Red Bank Guinness and Oyster Festival 2013..

Sunday, September 22, 2013 was the Red Bank Guinness and Oyster Festival 2013. We went. Did you?  If you recall, I posted a review about the Asbury Park Oyster Festival here about two weeks ago.  We stopped in Red Bank driving home from Scranton and parents weekend. Traffic getting to festival from the Garden State Parkway was a challenge. We were lucky to find a parking spot right next to the festival. The traffic jam made a 10 minute ride last about 40 minutes. That should have been a clue. It was a clue, we just ignored the  clue.

No parking cost, that beat Asbury Park. The entrance fee was 5 dollars per person. Asbury Park was 3 dollars, advantage Asbury.  The Red Bank festival was packed. They could have had twice the space and still they would have been packed. There were bands playing at each end of the parking lot/festival grounds. Food vendors, three beer trucks and two business shucking clams and oysters. We walked around the festival, a lap around, if you will. I like to see what the choices are before spending my money. Within five minutes of fighting through the crowd, the person in front of me stopped short and the walker behind me, ran into my back spilling their beer on my leg and camera.  Yum. And gave me a dirty look for causing him to spill his beer!

People in the crowd were not friendly. There is no other way to describe the festival. Advantage Asbury Park. Maybe if there was more room, people would have been nicer to each other. Other observations would be that this was a younger, “hipper” crowd.  I would expect to see a crowd like this in Brooklyn on a sunny and warm September afternoon.  There were many more people drinking at this festival. I’m sure they were drinking at the Asbury Festival, but they seemed more noticeable in Red Bank. And strollers.. we got run over by strollers.

I had my Guinness and half-dozen oysters. My DW had a cup of clam chowder. Both were real good. We grabbed a hot dog from the Wind Mill and headed home. The festival was just too intense of us.  There were more food trucks at the Asbury Festival.

Here are few pictures from the festival.  Will we go back? Probably not.


Parents Weekend – University of Scranton 2013..

Last weekend was the Parents Weekend for the University of Scranton. DS3 is a junior there this year.  I would guess that as students move up in their years, that the parents might visit less. Sorry boys, that is not the case with us. As you may know we have two college children in Scranton along with my parents and a bevy of relatives.   We did not see any of the relatives this past weekend.  Visiting time was short and probably will be again this week. Maybe we could all meet at Coney Island Hot Lunch for a dog or two around 1 pm on Saturday.  Anybody interested?  Buhler, Buhler?

Saturday morning started early for us. We were on the road at 6:30 am to arrive in Scranton by 9:30 am. The University of Scranton athletics department was holding the Second Annual Royals 5k run/walk. We did this last year with DS3. This is my 5k for the year. And no, we don’t run. We are in the walking group. DS3 was in the running group and finished in 8 th place with a time of 24.21. Since his entry form (or the translation of that form into the computer) was incorrect, he as listed as 0 age and without a name. He was unknown runner 800.  He would have gotten the first place trophy in the 20/29 age group. My DW and I finished in 54.04. I came is second to last in the runners (I was a walker) and she came in 8 th place of the walkers.  I beat her by .01 yet her finish looks better on paper.  No big deal. The person running the timing was having technical problems Saturday.  A link to the results can be found here.

Lunch was at the Coney Island Hot Lunch. DS3’s GF was in town for the weekend. We ordered her a hot dog with everything, she would not even taste it. Her loss. She wound up having a hamburger. Business was slow so we did not feel too bad sitting and talking with both boys after finishing our lunch. We took take home for DS1 when we left. The afternoon was spent visiting my parents, getting DS3 a new cell phone and throwing around a lacrosse ball on a field at Marywood University. Dinner was at Kildare’s Irish Pub. A full accounting of that meal can be found here. It rained Saturday night in Scranton, surprise!

Sunday morning we went to Marywood University to attend mass and watch DS2 play his trumpet with the choir. After mass we all went the Bucktown Diner for brunch. Then it was time for the boys to do some school work and the old folks to head back to New Jersey. We had a nice weekend visiting the boys.  We stopped in Red Bank, NJ on the way home for the Guinness and Oyster Festival. I will detail that in a different blog.

Thanks for reading



Kildare’s Irish Pub – What do we do with you?

What do we do with you? The following is a restaurant review and a “modest” rant about Kildare’s Irish Pub in Scranton, PA.

