08 October 2006


The Blue Dahlia

Not the Raymond Chandler written movie from 1946 with Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix, and Hugh Beaumont -- but no "Jerry Mathers as 'The Beaver' " (image from 1998 or so) -- but the restaurant in nearby downtown Sanford, Florida.

It's a funky place: The interior is a long narrow space, with about half the room taken up by the bar and with fewer than 10 tables. Outside seating is in a breezeway between its building and the neighboring one. We had reservations for an outside table: we didn't know there would be live music out there. We also didn't know it would pour down rain while we were there. We were about equally distant from both ends of the breezeway, and got mist from the downpour at times. There was a tiny creek running down the middle of the breezeway, and we were about the only folks who didn't have to move.

The band -- they never said their name -- was mixed: Country and blues. The singer / acoustic-rhythm player had a good Waylon Jennings voice, and the drummer was rock solid, but the electric lead guitarist and the bassist were tentative, constantly looking at charts or lists of chord changes or something. The lead guy had good tone and an interesting style, but just didn't seem to know the songs they were playing. The harp player was just drunk.

The food was good:. We had the White Bean Smash -- warm, mushed up, cannelinis with "essence of oxtail" (yeah, right) and sesame oil -- for an appetizer. There wasn't much evidence of oxtail or of sesame oil, but it was still good. Mack had the Caesar Salad, and I had Field Greens. Both were good. For the entree, Mack had the Portabella Cheese Melt of the veggie menu, and I had the Red Snapper "Sandwich" off the dinner menu. Mine was a little cool, and the cornbread was too dry, but the seasoning on the snapper was great. Mack said his was great.

They had what seemed to be a good-sized wine list, not that I know my way around there. I drank crispy Stellas, but they ran out of cold ones, so they brought me a La Fin du Monde: "It's a foreign beer, from Canada." Talk about funky: Unlike the light Belgian skunkiness of the Stella Atrois, this beer featured full-on spiciness. Interesting. Too interesting.

Don't now if I'll have another Fin, but I figure we'll go back to the restaurant. It was a neat space, the food was good, the service wasn't bad (and around here, that's quite a compliment); we had a good time.

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