If Daryl Dies… We Riot

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the kind of shit the mafia did (does)?  Read this article.  So, a few guys buy a bar (pizza place, diner, bowling alley, whatever) and decide to spend most of their time there working.  Except they don’t like working, they like drinking (or eating or bowling or whatever) and since it’s their bar, they drink for free.  Then they decide they should make more money so they give themselves raises.  What happens next?  They can’t afford to keep the bar going what with their inflated salaries and constant skimming off the top, so they go bankrupt.  But not before drinking every last bottle behind the bar and spending every last dime in the register.  Sound familiar?  Damn similar to a scene out of Goodfellas.  But also what apparently is now legal on Wall Street and has effectively ruined not just our economy but also contributed to the downfall of the economies of every major industrial player on earth.  When the f*ck did this kind of behavior become okay?  Maybe my Italian ancestors were just vastly ahead of their time.

Does anyone else find it offensive that they couldn’t get an actual American Indian to play Tonto, an American Indian, in the upcoming film The Lone Ranger?  Johnny Depp has been cast as Tonto and even though he claims to have American Indian blood in his veins (it is totally possible), he’s clearly predominantly Caucasian.  How is this any different than getting a white guy in black face to portray an African-American?

If you’re not watching season 3 of The Walking Dead, you are MISSING OUT.  I’m actually kind of glad Merle is back, even though he’s a maniacal tool, and I’m so happy Rick’s balls have finally dropped.  Even better, Lori has died, leaving us with the achingly adorable image of Daryl holding a swaddled infant.  I don’t think it’s possible for me to love Daryl any more.  And, apparently, I’m not the only one.

And, finally, tomorrow is the ultimate foodie’s holiday, so I’ll leave you with this link from our favorite Cleveland cook.




Happy Thanksgiving – a post about FOOD!

I’m way too much of a “glass half-empty” type to tell you about the things I’m thankful for today (my Facebook feed is seriously grossing me out this week), and because the whole idea of the Pilgrims and the Indians makes me desperately sad (just read the first chapter of this, which will haunt your dreams and turn your stomach), I decided the best way to commemorate this day would be to talk about one of my favorite things:  FOOD.

Having recently been to New York City for the very first time, my hosts took me to some of their favorite spots, and I definitely had some fantastic meals.  Here’s some of what I ate (Oh yeah, I take pics of food):

  • Clover Club – My first meal in town, and a decadent one at that.  This place was classy, comfortable, and had a really impressive menu.  I felt like we were in a small castle, with the candles, dark wood, and brick.  It was intimate, but also fairly busy.  My friend and tour guide for my trip made me get his favorite item – the lamb burger with goat cheese.  We also had a side of their mac & cheese and steak tartare.  The burger was rich, greasy (in an awesome way), and creamy.  The mac & cheese was fancy, with huge chunks of bacon and breadcrumbs.  I love when traditional fare like this is given a twist; white cheddar and Gruyère are used instead of the same old shitty Velveeta.  I was a steak tartare virgin, and I’ll pretty much eat anything, but I was a tad hesitant, given that this is a raw item.  However, it’s served to you with these fabulous rippled chips – it was like, the best chip dip ever.  A bit pricey, but get over it.
  • New York bagel – Numerous friends and co-workers told me I’d die for a bagel in this town, and they were quite right.  See, I love me a bagel.  And this one was the best one I’ve ever eaten.  Crispy on the outside, SO SOFT inside (nooks and crannies unlike anything I’ve ever seen), and salty as all hell.  Sigh.
  • Building on Bond – A lovely, funky cafe/restaurant, that had a homey vibe – there were people there with friends, and also some alone, on their laptops.  The decor was whack, but in a good way – totally random stuff everywhere – file cabinets, records, a disco ball, yet it all kind of works.  My buddy lives in Brooklyn, and this is one of his favorite places.  He’s really fond of their chicken sandwich, and it didn’t disappoint.   It came with some wonderfully seasoned fries, and I had a really awesome Pinot Noir.  They had a nice list of interesting-sounding cocktails, but as Annie gets older, she finds that straight liquor tastes like nail polish remover, and usually passes on things that aren’t beer or wine.
  • Jacques Torres Chocolate –  My maternal unit saw this guy on “The Chew” and when she discovered I’d be staying in Brooklyn (where he has a store), she begged me to go try the chocolate chip cookie.  We made our way over to DUMBO (a lovely area) and did just that.  I have to say, meh.  It was a perfectly good cookie, but the shop was packed, the employees slight idiots, and the food was a bit stale.  I did not try any of his actual chocolate (which was all beautiful), so I can’t comment on that, however, if the cookie had been fresh and warm, I probably would have enjoyed it more.
  • 5 Napkin Burger – A fun, hopping place (we visited the Upper West Side location), that was like a fancy diner.  I will say I was slightly drunk the whole time we were there, but the service was good, the food was tasty, and their bathroom was super gorgeous and awesome.  Oh yeah, and the “Original 5 Napkin Burger” was pretty damn excellent.  Not the best burger I’ve ever had, but a quite delicious one.  The fries were AWESOME (I love perfectly seasoned fries), and they give you a pickle.  🙂  Looking at the menu whilst not inebriated, it seems to be pretty diverse.
  • Rothschilds – Another Brooklyn eatery.  We stopped here for brunch one morning, and ohmydearlord – the BEST. FRENCH. TOAST. EVER. EVER!!!!!!  I’ve provided a photo for your viewing pleasure (and to make you way jealous).  With each bite, I could have started weeping.  For some reason it’s not listed on their online menu, but if memory serves, it was made with challah bread, and my knife cut through it like butter – it was THAT creamy.  Not raw, just magically soft.  The perfect level of sweetness, covered in berries and the most enthralling maple syrup I’ve ever poured.  The place was a tad pretentious, but with food like this, who gives a shit.
  • Natori –  Billed as some of the best sushi in town, we had to give it a try.  A tiny, closet of a restaurant, completely adorable, with a miniature outdoor patio.  The sushi overall wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it was quite close.  Our waiter was very friendly, and I can say it was the best Philadelphia roll I’ve ever consumed.

