Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lyin' Ryan

It was mightily disappointing tonight watching Bryan Williams essentially kiss Paul Ryan's ass. William's on NBC Nightly News had the opportunity to call out Ryan for lying. Williams didn't even come close.

From Daily KOS:

This diary is a collection of all the media push back (so far) that Paul Ryan has received. I intend to tweet this list far and wide. Please feel free to add to the list and hopefully I will know how to update the diary. Thanks!

Dave Weigel,
"incredible string of false or misleading statements"

Joan Walsh,
"His Republican National Convention speech was stunning for its dishonesty"

Jonathan Cohn, the New Republic:
The Most Dishonest Convention Speech ... Ever?

Top 5 Fibs In Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech

Michael Tomasky, the Daily Beast:
"Paul Ryan pushed American politics into new territory with his convention speech, effectively daring Democrats and the media to call him out on his string of blatant falsehoods"

Jonathan Bernstein, the Washington Post:
Paul Ryan fails -- the truth

FACT CHECK: Convention speakers stray from reality

Dan Amira, NY Magazine:
Paul Ryan Bets on the Ignorance of America

Fox News contributor, Sally Kohn:
“Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.”
Read more:

Steve Benen, Maddowblog:
Paul Ryan stands on a foundation of lies

Huffington Post:

5 Biggest lies in Romney’s speech:

Bob Cesca:
Paul Ryan’s Speech: Lies, Lies and More Lies

Washington Post Editorial Board:
Mr. Ryan’s misleading speech
“Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech at the Republican convention contained several false claims and misleading statements.”

Andrew Sullivan, the Daily Beast:
The lies and lies of Paul Ryan

Ryan Lizza, the New Yorker:
The Paul Ryan Speech: Five Hypocrisies

Jonathan Chait, NY magazine:
Paul Ryan’s large lies and one big truth

James Downie, Washington Post:
Paul Ryan’s breathtakingly dishonest speech

James Fallow, Atlantic
Paul Ryan and the post truth convention

Robert Schlesinger, US News

LYIN' Santorum
Rick Santorum repeats inaccurate welfare attack on Obama

Juan Cole:
Top Ten Repeated Paul Ryan Lies

The Guardian:
Paul Ryan's speech: a round-up of his most audacious untruths

Charles Pierce, Esquire:
Paul Ryan Is the Newest New Nixon, a Moocher Belied

Huffington Post
Busted! Ryan's speech fools no one

David Firestone, NYT
Beyond Factual Dishonesty

Josh Barro, Bloomberg
Paul Ryan’s Hypocritical Attack on Barack Obama

Lindy West,
Why lying is bad, a primer for confused republicans

Brian Williams and NBC News are a great disappointment and do a disservice to America while dishonoring the great names in reporting - Cronkite, Huntley, Brinkley, Swayze, Brokaw, Murrow, and Rather to name but a few. Jon Stewart of The Daily Show could have done better.

The Deplorable 2012 Republican Party

"This is how we feed animals"

First it was the heckling of a Republican woman from the U.S. Commonwealth nation of Puerto Rico who spoke with an accent, and now this:

That these peanut tossing knuckle-draggers were ejected from the convention is not enough. At minimum they should have been arrested and tossed into jail charged with assault and possibly battery.

This may sound a bit harsh, but I think it would have been fitting to take these slack-jawed douche bags out back and horse whipped them. That might be the only kind of punishment this kind of trash would understand. As it is, they can now go back home to their cesspools and regal their friends with how they dealt with a "nigger" woman in Tampa.

These people make me ashamed to call myself an American.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Disrespect At The RNC For A Fellow American

My new hero, the Duchess St. Rollins, recently posted a Facebook response using the term "Teabilly Fuckstick" to address an idiotic position taken by, well...a Teabilly Fuckstick.

I thought, in the interest of keeping up with current events and terminology, that I should present an example for your consideration.

In the following video a large group of these "fucksticks" at the RNC here in Tampa responded to the introduction of a Puerto Rican party functionary, Zoraida Fonalledas, the chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization, with loud and continued chants of USA, USA, USA - effectively drowning out this Republican chairwoman.

It mattered not to these "Patriotic" bed-pissing scum suckers that Ms. Fonalleda is representing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States of America. 

Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. That they may speak English with a Puerto Rican accent is cause for disrespect? Apparently so for those tobacco-droolin' jizz monkey manglers of the English language at the convention. These RNC Teabilly Fucksticks should be ashamed of themselves.

As an added service to the public, if you need help in choosing the perfect descriptive for some of these RNC Neanderthals, please refer to the chart below provided by the Duchess: 

And, you are welcome!

An Ethiopian Queen In South Tampa

To the ancient Greeks, Ethiopia referred to an empire that encompassed a vast territory, extending to Arabia, Syria, Armenia and the territory between the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. This is the empire that the Queen of Sheba was said to have reigned over.

Today, the Queen of Sheba and her humongo chicken reign over a small spot on Henderson Boulevard in Tampa. The Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant sits at 3636 Henderson in a small strip mall.

After reading a couple of Urbanspoon reviews, I suggested to my bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, that we head over to the Queen and give her a try, as I had seen a couple of items on their on-line menu that really titillated my taste buds.

We had reservations for six o'clock yesterday evening. When we entered the Queen we found ourselves standing alone. There were a few tables that were occupied, but there was no one to greet us or seat us.

St. George Beer bottleAfter standing around for awhile a server emerged from the kitchen, placed a few plates on a table and then guided us to our table. We were presented with menus and after another noticeably long wait, our drink orders were taken.

There seemed to be a slight communication problem going on that evening - maybe we mumble - but, while we requested two Ethiopian beers, we got but one. It was a good one though, a St. George. I pointed out to our server that we both were in need of an adult beverage. Eventually we got our other beer.

We decided to start our dining adventure by splitting an appetizer, the Beef Sambussa, a homemade thin flat bread hand-wrapped and stuffed with a blend of minced beef, fresh garlic, onions, peppers and ginger and parsley. 

Once again, we apparently mumbled because instead of one sambussa to split, we each got our own. That worked out, because these delicious empanada-like delights were about the right size for one person.

I would have been more than slightly taken aback seeing Ace bandages on our plates had I not read earlier that these were rolls of injera, a bread made out of fermented flour from a grain called teff. 

