The food is by Dominick Scalise of Dominick’s Deli and there is a pretty good menu to pick from.

We found a good parking space right on Mary Street. I didn’t notice if the parking lot was completely full, but it may well have been. These dinners are popular. On the way in Steven purchased tickets for a raffle they were holding.

We were taken right to a table and given menus to peruse. I went into the bar to get a glass of wine. That is another good thing about eating at the Elks, good drink prices. The bartender even let me sample a little of the Riesling, to make sure it was dry enough for me (it was).

Tracy ordered salmon, which looked delicious. I chose baked haddock, which was quite tasty. Under no Catholic obligation to avoid meat, Steven had pork chops, his favorite. The service was great and the food was yummy.

We greatly enjoyed our evening out, and even took home leftovers (so I got to try the pork chops — excellent). The Elks Lodge is located at 124 Mary St., Herkimer, NY. Phone number is 315-866-1439.

Steve’s Birthday Dinner

As part of Steven’s Birthday Weekend, we enjoyed dinner out at PK’s Pub in Herkimer, NY. I’ve given PK’s shout-outs before, but I always like to give another, because it is always a good time and a great meal.

We arrived shortly after 4:30. Pete escorted us to the room with the fireplace. We chose a table by the window. I debated what kind of wine to order, because I wasn’t sure yet what I wanted for food. Then again, I am not that knowledgeable about food and wine pairings. I don’t think my palate is sophisticated enough to notice a less than ideal combination. I finally settled on Cabernet Sauvignon. Steven had Merlot.

For food I got Chicken Riggies while Steven chose Chicken Marsala. Yes, we both had red wine with chicken. Wasn’t that bold of us? I said I don’t know much about wine and food, but I know the most basic rule of white wine with chicken, red wine with beef. Perhaps real oenophiles are horrified (I don’t even know how to pronounce oenophile), but I thought it tasted pretty good.

I did not eat all my entree, because I was saving room for dessert. That worked out pretty well, because I was able to heat up the leftovers as part of our dinner on Tuesday, when I was tired.

Desserts are always a highlight at PKs. I got chocolate chip cheesecake. I completely cannot remember what Steven’s dessert was called. I know, if I was a real blogger, I would have made a note of it at the time. Let’s not open that can of worms. It was a kind of cream pie with chocolate and nuts and other stuff. I know it was yummy, because he nicely gave me a bite.

PK’s Pub is located at 221 King St. in Herkimer, phone (315) 866-3494. They are open Tues. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. 4:30 to 9 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday. You can Like them on Facebook. I did.

The Meal Before the Storm

I believe I mentioned that the reason I did not make my blog post prior to Wednesday’s storm was that we went to dinner at Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner in Herkimer, NY. Today I thought I’d give a shout out to that fine establishment.

Steven and I are well known fans of Crazy Otto’s. In fact, the cast of Dirty Work at the Crossroads, the play Steven recently directed at Ilion Little Theatre, had given him a gift certificate as a closing night present. For anyone saying, “Waaait a minute,” yes, I was in that cast, yes, I chipped in for the certificate, and yes, I benefited from it. These things happen sometimes in community theatre.

For anybody who missed my numerous previous posts about Crazy Otto’s, it is an authentic old diner in an authentic old trailer. As Empire Diner it has been around for years. Crazy Otto took it over and added his name fairly recently. You can read all about the history of Crazy Otto’s and the Diner Wizard on their menu or their website,

They’ve restored the trailer without losing any of the old-time diner atmosphere. The decor makes for a lot of interest while you’re dining. The walls and ceilings are covered with movie posters, old-time advertisements, movie star pictures and license plates from around the country. As usual we located our Georgia plate, which we gave them a couple of years ago (how the time flies). The tables were new since we’d last been there, bright red with advertisements of local businesses.

Steven ordered a club sandwich with french fries while I got a grilled chicken on sourdough with chips. I had forgotten they were homemade chips. Yummy! It was a delicious meal.

I looked over a card with fancy desserts pictured, but we really had not saved room. I suggested we return at a later date, perhaps midway through an afternoon, for just desserts (that’s one of my favorite expressions).

It poured rain while we were eating, but seemed to have stopped by the time we left. Who knew that it was merely the prelude to the big storm which my two previous posts were about. Steven later found out via Facebook that Crazy Otto’s was without power for a while. He commented that we had eaten just in time.