New York City has so many food offerings, it’s like the universe – it defies the confines of your brain’s understanding.  I realize I barely scratched the surface, but I felt like I got to try a varied mix of cuisine.  I can’t wait to visit again, and delve even deeper.


Mele Kalikimaka Is The Thing To Say

Dear friends, loyal subscribers, lurkers, transient readers and first-timers (to this blog):

Today, in light of the impending holiday season and all of its accoutrement, I’d like to talk to you about holiday movies.  Annie and I will, sometime in the very near future, provide for you a list of our most beloved holiday movies, but for now I want to talk about what makes the great ones great.  (For the purposes of this post, a holiday movie is defined as a film set during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season, which may or may not involve New Year’s, and in which the holiday itself plays an integral role.)

For me, a really good holiday movie must include all (or most) of the following:

  • the feel of home and family (both the warmth and the aggravation)
  • enough stress to be relate-able and/or to feel real
  • enough humor to cut the tension
  • at least one parent-to-child conflict
  • at least one sibling-to-sibling conflict
  • snow (I’ve never seen a great holiday flick set in Hawaii, or anywhere that doesn’t get snow during the winter)
  • alcohol and at least one somebody-drank-too-much-and-made-a-scene scene
  • one or more scenes in a crowded shopping mall
  • a soundtrack that includes either (or both) modern holiday music or the Christmas classics
  • a climactic scene involving a balls-out everything’s-going-to-shit freak-out
  • Christmas carolers
  • a botched holiday party/celebration

Tell me: have I forgotten anything?  Stay tuned for the flicks we recommend to enhance your holiday season.


But The Wind Goes Right Through You

You know how, after the holidays, you feel exhausted to the point of collapse, bloated and cranky and eager to hibernate for a month or two until the sun returns and the snow melts?  I feel that way right now…and Thanksgiving is still a week away.  I’m tired.  I’m drained.  And the very thought of holiday cheers and mashed potatoes and apple pie makes me want to crawl into bed and pull the comforter over my head.

Why the lack of enthusiasm, you ask?  I’m not entirely sure.  There is no snow to speak of (thank god; I would surely descend into despair if there were), we’re still getting intermittent sunshine and, aside from starting the holiday season 12 lbs heavier than I’d prefer, the reasons for my disdain are unclear.  Even to me.  I guess I’m just not in the mood.

You know, the mood.  The warm, sugary sweet coziness that fills your chest cavity like the innards of a chocolate eclair.  That overwhelming desire to spend hours with your family, people you see every few weeks (or months) usually but of whom now you suddenly can’t get enough.  Their jokes are funnier, their smiles are friendlier, their hugs feel warmer.  You eat and talk and laugh and eat some more and talk for longer, for hours, and feel like regardless of whatever differences you have with these people all year round, right now said differences mean nothing.  They’re family after all and what does that word mean if not that these are the people to whom you belong?  The people who get you, who need no explanations or pretensions, who just like being around you.

This year, though, I don’t feel particularly gotten.  And all the eating and talking and laughing sounds like work to me, energy I could spend sleeping or reading or staring at the newly painted walls of my “home office” wasted on the costly exertion of listening and sharing and smiling and pretending to care about the woes of others.  When all I really want to do is curl up under a blanket with my laptop or my Kindle and pet my dog.

I’m desperate, folks.  It’s time to pull out the big guns.  To watch The Family Stone and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  Maybe even Christmas Vacation.  I need something to snap me out of it…or snap me into it, whatever.  Something to remind me why the holidays are worth all the trouble.

Any suggestions?  I need all the help I can get.