"How to Train Your Dragon"-Review; "Irish Eyes" Restaurant-Review; A Most Well-Behaved Child

Seriously. An Irish restaurant. We've got three of them down around our parts in Southern Delaware.

Here's a review of "Irish Eyes", a culinary adventure into cholesterol and prepared food that would have New York Mayor Nanny Bloomberg shutting the place down and arresting the cooks for attempted murder.
The good news is: Kaitlyn is very well-behaved child.

The bad news is: Kaitlyn is a very well-behaved child.

She spent a long weekend with Mom-Mom in 2010, this year of our Lord. We searched for Easter Eggs, met Mr. Easter bunny, and Mrs, dyed Easter eggs, and saw a great movie.

Yet what is it about this very remarkably well-behaved child that so bothers her Mom-Mom?
We're gonna have Vikings and Dragons from now through next Christmas as the merchandisers rush to cash in on Pixar's latest offering: "How to Train Your Dragon".

It's a great movie, if formulaic. Kids from four to fourteen will love it, as will their adult companions for its action, 3-D effects and colorful characters.

A review and a few complaints.

Pic of the Day

Movie review header

”How To Train Your Dragon”-3D and Endless Merchandising

It’s not that I have any problem with merchandising a movie. I’ve long ago become accustomed to such as little toys associated with a movie being included as part of McDonald’s Happy Meals. In fact, I offer it as a point of excitement as I always take granddaughter to a nearby play McDonalds after we go to the movies and before I place the order I drum up Kaitlyn’s excitement by the promise of a toy in her meal that applies to the movie we’d just seen.

Indeed it was the same this past weekend when we’d both seen the movie “How To Train Your Dragon” and indeed included in Kaitlyn’s Happy Meal was a little figurine of lead character Hiccup’s obligatory love interest, Astrid, riding one of the movie’s many…well dragons.

It’s just that this movie is merchandised bejeesus to the point of complete distraction. Vikings and dragons can be purchased in abundance at Walmart or other retailers near you. There’s the McDonalds connection, ever present. We’ve got Vikings and dragons everywhere and Lord knows when it will all fade away. When Pixar has another movie to merchandise or when dragon rides are finally installed in Disney World no doubt.

Movie Web Site here

“How To Train Your Dragon” is the stuff of movie formulas for kids ranging from age 5 thru early teens. First you must have a lovable but pathetic sort of main character that early on must prove something to himself if not the entire world. Second this character must have some sort of love interest, but keep it clean, just a crush sort of thing, perhaps a chaste kiss at the end. Third, there must be some adventure that kids will like with their budding imaginations and what better to meet this criteria than dragons? Every little kid imagines dragons all about, under the bed, perhaps right outside the window.

If I sound jaded please indulge. This was a very enjoyable movie, it had a splendid, if somewhat convoluted story, you had the Vikings all involved and these fellows made great 3D images alongside the fire-breathing dragons.

It’s just that with granddaughter I’ve been to many of these sorts of movies and so far the winner is “UP” but that’s just me.

I’d give this movie an A- if not a solid A for the storyline, adventure, graphics and the 3D is always a great way to watch a movie. Granddaughter adores 3D movies.

But let’s not kid ourselves that this movie is cinema of a mighty intellectual caliber. Still, movie genres, even the formulaic, can be done badly but “How To Train Your Dragon” was done wonderfully.

A few nitpicks: The main dragon character, intriguingly named “Toothless”, really didn’t look all that scary. In fact, he looked like a pet dog. This sort of dragon was characterized in the movie as the most vicious kind of all but those big puppy-dragon eyes and humorous name was a bit incongruous with this depiction.

In addition, the plot line about the dragons’ lair and why they had to raid the Vikings’ livestock was very unclear to me. There was a big bogeyman dragon but the relationship of that dragon to the other dragons was a bit fuzzy. Was it the Queen of all dragons or was it the slaveholder of all the dragons?

Not that 6-year-old granddaughter questioned any of this and she fell in love with Toothless, something I suspect the animators intended.

Thus to those readers with kids do not fear that the vague storylines will distract from the young human’s enjoyment of the film one bit.
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Easter 2010 Visit to Mom-Mom’s…- A Most Well Behaved Child

There’s good news and there’s bad news concerning granddaughter’s most recent visit during her school spring vacation break of 2010.

The good news is that she is a remarkably well-behaved child.

The bad news is that she is a remarkably well-behaved child.

Husband has a nephew a couple of years older than Kaitlyn. He’s a handsome young man but as legend would have it, he’s a bit of a handful.

First, he’s a little boy and no matter what the Fema-Nazis might tell you, there’s major differences in the behaviors of little boys versus little girls. But even allowing for this, it seems to me that husband’s nephew is nowhere near as well-behaved as Kaitlyn.