Crazy Otto’s is located at 100 W. Albany St., Herkimer, NY. Phone number 315-866-8801. You can also like them on Facebook.

PK’s Saves the Evening

Sometimes things just work out.

Yesterday after work I went to Curves for the first time in a week (as regular readers know, I gave blood on Friday then got sick) (in case anybody is worried, I called the 800 number and warned Red Cross my blood might be bad). Oh, I was glad I went. I’m still not feeling 100 percent, but it felt good to sweat. I went home stinky but happy.

Steven met me at the door (Tabby had run out the door, met me at my vehicle and was running up and down the backyard, sharing her joy with the neighborhood).

“We have no power,” Steven said. Oh dear.

It was not dark yet, but it was a gloomy, rainy day, so it was not easy to see things in the house. Steven had not called National Grid (still want to call them NiMo), because the phone was not working without electricity (which is odd, because I remember, many years ago, the lights being out but still being able to make phone calls). Luckily I had my cell.

We groped around with the aid of our one flashlight till we found the number on our bill (which we DID pay, so that is NOT the solution to why the lights were out, anybody who was thinking that) (you know who you are). While Steven made his frustrating way though the automated line I wondered what to do. Too dark to read the paper. Bad idea to stand in front of the open fridge and look for something to snack on. Couldn’t even heat some coffee on our gas stove, because it has electric ignition.

At last Steven reported that crews were on the job, estimated time of restoration: seven o’clock.

“It’s not even five!” I said, wondering if they had estimated conservatively to be on the safe side or optimistically to soothe irate customers (which obviously would not work in the long run, but I would not necessarily expect a big company to think about that).

Luckily the hot water was working (I mentioned I was stinky, didn’t I?). I suggested I shower and we go out and get something to eat. We had to eat in any case, and this would pass the time while the power got fixed. I regretted that we couldn’t take Tabby, but I figured she could just nap in the dark while we were gone. Dogs are more easily entertained than I am.

I had actually been thinking about PK’s Pub earlier in the day and wondering when I would have the opportunity to dine there again. It really seemed too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Steven pointed out all the lucky houses that still had power as we drove to King Street. I was relieved, because if PK’s was out of power too the whole thing came to a grinding halt.

We were able to get my favorite tall table near the bar. I do love to sit at a tall table. We told the bartender our sad tale that had brought us there.

“Sounds like it worked out for you,” she observed.

I had to admit that was true. It was a lovely dinner. I tried the Chipotle Ravioli. Quite unusual and very tasty. Steven had the grilled chicken platter. The vegetables were done to perfection, he said. He got an Almond Joy pie for dessert. I virtuously refrained from ordering a dessert, then ruined it by having another glass of wine when the bartender asked me did I want one. Then the waitress brought two spoons (I MIGHT have suggested that she do so), so I was really not very virtuous at all. In my defense, the desserts at PK’s Pub are out of this world. They are all homemade and often highly unusual.

We left shortly before seven. The bartender said, “If the power’s still not on, come on back. We have plenty of wine!”

The lights were on, however, so such drastic action was not necessary. I almost feel I ought to thank National Grid. It was a most serendipitous outage.

PK’s Pub is located at 221 King St., Herkimer, NY. Phone number 315-866-3494. You can also Like them on Facebook.

Where’s the Beef? At Church

I was delighted to see Christ Episcopal Church’s Annual Roast Beef Dinner scheduled for last Saturday. Steven worked till six, and the dinner ran till seven. We would be fashionably late but not unreasonably so.

When Steven and I have someplace to go after he gets off work, I try to meet him outside the house. That way he doesn’t come inside, get Tabby all excited, then leave. It just seems a mean thing to do to a cute little dog. I mean, she is SO happy when we’re both home; I hate to see it come crashing down. I suppose I am getting sentimental in my old age or super-sensitive or something (we’ll call that my Monday Middle-aged Musing for the week).

It was cold on Saturday. I stood at the end of the driveway watching approaching headlights and cursing the ones that weren’t Steven. All I could think of was that Vicki Carr song: “It must be him! It must be him!” At last it was.

There were a few empty tables at the dinner, most of them dirty. A lady quickly cleaned one for us. I always observe that we get top notch service at these dinners.

