Celebrating the end of the recession

Any time I go to a mall and see all the cars I think: "what recession?"

I had that same feeling Saturday night as we had dinner at Shelter Harbor Inn in Westerly. We were there to celebrate three winter birthdays. I had made a 6 p.m. reservation so I could get home for the Patriots game. But the rest of the diners — and there were plenty — didn't seem to be in a hurry. The place was absolutely packed, and everyone seemed to be having a great time.

My wife also marveled at the crowd but didn't think it was a statement about the recession. "This is the 1 percent," she said.

But I don't think so. There was a table of four near us where at least one of them was drinking Coors Light. A large party of about 12 next to us looked like ordinary folks to me, probably also celebrating a birthday or two.

(The exception would be the two couples in the corner who went through two bottles of wine, all the time talking loudly about their boats.)

Shelter Harbor is on the pricey side with entrees ranging from $19-$26, and we usually go there mostly for special nights out. And on this night it didn't disappoint. From the first course (asparagus soup) to the entrees (grilled ribeye, hazelnut chicken, Finnan Haddie and cardamon-crusted salmon) to the desserts (especially the Indian pudding), everything was outstanding.

I wanted to lift my glass of pinot noir and shout, "To the recession, good riddance!"

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