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  • Susan Welsh

Gold nibs and French Silk Pies


I hold writer's instruments and talismans in high regard and I'm sentimental for the old-fashioned tools of the trade--typewriters pencils and my cherished Waterman fountain pen with the 14K gold nib that once belonged to my great-grandfather F.W. Van Hart.

My Proustian moments involve the scent of gum rubber erasers, mimeograph ink, and the dusty particulates in the old back stockroom of JB Klein's stationery store

where my father had a house account and I was given free rein to buy all the supplies a budding writer could ever dream of.

The jewels in the crown were the expensive fountain pens in a glass case that I dreamed of owning one day.

I wish I had the space to house a typewriter collection. In fact, I just sold this one ​because it was collecting dust in the basement and I thought it would be better loved and displayed someplace. I'll live a collection vicariously through places like SFO and it's current exhibit of typewriters in Terminal 2, which includes a 1926 Underwood Standard Portable previously owned by Orson Welles. If I go I'll also make a stop in Terminal 3 to the See's kiosk for a chocolate pop and then over to Boudin's for a 360 calorie Chocolate Chip Cookie, one of the best you'll ever taste in your life from a commercial kitchen!

There's enough in the SFO airport alone to keep you culturally occupied before you even begin to add up the iconic things San Fran is already known for: Alcatraz, cable cars, Coit Tower, Union Square, Irish coffee at The Buena Vista cafe and a million places for first-class, fresh, inventive dining---think Dominique Crenn, home of poem as menu.

In my youthful vim, before I went West for four, far too short years of revelry and education one of my favorite restaurants in town was The Broadmoor, then owned by chef Alex Wilson and the sweet John Gessler. They brought nouvelle cuisine to Lambertville in the 1970's and fans remember their wonderful Mustard Chicken, and my all-time favorite, French Silk Pie. Lambertville's own Alex Cormier, from the now defunct Rick's, is slated to re-open the new Broadmoor in the next few weeks to great anticipation by locals. Will he bring back some of the menu items of old? We sure hope so.

In 1980 we celebrated my father's birthday at the original Broadmoor and toasted with my first sip of Schramsberg Cremant--a favorite of mine to this day! Back then, it's delicate off-dry creaminess suited my nascent teenage oenologically-undefined palette. Born in 1972 this is the bubbly created with the Flora grape. It's subtlety appeals. . .

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