In lieu of forks and spoons, a small piece of injera is torn off and used to pick up your food morsels - with your right hand. In a number of countries, you eat with your right, and wipe with your left. Don't make me get more descriptive.

Diners who are too whoosified to eat with their fingers will be provided with other utensils upon request. Also be aware that Ethiopian food tends to be a tad spicy, so if you can't stand the heat, tell your server to tone it down a notch or two.

Oh yeah, those sambussas were excellent!

I had hoped to try two items I had seen on-line, but alas, the Queen no longer serves the Beef Dullet, with finely chopped tripe, liver and red meat seasoned with onion, garlic and pepper spice. Having never tried tripe, I was interested in giving it a go. Oh well, instead I chose the Queen's Kitfo Special, finely chopped tartar with fresh chopped jalapeno, onion, garlic and Ethiopian spices.

The kitfo was spicy and oh, so good!

My bride decided on the Vegetarian Combination Platter with six different veggies:
  • Ye Misr Wot - Red split lentils simmered in finely chopped onion, garlic, ginger and seasoned with berbere.
  • Ye Kik Alecha - Yellow split peas simmered in finely chopped onions, garlic, ginger and turmeric powder.
  • Tikikl Gomen - Chopped cabbage, carrots and other vegetables in a mild sauce.
  • Ye Shimbera Asa Wot - Fried chickpea patties dipped in a special Ethiopian sauce.
  • Mushroom Wot - Sautéed mushrooms in a Berbere stew.
  • Gomen - Steamed collard greens simmered with minced onions and garlic.
We could easily recommend all but the chickpea patties. They were very dry and had the consistency of finely ground sawdust. Everything else was delicious.

All of the veggies were served on a large platter over rounds of injera. My bowl of kitfo can be seen in the lower right - around the five o'clock position. I think the extra veggies were sides to my kitfo.

Dining at the Queen of Sheba was a very pleasant and unique experience, maybe not one you would do every day. The food is very tasty, and filling. The service may seem a little slow if you are just too important to sit back and enjoy another culture.

You may wonder how you will ever get full eating a bunch of vegetables, but I can assure you for our $85.69 bill (includes 20% gratuity) we waddled out of there groaning under the weight of our stuffed bellies.

Queen of Sheba on Urbanspoon 

Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant on Foodio54

Broken News From The RNC

In reporting from the RNC, Olivier Knox of Yahoo! News wrote, "Ann Romney, resplendent in red, vouched for Mitt Romney's heart. Chris Christie vouched for the Republican presidential candidate's spine." It's good to know, I suppose, that Romney has one of each; one of ice and the other of jelly, I'm thinking.

The SOG City Oracle could find no evidence of anyone at the RNC vouching for what Mitt the Romney uses for a brain. A scarecrow in attendance suggested straw while other, less refined persons, suggested a waste product from the rear end of a barn yard animal.

Speaking of barn yard animals, during her bull-shit session at the convention, Mrs. Romney blathered on, "I can tell you Mitt Romney was not handed success. He built it." The part left unsaid - "like this building we are in; through government subsidies, paid for with the blood, sweat, tears, and tax dollars from hard working Americans."

Isaac left the Tampa Bay area in a timely manner. Wouldst that the RNC followed suit so that we could get on with our lives.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A SOG City Greasy Spoon

After polishing off a couple of cups of coffee and the Sunday paper in bed my bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, decided she wanted breakfast. On this day our usual breakfast bars just wouldn't do (we are not really breakfast people). And the leftover pizza in the fridge wasn't going to cut it either.

That meant getting up and dressed and going out. I should mention that while I am the chef de cuisine for lunch and dinner, I don't do breakfasts. This presented another little problem. Where do people in South Tampa go for breakfast? Rouen Thai would have been my first choice, but they are not open for breakfast.

While a hearty breakfast for me resembles a Vietnamese pho, by bride thinks of breakfast in terms of bacon, eggs, and grits. So, where the heck do you go around SOG City for an artery clogger such as that?

Well, land o'goshen, how about Mama's Kitchen on South Dale Mabry (5524 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL). It ain't fancy, and it's real close, and my bride by now was starving. Off we went!

At eleven or so on a Sunday morning the joint was packed. It must be good, crammed with all of those heathens who should have been heading off to church an' all. We were directed to a table in the back near the kitchen where the grease hung like a London fog in the morning air.

We were eventually presented with menus, and after a bit someone came by and asked if we wanted coffee. We said yes, and two cups were filled. We added cream from those snazzy little plastic cups with the foil lids.

My bride requested two eggs over medium, hash browns, bacon, and a biscuit. I opted for the fried kielbasa, with two eggs over medium, grits, and something - probably wheat toast. We got what we asked for, and it was what we expected, an American breakfast. I have to say that my sausage was really tasty. It had lots of flavor to go along with the grease. It was good!

I would'a done a bunch more pictures, but I figured if you've seen one grit, you've probably seen them all.

Mama's Kitchen also serves plate lunches and dinners that look as though they would be good and filling. They have some Greek dishes on the menu that looked interesting, too.

We probably got out of Mama's for about $25 and that included a 20% gratuity. My bride was giddy with joy over her breakfast. I still would prefer a soup bowl with broth, rice noodles, veggies, and thinly sliced pork with spicy sauces. A visit to Singapore back in the '70s spoiled me for a Southeast Asian breakfast.

But give Mama's a try. It's not fancy, but it is filling and cheap - and, it made the Belle of Ballast Point happy. That's the most important thing!

Mama's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

My New Hero

My dear friend Sweet Polly sent a link to Carol Baker's blog, The Opinionated Bitch. The article was entitled, On "Poverty Envy." It's a bit long, but is worth taking the time to read it.

Down near the end of this well written article on social injustice was a Facebook comment from my new hero, the Duchess St. Rollins. The Duchess was responding to a Tea Bagger's brain turd:

Well said Duchess, well said!

Politics: It Yam What It Yam

The Popeye of politics, Mitt the Romney, performed his impression of Popeye the Sailor three times during a recent POLITICO interview by blathering, "I am who I am."  Romney admitted that a lot of people, even fellow Republicans, don't like him because he is such a douche bag, but said Mitt the Twit, he will make a super duper president.

