Kicking it Old School
The only thing missing from this excellent guest post by Robert of Cross Keys is the recipe for the dish he's taking to his pool party. Here's Robert. EL
Last week my wife let it be known that I live in the public eye. And like many other elected office holders, I am getting ready for the big political event that takes place this week.
Yes, I do serve. I’m on my condo’s board of directors. And this week, of course, is the annual Cross Keys pool party.
As perhaps the only Republican office holder in all of Baltimore City, I realize that I am vulnerable, even in Cross Keys. It is imperative that I bring my A game to this event, and by that I mean I have to impress with my covered dish. ...
This year I’m going with a squash and potato salad with a dressing of sour cream, dill, and sautéed scallions. I picked up this recipe from an episode of The Hippy Gourmet on PBS that features one of my favorite lines from a cooking show: “Hippies love potatoes.”
I think this recipe communicates that I understand the plight of people. It is recession chic.
Last year before the wheels fell off the economy, and everyone started bragging about how much money they are not spending and how many coupons they are clipping, I was free to show off a little more. I made a krab, pea and tomato salad that I patterned off a similar salad that is served at Petit Louis.
Ah, but those days seem so far away now. It seems there needs to be a special occasion, like Restaurant Week, to break out the krab.
Speaking of days that seem so far away, I found myself at an Old School restaurant last week near Perring Plaza in Parkville. Well, I assume it is Parkville, but I know there are some Chamber of Commerce types who insist that area be referred to as Towson.
My wife and I were in the area to try the new Hibachi Grill, but a combination of a 30-minute wait and watching people driving around the buffet in their Rascals made me reconsider our dinner plans.
So I drove down Satyr Hill, and I saw a tavern sadistically placed at the corner of hairpin turn. It’s an old building with red lettering that spells out Valley View Inn. Probably when it was built a valley was actually visible from the grounds, but now you see the beltway.
We walked in and I heard a woman yelling: “I’m so crazy; I’m so crazy” in a classic Baltimore accent the kind of which, since moving to Cross Keys, I don’t hear too often outside of those ever so frequent commercials for Mr. Tire.
We made our way through the bar and back to the dining room. Everything was gray: the carpet, the walls, the tables, the chairs, the artwork, the customers, everything.
At that point I was wondering if I made a good decision. I looked at the menu and nothing was speaking to me. My wife asked me what I was going to have. I said, "Maybe a sandwich." She repeated what I said, only with a greater sense of dejection.
I knew what she wanted without asking her. She wanted the steak like she always does. My wife will order the steak at any place from the Prime Rib to Denny’s. I understand the former, but when the latter is priced at a similar point to a Moons Over My Hammy, it is a given that quality of the beef is going to be lacking.
Now the steak she wanted was the porterhouse special for $17. It wasn’t priced so low as to have been wearing a saddle last week, but it was certainly a questionable call.
I went on for a good 15 minutes telling her about my beef quality theories and corresponding price points, but it became clear that she was set on the porterhouse.
I knew that I couldn’t just get a sandwich, as the price differential of our two items would leave her feeling guilty. It would also leave me looking emasculated. As it was she was already drinking a Bloody Mary, while I was there sipping an unsweetened iced tea.
I ended up ordering the fried chicken, which was listed as a house favorite. She got the porterhouse, medium rare.
Both of us were pleasantly surprised with our meals. The chicken was well seasoned, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The porterhouse was perfectly cooked to order, and it didn’t have that livery taste that too many steaks seem to have.
Considering the kitchen did a good job with the main courses, I asked the waitress if any of the desserts were made in house. She said only the rice pudding, so I decided to pass.
Our waitress worked a double that day, and we were her last table. Since I understand the plight of the people, I knew it was time to the pay the check.
(Photo of Valley View Inn bar courtesy of Jason Knauer/Metromix)