Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Well, I ain't gone yet, but I will be soon. I leave tomorrow for Minneapolis where I will hook up with old friends and then, on Friday, we will all head up north for a long weekend. There was a time, I vaguely remember, when some of us actually went fishing on this, the opening of walleye season. We don't bother with that anymore, just basically hanging out instead.

I think there will be eight of us this year, just about the whole crowd. We have been doing this for at least thirty years now and in all of that time I have only missed two. Once when I went to Europe for a river cruise and once when the guy who owns the cabin called it off for reasons I don't want to get into. It was sad, that's all I can say.

Went to Katz deli today and picked up three pounds of corned beef and three pounds of pastrami to bring up. I brought this up last year and it was a big hit. Katz was where they filmed the scene in Where Harry Met Sally. You know, the one where Sally fakes the orgasm giving rise to the famous line "I'll have what she's having."

My friend, Bruce, is bringing up haggis that he made with deer parts. He said he lost his Sears stomach so he didn't know what he would stuff it into. I suggested an old football, but I think he is just going to cook it in a pot.

Anyway, I won't be posting again until next Tuesday. I don't get back home until late Monday night. Just letting you know so you don't have to keep clicking here to see if there is anything new.

On the other hand, you might want to check out my blog late on Tuesday because I will probably have something to say about the weekend.

Also, I think my karma has just gone all to hell. First, when I was a Knicks fan, they brought in Isiah Thomas to coach and Stephon Marbury to play. Two people who I disliked so much I actually gave up my season tickets, unable to bring myself to root for the team anymore. Then the Jets brought in Favre, and if you follow my blog you know my feelings about him and how I felt about the Jets getting rid of Chad Pennington. Now, my fall-back team from where I grew up, the Vikings, are thinking about bringing in Favre. What have I done to deserve this.

And, just to reinforce my belief in bad karma, after I stopped rooting for the Knicks I switched my allegience to the Celtics because they brought in Garnett, a favorite of mine from when he played for the Timberwolves. Marbury leaving the Timberwolves was one, but not the only, reason that I dislike him so much. I was never a real Timberwolves fan, though, because the team didn't even exist when I lived in Minneapolis. Anyway, what happens, the Celtics bring in Starbury and Garnett is out for the rest of the season and the Celtics will probably be eliminated in the second round of the play-offs.

Kind of amazing that three people; Thomas, Starbury and Favre can find a way to spoil my enjoyment of four teams; Knicks, Jets, Celtics and, maybe, Vikings. I suppose it could be worse, I could be a Florida International University alumni.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Bright Future

One of the most bizare taglines that I have ever seen for a movie:

"A young man cares for a deadly jellyfish that once belonged to a friend who murdered their boss."

Guess I will have to record it.

Monday, May 04, 2009

No Oompah Bands

We headed out fully intending to hit Zum Schneider, but subways and the weather conspired against us. No subway really goes close to Zum Schneider, which is located on the far lower east side in the area affectionately known as Alphabet City. I suppose, if I was more ambitious, or thought about it more, I could have transferred to a bus, but that didn't happen.

It was just kind of drizzly when we headed to the subway so I didn't think walking would be a problem. But then when we got to the subway station we entered in to the MTA equivalent of a Kafka novel. The track for the subway we wanted, the F train, was closed for repairs. Well, no big deal, the train we wanted just showed up on a different track. But then when we got on it there were some garbled announcements and the next thing we know it is running a different route and we end up way over on the East Side, in Greenwich Village.

I figured we would just take the F train back downtown to the West Side, but then I wasn't sure where that would really go so we took the D train instead. I am not that familiar with this line so I wasn't sure where to get off. When we got to Grand Street I figured it was time to depart because now we would be heading back to Brooklyn if we stayed on.

When we got out of the station it was raining much harder and the area, a corner of Chinatown, had the ambiance of something out of Blade Runner. In a neat kind of way. Right across the street was a Vietnamese restaurant so we kind of said, What the hell, and went there.

Nam Son

I think the huge stretch limo added to that Blade Runner ambiance, for some reason.

"More Human Than Human" Is Our Motto

By the way, if you ever get the chance you should watch the director's cut of this film. It adds a bit to the plot in a bizarre kind of way.

Anyway, I was happy to see they had '33' beer here. It was a great favorite when I was actually in Viet Nam. And even though you good get beer at the serviceman's clubs for about a dime, I think you could get this for even less. Plus it always tasted better having a cold one in a kind of dive Vietnamese bar with weird music and, maybe, a pool table.

Like An Old Friend

We ordered some spring rolls and something else that I really can't describe for appetizers. The spring rolls were really good and the other stuff, well, strange.

Good Spring Rolls

And The Weird Stuff

A kid sitting across from me really seemed to be enjoying his meal, so I just asked the waiter to give me what he was having. I have noticed that Asian kids seem to enjoy their food much more than American kids. Must be kind of a cultural thing.

Kid's Food

It was just chunks of beef in a heavy brown sauce with a lot of fried onions, but it was quite good and hit the spot on a chilly, gloomy, rainy day.

The Mysterious Chinese woman ordered a pork dish that was really delicious. I don't know how they did it, but the pork, although thinly sliced and cooked completely through, was exceptionally tender. They must marinate it in something.

Pork And Sides

I think the thing to do is to roll up the pork with some of the other stuff in a lettuce leaf and then kind of eat it like a taco.

Not Too Sure About This

Having It My Way

It really was too rainy to do any walking around so we just headed back home after we were done eating. But as we left we had one last memory of the somewhat "other worldliness" of this particular stop on the D train.