Why? Well, because of his experience as a CEO. Romney promised to run the country, presumably as he did Bain Capital, as the chief executive orifice that he is. CEO Romney pledged to treat his Cabinet as he would a board of directors, and take the same unilateral approach to managing that he used in the corporate world. In other words, Romney intends to micro-manage from the Oval Office.

Damn the House, damn the Senate, and damn anyone who dares disagree with his decisions. Oh yeah, and most especially damn the people who voted him into office, for he would be The CEO of the United States of America.

What makes me so sure of this? The simple answer is that we here in the once grand state of Florida are having to live with the poster boy of The Romney Approach to Big Business, Rick Scott. We have heard all of this "run the state/country as a business" crap before, and now we are having to live with a dysfunctional state government led by a man who should probably be behind bars.

Scott has done little or nothing for the people who voted for him. He has trashed state education, social services, health care, and pretty much kept his campaign promise to run the state as he did his former hospital company Columbia/HCA. Scott has essentially told the citizens of Florida to just sit down and shut up. As CEO of Florida, Scott has the lowest approval rating of anyone governing one of the United States of America.

Like Scott, Romney's private sector approach is the antithesis of democratic governance. The Scott/Romney approach is more akin to an autocracy which is detrimental to the well being of ordinary people.

Florida is suffering under the control of Scott and a Republican dominated legislature. Contrary to Scott's thinking, Florida is not a business, and should not be run as such. Likewise, America is a country and should be run as a country by a president and a legislature, not by a CEO and a board of directors.

Speaking of Romney, I could hardly believe my eyes when I read in the morning paper that Romney had flipped another flop. It seems he is now "embracing the health care law." I can't help wondering how well that will go over with the Tea Baggers?

Warning: Expletive forthcoming! Most times I try really hard not to use vulgar language, but sometimes it is really appropriate, so here goes.

Regardless of how you feel about Tampa Bay Rays' player Luke Scott as a ball player, as a political pundit he is a fucking idiot.

Scott recently spewed, "[Obamacare] needs to be taken and thrown into muriatic acid and absolutely disintegrated and never spoken of again. We can't afford it. It's not right. It's the accountability thing, where people can smoke cigarettes and be lazy and be unhealthy, and then you and I have to pay for their health care bills. No, I'm sorry, it shouldn't work that way."

I demand of Luke Scott and all Obamacare haters like him to know who the hell do they think is paying now for the uninsured who seek "free" medical care in hospital emergency rooms? What a piss poor excuse for a human being is Scott. He has got his and then some, so everybody else can go to hell - especially if he doesn't agree with your vices and lifestyle.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Music For The Season

We got gas (in the vehicles), food, water, beer, and secured the hacienda as much as possible. No point in trying to fight it, so we might as well sit back and get our little hurricane party started.

Let's party!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tampa The City Beautiful

After our tax dollars being spent to beautify our fair city in time for the RNC, the Belle of Ballast Point and I were excited to see how our money was spent. So, this afternoon we headed for downtown while we still could.

Even though it was only Saturday afternoon this was not an easy endeavor. We had to exit Bayshore Boulevard way before downtown because the Platt Street bridge was already closed. We rerouted ourselves to MacDill and then to Kennedy.

We crossed into downtown via the Kennedy Boulevard bridge. I was able to get a few photos of our beautiful city from a few of the vantage points that were not fenced off. Traffic was already a challenge and the festivities have not even begun. This will be our last journey into the city until after the heathens go home.

We were greeted by fences and heavily armed law enforcement officers and National Guardsmen. I spoke with a member of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office about the uniforms they were wearing. Regardless of their department affiliation all uniforms were the same for uniformity.

Lady Justice in a box in front of the courthouse building.

Subway in the rain.

The Franklin Street Mall.

After returning home, I found the following in an email from Carnival Cruise Lines, which came as a surprise since we weren't scheduled to go on a cruise (probably a real good thing):

August 25, 2012

Greetings folks!

We know you are looking forward to your cruise on Sunday and are anxiously awaiting news regarding the path of Tropical Storm Isaac.

As you know, we have been closely monitoring the weather. I'm sorry to say the Port of Tampa has now informed us they expect to close the port on Sunday, at 3:00 AM. At this time, they are uncertain as to when the port will reopen. Therefore, we have made arrangements to dock at Port Canaveral instead.

We ask that you proceed to the Port of Tampa and plan to arrive between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. The parking garage at the port will be open so you can park your vehicle. We will have busses available to take you and your luggage to Port Canaveral. Please do not proceed to Port Canaveral directly as the ship will be docking in Tampa when we return next week.

It will take approximately two and a half hours to Port Canaveral from the Port of Tampa and no adverse weather is expected. The last bus will depart from Tampa at 4:00 PM and we expect to sail at 8:00 PM.

At this time, our itinerary remains unchanged. However, there is a possibility we may have to make changes, depending on the path of the storm. We'll continue to monitor the projected track of Tropical Storm Isaac and will provide you an update on any new developments.

To stay up to date on any changes that may affect our departure, further port closures, and weather updates, we encourage you to sign up for text alerts by texting CCL2 to CRUISE (278473). If you have already done so during your online check-in, you will automatically receive updates. You can also visit our website and click on the 'Weather Alert' icon on the top of the page.

We're very sorry for this change and apologize that Mother Nature has thrown a wrench in our plans.

We thank you for your understanding and your cooperation. All of us at Carnival are looking forward to welcoming you aboard!

Wow! Between the RNC and Isaac, Tampa has lost a bit of its luster for us. I think we will just hunker down here in SOG City and hopefully just wait out both storms.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thank Gawd For The NRA

If only more gunslingers had been involved in this latest blood bath, how happy would the NRA be?

NEW YORK, Aug 24 (Reuters) - An out-of-work fashion designer fatally shot a former co-worker near the Empire State Building on Friday and then was killed in a blaze of gunshots by police, stunning tourists and commuters outside of one of New York's most popular landmarks.

Eight bystanders were wounded, possibly all of them by police bullets, though none of their injuries were life-threatening, police said.

Officials said that women's accessories designer Jeffrey Johnson, 58, had been laid off from Hazan Imports a year ago and that while working there, had been locked in a dispute with the victim. Police said Johnson had claimed the victim had failed to sell enough of his creations and held a grudge.

Investigators were attempting to determine whether Johnson shot anyone beyond his initial target. All eight of the surviving victims could have been hit by the two police officers who shot at Johnson, officials said.

