A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, January 09, 2010

R.I.P. (Restaurants in Passing)

On this site, 4 years and 429 entries ago, we established a blog dedicated to commenting on nothing in particular, everything imaginable, and all points in between. It has noted, and will continue to note for the foreseeable future, any and all peculiarities of human nature, political chicanery and hypocrisy (especially the Republican ones), and any fad or foible that doesn’t escape my intellectual radar.

Now let us leave what is undoubtedly the most pretentious introduction ever attempted on this blog and move on to a subject near and dear to my heart: food!

Today, we gather here to mourn the passing — in the course of the last few years — a few eating establishments wiped out by the recession. In my neighborhood, we saw the closing of a Mexican restaurant and two local outposts of national chains offering Italian cuisine: The Macaroni Grill and Bucca di Beppo. Locally, we have also seen two Chinese buffets shut their doors. In Philadelphia itself, the legendary seafood eatery, Old Original Bookbinders, now sleeps with the fishes after a drastic reduction in its serving area brought on by a downturn in tourist business after 9/11. (A pox on you, Osama bin Laden!)

More recently, there was news that the legendary New York restaurant, Tavern on the Green, closed. This fabled landmark dated back to 1870, and was frequented by a celebrated clientele during its history. John Lennon was a regular customer. Many of us who never got the pleasure to dine there will remember it featured in the comedy Ghostbusters. Unfortunately, the Tavern had to close due to bankruptcy and licensing difficulties with the city of New York.

Just recently, we learned that one of our favorite restaurants in Washington DC went out of business around this time last year. The Market Inn was a hole-in-the-wall that was literally tucked into a corner of E Street SE in the shadows of a railroad line shared by Amtrak and Virginia Rail Express. Its outward appearance was deceiving. Inside there were dark wood paneled dining rooms, live jazz music for Sunday brunch, and the most sumptuous seafood ever cooked.

We discovered the wonders of the Market Inn at an annual street festival called Taste of DC. On our last trip to Market Inn (July 2008), we learned that Taste of DC was discontinued in the wake of 9/11. (Which reminds me: #@%& you, Osama bin Laden!)

There was one dish in particular that kept us coming back to the Market Inn, even after we moved out of the area: the she-crab bisque. It was a creamy concoction much like New England clam chowder, but it was not complete without a dollop of whipped cream on top. This was mandatory. Once mixed together with the cream, the soup became a sinfully rich gastronomical experience. We mere mortals are certainly not worthy enough to partake in its delights.

I wonder if someone has posted the recipe on the Internet? No matter, it is better to have had she-crab bisque once and always remember its sweet goodness, than never to have sipped it at all.

Despite these passings, there are a few bright lights on the horizon. One of the local Chinese buffets I mentioned earlier is being replaced by (drum roll please)...another Chinese buffet! There is also news that a fast food hamburger chain which disappeared about 25 years ago will be resurrected. Before McDonald’s made its way east in the 1960s, the Philadelphia area had Gino’s hamburgers to scarf. Gino’s also offered Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken in those days. Now the burgers will be back and I can hardly wait.

There is a God after all!

(Thank you for reading. Please keep the she-crab bisque in your thoughts always.)


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