Thursday, August 19, 2004

Free Food!

I've been a real winner this year one way or another.

Back in May, B participated in the Movie Jeopardy contest put on as a fundraiser for the Hollywood Theater. Unfortunately for the Hollywood, but fortunately for me, there were a lot of valuable prizes to be given away but so few people in the audience that almost everyone was practically guaranteed a prize.

I went to two of the rounds and won three prizes: a $5 gift certificate to Delphina's bakery (conveniently located around the corner from our house); a $10 gift certificate to the Beaumont Market; and a $25 gift certificate to Poor Richard's, a steakhouse famous for its Two-fer specials and winner of the National Restaurant Association's Best Menu Award--for 1964. More on Poor Dick's below.

Also, having purchased 12 pizzas from Pizzicato, we are now entitled to a free one. Yay!

And having recommended our realtor to TW and RS, through home they bought their house, we received a $25 gift certificate to Alameda Cafe from her. Not to mention the $5 Coffee People gift card we got from her shortly after she first met with them.

Oh yes. One more thing. Delphina's has a daily trivia question, and if you guess it you get a free pastry or artisan bread. I don't go over there ever day, but I always attempt the trivia question and I think I've probably been correct about 60-70% of the time. Not bad. Last Monday there was a "man" question about engines and something told me that the correct answer was probably turbine engines. I was right and helped myself to an unmanly apricot danish.

I don't think I've ever amassed this much entitlement to free food, but I am reveling in it for some reason (which probably shouldn't be scrutinized too closely).

Like a miser I have been hoarding these various certificates for months, but yesterday decided it was high time to go to Poor Dick's and see what it was all about.

Recall that this place won an award for best menu in 1964. I don't think the place has changed its decor or menu since then either. This parking lot to this place is always full on weekends, and you often see overweight people with walkers emerging from it, so for a certain group of people--especially the Hollywood [read senior citizen] crowd--this place is highly favored.

On a Wednesday night after 8 PM, though, we had no trouble being seated immediately and time traveling (twice in one week) back to hmmmm about 1964, I'd guess. The place is cavernous and open with maroon naugahyde (or similar) and velvette booths, lace curtains at the window, a big fireplace, Hogarth's allegorical 'Marriage a la Mode' and 'Gin Lane' engravings on the wall (very unexpected given the nature of the establishment), and Lions Club mints for sale (haven't seen that in ages).

I thoroughly enjoyed being there.

Of course, when in I ordered a cocktail (something I rarely do). I was tempted to order a White Russian, or a "Caucasian" as the Dude would say, but instead went for a Black Russian, figuring I would be absorbing enough fat with the meal. It was darn tasty, and not at all weak.

Since I don't like steak B. and I went for the grilled pork two-fer, which in true 1960s style comes with your choice of soup, salad, or cole slaw, garlic bread, baked potato, fries, or rice pilaf, and dish of soft-serve ice cream.

The cole slaw was definitely above average. It has a bit of horseradish in it I think. Being a fan of cole slaw and horseradish, I approved. Garlic bread was good, too, mainly because they didn't stint on the butter. Baked potato: good.

The award-winning menu, however, did not disclose to me that the grilled pork would arrive "smothered" in mushroom gravy. Not so good. The pork was a bit tough and chewy, I have to say. Oh well. We didn't have to pay for it.


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