J&J Smokehouse BBQ takeout – June 2020 (dt)
6.91 – 7.3, 7.25, 7.2, 7, 6.9, 6.5, 6.25 (seven scores)

A full cycle (March – June) of take-out during COVID-19 times finished on the Karneses’ lawn on a shirt-sleeve, shady evening. Chay & Deb had selected J&J Smokehouse, with Mark & Joyce picking up the orders.

From their website, J&J describe themselves: “… All of our barbecue is a tasty blend of fresh herbs and spices dried and hand rubbed band then slow smoked or several hours over a blend of Applewood and Hickory producing bold, juicy, flavorful meats. …”
            The menu, although short, is classic smoked bbq: pulled pork, pulled chicken, chopped brisket, jerk chicken, hot sausage, spare rib sandwich, Reuben sandwich, and rubbed ribs. Several sides can be selected. Platters come with two sides and cornbread. And the accompanying side of pickles was hot! According to the website, take-out options are encouraged although there is limited seating at the former garage,
            Our choices this evening:

Deb: trio platter of brisket, jerk chicken and ribs
Chay: half-slab of ribs
a gin & tonic for Deb, Dr Frank Salmon Run chardonnay for Chay

shared: one rib; platter of chopped brisket and pulled pork, sides of beets and coleslaw, with an extra half-pint of baked beans (with that spicy sausage)
a Spanish graciano from Rioja

half rack of ribs, trio platter (jerk chicken, sausage & pastrami) with potato salad, baked beans and roasted carrots
and a Avinodos 2016 Zinfandel (worthy, Don also thought)

(No Ken at last minute: we wondered if we should worry more than Kriss was telling us; ya know how those underwear models are. Still, Ken, for you to miss Deb’s desserts is not taken lightly!)

We thought the food was good to very good, a good takeout choice. Ordering online was easy, pickup on time, a good niche for the Catskill area.

Ambiance was the backyard of Karnes’s little slice of heaven, around two long tables just off the back porch. Service was us, so it was good enough.

Average price per couple centered around $40, with one higher amount balancing out the other three low-mid $30s.

And then dessert: Deb disappeared into the house and reappeared with a stack of four pans, each with a quarter of a cheesecake: NY style, with main ingredients of cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, eggs and heavy cream; and baked in a “water bath” to preserve moistness and to prevent cracking. (thanks, Deb, for the details) A bowl of strawberries topped this final course. A wonderful way to end another worthy DP8 adventure. Thank you, Deb K, for your efforts and generosity. DP8 Takeouts certainly are tinged with memories of DK desserts.

Below are the essences of some lengthier topics and then the hodge-podge:
CV times have certainly changed DP8 routines even if we are coping well enough. One silver lining is the extension of our usual limits of dining selections. Two of this cycle’s four selections had no liquor license, a requirement of DP8 Rule #1. We normally would never select Angel’s or J&J. (We have done this once before, though, and we brought our own liquor. Anyone recall that time?)
            Another silver lining is the ease of scheduling. No one is out of town!
            A third lining is dessert – mentioned before.
            A fourth – cost, although to be fair, we are not counting the cost of our own alcoholic choices.
            A fifth – the drive is, on average, much shorter than usual. A normal Teator pick would take all of us to Timbuctoo. ha. Now, we strive to get food back home in time to enjoy while warm. And someone picking up our food makes the drive even shorter.

And then there are all the other CV effects that our other aspects of life: Although we would have coped well, we think, we retirees do not miss being back at school. Not going to shopping malls, museums, and concerts still taunt us. Reactions from the general public about the various NYS Phases drew comment; Greene County is Phase Three as of DP8 time seems to not affect us. The real estate market will probably enter a frenzy, if not here already. Comfort at going to sit-down restaurants (50% capacity now) drew a range of feeling. Our anticipation of returning to restaurants was noted, although the Pub is for sale, as is Saloon;

We even spent ten minutes at politics, noting the many elements of the past four years we seem to have never seen in our lives. You can read between the lines.
But these last two or three weeks heighten our observations. The ignorance or lack of empathy of our President, Tulsa, whether George Floyd being white making a difference, wearing a mask as ideology or common respect for others around us, the lack of regard for equal rights, and more were slightly tapped this evening. A change of pace for us.

And we spent a few minutes on the pluses and minuses of the level of fine dining when it meets take out. Some of us feel fine dining places can never replicate the sit-down experience and that less fussy food travels better. And even in agreement, some of us enjoy Brasserie food even if it takes fifteen minutes to get it home. Of course, a take home from Albany or Kingston or Chatham or Schoharie is not in the cards yet for any of us.

The hodge-podge:
            the wonder of dusk’s light at 9:30 pm or later; the solstice not on June 21; the wonder of our gardens and the promise for future abundance; our semi-drought and lawns turning brownish; watering; yard sales, especially the Notar’s this weekend; Father’s Day; hair cuts and stylings; Don’s unnoticed hair cut; Deb K’s desserts, of course; sciatica; golfing; Deb T’s painting, now into watercolor; bicycling; pools; grandchildren; summer plans, or what is left of them; the Adamses soon to return to Alexandria with a new dog for the girls, wink, wink; Lynda & Ross and an addition to summer camp; Den back from SC, we think, and Barbara with yard sale; Quinns seem to have stayed hidden well; and more stuff that has evanesced into the fading crepuscule.

the photos: a does-not-do-service of dessert; and half of our socially distanced group