Several were likely hit by police bullets that ricocheted off large, anti-terror concrete flower pots stationed outside the Manhattan landmark, police said.

Obviously, the outcome would have been very different if there had been a bunch of pistol-packers in the crowd.
  • The police would have had more targets
  • There would have been more flower pot fatalities
  • More bystanders mowed down (but, who cares, we gots our guns)
  • Holy SHIT! That cop just shot me!
Yepper, we needs more assholes with guns.

Where We Was Borned And Raised

From the Obama - Biden camp: 

Mitt Romney, the Republican [douche bag] for president of the United States, just said this: "No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."

Take a moment or two to think about that, what he's actually saying, and what it says about Mitt Romney.

Well, I have taken that minute or two and I have come up with several questions.

First, who is "they"?

Then, presumably to serve the Mormon Church as driver for the Mormon mission in France, Mitt had to have a passport. So, what did he use to prove he was a citizen of the United States?

Primary Evidence of U.S. Citizenship (One of the following):

Previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport
Certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state
Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
Naturalization Certificate
Certificate of Citizenship
The State Department would have asked for one of these items. Did Romney skate out of that requirement like he skated out of the draft?

Does Romney not have a Social Security card? To apply for an original card, you must provide at least two documents to prove age, identity, and U.S. citizenship or current lawful, work-authorized immigration status.

We could again presume that the Social Security Administration asked Mitt the Twit for some sort of proof.

The military would have required some sort of proof of origin, but in Romney's case we know he dodged the draft. He "was able to avoid serving in Vietnam because he was on his Mormon mission, driving around the French countryside. (The Mormon church defined missions -- which all good young Mormon men go on -- as a form of priesthood.) In fact, not one of Romney's five sons has served in the military either, despite Mitt arguing for U.S. military involvement in Iraq and elsewhere.

Even more outrageously, when he was asked to justify this hypocrisy, Romney claimed that his sons were serving the country by driving Winnebagos around Iowa and campaigning for him."

The Oracle can only think that it must be a trial for Romney to try navigating the real world while his head is firmly implanted in his anal orifice. Or, does Ann do all of the navigating for him?

And, this is the best the GOP can do!

My suggestion is jerking Romney out of the presidential race - totally - and wait until 2016. Obama can't fuck anything up worse than the current crop of Republicans, and in four years maybe, just maybe, the Republican party can come up with a candidate that isn't a complete douche bag. There has got to be someone, somewhere.

Oh yeah, I came up with one last question. Given the Mormon Church's position on war (they will allow it with conditions) and assuming Romney isn't a Mormon only when it suits him, how will he justify his war-mongering position on an unprovoked attack on Iran should he be able to buy the presidency? Would he be willing to send his sons into battle to fight his war? 

He would need to have some personal skin in the game. Hell, send Ann - she apparently wears the balls in the family.

Ain't it amazing that those who have never been to war find it so easy to advocate war? ~ SMSGT Rector, Florida Air National Guard, 1984 - 1997
Specialist 5, U.S. Army (RA), 1968 - 1971

Let's All Go To The Movies...

Here is a nifty little flick all America should watch. It's called:

The Romney - Ryan Economic Plan

Eyes On Isaac

Tropical Storm Isaac is marching up the Caribbean with its eye on Florida. It’s likely to become Hurricane Isaac on Friday—the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew.

If you were in Florida during Andrew, you know how important it is to be informed and prepared.

The National Weather Service is a helpful source if you’re looking for forecast information. And the Florida Division of Emergency Management has information specific to the Sunshine State.

Online you might consider keeping up with the National Weather Service on Twitter and Facebook, or following the National Hurricane Center on Twitter.

In addition to keeping up with the forecast, there are sites like (Listo.govpara español) that have good tips on preparing and staying safe in case storms do make landfall in our state.

We’re in the peak of hurricane season, so now’s a good opportunity to take a look at these resources if you haven’t had a chance yet.

The preceding is a public service message from The SOG City Oracle.

And, you are welcome.

Thanks to Senator Bill Nelson's office for this information.

Both Sides Now

Blowing it out of both sides of his...uh, orifice Rick Scott (R - I bought Florida, nanny, nanny, boo boo) stated that should Isaac pay us a visit during the RNC, “Local teams will make evacuation plans for their areas depending on what happens. The convention will make its own decision. The goal is that you have everybody together, we’ll have the same information and can coordinate our efforts and work together.”

While Scott is scheduled to speak at the convention Monday evening, he did mention that he will have to decide later in the week if he will be available. Said the prick with ears, “I’m responsible for the 19 million people who live here and the visitors,” Scott said. “That’s what my focus will be.”

As a consequence, should Isaac come a-calling, Scott is apparently handing off his Goobernator responsibilities to the RNC. Scott did not reveal where he will be focusing from, but some crass individuals speculate it will be from the super secret Koch brothers retreat in Vail, Colorado.

Most all of this is unsubstantiated speculation, so there!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Palace In Downtown Tampa

For many a year those of us who worked in downtown Tampa could only watch with sadness as a landmark building, the Floridan Hotel, slowly crumbled before our eyes.

Thankfully, a couple of visionarys changed that. Antonios Markopoulos, paid $6 million for the property in 2006. Angelo Markopoulos said his father fell in love with the property and viewed its restoration as a challenge. He said his father’s house in Greece is 600 years old and that he considered the Floridan a “young property.”

The 19-story former “Floridan Hotel” was built in 1926 and had been shuttered since 1987.

Last night the Belle of Ballast Point and I crossed the threshold that had at one time been crossed by Elvis Presley (and other lesser names that escape me), and we entered the re-born Floridan Palace Hotel. What a thrill! After thirty or more years in Tampa, this was the first time we set foot in the building - and what a glorious place it is!

The ceiling above our table.
Our purpose for this visit was to dine in The Crystal Dining Room, resplendent with ornate tile work and shimmering chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

We arrived in time for our 6:30 reservations after pulling up to the valet parking area on Cass Street. Valet parking is $5, but you must get your ticket validated by the restaurant.

Upon entering the hotel lobby we could see the bar area and restaurant, but no host or hostess station. We inquired at the front desk and were sent in the proper direction to the hidden station - up a short flight of stairs and to the left.

The hostess guided us to our table where we were presented with food and beverage menus, and introduced to Ashley, our server for the evening. I have no doubt that all of the servers at the Crystal are equally talented, professional and proficient, but we couldn't have asked for anyone more charming than Ashley.