Husband tends to look upon his nephew’s childish exploits with a wink and a nod, smiling a big one as he iterates yet another bit of mischief on behalf of errant nephew. I must smile too because frankly I’ve yet to hear of any of the boy’s actions that are beyond the pale of normal but he does get into trouble in such a fashion that would have the perfectly behaved Kaitlyn sobbing in shame deep into the night.

I love Kaitlyn, but of course. And of course I am proud of how well-behaved she is. Yet I worry. I think Kaitlyn could use perhaps a soupcon of husband’s rascally nephew’s mischieviousness. This country was not founded on the meek of soul is what I’m saying here and there’ve been times when I wanted to slap Kaitlyn alongside the head that she defend herself what say you? At her recent birthday party, there was another kid all opening KAITLYN’S gifts and I had to stop the kid from doing this while Kaitlyn just sat by and let the little monster open her gifts.

Kaitlyn makes a full blown career out of getting “perfect kid of the day/week/month/year” awards. She never gets the purple tag, purple being the color of the bad kids. I’m thinking husband’s nephew has one or two of these. She has bookmarks for God’s sake that fall out of her books that are prizes for being most well-behaved, sweetest, lovliest, insert nice adjective here child of the hour.

Again, I love the child. I can take her anywhere and never have to worry about ill-behavior. Folks all around her remark on how well-behaved she is, and she is.

Yet I recall the incident of the little boy at bible school. Seems the children attending the summer bible school were to perform a skit of some sort for the parents. As part of the skit, the children were to exit, or enter I’m not sure, the stage, with a pre-assigned partner, of the opposite sex I think but again am not sure. The young tot assigned to walk with Kaitlyn stopped right during the live presentation and for some reason refused to walk with Kaitlyn as scripted and practiced. Kaitlyn broke down in tears at the slight and humiliation. The bible school teachers rushed to the stage and tried to comfort Kaitlyn while dealing with the oddball little brat boy who refused to walk with my granddaughter. At some point Kaitlyn was comforted enough to walk the stage without that kid with no taste.

When I found about this incident I told Kaitlyn, with my tongue in cheek, that she should have called me up and I’d have gone right down there and punched that kid right in the nose.

“Un-nuh,” Kaitlyn said to that suggestion. For it would be bad behavior to punch the little kid in the nose though Mom-Mom would wipe the floor with him in a New York second.

Now I’m not saying that husband’s rascally nephew would punch another child in the nose who would suddenly refuse to walk the stage with him as planned, practiced and assigned. But I’m thinking he wouldn’t stand up on the stage and break down in tears either. I’m thinking young nephew would probably spend one, maybe two seconds trying to cajole a reluctant child who would not walk with him. Then, as I envision it, young nephew would take on a big smile and walk across the damn stage all by himself, indeed, and likely with a spring in his step and an air of importance that he should be so special as to not need another child alongside to share the spotlight.


At any rate, lest God strike me dead for sounding in any way that I regret having such a well-behaved granddaughter, let me shut up right now.

I marveled constantly at Kaitlyn’s wonderful behavior. During those times when Mom-Mom told her to go entertain herself she dutifully sat at her little table and chair and worked diligently on creating wonderful drawings with cheap paper and crayons. When I plopped her in the bathtub she played for so long I had to go in and pull her out complete with her fingers shriveled up and wrinkled as if she were 90. When we were at the church and as the choir practiced before mass begins, and well before she would be called to the Little Apostle Sunday School, she took an offered piece of music as we tuned up and yes she did, the child stood and sang along with the rest of us and further, after we were done our practice round Kaitlyn continued, “reading” the music and not doing half bad. She raised her voice when the notes went high and lowered it as the notes went down and soon the entire choir was giggling at this next American Idol wannabe.

In the movie she only once, and toward the end and with reluctance, asked to go pee and I appealed to her to stay for just the remaining fifteen minutes left to go in the movie. I know she had to go as I did too and I knew that she really didn’t want to have to leave just then but she had to be uncomfortable. At any rate she managed to sit still until the movie was over then we both ran to the rest room.

She sits quietly in the car, always hooking up her seatbelt before the car should move. She exits the car safely and promptly places both hands on the doors of the vehicle, a rule insisted upon by yon Mom-Mom who wishes to avoid the child suddenly bolting into the driving area from between parked cars, an action difficult to do if both hands are placed steadfast on the parked car’s door. She watches her DVD at night while Mom-Mom watches the big TV and she goes to sleep as she is told.

She doesn’t whine and complain when she is told an activity is finished. She fetches her shoes at the play McDonalds as I instruct. She puts her toys away as told.

