Saturday, December 17, 2011

Carnegie Deli Poster Child

Hey, another far and few between post. I know, I know, I am a bad boy and will only get a lump of coal for Christmas. What can I say, I have no excuses. But this picture of a friend of mine, Albie, was just too precious not to post. A bunch of us were at the Carengie Deli at The Mirage in Las Vegas, and have you ever seen anyone so joyous over his sandwich? It is the Woody Allen and is half pastrami and half corned-beef.

Bliss, Pure Bliss

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Bountiful Birthday

Well, it has been a long time since I have posted anything. Just call me lazy. After almost seven years it is getting harder and harder for me to get fired up. But I will endeavor to do better for those of you who are still checking out my blog.

Just another short one today, but at least there are a few pictures. My wife's family celebrates my birthday along with our Thanksgiving celebration. Hey, it is hard to get everyone together so it is convenient.

For my birthday everyone chipped in to get me the perfect gift, one that I can store at my sister-in-law's place and one that will give joy not just to me, but to the entire family.

My New Smoker

And this is a humdinger, a Napoleon Apollo. The day after Thanksgiving I did a boneless ribeye roast and a boneless leg of lamb and then on Sunday I did a couple of racks of ribs. Everything came out great.

One of my neices also baked me a red velvet birthday cake and decorated it just for me.

A Custom Cake

That is a mug of beer and a spilled can of Heineken beer decorating it. I guess she knows her Uncle Barman.

And we had plenty of cake and pie to go around, as you can see.

Enough For Everyone

We had a great time and the celebration lasted for days. Next time I fire up the smoker I will take more pictures and let you get a look at the finished products. There was just too much going on for me to think about picture taking.

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving as well and I will try to post more often, I promise. Sheesh, I still have more to post about my trip to Russia.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bikers Everywhere

Headed out to Sanibel Island on a quiet Saturday morning and returned to thousands of bikers here in downtown Fort Myers. Should be an interesting evening. I don't expect to get much sleep tonight, given that the one downside of where I am staying is that there is virtually no sound-proofing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nigel Tufnel Day

Chilly morning here in Downtown Fort Myers but looks to be beautiful later on. Perfect for Nigel Tufnel day celebrations.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Heading To Florida

Just thought I would let you all know that I am heading to Fort Myers in a few hours so don't think I have abandoned my blog again. I will try to post while I am down there and then do some catch up when I get back. I really do have to finish up posting about my trip to Russia. Boy, have I ever been slacking off.

I think Facebook is taking up too much of my time.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

I Like Ike's

It is true, I haven't posted for awhile. Mostly just laziness and I will get back to my more regular posting soon. I still have some catch up to do with my trip to Russia. Man, that seems like it was ages ago. And I have some stuff from my trip to Minnesota, although not too much. And a few pictures of the Atlantic Antic.

Sad news, though. After my return from Minnesota I popped into Pete's Waterfront Ale House to chat with my good friend and the world's friendliest bartender, Gaid, only to find out that he and Pete's have parted ways. I haven't seen him since, although I know a few places to look.

My regular Friday and Saturday sessions at Pete's just won't be the same.

On a bit of a more upbeat note, here is one for the amazing coincidences file. On the way back home from my trip to Minnesota, where I visited friends not only in Minneapolis but also International Falls, Virginia, and Ely, I stopped in at Ike's in the Minneapolis airport for a pre-flight libation and meal.  I love this place and think it is one of the best airport restaurants I have ever been in. They have their main restaurant in downtown Minneapolis and I have eaten there as well.

Great Way To Relax Before A Plane Ride

Ike's has a retro look that tries to capture the ambience of the 50's and 60's. There is a story behind that, about a man named Ike who was never able to fulfill his dream of opening a restaurant and a son who did.

The food here is very good, although I have no idea what the Mysterious Chinese Woman ordered.

A Mystery Meal For The Mysterious One

Me, I came in for the steak, and they have a great one here at a reasonable, given the size and quality of the steak, price.

Now This Is A Piece Of Meat

Okay, and now for the coincidence part of it. I was chatting with our waitress, Karina. Somehow we started talking about where I had been in Minnesota and I mentioned International Falls, because that was where I spent most of my time. It turned out that she is from there. Now that is a small world because International Falls has a population of only a few thousand. When I told her I stayed with my friends Bruce and Donna she asked me if it was the Bruce who lived on Dove Island. When I said he was she said that her father had just gone golfing with Bruce the day before. Now that is a coincidence, is it not.

