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If you’re looking for Danko’s Salad Dressing, it’s here.

When I was a young man, I worked at my Father’s Restaurant on the line at nights.  One of the most often-ordered dishes on the menu was the “Danko Special”.  It was a dish that my dad developed — we ate it out our house for as long as I can remember — it consisted of a dish that had some Yugoslavian accents, some 1950′s-60′s-style dining accents, and just a little bit “magic dust “sprinkled on it by our Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Michel Gehin.

The Copper Hills Restaurant Burned down in 2001, and the Danko Special hasn’t been served in any commercial form since 1991. I want to release this recipe to those that remember ordering it, others that wonder just what the heck all the fuss about the Copper Hills might have been about, and finally as a recipe that you’d enjoy. This recipe is for all of you that have ordered it in a some “past life”. This special time for me seems so long ago; I never thought that there would be a Globe Miami without a Copper Hills. You know who you are, and you’re all part of my extended family. Continue Reading »

If you’re looking for the “Danko Special” Recipe, it’s here.

This is the House Dressing of the Copper Hills Motel in Miami, Arizona

My Dad got his house dressing from Navarre’s in Phoenix. It became Danko’s Salad Dressing in Globe-Miami, and was quite famous in the area.  This popularity was carried up and down Highway 60 by the travelers that stopped at his Best Western Restaurant and Hotel over the 35 years from the time my Dad built it, until he sold it in 1990.  The dressing disappeared after this; Navarre’s was long gone by then and the new owners changed the entire menu.

This salad dressing is Atomic Age stuff.  1950′s/1960′s Steak House Salad Dressing. Red flocked wall paper, dark woods and antique mirrors, with burly middle-aged male waiters. Men with coats and ties, ladies in cocktail dresses, stoles and alligator clutch-purses.  Ashtrays on the table.  Rumaki appetizers. This is no-BS salad dressing that “Mad Men” ordered, followed by “I’ll have a bourbon and water and the lady will have a Vodka Martini, up”.  This dressing has been pretty much a family secret (except I think I’m the only one in the family that’s ever made it besides my Dad, who passed in 2000).  I had friends, girlfriends, girlfriend’s moms and others ask me for this recipe for years. Continue Reading »

Most of you know that I’m a huge fan of Starbucks.  They take care of their customers, their employees and really try to do the right thing with capitalism mixed in.  It probably isn’t completely perfect, but they have great coffee, good bites and great service.  I’ve made many friends at various Starbucks all over the United States, and frequented them in London because you know that you’re going to get good quality quickly.

Oh, but the Starbucks at Gloucester Road Tube Station just turns this on its head.  Three women running the place basically wanted you to get your coffee and get out.  I wanted to order some cookies for my daughter but she just moved on to the next customer. Everything was so abrupt, which was odd because it took forever to get my coffee.

When my wife took the empty half-and-half jar and put it on the counter, they just ignored it.  Didn’t even look at it.  When I put it closer to her she looked at me like I had landed a house on her sister.

We finally got the cream. No wonder the Espresso Bar next door was packed.

Redemption came a few days later at the Starbucks near Green Park Station.  Ah.  Just like home — a relaxing quick bite before the Trooping of the colors.

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Caught “Hairspray” in London Last Night.  For those of you that don’t know, you can get cheap theatre tickets in London at Leicester Square ticket offices on the day of the show, often for half price or less.

But of course, there’s a catch.  Pay in cash, because many of the booths are also “Foreign Currency” exchangers, and they put a double-whammy on you by selling you the tickets and then tacking on a currency exchange fee of more than 10%.  Buyer beware.  I wouldn’t go to a ticket booth with a Foreign Currency Exchange loudly advertised again.  It happens so fast that you don’t realize what’s going on until about halfway through the show.  So you’ve been warned.

Also beware of just putting money down on counters at food kiosks — I ended up paying £2 for a £1.29 water simply because I put the change on the counter to count it — the guy just started grabbing coins before I had a chance to get “situated”.  Very annoying but not worth making a public scene over a dollar’s difference in cost.  He knew it as well as I did.  I’ll let his Karma catch up with him.

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My Mother and Father were intensely fond of this recipe. I was 6 years old, and we were going to Europe on the Cristoforo Colombo. Dad always wanted to do a “Grand Tour” of Europe, and in 1967 he was 56 and had multiple hotels in small towns in Arizona, was finally secure and wanted to do the big trip and visit his homeland and relatives in Crnagora (Montenegro).

On the way over, a Chicken Cacciatore was served and Dad really thought is was the cat’s pajamas. He had the habit of getting up at the crack of dawn, and he loved talking to cooks and kitchens, and had a way of just getting along with everyone, everywhere and could completely relate at a level that I just don’t have the talent for.

