Bootsie Lucas – A journal of progressive Southern culture and politics Sun, 17 Feb 2019 15:51:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bootsie Lucas – 32 32 Dune Dog: Old Florida funky Fri, 17 Jul 2009 19:34:07 +0000

Dune Dog 2OK, lucky you. You’re in Jupiter, Florida. It feels several degrees cooler than where you came from because you’re on the East Coast in Palm Beach County with all those yummy breezes off the ocean, and a few thunderstorms in the afternoon to bring the temps down to reasonable. You’ve been to the beach, are slightly pink, and now it’s time for lunch.

Head for the Dune Dog Café, a laid-back old Florida funky beach shack, where you can wear your flip-flops and your bathing suit and nobody will bat an eyelash. Except it’s not on the beach. It’s not even near the beach. In fact it’s smack up against Alternate A1A in Jupiter, along the railroad tracks in a semi-industrial section that includes equipment rental, a tire store, and a bait and tackle shop.

Dune Dog 1Still, people are lining up at the door. Wait. There is no door. They’re lining up at the open air covered deckish sort of thing for a seat at a picnic table where you can feel the vibrations of the Florida East Coast train as it roars through town.

The family-friendly place is famous for its hot dogs served on a grilled bun like you’d get with a Cape Cod lobster roll. There are nine different kinds of Hebrew National dogs, from the Naked Dog  ($2.75) to Leroy Brown’s Junkyard Dog ($4.50), a foot-long topped with chili, cheese, diced onions and Dot’s Pushcart spicy tomato and onion sauce.

Dune Dog 3But the menu doesn’t stop there. The ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, the gorgonzola salad is huge and a complete meal when topped with chicken, shrimp or dolphin, and the Great White Reuben (grilled fish on rye with Swiss, kraut and 1,000-island dressing) is a house favorite. On Thursday night the lobsters (so fresh their friends and relatives don’t even know they’re gone) are an unbelievable $14.95. And don’t miss the clam chowder, so rich and clam-filled, it rivals anything you’ve had in New England. There’s lots more, something for everybody, and you can grab a seat at the bar for a draft beer and a clam strip appetizer if that’s all you’ve got time for.

So, come on down. The beach is beautiful, the fish is fresh, and a great lunch or dinner is just back over the drawbridge along the RR tracks.

Dune Dog Café: 775 Alt. Highway A1A, Jupiter FL 33458, (561-744-6667)

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Know a good beach book? Tue, 12 May 2009 21:16:36 +0000

mbtoolbox-619-imageGot a recommendation for a really good beach book? Not one of  those flimsy, poorly written novels that you want to toss after the first 20 pages, but a real gripper. Something that will keep you under the beach umbrella while the rest of the family is floundering around in the water. It doesn’t have to be a new release, nor does it have to be fiction. Old and current favorites are what we’re looking for. For starters, here are a few suggestions that (I think) are worth packing into any beach bag:

Straight Man (Richard Russo). A hilarious week in the life of a college academic, who, among other things, threatens on television to kill a duck a day until he gets the budget for his English department.

The World at Night (Alan Furst). The first of several novels taking place in Europe in the early days of WWII. If you love John LeCarre, you’ll love Furst, who writes about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

Ahab’s Wife (Sena Jeter Naslund). “Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last,” reveals the narrator in the first line of this rip-roaring adventure and love story.

Dancing at the Rascal Fair (Ivan Doig). The settling of Montana as seen through the eyes of a young Scotsman. Friendship, marriage and struggle for survival on the frontier.

Cakewalk (Lee Smith).  Short stories by one of the South’s favorite writers.

No Ordinary Time (Doris Kearns Goodwin). Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: the home front in World War II.

Brazzaville Beach (William Boyd). An intellectual thriller in which a primate researcher uncovers a devastating secret in Africa.

Word of Honor (Nelson DeMille). A former Army lieutenant is court-martialed for his part in an alleged massacre 15 years previously in Vietnam.

Waiting for Teddy Williams (Howard Frank Mosher). Eight-year-old Ethan Allen lives and breathes baseball in a Vermont village and dreams of becoming a major-league player. A must for Red Sox fans.

woman-on-beachStorming Heaven (Denise Giardina).  A powerful political novel told through four voices about the painful unionizing of the coal mines in Kentucky and West Virginia in the early 20th century.

