Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Birthday Boy.

After passing the age where it's no longer ok to party at the local McDonalds, jump into the plastic balls, and eat about 50 McNuggets, I have a healthy disdain for birthdays. Similar to New Years, you experience a great amount of anticipation with a great deal of whatevs afterwards. With the exception of my 27th where I fell asleep super drunk on the sidewalk near my apartment to be woken up by Daren, Lee, & Bird kicking and laughing at me and somehow waking up on my roof with tar stains on my face, birthdays are all but uneventful.

So I've taken it upon myself to try and maintain the goal of not waking up in my own bed on my birthday which I have successfully maintained for the last couple years. But unfortunately, my birthday happened to fall on a Monday this year & I couldn't quite work it out, so I did what any self-respecting fat ass would do and ate all my favorite meals starting Friday.

I've never been to Texas or Tennessee or the South for that matter, because of a deep rooted fear for getting whacked in the head waking up in a situation like in that Pawn Shop Basement Scene from Pulp Fiction with a cop named Jed & his friend chained up with a leather kit or being the brown kid stepping into an Aryan Pep Rally & getting yelled at for being Mexican and "stealing all their jobs". But it's my dream to do a tour and eat all that the South has to offer from Chitlins, Grits, & kick ass BBQ.

But the owners of Hill Country have made what's close to a Southern Backyard BBQ Joint that I'll ever eat at right on 26th & Broadway. I'm not sure how authentic it is for visiting Texans, but the food is served on brown paper with sliced white bread, they serve Miller High Life in bottles, and black people work there.

It's my third visit and I've finally figured out how to order the food there. At BBQ places you would almost automatically order the ribs. But @Hill Country they dry smoke their ribs which translates to some gross shit. I can get more juicy ribs at my local Chinese food spot. After previously experimenting with most of the menu, I cornered my order to a 1/2lb moist brisket, 1/2lb corn pudding, 1/4 lb mac & cheese, a 1/4lb pork n beans plus some cornbread. Solid.

The brisket is super tender and usually disappears after a few minutes; it's always smart to eat while hot. However, I did kick myself after watching this guy next to us make a double decker sandwich with a grip of brisket and mac & cheese. Good man. The corn pudding is good, try to ask for the corner crust for some added texture when ordering. The mac & cheese is oddly made with penne not macaroni but the cheese blend is spot on. The beans were an afterthought but were very good with huge chunks of pork in the mix, not just some bacon bits.

But suprisingly, for a restaurant where some colossal dumps take place, there's only one single co-ed bathroom, one single toilet with very poor pressure, and this JDM trash can that prob fit about 3 tall boys. But a great start to my eating weekend and a perfect pre-game to watching "Jennifer's Body". Despite the cliche joke of every other comedian, there's really no experience like watching a horror movie opening weekend in Times Square AMC Theatre. Straight Comedy.

For Saturday's dinner we hit up Hinode, this small family run Japanese restaurant in Upstate Piermont, NY on our way to the Condo. I've been going to this place since high school and have yet to have a bad meal there. The staff are incredibly hospitable & attentive plus the food is consistently very good. And unlike most of the Japanese restaurants in Manhattan, they don't try to rush you out for the next set of diners. While you wait & during your meal, the chefs bring you delicious samples of sashimi & sushi roll combos that aren't on the menu; and you can't quite ask what they are bec no one speaks english. Plus they make an amazing version of deep fried ice cream with your choice of green tea, red bean, or vanilla ice cream with a panko flaked crust. The closest to a b'day cake I'll have all wknd but it's f'n good. Domo Arigato. Sono Ryouri wa Oisikatta.

The next morning we hit up my favorite breakfast joint, The Mixing Bowl, in beautiful Vernon, New Jersey. Sort of like Cracker Barrel without the rocking chairs and numerous allegations of racism. The wait staff here are super friendly, make a killer cup of coffee, and some good ass chicken fried steak. An artery clogger for sure, but I enjoyed every bit of that shit.

Hit up the Elements Spa @Mountain Creek to try and kill myself with my personal version of the 300 workout to burn off at least a fry or two and to appreciate some spa time & do the jacuzzi, steam, cold dip cycle for a bit. Not a bad day. Topped off with a decent lunch upstairs over some football @Kites restaurant, home of the infamous "Windmill Story". Turkey Club and some Sweet Potato Fries. Not terribly exciting but decent and got to catch Favre throw that bomb to win against the 49ers. Homeboy still got it.

Woke up Monday Birthday Morning and cooked up my favorite meal: Garlic Fried Rice with Eggs & SPAM. Mom whipped this every Sunday morning after Mass and I still crave it every day. It took about an hour to take down two cups of rice, two eggs, and almost the whole can of SPiced hAM but I savored every moment of it. The Brown Santa even showed up to deliver the JDM Works Bell shift knob I bought for myself for my birthday. Smiles all around as I wondered if a Birthday could trump the Monday Gremlins. I was eating my favorite breakfast, UPS brought me gifts, and I had a night of beers, food, and television planned for the evening festivities.