An open letter to the Dave Magrogan Restaurant Group,

They say you only get one chance to make a good impression. Saturday night (09/21/2013) your Kildare’s Irish Pub in Scranton gets an D in first impressions. Harsh? Not really considering the evening we spent there.  Last weekend was Parents Weekend for the University of Scranton.  If you are not sure about the location of your restaurant in relation to the university, they are a walking distance apart. This weekend was an excellent chance to show off to the parents and entice them to return over the next four years as their children go through their studies at the university. This coming weekend is the Parents Weekend for Marywood University. Your 3 – 4 mile distance across town should limit your exposure to these parents.

We are parents of two college students. One is a senior at Marywood and the other a junior at the University of Scranton.  We visit Scranton often and have eaten at Kildare’s and the Doc Magrogan’s Fish Market many times. And I have the credit card slips to prove it!  My expectation for Saturday night was a moderate wait since Kildare’s does not take reservations and for the service once seated to be reasonable. Not speedy, but certainly not death valley slow.

Low points of the night:

  • Girl working the front desk was clueless. People were milling around, some on the list, some not, nobody in charge. Moderate chaos would be my best description.
  • Once people were seated, nobody liked the barrel tables. Three different parties were seated there and then moved when another table opened up. We took the barrel tables as better than nothing.
  • We sat down around 8 pm. We had a party of six. We ordered three appetizers and everyone ordered an entre. The appetizers came out one at a time over the next hour. If we had each ordered an appetizer, we still might be waiting for our dinners to arrive.
  • The dinners came out at 9:30 pm.  We watched an entire half of college football between ordering and eating!
  • We had no silverware. I asked a waitress for silverware as she walked by, she smiled and said sure and never came back.
  • Our waiter returned when I walked up to the bar to ask for silverware and provided forks from the front and after walking somewhere else, he brought knives.
  • One person in our party ordered the corned beef and cabbage. The corned beef was cut incorrectly and really thick. Anyone with any experience in the restaurant business would not have cut the corned beef that way.
  • Where was the manager?  Maybe she was working in the kitchen.
  • They ran out of wings. On a Saturday night at 8 pm, out of wings, really?


High points of the night:

  • Other than the silverware gaffe, the waiter did a great job with what he had to work with
  • The food was hot and other than noted above, good
  • LSU won the football game

We will go back and eat there since this meal was an anomaly based on previous visits.  The other parents/patrons that may have been there for the first time? Probably not. Your loss, Coopers and the rest of the cities restaurants gain.  You only get one chance to  make a good impression.


Family Plus!

Gone and never forgotten..

Yes, a bit melodramatic. The reality is the DS1 moved out on Saturday, September 14, 2013. He is sharing an apartment 45 minutes closer to work with some high school friends.  He will be back this weekend and next weekend since he has things going on in town that are good excuses for sleeping in his old bedroom.  When I asked him why he was moving out (several weeks ago when the move was announced), his response was that it was time. He pointed out that I was out on my own at age 18 or 19. I think he has a romantic idea of what it is like to be booted out of the house when you are 18 years old. Time and beer has softened the experience, but I would not wish those years on anyone. I survived as will he.

If you follow along with this blog, you will have figured out that we (DW and I) are again, empty nesters! The oldest has moved out, the younger two are away at college probably until Thanksgiving (at the earliest) and more likely until the end of the semester. We will see the college kids off and on during the fall. I unplugged the big screen, the cable box, the surround sound and the X-Box in the cellar since there is nobody in the house to use the electronics. Maybe I can save some money on my electric bill this fall.

Speaking of electric bills, the power in our neighborhood has been sketchy for the last month or so. The power has gone out four or five times since the beginning of August. The most recent power outage may have prompted the power company to solve the problem once and for all. Sunday morning at 2:45 am the power went out and the smoke detector in the house started beeping every few minutes. I contacted the power company via an app on my smart phone. They called the house 15 minutes to inquire if the power was out. Fortunately one of our phones is old school and works when the power is out.  After walking me through the stupid customer questions, they promised to dispatch a truck to investigate. At this point I was the only person to have reported the outage.

Looking up the street and down the street, I could see lights. Not in the middle of the street. That was odd since when we loose the power, most of our devolvement goes dark. The truck showed up at 4:30 am and drove around with a spotlight looking a the wires and the poles. After about 20 minutes the truck left. The app on my phone said the approximate restoration time was 6 am. Then 7 am, 8 am, 9 am, 10 am..  You get the point. At 9:30 two trucks showed up and they replaced the transformer on the pole across the street. Then like magic, the power came back on. Yea!

