Sunday, September 16, 2007

Get Out Mailbag September 15

Dear Get Out!

This email is to both to compliment you on your Fort Grounds story in this morning's paper, and to see if you have any "charmingly grungy" places to recommend. They are definitely on the endangered species list. Much to my sadness. For my sensibilities, the Fort Grounds has been ruined. I've had the same chirpy servers that ignored me just like you did.

My neighbor Fred McMurray (a solid member of the old IHM crowd) and I used to go to breakfast at the Fort Grounds about every month or two. We were holding meetings of the "Fred and George Literary Society." A very exclusive club. Only two members. We both read all the time, so we would discuss our latest books. As you know, the Gray family owned the Grounds forever. Mary would always come out of the kitchen and shoot the shit with us for a while. All the Grays were solid IHMites. I went to the public schools, but half my friends were from IHM. I was sort of an auxiliary member. Mary always had some first rate gossip. Usually the misdeeds of some local bigwig or other.

We're still carrying on our breakfast get togethers. But we're yearning for the old Fort Grounds experience. The Iron Horse is sort of OK, but you can get some real shitty service, and the hash browns are sometimes cold. The last time we were there Fred complained to the waitress, and as we were leaving, the cook came out and commented to us, "That's how they always are." How's that for public relations. I guess Tom Robb is making so much dough getting the young crowd boozed up he doesn't care about the finer points of what's going on in the Iron Horse.

So, if you have any suggestions for a replacement for the Fort Grounds experience of old, please pass them my way.

George Goetzman

Dear Get Out!

I have a follow up comment that I should make. You might remember my email I sent you about a week ago commenting that there aren't hardly any charmingly grungy places left. And I said that the Iron Horse restaurant almost fit the bill but had lacking in service, and they didn't seem to care that the hash browns were cold. Well, last Sunday we were trying to go the breakfast at Michael D's and the line looked too long so we got brave and decided to take our chances at the Iron Horse, and it couldn't have been better. Waited on right away, great breakfast, good price. So I have to amend my snooty remarks about the Iron Horse. At least at 9:30 AM on Sunday. I don't know about what to expect when there are big crowds.

Here's a reason to keep on living. The Magic Lantern is about to reopen. Hooray!

George Goetzman

Hi George,

Really? The olde "Iron Lung" puts on a good breakfast these days eh? I'll have to check it out. I ate there last about four years ago and vowed never to return (at least to the restaurant part.) We went for lunch and I ordered a mushroom burger with fries. The burger had two sad shriveled mushroom slices and I was told the fries would be along in ten minutes or so. When I asked why they didn't just wait and serve them together, and if I could get some more mushrooms on my burger, I was given a death glare by the waitress and told "Hon, that's just how we do it here, if you don't like it go somewhere else." So we did, without paying. We noticed other rumpled customers exiting as well. It's good to know they're getting back to form because it is a local classic.

Of course, for charmingly grungy there's always the Rockin' Robin on Government Way, which is located conveniently close to the Jail, since all the cooks and waitresses seem to be on work release. Be sure to pick up a fake Elvis driver's license while you're there. I used to like Down the Street a lot too, but a recent and drastic price increase on the menu leaves me a bit cold.

Wow - the Magic Lantern is back? Excellent news...I spent a million teenage weekends there doing the Rocky Horror Picture Show thing. I wonder if they'll bring that back too?

Anyways, thanks for writing and keep in touch with any food tips or good/bad dining experiences...

Get Out!

I just wanted to let you know I thoroughly enjoy reading your column each week in the Spokesman. I read the paper for a business stand-point and to look at business advertising and activity in the area-but make a point to actually read your piece in its entirety each week. Love your sense of humor! Just wanted to let you know that in case you don’t hear from readers-that your work is appreciated.

Nicole Skinner

Hi Nicole,

Hey, thanks a bunch, I do appreciate hearing from readers, and it's encouraging when the message is as positive as yours.

I checked out the link to your gardening site and that's quite impressive - my mom started gardening for the first time ever this year and it can be a heck of a lot of work. She's so excited about her cherry tomatoes, she takes a few with her everywhere she goes (including the bar) to show them off. Too funny...

Dear Get Out!