Karina, It Is A Small World, Indeed

If you ever have the opportunity to spend a little time in the Minneapolis Airport, Terminal One, you could do worse than to stop into Ike's. Even if it is only for a drink, because they have a mighty nice bar and it is a great place to have an well-made Martini or any other classic cocktail. They even have those Grassphoppers and Brandy Alexanders for an after dinner drink. Man, I used to love those back in the day.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Atlantic Antic And Adios

Only a quick post this morning. We have friends stopping by and then we are meeting more at the Atlantic Antic today. Of course I will take pictures and eventually post about it (don't forget, more on Russia too, one of these days). But just when I will get around to posting is the question because early tomorrow morning I head out to Minnesota to spend some time with friends of mine in Minneapolis, Virginia, International Falls and Ely. I will try to post while I am there, but if not, look for me after I return mid-October.

 I just bought Dragon Ages Origin and so far I am liking it a lot. On the other hand, I have given up Everquest and World of Warcraft. After spending years playing both, although "playing" might not be the right word, I think I finally had my fill. No more Ranger Strongbowski and no more Death Knight DeeKaa, it is hello Warrior el Dani.

 Don't forget, at 2:00 PM The Black Coffee Blues Band will be playing in front of Pete's Waterfront Ale House.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bernie Day At citiField

Well, okay, it wasn't really Bernie Day, but my good friend Bernie Carpenter is an usher, although I don't think they call them that anymore, at citiFIELD and won an award for the way he makes the guests (that would be paying customers) feel welcome and at home.  Considering he was the only usher so honored it really was special. And he got four tickets to give to his friends and he got to watch the game himself instead of standing on his feet making guests feel welcome and at home. He told me some of his secrets about how he goes above and beyond, but I promised not to reveal them

The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I got two of the tickets and our friends Bob and Loretta got the other two.  We were all supposed to meet at the big apple because I had the tickets.

The Big Apple Minus Bob And Loretta

Actually they had called earlier to say they couldn't make it so we weren't really hanging around waiting for them to show up. But we did get to the game early. Bernie said we must be in our seats by 6:30 PM so we wouldn't miss the award ceremony.  And we were.  Earlier than that, even. We didn't want to take any chances. But no problem, there was so much to do.

Batting Practice

Watching The Lights Come On

Preparing The Pitcher's Mound

Watering Third Base

Korean Drummers Drumming

But it was all worth it, because we did have very good seats, ones where you could actually see the whole field, unlike at Yankee Stadium.

Seats With A View

And You Could Even See The Scoreboard

But the wait was worth it, plus I had time to enjoy a Reuben Dog and a beer without fighting the crowds to get them.

And then, the moment we were all waiting for, Bernie getting his award.

Way To Go Bernie

That is him in the green shirt at the front of the line. And in case he is a bit hard to see, this should help.

A Beaming Bernie

And he should be proud. He hasn't been ushering all that long, just a couple of years, and to be singled out for recognition was quite an achievement. He also got a trip to the Yankees spring training camp in Florida as part of his award. Not bad at all.

And then, believe it or not, a game broke out.

A Swing And A Miss

And  because Bernie didn't have to work, he came up and sat with us to watch the game.

Bernie And You Know Who

Well, to be honest, we didn't stay for the whole game.  We left before the seventh inning stretch but I don't feel too badly about that. Our subway wasn't running for one reason or another so we ended up taking the Long Island Railroad back to Penn Station. No big deal, just a bit more of a walk to the train, but they didn't charge us. And we got home in time to see the Mets lose in extra innings. Three extra innings, in fact.

Just a reminder, this Sunday is the Atlantic Antic right here in Downtown Brooklyn. The best street fair in all of New York. I will be there and you will be able to find me in front of Pete's Waterfront Ale House from around 2:00 PM to about 4:00 PM listening to my friend Dimitri and The Black Coffee Blues Band. Great food, plenty of beer, and great music. What's not to like?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mini Bar Trek

I know, I know, my blogging has fallen off lately. I still have more on Russia, of course, but I will take a break and revert back to form with a few bars. One of my loyal followers says he doesn't like to hear about Mexico and Russia, he just likes the bar stuff. So here goes, but with limited pictures. I didn't have my camera but my friend Allen took a few with his iPhone.