Here is a link to pictures I shot during the transformer replacement.  The pictures below are from the move on Saturday.



2013-09-14 15.44.48 2013-09-14 15.44.37

105 degrees and still alive!

Last night I took my first forge into the world of Hot Yoga.  After the 90 minute class the teacher singled me out and announced that I had survived 105 degrees and was still alive! I am more of a back of the classroom and follow along as best I can, type of student. I went into the class with an open mind. My DW had been attending this hot yoga class for the last five or six weeks and actually seemed to be looking forward to the class each week. I figured if she can do it, so can I!

Monday nights used to lacrosse nights for me. They hopefully will be lacrosse nights for me again.  I currently am in the PUP or IR list. (Physically Unable to Perform) or (Injured Reserve). As you may have read, if you finish reading the blog each day, I was recently diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation. This is an irregular heart rhythm. Last Wednesday they shocked my heart in an attempt to “reset” my heart rhythm.  The procedure was successful, so far.  As part of the pre/post procedure medicine regimen, I am on several medicines including blood thinners. The concern with the blood thinners and lacrosse (a contact sport even at my level) would be internal injuries that could cause fatal bleeding. Not my idea of a good time. I am off the lacrosse field until at least Thanksgiving. If the atrial fibrillation behaves, I could come off the blood thinners and return to the lacrosse field.

This frees up Monday nights to do something other than sitting on my butt watching tv.  My DW suggested I bring a beach towel to cover my mat (soak up the sweat) and a bottle of water to drink.  We walked into the room after saying hello to the instructor and the thermostat was set to 105 degrees. WOW!  My DW said not to pay attention to the number. Over the course of the 90 minutes the instructor had, at one point, turned the heat up to 108 degrees.  I guess she was feeling a chill!  I did sweat.  My heart raced with the yoga moves. The hot yoga practice apparently has a specific routine that is done in each hot yoga studio. NJ, NY, Paris or India.  If you take a hot yoga class some or most of the class will be the same. My DW said the opening and closing could be different. The middle is the same.

I am still learning. The heat was not that bad. The moves and the pace of the class reflect the heat. The toughest thing for me was that it seemed that everyone else in the class had some experience and I had none. I really had to pay attention and look around for clues as to what we were doing and how the various moves were supposed to look. Am I going back? Yes. I need the exercise.  My DW put her head on my chest when we got home to listen to my heart. She did not have her stethoscope with her last night.  She said that the hot yoga class had “not broken” my heart.  That is a good thing!

Give it a try, only you can decide. I am glad I gave it a chance.  Maybe in a few weeks my story will change, I hope not.


Funeral Saturday..

That title should discourage just about everyone from reading.  Saturday morning was the funeral for the Wheeling Jesuit University lacrosse player that was murdered in a fight after a night at the local bar near the college campus. Some of the details were discussed in the prior blog posting entitled Death of a Lacrosse Player.  As simple Google search will provide more information.

To say the morning was emotional would be an understatement. I took away a few lasting memories from the funeral and the repast. The president of the university said the funeral mass. He knew the player that had died and had spent most of the previous week with the family. He was very distressed by the events of the last week. Not as an educator and the president of the university, but as a human being that had lived through the tragedy.

The lacrosse community is a family. A small family with egos and such. Saturday was about celebrating the life of one of our own.  I hope to never be the parent at one of these services. 

The night before (Friday night) four of DS1’s college teammates came to our house for the night. They traveled from Ohio, Pittsburgh and Boston. These young men enjoyed an evening of a roaring fire, some beer and whisky and fellowship.  Saturday morning they were all up, showered and dressed and at the funeral (two hours away) on time. 

One picture tonight. This was sent to me by DS1. It was taken towards the end to the repast.



Asbury Park Oyster Fest 2013..

When is an “Oyster Fest” not an “Oyster Fest”? Maybe when the event is held in Asbury Park.  In two weeks the Red Bank “Guinness and Oyster  Festival” will be held in Red Bank. Then, I will have another “oyster fest” to compare this one to.  I am not complaining. It may sound like I am getting ready to rant about the Asbury Park Oyster Fest 2013, but I am not. Tonight’s blog is a “review” of the festival. I spent over twenty years in the seafood industry and have worked a few of these festivals. I am no expert. I am a consumer with an opinion. And we all know about opinions. They are like, ummm (your butt), everyone has one, nobody wants to hear it..

