Poker Time

Hello there.  I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I am the 2004 Hickory Poker Showdown champion.  As you may remember, my mother was the second runner-up.  Surprisingly, no one at the Commerce Casino in LA recognized us.  Well, they should have.  Want to know what $1k in $5 chips looks like?

The stack of chips closest to the camera is mine. The stack directly across, in front of the peach colored shirt, is my mom's.

Shortly after I took this picture, mom and I took a break to get dinner.  We went to a restaurant called Dal Rae Steakhouse in LA.  We would never have noticed it, but Yelp! seemed to think it was a pretty good place.  We almost scrapped the idea when we arrived.  The parking lot was nearly empty, the neighborhood seemed a bit sketchy, and the restaurant looked run down and old from the outside.  Despite the warning signs, we threw caution to the wind, put our trust in about 250 Yelp reviews.

We were in for a huge surprise.  The Dal Rae is 53 years old and still family owned.  Walking through the door was like stepping into a time warp, landing us in 1950s Manhattan.  The wait staff were professional waiters and waitresses; they all appeared to be at least 40 years old.

The service began with a relish tray with vegetables on ice and a basket of sourdough bread.  The waitress helped us pick wine, which was exceptional.  I got a Cabernet called Stag’s Leap, which had a peppery taste and a hint of dryness.    I’m not particularly knowledgeable about wine, but I know great taste when I find it.  The best part of the meal was my filet mignon pepper-steak.  It was cooked perfectly (medium rare) and piled high with diced green peppers and fresh cracked pepper.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stuff any dessert on top of the dinner.  As soon as dinner was served, our waitress told us that we should allow 30 minutes for the kitchen to prepare the chocolate souffle, which is apparently their specialty.  If the souffles are as good as the steaks, I’m afraid that we missed out on one hell of a dessert.

We returned to the casino and found it even busier than before.  It took us a while to find open seats in the section in which we usually play, but we eventually got to play again.  I couldn’t stick it out for very long as I haven’t fully adjusted to west coast time, but I managed to leave with a little more in winnings.  All in all, it was an excellent night.

I’m afraid I won’t be returning to the poker room.  I had good luck and played well (my friend Lee would be proud), but I doubt that would happen twice in a row.  So, I’m going to resist the urge to play the rush and use my winnings for the trip to Korea.

Until next time.

-Taft

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