Only One Breakfast Choice Today

Only One Breakfast Choice Today

I found out last night that today is National Pancake Day. So, of course, this puppy was going to have pancakes for breakfast no matter what!

As it turned out, I had no milk in the house, so I ended up at my favorite eatery in the whole wide world. That would be Cracker Barrel.

Here’s the disclosure: I do work there, so you might think that’s what’s behind my glowing recommendation.

But that’s not the case. I did not come to love it after working there; I work there because I loved the place.

I love everything about it. The food, the distinctive Southern theme and ambience. The consistently excellent service. Love it all.

And the yummy pancakes are a part of that!

Now, it doesn’t matter at all how or where you celebrate National Pancake Day! I care not one whit about that. IHOP and Perkins would also be excellent choices today!

But you must shove pancake matter and some awesome flavor of syrup into your pie hole before the clock strikes midnight!

You simply must!

And if you’re not sure where you want to get in on the fun, remember Cracker Barrel is open until 10 PM and we serve breakfast right up until we turn off the grill!

 

 

Full of pancakes and contentment, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Additional note: this blog posting is based on my own impressions and opinions of a well-known and well-loved American restaurant chain and is not any kind of official communication from CBOCS Inc.

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Searching for the Meaning of Life

Searching for the Meaning of Life

This brief blog entry simply cannot be appreciated or understood unless you’ve cast your eyes over the accompanying photo. And, yes, I took the pic myself. No issues about ownership, copyrights or any such thing. And, if you must know, this humble sign adorns the north wall of the bar in my fave barbecue joint. In my fave beach town.

Having gotten the preliminary stuff out of the way, let me state for the record that I do not believe that the true meaning of life can be found in this lighthearted aphorism; it’s merely there to keep the wall from looking bare and, perhaps, to amuse the drunks who spend way too much time and money reading silly plaques tacked to the walls of our many infamous watering holes here in the Sunshine State.

The message of that damned sign does not seem to grow more profound with each lager lifted to my lips. I’ve never shared this barroom bromide with friends, nor incorporated it into an update on Facebook. (No need going to my Facebook page to verify that statement!)

Let’s be real. Life’s true meaning cannot be divined by reading this sign no matter how much beer you’ve quaffed.  I just like it because, as I stand right on the threshold of qualifying for social security, I think it just might be true! Not sure my doctor would vouch for that, but, it could be!

Now I think I’ll ponder that message one more time as I order one more beer…  Ashley!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

This gem is coming back around because today’s National Beer Lover’s Day. It debuted back in July of 2016. It’s NBLD and it’s a Friday. No better day to enjoy a cold beer!

© 2016 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Lone Cabbage Fish Camp

Lone Cabbage Fish Camp

If you live in Orlando and go to Cocoa or Cocoa Beach very often, you’ve passed Lone Cabbage Fish Camp, no doubt.

There are several ways to get to the Cocoa area from O’do and I’d venture to say that SR 520 is the most common route if you’re not fond of tolls. The Beach Line Expressway has them, but SR 520 does not.

Lone Cabbage is that little outpost of civilization on your right as you’re crossing the St John’s River and entering Brevard County.

If you don’t turn in at Lone Cabbage in search of an air boat ride–yes, they certainly do those–you’re most likely on a quest for good, local seafood and a beer or two to wash it down.

I had lunch at Lone Cabbage yesterday after about a thousand trips to Cocoa Beach over that well-travel road and I’m glad I did.

I ordered the Catfish Dinner, took it just the way it comes–with hushpuppies, their seasoned fries and slaw and chased it with a Coors Light. (No beer taps in this well-worn and very authentic joint, but about 15 different bottled brands.)

The Catfish was good and the fries were above average. They had lived under a heat lamp just a few moments too long by my standard, but when you sit down in a busy eatery at straight-up noon, that’s how it usually goes.

I love a good, freshly-made cole slaw and theirs was tasty and not overly-sweet. When the sugar kicks all the other ingredients into the back seat–something that’s far from rare in many home-style restaurants–I don’t like it!

