Sunday, October 19, 2014

Duke’s and Opie’s Diner Overview - 0001

Gourmands Duke T. Peabody and Opie L. Cat have been commissioned by a local paper to secretly visit restaurants and write about their dining experience.  And now we bring to you the first in their series ....

Duke’s and Opie’s Diner Overview, DoDo ... cuz after a big meal ... that’s exactly what they do !!

Opie: On this occasion we were assigned to secretly review The Light Well in down town Orange.  We arrived just as the sun was setting on a Saturday night.  Though there were several spaces available on the street, we found it difficult to park the goat cart where Sammy and Gruffy could dine on city flowers while Duke and I ate.  We feared blowing our cover in such a fine dining establishment if we just walked in there with two goats in tow.

Duke: Opie pushed me along and thru the door far too quickly, the smells on the sidewalk outside had really peaked my curiosity and I wanted to linger .... but that pesky cat ....

Opie: We were greeted and asked if we had reservations.  I said, “You ever heard of the Orange Collation?  Turn us away and no Orange Cat will ever dine here again.”  I couldn’t quite read the hooman lady’s eyes, but she promptly said, “Oh of course!  We just have a full restaurant tonight you see.”  Looking around the room I saw two hoomans seated at a table and one at the bar.  Full?  Gee you don’t often see restaurants with such small capacity.  The hooman lady noticed me glancing about and quickly amended, “well we have a large party coming in later, but I guess it’s early, and you can dine and be done before they arrive.” 

Duke: I said, “You feed me fast, I can gulp it down fast.  But watch it with that pesky cat, he might gack if he eats too fast.”

Opie: We were seated in the very rear of the restaurant in a corner.  I wondered if this was discrimination about our handicaps. 

Water and the list of specials arrived quickly as we perused the menu ....  Hmmmm  they didn’t have Snausages nor Fancy Feast listed as Appetizers ...  so we passed all together on Appetizers.  

Duke: There were three specials but all a bit pricey for our wallets.  Do we have wallets, Opie?  Do you have a pocket, Opie?  Do you wear pants, Opie? 

Since they didn’t have Snausages as an entree I picked Three Cocktail Hot Dogs with Chilli and Cheese off the bar menu for my meal.  There wasn’t an option for 9 or 12.

Opie: Speaking of drinks, they had Cocktails but no Mousetails or even Mousearitas, so I settled for some catnip tea. 

Going out of character (and cuz the salmon special was out of our budget if I was to let that dawg eat too) I ordered a house salad and a bowl of their Butternut Squash Soup, the Soup of the Day ....  Like what do they think, I’m going to order the Soup of Yesterday ... or sit here long enough to be served the Soup of Tomorrow?   And anyway, if you serve it to me today, isn’t it the Soup of the Day?  Hoomans!

Last time I dined here, which I’ll admit has been a while, they had a great house salad dressing, raspberry vinaigrette.  No more, been replaced with a Balsamic vinaigrette.  I hoped it be as good as one I’d had at another restaurant recently. 

Duke: My hot dogs were pretty good, though I had trouble finding the chili hiding under the dogs and the cheese was a few dried sprinkles.  I wanted spicy mustard but had to settle for standard yellow.  I hate it when they put yellow mustard on my Alpo.  I really like the spicy stuff.

Opie: The salad was mostly iceberg with a few exotic greens, couple tomatoes, microscopic blue cheese and some kind of shaved nuts in the center .....  I’d wanted grass, my tummy had been actin up and I thought I could take care of business before getting down to really eatin, but salad would have to do.  Wasn’t too fond of the Balsamic vinaigrette, very heavy and oily and just not a strong flavor.  But it got the job done and I discretely left a gack under the table.

Duke: Dining with that pesky cat is disgusting.  Sometimes I’m thankful to be blind.  I scarfed down my hot dogs and started sniffin at the table next to us who’d arrived and had something that smelled delicious.  But the people were very rude and smacked me on the nose, called the hooman lady over and asked to be moved to another table.  Why would you want to get up in the middle of dinner and move?  I’ll never understand hoomans.  I wish they’d left their plates behind.

Opie: Dogs!  No manners.  Geesh ....   My soup arrived and certainly wasn’t hot nuf to burn my tongue.  It was a bit warmish in the center and quite cool around the edges ... how do you accomplish that?  Rather bland ... but ok.  And certainly a lovely creamy orange color ....  I could really go for the office being painted that color.  Kind of matches me.  A really good color, if I do say so myself.