So Long, And Thanks For The Memories

Now that I know about this little neighborhood I will have to make a point of coming back again. That is the thing about living in New York. You can live here forever and still continue to find little tucked away neighborhoods that you have never visited before.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Back In The Saddle Again

I decided to hike to The Manhattans, and it is a pretty fair hike. I left my place at about 3:00 P.M. and at about 3:25 P.M. had a blister starting up on my heel because I had foolishly decided to wear a new pair of Minnetonka Moose Hide Moccasins. I have five pairs of these and I love them. They are the only thing I wear except for my hiking boots when I go to the gym or for long strolls over rough terrain. Maybe I should have worn them today, or at least worn one of my older pairs of moccasins. I stopped to buy some bandaids and then stopped into a bar to put one on and take a bit of a rest.

Plan B

Plan B is on Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn in a neighborhood that is rapidly gentrifying, but still has plenty of the old run-down ambiance about. Given the falling real estate prices and the potential for a turn-around, if I was going to buy a place this would be where I would be looking.

You can tell the place is going upscale because a Brooklyn Lager and a shot of Jim Beam set me back $14 in this not too upscale looking place. Six bucks for a beer was bad enough, but charging $8 for a shot of Jim Beam was, in my opinion, a bit much. I will have to say that the bartender, waitress, and someone who I took to be one of the owners were all very friendly. And the place was pretty packed.

At about 4:30 P.M. I ambled over to The Manhattans, which was supposed to be open at 4:00 P.M. I don't know why I should have been surprised, knowing Tracy's reputation for punctuality, but it wasn't. The guy sitting on the stool next to it said he didn't know if was ever open.

The Manhattans Is Closed

Luckily, I passed a place on the way that was open, Washington Commons, so I decided to sit there for awhile.

It Just Beckoned Me In

It was kind of a neat place, certainly not fancy. They had an outside "garden" area that was, shall we say, a bit on the bleak side. But then it was kind of a bleak day. Maybe it is cheerier when it is sunny.

Kind Of Like A Prison Exercise Yard

The bartender, Ben, was a friendly fellow. He has just been bartending for a few weeks and seemed eager to learn. He heard me talking about The Manhattans and the Manhattan cocktail and wanted to know how to make one.

An Eager Student

I saw that they had Kwak on draft so had to have one of those. The last time I had one I didn't realize that the little stand was actually kind of a mug. You don't have to take the glass out of the stand to drink out of it. The guy next to me pointed this out because, apparently, he had taken the glass out and then made the mistake of just setting, or trying to set, it on the beer. Didn't work out to well.

The Round Bottomed Glass

As I said, nothing too fancy about this place. I think this was once an older, divier bar, and not a whole lot of remodeling took place. In fact, I think this is true of a lot of the "newer" bars in the neighborhood.

Simple, But Functional

I had kind of given up on going to The Manhattans. One of the guys in the bar said he didn't think it opened up until about 7:00 P.M. Then I got into a conversation with some people next to me who came from Minnesota and had just moved into the neighborhood. Then I saw that they had Speckled Hen on draft, one of my favorites and, well, one thing led to another so I had a Speckled Hen and a double Maker's Mark.

Bar Man's Resolve Was Fading

I had to walk by The Manhattans to catch the subway home and, to my surprise, it was in fact open. Not that you would necessarily know that, unless you knew it was supposed to look like this. No wonder the guy thought it was still being remodeled. Leave it to Tracy, he must Tivo Martha Stewart and study her for the decorating tips.

No Expense Was Spared

At least the outside wasn't misleading. The decorating theme was carried forward into the bar itself. Craftsmen were flown in from Europe to get the stools upholstered that way.

Highly Trained Craftsmen Were Required

It Looks Random, But Was Carefully Thought Out

The Stairway To The Roof Garden

On the other hand, the bartender, and I think his name is Dustin, and I asked him about half a dozen times, was very friendly. He was a bartender at Siberia so he knew the ropes and, obviously, is a friend of Tracy. He said Tracy usually didn't come in until later, no surprise. Sadly, I wasn't going to last until later.

Dustin, I Think

The Pabst Blue Ribbon keg has just been tapped and was still too foamy to pour so I had another Brooklyn Lager and a shot of something, I forgot what though. In fact, I don't remember how many I had. I was the only one in there when I got there, but about half-a-dozen people had gathered by the time I left. Dustin said the place filled up later at night but that it would take awhile for it to catch on. No kidding, if the guy sitting next to it didn't know it was open I suspect a lot of people in the neighborhood don't. Knowing Tracy, that will change.

Another Beer And A Shot

I was in no shape to walk to the subway so I ended up taking a cab home. Going out and hitting a few bars, even semi-dive bars or, in the case of The Manhattans, a real dive bar, isn't cheap anymore. And, after my month of no drinking, what I had hit me pretty hard.

Recovering This Morning

The Mysterious Chinese Woman just sighed and said drinking beer and having coffee in the morning was pretty sad. Luckily, I have Rhapsody so was able to play Coffee Stains and Beer, Coffee, Beer, and Borrowed Time, Beer and Whiskey, Coffee and Cigarettes, Coffee, Beer and Cigarettes, and two versions of Beer for Breakfast.

Enthralled By My Selections

I should have picked up a pack of cigarettes when I got my beer, but I don't smoke, cigarettes.

Luckily I recover quickly so we will be heading out to Zum Schneider in about an hour to celebrate Spring and the beginning of Maibock beer season at a party complete with pig roasted on a spit, oompah bands, and imported Maibock beer from Germany.