I had made plans to hang out in the with some of the guys who are normally available on Monday night to have some beers and watch the game somewhere in the Bronx, but they suprised me with tickets to the Stadium, so I was more than delighted. However, Satan had other plans and pissed all over us.

Whatevs, I had made actual plans on the day of my birthday, I was going to one of my favorite places on earth, and I had some chicken parm heros from Hugh's hood. I wasn't trying to let a little rain piss on my parade. We made it in and bee-lined it to the food court in the new stadium with a Nathan's, a Boar's Head Deli, and a Sushi joint of all things. We shared a stand up table with some older guys who were hella jelly we had some Arthur Avenue goodness. Ironically, they were also taking out one of their buddies for his b'day. Hope you had a fun one, Gary.

The rain was persistent and I was afraid the game was going to get called off. We toured the stadium & found the lone Carvel kiosk. Vanilla waffle cone please. Turkey Hill almost monopolizes the ice cream game at the Stadium serving pints for 6 dollars, but I'm a Carvel head to the death. I'd have ordered a Cookie-Puss if it was on the menu.

Finally, the skies opened up and we got to watch the Yanks beat the Royals. The Yanks did clinch the AL East the night before sweeping the Sox, but it's always nice to watch ball during this pre-playoff window. Everyone's happy & relaxed, a bunch of 2nd string guys are mixed in on the field and there's no pressure. We go to the game mainly to heckle everyone that walks by anyways. Big ups to Jimbo & Hugh for hooking it all up & coming through for my b'day. Much appreciated. And thanks for stamping Kenny Loggins in my head for the next couple days. Party.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

To go.

Some things should never be packaged for future use.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Didn't know it was going to be a deck. Too bad it's one of those labels that you can never find. Might have to troop out to Strong Island and hit up this place for lunch.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Funky Fridays #55.


Picking up in multiple colors. Black for sure.

"Nike has used Gore-Tex and other materials on dunks in the past, and many ACG models come equipped with weather-ready materials, but here we get a preview of a Air Jordan winterized Spiz’ike. Both models shown here keep the fusion accents the same, but some durability-centered changes are recognizable right away. Nylon mesh replaces the webbing normally found on the mid, a waterproof band appears just below the mesh, and a thick rubber sole and tougher toe appear on the bottom of the shoe. Jordan Brand tells us that the shoe will be waterproof in up to two inches of water."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

R.I.P. Theresa's.

With scattered showers in the forecast shutting down plans of skating my local spot, I picked up my bike and rode up north to Ditmars Avenue. I was first intro'd to the place when PZA lived on 21st and 21st. Pretty solid pizza, but their claim to fame was their $1.50 rice balls and $2.00 chicken rolls. Such a meager price to pay for such good home-cooked goodness. But I guess at those prices, it's hard to stay in business. Rest in Pizza Theresa's, we'll always miss you.

But luckily just down the street is the now infamous Sal, Kris, & Charlie's Deli: "The Sandwich King of Astoria." I was saving the visit for my birthday, but as fate would have it, I was having some proscuitto & capicola today. Ordered up "The Bomb" with everything fielding questions from the counter dudes as I waited paitently for my sandwich.

"How much does it weigh?"
"I dunno."
"Like 5 pounds, 7 pounds?"
"Guess so."
"You should weigh it."

I gladly paid my $8.50 which included a 20oz Welch's after wrestling my bike from the deli guys who took turns lifting the bike trying to figure out my bike's actual weight. "Bullshit Vinny, it's gotta be like 6 pounds."

Parked at the local b.ball court and opened the wonder of a sandwich that is appropriately titled, "The Bomb". The thing is fucking massive like a dozen iPhones and dwarfs any bullshit from Subways or Quiznos. Where the White House Sub Shop on Artic Avenue in Atlantic City will remain supreme as the premier (hot) sandwich joint in the Tri-State area; Sal's might very well be the (cold cut) Sandwich King.

Sandwich Jizz. Suprisingly for such a large grip, most of the sandwich stayed intact save for a few drops of mayo/ oil/ vinegar and some fixins. But true to the CitySearch reviews, the sandwich can be tough to take down for one person and is best served for two as the contents soak into the bread making it not as palatable as the first half. The crispness of the sesame hero bun is lost after the condiments take over. But overall, absolutely delicious & worth the trip; almost worth the demise of Theresa's Chicken Rolls.


Farm Animal.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Evan Hecox.

Hyped Evan Hecox is in town for a show. Gotta check it out. I'm by no means an art nerd, but I did work security in a great art museum in college. After staring at an artist's collection for 8 hours at a time, you kind of get an appreciation for an artist. Most of it was forgettable aside from Piet Mondrian, an OCD's favorite, but I can appreciate Hecox's illustrations.