Saturday, October 31, 2009


Ah, Halloween. I took a trip to my local watering hole, Pete's Waterfront Ale House, for a couple of pumpkin brews. Not wanting to be without costume I searched my wardrobe for my most horrifying apparel. Given my feelings for Brett Favre - pronounced Fav Ray, notice that the 'R' is after the 'V' - Sheesh!!!

My Most Horrifying Outfit

Second place would have gone to my Knicks paraphernalia (no paraphilia jokes, please).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Touch Of Columbia

Before taking in The Trashmen concert at southpaw we stopped for a bit of a nosh at a dynamite Columbian restaurant, Bogota Latin Bistro. It was just a block up from southpaw on fifth avenue in Brooklyn. It doesn't look like a whole lot from the outside, but don't be fooled.

Easy To Miss

It is fairly good-sized inside and they have an outdoor garden in the back. The weather wasn't nice enough to go out to see it though, but I am looking forward to a visit in the future.

The interior is cozy and cheerful so it warmed us up pretty nicely on this chilly and drizzly evening.

Quite Comfortable

The Mysterious Chinese Woman settled in right away and looked right at home.

Part Of The Picture

The place was pretty crowded and the service was a bit slow, but only by impatient New York standards. We got a little bag of fried plantain chips to nibble on for starters.

A Freebie

I like plantains and these were really good. Nice and crispy but in little stacks of three so they had some chew to them. A very flavorful dipping sauce too. Similar to the pepper vinegar sauce so popular in Belize. Except the stuff in Belize would blow your head off. The stuff here spicy enough, though.

Of course, when you think of Columbia you naturally think of, well, empanadas. Don't you? Oh yeah, and coffee. There is something else but it slips my mind. And it is right on the tip of my nose, er, I mean tongue.

Our Empanadas

Bar Man is really slipping when it comes to taking notes lately. I really do have to remember to carry around a little notebook and pencil. Anyway, I am not 100% sure, but I think one of these was beef - beef picadillo and chipotle tomato sauce. The other one I know was bacalao - salted codfish, roasted corn, jalapeno, and avocado dressing.

Now both of these were delicious. Nice thick, but perfectly fried and crispy, outside and stuffed with plenty very flavorful fillings. I like empanados and buy them on the street or, better still, at the soccer field in Red Hook. Most of them I have had are very good, but the ones here were probably the best I have ever had

We also ordered an Arepa de Chocolo (sweet yellow cornmeal cake) toasted with butter. Then for a topping we got the traditional topping that Columbians use on everthing, and I can't remember what it was called. It was interesting looking, not what I expected.

Arepa de Chocolo With ???

It was very good though. Kind of like a sweet cornbread with an unusual gravy. I quite liked it. A bit heavy for an appetizer, perhaps. But I tell you, this is a place where I could easily come and just share a bunch of appetizers. In fact, sad to say, I couldn't eat most of my main course. And then because we were going to the show I couldn't take a doggy bag.

My Meal

Now this was either a flank steak or a skirt steak. I don't really remember. But instead of pounding it thin and frying or grilling it, they cut this one thick and slow-cooked it. It was kind of like a very flavorful pot roast. Quite well done, but still moist. Almost like my pork butt would be after I cooked it all night to make pulled-pork.

And, as you can see, it came with all kinds of sides. That red-cabbage salad was great. Everything was excellent.

Sadly, I can't remember what the Mysterious Chinese Woman had. Really, I am going to start taking notes from now on.

There drinks here were very good as well. I started out with a margarita and followed that up with a Columbian beer.

Ah, Beer, That Was It

Then, being the fool that I am, ordered their special hot pepper margarita. Now I should know better. There was a place in Manhattan that had pepper martinis and they came with a quart of beer for a chaser. Believe me, you needed every drop of the beer. But, I digress. Let me just say this was one hot margarita.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Luckily I still had some of my beer to help me with the heat.

Aw, I'd Do It Again

And what did the Mysterious Chinese Woman make of all this?

She Just Laughed

It is a bit of a hike to get to Bogota from where we live, maybe about a mile or so, but well worth it. And, if we are lazy we could take the subway. But you would have to be pretty lazy. See, a mile is kind of the minimum break-even distance for taking the subway, unless the weather is bad. It isn't the $2.25 fare, it is the hassle of going down to one, waiting for a train, schlepping back up, and you still might be a few blocks away from where you want to be. Now, if you are going further, subways are great.

Bogotá Latin Bistro on Urbanspoon

Well, that really was a digression. Might as well go all the way. Here were a few robots that were in a window we walked by on the way to the restaurant, in a little shop on Atlantic Avenue.

And that is all for now. Next time I will post more about our trip to Las Vegas.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Last Friday night was the night of The Trashmen concert at southpaw. As you may know, I went to high-school with the lead guitar and vocalist, Tony Andreason. He graduated a year ahead of me and the year after I graduated, 1962, they put out their most well-known album, Surfin' Bird with the hit of the same name.

What many people may not know is that The Trashmen put out a total of 14 albums and a four CD box set of their recordings will be coming out soon. When Surfin' Bird aired in an episode of Family Guy recently it went to #8 on iTunes Top Ten Rock Songs chart and even hit #50 on the British Top 100.

They have just returned from a European tour and were playing at southpaw which is within walking distance of where I live. Southpaw is kind of a throw-back rock club somewhat reminiscent of CBGB, but with cleaner bathrooms.


Headliners At That

The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I ate at a nice restaurant just a block away (more on that later) and got here slightly before the doors opened. Once I charmed the doorman by telling him I played in the high school orchestra with Tony we were let in and got to pick primo seats at the bar. Actually, any seat would have been primo because it was primarily standing-room only.

Top Drawer Seating

The ambience of the bar was just up my alley too. Nothing fancy, but the drinks were reasonably priced even if the selection was somewhat limited.

Just The Basics

Tony stopped by to chat with us. The fellow next to him is Tony's brother, Mark. He took over the drums when Steve Wharer, the original drummer, died in 1989.

Mark And Tony With The Mysterious Chinese Woman

I thought it was kind of neat that they had a Family Guy pinball machine here and it was easy enough to get Tony to pose with me in front of it.

Bar Man And Tony

Obviously The Trashmen have some very loyal fans.

A Greater Love Hath No Man

The Hi-Risers started off the show.

The Hi-Risers

They were followed by The Neanderthals. I am not quite sure how their costumes reflect their name, especially the masks and the leis.

The Neanderthals

And then it was time for the headliners

The Trashmen

I thought Tony looked a bit like a younger Jack Nicholson

Here's Tony

All and all it was a great concert. All of the music was surf music, but of course, and The Trashmen pretty much focused on the material from their Surfin' Bird album. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

After the concert Tony stopped by for a drink and we had another pleasant chat. He still plays in Minneapolis, both with The Trashmen and in other groups. Next time I get back there I will have to get in touch with him to see if he is playing anywhere.

For a bit of trivia, the song Surfin' Bird was a combination of two songs by The Rivertons, The Bird's The Word and Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow. Originally The Trashmen were credited with being the composers of Surfin' Bird but after a bit of a legal hassle The Rivertons were given the credit.

It is kind of amazing that almost fifty years down the road Surfin' Bird remains so popular and, dare one say, almost iconic. It has been recorded by the Ramones, The Cramps, Silverchair, Pee-Wee Herman (but, of course) Equipe 84, and Sodom among others. It has also been used in several movies (Full Metal Jacket and Pink Flamingos to name a couple) and television shows. It is also featured in the soundtrack of the video game Battlefield Vietnam.

I am proud to say that I knew Tony way back when.