I have to admit that I usually read, then ignore, your column because of your sometimes lavish endorsements of (big deal) hamburger or equivalent cheap joints. I read your July 21st review of Wah Hing and your comments about there being no real chinese restaurants hereabouts (or in Washington, Montana, etc). Certainly, there are no Cantonese restaurants that serve other than brown sauce, etc. Being an expatriate from Brooklyn and Los Angeles, where I was often exposed to real, quality, Chinese Cantonese food, you got my attention. Besides, what in the world would a great Chinese restaurant be doing in a town with more new cars in its lots than people.

Three of us went there last Thursday. arriving at about 5pm and noticed that the restaurant was already about half full. We each ordered different selections from the "number" page to get as big a cross section of foods as possible. The soup ( egg drop ) was the best I've ever tried. The food (tears in my eyes here) was wonderful. Delicate sauces, tempura coating egg rolls, unbelievable egg foo yung, pork ribs, wonderful shrimp, etc and again, several different sauces, all fantastic. The chopped "salad" with bok choy, tasted like it was just plucked from the earth, washed, and served. AMAZING.

We left the restaurant after 6:30pm after complementing the owner and leaving a 75% tip for the terrific waitress. The restaurant was full at that time with people waiting for our table.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We'll be going back on Wednesday.

Marty Krupitsky

Hi Marty.

Great, thanks! I always like to hear when people enjoy the places I recommend. Pretty amazing that wonderful Chinese place in such an obscure locale. Definitely worth the small drive east for some incredible food and service.

I do have to say I'm a little confused when you say you "read, then ignore, your column because of your sometimes lavish endorsements of (big deal) hamburger or equivalent cheap joints.” Out of the topics I've covered only a handful fall into that category. The fast food places I covered certainly didn't receive endorsements, in fact I actually kind of put them down, at least service wise. I'd like to think I cover a broad range of topics and am always looking for ideas and tips on new places or events so let me know if you hear of any!

Dear Get Out!

OK I apologize re the burgers. How about a review of Syringa on 4th (best Japanese in town) and Anthony"s right behind it (wonderful Tapas bar and yum lamb chops) I think both are great.

Hi again, Marty.

They're both on my list, for sure, but I'll have to wait until I find gainful employment and scrape my way out of poverty before I can do those places. I've been to Syringa and it's really really fine indeed. I noticed the other day that Antony's was up for salr so hopefully I'll make it before they do a disappearing trick or something.

Dear Get Out!

I was at The Porch last nite with my girlfriend and two other couples
laughing about the horrible experiences we'd recently had at the Beachouse,
when your column came up. We were all surprised that everyone made a point
of looking for your column in the Saturday SR every week, and had some fine
laughs about some of your reviews- Paul Bunyan, for example.

We all appreciate your willingness to tell-it-like-it-is, both the good and
the bad. We're sure the local eatery people also read the column and make
adjustments/improvements based on the column.

Keep up the great work- I was pleased to find out last nite that your column
is one of the reasons our friends choose to read the SR.

Please pass this on to your editor as just one testimonial to the popularity
of your work (not for publication).

Thanks and regards,
Scott Forssell

Dear Get Out!

We thoroughly enjoy your restaurant reviews. We just spoke of Cafe Chulo last night - great fish tacos....

I was wondering if you have been out to The Beach House Restaurant lately? I took my mom there for lunch yesterday and we were very disappointed. For years my folks used to store their boat at the nearby marina and would have lunch there on a regular basis. Since my dad became ill and recently passed away, it had been a few years since Mom had been there. Their menu now is mostly fried foods and their salad choices are awful. We had the prime rib sandwich and it was more like old beef from a crock. It took us 45 minutes to get our sandwiches and another 15 minutes for them to process our credit card. Maybe we hit them on an off day but Fridays are usually a busy lunch day. What is your take? Thanks for taking the time to read this...


Hi Scott and Nancy,

Was it just a mere coincidence that I got your emails on the same day? Were you hanging out together at The Porch? Anyway, why the gang-up on The Beach House? I'm not surprised to find out it sucks (it is a Hagadone joint after all), but I was a big fan of their seafood fettuccine a few years ago. Also, I was at a catered event recently and the Beach House brought some kind of rare crab legs from the East Coast and they were totally super delicious. However, I'll have to try and sneak in there before they close for the season to see if it's as bad as y'all say it is lately. I've been avoiding reviewing the Hagadone restaurants because I'm afraid I might not be too nice, but I suppose I can try and keep an open mind about it. Lord knows, I'd hate to end up on the Duane's blacklist yet again...

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