Broke a Tooth and Had to Take the Metro to the Dentist

A few Saturdays ago (April 17th) in the evening, while eating a salad, I broke a piece of my upper left bicuspid off.

At first, I was not sure if it was part of the salad or what it was. But after looking at the piece, I realized it was a piece of tooth.

The next thing I did was check to see where it was from in my mouth. Once I found the tooth missing a piece, I was glad I was not feeling any pain or sensitivity.

I finished the rest of my salad with no other problems.

I spent Sunday eating soft things on the other side of my mouth. At the same time, contacting my dentist friend to see if he could get me into his office on Monday. Also, I sent a similar request to his office on their website if he wasn’t checking his personal e-mail.

A few hours later, I heard back from him to contact the office on Monday morning. Then I sent work an e-mail that I needed to go to the dentist on Monday without knowing what was going on with the tooth.

So Monday morning, I called the dentist’s office. They mentioned they had recently sent me an e-mail to tell me they could get me in on Thursday. I asked if they had anything sooner, to which they replied because I had mentioned I was in no pain, they made the appointment for Thursday. I asked if they had anything sooner to make sure I could get it checked before it became a problem.

After that, they informed me they could get me in at noon on Monday. So I said I would take that appointment.

E-mailed work to say I was going to take the appointment and wasn’t sure if I would be back or not.

Now I had to walk to the metro (commuter train) to take the train for the first time in over a year, which was concerning.

Luckily for me, over two weeks before, I had gotten my Johnson and Johnson vaccine. That made me feel a bit safer to take the train and have my mask off at the dentist. Previously, I had walking pneumonia 25+ years ago, and most colds go to my chest.

Before leaving, I remembered that a block from the Foggy Bottom metro was a block from Whole Foods. So I grabbed my backpack to pick up a few things since I hadn’t been in one in a year and a half or more.

I left the house with my cloth-tying mask and then a bandana over the top of that. Along with a pair of winter gloves to use while on the train or in the grocery store.

I walked to the Braddock St. metro, which is a half-mile from the house. Then found out the blue line was not running, which meant having to take the long way into Foggy Bottom metro. So have to take the yellow line to L’Enfant Plaza and then go downstairs to catch an orange or silver line train.

Then I waited for the first train going in the direction I need to get to Foggy Bottom. I got into the first car, which I had to myself for the three or four stops I had to go.

I managed to get out of the Foggy Bottom metro stop and then the two blocks to the dentist.

I got to the dentist’s office after waiting to get in because someone was at the front desk and near the door. After getting in, I had to fill out a two-page form with a ton of questions that most of the answers were “No.”

When it was time to go in my friend, the dentist walked back to the room. After talking some, they asked me to take down my mask so they could see my tooth. After taking my bandana down, they asked if I had another mask under my cloth mask, to which I replied no.

Look at my tooth, then put the mask back over my nose and mouth while I waited for a few x-rays to check how the tooth was. Once the digital x-rays were done, they said the tooth looked solid and could be fixed. The fix would be to get rid of the old filling. Then put a cap/crown with a veneer attached to cover the missing piece.

Once done, went out to make an appointment which because they needed possibly two and a half hours. That meant they couldn’t take me until mid-May in the afternoon. The day they chose was the only day I couldn’t take because I was speaking on a remote conference panel at the time. So they then had one a few days later. But they found one a week earlier in the morning, so I took it.

Before walking out of the dentist, they reminded me to only eat soft foods on the other side of my mouth. To make sure I didn’t cause myself any issues. So no carrots, chewy bread, chips, steak, etc.

After making my appointment, I walked over the Whole Foods to do a bit of shopping. I hadn’t been in one in like two years. Once done, I put my purchases in my backpack and then caught the metro home.

So here’s to things going well for my next dentist appointment to fix my tooth along with getting out more now that I have been fully vaccinated.

Vaccinated and Now I Wait

On Friday, April 2nd, I ended up being the farthest from my house in over a year to get my Johnson and Johnson vaccine. It was only two and a half miles but was the longest walk in one direction to go somewhere.

Vaccine Location and How I Got There

The vaccine location was the old Pier 1 Imports on Route  1 (Potomac Yard Center) near the old Shoppers.

I took the back way there along the walking path near the train and metro tracks. It is a nice, fairly quiet walk, even on a windy day, at least with the wind in my face.

Stopped to Shop Before

I got near the location with about 25 minutes to go. So I stopped at Target to see if they had Kewpie Mayo. I went to the condiments section looking for it and could not find it. I did find some dijon mustard and honey mustard to use as part of a salad dressing.

