May 27th, 2015

Woods Hill Table in West Concord, MA

My son likes 99 Restaurants, and we sometimes go to the one in West Concord. Across the street was the West Concord Market, which closed up shop a while back and we all speculated what it was about to become while it was renovated until we wised up, googled around some and learned it would become Woods Hill Table, the restaurant associated with the Woods Hill Farm in Bath, NH. So: fancy Concord restaurant with _their own sourced foods_. (Also, you can apparently rent "The Lodge" at Woods Hill Farm, if you want to have a really nice farm stay experience?)

Anyway. We were excited to go there. I tried to get a reservation, but I kept checking less than a week in advance of a Saturday I had a babysitter and you know how that goes with new restaurants. This time, I had about a week's notice on a Tuesday night babysitter, and still had to choose between a 5 p.m. reservation and an 8:30 reservation or later. I'm old; I went with 5 p.m. If you want to go have dinner there, drop in isn't likely to work. It'll be tempting to go back for a late supper of oysters, dessert and drinks next time.

We split a "Whisky Business" cocktail, which had a bunch of stuff in it including ginger ale, cucumber, simple syrup, No. 1 Pimm's Cup and a named whisky that I have now forgotten. It was very yummy and excellent for a warm day. (Restaurant a/c works great and they don't freeze you to death either.) We had the grilled oysters and chicharrones. We had the baguette, which came with maple syrup and pork fat spread and, inevitably, farm fresh butter (lots of seeds on the mini-baguettes, including caraway). We had the egg and asparagus, which had fiddleheads and really wonderful radishes (should have had the bread come out with the asparagus, to sop up the egg) ETA and how did I forget the super crispy bit of chicken skin and tiny bites of chicken thigh. We had a salad. For the main plate, we had a steak, fries (in tallow! OMG! The very best! And that means that not only is this place not halal or kosher, it's hindi-unfriendly, too. But they are sure supportive of allergies!) and greens (not sure about what greens those were, but they were tasty), and ordered the broccoli rabe for the veg with the main course. We had a nice Willamette Valley pinot noir (don't ask me which one, altho R. might know) to go with dinner. We had the apple crisp with almond ice cream (no milk products at all!) for dessert and a tawny port (again, I don't remember, altho it was really good). We shared everything, and we probably over-ordered slightly (now that I know dessert is possible, I'd probably have reduced one of the vegetable choices altho I'd be hard pressed to give one of the ones I had up).

The service was excellent (we think we've had that server at a different area restaurant -- maybe Red Raven?). I have rarely sat in a more comfortable chair (R. thought it was ever so slightly too tall, which is because he has more of his height in his torso and I have more in my leg). It was not loud (sometimes restaurants get really echo-y). The music was Lumineers, Bon Iver and similar on a pretty short loop, which made me laugh, because it was so over-the-top appropriate to what the restaurant was aiming for that it struck me as funny.

When we moved to Acton, we expected there to be a bunch of perfectly good restaurants in the area, and were happy to have a cafe/diner type place in walking distance with appropriately brusque service and predictable food. We did not expect to find ourselves awash in unbelievably excellent foodie choices a few short years later, when we were finally able to leave the kids with sitters and go out to eat. We figured we'd be going in to Boston-Somerville-Cambridge for that (and we have been to Dali's recently and it is even better than we remembered). To have Bondir's, 80 Thoreau, and now Woods Hill Table one town over (and our own beloved Red Raven here in town) is a sort of foodie good luck that boggles the mind.

Hey, all my Seattle foodie friends: add this to the list of reasons to come visit us.

The restaurant opened its doors at about a minute past 5 and there were already three couples waiting to be seated. Woods Hill Table has a small parking lot. The street meters are 1 hour parking, meters ending at 6 p.m. We killed time for about 10 minutes (we were early) by walking along what will become part of the Bruce Freeman Trail out to where there isn't currently a bridge. Lots of dragon flies out there.

(Also, T., if you are reading, I hope you are amused and find this review as snooty as the 80 Thoreau one!)

Roomba and Furbies, don't hit people on the head

Roomba is vacuuming. There are Furbies clustered in front of the gas fireplace. The roomba woke up a Furby, which immediately said, "No! No! No!" Which was funny.

"Feed me Feed me!" is less funny.

I'm watching TRMS and she is covering the Cleveland PD thing that the Justice Department released (what changes they must make, including an inspector general). Maddow is saying she is surprised that people need to be told some of this stuff, and citing "Officers will be trained that a strike to the head with any impact weapon could result in death".

Well, I watch a lot of TV, some of which is police procedural stuff like NCIS and NCIS:LA, and some of which is the trashy comic book version of same (Agents of SHIELD). And Back In the Day, Gibbs used to smack Tony on the back of the head when Tony said or did something foolish. He has stopped, which my walking partner and friend M. is very happy about. Meanwhile, over on Agents of SHIELD, they are still bashing each other and various suspects/bad guys/people in custody around the head, sometimes with guns and no one has anything worse wrong with them after beyond a bloody face (no obvious bruising, certainly no one with a broken jaw or a concussion or needing dental work).

I would say that _a lot_ of people need to better understand that if you hit someone in the head in general, it's dangerous, and especially if you have a hard object in your hand (or you hit them with the hard object). This is something we are probably not taking seriously enough.

ETA: Other things on the list of what Cleveland needs to change: don't shoot at moving cars; before you hire someone, read the person's personnel file from previous job(s). It's a good list. These are generically useful rules.

Apple Watch and Calendar

I maintain a paper calendar, because I just haven't felt any confidence keeping the family/family impact stuff anywhere else. I'm not happy about it, but that's just kinda how it is.

But I suspect that is about to chance. The Watch face I use includes the next upcoming event on the bottom of the face, and it turns out that is quite awesome. It has motivated me to clean up my online calendar, altho it is still not completely up to date. I feel optimism.

I'm going to try to send my FitBit out to its next owner in tomorrow's mail. Not sure it will really happen, but I'm gonna try.