2 Points – New restaurant: BENEDICTS

We are always excited about breakfast, with eggs benedict dishes being particularly appealing. So Benedict’s Restaurant seemed like a natural choice for us. While their menu is especially descriptive and tempting (kudos to their Marketing person), sadly the dishes didn’t quite live up to their billing. For example, Baconberry Benedict sounded different and yummy, but tasted like ordinary eggs benedict to Barbara. And the Brooklyn Benedict did nothing to remind Laura of growing up with New York pastrami and potato pancakes. We’re not saying it was a bad restaurant; it just set our hopes up a bit too high.

2 pointsNew restaurant: BULLA GASTROBAR

Laura: While Barbara was off in England, I decided to visit Spain. Well, not quite. But a friend and I did go to Bulla Gastrobar – a fairly new addition to our local restaurant scene and fashioned after famous gastrobars in Spain. (What’s a gastrobar? It’s a combination of a bar and gastronomy, the study of the relationship between culture and food.) I had Lentil Soup with Chorizo to start – and I could have ended there. It was filling and outstanding. The flavors and freshness really hit all the right chords and I was singing its praises to anyone who’d listen. I also had the salmon with baby spinach, chickpeas and lemon cream. It was good but in my opinion took a back seat to the soup. Tasty food, friendly and courteous wait staff and calming atmosphere – I’ll be back!

2 points – BOOKISH TV themes.

If you love books like we do, then you can understand why the thought of checking out TV series that deal with books would be a fun activity. We chose to review three. First up was Being Erica, a Canadian show about Erica Strange, who has an editorial job in publishing. The premise is that she is sent back in time by her therapist to fix decisions in the past that she regrets. The first episode was enjoyable: likeable characters, quotes throughout that added a bit of pizazz, a “life lesson” and curiosity as to what regrets she will tackle next. Of course, we all know from other shows and movies that when you go back in time to change events, one change will trigger other changes and you could wind up affecting major world events. However, her therapist points out that to some degree her life is insignificant so it’s highly unlikely that her “fixes” will alter the course of history. The second show was You, about a stalker who works in a book store and his obsession with a customer. But his stalking was a bit too creepy to get us hooked. Watched two episodes and that was about all we could take. The third and last show was Black Books, a British sitcom about a grumpy owner of a small bookshop who hates customers and would rather they all leave him alone. Surprisingly, it’s a critical success and has a devoted fan base, but we could barely get through the first episode. The canned laughter was horrible – too loud, too often and too inappropriate. So annoying that it ruined any chance that we might have found some parts amusing.


Barbara – BRITISH-ORIGINATED EXPRESSIONS. On my trip to Britain I learned the origin of several expressions, all of which made me happy that I wasn’t born in Britain during the Middle Ages!

Frog in your throat – if someone had a sore throat it was prescribed that they hold a frog and let it spit into their throat to soothe it.

Rule of thumb – a husband could beat his wife but the thing he beat her with could be no wider than his thumb

Saved by the bell – when you got buried, just in case you were still alive, they attached a string to your finger, which was attached to a bell, so if you woke and found yourself in a coffin you could ring the bell and hope someone heard it.

Laura – The BOOGEYMAN. It’s so interesting to me that almost every country has some form of the Boogeyman  – a monster or mystical creature that is used to scare children into behaving as the adults in charge deem proper. The name may change (Sack Man, El Coco, Babau, Butzemann, Div, Babaroga, etc.) and the threat (e.g., being kidnapped or eaten) may vary, but it would be hard to find a child who has not heard of this scary beast. In most cases, it’s the parents who are to blame – telling their child that if they don’t do something (put away your toys, stop fighting, go to sleep), the Boogeyman might come and take them away. Although this threat takes the pressure off the parents as the “bad guys,” it’s really laying the groundwork of mistrust and not instilling good habits. Plus, it just doesn’t seem right to prey on the vulnerability of children. Although I don’t remember being threatened with the Boogeyman as a child, I do remember that the vision of such a creature was in my head. There was a movie that Barbara and I both watched as kids that had a monster/Boogeyman figure sail off unharmed at the end of the movie and we both felt in our hearts that the Boogeyman was sailing towards our house now and we better take cover! To wish that no one would use the Boogeyman as a scare tactic to change behavior may be honorable, but I’m afraid (not literally) that will never happen since fear is still one of the most effective motivators out there.

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