Thursday, December 22, 2016


The Blackstone

Teak neighborhood grill is a wonderful gastropub, tucked into the Metro West/ Valencia area of Orlando. The burger list is extensive and everything looks hand crafted. The normal patty is a full half a pound and when you ask for medium rare it is spot on. The grill has an appealing atmosphere both inside and out, but it was a cool day so we chose the patio with the fire pit. Be sure to ask for the underground menu as well, there are over 30 burger choices when combined, and the only ones I was unsure of had doughnuts for the bun, and I may be a bit too conservative for that. What I did try was the Blackstone, which is like eggs Benedict and a burger having a baby. Awesome! It was 12 dollars for the burger, but I was do full when I left there, and the food is really at the level that fits the price. I give it a 10 on the Scales any day and will be back again.

Teak outside
Teak with the crew

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Half Mast

I pass old glory, on my way to places we just left
And last time we noted her half mast
Will she ever rise above half way, tis death
And how long shall it last
My friend cried out bout guns last week
And the media shares his mind
But in a place called Nice this week
Seems trucks are not so kind
It reminds me of a story past
When violence filled the earth
And God, from holy places, watching
Comes to regret man's birth
Then for 120 years a man is mocked and scorned
By his fellow men of course, who for pride cannot be warned 
And hear it is in my time now
Another crazy man has come
To tell old stories once again
But the world is growing numb
The Kentucky preacher will mourn the loss and speak out against man's disregard for life
But he bothers you so much with this that you must create such strife
I'm driving back, and on the edge of rain and burning dry
There rest a brilliant bow of color, a prism in the sky
A reminder of a promise made a long, long time ago
These waters will not rise again, though men may sink so low
So this finite raises the question then, of infinite, eternal good
And what of justice in such a realm, or an ark that's made of wood
It cannot make the trip this time for it was made with human hands
But the Son of God, my Savior, Lord, that Ark forever stands

- Calvin Yerke

Monday, June 13, 2016


If you like Brazilian cooking then this is my favorite so far. It is in an off location, tucked into a strip mall off Universal Boulevard, but somehow word has got around and the place remains packed. It is only open from 12pm to 4PM Monday Through Saturday, but the food is amazing, fresh and worth the wait in line. I asked one of my Brazilian friends where he preferred to eat and he didn't mention any of the usual places. He took us here and we enjoyed perfectly cooked steaks, this amazing pepper sauce, rice and brilliant beans. I also had a cheese empanada, and after that I have to think that Brasil must be the Wisconsin of South America. It was amazing. If you like good food, prepared with heart and wonderful ingredients then look no further. I can't wait to take my wife and kids to Ana's.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Home Until

There are some roads that I need not think too much,  past the first turn
And at the end of what I once called home there is now a precipice
But heaven has not shut the door and I no longer shake my fist
To see it all so quietly, just think, you were mad because of this
I understood, but not really
I loved, but I could not
I had a friend, but I wasn't
I was noble, or so I thought
Why is it the curse of youth to pretend at being wise
Ungrateful for the gifts God sends, all these blessed lives
Because if the house were sold tomorrow, and the occupants all went away
Then the road was only temporary, and home is another day

Calvin "Cheese Grits" Yerke

I lived with the Robinson family as a young man, and they took in and loved an often ungrateful and rebellious teen. They provided me with shelter, food and a father figure in Howard that I had not previously had. It was a strange concept for me, growing up with a single mom, but there I was, watching a man go to work, help me with my car, and trying to give me advice on life. I have often regretted not listening, but I have never regretted the time I spent there, and they have always been home to me, and now at 42, I can say with all sincerity, thank you, I am truly grateful. I will miss you Howard, for a little while.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fuji Sushi

Lily is one of those awesome people that when asked where they want to go on their birthday, they say Sushi, but this time she wanted to visit one of my old haunts. It started out a little rocky, with the girls fighting up until the time we left Clermont to head to Winter Park. They both slept the whole way there which gave me a little time to decompress. It's amazing what a little sleep can do; they woke up different people, and I now feel the spirit of birthday once again. 

