Shamrock House – May 2014 (dt)
5.66 – 7, 6.75, 6.5, 6, 6, 5, 4, 4
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1950s Modern was the phrase tossed out to describe the ambiance at East Durham’s Shamrock House—a throwback far enough back that could be modern chic in the right place.
          The Karneses fooled all of us, leaving the house at 6:55, and abruptly veering into a familiar parking lot along Rt 145. The shortness of drive disappointed no one (“Are we getting old?” opined Kriss later).

The menu is short and casual, with several appetizers; a few salads; a dozen sandwiches, burgers or specials; and several desserts.
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Shepherd’s Pie: a boarding house oval plate with the obligatory layers (Don, Lynda: OK, heavy on the potato)
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Reuben sandwich (Deb K: good)
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Fish & chips (Ken & Chay: satisfactory, excellent)
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Chicken Cordon Bleu (Deb T: satisfactory)
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Stuff chicken: filled with spinach and feta (Ross: satisfactory)
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Mac & cheese (Kriss: good)

Three chose a salad to start, a standard plate with mostly iceberg, two cherry tomatoes, a few shreds of onion, a couple cucumber slices, with choice of dressing. Three votes for basic and satisfactory.

Desserts included:
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Brownie, with scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream (Ken, Kriss, Ross, and a Karnes share: mostly ok, brownie - meh)
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Chocolate mousse cake (Don: satisfactory)
==> Carrot cake (Deb T: satisfactory)
One merlot, several pints of beer (mostly Irish, of course), a couple pitchers of water, and a resupply of coffee sated the parched throats.

Service by Michelle was good. A serenade a la Beatles by Lynda may have added to the flavor.

Ambiance is a lot of red and white checkerboard (tablecloths, window treatments), 1950s knotty pine for the walls, sound-proof white ceiling tiles, bare wooden floors, with lacy curtains filling the front and side windows
         
Boarding house tables were lined with wooden, ladder-back chairs redolent of a 1970s East Durham. Glass containers of sugar packets, plastic salt and pepper shakers, and overturned coffee cups graced the tables upon entry. Lighting came from the blare of two fluorescent fixtures overhead although recessed lighting and wall-mounted red hurricane globe lamps supplied most of the rest of the room.
          Table 16 (number set in the metal stand) was set with four chairs on the side and two ends and we settled by moving the ends. However, hearing abilities were not tested as we were the only occupants in the room. Except for a half-hour, none of the other nineteen tables was occupied. (Everyone else sat in the bar half of the building.)
         The bill for the evening came to $54 per couple. So, a short ride and a low bill buoyed the atmosphere as we exited.
         Thank you, Chay & Deb, for adding a casual alternative to our dining choices.

The evening had started at the Karnes house, soon emptying onto the front porch. Deb had prepared a plate of veggies, a bowl of pineapple chunks, a bowl of crackers, and a cream cheese-salsa mix—just enough for the evening. Chay kept glasses filled with beer or a Malbec or a white wine.
          The Core (a new phrase for the six?) were complemented by the company of Lynda and Ross.
          Topics, as usual, came from all over the place. Foremost, necessarily, was the impending retirement of Chay, leading to plans, plans made for Chay, student reaction, filling the position, Chay’s interviewing others for the position, and quality (or not) interviews.
         More topics: beautiful weather, East Conesville and its visitors, the Teator day trip to Cooperstown, flea markets, bicycling, the new deck furniture, Karnes inside furniture, Teator furniture, mowing grass, Monteverd travels, fawns and pictures of fawns, flower gardens, vegetable gardens, the Danube cruise, the Adriatic cruise, summer travel plans, where are Tim and Judy, traveling in Virginia, Kalli, Freihofer Run, Freihofer ... (sorry, Tim, ...), grandchildren, relations with in-laws, and the usual gad of stuff that comprises discourse of intellect, or not.
          Thanks, Lynda and Ross, for genially filling in.