Today I traveled from San Antonio, TX to Albany, NY, and thence to Poughkeepsie. Most of the travelling was done on airplanes, so I got a *lot* of uninterrupted knitting time in. Aaahhhhh.
Most of the day isn’t really worth describing: I sat in a plane and I knitted. There were a few harrowing moments with dropped stitches and there were a lot of cable mis-crosses that went uncorrected, but for the most part I sat in an aluminum cylinder for about six hours and knit.
Oh, I did discover that there’s a type of airline stewardess who really grooves on kilts. Good to know.
But there was a bit at the end of the day worth mentioning: dinner. I got to my hotel after getting a little bit lost in Poughkeepsie. I checked in, put my stuff up, and went out to find dinner. I was really in the mood for seafood and I went looking for a local place to try out.
I rapidly discovered that the stretch of Route 9 I’m staying on is very . . . franchised. I recognized most of the neon signs I saw. After not seeing a local place for about four miles, I saw a Red Lobster sign and I thought “might as well.” I pulled into the parking lot and started to kill the engine, then thought better of it.
I’m on vacation, dammit. I’m here (in part) to escape the thoroughly standardized world I live in every day. I didn’t come all this way to eat at a damned Red Lobster. That’s not to say I don’t like the food there – I do. It’s just that I can walk into any Red Lobster in the United States and get the *exact* same dinner. That’s the whole point of franchises – you’re guaranteed a standard experience no matter which one you walk into. Have you ever found a McDonald’s that didn’t have great crispy fries?
I pulled out of the parking lot and headed back to the part of town I got lost in earlier. There was some kind of accident(s) in the middle of town near the FDR bridge which slowed me down a lot. But finally I meandered my way into town and found Spanky’s.
Spanky’s has soul food and New Orleans-style cuisine. It’s not *nearly* spicy enough, but I guess yankees can’t handle gustatory heat. (Yes, that’s a taunt. Nyaaah.) I ordered the Cioppino with linguini. The proprietor, Jeff, was really nice.
It was not the best Cioppino I’ve ever had. In fact, I bet the quality of the stew varies a lot depending on the seasonality of the ingredients and who’s in the kitchen. But that was exactly the point. I was far more nourished by a so-so dish of seafood stew from a distinctive local joint than from an exactly-what-I-expected plate of seafood at a restaurant whose floorplan I already know without having ever set foot inside the building.