Start the Process

Once done shopping at Target, I walked over to sign in for my vaccine. They asked first if I had an appointment which I did. After that asked if I had a QR code application on my phone to get to the sign-in forms. Because I didn’t, so I had to use their iPad with the heavy-duty cases and a double battery. Attempting to fill out the form holding it with one hand while using the stylus. This combination made it heavy and to hold while working through many form screens.

The other hard part was it was cold out, and my glasses kept fogging up and making it hard to read the options.

After filling out the four-plus screens’ worth of information, I had to wait for the acceptance to send me an e-mail. Once the e-mail showed up, I showed it to the person near the door. They checked it and had me move along the line, following the dots on the ground, which were at least six feet apart.

Entering the Building

When I go to the door, they took my temperature. I told them my temperature might be high because of walking there. The person told me it would be between 92 F and 93 F. My temperature ended being 91.3 F. Which the person said I should be dead. I also thought my temperature was to be 98.6 F. At least they know their temperature device was off by so many degrees.

Next, I followed the dots until I got the registration table. After finding my name on the list, they gave me a post-it note to give to the person giving me the vaccine.

Time for My Vaccine

Then it was more following the person in front of me until there was a person available to give me my vaccine. The person had me fill out my card with my name, etc., while asking which arm I wanted my shot in.

I told them I would like it in my right arm since I sleep on my left side, which they thought was good thinking on my part.

I told them once I got done after my 15-minute waiting period I was going to stop at Staples to get my vaccine card laminated. I wanted to protect it because the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is one and done.

15-Minute Wait

The person giving me my vaccine informed me that Staples was laminating cards for free. So after my 15 minutes of sitting and waiting to make sure I did not have an adverse reaction to the shot.

So I walked down to Staples and waited until it was my turn in line. I then handed the person by the counter my vaccine card to get laminated. They took my card and looked at me like they had done so many already. On their way to laminate my card, they stopped to do a few other things. Once they got back with my card, I asked how much it was, and they said it was free. So I left them a five-dollar bill on the counter, which seemed to make them a bit happier.

More Grocery Shopping on My Way Home

After leaving Staples, I stopped at the Giant to see if they had Kewpie Mayo there too. They did not but picked up a few other items since I hadn’t been to a Giant in a few years.

Then I continued walking home and stopped for my typical Aldi’s trip for groceries. I figured I should do my shopping if I didn’t feel well later that day or the following few days.

Made It Home

Once I got home, I put away my groceries then had a large lunch before I could take a nap. I attempted to lay in bed to nap for about 40 minutes before hearing the kids in the neighborhood playing basketball in the street. So I at least got to rest some.

I had another large dinner, watched some videos, etc., and went to bed early to get some extra sleep.

So now, a few days later, I’m feeling fine and didn’t even get any superpowers.

Here is to the Future

Here’s to everyone getting vaccinated, and things can get back to a bit more normal.

My plan is, after the four-week waiting period to have the vaccine take full effect, to look at rental car prices. The plan is to drive to no particular place but get out of the house and into the country.

I also looked into AirBnB places in the country within an hour of my house. I found a few log cabins, another cabin or two, one place that had both a hot tub and a sauna, etc. All of them I looked at had wifi so I could at least watch movies, videos, etc. if I wanted to.

So here’s to waiting a few more weeks to get out of town for a few days.

My Curry Coconut Goat Stew

Last weekend I realized I had some goat in my freezer from over a year ago.

So figured I should get it out and thaw. While seeing if there was any freezer burn, which there was some. So once it was thawed, I cut any of it away and made it into small pieces.

When you have a frozen goat or lamb leg, cut it into smaller pieces for stew. Make sure you have them cut it into one-inch square pieces. Otherwise, they will make them like two inches or bigger. Which makes the stewing/cooking process more manageable, along with eating afterward.
White bowl with spoon in it along with small pieces of goat, heirloom large white Lima beans from Rancho Gordo, garlic, onions, carrots, celery, half a chopped up squash, curry, Spanish Smoked Paprika, Cayenne, Ancho chili powder, farro, salt, pepper

Asked Rancho Gordo for Bean Recommendation

The day before, I asked Rancho Gordo on Twitter ( @RanchoGordo ) which of their beans I should use. I have many Rancho Gordo beans with being part of the Bean club. I wanted to know which he thought would work best with a coconut milk goat curry. Steve’s (owner) response was to go with one of their white beans. Because of all the other strong curry and goat flavors.

After going through my stockpile of Rancho Gordo beans. I found I had two one-pound bags of their “Large White Lima Bean.” So that’s the one I chose.

I soaked a pound of those in a pot with water with a good pinch of salt and a tablespoon of curry powder for two or three hours. At this point, I have forgotten how long I soaked them. I think that helped make the dish by letting the salt and the curry powder work its way into the beans.

While eating the Lima beans, I noticed that the yellow color of the curry had penetrated the flesh of the beans.