But I was waitin for desert ...  when I’ve been here before they’ve had the best, the lightest, the most purrfect creme brulee ever .... so I was anticipating .....

Duke: I was hoping they had Snausages on the menu for desert.  I was drooling in anticipation.

But when the hooman lady read off the list of deserts .....  no Snausages ... still none ...  is it really possible a restaurant would have Snausages NOWHERE on their menu?  Not on the Special, not as an Appetizer, not as an Entree and not even for Desert?

I opted for the Double Chocolate Cheesecake with a Little Pumpkin in the Center, as I watched Opie’s face drop in disappointment.  The hooman lady hadn’t mentioned creme brulee at all.  Uh Oh ... was that pesky cat going to throw a hissey fit and embarrass me?

Opie: I was crestfallen ....  no creme brulee?  But the hooman lady said, oh yeah we do have that!  So I was happy again and ordered one, thinking, “this will make it all worthwhile”.

About this time the big crowd they’d been expectin came in ....  geeezzz why don’t we all talk at once!!  The acoustics of the building must be horrid cuz it was this terrible loud sound of everyone trying to outtalk everyone and I couldn’t really understand a word, just this loud grating noise.  I felt like the guinea pigs do if you plug in one of those ultra sound pest chaser awayers ....  just like running in circles with my paws over my ears and screaming, “Let me OUT ... Let me OUT”. 

Duke: Opie is right.  The noise level was most horrid.  I felt like I might have a seizure at any moment.  Loud noises can set me off, you know, and I was worried about that, luckily I managed to stay calm .... well except to howl a couple times ...  But it was all ok, cept when that pesky cat kicked me under the table.

Opie: The creme brulee arrived cold ... the bowl obviously right out of the fridge.  It’s always been slightly warm, just a touch above room temp.  And it’s always been so light it melted in my mouth, mmmmm.  Tonight it was quite heavy and thick.  I don’t know if that was cuz it was cold or just cuz it was different. 

The noise level was so horrible I didn’t want to ask for it to be warmed up cuz I wanted out as soon as possible.  I’ve also heard about hoomans who do bad things like spit in food if you ask them to make a change.  Trustin hoomans around your food can be pretty tricky sometimes you know.

Duke: The cheese cake was ok, but really, I think plain cheese cake would have been better. It wasn’t a decadent chocolate flavor but kind of just muddied the cheese cake up so neither taste came thru.  And I never found that pumpkin in the center ... even though I dug thru quickly ...  accidentally splattering the new diner who’d been seated at the table next to me ....   I was gonna take that pumpkin home for Calvin the cow ... he really loves pumpkins.

Opie: We got the check quickly and paid up, glad to be on the expense account of the newspaper.  Over all it was rather pricey for average to below average nums.  Honestly, I think I might a purrfered a couple cans of Fancy Feast. 

I don’t think I’ll visit again at dinner time  ...  the sound bouncing all over the walls and ceilings is really deafening, distracting and mind boggling and my ears are still hurting.  Maybe I’ll try lunch when I’d expect it to be quieter and try some other things on the menu. 

And maybe tonight was just an off night ...  I hate to say, “I’ll never go back”, to a place for one not so great meal when I’ve had outstanding ones there before.

Duke: I have to admit I was glad to get going.  My ears felt so good when we got out into the cool night air.  My hot dogs were good and I’d be happy to have them any time ...  but they can leave off the bread and the chili ... and how about 9 or 12 dogs instead of 3 ....  and I think I’ll skip desert too.  I’ll have Snausages when I get home instead. 

And maybe next time, I can dine with Kiki and not that pesky cat.

Opie: Once outside, the quiet of the cool autumn night sure did sound good. 

They had a potted plant conveniently located on the sidewalk right out front.  Looked like it had maybe once had flowers and now just a few wilting stalks. How odd.  But most of the plants on Main Street looked like that.  City must not d very good maintenance. 

I climbed in to the pot and took a dump before heading off to find the goat cart ...  which had wondered down Main Street eating all the flowers along the way. 

Duke: We raced out of town with an escort behind us, flashing lights and blaring sirens, and some kind of nonsense on a loudspeaker declaring, “Pull over now, we’ve called animal control to pick you up.”  I wonder if that pesky cat didn’t leave a tip?

Stay tuned for Duke’s and Opie’s next dining adventure !!! 

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