Parking was a challenge for those attending the festival. I guess that is good for the city of Asbury Park. We drove around for 15 minutes until we found someone leaving a metered spot. Parking was three dollars for three hours. No big deal.  Entrance to the festival was three dollars (a  theme?). The entrance fee benefited the Boys and Girls Club of Asbury Park. A good cause, just a fee.  We (my DW and I) entered the festival around 5 pm on Saturday. I had my trusty camera to record the event. The first order of business was to find the beer truck. We had walked past about a dozen food trucks (some I would guess made famous by food tv) and had not found the beer truck. We saw a women with a beer and I asked her where the beer truck (s) were.  She was kind enough to point out that they (three) were in the complete opposite end of the festival.

We changed directions and walked towards the beer trucks looking at the various vendors and planning our eating adventure (post-beer truck).  As we stood in line we met the person with the best job at the festival.  As you waited in line, someone (a man) would come up to you and check your id. He had the discretion of looking at you and deciding, or asking to see your id. These guys enjoyed their jobs. I would guess they (at each of the three beer trucks) were single and working on meeting women. Me, they had no interest in my id. My DW and every other women in line, they got to show some id or the id checker spent a minute or two talking them up. I could do that job!

After we go our beer (wine for my DW) we continued our search for oysters (Asbury Park Oyster Fest, remember?). We found two vendors shucking clams and oysters. One had a huge line of people waiting. The other had a manageable line of people waiting.  In my mind an oyster fest would include more than two vendors selling shucked oysters. There was no choice of the type of oyster.  How many and how much were the choices. We got a dozen clams and a dozen oysters and found a spot to set our plates down and enjoy our feast. They were nice and cold and really good.

We also sampled a serving of Lobster Mac and Cheese. I will make this at home one Sunday for dinner.  What we got was good but, our portion was the last in the pan and may have been a little light and dried out. It was good. But for a ten-dollar snack, ouch, it was pricey.  And, here was another festival where they really did not have an ice cream vendor. There was a frozen gelato vendor, that was it. After we were done eating we went up to the boardwalk and found an ice cream place there. We sat on a bench on the boardwalk for almost an hour Saturday night watching the waves and the people walking the boards.

We saw a wedding on the beach as we were walking the boards. My DW and I have rarely been to Asbury Park. We live about an hour south so the trip up and back needs to have a reason.  We enjoyed our visit and will be back again as tourists.

Pictures, well of course!  Here is a link to entire folder via Drop Box.




Death of a lacrosse player..

Saturday morning, like the 1:30 am last call from Friday night, Saturday morning, one of the player’s from DS1 college lacrosse team was attacked and killed. As the weekend and now this week have passed, reading the news reports, that local police along with other law enforcement officers arrested two young men and have charged them with the murder. The current newspaper story says that the suspects admitted to the fight and kicking one of the players while he was on the ground.  It would appear from reading the news accounts that words were exchanged and alcohol was involved.

What a shame. We (my DW and I) know the player’s parents. We will be traveling to the wake and funeral on Saturday.

Here are some links to the story in the local media. I can say that my oldest child (DS1) made that walk home from the bar many a night. We feel quite fortunate that we never got that late night phone call..

Click here for newspaper story


Click here of funeral notice and information


The rest of the weekend..

The rest of the weekend in Scranton was anti-climatic after the Sunday mass panic. We ate lunch at the Bucktown Diner with DS2 and DS3.  After lunch DS3 went back to school to do some homework, The rest of us went shopping at the Giant for those things that missed the move in list. We stopped by Cathedral Cemetery to visit my parents. The always appreciate a quick stopping by and saying hello. It is interesting to see how much the trees have grown in valley since my father was buried there in 1984. It helps to bring home the passage of time. After the cemetery went downtown to the Italian Festival.

The Italian Festival is held each year in Scranton on the streets around the courthouse. As you can image there are lots of food vendors. And not just Italian food. Our favorite place is Mr P’s where they sell home-made potato pancakes.  I had my three, sitting on the courthouse steps with sweat dripping down my back. Maybe one Labor Day the heat and humidity won’t be brutal at the festival. DS3 finished his homework and walked down from his campus and met us while we were walking around. DS2 got some fried Oreos. They were delicious. Both boys got some home-made root beer soda. I had a taste, it was good. Some vanilla ice cream would have made it extra primo good. The only ice cream stand there was swamped with people. We walked around a second time and only found that one ice cream vendor.  Hard to believe.