I got roast beef and mashed potatoes, which I covered in gravy, but I declined the squash and peas. I love being an adult and not having to eat vegetables I don’t like. I know, the younger generation can’t really identify with that, because it has gone out of fashion to make kids clean their plates (oh, nobody needs to tell me why this is psychologically and nutritionally a good idea; I was just making an observation) (or was that another Middle-aged Musing?).

I saw one little boy mowing down a big plate covered with peas and nothing else. I was impressed.

The food was delicious, as you probably expected. I especially enjoyed the roll with real butter. For dessert I dithered for a while between cheesecake and a chocolate pudding cake. I finally decided on the cheesecake. Steven made it to the dessert table a few minutes after me (he took longer because he ate his vegetables). Guess which he picked. So I got to try them both.

While we ate we were highly entertained by the toddler son of a couple of parishioners. He was playing with a roll of tape about four or five inches in diameter. He would roll it down the floor and cheer about how far it went. I could go on for a bit about high tech toys all the kids seem to want, but let’s have no more Middle-aged Musings today.

Before we left we put in for the various items they were raffling: a poinsettia with scratch-off lottery tickets and a couple of stockings with goodies. We chatted with the lady at the table about donating the 50/50 back if we won, which we have known people to do. It did not arise Saturday, though, because we did not win.

That was really no matter. We had enjoyed an excellent dinner. I’ve never personally roasted a beef in my life. I may try. Or I may just wait for the next church dinner.

Return to PK’s

Some weeks ago our friend Tracy was supposed to visit us, and we intended to introduce her to PK’s Pub. She was unable to make it, so we went without her. I wrote a blog post about it. Recently Tracy did visit us and we went to PK’s. I see no reason not to give them another shout out.

My friend Pete was not behind the bar this time, but I met up with him later when I had to visit the ladies room. He and two other guys were in it, checking on something or fixing something (I think).

“You gents visit the ladies room often?” I asked.

“All the time,” one of the guys assured me.

“It is the happening place,” I agreed.

I had been going to order Hats and Broccoli, which Steven had last time, but changed my mind and got the Chicken Riggies. Spicy! Steven got a dish with pesto and chicken, and Tracy had something involving pork, mashed potatoes and mushrooms. I foolishly did not make a note of the name of what Tracy had, but I bet I’ll be able to figure it out and order it myself when I go back there.

We all enjoyed the salads before dinner, remarking that they are more substantial than the salads some places serve. I especially enjoy the garbanzo beans, and what I really love is the herbed butter that comes with the rolls.

When the waitress asked us were we all set, I was about to ask for the check when Tracy spoke up and asked about desserts. Well, I couldn’t let her eat dessert alone, could I? We all three had a chocolate ice cream cake that was heavenly.

It was a great meal with great service. Steven and I will not wait till the next time Tracy visits to return to PK’s Pub. They are located at 221 King St., Herkimer, NY 13350, phone number 315-866-3494. Hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 4:30 to 10 p.m.

Crazy Dinner

Wednesday evening Steven and I had some shopping to do, so I suggested we grab a bite at Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner, 100 W. Albany St., Herkimer, NY.

I know I have written about eating breakfast there on several occasions, but we don’t often get there for dinner. I thought it was definitely worth a post.

I was a little afraid the whole thing would come to a grinding halt by our finding out that Crazy Otto’s was only open for dinner on the weekends, but we were in luck: Wednesday through Saturday they are open till nine.

Once seated in a booth, a nice young man offered to start us off with a beverage (decaf coffee for me, regular for Steven), and we perused the menu. I already knew what I wanted. I had, in fact, suggested Crazy Otto’s specifically to order the Patty Platter: a burger sans bun served with cottage cheese on a bed of lettuce and tomato on the side. Perfect for my weight loss goals and perfectly tasty as well. Steven ordered a Patty Melt, one of his favorites, with french fries. That comes with a small cup of bread pudding, so he enjoyed a dessert as well.

The diner was not crowded, as it usually is when we make it there for breakfast, especially on the weekend. I enjoy to sit in a booth and look out on the main drag of Herkimer. I could see the top of the old warehouse that holds Fat Cat’s Fish Fry (must make it there for a blog post one day), Dollar General, Mavis Tires and Cole Muffler.

Our waiter kept us well supplied with coffee as we enjoyed our repast. I especially liked the tomato, fancily sliced and quite fresh and flavorful. I wondered if it was local, but foolishly forgot to ask.

