Anthony’s Fish Fry

So I told you on Tuesday that I learned that Anthony holds a weekly fish fry with his neighbors. Their housing complex has a very nice shared kitchen on the ground floor where the guys get together on Saturday afternoon to fry some fish.

“My neighbor Dennis catches the fish and brings it home, cleans it and individually bags and freezes them.” But once a week Anthony, Dennis and another neighbor, Mr. Hoyer, come together to cook.

Blacknose Crappie
Photo: tnfish.org

“He catches crappies…or whatever he can get really,” Anthony tells me. “The bottom of fridge is literally full of fish come Saturday.” While Anthony doesn’t participate in the fishing, his friends are quite the avid fisherman. “Sometimes they even enter tournaments,” he explains.

Now I know Anthony has a hearty appepite and appreciates a good fish fry as much as the next person, but I was curious if he wasn’t fishing then what was he contributing to the fish fry. When I asked, he grinned and told me, “I cook the potatoes. Home fried potatoes.”

He went into detail about the process. “I slice them like potato chips, wash them off, put butter in the pan and let it get hot and then dump the potatoes in and go back and cut up the onion and throw them on top of the potatoes and put the top on after I put a little more butter on them.” He let’s them cook for a while but you can’t just let them sit. “You got to keep moving them so they don’t get stuck to the pan. That’s the way you get golden home fried potatoes.”

As for seasoning – Anthony doesn’t add anything other than the butter. “I let the guys put on their own salt and pepper or whatever, you know, make it the way they like it.”

Fish Fry
Photo: Jacob Brcic

It sounds like a nice event…everyone brings something to the table. “You know, maybe Mr. Hoyer brings the oil. There’s another guy too, a Russian guy we call ‘the governor’, he might buy the oil or some seasoning. We all pitch in.”

“And you bring the potatoes,” I asked him.

“Yep, I take care of the potatoes. I love potatoes – I always keep a bag up in my bedroom.”

Check out Anthony&Me next week for another of Anthony’s kitchen favorites: Fish Omelets.

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Talking Turkey with Anthony

While the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes tend to gobble up most of our focus for the Thanksgiving holiday – it’s really about reflecting on what we are thankful for. It’s about family, community, giving and so much more. And there’s no pressure to buy anyone a gift or find a clever costume. Just family, friends, food and fellowship.

I wasn’t in DC for Thanksgiving so I didn’t get to have turkey with Anthony – but I did meet up with him today to see how his Thanksgiving was and get caught up on some other items. We decided to check out a new spot a block from Anthony’s “office” at 19th and M. “They’ve got fresh carved turkey sandwiches there – real sandwiches!” Anthony professed.

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Anthony, George Vincent Jr. of Capriotti’s, and me at the newly inaugurated Capriotti’s on M Street in Northwest DC.

Capriotti’s was started in Delaware more than 30 years ago and is now approaching 100 shops around the country. We’re slated to get about a dozen here in the Greater DC area. The sandwiches are rolled in butcher’s paper and sealed with masking tape – like the place you used to get them when you were a kid. Yep, it’s got a little bit of that kind of feel.

I ordered a 9 inch turkey sub with hot peppers. Anthony, who is already a return customer since they opened 12 days ago, ordered the chicken cheese steak.

Half way through my sandwich, Anthony reaches out to stop a gentleman walking by. “Reed, this is the owner,” he whispers as he introduces me to George Vincent Jr. –  a third generation Washingtonian who is leading the expansion here in the nation’s capital. I was so impressed with how busy the store was with less than two weeks under its belt that I had to know the secret. It’s rather simple according to George – he credits fresh ingredients and genuine customer service.

Photo: politico.com

If the line that wraps nearly out the door isn’t enough of an indicator of the success to come to this DC newcomer, they might get a little help from Delaware’s number one son. “Joe Biden came in on our first day and got the Italian sub,” George told me.” He even took another back for the president!” Well, Anthony sure is in good company with his new favorite sandwich shop!

Anthony and I stuck around for a little while after we finished our lunch. I asked him if he had thought about any goals for 2014. “In fact I have,” he told me. He wants to focus on getting a second job and saving money to visit his sister Jackie in Seattle. “I also need to start thinking about a new apartment,” he said. His place is fine for now, don’t get me wrong, he’s extremely thankful to have housing, but he’d like to have a private bathroom and his own kitchen.

And speaking of the kitchen – I learned something new today. Anthony and I share a love of cooking! Check back on Thursday to find out about the fish fry that Anthony and his neighbors do every Saturday!

 

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Lunch with Anthony

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This was the high temperature last Thursday at Dupont Circle…windchill made it feel even cooler. (photo: Reed Sandridge)

It seems like last week we skipped straight to winter – at least you would have thought that based on last Thursday here in DC. The high just made it over 50 degrees and the wind chill canceled out any relief the occasional sun provided. I’m glad that my friend Anthony has a warm, secure place to sleep indoors this winter. Thank you for your help in helping him achieve his goal.

I met Anthony over lunch. Joining us this time was another friend Steve who lives two blocks from Anthony’s apartment. They’ve met a couple of times and I thought I’d extend an invitation to him to join us.

