Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dottie's True blue café

(I like this cover version by the Red Paintings. The eerie use of stringed instruments really adds to the effect. Thanks, Sean!)

A somber[1] Sunday morning breakfast at Dottie’s True blue café (see 'blog-entries from every Sunday in June 2011).

Once again, I forewent the printed menu in favour of the specials board. There were several good choices (as always), I went with the Roasted Grape Tomato, Spinach, Kalamata Olive, Pesto, and Feta Frittata ~ with toast and potatoes. I also had a cuppa coffee and a large glass of grapefruit juice.

I really liked this frittata. The grape tomatoes were small enough that they were whole in this dish; they really added a fresh and sweet pop to it. I am always a sucker for most dishes that include spinach, Kalamata olives, or Feta; that this one included all of those Hellenic memories made it all the more tasty. 

Dottie's has a pretty decent selection of condimentary supplements and I used a little Tabasco® Chipotle on the frittata and some Frank's® RedHot® Chile 'n Lime ("I use that sh*t on everything!") on the potatoes.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: RgtSKoP&F Frittata ~ 7.4; True Blue Memories, Family, and Friends ~ 10.0

1. Not only is today the anniversary of September 11th, 2001, but I just found out this morning that an old Air Force buddy (and brother in Marxhood) passed away earlier this week.

I had just recently reconnected with Gary Burgess through the funny pages of defacedbook and learned that he had been suffering from kidney failures; he finally lost his long battle after more than ten years.

I had known Gary my entire Air Force career (and I use the word "career" lightly). I first met him way back in 1978 with my first assignment at the Defense Language Institute/Presidio of Monterey, when I was taking Basic Russkij. Then, Gary was the first friendly face I saw when I arrived at my first real tour of duty at the 6916th Electronic Security Squadron ("Home of the Proud Professionals", Ut Fiat Libertas), Hellenikon AB (Athens, Greece). When I went back to Montereyski for Intermediate Russkij in 1982-1983, who else was there but Gary; he was taking Basic Spanish at the time. After serving a tour (more like a 2-year party/vacation) in (West) Berlin, I finished my Air Force time at Offutt AFB, Omaha, NE; well, guess who was the first person I ran into that I knew ~ Gary and I ended up renting a house off-base in Bellevue. The last time I actually saw Gary was in November 1986, he was taking Intermediate Spanish back in Monterey and I had just moved to San Francisco; we got together for a weekend just before he PCS-ed to Panama.

Three fun memories of Gary:

1) Things to know about Gary: he was passionate about Basketball and Backgammon and hated to lose in either.

a) I like watching Basketball as much as the next guy. I usually keep up on the NBA and will even watch most of the NCAA "March Madness". Gary took his Basketball obsession to another whole level, though. One spring Saturday afternoon, I remember catching him watching on TeeVee ~ the Texas Regional Girls High School Basketball tournament! When I asked him "WTF?", he just told me that was the only Basketball he could find that afternoon.

b) Gary was the fargin' bastage that taught me how to play Backgammon (it was during a weekend road-trip to San Francisco, must have been March or April 1978). The first game of Backgammon I ever played against him, I actually beat him. I chalk it up to "Beginner's Luck" and not to Gary going easy on me; he may have been playing easy with me, but he would never intentionally let anyone win, no matter what. There weren't too many games after that first one that I can say I actually beat him, but whenever I did, I was sure to revel in the victory.

Thanks for showing me how to play Backgammon, even if I usually lost.

2) When I first arrived at the 6916th, Gary told me not to "Sign in" with the Squadron right away and to take a few "extra" days off and head to the beaches of
Γλυφάδα. As this was in the summer (July 1979), there really couldn't have been a better way to play hooky. He told me that if anyone asked where I was, to tell them I had to attend a Judicial In-briefing (whatever that was supposed to be) or something… I really doubt they fell for it; how many people really have to attend five to ten Judicial In-briefings? Plus, why did I have a better tan than when I first showed up?
3) Gary was also the person who introduced me to a great Mexican breakfast place in Salinas, Rosit
a's Armory Cafe. We would go there from Montereyski on a Saturday or Sunday morning for a tasty repast (and usually for a much-needed hangover respite). ¡Muchas gracias, mi amigo!
Gary, if you do ever hook up with J.C. in Heaven and talk him into a game of Basketball or Backgammon, be careful, he cheats.

R.I.P. Gary Burgess; April 28th, 1957 - September 6th, 2011


  1. Brian,

    I was checking the FTVA website and the Fallen Eagle page and saw that Gary had passed. Your blog was the only place where I could find out how he passed. I don't know if you remember me, but I was stationed at the '49th and worked with Gary. I finally made it back home to California and am living in Sacramento area and am working in Oakland--Amtrak. Thanks for the update and the heartfelt words.

    Manny Oaxaca

  2. Mr. Oh-axe-a-ka!

    Of course I remember you. Ye of the simply pronounced name. I am old, but not senile.

    I learned of Gary's passing from Rudy Smith, via defacedbook. It was especially sad to learn of it on 9/11.

    Gary's sister provided us with a link to his obituary in the local paper, but their data base only goes back two weeks and won't allow me to link the one from the date it was posted.

    I hadn't seen Gary since November 1986, when he was finishing up Intermediate Spanish at DLI just before he headed to Panama (for that abbreviated tour). If memory serves me correctly, I was actually one of the witnesses at his civil service wedding to Patti in Monterey, too.

    I am now living in Callie-Forn-Ee-Ya (San Francisco), too. If you want to contact me: 415-221-2732 or

    ~ Harpo