Brandywine – November 2019 (dt)
7.03 – 7.5, 7.2, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6.75, 6.75

A Notar choice had us turning right on Rt 23 and in short order found ourselves waltzing through Windham on our way to Brandywine. We had visited as DP8 in October 2015 (Monteverd pick) when Kerry joined the Karnes-Monteverd-Teator crew.

Brandywine has not perceptibly changed since we last visited. Well, the fish tank inhabitants looked quite older; otherwise, a warm wood ambiance awaited the Italiano aficionados. The menu, clearly Italian, resignedly accepts a few non-Italian steaks and appetizers. This evening’s choices:

            Consensus seemed to read good to very good, not quite in excellent range.

Entrées are accompanied by a side salad, an eight inch glass plate of greens, one plum tomato, a few slices of onion, a hefty pinch of carrot shreds, four quarter-sliced cucumber chunks, with several tasty choices for dressing. All thought satisfactory enough, and even better coming with dinner.

No dessert lists or reading of the list. Instead, server Julie brought the Brandywine dessert platter from which we could choose from the seven desserts—five cakes, a crème brulee, and a fruit bowl. Our choices:
the chocolate mousse cake with chocolate cracker crust: a Teator share, and a Kriss-Deb K share; deemed excellent, a welcome surprise from the expected dry cake
and Sambuca: white for Ken, black for Chay and Mark

The evening started with a foot-long basket of Italian bread and bread sticks, accompanied by individual pats of butter as well as a small ramekin of herbed creamed butter, which was excellent (the ramekin, not the plastic-wrapped).

Service by Julie was mostly very good. She was attentive, efficient, almost effusive, and kept track of Ken’s coffee. A mark of appreciated competence is the ability to deliver orders to the right spot without asking the table who order what. A plus for Julie. And it was busy. Wednesday night is pasta night at Brandywine ($12 special) and the parking lot was jammed by cars driven by senior seniors. So, service was good for each course but the wait time between courses dragged.

The drink order consisted of two bottles of Illuminati Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (Joyce’s pick), a nice accompaniment with food.

Ambiance is both quirky and comfy-homey. Brandywine strikes me as a former small place that added on, redecorated, and then added on again. A slightly muddy driveway, with potholes of varying depth, tested our night vision, with a couple toes getting wet on the way in.
            Entry is rough-hewn with a cluttered entryway, with three big yellow fish greeting diners. Quickly passing on the left is a large and friendly green-walled bar area that can seat twenty at the bar and another twenty at tables. A dive into the main dining area is a shrine of pine wood on walls and ceiling. Off to the right side, our room, is a sunroom shrine, with arched windows on every wall—six on the south side, three on the road (west side), two on the east side, and three doors with the same theme connecting the main room. Our side room, a 50x20, had a capacity for about fifty people, with lighting from six light tracks.
            Three three-foot square, laminated tables were placed end to end to host DP8. A centerpiece of two wine bottles with a lit, slow drip candle set the initial mood. (The bottle was not the old Mateus or wickered Chianti bottle some of us remember from the 1970s.) A set of salt & pepper shakers along with a three-piece dinnerware set wrapped in a white linen awaited. Sturdy Windsor chairs were comfortable for most of the evening.

Pacing, as noted before, resulted in a two hours fifteen experience, a tad long for this kind of place and longer than many in our group are comfortable with. However, with all the news, we almost did not notice.
A final bill of $82 per couple was a fair price and a reason to return to Brandywine.

We started the evening at the Notars as our meeting point. Lead car Mark did not stop into Point Lookout’s parking lot. whew.
            Topics in the car and at Brandywine covered a wide spread. The major topic spanning the entire evening was the waiting for a new grandchild. The new Monteverdean was expected two days ago so the child-watch has been ongoing. In fact, we took a third car in case Ken and Kriss needed to head to Boston on the quick. Coming back to NY a bit earlier than usual, goings-on in Boston, preparations, etc., have kept east-Freehold on the edge. Good luck.
            The other topic of different note was Deb’s deviated septum (no! not deviation and septum!) was surgically repaired and Deb is breathing much more easily and fully, something most of us take for granted. Good news for you, Deb.
            Other tidbits: Florida news and goings on from Kriss and Ken, especially with friend Yvonne whose husband passed away this summer; the Notar trip to Disney World and concert; Mark wearing ears; Mark’s brother’s heart condition; health insurance; check-ups; not wanting to know our health results, at times; the house-flip project; the Teator trip on Viking Prague to Paris with Lynda and Ross, highlights; wait-listed trip to Nile River in spring; Notar winter trip in mid-winter; preparations for DP8 Christmas at Karnes; Deb T selling another painting at Brasserie; liquor license at Tasting Lab in Greenville; more excitement in Greenville than has been seen in long time; ordering warm weather for mid-December for the return of Tim and Judy; whereabouts of the rest of the DP8 group; Lynda’s hip; the Adamses back in VA for a month; no news about the Quinns; Den & Barbara visiting Texas soon; Trudy turning 102 (cannot imagine being that old); 70 is the new…. pick something; Kyle Lewis’ accident; a murkier than usual Greene County November; Deb K’s cookie venture; memories of the Lampmans at Monteverd Thanksgivings; Ken and Kriss coping with Thanksgiving changes; Thanksgiving prep for the rest of us; the earliest date Christmas lights should be turned on; Christmas shopping, or not; and more.
            And a last note: somehow, on the way out, just as Kriss said everyone had behaved so well, a bit of chatter about Peyronie’s disease popped up. No idea who started it. Ken, of course, was near it. If it had come up (so to speak) during dinner, I am sure Kriss would have taken care of that. Tough to keep all this straight. (sorry for the awful puns, I am just the scribe)