Saturday, December 11, 2010

Nothing Says Dim Sum Like Chicken Feet

A couple of friends, Dave and Carol, who I met on the Berlin to Prague river cruise, were in town for a couple of days and wanted to meet the Mysterious Chinese Woman and me for dim sum in Chinatown.  They were with friends of their's from Britain.

Now, before we left to meet them, the Mysterious Chinese Woman said "Don't order any chicken feet, it will gross them out."  Well what, aside from the tripe, that I was also warned not to order, do you think they wanted to try.  By "they" I mean Dave and Grahm.  Their wives wanted no part of these tasty dishes.

Er, Just How Do You Eat These?

Just Push It In And Spit Out What You Can't Chew

We actually ordered a second helping of the chicken feet because they are prepared in two different styles.  It just goes to show, you shouldn't make assumptions about what people may or may not like.

A surprisingly warm day here in New York after a couple of really chilly ones.  I would head to the Waterfront Ale House but I am trying to lose a few pounds before I hit the beaches in Mexico, so that means cutting back on my beer consumption.  On top of that, I think I ate too much at dim sum so I am stuffed.  I probably should have walked home across the Brooklyn Bridge, but I was too lazy so I just took the subway.

They have installed new "informational" signs at the Brooklyn Bridge subway station, the ones that tell you how long before the next train arrives.  Of course the times they show have nothing to do with the time the trains actually arrive.  The sign said it would be 23 minutes before the train back to Brooklyn would arrive and it showed up with 21 minutes still showing on the sign.  It is amazing how the same type of signs seem to work to the minute in the subways in Europe and Hong Kong.  I have heard those signs also work in other cities in the United States.  Oh well, New York is something else altogether.  Most of the time the elevators and escalators don't work here either.

I still have a few more pictures from Las Vegas and I will try to get them up either tomorrow or Monday, so stay tuned.  Maybe not until Monday, because I will be watching football tomorrow.  The Giants/Vikings game should be interesting on a number of levels. It will also be interesting to see whether the Jets can regroup after their horrible showing against the Patriots, or if they have fallen apart completely.  I root for the Jets, but I have been saying all along that they have been more lucky than good this year.  Given the way the Patriots scored against them it probably didn't matter much, but this was their third loss where they haven't been able to score a single touchdown.  And Sanchez is starting to throw interceptions like Favre.

On the bright side, the Knicks are looking good.  I am reading "Life" by Keith Richards and next on my list is "Rockin' Steady: A Guide to Basketball and Cool" by Walt Frazier.  I also have an interesting looking book, "Travels with Barley: A Journey Through Beer Culture In America" by Ken Wells (a gift from my friend Bruce) and "The Castle in Transylvania" by Jules Verne (a gift from my brother-in-law Jim) in my Queue.  A great time of year to just curl up on the couch with a good book.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A Guest

Those of you who regularly read my postings are aware of my admiration for the Thirsty Swagman.  While Bar Man can hold his own with most, I have learned never to match a Russian shot for shot and never try to match an Australian beer for beer.  I have been asked to post some articles that are written by them (Thirsty Swagman, not the Russians and the Australians) if they fit with the overall theme of my blog.  As it turns out, they all do.

The Wettest and Wildest Party on the Planet

Speaking of epic places people go to party - Southeast Asia’s Thailand is home to what is possibly the biggest and wildest water fight event in the world. Keen travelers from all over, pack their bags and head to Thailand every April, to celebrate the Thai New Year (Songkran) with a splash. During this time, don’t be surprised when the whole of Thailand stops for 3 days to engage in an immense, country-wide water fight.

For the entire Songkran period, party goers line the streets and post themselves in every corner, ready with their water-filled weaponry (sometimes mixed with mentholated talc) aimed at who-ever dare pass by. ..So if you plan on walking more than 3 metres down the road during this time, expect to return nothing less than soaked from head to toe.

But why stop at a 3 day Thai New Year, massive, celebratory water fight – when you could turn this crazy travel experience into a full week of one totally unforgettable pub crawl marathon?

Buckle up beer-loving travelers and prepare yourselves for one exhilarating pub tour experience of a lifetime, handled by renowned Australian based tour operator Thirsty Swagman ( the company offering a purely pub- and bar-based itinerary worldwide. Your experience starts with bar hopping your way through Sentosa Island, where feet in sand and beer in hand, you’ll enjoy taking in the rays while making friends with the Thirsty crew that will soon be your new best buddies for the next action-packed week of partying.

After a day of blissful relaxation – you’ll be ready to head to the heart Clarke Quay, a cluster of themed bars ranging from Moroccan fantasy, to the Scottish Hilander. But be warned - A typical night at Clarke Quay usually involves nothing less that downing 4L towers of beer at Brewerkz microbrewery and then heading straight to The Clinic. Not the kind of Clinic guys end up at after a crazy night they can’t remember – this ironically themed pub had doctors and nurses treating you with syringes and drips filled with nothing but tasty alcohol, while you and your mates chill out on the slightly odd seating arrangements – hospital beds. The Clinic is definitely an unlikely pub, in a country where chewing gum is prosecutable.

