I was treated to a very special dinner at the Legion Hall last Monday. A few people from the Senior Center were going and Director Laurie Fanelli asked if I would like to go along.
I was not expecting much, having spent most of my working life eating institutional food at boarding schools. Boy, was I surprised!
At first I went into the main doorway and found out that Zumba was in progress. So I decided to use the back lower entrance. I discovered a packed couple of rooms and a full bar. At one end of the dining area was a buffet table full of desserts ranging from pineapple upside-down cake, apple and cherry pies, brownies to homemade cookies. There was also a crock pot full of the best beans that I have ever tasted.
I found the table that was reserved and then went over to the bar and ordered a cocktail. Legion Commander and Marine veteran David Clark was taking care of business in that department. He said that I should pay him at the end and just remind him what I had to drink.
There was a great deal of activity in the kitchen with many delicious cooking scents spreading around the room. The meals were prepared by Rose Wissemann and her son Gunnar, also a Marine vet. They were assisted by Camryn Page. While I was enjoying my cocktail Rose came around the table and took orders. There was quite a selection — lasagna, chicken, German beef rouladin and sliced steak — and one had a choice of sides. I had the green beans and mashed potatoes. Mac and cheese was also available.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that a broccoli salad preceded the dinner. While we enjoyed the salad, good conversation was everywhere. Lots of good fellowship. As Father Peter DeSanctis, who was sitting opposite me, said, “Good food makes for good conversation.”
My chosen entrée was the sliced steak. It was fantastic with a crispy outside and just a bit of pink in the middle. Rose also served the food, assisted by Camryn.
My other adjacent tablemates were Laurie, who had the German beef rouladin, and Sara Mundy who enjoyed the steak and macaroni and cheese. Fr. Peter had the lasagna.
Noticeable by their absence were salt and pepper shakers. This is usually reserved for high end restaurants where the chefs are very sure of what they are serving. Rose is such a chef. The food was so perfectly prepared that it did not need anything.
I learned that these dinners are open to Legion members and their guests. I believe that a membership is $20 annually.
The cost for the whole dinner was $15. My one cocktail was $5. At the end of the night the bartender takes the cash for the food and drinks and the tip. It’s a deal that cannot be beat anywhere on the Island. And it’s the quality of the food that makes it such a standout venue.
As I was leaving Gunnar shook my hand and gave a “Semper Fi” to pass on to my son Victor, a Marine combat veteran.