I highly recommend Crazy Otto’s for any meal of the day. For more information you can call them at 315-866-8801, or you can Like them on Facebook.

A Popular Spot

Tuesday Steven and I had planned to have dinner out with a visiting friend. We thought we would take her to PK’s Pub here in Herkimer, since she had never been there before. When circumstances kept her from joining us, we saw no reason not to enjoy a dinner out ourselves. For one thing, I had already put on my nice skirt and pantyhose.

As usual, we had to search for a parking space.

“On a Tuesday night,” I marveled. “This must be the most popular spot in town!”

I knew they had found us a table on busy nights before, so I wasn’t too worried. Pete, behind the bar, invited us to sit wherever we liked. I picked the tall table in the bar area. I do love a tall table.

“And I can hang my coat on the back of the chair without it being half on the floor,” I showed Steven. It was my long teal raincoat. I had gotten a little dressed up for the occasion.

After much debate Steven ordered hats and broccoli while I got ravioli. Italian dressing on my salad, ranch on Steven’s. Both dinners came with roll and butter and what yummy butter! Steven wanted to eat the rest of it with a spoon but refrained from such behavior.

“You can bring the leftovers in to feed the woodchucks,” Pete said.

“I think I’ll eat it all myself,” I said. I intended to. The food at PK’s is delicious.

I should perhaps explain about the woodchucks. Pete works at the same place I do. He works near a door to the outside that is often open. He likes to feed some woodchucks that live nearby. When work takes me near Pete’s area, I always look for his pets. I like to see a little nature while at work.

Steven and I were not able to finish our meals so asked for boxes.

“But don’t tell Pete,” I warned the waitress. “Because I’m not bringing them in to feed the woodchucks.”

“I think he heard you,” Steven said.

I told Pete I would bring in something else for his pets.

“They like chocolate chip cookies,” he suggested.

It was a very enjoyable dinner. I hope our friend is able to visit us soon, so we will have an unassailable excuse to return.

PK’s is located at 221 King St., Herkimer, NY. Phone 315-866-3494. They are open Monday though Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 4:30 to 10 p.m.

Note to self: buy chocolate chip cookies for the woodchucks. Then again, maybe I should bring them carrot sticks and not contribute to the woodchuck obesity problem.

Steven’s Yummy Reward

It’s been a while since I plugged a local business. At least, I haven’t gone back and looked. I may do that before I type this in, but as I write this (in my notebook while at work)(on a break, of course)(oh, and a spiral-bound paper notebook, not a confusingly named computer) Where was I? Mid-sentence, but now I’ve lost track of the thought, so let’s get on with my post about Salvatore’s.

Wednesday Steven did some major yard work and deserved a reward, and I wanted a blog post, so I suggested we go out for dinner. I asked Steven where he would like to go for his reward. He wanted me to decide. Some reward: not to have to decide. Finally we settled on Salvatore’s in Herkimer.

Salvatore’s is one of our favorite places to order delivery from. They are prompt and friendly, and the food is delicious. But sometimes I like to go someplace, sit down and have somebody bring me food. And know that they will do the dishes afterward. Of course this was Steven’s reward, not mine, but Steven likes those things, too.

When we arrived at Salvatore’s, some people were sitting at one of the outdoor tables. We opted to go into the dining room. The decor is lovely. I especially admired a wall hanging that was kind of a sculpture of a vase of flowers, with metal and glass. One wall was a mural of Italian countryside. At least, it looked Italian to me.

We both ordered chicken wrap sandwiches with pasta salad, bacon ranch for Steven, Caesar for me. They were quite yummy and plenty big enough to take leftovers home. The price was reasonable, too. We tipped our server more than 20%, because we thought she was worth more than 20% would have been.

It seems Salvatore’s does a larger take out than dine in business. Not many people were enjoying the dining room, but we saw folks coming in to pick up orders and heard the phone ring frequently. Perhaps it depends on the night.

I highly recommend Salvatore’s, for delivery, take out or dine in (at least, we’ve never done take out, but it would be odd for that not to be as good). It’s a good reward, if you’ve been working in the yard. They are located at 650 1/2 W. German in Herkimer, NY, phone 315-866-2600. If you “Like” them on Facebook, you will be enticed nightly with a listing of their specials.

As a final note: I did look back, and I have been plugging a local business about once per week. So I have at least maintained my average. Phew!