Today was Ladies Who Lunch at Batterup Pancakes, a small family-run restaurant in my neighborhood.
That’s my friend Gladys who brought Helen, my other friend, and me some of her first cherry tomatoes. I ate mine immediately while we caught up with one another and attempted to decide what to order at this breakfast specialty house.
Being noon, we all bypassed the breakfast offerings and went with salads and sandwiches. Since I am on the lookout for a good local hamburger, that was my selection. I was not disappointed and would return for another burger when the craving hits. We have three places in the bay area where we get excellent burgers and a beer. No beer at Batterup, unless you count root beer, which I had.
After lunch I swung by and picked up my csa boxes. Here is Week 7′s stone fruit offering:
Fresno’s Chinatown is a sad place. Many empty buildings, most crumbling and falling apart. Streets are empty of pedestrians. There are only a few cars with lots of empty parking spaces, which are free. This once thriving part of the city is now almost a ghost town. And yet…
There are many hole-in-the-wall restaurants that have excellent food. Today I met a friend of mine for lunch, parking right across from that Mexican Baptist Church I wrote about a couple of days ago. She pulled out her camera and started shooting. Delores and I love to take camera walks, and since I had just done this a few weeks ago with Terry, I was able to show her a number of places to get some interesting images. She was in the mood for peach cobbler and had heard there was a place in Chinatown that served it. I knew just the place.
We took a circuitous route that lead us by these buildings:
We ate at Salaam’s, a seafood restaurant that also has fried chicken which I ordered. Delores ordered prawns and cornbread. We were disappointed that there was no peach cobbler today. We’ll have to come back another day. The food and service were outstanding.
After our delicious lunch, we wandered around some more, heading down China Alley, where we passed these buildings:
The weather was perfect for walking. It was a good break for me as I have been so intent on working on the church’s 130-year history report. I was able to finish it today and will take the PDF to be printed tomorrow as well as uploaded to the church’s website. My next job will be to prepare the document to be sent to an ebook publisher. But first we will celebrate the church’s actual anniversary date on March 18. Maybe, after then, I’ll be able to have more lunch dates with friends.
Although the economy is doing poorly, and everyone seems to be crying “poormouth,” a term my mother would use, I didn’t see any of that today when I stopped at a very upscale shopping center in our town. Fig Garden Village is a quaint center with many national retailers and lots of expensive restaurants. I could not find a place to park. Not only were people shopping, but there were many who were enjoying company lunches and holiday gatherings with friends at the eateries.
I have lived in this neighborhood for almost 30 years, and the pace seems no different this year from past ones. People are shopping, buying, entertaining, eating, enjoying the season. I wonder if the media has made us feel that it’s bad all over when that is not the case.
After sitting at home for a few days, believing I was saving gas, today I ran a flurry of errands. In doing so, I drove by a Bakers Square only to note that it has taken its signage down and closed its doors. Sitting across the street from a Marie Callendars who sells the same sweet pies, I am not surprised it could not make it in this struggling economy. People are not eating out in this neck of the woods. Even the popular, crowded places have gaps and it’s easier to get a table and they send you coupons for lower priced meals.
Since I had to grocery shop, I decided to dash into the Talbot’s store which is in the same shopping center as Whole Foods. Sale tags were everywhere and I was promised an additional 20 percent discount on my total if I would spend over $100. Oh, that is so easy for me! This store, unlike the restaurants, had many customers and they were buying. I found a whole bunch of pants that would be perfect to see me through the summer and maybe even good for the those first days back to school when all we do is sit in meetings and make plans for a wonderful year and anything seems possible…oh don’t get me started on that rabbit trail.
Moving on, to Whole Foods, that is. It too was very busy with people shopping and many picking up their lunches at the sandwich bar. So, that’s why people aren’t in the restaurants, they’re getting their meals to go from the grocery store.
…but this time at your favorite restaurant. In an earlier post I wrote about CSAs and buying local produce to eat at home. Now I want to encourage people to eat at their favorite local restaurant, which hopefully is not a chain, but rather locally owned and operated. Too many small eateries are suffering due to the economic times. The price of gas and groceries are keeping many at home, and if they do eat out, it may be at a fast food outlet.
Although not completely opposed to fast food, I try not to eat at those places unless I am with my high school students on a fieldtrip and we make our bus stop there. As I tell my students, eating fast food occasionally will not kill you, eating it everyday will. Nor am I advocating eating at the local diner everyday, either. But an occasional meal out helps us to feel less deprived, and it can certainly help our local economies.
So think of your favorite local dining spot, and go out to eat.