Shamrock House May 2021
Yyeeeaaaayyyyy! Dinner Party of Eight re-convened, the first time since our last Covid take-out in October. More thoughts about that later.
We bellied up to the Shamrock bar at 6:30, most of us ordering a Guinness or Rip Van Winkle IPA, chatting for ten minutes before being ushered into the large dance hall area by server Nicola. The room was reduced in half by a large curtain, with the music of line dancing infiltrating from the other side, and the movements of a dozen participants peeking through the curtain slit.
The menu steers to sandwiches and entrées that are borderline bar food, with a few Irish twists. Our choices:
An appetizer: White button mushrooms, breaded with Parmesan cheese and horseradish dip (Karnes share)
Teriyaki chicken stir fry mixed with fresh vegetables on rice (Don, Ken [ya read right, Ken!])
Bangers and mash, sauteed onions, smothered in gravy (Mark)
Shrimp basket, french fries, lemon wedge, and sauce (Chay)
the Pasta and Spinach special (Deb K)
Irish chicken curry, fresh vegetables, with rice or fries (Joyce)
Thanksgiving Dinner special – turkey and fixin’s (Kriss, Deb T)
Our bar orders carried over to the table, with a stray re-order, or even a glass of red wine, and a couple sodas
a short list of four meh choice, even after a five minute pause, lured no one, although a couple suggested they were really thinking of the Key lime pie. (stage fright?)
We paid by separate checks for the first time in 216 dinners. Most entrées fell in the $15-$20 range. Two entrées, a drink each, no dessert, tax, and tip fell mostly in the $55 per couple range, give or take $5.
Ambiance is local character, old Irish dance hall. Exposed roofline and ceiling/support beams create a mishmash overhead view. A half dozen tables dotted the floor, with DP8 occupying a round, five-foot table.
            Talk level should have been quiet but a healthy competition from line dancing music occasionally necessitated a close listening.
            Sturdy wooden, ladderback chairs ringed the two piece white plastic table covering, with a knife and fork placed upon a paper napkin. A salt shaker sat in the center. Comfy Irish!
Nikola was an attentive waiter, masked still for Covid regulations. Casual, mostly timely.

Other notes:
Those in the know looked over the scene before entering the building. Earlier in the spring, a car had rammed through the bar door, now shining a bit more freshly than all the other doors. Across the street was a repaired fence, mostly demolished in the same incident.
            We later greeted Sue & Mike Boyle upon their entry to a different table, with a nice catch-up with a still-working former C-D teaching colleague.
So, eight months of take-out and seven months of suspension made reconvening both a welcome event as well as something out of the ordinary, almost nervous. Unmasked, not socially distanced. Cannot tell if we washed out hands! ha
            The seven months of absence allowed for a re-examination of our rules and guidelines and we have since re-founded a couple, to place more emphasis on the social and not necessarily a new & high cost restaurant.
            The one rule change is a maximum of 45 minute travel time, with a leash pulling us closer to 30, whenever doable. More than 45 minutes needs agreement by the group.
            Guideline changes: separate checks, when possible; no scores; destination by surprise, an option by the selector, more emphasis on “value food,” cancel a month if four or fewer DP8ers are available during “snowbird” months.

Topics of the evening:
            Well, for starters, the last seven months, Covid updates, uncertainty, vaccinations, dealing with non-vaxxers, friends and family, deaths, getting back to doing stuff, some semblance of normal, and so on.
            Other topics included the Monteverds’ return and their catching up with chores; the Notar house-in-building and details; visits to restaurants (ranging from rare to common; even within this group); relief we were not teaching; Memorial Day; roller-coaster weather; early golf games; Deb’s closings; trips cancelled and rescheduled; Ken’s sister’s health issues; catching up with the children and grandchildren; bicycling; summer plans; the whereabouts and well-being of the Tim & Judy, Lynda & Ross, Den, Julie & Kerry; the Adamses’ new pool; goings-on in our communities; Deb K’s “work” at Ravine Farm; Deb T’s art class in oils; pool care; high cost of lumber; unavailability of supplies; Chay’s mowing of Weed Road; Mark’s house-flipping; Finger Lakes; church; and a slew of other topics missed along the way.
            Finally, Ken started early questioning if it was line dancing next to us or ... Kriss rolled her eyes. And then Deb K later helped out on a golf discussion about putting it in the hole, .... wow. Mark tried to compete but he was up against the masters of innuendo this evening.
             A Teator pick on Wednesday the 23rd.