Seriously. The kid is great. She tends to get a little melo-dramatic at times but she’s smart enough to know when she goes from believable to the stuff of the Lifetime Movie Network.

I think she needs just a bit more spunk is what I’m suggesting here. Maybe I’ll arrange for Kaitlyn to spend some time with that mischievious nephew.

Below a movie compilation of Kaitlyn’s visit.

”Irish Eyes”-A Restaurant Featuring Comfort Meals That Might Kill You

Let me sum it up by stating that if southern Delaware’s infamous “Irish Eyes” restaurant was in New York Mayor Bloomberg would shut it down toot de sweet and have the owners thrown in jail for attempted murder.

New York, along with Nanny Bloomberg, is on a mission to make all New Yorkers healthy, already prohibiting foods fried in trans-fat and on a mission to cut salt usage drastically.

On a recent visit to Irish Eyes restaurant located in Lewes, Delaware I ordered a concoction that would have Bloomberg beating up the cook bejeesus with a billy club.

Irish Eyes, Lewes Delaware restaurant, web site.

Which is not to say that I didn’t quite enjoy the meal but go with me here, as one with a heart-bypass and a penchant for racking up high cholesterol, I could only indulge in this sort of dinner maybe once, twice a year, tops.

I began the meal with a fine appetizer, heart-approved, of something called “almost famous” cucumber bruschetta.

The treat consisted of about six pieces of Melba type toast drizzled with balsamic vinegar. The “bruschetta” contained tiny, perfect squares of feta cheese and fresh cucumber.

Bruschetta is a dish one normally associates with tomatoes, perhaps onions, some celery, chopped up finely. It is a sort of watery salsa usually scooped up with a piece of dried toast type bread or large crackers. The only problem I had with this Irish Eyes “almost famous” bruschetta is those perfectly square pieces of feta cheese. Good feta cheese is crumbly. You get those exactly square pieces of the stuff and you’ve got a very processed sort of feta cheese, not the very earthly tasting cheese made from goat’s milk. Like American cheese can be processed and formed into perfect blocks and manipulated to become the stuff of velveeta, so can feta cheese. Indeed, this feta cheese was certainly edible but it was lacking. If Irish Eyes would use real feta cheese maybe this bruschetta dish would finally become famous. The fresh cucumbers, however, and the Melba toast with the balsamic vinegar were perfect. This appetizer had the zesty feel of a summer garden.

For my entrĂ©e I chose a dish called “Seafood Shepherd’s Pie”.

I’d debated long before the anticipated visit whether to get that very Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage. Since I am very Irish in ancestry, I love corned beef and some kind of pork, cooked in a big pot along with plenty of potatoes, of course. But I balked. First, I like my cabbage boiled to nothing-hood, not that I’m proud of this. Restaurants of this day tend to barely boil vegetables, serving them in the trendy “crisp-tender” final product. I say phooey on that. If I want a salad, I’ll ask for a salad, darn it.

Thus I did not want to order what I’d hope would be a big plate of mushy cabbage with potatoe pieces to the side and a couple of healthy slices of corned beef and instead get a wedge of “crisp tender” cabbage and some chewy potatoes.

But Shepherd’s Pie? How could you go wrong with this?

Shepherd’s pie is another English/Irish dish, consisting of at a minimum a combination of mashed potatoes over some sort of protein in gravy. Beyond that shepherd’s pie is a cook’s creation and could include the addition of various vegetables with meat ranging from stew beef to ground beef.

The Irish Eyes concoction added a layer of melted cheese over the mashed potatoes and hey, that sounded fine to me.

The dish also included shrimp, big hunks of scallops and some lobster meat in a creamy gravy that contained fresh tomatoes, zuchinni, carrots and celery. I dislike zuchinni and yes it came “crisp-tender” so I pulled all this out. The cheese layer over the mashed potatoes, folks it was a bit over the top and I could not have finished that big plate of melted goo on a dare. But it was very good, yes it was. Took me two days to eat it at home and this was for the best in that my cholesterol rose just looking at this dish.

Husband had fish and chips. The fish looked to be fried just perfect though I didn’t take a bite. I already had more than I could handle with that shepherd’s pie.

I ordered an appetizer of wings in sesame-honey sauce to go plus I had a Margarita. Our bills for the meal, the two appetizers, one drink and two entrees was $60.00 which included a nice tip. Service was excellent by the way. Those wings were delicious after a quick heat in the microwave the following day.

Yes I’d go to Irish Eyes again but I’d have to limit such eating adventures to once a year. I’m not sure about husband as this sort of fare is definitely not the sort of stuff he enjoys. We only went this one time because…well it’s a long story.

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