Zinc Brasserie

August 11th, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in Dining Out - (0 Comments)

We recently enjoyed a special dinner with friends at a restaurant we had heard a lot about in Sandusky, Ohio.  Zinc Brasserie is located just off of the lake in downtown Sandusky.  It is a cozy dining room with a bar along one wall.  High tin ceilings and a large chalkboard of specials give it lots of charm.  We had a reservation and were glad we did – (thanks Open Table).

We started off with a Crispy Oyster Spinach salad from the specials list which  was served on a long rectangular plate with four lightly-battered fried oysters atop a bed of greens.  I ordered Cioppino because I had never even said that word before!  It was a spicy tomato broth over squid ink pasta topped with shrimp, scallops, salmon, calamari and a few mussels.

David ordered the Berkshire pork entree because it was highly recommended by our friendly and very helpful waitress.  Wow – what a serving of pork.  It was served on a thin layer of what the waitress described as “cheesy potatoes” with mushrooms and blue cheese.  He shared a bite and it was tender and juicy and he enjoyed every bite.

Lake Erie Wineries

August 11th, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in My Traveling Life | My Wining Life - (0 Comments)

A lazy, rainy day with friends gave us an opportunity to revisit our favorite wineries around Vermilion, Ohio. The day began at Paper Moon Winery.

Their outside covered seating area was a great place to share some cheese and hummus plates and a bottle of their Silver Lining Dry Reisling, a new limited edition wine on their wine list.

Best friends

On to Vermilion Valley Winery where a crowd was already assembled and waiting for the doors to the tasting room to open at 3:00. We enjoy their Pinot Gris and outdoor seating area overlooking a pond and rows and rows of vines.

The last stop of the day was Quarry Hill Winery, just up the hill from the orchard and fruit stand where we purchased a nice basket of roma tomatoes that will be used to make spaghetti sauce some day soon. The view from the hilltop winery is breathtaking and there was enough sunshine to sit out on the balcony and look out over the orchards.

The Red House by Mark Haddon

August 6th, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in My Reading Life - (0 Comments)

I am a fan of Mark Haddon’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, so I was excited to get his new novel from the library even though my husband had downloaded the opening chapter and found it very confusing.  For the first 100 pages I kept thinking he was writing the new Ulysses.  And not exactly in a good way.  The stream-of-consciousness, switching of narrators every paragraph made me crazy.  Then I backed off, considered the challenge and did what I tell my students to do – keep a little chart of character relationships on a bookmark.  Since the plot concerns an estranged brother and sister bringing their families together following the death of their mother to mend on holiday at a remote estate, the relationships are central.  And messy.  I finally let the syncopated rhythm of the book carry me and I learned – once again – that all families are both flawed and essential.

Look for all my other book reviews at my book blog – myreadinglife.blogspot.com

The Peaches of August

August 6th, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in Dining In - (0 Comments)

One of the few reasons I have always welcomed the arrival of August is the abundance of ripe juicy local peaches.  We have a favorite orchard that we frequent and many of my memories of summertime include going to Quarry Hill Orchards and bringing home peck baskets of unripe peaches to lay out on trays to ripen at the cottage.  Quarry Hill is a thriving summer destination, especially now that they have added a winery to the property.  (More on that later!)



This summer I have been trying every good looking peach recipe I find and have had great success with two so far.

This is the Peach Dutch Baby Pancake from the August 2012 Bon Appetit Magazine.  It came out of the oven all hot and puffy in a cast iron skillet and was extra delicious with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream from a local creamery.

Then last night I made this Peach-Almond Upside-Down Cake from the July/August Food Network Magazine because I am a sucker for all things almond.  It is made with sugar and butter browned in a skillet and then put in the bottom of a cake pan which is then layered with sliced peaches and topped with a light fluffy batter which had ground almonds and almond extract in it.  It was hard to wait the half-hour after the cake came out of the oven to taste it.

Both recipes were easy to follow and helped me to postpone baking that peach pie my husband keeps hoping for!



The World Without You by Joshua Henkin

July 31st, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in My Reading Life - (0 Comments)

How does a family cope after loss?  Beloved son and brother, Leo, was captured and killed while working in Iraq as a journalist and his parents are bringing his siblings, their families and his widow and son together for a memorial ceremony on the Fourth of July a year later at their idyllic summer home in the Berkshires.  But the reunion is all but idyllic.  Leo’s death has crazed the veneer of normalcy and each character brings extra emotional baggage to the gathering.  The family dynamics Henkin illuminates ring true and are as explosive as the backdrop of the fireworks on the cover image.  Although I began to feel mired in the middle, I woke up early to finish this great summer novel.  To see what else I have been reading visit my book blog at myreadinglife.blogspot.com.

Irish Ramble 2011

July 31st, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in My Traveling Life - (0 Comments)

Here is a link to a very detailed account of our trip to Ireland in 2011 –


It all started with vision.  Making wedding gifts by adding oilcloth liners to vintage picnic baskets.  First objective – find baskets at antique shops.  The search began on spring break in Charlotte, NC. where we happened upon Fifteen Ten Antiques.

Two baskets met my specifications.  And got my creative wheels turning.  Knowing I would have to wait until summer to begin designing was hard!

A few more baskets brought home from Massachusetts and Vermilion and I suddenly had a reason to get busy.

After taking criticism and suggestions from friends and family, I decided the perfect liner would be a removable unit with handles that fit perfectly inside of the basket.


This design and basket will be the first wedding gift of the season.  I like the pockets and elastic straps for wine glasses on the side.

And, of course, seeing my little hand-drawn logo label!

So today I wrote down all of the dimensions, and started fresh after deciding the carry straps should be on the long sides of the bin.


My Book Blog

July 29th, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in My Reading Life - (0 Comments)

I have a book blog at www.myreadinglife.blogspot.com

We Retired

July 29th, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in My Teaching Life - (0 Comments)

Now that we are retired, we can smile First Day of School 2011-2012

Read all about it in our local paper – http://www.cleveland.com/strongsville/index.ssf/2012/06/retiring_teachers_reflect_on_t.html

Southern Blues and Literature Road Trip 2007

July 29th, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in My Traveling Life - (0 Comments)

Here is a link to a very detailed blog about our road trip through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas to study the literary, historical and musical heritage of the region.