I’d like to think that an establishment with cabbage in the name joint would have amazing slaw and although that’s not the case, it’s certainly not a situation where this often under-appreciated side dish warranted “points off”!

Yikes! I’ve become a “slaw snob”!

My impressions of Lone Cabbage Fish Camp are just fine so far. To have a more complete picture, I’d like to have more than only one dish and check out the air boat rides as well. But based on poking around the site and the County Park next to it a couple of times and patronizing it once, I certainly can recommend it. It’s well-known around the East Central Florida region and has been busy the times I’ve stopped by.

The next time you’re breezing down SR 520 mid-way between Cocoa and Orlando, stop in at Lone Cabbage and take in this landmark. You’ll pass a small Brevard Co. Park, James Bourbeau Memorial, where there is a public boat ramp and public rest rooms.

LoneCabb-airboat-rides-sign

And right next door, you’ll find Lone Cabbage. The basic boat ride does not require a reservation, but the bigger packages do. The minimum wait is 30 minutes. The perfect time to grab a quick lunch!

To visit their site and see more about LCFC, including the menu, just click on this link.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

 

Tabasco HQ is in deep trouble!

Tabasco HQ is in deep trouble!

I keep one eye open for important stories about worsening climate change. There’s certainly no shortage of those these days.

This article is about one spot where the results of warming and the accompanying rise in sea levels is affecting the heart of Cajun country. It’s a place where many folks hold strongly conservative beliefs and where warnings about climate change from scientists and treehuggers are at considerable risk of being ignored or blithely explained away.

Avery Island–where Tabasco Sauce has been made for over 150 years–is slowly sinking. But the main problem is that the water surrounding most of the island is rising very fast. Faster than almost anywhere else on the planet.

It’s not actually an island in the technical or scientific sense, but it’s going to become one soon. By 2050, according to recent estimates.

The Island rises 163′ above sea level now, but the marshes surrounding it are retreating by a staggering 30′ per year. At that rate, the 2,200 acres of Avery Island will shrink dramatically before the mid-century mark, leaving only its core above water. That’s hardly enough real estate to support the growth of peppers and the production of the hot sauce which has made Tabasco one of the best known brands in the food industry and made the McIlhenny family very, very rich.

The Guardian published an article just this morning by writer Oliver Milman which lays out skillfully and in painstaking detail how this unhappy development is unfolding. I strongly recommend this piece to anyone who’s interested in climate change, great hot sauce, or contemporary events affecting life in the American south.

Climate change is real. The seas are rising. And regardless of how long it takes for some Americans to see what’s actually happening all around us, we’re going to have to meet the challenges caused by the damage we’ve done to our planet, and we’re going to have to be for real.

The denying, the explaining away and the foot dragging have got to stop. If we still have a lot of people and a lot of corporations–who have a financial interest in mucking up the issue–pulling in the wrong direction, wondering how we’re going to keep our favorite hot sauce on the store shelves will be the least of our worries.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

Today is National Cabbage Day!

Today is National Cabbage Day!

Today is THEE DAY we celebrate this awesome vegetable! And I must say, that if there wasn’t a day for cabbage, there damn sure should have been!

In all seriousness, I do love cabbage. It’s one of my very faves. Love it a thousand ways…

To commemorate the day this time, I made cabbage, diced tomato, black olive and navy bean burritos. Well, I threw in some onion and green pepper, too. Fabulous!

Fish tacos are another way to get some cabbage in your belly! Too much trouble for me at home, but I’ll be chokin’ down some fish tacos in the very near future, for sure!

Hope you’re having a fine day and that you’re celebrating! Some awesome occasion!

 

Feeling fine on Nat’l Cabbage Day, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

Today’s National Pizza Day!

Today’s National Pizza Day!

It is, indeed, thee day we celebrate this glorious food and I’m going to chow down on some monster chunk of pizza tonight or my name’s not Benjamin Basile!

I know you love pizza too. If you don’t, there’s just no hope for you.

