Clearing off my virtual desk for the last time

Wow. I can't believe I'll be going into work for the last time today. Unlike most people, I love going into work. I just don't want to, you know, have to work when I get there. ...

Working in a newspaper office is like being in no other work environment in the world. I don't understand why they won't pay me to go in to suggest story ideas and schmooze with the other reporters and editors, who are all 30 years younger than me and still my friends. Who will explain to them obscure food references, who Paul Pierce is, and why Kalinda on the Good Wife is going to be the Next Big Thing?

Well, as Gailor says, I'm the world's oldest teenager.

They're having a potluck lunch for me today as a sendoff, with the piece de resistance, I hear, being fried chicken from KFC. 

My dear editor, Sarah KK, gave me a gift bag yesterday with more gourmet milk chocolate bars in it (she's also a milk chocolate fan) than any human being should have access to. I mention her specifically because after today if you have food/restaurant tips while guest writers are still handling my chores, please e-mail them to her at

I'm almost down to the last of the e-mails in my inbox, so I'm going to throw these few out this morning for you to deal with, and hope I don't have anymore when I get in: 

This one from Cynthia stumped me. Maybe the Peppermill in Lutherville?

I'd like to take my mother out for her 80th birthday to a place where they still sing Happy Birthday, etc. -- can you make any recommendations?

Meredith has this request that I feel like I've posted before, but I can't find it. Maybe they all sound alike at this point:

Considering your restaurant expertise, I was hoping that you could help me find the right place for my wedding reception.  We want something outside with a pretty garden or patio - view optional.  We are only going to have 25 people and would want to have one long table.  Any suggestions?
The only place I can think of right now is on the patio at the Wine Market, but I would love more flora and fauna.

This is a tough one from Jamie:

I'm a ex-pat from Baltimore and a fellow foodie and would love to get the recipe for Western Fries. I grew up loving the ones that were at Eddie's at Cross Keys and was so sad to see that the one on Roland doesn't serve them anymore. Would you have an idea on how to get the recipe?

Felicity had a good suggestion for a blog topic that I never got around to writing:

Sometime perhaps you could write an article on the subject of restaurant china - I was so infuriated by the pretentious soup plates and  saucers at [Chez Maison] that the (reasonably good) meal was less enjoyable than it should have been...

Finally, it looks as if that Valentine's Day sex-in-the-bathroom promotion at the Toronto restaurant was a hoax.

(When I typed my name into the Sun's photo archives just now to find art, a bunch of old reviews that had been scanned in to go with my 30th anniversary story popped up. The one above was from 1977, when the Ambassador was an apartment house dining room something like the Peppermill is today.)

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