While perusing the wine list I was struck by the prices. Yes, there were a few bottles in the $150 range, but there was a very good number of excellent wines priced in the high twenties to low thirties. We chose a bottle of Tamaya Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah Reserva.

The nose has a dusty Malbec character, with a little touch of floral, violet lift. The palate has good fruit, very cool and maintains a nice edge. Fine cherry skin bite and freshness. It was also only $29.

Next on my gastronomic agenda was an appetizer, and one in particular caught my eye. I was not expecting it, but there it was - Broiled Octopus! This dish turned out to be big enough for two to share. Unfortunately for her, my bride is fearful of this tasty delight, thinking that a wayward tentacle might suction-cup itself in some unseen location and never come loose.

This octopus was deliciously tender and bathed in olive oil and lemon juice. I could have made a complete meal out of this gift from the sea all by itself.

While I was enjoying my octopus, my bride was raving over the bread basket presented with fresh creamery butter and breads baked with slivered almonds. I also noticed the foursome at a table down the way had all ordered appetizers to share. I mention this because the plates seemed to be piled high with food, and later I saw these folks leave with four take-out boxes.

Diners are served with house salad and a choice of fries, baked potato, rice, or fresh veggies. Both the Belle and I were impressed with the house salad. The romaine lettuce was crisp and fresh, and the tomatoes definitely did not come from Publix. Those tomatoes were flavorful and juicy. 
Yes, it was just a house salad, but not the typical salad with iceberg lettuce and rock hard tomatoes. The feta cheese, black olives, and balsamic dressing was an added plus.

The Belle and I can be so predictable at times, and those are times when a menu lists Filet Mignon for her, and a bone-in Rib Eye for me.

My beautiful dining partner chose a fully loaded baked potato to accompany her steak which she had ordered cooked to a pink center, and that is how the steak arrived - cooked as requested, and tender and juicy with a delightful Bearnaise sauce on the side.

Her only complaint was the potato - it was served barely warm.

My bone-in Rib Eye was sheer perfection made all the more perfect with the addition of an unbelievably tasty peppercorn sauce. The veggies were crisp tender, but I could barely finish that steak, so the beans and carrots were mostly untouched.

There are six desserts listed, two of which I really wanted - the Bakalava or the Galaktobouriko, but alas after that octopus and the 20 ounce rib eye there was just no more room.

Photo by Ashley
Us two little piglets will be making another trip downtown to enjoy more of what this fantastic restaurant has to offer. And, one thing that still amazes me is that while we were both so stuffed we almost required a room for the night, we got out of the Crystal Dining Room for a mere $110.21 - and, of course, a well deserved 20% gratuity was added for Ashley.

The Crystal Dining Room on Urbanspoon

The Crystal Dining Room on Foodio54

A Letter From Sandra Fluke

You do remember Ms. Fluke, don't you? She is the lady that the Fat Bastard of Palm Beach referred to as a "slut".

Here is an interesting Internet letter from Sandra:

In a recent statement that was both factually inaccurate and horribly offensive, Republican Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said that victims of "legitimate rape" don't get pregnant because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan tried to distance themselves from the remark -- but the fact is they're in lockstep with Akin on the major women's health issues of our time. Just this morning, the Republican Party voted to include the "Human Life Amendment" in their platform, calling for a constitutional ban on abortions nationwide, even for rape victims. Several Romney supporters and advisers stood silently by while this vote took place, and the Los Angeles Times reports that the platform "was written at the direction of Romney's campaign."

President Obama spoke out in response to Akin's comments: "What I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women."

This controversy is not an accident, or a mistake, or an isolated incident. It's a reflection of a Republican Party whose policies are dangerous for women.

There is a clear choice for women in this election: Stand with President Obama.

I entered this national debate on women's rights in February, when, as a Georgetown Law student, I testified before members of Congress on the issue of contraception.

Without knowing me or my story, Rush Limbaugh called me a "slut" and a "prostitute" on his radio show.

Many Americans stepped forward to tell me they agreed with me, and supported my right to speak out without being verbally attacked. President Obama stood with us.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand? He didn't even condemn the remark, instead saying only: "It's not the language I would have used."

Since that moment, I'm even more resolved to continue the fight to make sure every single woman -- and every man who cares about the women in his life -- knows exactly what's at stake in this election. The Republicans are frighteningly clear on these issues.

The party platform itself includes a "salute" to states that have pushed "informed consent" laws, such as those that force women seeking an abortion to first undergo an invasive and medically unnecessary ultrasound.

Just last year, Paul Ryan joined Todd Akin and more than 200 other Republicans in co-sponsoring legislation that would have narrowed the definition of rape, limiting which victims of rape were "legitimate" enough to receive financial assistance for access to abortion care.

Mitt Romney famously says he would "get rid of" Planned Parenthood if he had the chance. And both Romney and Ryan pledge to go back to a system where insurance companies can discriminate against women and charge us more than men for the same health insurance.

Akin's comments shouldn't be surprising. But this isn't about him -- just like it was never about me.

President Obama has told us what he's fighting for: "I want women to control their own health choices, just like I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your sons."

Republicans, led by Romney and Ryan, have made it clear that they want to make our decisions for us.

President Obama trusts us to make our own.

It's as simple as that. Join me and stand with him today:


Sandra Fluke

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Heathens And The Hurricane

So, what's up with this? Our fair city looks as though we'll be gettin' a double dose of trouble - heathens and hurricane. There seems to be some sort of evil spirit at work here. Do ya think?

On the other hand, it could be that the Republican party sucks so much they are pulling Issac right to us. I am not happy that the RNC is taking over Tampa and shutting a lot of it down, but I would also hate to see a hurricane shutting it down.

And, whose dumb idea was it to bring this suck fest to Florida during hurricane season anyway. Oh yeah, Republican butt-smoocher-in-chief Al Austin. Great move there double A.

I can't wait for September and a trip to paradise...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Akin: Speculation Runs Rampant

The question on many a mind and on many a lip is will the Missouri Hershey Squirt stay in the senate race or will he drop out as many of the Goobers On Parade are demanding?

Personally, I think this Douche Bag from Misery is a waste of good air, but if I were Akin I would tell all of those nervous ninnies on the right to kiss my "sister's black cat's ass" (from movie Wild Bunch). Why? Because he is still beating challenger Claire McCaskill in the polls. Go figure!

