4 leaks. 1 broken window. 1 refrigerator full of spoiled food. 5 days without power.
And my only internet access is at my temporary law office in the food court at Memorial City.
It's been a strange week for food.
"FEMA send beer" - a week of cooking out on the street
There is nothing like a neighborhood barbecue - especially when nothing in your kitchen works.
I had no idea that former sportscaster Bob Boudreaux lives on my block. But the night after Ike, he put up a cardboard sign, pointed upward, that read, "FEMA send beer." And he fired up the grill. I had to meet this guy.
So I brought two magnums of Sonoma cult wines as an offering. Of course, Bob was drinking beer. But he was happy to share his thawing freezer full of grilled venison and pork chops with the neighbors.
We stuffed ourselves on grilled meats, wine, and beer. And I got to know a lot of neighbors.
The following nights, we scored other food to grill. A friend fled town, leaving her barely frozen wild salmon. After a few days, Kroger started selling frozen tuna, and then offered a great deal on rib eyes ($9.99 a pound). Nightly we had cocktail hour with neighbors and then went home to grill.
A hurricane is a community-building exercise.
Anniversary dinner at Mockingbird Bistro
Last night, my wife and I went out for the first time. It was our anniversary. Many restaurants were closed, but some were open. We found ourselves at Mockingbird Bistro.
It is just not fair to review a restaurant when you have been eating hand-to-mouth for a week. Last night, Mockingbird was fantastic. They had a full menu. Every ingredient was fresh.
Mockingbird's beef tartar is a delightfully retro dish topped with a raw quail egg and served with toast and olive tapenade. A nicely seared filet of king salmon was served with a twice baked potato, brocolini, and a beef reduction sauce. A flourless chocolate cake was delicious.
Others fared worse
Before the power went out, I heard the tragic news about Brennan's. It was at Brennan's that I learned to love turtle soup, pecan-crusted fish, and bananas Foster.
I never wrote much about Brennan's. Perhaps I took it for granted. Now, I miss it terribly.
Yes, Brennan's was retro, still serving food two or three generations behind the times. But most dishes were good, and some were fantastic. The only good news is that most of the wine cellar was saved because the restaurant had iced it down with dry ice before the storm, which became a fire.
On Monday, I traveled east to rescue my elderly uncle from Sour Lake, Texas. I drove by Baytown and Nome and a lot of small towns on the coast between Houston and Beaumont.
I saw a house blown onto the middle of a service road. I saw mobile homes flipped over. I saw power lines scattered in fields like matchsticks. I saw large homes crushed by trees or wind. I saw a damaged world with few traces of civilization. I was reminded of Conrad's Heart of Darkness.
I saw misery that utterly dwarfs a broken window, some leaks, and a week of camping out with the neighbors.