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    Looking Ahead and to the Past

    As I’m writing this to you today, which is actually November 3rd, a month before you read it, I’m glancing at my cat calendar in front of my computer monitor. It’s actually a page-a-day cat calendar that I’ve been buying for the past 10 years.

    I’ve already bought all my calendars for 2008. Mainly they are wall calendars, except for the one wooden perpetual calendar I have that I just love. I bought this particular calendar at the Country Heritage Barn which sadly perished in a fire. It was in Johnstown on County Route 107. Herman and I used to love to go in there for breakfast and were saddened to see it go. The closest thing I can relate to it now is the Red Store here in Caroga Lake, since they have three meals a day as well as gift items and groceries.

    When I lived in Los Angeles there were some favorite haunts I frequented as I do here in Fulton County. One of my favorite places out there I used to tend bar at. It was called the West Beach Café, directly on Venice Beach. This sort of turned into a theme of mine as I often tended bar close to the water and beach.

    I remember working in Santa Monica, also a beach-side community, but I can’t remember the name of the restaurant where I worked.  I do remember a place in Santa Monica close to the ocean where some friends of mine threw a birthday bash for a mutual friend, Julia Roberts.  My good friend, Deborah Goodrich Royce, organized the whole thing and we all had a very good time.

    Across the street from the West Beach Café was a restaurant called Rebecca’s. The owner of the West Beach Café was a guy named Bruce. His wife's name was Rebecca, hence the name. While the West Beach Café had general American cuisine, Rebecca’s had Mexican. This is where I truly began to love this type of food.  Whereas Italian food is available in abundance here in Fulton County, Mexican food is like a staple out there.  There doesn't seem to be many ethnic restaurants here.  There is a Spanish restaurant in Amsterdam that I like very much.  Terry and I have gone did to this restaurant several times and really enjoy it.  I first heard about it from Herman when he did a story about the restaurant. It is located in the old part of Amsterdam and is called Camacho’s. The guy who runs it is named Ralph Camacho and he’s great.  They basically have one special a day with a choice of meat and either yellow or white rice with or without beans.  But I highly recommend you get the beans if you go there ‘cause they’re terrific.  Along with each meal you have a choice of tomato, lettuce and cucumber salad or avocado salad.  Each time I’ve been there I’ve gotten the lettuce salad although Terry says the avocado salad is good as well.  I’ve learned that I like fried plantains, which are a relative of the banana, deep fried.  They also have empanadillas which are basically beef stuffed dough, deep fried.  For dessert they have what’s called flan which is basically a custard.  The last time Terry and I went they were sadly sold out of flan. I’m telling you it’s that good. 

    They are open from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm Monday through Saturday and Fridays 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Their exact address is 38 East Main Street, downtown Amsterdam, and their phone number 843-1690.  Catering is also available and you can even rent the place for a party.  If you live or work in Amsterdam they also deliver.  Try this great place if you are down there, and tell them I sent you.

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com