Apparently the voters in the Show Me State would rather have a ball busting, misogynistic idiot to represent them in the senate than an icky, cootie infested, female Democrat.

I have mixed emotions about Akin staying in the race. On one hand, this representative of the idiocracy can be the poster doofus to show America how mind numbingly stupid the Republican party is becoming. On the other hand, we have to hope that there are enough intelligent people left in this country to recognize and reject this right-wing stupidity before it's too late.

In 2006, 20th Century Fox released a documentary film that addressed this very issue. The film didn't receive much critical acclaim because Fox mislabeled Idiocracy a sci-fi comedy as opposed to a portent of things to come. I think it was filmed in Missouri.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Demand That Akin Resign

From The Ultraviolet Team:

Victims of "legitimate rape" can't get pregnant because a woman's body will shut down and prevent the pregnancy. Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) actually said that--in other words, he's saying that if a woman does get pregnant, she must not have been raped. Even scarier? He's running--and leading--in the race for Missouri Senate.

These comments are shameful, ignorant and dangerous. Todd Akin must resign right away.

What he said was bad, but it was hardly a gaffe or poor choice of words. In 2011 he and Representative Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's VP pick, led the push in the House of Representatives to redefine rape as "forcible rape" to further restrict rape survivors' access to abortion. As a state senator, Akin questioned whether anti-marital rape laws would be abused by women in messy divorces (he eventually voted for the anti-marital rape law).

Prominent leaders on both sides of the political aisle are demanding that Akin resign--can you join them and sign this petition today? If enough of us join in we can make sure that the media scrutiny of his comments doesn't fade until he steps down. Anyone who doesn't understand basic biology and tries to create more hurdles for rape survivors seeking justice doesn't belong in the United States Congress.

Add your name to the petition.

The sad truth is that more than 32,101 pregnancies result from rape every single year.

Here's what Akin said yesterday:

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

And while he later stated that he "misspoke," he is yet to apologize or clarify what it was that he didn't mean to say.

Here's how Ilyse Hogue at The Nation sums up Akin's comments as they stand: "In his (Akin's) world view, the rape victim's body will be the ultimate judge of whether a crime has taken place. If she gets pregnant, by Akin's standard, her reproductive organs consented to the pregnancy, so she must have consented to the sex."

The repercussions of his statements are already playing out. Prominent reporters are now openly questioning whether all rapes are real--increasing an already unreal cultural burden on survivors brave enough to report them.

If you thought this year could not get any more scary in terms of the assaults on women, you were wrong. In the summer of 2012 we are debating whether all rapes ought to be treated equally and which are less "legitimate" than others.

This is dangerous. And it's not a gaffe. Todd Akin has a real history of trying to redefine rape to make it harder for rape survivors to get reproductive health care. Now that he has been exposed in public, he must resign. Please sign the petition right away.

Add your name to the petition.

Legitimate Rape???

A question that has been rumbling about in my mind for over 12 years now is this: To run for public office as a Republican is it required that any gray matter found in a GOP cranial cavity must be sucked out and replaced with - to put it politely - a solid excretory product evacuated from the bowels?

I have suspected this was a requirement, but Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, the Republican opposing Democrat Claire McCaskill for U.S. Senate in the Show Me State, has confirmed beyond a shadow of doubt that this indeed is the case.

In an attempt to recant his remarks, Akin went on to say something akin this:

A parody account mocks Akin. (Twitter)
Akin, if you recall, is the congressman who believes the very existence of the federal student-loan program is a "stage-three cancer of socialism." He's also eager to eliminate the minimum wage, believes liberalism is based on "a hatred of God," believes the Bible should be a "blueprint" for American government; and wants to impeach President Obama because, in his mind, the president is "a complete menace to our civilization."

From the Romney camp: "Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," a campaign spokeswoman said.

Well, good for them - but, wasn't it Romney who said he would have supported a personhood amendment in Massachusetts, which would ban all abortions, and Paul Ryan who co-sponsored the federal version of that amendment?

I can only shake my head in disbelief that America is really considering these clowns for public office.

No Slack Cut For Florida Homeowner

Jaime Gonzalez, a retired police officer and grandfather living here in Florida, was hit hard by the housing crisis and now owes more money on his home than it’s worth. Watch Jaime’s story and find out about one man standing in the way of help for homeowners:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Romney Campaign Calls The Cops

I think the video says it all.

Romney/Ryan - We'll Have Nun Of That

From CREDO Action:

"I'm not concerned about the very poor." That's what Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in a televised interview on CNN after he won the Florida primary. And now he's doubled down on that sentiment by naming Paul Ryan, whose budget would give the richest Americans $3 trillion in tax cuts while drastically cutting food stamps for millions of poor Americans, to the Republican ticket.

Clearly, Romney and Ryan are dangerously out of touch. Thankfully, a group of righteous women who have dedicated their lives in service to the least among us have invited Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to spend a day with them to learn about the struggles of some our poorest citizens. Join me in telling Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: RSVP to the nuns.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Heads Up Tampa!

The Daily Show is headed our way.

The Best F#@king News Team Ever prepares for the Republican National Convention in Tampa by grilling innocent rubes at a local model train convention.

(Short commercial at the beginning - Oh, well!)

Even negative publicity is better than no publicity. Tampa will be seen on the world stage - we have arrived!

In The News: Another Theater Shooting

This time though, poetic justice was served. According to a Sparks, Nevada police report a local ass with a concealed weapons permit shot himself in the, well...ass while watching the latest Bourne flick.

The citizen in question, a 56 year old pistol-packer, was rearranging his derriere in his theater seat when his implement of destruction escaped its confines, fell to the floor, and discharged, placing a well aimed projectile in this clown's butt just missing his head by mere inches.

Retrieving his popper, the man grabbed his injured tuckus, apologized to the theater crowd and departed reinforcing the tried and true NRA adage that "people don't shoot people in the ass - it's guns that shoot people in the ass".

This shooting with a happy ending (ending - get it) just reinforces my belief that idiots should not be allowed to carry firearms, and most people who carry are idiots.

Need proof? Take a look at this ABC News video (Part 1) that I featured several months ago. Once you have seen that video, take a look at Part 2 (see below), the rest of the story.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Flipping The Panic Switch

According to a recent Associated Press report: "The Silversun Pickups want Mitt Romney's presidential campaign to immediately stop the use of the rock group's song Panic Switch."