Toward the end of the bean soaking while preparing the vegetables, etc. I put the beans on the stove to start cooking by getting the water to a rolling boil for about ten minutes. Once there, I turned them down to a low simmer.

Vegetable Preparation

Then I diced up three small onions because it was all I had.

Next, I chopped up a head of garlic. It wasn’t the extra flavorful farmers’ market garlic. But store-bought garlic, so I used the whole head to add the right amount of flavor. You can add more or else, depending on how you like it.

Once the onion and garlic were chopped. I added them to my cast iron pan to soften up a bit with some Spanish olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then I added them to the pot of Large White Lima beans that I had simmering on the back of the stove.

After the garlic and onions were added to the simmering beans. I chopped up three small carrots and two stalks of celery. They were cut up into nice uniform pieces, so they cooked at the same rate. I then added them to the pot next.

I then moved on to taking the skin of a small squash. I used only half of it because the one I chose had more skin than squash flesh. I found it was becoming more work than I thought to get a little squash to add to the stew.

Adding Meat and Spices

Once the pot of beans, veggies were at a nice simmer. I added the goat meat pieces into my cast iron pan with more Spanish Olive oil. I did this to give it a good sear and caramelize the outside. Once done added that to the pot next.

NOTE – If you don’t eat meat, you can substitute tofu. If you wanted a milder meat, you could add chicken, beef, pork, and even fish. Or you could skip the meat altogether, and it still would be an excellent meal.

The next thing I needed to do was add the following spices.

  • Curry powder (2 Tbsp)
  • Cayenne chili powder (1 Tbsp)
  • Smoked Spanish Paprika (1 Tbsp)
  • Ancho chili powered (1 Tbsp)

Then some salt and fresh ground pepper. I also added a tablespoon or two of dried basil, oregano, and thyme.

Time to Let Simmer

Finally, I sat back and let it simmer for a few hours. Doing so, let the beans cook and soften along with the meat to more tender.

Of course, about every 20 or 30 minutes, I would get up and check it to make sure it wasn’t bubbling away too much. Added more water when needed, so everything was covered. I tend to leave the lid to my pot off open a bit to let the water evaporate.

Towards the end, I checked the spice and flavor levels to make sure they were where I wanted them. Knowing that as the sauce reduce down, it would get spicier.

Yes, you could use a veggie, chicken, etc., stock instead of water to add more flavor if you wanted. But I didn’t have any at the time.

Adding in Coconut Milk and Farro

Towards the end, I added a 13.5 oz can of coconut milk to let it blend in with everything. Once that was done, I then added 8 oz. of farro to help soak up some of the liquid to become a thicker, more stew-like consistency.

Once it was all done, I ladled some into a small bowl and had the perfect dinner. The only thing missing was a nice slice or two of toasted sourdough to crunch and dip into it.


Below is a general outline of the amounts of all the ingredients I used. Some might have been a bit more, and others a bit less. I tend not to measure and go by taste.


  • 1 head of garlic – finely chopped
  • 3 small onions – chopped
  • 3 small carrots – chopped in small pieces
  • 2 stalks of celery – chopped finely small pieces
  • Half a small squash – chopped, small pieces
  • 1 lb. – Rancho Gordo Large white Lima beans

Meat or other Protein

  • Goat cut into bite-size pieces

Spices, Etc.

  • 3 Tbsp – Curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp – Cayenne chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp – Smoked Spanish Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp – Ancho chili powered
  • 1 Tbps -Salt (more to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp -Pepper – fresh ground
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp – Dried Basil
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp – Dried Oregano
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp – Dried Thyme


  • 1 13.5 oz can – Coconut milk
  • 8 oz – Farro


Hope all this was helpful.

If you make it please tell me what you think in the comments. Or even leave me suggestions for other dishes to make or you have made.

Here’s to more home cooking.

It’s Been a Year

As of March 16th, 2021, I have not eaten at a restaurant or gotten take-out food, if you don’t count the half a dozen bagels, I ordered eight or ten months ago in the last year.

I have not been in a vehicle such as a metro (commuter) train, a bus, a car, etc., in a year.

It’s been over a year since I had a drink of alcohol or driven a car.

I have not been farther than a mile and or half to two miles from my house this last year.

It’s been a year since I last was in the office.

Work from Home

In previous years I only worked from home a day or two a year. So at first, it was interesting to switch over to always being home. I learned I liked it, especially when I could sleep until closer when I started my workday. Now that I have spent the last year working from home, I’m enjoying it.

I wish I had paid more attention to what I did that last week and weekend before things locked down here in the United States. It would have been nice to have written it down to see what I did those last few days.

Been a More Relaxed Year(?)