The next destination is Phuket, Thailand, for a hard-core party in the Bangla Road. During the trip in Thailand, travelers get to experience Songkran, the Thai New Year, where you and hundreds of other partygoers, will be stumbling through the streets of Phuket with your water guns strapped on, in a fully-fledged, country-wide water fight! And did I mention? Soaked hotties everywhere!

One of the places in Thailand where pub travelers will dwell on is the hardest-rocking pub in the world, named Rock city, which is located on Phuket’s Patong Beach. With VIP entry and drinks, you’ll be raising your glass to the most authentic AC/DC, Metallica and Guns ‘n’ Roses cover bands you’ve ever heard. Along your drinking journey, you’ll also get to nail drinks at Tiger bar and several other of Patong beach’s best pubs and bar.

One highlight of this pub tour experience that mustn’t be left out is your speedboat adventure to a private pub on the beautiful Naka Island. To give you an idea of just how amazing this island is – it’s fit for a king – literally – as the Prince of Dubai recently stayed there. You’ll land on a stretch of beach with nothing but white sand, crystal clear water, and two tiny beach shack pubs that serve every beer, ice cold!

Ready to party? Visit

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Double Down And Just Down

Well, let's get the "Just Down" out of the way.  I don't think I need to say anything more than I am a Jets fan.

Now On To The Double Down

While the decor in Frankie's Tiki Room is, well, Tikish, the decor here is more lower east-side before it got gentrified. For those of you who have been there, think Mars Bar. Especially the bathrooms.

Number One

Number Two

Our lovely bartender, Lynnea, proudly displayed two of their most famous concoctions, both of which were featured on Samantha Browns show. Well, the first is just the main ingredient in their Bacon Martini. And yes, it is what it looks like, a couple of slices of bacon in a bottle of vodka to add flavor.

Bacon, Not Just For Breakfast

And, of course, the world-famous Ass Juice.

The Holiday Special, With Corn

And here we are, drinking under the signs advertising the Double Down's specials.

How Appealing

And Here Is The Whole Gang

The second guy from the left is Alby, our designated driver. He is wearing his customary U of M sweatshirt. I won't say Alby is superstitious, but whenever he comes to Las Vegas he wears a U of M sweatshirt and he wears the same sweatshirt every day he is here. Makes it easy to pack, that's for sure.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Revisiting Old Haunts

Having gotten a taste of a few off-the-beaten-path places when we were in Las Vegas last year, we decided to revisit a couple of them.  Our first stop was Frankie's Tiki Room, where I was hoping to get a new calendar.

Just Like In Hawaii

When we entered the place we ran into the same bartender we saw last year.

Allison, In The Same Shirt, Too

Actually, I don't know about the same shirt.  When I said I wanted the same thing the guy sitting on the curb outside was having she shreiked and said "I remember you guys from last year."  She still served us, though.

Most Of The Crew

From left to right there is Jon, AKA Smiley, Yours Truly, Jerry and Tom.  Our designated driver was off somewhere drinking his coffee and playing video  poker or something.

I had a Navy Grog and, I think, a Mai Tai.  Both were quite good, not that weak syrupy stuff you get in a lot of places.

They play clips from cheesy movies on the little TVs behind the bar and the bathroom is decorated with old zombie/horror movie posters.

I Like The Decor

And, of course, you have to have a large Tiki.  This one had a decidedly Las Vegas look to it.

I Only Have Snake-Eyes For You

One of the movies that they had playing in the background was  "Fiend Of Dope Island" and it is now sitting on the top of my Netflix queue.  As a bonus, the movie "Pagan Island" is included on the same DVD.  I will most certainly be drinking a Mai Tai or two while I settle in to watch them.

Movie Night

Although we could easily have settled in here for the duration, our sober driver, Alby, moved us along to our next stop, Double Down Saloon, home of the famous Ass Juice.  No, really, it is famous.  It has been featured on both Tony Bourdain's "No Reservations" and, more recently, on "Travels With Samantha Brown."

Tomorrow I shall post about Double Down, so be sure to check back.  They had a special holiday Ass Juice that included, among other things, whole kernals of corn.  You might not want to think about that combination for too long.

Oh, and Frankie's Tiki Room didn't make any calendars for 2011.  What a bummer.

Tiger Woods blew a four-stroke lead on Sunday to lose the Chevron World Challenge.  There was a time when this would have been a major story, maybe a full back-page.  In this morning's New York Daily News it was just a ho-hum quarter of a column tucked way in the back of the sports section.  How far the mighty have fallen.