The three of us huddled around a small table inside The Well Dressed Burrito. A place you’re not Continue reading

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Update on Anthony

10-yearIt’s been two weeks since I have seen Anthony – that’s probably the longest I have gone this year without seeing him. He said he wanted to go to the Street Sense 10th Anniversary Gala event which was October 10th, but that he wasn’t one of the handful of vendors who were invited to be part of the event. I offered to pay the $150 for him to go and he seemed very happy.

 

I visited Anthony on October 9th – just a normal check-in. He was in good spirits. Several people stopped by to say hello to him. One of them, a young lady with a foreign accent that I couldn’t quite place Continue reading

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Phones and toilets


phone in toiletApparently phones and toilets don’t mix.

I hadn’t heard from Anthony for three or four days. I had tried to reach him but just got his voice mail. Worried that something might have happened to him, I wandered down to 19th and M on Tuesday morning.

Leaning up against the brightly colored newspaper boxes that anchor the corner there, Anthony was talking with a parking enforcement employee. “You are just the person that I need to see my friend,” he belted out when I dropped my backpack on the curb next to his own bag.

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Although the box says that the plan is $40…if you ask, they have a $30 plan as well without internet service. It helps to ask! (photo: Reed Sandridge)

It turns out four days earlier Anthony accidentally dropped his phone into a toilet. “Oh man…it’s dead. Continue reading

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Change in the air

There’s been an autumn chill in the air recently in DC. Normally that brings with it mixed emotions. While I enjoy the fall very much, it serves as a reminder that colder weather is coming and that my friends who sleep on the streets will begin preparing themselves to endure the elements.

Thanks to his new apartment, I will not worry so much about Anthony when it drops below freezing. Sure, he still spends exponentially more time outdoors than I do since he sells the newspaper on the street corner Continue reading

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August update



It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on Anthony and me. Anthony is doing great. He’s so happy to have his very own living space. Thank you to all of you who helped him in some way. From the financial donations to the care-packages to this amazing quilt that Joyce from Texas made especially for Anthony! It’s beautiful! He has it spread over his bed and uses it to cover up at night if he gets cool while watching tv.

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Joyce from Texas made this beautiful quilt for Anthony! Photo: Reed Sandridge

Right now we are working on two new things for Anthony. First, we are looking for an adult literacy class for him to join. As a result of dropping out of Continue reading

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We Did It!

Eight months ago Anthony and I embarked on a journey. Anthony was to help me stay on track writing my book about the Year of Giving and I agreed to help Anthony try to get off the streets and into his very own apartment. While we have a long way to go on my book, Anthony is now living in his very own apartment.

JRS-2013-0715-020.jpgI went with Anthony to sign his lease and pick up his keys to his apartment. Catholic Charities, a national organization that helps individuals living in poverty, has a program that helps individuals like Anthony get back into housing. Anthony and I learned about their program and the available apartment through Pathways to Housing, a terrific regional organization that helps find housing for individuals with mental illness, co-occurring substance abuse disorders and/or other medical challenges. We’ve been working with their rock-star outreach worker Elizabeth for several months now.



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Great News for Anthony!



Bolivia-map

I’m not celebrating just yet, but we got some amazing news this week. Through a lot of hard work from Elizabeth, the outreach worker that we have been working with, it looks like Anthony will receive his very own set of keys to his apartment next Monday!!!
Sadly I am not in the US to celebrate with him…I am in Bolivia on a business trip. I called him yesterday via and he was so excited and thankful for the hard work, kindness and support so many have offered to him.

He went on Monday to check out the apartment. “It’s got a really nice bed,” he told me. Thoughts of him no longer sleeping on the damp unforgiving pavement made my voice smile back at him.

I have to admit though – I am a bit worried about this transition. This will be a tremendous change for Anthony. I need to find out if they have services available to help homeless individuals deal with moving back indoors. I am certainly not the best option to give him support in that area.

keysAnyway…I will have more news at the latest by early next week! I hope that I will be able to go with him and watch him receive his keys.

We are so close!

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Week 24 – Walking toward housing


Fungus, bacterial infection and gangrene – all problems that can affect those who do not properly care for their feet. The homeless are particularly vulnerable to these health problems due to a lack of showers, access to proper shoes and socks and the inability to dry feet properly after they become wet.

JRS-2013-0618-002.jpgAs you remember, Anthony was admitted to the hospital last week because his feet became so damaged his socks were soaked with blood. After that episode, I thought I would talk to my podiatrist to see if he could treat Anthony. It would be really convenient for Anthony as his office is about 30 yards from where Anthony sells the Street Sense at 19th and M.

Although the doctor explained he did not take Medicaid, he didn’t hesitate to see Anthony. “Not a problem, I’d be happy to see him for free,” he told me. Wow…what a great guy.

So met up with Anthony this morning to take him to his appointment. As we sat in the waiting room I noticed that Anthony was not wearing socks! “You didn’t wear socks today?” I asked him.

“I ran out. I’m sorry,” he said pulling his pant leg up to reveal his bloated ankles.

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