First comes the greeting, then the smooching, then the tragedy


March 18, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

Ispoke with Hon Man yesterday, immediately after Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke issued a challenge for him to attend a summit, and he accepted. Hon Man will meet the mayor privately -- and preferably at the Cafe Hon in Hampden -- as soon as such an encounter can be arranged. Hon Man has asked me to make the arrangements. Hopefully, the mayor can order an end to the ripping down of the "Hon" card that Hon Man attaches daily to the Welcome-to-Baltimore sign on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. That gesture could put an end to this whole Hon business, and provide visitors a fond, folksy and permanent greeting to Baltimore. Watch this space, Hon!

The key to happiness

Have you been to Cross Street Market on a Saturday afternoon? I said it before, will say it again: There's no better indoor place to spend a couple of hours in the city. There's the trendy cheese place, deli counters, sandwich shops, Jerry Railey's terrific barbecue stand, great buys on flowers, plenty of produce, an Italian carryout, watch-em-make-em pretzels, and two fish places. Down at Nick's, you find cheap fish (lake trout) and yuppie fish (orange roughy), a raw bar, sushi bar, neighborhood men and neighborhood women, black and white and Asian and whatever, yuppies (both nouveau and burned out), old-timers, singles and couples, corporate executives and unemployed artists. Nick's just named its Outstanding Customer 1993. (What this award is based on -- oysters consumed? beer bottles emptied? -- we're not sure.) The No. 1 customer is Steve Leaderman, honcho at Rockland Industries, leading manufacturer of drapery liners. What does Leaderman get for being Nick's outstanding customer? His very own restroom key! Leadermen, who sounds like an excitable lad, is quite excited about the honor. "Public humiliation is a way of life for me," he says. "I've taken the liberty of contacting Sally Jessy Raphael to see if she wants to do a show on corporate executives who act like yahoos on their days off." I'll tell you this: That restroom key is going to make Leaderman the envy of all oyster suckers.

Fun in the dark

I take as a measure of the effectiveness of this column two things: The number of people I see reading it even while it's stuck under a pile of steamed crabs, and the amount of conversation it sparks among hairstylists and florists.

Tell you the truth, I don't care so much about the number of times it makes the governor smile or throw his newspaper across the room, though I enjoy that when it happens. ("Broderick," he once told me. "You write some of the nastiest columns about me, but I don't read 'em.")

I like that hairstylists and florists read 'em. So I'm very pleased that Jackie Hartlove, Connie Hall and Marie Woods, at Dundalk Florist, became enthralled with the question, posed in this column, about Post Office, the smooch game. A reader said she had forgotten how to play and, as she was planning a Sixties party, wondered if anyone remembered how. Enter the florists -- Jackie, Connie, Marie and their friend, Shirley Panuska.

"This is how you play Post Office," Jackie told me after all her friends had conferred on the rules. "One person acts as the postmaster/mistress. He or she chooses a 'customer,' who stands in the other room in the dark. The remaining players are then assigned a different stamp amount (5-cent, 10-cent, 29-cent, etc.) Then, the poor soul standing in the darkened room requests from the postmaster/mistress a stamp of a particular value. That person then steps into the darkened room and delivers the 'mail"! There you have it!" Do we have great readers, or what?

York Road shuffle

I'm hearing positive things about the Golden Arm Restaurant, and there's good reason: Tomas Sanz. He's an accomplished chef, having worked at Tio Pepe's, of course, and having operated, until it closed Dec. 31, Thompson's Sea Girt House. No off-street parking and too much petty crime for its older

clientele are factors said to have contributed to Thompson's demise.

So in January Tomas Sanz moved up York Road to the Golden Arm, and friends who've had dinner there are giving 2 1/2 to 3 stars. Says Joey Amalfitano, my personal food taster: "Attentive service. Food 'tasty' if not daring. Excellent broiled flounder. Great bread pudding. Interesting desserts. A little expensive for a neighborhood spot. Children welcome."

Wait, there's more!

One of the Golden Arm's neighbors in York Road Plaza is the Giant that wanted to be a Gucci Giant. A couple of years ago, the supermarket chain sparked a controversy when it sought to expand to the rear, taking up 3 acres in Baltimore County's Forge Park. That won't happen. Instead, the Gucci will be wider. It will expand sideways, and the Golden Arm, the Silver Fox hair salon and other tenants will shift north, along the strip now occupied by a closed cinema and a Firestone store. The #F Firestone will relocate next to Dave's Texaco, according to Mid-Atlantic Realty, owner of the plaza. Sounds like a plan. Work could start late summer or early fall.

Tragic, indeed

Overheard by Mindy Miller Roche, while waiting in line outside the restroom during intermission at Center Stage: "I hear Othello a tragedy. I wonder if something bad happens at the end."

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