Well, alrighty then, The Silversun Pickups? Never heard of them, but then again I don't really follow pop music much these days. Curiosity got the better of me, so I pulled them up on YouTube.

Said Silversun Pickups lead singer Brian Aubert, "We don't like people going behind our backs, using our music without asking, and we don't like the Romney campaign. We're nice, approachable people. We won't bite. Unless you're Mitt Romney! We were very close to just letting this go because the irony was too good. While he is inadvertently playing a song that describes his whole campaign, we doubt that 'Panic Switch' really sends the message he intends."

Speaking for the Oracle, it would be refreshing to hear what message Romney intends.

America Post Dubya

My friend Sweet Polly turned me on to a blog hosted by Stupid Evil Bastard. Really, that's the name of the blog.

When I went where Polly told me to go I found the following video. It's a little dated, but I think stupid then reflects stupid now:

As Stupid Evil Bastard himself said, "It never ceases to amaze me how many people can be so willing to work against their own self-interests because FOX 'News' told them to. These people have nothing but Republican talking-points to spew out in response to the questions being asked."

Jon Stewart of The Daily Show recently said it best, "It's so much easier to watch FOX News than sticking your own head up your ass."

Watching these bozos ... I can only hang my head in shame. These are my fellow countrymen. How embarrassing! And, they will likely go to the polls and vote this November. The horror!

Speaking of voting, I recommend going to Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay 2012 and voting for The Epicurean Perils of Sweet Polly as best food blog of the bay. I did!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Paul Ryan And THEM!

Most everyone these days has heard of Ryan (R - the douche from Hell). He, of course, is Mitten's pick for President of these United States. Well, that's what he said before he flipped another flop. I saw it plain as day on the teevee.

You are probably wondering then, who is THEM?


Of women, John Lennon wrote:

We make her paint her face and dance
If she won't be a slave, we say that she don't love us
If she's real, we say she's trying to be a man
While putting her down, we pretend that she's above us 

We make her bear and raise our children
And then we leave her flat for being a fat old mother hen
We tell her home is the only place she should be
Then we complain that she's too unworldly to be our friend

Now, what about Paul Ryan?

5 facts about Ryan and Women

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Betting The Farm On A Tea Party Win

This morning's post from CREDO Action is worth a re-post and a read:

Mitt Romney just bet the farm, and he put his chips on the Tea Party.

When it comes to winning the White House, Mitt's pick of Paul Ryan — the architect of the Tea Party budget — was a huge gamble.

But one thing's for sure: It's great news for the Tea Party extremists fighting to keep control of Congress.

In a year when Democrats and progressives just aren't as fired up as they were four years ago, the choice of Paul Ryan is bound to energize the Republicans' Tea Party base. And that means grassroots organizing against Tea Party extremists in Congress just got even more important.

Paul Ryan was the guy who brought destroying Medicare into the heart of the Republicans' priorities. Does that hurt Mitt Romney overall in Florida? Probably. But will it bring more Tea Partiers out to re-elect Tea Party mad hatter Allen West in his district? You betcha.

Romney is almost certain to lose in California. But will more Sacramento Tea Partiers now go to the polls to cast their vote for Ryan's radical attack on environmental and public health protections — and give a boost to Dan Lungren in the process? Almost certainly.

And while it's hard to imagine anyone casting a vote in favor of slashing women's health services and access to birth control, with Ryan on the ticket, more people will do exactly that in Chip Cravaack's district in Minnesota.

The choice of Paul Ryan shows just how far to the right Tea Party extremists have succeeded in pulling the entire Republican Party.

What remains to be seen is if Democrats who might not be thinking of going out to the polls this time, and Independents who haven't paid much attention to the Tea Party record, will vote to hold these extremists accountable in November. We have to make sure voters in these districts know the stakes. Because with Ryan as the candidate for VP, it's even more important that they do.


If these guys win we can bid a fond adieu to our Republic and democracy as we know it. The oligarchs* will rule the land.

FYI: Aristotle pioneered the use of the term* as a synonym for rule by the rich.

Monday, August 13, 2012

More Weepy-pants Republicans

First there was Boehner, and now there are two more. Mitten's choice for veep, Paul Ryan (R - f*#k the poor), burst out in tears while explaining to his Wisconsin audience that he has cheese running in his veins along with some sausage and beer. I am not a doctor, but that sounds like a really serious arterial blockage issue just waiting to happen.

Anyway, as Ryan turned weepy he was joined by Romney and crew. Said Mitt, "We were touched and tears filled my eyes, I looked at Ann, tears were in her eyes, and I know Paul, Janna [Ryan's wife] felt the same way." That event must have been the mother of all slobber fests. I'm glad I missed it.

Don't misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that real men don't cry or that it is unmanly to do so, but crying over beer, bratwurst, and ice fishing? Give me a break!

It would be nice to think these two weepy-pants Republicans could save their tears for all of their fellow countrymen who will be devastated by Ryan's budgetary proposals to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, while slashing taxes for the wealthy and corporations, should the unthinkable happen and they win the election.

Additionally, how embarrassing for our once great nation to have these two snivelers appear on the world stage along with a blubbering Boehner with tears streaming from their eyes. We are not talking about some sort of warm and fuzzy love fest here.

We are talking about leading the most powerful nation the world has ever known. We need men and women with nerve and steely resolve who can handle anything that comes their way, and who can save their tears for a private moment.

As an after thought, while Ryan was discussing his anatomical makeup with cheese replacing blood, it was never revealed what he uses for a heart or brain. I have a few thoughts, but I'll leave it to you to come up with some of your own.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Sunday Stroll

One of the treasures of South Tampa is the area around Ballast Point Park. I took a camera with me on my latest 5 mile hike for fitness. There might have been a plethora of pictures had I not been prodigiously perspiring in the heat and humidity. My Canon is not water proof.

There was a little dallying in the digital darkroom after I returned home and cooled down a tad.

The first image, that of the tree lined street in front of the Tampa Yacht and Country Club, is as it might have appeared in a mid-19th century photo (minus the trailer hitch in the lower left corner) using the daguerreotype process. The rest simulate cross processing - where film and chemicals are mismatched to create sometimes unique color effects.