So he talked the chef out of the his personal Cacciatore Recipe, promising never to publish it and only use it in his restaurant in Miami, Arizona.

Which he did. Dad’s been gone since Halloween in 2000, the Cristoforo Colombo has been shredded into razor blades, file cabinets and other metal parts. I don’t know if the chef is still alive, and if he is, I’m sorry in advance, but this is such a good recipe, I want to share. Continue Reading »

Maxine’s “Slav” Macaroni

This is mom’s FAMOUS (at least around Miami, Arizona in the 60′s and 70′s) “slav” macaroni recipe. She would have this at parties and except for the shrimp cocktail, It was always the first to be eaten. Up until now it was only available to the family. Now, if you’re here, well, you get to enjoy it too.
The important thing to note is this is a “baked” dish. You layer your pasta (I like Buccatini, but Mom used Perciatelle. Any long, tubular pasta is required here.

ingredients

  • 1 small can of tomato sauce (or homemade is good!)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 1 package of long tubular pasta
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped coarse
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta until “Al dente”. Empty the sauce in a saucepan with the water and heat. Melt the butter in another pan. When the pasta is ready, mix in the butter, then lay it out lengthwise in a casserole dish until the bottom is covered. Cover the pasta evenly with a light layer of sauce.
Add some of the parsley on top. Sprinkle a bunch of cheese evenly on top of the layer. Make another layer and do the same.
When you’re finished with the layers, add any cheese you have left on top and bake at high heat until the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy.

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Taking JavaScript More Seriously

As I migrated from basic HTML to JSPs and finally complex Server-Side Java, I became less and less respectful of client-side languages, and most of my colleagues were pretty much in lockstep with me. While working in the view layer, adding JavaScript was a tedious necessity, and most programmers I worked with built well-made, but structural, scripts to handle the needs of the page.  They knew what they wanted it to accomplish and they just wrote it to “do that thing”.  It “wasn’t worth” digging deep into it, because it is just “throw away” code that the view used; not really worthy of Server-Side Programmers’ attention. Continue Reading »

Building a Consistent, Predictable and Efficient Environment for Enterprise eCommerce Applications.
 

Predictable Schedules Create Outstanding Teams

When many eCommerce shops first set up, there are usually a few developers wearing many hats; they have access to everything, develop within specific areas and channels, and check in code for deployment as it becomes ready. While this type of development will work as a business starts, it will soon become unmanageable and will result undesired consequences as changes are not integrated, and business priorities are not addressed, or worse.

Predictability and easily enforced processes set all stakeholders within an application free to do their jobs and collaborate at the highest levels possible. With a strong process, planned changes will be scheduled for deployment with a high degree of accuracy. Engineers enjoy complete and accurate requirements, and know what is expected of them throughout each cycle. Quality Assurance will have time to create plans and fully test changes, and Releases to Production will no longer be a nail-biting, all-hands-on-deck stress-fest.

The following proposed process details the steps necessary for day-to-day development, maintenance and enhancements for the IHO/Offer Channels applications. They are exclusive of longer-term enhancements and development requiring multiple-week pulls. Only those issues that may be completed in short periods will applies here,. This is significant because with most mature applications, nearly 75% of all issues encompass this type of development.

Tracking the status of Issues

An Issue Tracking System is a “blog-like” application that allows issues to be tracked throughout the development/release cycle. Its main features include fields to track: Continue Reading »

The Problem: Calling a function many times throughout a particular JavaScript file or block.

JavaScript is often used to manipulate a variety of HTML objects on a page, i.e. to “show” or “hide” them, or perform some type of toggled functionality on a variety of buttons, divs, etc. It is not uncommon to see code like this littered in a variety of places throughout a typical large Script block:
if(foo == bar){
document.getElementById("blah").style.visibility="block";
document.getElementById("blue).style.visibility="none";
document.getElementById("red").style.visibility="block";
document.getElementById("black").style.visibility="none";
}
Implementing the above in numerous places throughout said block of Script with a couple of hundred lines can eat up a lot of space, be harder than all get out to maintain, and if the guy that wrote it gets hit by a bus, you can often watch the next engineer in line cry for days in front of their screen just trying to figure out what the original coder was thinking when they wrote it.

Continue Reading »

Maxine Gurovich

The last bastion of unconditional love is your mother, if she’s a good one, and mine was most definitely a good one. Once she’s gone, there is nobody that will ever again give you unconditional love. The only thing left to do is Pay it Forward, to your wife, child and the people that you love.

Maxine Gurovich, my mother.  Oct 1, 1920 – March 11, 2008.

Bye Mom, you were the finest, and I’m honored to be your son.

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