Sunday, February 27, 2022
Precipitation: Maybe later
Sunday, February 27, 2022
Precipitation: Maybe later
In an effort to encourage anti-COVID facemask use, a Blacktip Island eatery has combined KN95 masks with snack-sized meal inserts to allow users to eat while wearing the masks, the restaurant’s owner announced Thursday.
“No one likes wearing a mask, but that’s the first line of defense against this virus,” Tail Spinner restaurant owner Val Schrader said. “With a little something to munch on inside, though, mask wearing can be downright enjoyable. I got the idea from a couple of roadside donkeys.
“The food pocket clips on the inside any KN95,” Schrader said. “We’re calling them Feedbag Facemasks, and can fill them with whatever food the customer wants, whether it’s from our menu or custom made. The most popular options are chips, nuts, fruit and candy. There’s also vegetarian and vegan offerings, and we can make snacks to accommodate any food allergies. Some things do work better than others, though. Split pea soup was a disaster.”
Customers raved about the masks.
“They do snack, breakfast, lunch and dinner masks,” Rocky Shore said. “I swap through them all day. And I don’t have folks reaching in, bogarting my chips. And the way I figure it, a facemask stuffed with food adds another layer of virus protection. I’m eating spaghetti right now. That sauce’s pretty dense, so I’m feeling strong.”
Some in the community worried about the masks’ overall practicality.
“I understand the food packs are modular and not part of the masks, but it’s still unhygienic,” island nurse Marissa Graysby said. “The bigger problem, though, is encasing your nose and mouth in foodstuffs. I’m treating three, four people a day for aspirating their snacks. And digging crumbs out of the nostrils of twice that many. More people are wearing masks, sure, but that’s creating a bigger health problem and straining our resources.”
Schrader said the masks’ success has encouraged her to experiment with other types of modifications.
“We made masks with little one-way sphincter ports so folks can squeeze a drinking straw through them,” she said. “We’re working on cocktail masks, too, so you can have a refreshing adult beverage while you work. Ideally, we’ll have mask pouches that let the user load them up with any hooch they want.”
Sunday, February 19, 2022
Precipitation – “His gaze pierces cloud, shadow, earth, and flesh.”
A Blacktip Island eatery this week converted its menu to meals, sides and beverages disguised as unrelated Italian dishes as a way to attract jaded island diners, restaurant owners said.
“Folks are tired of the same old burger-and-fries offerings,” Orzo It Seems owner and chef Bill Fisch said. “Our customer numbers had dropped, so we had to do something and, frankly, there was nothing to lose. There’s no Italian restaurants on the island, so we revamped our menu to fill that niche. Then, to make things interesting, we used alternative ingredients to make sure everything tastes completely different from what it looks like.
“We rebranded as ‘Orzo It Seems,’ and so far, it’s been a rousing success,” Fisch said. “The aim’s to attract diners by making food an adventure again. Order the linguine, you get noodle-looking squid strips. That yummy-looking gelato? It’s really frozen oxtail puree. Folks love it! And it’s fun watching their reactions.”
Diners praised the concept.
“The menu’s like a box of those fancy chocolates—there’s no telling what you’ll end up with,” Peachy Bottoms said. “I ordered the mushroom risotto, and got riced conch topped with sea grapes. Everything they serve is actual food—it’s not like they’re serving dirt or bugs or palm fronds. Oh, and you want to think twice before you order the ‘chocolate surprise.’”
Other customers weren’t so complimentary.
“My veal piccata was vegan cheese, coated with crunched-up Fruit Loops,” George Graysby said. “And the ‘capers’ were really green peppercorns. I spit that crap right out. Then, when I tried to wash the taste away with my Chianti, I got a mouthful of sour beet juice. That and the plate of food went back to the kitchen. Through the pass. As hard as I could throw ‘em. Last time I’ll go to that damn place.”
Island business leaders are cautiously optimistic.
“We’re getting all sorts of calls about Orzo It Seems, so it’s getting tons of off-island buzz,” Blacktip Island Chamber of Commerce president Led Waite said. “If it gets people to visit Blacktip, that means more business for resorts and dive ops and gift shops, and that benefits everybody. Personally, I wouldn’t put anything they serve in my mouth, not for money or on a dare, but if it boosts the island economy, I’m behind it 100 percent.”
Fisch admits Orzo It Seems is not for everyone.
“We cater to a certain customer, one who likes to play with their food,” he said. “It’s something different. Lord knows this little rock needs that. And bottom line, we’re not forcing anyone to eat here. You don’t like our peaches, don’t shake our tree.”
Blacktip Island’s Club Scuba Doo dive resort this week launched a new Attitude Diving specialty course after a typographical error resulted in multiple angry divers in its dive shop, the resort’s dive manager said.
“We were trying to boost the specialty courses we offer, and figured we’d do an Altitude Diver class for a laugh,” CSD dive manager Finn Kiick said. “Problem was, we didn’t realize there was a typo. Not until a half-dozen a-holes with masks and fins showed up. We weren’t laughing then.
“When they found out there’d been a mix up, they got even more hacked off,” Kiick said. “They by-God wanted that class, and were gonna get it, come hell or high water. We had to make up lesson plans, pronto, before they all went aggro on us.”
Other instructors concurred.
“From the looks of things, a lot of them didn’t need the course,” CSD divemaster Christina Goby said. “Why take the course if you already have an attitude? And, really, ‘attitude’ is a pretty subjective term, with each person on their own sliding scale. But if they’re willing to part with money, we’ll teach ‘em to be pains on the reef and complain on the boat.”
Students say the course is a breath of fresh air.
“Everybody goes on about how relaxing diving is. That’s ‘cause they’ve made it so ‘kumbaya,’” Marlin White said. “We need to put the excitement back in scuba. Make it a sport again. That’s why I jumped at the chance to take this course. You gotta break some eggs to make an omelet, and I’m just the egg breaker for the job.
“They told me I was already aggravated!” White said. “What the hell kind of comment is that? I showed ‘em ‘aggravated, then made ‘em gimme the course to teach ‘em a lesson. If they drop me on a crap dive, I’ll tell ‘em it was a crap dive. And I’ll go as deep as I want for as long as I want.”
Other resorts were taking a different approach.
“Instead of teaching guests to dive with an attitude, we’re running a course that shows them how to ditch the attitude,” Blacktip Haven resort owner Elena Havens said. “The last thing we need is more divers with chips on their shoulders.
“We start with meditation sessions at the bar, then take them out to the reef to meditate while they Buddha hover over the coral. It calms even the stoutest curmudgeons. Well, that and the powdered Valium we slip in the water coolers.”
Sunday, February, 2022
Precipitation – Not today