The Plot Against America (Philip Roth).  An alternate view of history seen through the eyes of a young Jewish boy in which Charles Lindbergh defeats FDR for the presidency in 1940.

The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver). All hell breaks loose when a misguided missionary drags his wife and four daughters to Africa in the 1950s.

Undaunted Courage (Stephen Ambrose). A brilliant and sweeping reconstruction of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The Tender Bar (J.R. Moehringer). A memoir and homage to the culture of the local pub by a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist.

Bride of the Wilderness (Charles McCarry). McCarry is known for his excellent spy novels, but this is a satisfying love story and adventure that takes place in the wilds of 18th century America.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (Anne Lamott). If you have a book inside you, witty and wise Anne Lamott will help you find it.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum (Kate Atkinson). A hilarious look at a dysfunctional  family in York, England.

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Can you say Pulitzer? Mon, 27 Apr 2009 19:01:49 +0000

10-diciembre-de-2008The Pulitzer Prizes were awarded last week to a deserving bunch of talented people. And the least we can do in honoring them, by golly, is pronounce the name of their award correctly. Most reporters and editors call it the “pew-lit-sir.” But the awards were begun by Joseph Pulitzer, not Pepe Le Pew. It is pronounced “PULL-it-sir”. Really. Check out the Pulitzer Prize website.

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How do you like your grilled cheese? Sat, 11 Apr 2009 22:30:32 +0000

grilledcheeseWhen Kathlyn Pattillo graduated from high school last year, her mother, Katy, asked that instead of giving a gift we older and wiser types would write down some words of advice. Little pearls that would guide her through the treacherous waters of the freshman dorm and on into the mainstream of life.

I had a hard time thinking of  anything that didn’t sound like those sappy graduation-day platitudes (Be true to yourself. Follow your dream. Blah, blah, blah.) until I slapped myself on the forehead and came up with the only tidbit that might be useful: Learn how to make a good grilled cheese sandwich and you’ll never starve. It’ll nourish body and soul. And it’s really cheap besides.

When I was a kid in the 1950s, grilled cheese was a slice of American cheese on squishy white bread, buttered generously and toasted to gooey perfection in a well-seasoned iron skillet. Add a bowl of tomato soup out of a can and you more or less had a complete meal — at least for a 6-year-old. My own grilled cheese has changed over the years, and the standard now is low-fat extra-sharp cheddar on whole wheat, lightly buttered and browned in a non-stick frying pan. A little boring unless you add a slice of Vidalia onion, but if you’ve just taken a look at your 401K, it can be just what you need.

There are gourmet variations, of course. When my husband and I lived in Los Angeles several years ago, our favorite indulgence when we were homesick for Atlanta was Grilled Cheese Night at the tres chic Campanile restaurant. Nancy Silverton, who was the proprietor at the time and who also ran the LaBrea Bakery next door, served up maybe a dozen different grilled cheese sandwiches. After agonizing deliberation, our choice was always ham and gruyere, smothered in a béchamel sauce with an arugula salad on the side. Perfection on a plate.

Hollywood types would flock to the place, despite the fact that you couldn’t make a reservation for that evening and they had to stand in line with the rest of us. For most of them it was just as good as a visit to the shrink, all for less than 15 bucks, not counting the martinis. Grilled Cheese Night is still going strong, and there are even more hoity-toity sandwich variations, including a fresh burrata mozzarella and a sheep’s milk ricotta with slow-roasted tomatoes, olives and pesto. Yum.

According to the World Dairy Diary, April is Grilled Cheese Month. (We suspicious types think maybe Kraft foods had something to do with that declaration, but who gives a flip when grilled cheesiness recognition is long overdue.) And get this. Grilled cheese making is even a sport! On April 25 there’s the world’s largest grilled cheese championship, the Grilled Cheese Invitational in Los Angeles, complete with trophies for the best “sammiches” in three categories.

Let’s see. There’s the Missionary Position category (plain bread, no flavored cheese, no flavored butter); the Kama Sutra (the most liberal and popular category with exotic breads, cheeses and just about anything else you want to cram between the slices); and the Honey Pot (a dessert sandwich, hooray!).

No telling what these contestants will come up with. I suggest you keep an eye out for the winning combinations. They might come in handy as you watch the roller coaster ride that is the stock market. Or next month, instead of sending an expensive graduation present, you can just pass along a really good grilled cheese recipe.

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