Interbay Boulevard looking toward the old  Ballast Point trolley stop.
The Ballast Point pier where fishing is great, I hear.
The newly completed boat dock at Ballast Point Park.
The new children's water feature.

And, finally one of the most impressive SOG City buildings. The Ballast Point Elementary School is housed in this lovely historic building of Mediterranean architecture. Its doors were first opened on September 1, 1924 at a cost of approximately $122,000.00.

The school will be celebrating its 88th birthday in a few days.

Happy birthday to the school, and sorry kids about that August 21st reminder. Mom and Dad try to contain yourselves.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Scary Tale Of The Creepy Hand

The following video is not suitable for small children or the faint of heart.

You have been warned!

Ministry Of Silly Walks Training Video

My favorite Tampa Bay newspaper columnist, Daniel Ruth of the Tampa Bay Times, had an interesting take on an Olympic event that I wasn't even aware existed: Race Walking. Mr. Ruth alluded that there was some similarity between this event and a John Cleese performance in the Monty Python sketch, Ministry of Silly Walks. Quite possibly "alluded" is too kind a word.

I have seen some rather idiotic Olympic events over the last several days such as: Men's Water Polo involving of a bunch of dudes tossing a rubber ball around in a swimming pool (no horses were involved), Women's Hand Ball was another surprise with the ladies racing around on a big wooden floor playing catch with a rubber ball.

The fates were obviously kind to me since I had the good fortune to miss the walking events for both men and women. Mr. Ruth did pique my curiosity though, so I turned to the most reliable source of knowledge on most everything. I Googled on the Internet where all information has been vetted by the Ministry of Truth.

Not only was I able to watch a moment or two (all I could stand) of this riveting event, but I also stumbled upon an instructional video that might benefit those thinking of participating in the next Summer Olympics. Enjoy!

CL's Best Of The Bay 2012

The results of our readers' surveys are being tallied and we'll announce the winners on Wednesday, September 19. Show your friends how much you care about your local community and help us make this the most successful Best of the Bay yet by sharing your I VOTED sticker.

If you haven't voted, VOTE NOW!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Taste Of The Mid-East In South Tampa

It was during an all expense paid vacation courtesy of Uncle Sam back at the start of 1991 that I realized I am not a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine. I never could have imagined that the Saudis could totally screw up a Wendy's burger either, but they did.

Anyway, at the urging of my bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, and after reading the review of Byblos Cafe by my friend Sweet Polly, I decided to give this Lebanese eatery a try. The Byblos Cafe is located on MacDill Avenue in south Tampa which is a plus for me since I didn't have to drive to the ends of the world to get there.

Byblos has indoor and outdoor seating, and the outdoor area truly beckoned. The heat and humidity of an August evening suggested strongly that we dine indoors. So we did. Dine indoors, that is.

A little Arak whimsy in the digital darkroom. 
Two of those could certainly cause one to lose their head.
We entered through the backdoor and then through a small grocery area stocked with Middle Eastern delights. My bride recommended that we avoid the heavy MacDill traffic and park in the rear.

Entering the restaurant, we were greeted by a very charming young lady who turned out to be our server for the evening. Natalie guided us to our table and presented us with menus and two glasses of refreshing ice water.

While perusing the wine list I was surprised to see Ouzo listed amongst the wines. When I questioned Natalie she confirmed that it really was an Ouzo-like beverage, that was actually Arak or Araq - a highly alcoholic spirit from the anis drinks family. It is the traditional alcoholic beverage of Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Israel, and Syria.

I ordered a glass and my bride chose a delightful Lebanese red Kefraya Breteches - a slightly smoky full bodied wine. This red blend comes from the Bekka Valley of Lebanon. It is composed of 66% Cinsaut (Cinsault), 15% Tempranillo, 10.5% Syrah, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2.5% Carignan.

As we sipped our beverages, a basket of flat bread was brought to our table with a bowl of a very interesting dipping sauce composed of olive oil, sesame seeds, thyme, and sumac.
The Arak is served straight on the rocks. 
As an aperitif, it is best diluted with a glass of ice water.

Sumac has a tart flavor that is very nice sprinkled on fish, chicken, over salad dressings, rice pilaf, or over raw onions. There are poisonous and non-poisonous varieties. Thankfully, we were served the latter.

Recently I watched one of the Travel Channel hosts enjoying a Lebanese delicacy that tempted my taste buds and I was pleased to see Kebbeh Nayeh on the Byblos menu. Kebbeh Nayeh is prepared with fresh raw lean beef blended with cracked wheat and spices.

This was a very tasty appetizer that easily could be enjoyed by four people.

Recognizing that we were relatively new to Lebanese foods, Natalie gave us a few suggestions on how to enjoy this appetizer. 

One recommendation was to slather a spoon full on a slice of flat bread, top with a bit of onion and a sprig of mint, shake on a little salt, and finally add a few drops of olive oil.

We tried it that way and it was good. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy Kebbeh Nayeh - just whatever pleases you.

My beautiful dining partner, having dined previously at Byblos, pretty much knew in advance what she was going to order as her entrée - the Gyro Dinner, thinly sliced spiced beef and lamb served with green salad, hummus dip and tahina sauce.

The correct pronunciation of 'gyro' is actually a soft 'g', which is very hard for most Americans to get right; although, 'yeer-oh' seems to be a close phoenetic spelling.

Regardless of how it's pronounced, my bride declared it to be delicious and offered me a taste. I had to decline because I was under the spell of my dinner choice.

I had been torn between the Baby Lamb Shanks and the Fresh Lamb Chops marinated with olive oil, herbs and spices. I asked Natalie which one she would recommend and she said that while both are good the chops were her favorite. Well, alrighty then, bring'em on and make them medium rare.

Heavens to Murgatroyd! Those four, inch thick chops were the very best I have ever had in this life. Flavorful. Juicy. Tender.

If I had any more room in my stomach I would have ordered another serving. I didn't, so I didn't. Those lamb chops alone would be reason enough to head back to Byblos.

Neither my bride nor myself had any room left for dessert which was a shame because there were a few dandies on the menu.

All of that delicious food along with adult beverages, plus a well deserved gratuity for Natalie came to just a tad under a hundred bucks.

Byblos Cafe changed my opinion of Middle Eastern foods.

Byblos Cafe on Urbanspoon 

Byblos Cafe on Foodio54