After we walked around we went up to the University of Scranton with DS3 to see his new dorm. He has his own room. The group of guys each have their own room, a common kitchen, living room and one bathroom. The building and the rooms looked pretty new. There was no air conditioning. We bought DS3 a box fan to put in his window. At least at night the box fan can pull the cool air into the room. In another month they will need sweatshirts and the fan will not as be useful.

Ds3 and I went to the Marywood campus and found a field with a lacrosse net. We spent 45 minutes sweating and feeding the bugs while we threw the ball around and worked on our shooting. DS3 must have hit the pipe (cross bars that hold the goal together) at least 12 times in that 45 minutes.

Dinner was a Doc Magrogans Fish Market. The restaurant is located on the way to the local outdoor concert venue where Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5 were performing that night. We sat for 40 minutes in concert traffic to get to the restaurant. The attraction for me to this restaurant is that the specialize in raw, freshly shucked oysters. We have gone there on nights where there were ten different types of oysters from around the world. That night the list was kind of short. They had sold out of many of the more popular oysters.

We still managed to eat four dozen for our appetizer. DS3 brough along a friend from school that has eaten with use before. He likes oysters as well. The dinner was ok. Everybody but me had dessert. I was stuffed. We drove DS2 back to school, then dropped DS3 and his friend off at the U.  The city of Scranton had fireworks Sunday night. Our hotel was downtown, but our room faced the university. The fireworks were on the other side of the building. Neither of us had the energy to back downstairs and outside to see the fireworks.  We certainly heard them.

Monday, Labor Day saw us at the Bucktown Diner once again. This time DS2 brought his girlfriend. She was at the concert the night before, that is why she missed dinner. She likes snow crab legs, but certainly does not like oysters.

Pictures, here are a few from the weekend.  Thanks for reading and Enjoy!


Not your usual Sunday mass..

This Sunday we traveled to Scranton, Pa. to visit our college children. DS2 attends Marywood University and DS3 attends the University of Scranton.  The 10:30 am mass required us to be out of bed at 6 am and on the road by 7 am to arrive at Marywood University by 10 am.  I like having the 30 minute cushion in case something happens during the drive.  DS2 plays the trumpet during mass and his GF is in the choir.  Two for one!

We usually sit on the left side of the chapel since that is the same side as the choir. In years past, the students sat on the right side. Why? I have no idea. This year the “student section” was on the left.  We sat right in the thick of it  (as it were). Three quarters through the mass, the young lady standing if front of us collapsed on the chair in front of her. Hmmm… I looked at my DW and she looked at me.  Shit! This is the real deal!

We got her off the back of the chair where she was draped and eased her down to the floor. My DW told me to straighten her legs out, they were folded in an odd fashion underneath her. My DW was asking her if she had any history of seizures. The girl was not really verbal or responsive. I lifted her head off the floor and her eyes rolled back into her head. She was pale and sweating. Then her eyes came back to center and she looked up at me. I said “Welcome back”

She seemed stable (kind of) so we helped her off the floor back into a chair. My DW was kneeling in front of her holding both wrists trying to get a pulse. My DW was telling the girl who she (DW) was and that she should look at her and breathe, “Come on” (DW said) “breathe with me”  The girls lost her color again and slipped back out of consciousness. My DW looked at me and mouthed “We need help” Yup, but what do I do in the middle of mass? Who do I call? What would the university want me to do? I looked up at the organist who is a Sister in charge of the music ministry. I mouthed to her “We need help”

Just then the President of the University walked up with a bottle of water and some tissues. She was in the chapel for mass and had seen some of this going on. Within a minute or so, campus security was also there. A quick decision was made to call for an ambulance since the girl was slipping in and out of consciousness. 

Mass continued as this went on.  We went up for communion, one at a time. I went first then my DW went up. The priest asked her before giving her communion “Are we ok back there?”  She told him that things were under control.  As mass ended, the rescue squad and the local police department arrived.  The girl looked a little better, but really was not responsive to the questions that the paramedics were asking her. The decision as made to transport her to a local hospital.  During the time before the rescue squad showed up, the girl in a awake moment, mentioned that she may be hypoglycemic. And, she had not eaten since the night before.

She went off the ambulance with one of the Sisters to the hospital. We heard Monday morning that she was ok.  Her parents live in Maryland, so I’m sure they had several tense hours driving up to Scranton.

Right place, right time.  I guess my DW and I were supposed to be in Scranton on Sunday.  We are still a little unnerved by the whole thing. And very thankful that she is ok.