Bewitched and Bewecked

Beautiful, exuberant and feral. A living, breathing satyr, Jim Rapp gleamed, glowed and grinned in his 20 year prime. He was and is without fear. Perhaps a bit of fear would have tempered his recklessness. Who will ever know?

He’s up in Buffalo now, under the gloomy skies, ziggety-zaggety diced-and-sliced by tip-toed electric power paraphenalia.  Jim is…Jim and not Jim. Reduced and concentrated. 

Had I not known him, I would not recognize my life as my own, although the admission price should have caused a person with their wits about them to scream “Uncle”. Jim has been to the well and back and I toted the bucket for a time, walking with one arm outstretched to prevent spills.

My sister was kind enough to go with me to Buffalo for the weekend. Man alive, did I need her company. 

Buffalo shoulda, coulda, woulda been a grander, wealthier, more highly polished city had things been managed better from the get go. Instead, it slumps a little and delapidation seems to lurk at corners. Still and all, there are miles of tidy neighborhoods, aswag with window boxes and trimmed shrubbery.

And they have BEEF ON WECK

At Schwabl’s

We had schemed with beef on weck radared.

Gentile, sturdy, a proverbial step-back, at Schwabl’s you are greeted by a front-of-the-house professional, a gentleman of a certain age in a pristine butcher-style coat. Coated and goateed, the night we were there.

At Schwable’s medium-rare means bloody. We went round and round with our waitress until we had her worked into a bit of a snit. Or a schnit. A nice, friendly schnit. 

Niceness rules in Buffalo and we were glad for it. Me in particular, as I was worn to a  frayed thread from my DC week.

Our dinner was delicious by light years beyond our expectations. And our expectations were high. We did talk during our meal, but not much. Only for pacing. 

Hurt-your-teeth-crunchy salt on top of the kimmelwecks, and caraway seeds aplenty. Never liked them as a kid. Now they taste complex and make me feel comfortably ma-ture, more finished. That stuff, the stuff that doesn’t look so pretty…deluxe stuff. Vinegary, bacony German potato salad. That ain’t no salad, nosirree. Pickled beets and itty bitty pickle straddle the salad fence. Close enough for me. Love em both.

Add horseradish galore, put your head down and get serious.
Miss Bev Nap looks lovely, does she not? Who could set a sweaty beer glass on her ruffles?

“There’s a world you’re living in No one else has your part.” N Young


4 responses to “Bewitched and Bewecked

  1. Thanks for the memory! I’m off this week, I think I’ll drive the 350 miles up there for lunch. I haven’t been there for about 50 years- a return is overdue.

  2. Schwabl’s was so lovely and the food delicious. Can’t tell you how many Buffalo natives I have talked to who have never been there. It is from an earlier (and in certain wonderful respects) better time.

  3. OK – I’ll bite . . . my mom first took me as a child to Schwabl’s and that was so many years ago – I just cannot remember when.
    She and my dad used to go there to eat, and I believe, her parents did, too.
    I now live in the UK, and whenever we return home for a visit, whoever picks us up at the airport arrives with Tim Horton’s coffe in hand, and we head to Schwabls for dinner – even before visiting family, friends, or checking into our hotel!
    My British husband adores Schwabl’s – there is nothing like it here.
    Anyone up for a franchise???

  4. Pingback: Pecking Order | The Lunch Encounter

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