Being Sicilian, I come by my love of pizza honestly. As you many know, pizza in any part of Italy is not at all like the pizza we’ve come to love here in the States.

Many would describe it as primitive. Overly simple. Lacking in character, deficient in taste….

What you’d most likely find in any restaurant serving pizza in “the old country” would be a simple but tasty dough, stretched out on a real wooden peel, topped with a modest amount of good, hearty tomato sauce… here’s the part that’s hard to swallow, so to speak: it may or may not be topped with cheese!

And if it is, a bit of fresh basil–fresh, meaning not chopped to pieces–may well be the only topping other than sauce and (maybe) cheese. An excellent quality cheese and basil, but you can see what I meant about authentic Italian pizza and American pizza being quite different.

Well, regardless of what your idea of what pizza should be like may be, I hope you get to observe National Pizza Day properly… That is, by getting some in yer belly!

 

 

Getting mighty hungry in O’do, I am,

Benjamin Basile

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Mr Basile is not the owner of this fine foto

From the vault for National Squirrel Appreciation Day

From the vault for National Squirrel Appreciation Day

I’m thinkin’ not too many folks know that today is “National Squirrel Appreciation Day!” Yes, that’s for real!

In honor of the occasion, here’s a piece I wrote quite a long time ago for my first (now dormant) blog site; I ran it here in May of 2016.

Enjoy The Squirrel and the Spiritual Experience!

I had just dropped off a fare in my taxi and i decided to stop in at
a fast food place in Altamonte Springs for a quick bite. If you do
know the territory, Backyard Burgers is a better-than average
burger drive-through in an Old Checkers location. It’s quite popular
with the locals.

It’s pretty popular with some furry critters up there too! I got
my “Black and Bleu” burger, an extremely yummy burger featuring
black angus beef and bleu cheese, and proceeded to make short work
of it. It truly was as good a burger as this dog had ever put into
his jaws!

Just as I was about to toss the last morsel down, this very tame
squirrel began to make her way over to the patio table where I was
enjoying this late lunch. (At Backyard Burgers, there is no indoor
seating.)

As she got a little closer, I became transfixed at the sight of her
approach and could not eat that last bit until I knew what she was
up to. In pretty short order she hopped right up on the bench next
to me and reared up on her hind legs. By now she was only about six
inches from me–from me and the last few crumbs of what had been the
best lunch I’d had in quite a while…

As I extended my hand in her direction, she actually put her little
claws right on my first finger and clasped my hand very gently
with a measured and seemingly purposeful pressure. I was quite
surprised to say the least. What I had expected her to do was to
reach for the bite o’ burger and scamper away like a bandit.

For a moment or two she just stayed there clasping my hand and
looking me right in the eye. Then, with consummate timing, she took
the morsel in her mouth and ate it in two or three bites all while
maintaining her eye contact with me, her very flabbergasted
benefactor.

Then she turned away, paused for just a moment and scampered
away towards a towering oak on the edge of the patio.

I suppose it’s a routine she’s quite comfortable with. I have not
been back to Backyard Burgers since but I’m thinking that she
probably has a regular stable of folks who share the last bite of
their lunches with her. I’ve even wanted to get back up there to see
if she’s still around, looking for humans who want to share their
grub with her, but I don’t get that far away from downtown
Orlando in my cab very often.

As I cruised back towards my preferred territory a little closer to
home, I could not get the image of her pausing with her paws on my
hand out of my mind… She seemed to be saying, “Thanks for sharing
your lunch with me! I hope you’ll come back and see me again” or
some such thing in her non-verbal squirrel language which humans may
be graced to understand just once in a while…

The memory of my shared lunch with my furry mistress comes back to
me often; especially when I’m passing any burger joint or when I see
squirrels scampering up and down our majestic oaks and through our
many parks. I would surely love to have a “Black and Bleu” burger
again. And you know I’d save the last bite for my new lunch
companion!

 

Bulldog Ben, respecting all of my

furry friends today just a bit more…

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile