September 2005 - Last Chance Cafe (dt)
5.56 - 7, 6, 5.5, 5.5, 5.5, 5, 5, 5 

Almost a full contingent (eventually, Deb T, to make it full) congregated at the Monteverd abode for a cornucopia of hors d’oeuvres, whines from the teachers, and wines for the palates. After catching up on the news, we turned right on Rt 67, guessing Delmar or Saugerties, and by Cairo, guessing Saugerties or Tannersville. (We had already been clued from the casual dress advice, an unorthodox selection for Kriss.) Ken rambled up 23A and lurched up to the uphill parking lot in Tannersville, almost decided to eat outside on the deck of Last Chance Café on a warm late summer evening, but ensured our comfort by heading inside.  
      Upside -   Ambience plays a strong role at Last Chance. A long and narrow corridor stares at you straight ahead upon entering, and an airy sun room lies on the right. Knick-knacks, bric-a-brac, early Americana devices, duplicated signs, etc., occupy almost all of the visual space, and most of it is for sale. The deli and store on the left is a pleasant after-dining side trip.
      Last Chance plays up its cheese and beer menus, which provided good reasons to try them, but we steered otherwise, mostly the comfort food direction. Three of us had the hot open turkey and mashed potatoes, one meat loaf, two ribs, one chicken teriyaki, and chicken pot pie. All were deemed acceptable to good – the pot pie “loaf of bread” size caught everyone’s attention, the turkey a bit dry, the ribs might have been fatty, and the gravy tasty. Aside from our choices, other menu selections included pasta dishes as well as lighter wraps, burgers, etc.
      The opening salads were satisfactory, a spring salad mix including romaine, onions, a stray carrot, and couple red olives. The bread plate of marble rye slices and sesame bread sticks was picked at lightly.
      Dessert highlighted the evening, giving us a chance to play campers and kindergarten sandbox, with a plateful of ‘Smores material, enough to feed six. The excitement of creating the ‘Smores was almost matched by the inner masculine need to play with fire, dueling marshmallows, and testing the temperatures of the heating devices (variety of methods were tested – none of them very scientific or ingenious). Meanwhile, Judy had ordered the apple strudel with ice cream (she liked), I the three berry pie special with ice cream (good but I couldn’t help comparing it to a recent, much berry-er berry pie at Otesaga), Tom finished with Sambuca, and Tim with Frangelica. Other tables gawked to see how much fun we were having (or perhaps guessing the age gap between behavior and looks!).
      Drinks included a carafe and half of house shiraz, a soda, pinot grigio and a root beer float (Deb T). The bill, including tip, was a modest $65 per couple, one of our less expensive evenings.
      Flavoring the night were discussions of early retirement incentive and St. Croix. Most of the teachers (sorry, Tom) could take an early retirement incentive, if offered, raising all kinds of possibilities and anxieties about a change in a way of life that has been their careers. Of course, the fact we were talking like this the second week into the school year may have been coincidental. And, then, there was Ken’s possible transfer to the Caribbean, which provoked many scenarios about visitation rights, etc.
      A different spin (hee-hee) to the night was Tim hosting the Wheel of Fortune  - roulette wheel hanging from the wall. Four rounds, a dollar per person, resulted in three rounds going to the Monteverds and the other to the Teators. Playing for dinner was ruled out. And, we found out that the wheel was one of about five items in the store not for sale (also, the wine rack).
      Downside: The seating was a tad tight, with Ken and Tim sardined between Tom and me. And, what’s with this “women on one side, men on the other” arrangement? The women sat on the bench (which may not have been comfortable), and the men took the chairs facing their wives. Geez.
      The innuendos showed our creativity once again...
====All in all, Last Chance Café, with its causal style, was a good choice. Although we don’t have a category for “most fun”, this night would be near the top. It was good enough to influence most of us to raise the rating by a half-point.