Saturday, November 26, 2005

Post Thanksgiving Pops

I took a day off to recover from my second Thanksgiving. This was supposed to be just a small dinner at the Mysterious Chinese Woman’s Mysterious Mother’s house, but such was not the case. Turkey, a ham cooked by Jim, the instigator, corn pudding and two homemade pies (apple and pumpkin) courtesy of the Mysterious Chinese Woman, chicken and duck courtesy of the Not-Too-Mysterious Sister-in-Law, and veggies, shrimp, noodles, and soup prepared by Mysterious Mother, and an ice-cream cake courtesy of Carvel. Did you know that Carvel no longer makes cakes in any shape other than round. I think even the whale has been retired. How sad. Mr. Carvel is probably turning over in his grave.

958) Sake Bar Satsko

Well, not a very big sake bar, that is for sure. Just a bit of a hole-in-the wall on 7th Street between Avenues B and C. It is pleasant enough though, with a small L shaped bar that accommodates four wooden chairs on each side. The top of the bar is two shades of dark wood inlays and the front is reddish wood panels. There is a wooden footrest that looks like it might be oak. A variety of red beaded lights hang over the bar. Behind the bar is a refrigerator with a glass door filled with wine and a kitchen cabinet with a coffee machine, an espresso machine, and a cash register sitting on top. On top of the refrigerator are several bottles of sake and a stereo with two silver Hello Kitties sitting on top. I just love those little things. They are so cute. The side of the refrigerator had a bunch of Batman themed pictures including one of Alfred E. Neuman in a Batman costume and some guy and his little boy similarly attired. A small shelf above the kitchen cabinet holds a couple of small teapots and tins of tea and small cups hang from hooks on the front. A wooden rack of glasses is suspended above the bar by chains entwined by colorful flowers, artificial, but pretty. A black metal wine rack with unopened bottles of wine in it and open bottles of wine in front of it sits on one end of the bar.

The wall opposite one side of the bar has a bench covered with orange cushions with Asian designs. Four tables with multi-colored tops sit in front of the bench and down one step, but still a step up from the floor, are half a dozen ice-cream parlor type stools with round seats in bright colors atop metal poles. Four bright red fringed lights hang over the tables.

There are lots of wallet sized photos of regulars on the walls as well as several abstract painting that were done by the same artist, someone living in the neighborhood, I presume. Four smaller greenish and tan and black squiggly paintings hang on the wall next to the wine rack on the bar. The floor is small white mosaic tiles; the walls are cream-colored as is the wall except for the section over the bar that is black.

I had a bottle of Sapporo.

959) Sunburnt Cow

A lot of bars on this stretch of Avenue C weren’t open yet and I had to peer in here at 137 Avenue C to make sure this one was. It was and it made me glad. The somewhat small L shaped bar has a top of alternating black and white acrylic squares and the white ones are lit from beneath, but just barely. The front looks like it might be made from black 50 gallon drums. There is a wooden foot rest. The bar stools have square seats covered in fabric, red and black and white and black, patterned like a Holstein cow.

Maybe that was what the black and white bar top was supposed to represent too. Two beer stations each have three spigots.

Behind the bar are a couple of stainless steel coolers and a large chest filled with beer and ice. Above those are tiered shelves of liquor. The wall behind appears to be a tropical beach being enjoyed by a herd of cows that, I presume, are getting sunburnt. Continuously projected upon that lovely scene is a loop of film clips ranging from surfers to martial arts to extreme bicycling. Kind of mesmerizing, especially with the Stones (one of Bar Man’s favorite groups) playing in the background.

The wall opposite the bar is rough plaster in two shades of orange and there are a few stools in the front next to the windows. The ceiling is a deep sky blue patterned tin and the floor is old wood. One small stretch of wall by the door is brick and has a steer skull mounted on it and some small illuminated Moo Juice signs. There is a skylight over a dining area towards the back and all the way in the back is another dining area with windows looking out on a pleasant garden-like landscape.

I had a Guinness.

960) Esperanto Restaurant and Bar

A neat little place that, once you are inside, does seem as though you could be in Mexico or Cuba or Puerto Rico or someplace similar. Just a small, wooden topped bar with a wood slat front and no place for your feet. From the clutter on the bar it doesn’t look like they encourage a drinking crowd. The only other two people were having a bite to eat. This is probably more of a holding area for the decent-sized and well populated dining area. The bar stools are old wooden things and uncomfortable enough so you probably wouldn’t want to linger.

Behind the bar are old wooden cabinets with liquor sitting on top and two sets of glass shelves mounted on the rose colored wall and they held bottles of liquor. There was also an old white wood and glass paneled cabinet sitting on top of one of the cabinets. Also mounted on the wall is a bunch of wooden butterflies mounted on a blue wood panel and, I think, the Virgin Mary in a small glass case. Not the real Virgin Mary, just a small statue.

To the right of the bar is a green plaster and yellow corrugated tin wall with a window in it that makes it seem as though you are sitting next to a small house. Drink specials are written on the yellow part of the wall in red and the $3 chips and salsa special is written in blue. Overhead lights are shaded in swollen tube shaped woven wooden strips. The floor is a combination of old looking Mexican tiles and old wood. There are windows on two sides (the bar is on the corner of Avenue C and 9th Street) that face parks, but they are typical lower East Side parks so they are a bit gritty.

One of them, the one with the large weeping willow, is the park next to Sunburnt Cow.

There is lots of lime green and wood in here and the crowd of customers seemed to be enjoying themselves and the food. A little piece of artwork showing people sunbathing made me eager for my return to Mexico in a few months.

Another place to return to and sample the food and, at $6 each, the mojitos and caipirinhas as well. There was also a nice sounding two-piece group playing Latin melodies and singing in Spanish.

I had a glass of red wine and the bartender gave me an extra splash as I was leaving. A nice gesture.

A pleasant enough day with three bars hit making 960 for the year and leaving 40 to go. A Jets game tomorrow, whoopie. Two of the worst teams in the NFL playing at 8:30 P.M. so the game can be on National Television. Boy, I bet that draws a big audience. Of course my buddy Bernie will be here at 2:00 P.M. so we will have ample time to tailgate. With a little luck I will pass out right after the kick-off and not wake up until the two-minute warning. His hot apple cider and Wild Turkey will help with that.


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