Mourning Billy’s

The other day my brush chipper gave up the ghost. That’s bad because my mechanic in chief is away on vacation for a few months. I went to the local shade tree NAPA operation to pick up a little carburetor cleaner in the hopes that would solve the problem, knowing deep down inside it wouldn’t. There was the usual collection of salty old mechanics that hang around repair shops listening in to my tale of woe. One of them asked what kind of gas I used and I said whatever was closest when I needed it. They all shook their heads and moaned in a way to let me know that I had committed serious mistakes. At least they didn’t break out laughing. They unanimously agreed that you should only run raw gas in small engines, that’s gas with no ethanol. Just so happens there’s a Pure Oil station, if you can believe they still exist, about half way between Barberville and Ormond which they said was the only place around to get the good stuff. They advised that it was quite a bit more expensive but well worth it for high performance small engines. They were right, it was $3.25 vs the current pricing in the $2.6x range. It just so happened that I was ready to refill all of my external gas containers, something I do annually in late summer. I have 3 six gallon containers and a two gallon can which last me an entire year in terms of keeping the mower, chipper and generator fueled. So the timing was right to switch away from the pseudo gas to the real deal. The lady at the station told us that more and more people were putting it in their cars because they were getting much better mileage. I think I’ll experiment with it on my next truck refill – that will be when a hurricane forms up that looks like it could impact us. I go through a fill up, 34 gallons, maybe twice a year so the extra cost won’t tilt anything and if any of the vehicles could use a mileage boost, it’s the truck. It’s also my oldest vehicle so probably hates ethanol the most.

Tried a new restaurant in Deland, Tomasito’s, and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. Nancy had heard about the new Cuban restaurant that her friends said was excellent. The only Cuban food I’ve ever eaten is a Cuban sandwich so I was lukewarm on the idea. I couldn’t read the menu so picked the daily special which turned out to be a flounder fillet with a great sauce, a unique vegetable mix, and plantains. When we got there, it was early and we were among the first there so I was wondering if the empty restaurant was an indicator. By the time we left it was full with a line to get in – small place with limited parking. The waitress said it was like this everyday at lunch and dinner. Everything I saw being delivered looked incredible so for sure we’ll go back and work our way through the menu.

On restaurants, this is probably the time to mourn the passing of one of our favorites, Billy’s Tap Room in Ormond. Billy’s had been there forever – I think since 1926 – and supposedly there were lease issues. How could you be in the same location for over 80 years and have lease issues?? It was our special occasion spot. The food was excellent but it is excellent in several places whereas the ambiance is not replaceable – an old, New York tavern in the ’20’s kind of atmosphere. Awesome carrot cake and a really nice house cab.

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