My mother loved to rip things out of the newspaper. She'd sit at the kitchen table, with a cup of coffee and a paper cutter, and go to town. If she was really exercised, she'd get out a red pen and underline egregious turns of phrase and typos. Then, she'd leave them on my bedside table for me to read the next time I visited. Eventually, after all of her children had read them, they'd get tossed - unless they were really special, in which case they got filed.
Dining With Danny was special. Dining With Danny was so special that my sister inherited a handful of clips of Dining With Danny. Well, not inherited as in bequeathed in the will, but laid claim to when we were cleaning out the house. Last summer, Pinky was moving and instead of moving Dining With Danny to a new house, she mailed the clips to me.
Here's the thing about Danny. Danny had a restaurant review column in the local newspaper, but Danny couldn't write. Danny says things like "the milky base tasted valid" (about a clam chowder).
Or the dressings were "lopped on the center of the salad".
"Fruiti de Mare was a dainty presentation of chilled shrimp, crab, lobster enticed by grated onion." Of course, the onion was doing that enticing because Danny had just had some wine out of a very special, um, wine glass? It may be that Danny had never before seen a wine glass.
Then again, Danny pays attention to the glasses; a Margarita "could have been served in a more decorative glass". But at that august establishment, the host "stood up and 'attempted to' serenade us."
I'm not sure that Danny understands the difference between posh enclaves and "upscale", but the chicken cutlet was "a large hunk of flavor".
What does it mean when Danny says that soup is an "ongoing project"? It sounds a little too much like learning on the job!
Danny tries hard to find something nice to say. Even though the coffee was very bland, "the food and ambiance is not pretentious. This is a respectable, all-purpose eating place."
Except sometimes, there's really nothing to say.
On the one hand, I kind of feel for Danny. On the other hand? These gems are too good not to share, and that my mother so carefully cut them out and marked up her favorite bits makes me wistful and delighted all at the same time.
If you want to read the full reviews, I uploaded them all as a pdf. You're welcome.