Friday, May 22, 2009

Armando's Is Returning

It was a beautiful day yesterday so the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I decided to take a little walk down Montague Street. I was happy to see that the Spicy Pickle is no more and Armando's is on its way back.

Bye Bye Spicy Pickle

Welcome Back Armando's

I am not sure when Armando's will be back, or what it will look like when it does, but at least work is in progress.

It Won't Be The Old Armando's

I sure hope they saved the picture of Marilyn Monroe.

We ended up our stroll at the Waterfront Ale House (big surprise) where we split a delicious soft shell crab sandwich and dumped down a few beers, including a couple pints of Sam's Serious Maibock. Phew, at 8.1% alcohol it really packs a punch in the afternoon, and you don't really notice the alcohol all that much because it is so flavorful. Sam, the owner, chatted with us for a bit and said the beer was getting better as it ages. He initially put it up in March so it has had a couple of months to fester now. It will probably hit its peak just as it runs out.

Sam said he plans on putting up a lager, so I hope that will be ready for summer.

You might want to stop by and grab a Sam's Serious Maibock before they run dry, though.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Rant

I am all in favor of people who serve in the miliatry getting all of the benefits they have coming to them. My problem? Why do those of us who spent our time in an ugly war we all want to forget, Vietnam, get almost nothing?

Don't believe me? Check out the benefits that someone who served in Vietnam gets versus what veterans got in World War II and those serving now, in Iraq and wherever, and ask yourself What the hell happened to a whole generation that lost their lives to Vietnam?

I would like to see some of these new military benefits be made retroactive. But, I guess, those of us who served 40 years ago should be over our problems by now, and certainly don't deserve any help. Ah, and we aren't really a big voting block, I guess.

By the way, if you don't want to check the facts, we got dirt.

Oh, the reason this has popped up:

Many post 9/11 veterans and servicemembers will soon see a new package of education benefits. This new Post 9/11 GI Bill, or so-called GI Bill for the 21st Century, boasts the most comprehensive education benefits package since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944.

The new bill goes well beyond helping to pay for tuition; many veterans who served after Sept. 11, 2001, will get full tuition and fees, a new monthly housing stipend, and a $1,000 a year stipend for books and supplies. The new bill also gives Reserve and Guard members who have been activated for more than 90 days since 9/11 access to the same GI Bill benefits.

Again, no problem with veterans getting something in return for the time they put in, sometimes involuntarily (remember the draft) but why does someone who served after September 11, 2001 deserve more than someone who served in the 60's or 70's? Has anyone counted the names on the Vietnam memorial lately? Last I checked it was over 58,000.

And how would you feel if you left the service on September 10, 2001? That your time in the military didn't really count for that much?

And people wonder why politicians are held in such "high" esteem. This bill says it all. No regard at all for tens of thousands of people who, sometimes proudly, sometimes not so proudly, served their country. But boy, that bill sure has a nice symbolic date, September 11, 2001. Excuse me if I sound a bit, shall we say, disillusioned.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Coney Continues

We didn't have to wait too long for the rest of the gang to show up. They were delayed by, what else, subway repairs. Somewhere along the way they had to transfer to a bus and, being from out-of-town, it took them awhile to figure out how to get where they wanted to go. Not too surprising, seeing as how I ended up in the West Village the other day while trying take the subway to the East Village.

The Ringleader, Allen

The Rest Of The Gang; MCW, D.J., Allen, And Leslie

We drank our fill but had other bars to hit before the day was over. You knew it was a down day for Coney Island when even the ever-popular Shoot The Freak was empty.

The Freak Was Probably Happy

Our next stop was the only bar on the boardwalk that might give Ruby's a run for its money, in my opinion.

The Ever Popular Cha Cha's

And we even managed to get a group photo. I seem to be a bit distracted, however.

A Mostly Happy Crew

Cha Cha's did have a very nice bartender who. to her credit, put up with our increasingly, shall we say, exhuberant behavior.

Our Patient Bartender

Cha Cha's does have much, hmm, how should I put this, flashier caps than Ruby's. You can tell we probably had too much to drink by this time because Allen and I actually bought a couple.

Proudly Posing Today, Probably Embarassed Tomorrow

By the time we wandered out of Cha Cha's the crowd at Coney was starting to pick up, but still not your typical weekend day at the beach. And it was still gloomy.

Looks Like A Jim Jarmusch Movie

Before hitting our next, and last, bar for the day a bit of a food break was called for. When at Coney Island, a Nathan's Hot Dog is a must. Even a soggy one.

Outside Dining At Its Best

Our last stop was the Freak Bar, conveniently located right next to Coney Island's famous Freak Show.

Step Right In

Just Look For The Flashing Neon Sign - Not

This place gives the Mars Bar a run for it's money in terms of its austere decor. In fact it makes The Manhattans look positively posh. Unlike the Mars Bar, however, the bathrooms are actually useable.

Minimalistic Decor

Group Hug

Obviously we were still pretty proud of our caps. And they did go nicely with the Coney Island beer. Big beers, too.

Well, I Guess Beers Do Have A Head

After our session at the Freak Bar, Allen and the rest of the game had to head out. They had a bus or a train or something to catch. I can never remember what. They all live in Pennsylvania somewhere. The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I decided to stop into Footprints for dinner before we caught our ride.

My Favorite Carribean Restaurant

Yummy Curried Goat

Tasty Oxtails

As usual, the food was delicious and plentiful. The sides are great as well. Not sure what they do to their cabbage, but it is delicious, particularly when eaten with their rice and beans. I can't recommend this place enough. It is the most authentic Carribean food I have had anywhere except in the Carribean. And better than a lot of it I have had there.

Footprints Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 18, 2009

Crumby Coney Island Day

Man, are we ever going to get a spring here in the Northeast? It is almost noon and it is 54 F here in Brooklyn. Aside from a couple of really hot days a couple of weeks ago this has just been a miserable spring. Saturday, when I headed out to Coney Island, was typical; chilly and overcast, really overcast.

Can You Say Gloomy?

And, although this was supposed to be the "Grand Opening" of Coney Island, the place was not exactly crowded.

Where Is Everybody?

For the life of me, I don't know why they took the rocket down from the roof of this place. It looked pretty barren without it.

Something's Missing

I think the gloomy spring has driven this gal to drink the harder stuff. I am pretty sure she was holding a mug of rootbeer last year.

And Beer Is A Gateway Beverage

I was actually a bit worried that Ruby's wouldn't be open. An open air bar on a damp and chilly day isn't likely to do a real big business. I was relieved to see that my worries were for nothing.

Open For Business

Of course there wasn't anyone in the place when I got there except the bartender, who just graduated from college and is now a CPA.

Can't Remember His Name, Though

I just settled in for a beer and assured him that more people would be showing up soon.

Breakfast Of Champions

Actually, it was the Mysterious Chinese Woman who had the breakfast of champions, a Ruby's Hot Dog.

Better Than Oatmeal

After a bit a hardcore regular stopped by for his breakfast, so now we were three.

A Fourth And We Could Play Bridge

It wasn't too long before the rest of the crew arrived, and then the party began.

Let The Good Times Roll

There is, of course, more to this story so be sure to check back later for the rest.