Once inside, we got the coolest waitress I've had in a long time and ordered a couple of rolls based on her recommendation. She stood strongly behind the Sea Breeze and the 2014. The Sea Breeze was a well built roll full of fish flavor and then deep fried to top it off. The 2014 was an upgraded version of a mexican shrimp tempura roll topped with raw tuna. We also got our standard issue Dynamite rolls with the scallop sauce, some Rollin's rolls, Mexican rolls, and a chicken Tempura dinner. Oh, and if that didn't hurt enough, once the waitress got wind of it being Lily's birthday, she brought out some deep fried cheese cake with chocolate sauce. Thanks for an awesome time and a definite 10 on the Scales anytime. There is also a Fuji Sushi on Alafaya Tr., but this location in Winter Park holds the most nostalgia for me. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I spent alot time growing up in Volusia County, and even though I don't live there anymore, there are certain people and places that I miss. One of those places is Pasha, on International Speedway or Hwy 92, as it is known to some. I have been going there since I was about six years old and have yet to taste a better gyro, meat pie or spinach turn over. One of the main reasons for this is the bread; they make it there and home made bread is hard to beat. All the ingredients taste fresh, and the people take pride in their work. It is not high volume, nor does anything taste like it. There are subtle touches like the pickle that doesn't taste like a cucumber, and from what my friend and I could best surmise was probably made from zuccini. The hot sauce that taste good on everything, well except maybe the baklava, offers a different sort of dry heat, and taziki is excellent. I'm 40 years old now and whenever I think of Daytona or am anywhere near it, my stomach compels me to stop in for a meat pie, spinach turnover, a nice tall glass of fresh squeezed strawberry lemonade, and a trip to dessert case to round it off. The desserts are awesome and not overly sweet. My favorites are the baklava, mini roses and lady fingers. If you want great Lebanese food and break from Mcdonalds and BK, then try this; its one of my favorites and the first 10 on the Scales.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fishing for Sincerity

I am most thoroughly convinced of something that will affect you, and everyone
But it is so much easier to keep it to myself and run
Knowing that at every point we disagree, you will say it is because of hate
And here it comes, why do I bother? Why do I wait?
But if I run, than the opposite of hate, I cannot claim
Except by way of shallowness and only to my shame
But those that know me, know the truth, that I would rather take up rod and reel
Yet here I am, begging now, for other than I feel

Calvin "Cheese Grits" Yerke

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Outside of Miami and St. Pete, this has to be one of my favorite Cuban experiences. In fact, its been so long since I've eaten in Miami, I can't remember the name of the Diner we enjoyed so much down there. ZaZa is amazing though, the bread is fresh and the dishes are made with care. Its a busy place but its so geared toward providing good service that you really don't wait very long. I have been meaning to grab a bite there for some time, and I finally went in and had a Bistec sandwich with black beans on the side. Incredible! It looks so simple but taste so good, and the beans are perfection. I also tried the empanadas, and my wife and I agree that these are some of the best we've had, definitely the best since moving to Altamonte. This place is a ten on the scales, because the food is perfect, its filling, and the atmosphere is wonderful. I will be back often, especially since I owe Lily a daddy date, and they have some guava cheese pastries there that she would kill for.

Monday, September 14, 2015


I'm not sure where they got the name for this place, and it did  not at all fit the image I had in my mind. There was no punk or even Biker theme going on, just a simple, clean establishment with the beautiful aromas of fresh meat and cheese. The gentleman behind the counter was passionate about his product, and willing to talk about it. He informed us that he did not have a Philly, but he did have a roast beef that he thought was better. Apparently he cooks the roast there and then shaves it up for the orders. Well then, challenge accepted, but I don't know why anyone would put a roast beef up against a Cheese Steak; they're not nearly the same thing. So I got a roast beef and the girls both got turkey. They loved their sandwiches and the potato salad was different, but simply amazing and fresh. So as I bite into my roast beef, I realize, this was cooked here and I would take this over a Philly. I recommend it toasted with both sweet and hot cherry peppers. Excellent, a nine on the Scales every day. I never understand how Subway and other chains survive when places like this exist, and I sure don't get it when places like this are driven out of business by the chains. There is no comparison, and I would much rather put my money here. 

Lawless subs is located on 436, west of I4, in Altamonte Springs, Fl. Here is their Face Book page: Lawless

The Roast beef is my favorite, followed by the Lawlinator, a wicked Italian and even a lovely Reuben sub touting both Pastrami and corn beef. This place is a Scalelily regular stop.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Fire Proofing

The proofing is not inside, as all that burns to ash
And the standing there, convinced of not, in the furnace, but a flash
Covered by material, external to myself
Borrowed oversimplifies the nature of it's health
I'm reminded of a story that took place long ago
3 men that would not let go
I smile at the guard as he ushers us inside
He stops me for the smile, curious as to why
I point inside the furnace, to a figure without burn
Smiling back at me, as I come to take my turn
"I really have to go now, He's waiting for me there."
The guard cannot make words now, he can only stare
I pat him on the shoulder and head up to the door
The guard can finally speak again, and asks, "who are you moving towards?"
"Tis the Word and you can read about Him, my covering, my proof
And know that I forgive you friend," I say, and pass beneath this roof

-Calvin "Cheese Grits" Yerke