On Friday night, I went to the Rockin’ Fish restaurant in Northport with eight extended family members to celebrate the life of my wonderful Brother-in-law, Tom, after his funeral earlier in the day. I found it almost ironic to be going to a funeral ON Memorial Day weekend for such a terrific, fun loving man, but alas here I am.
We were all gathered around the table exchanging family stories when the waitress approached looking to take our drink order. It was water all around and one lager beer on tap. The beer surprisingly was not for me. I had to drive home and it was going to be a long day so I refrained from any alcohol that evening.
I think we were seated at their biggest table, so I would suggest not going there with any more than eight people, unless it’s a beautiful night to eat outside. Needless to say (but I’m still saying it), it was a rainy Friday night.
The water came to the table in chilled bottles as we all conversed. We all pondered our dinner orders comparing notes of who would order what off the menu. Debbie, my amazing sister in-law, could not decide between the fish sandwich or the “Stupid Chicken Sandwich”. No kidding, that’s what it’s called. I offered to help my sister in-law, much to my wife’s dismay, by suggesting we order both and split them between us. I was delighted when she accepted, but that meant Jennifer had to choose her own meal. Her choice was the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, sans tomato and blue cheese as she is allergic to the former and despises the taste of the latter on anything.
We all ordered our respective meals: one medium rare hamburger was the old standby for my mother in-law. Sam ordered their fabulous fish tacos, Adam the fish and chips, Adam’s friend Will’s choice was the Pasta Bolognese. Ben ordered the Pasta Bolognese as well, along with the wedge salad.
I always wondered why restaurants charge so much for wedge salads. I remember the first wedge salad I had was as a child; it was served to me in a seafood restaurant called the Schooner. The restaurant was located on the Nautical mile in Freeport, New York. This was my mom’s favorite place to eat, right until it closed in the late seventies. I think back to those days in the seventies when the wedge salad came “free” with the meal. The Schooner’s version of the salad was a quarter head of iceberg lettuce with your choice of salad dressing. They only offered four choices and did not even have a premade vinaigrette dressing, so my brother always had to order oil and vinegar. I myself always chose the Thousand Island dressing as a kid and I loved it. To this day, I still compare EVERY Thousand Island dressing to that one. My whole point to this salad diversion is I have a wedge salad recipe slated for this book. I will be bringing it to work in the very near future so I can post here for everyone to enjoy. It also costs less than $10 to make. I should bring enough for the whole office, huh?
Well, the weekend is over and it’s time to go back to the old grind. I would just like to close today’s post with a prayer for a truly excellent brother in-law and all those who knew him. We will all miss his laughter, sense of humor, generosity, and kindness very much.
Tom, it was a pleasure to know you, and I will think of you always with a smile on my face, as I continue to live my own life with an exuberance for gardening and things you loved that you have inspired in me.
Until next time, I wish everyone to be well, healthy, and happy.
-The Drunken Chef (Russ)
© Russ Ahrens and The Magic of a Perfect Pairing, 2021