Over the last year, it’s been nice not having as much to do on nights and weekends. Sometimes it’s been a pain because most of the days seemed to have blended together. It’s been like a year’s worth of Groundhogs Day in the last 365 days.

A nice thing is being able to go on purposeful walks. Be that at lunchtime and after work instead of only walking when I commuted.

Being home more has allowed me to meet and chat with neighbors. I have found some of the neighbors have tiny houses, offices, pools, etc., in their backyard. Either from walking instead of driving or because I walked down the alleys behind the houses.

Here’s to the Future

So here is to getting back to a more normal way of doing things. While still keeping a slower pace of life to spend time with each other or other things than work.

On the good side of things, I managed to lose 25 lbs. in the last year.

Progress with My “Places to Eat” Web Application

Over five years ago, I blogged about starting my “Places to Eat” web application. Then about the “Places to Eat” application’s progress. I still work on it now and again, mostly adding new restaurants or city/states. You can find my list of restaurants at Gotta Eat Here.

Since then, I have been playing around with the accessibility and usability of the application. I did this to make sure the restaurant information worked for everyone.

Leftover cheeses, cured meats, and even a few veggies on a cutting board in my living room.

The above photo was an excellent snack that I had while starting the research of iOS applications related to finding a place to eat, drink, attend an event, etc.

I still haven’t completed all the research on other applications that you can store places to eat. I need to do the research again and see how the applications have changed when I start over two years ago on this post.

But I have asked people I know or meet at conferences if and how they keep track of where they want to eat when traveling. I have used their feedback in my process to build something easy to use. Along with getting them the restaurant information quickly and easily.

10k Apart Contest

Years ago, An Event Apart and Microsoft put on a contest to build a web-based application in under 10 Kb. It was called 10K Apart. The contest was an easy way to code a light-weight mini-application to display all the places I liked. I have gotten other recommendations from people I know in a given city, or from blog posts/articles, or TV shows.

The plan was to build the main HTML and CSS template in three to four kilobytes. So I had six or seven kilobytes for the content. I used PHP to read in JSON files for each city that contained all the restaurant’s information.

I spent about eight or ten hours building the responsive template. The beautiful thing is there was no primary navigation, so I didn’t have to worry about that. I simply created a drop-down list of cities and states that you could choose. Then people could find out where I recommend they eat n those locations.

10K Apart Entry

The 10K Apart version was only ten restaurants per city, so when the page rendered, it was under 10 kilobytes. I wasn’t sure if the 10K Apart contest would count each page towards the total kilobyte count.

So I built the PHP code to refresh the page with the content back to itself with a full-page reload. At first, I used POST for the form, which hid the location information from the URL. Later on, I changed it to a GET. So I could send people a link that had a city parameter ( slct ) in it to save them having to look things up themselves.

After the 10K Apart Contest

I used the 10K Apart contest entry as my starting point for a much larger version. I built a more comprehensive individual city and state JSON files of places I ate or wanted to eat. I started it to have an easily accessible list for myself, or if people wanted recommendations, I could send them a link.

Since the contest ended, I have added more restaurants, cities, states, etc., that I forgot about previously. Or new places I have tried and would recommend to others since then.

Over time I have even removed a few restaurants because the last few times I went, the food was not as good as it used to be. I have also removed places that have closed. I have removed more spots during the pandemic than at any other time.

With over 75 cities/states and close to 1,000 restaurants. It’s not an easy task to check broken/redirected links. So every few months, I check each city or state using the W3c’s Link Checker. Short blog post to come on how I do that.

This reminds me that during the pandemic, I should do it more often.

Future Plans

Long term, the plan is to start posting every two weeks or so. A handful of places I recommend you should eat at in a given location or for a type of cuisine. I think a newsletter would be a reliable way to do it too. But first, I need to look into newsletters, etc. I did create a MailChimp one that I haven’t used yet that I need to find again.

I’m doing this, so I will have a shortlist for a location to share with people in the future. When they ask for recommendations for a city or places I have already been. Along with maybe a bonus place I’m looking forward to going to when it’s safe to travel.

Future Posts

Over time I plan on writing multiple posts for some of the following locations and other locations:

  • Annapolis, MD
  • Austin, TX
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Cleveland, PA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Memphis, TN
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York, NY
  • Northern California
  • Northern Virginia
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Portland, OR
  • Rochester, NY
  • San Diego, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Southern California
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Washington, DC
  • and many more


Please leave any restaurant suggestions in the comments. Along with any cities you are traveling to and want recommendations. If I have any knowledge about the locations, I will work on adding them to my list of over 75 cities or write a post about them if I already have information on them.

It would be helpful if you could please include the restaurant’s name, address (city and state), phone number, link, etc. Doing so will be helpful I’m when looking into them more.

If you want to find out more about places to eat, please register to receive an e-mail/newsletter when they are available.