Allen, the Yankee's fan, came up to see a few games last weekend, but he took Saturday off to hook up with me here in Brooklyn so we could go on a mini bar trek.  He brought along a few fellow Yankee fans and drinkers.

The Motley Crew Minus Allen

Allen, of course, was taking the pictures. Now this picture wasn't taken in our first bar, Waterfront Ale House. We looked much better when we first started. Certainly I did.

I got to Waterfront Ale House ahead of Allen's group. They got tied up in traffic but I was still on my first beer when they arrived. Gaid, the world's friendliest bartender, was on duty and was overjoyed to see us. I was willing to spend the afternoon here but the crowd grew restless after three or four beers.

They all wanted to go to Montero's but, alas, it was closed. And this place used to open up at eight in the morning. The bartender at the Roebling Inn said it only opens up at night now. I hope that isn't a sign that they are about to go out of business. I will check it out Sunday during the Atlantic Antic. If it isn't open for that it doesn't look good.

Well, as you might have guessed, our next stop was the Roebling Inn. A very nice bar and a relative newcomer to the neighborhood. Of course I am getting so old that places that have been here for twenty years seem like relative newcomers to me.  This is where Gaid usually goes to play darts after his shift is done so I bought a cider for him that he could collect when he showed up.

We passed by Floyd, Atlantic Chip Shop, and Last Exit, not because they aren't good bars, but because we did, kind of, have an agenda in mind. Brazen Head was on our agenda so we popped in there for a beer or two, I really don't remember anymore. Our ultimate, and what I thought was our next, destination was Hank's. But, on the way we passed by two8two and we decided to pop in there for a drink.


Now this is where I will get in trouble. The bartender her was very friendly and we chatted with her for quite awhile, but I forgot her name.

Our Friendly Bartender

Then we finally made our way to Hank's where we, or at least I, finished my day. Hanks was surprisingly fresh smelling and even the funky bathroom was clean. But the decor was unchanged. Because this place is so close to the new arena that is opening up to be the home of the Brooklyn Nets, and because this area of Atlantic Avenue in general is gentrifying, I worry that this place cannot last. It is a pity, because Montero's and Hank's are the only two dive bars in this stretch.

After we finished up here Allen's gang caught the subway and headed back into Manhattan where they had hotel rooms. They were going to stay over and catch the Yankee games on Sunday. Me, I caught the subway and headed home. I know, I could have walked, but the way I was walking it would have been twice as far as normal.

Well, that will have to do. Just isn't the same without more pictures. But it will be back to Russia next time. Or maybe the Mets game I am going to tonight, if something exciting happens.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Okay, a bit overdue, but not that interesting anyway. The island stop at Kizhi where I spent my time onshore drinking beer and eating smoked fish turned out to have some interesting stuff on it, though. Oh so interesting. You don't know what you missed interesting. You would have loved it interesting. Or so I heard for most of the day, being not-so-subtly admonished for my wanton ways.

This was an old village that had been preserved and, I guess, was a fairly true representation of what peasant life must have been like in the good old days.

Parts of the island were reminiscent  of northern Minnesota.

Just Like International Falls

And Not So Much

But something like this would make a nice place on Rainy Lake. Give the place a bit of a more worldly look.

Step Into My Dacha

The centerpiece of the island the large Church of the Transfiguration built entirely of wood. And that means no nails.

All Wood

There weren't too many buildings that you could actually enter. The Church of the Transfiguration is downright unsafe due to termites, wood-rot, the general ravages of age. It was built in the reign of Peter the Great, in 1714. You could enter a typical little hut and I thought this was an interesting little space-saver.

The Stove/Bed With Boot Dryer Combo

You put your bedding on top of the stove and that is where you sleep, nice and warm. And there is a little niche where you can place your boots to dry them out and make them nice and warm for the morning. And then, of course, the best thing on the island.

Why, Me, Of Course

And now you know how we spent our day. Me, chugging beer and sucking down smoked fish with total strangers while the Mysterious Chinese Woman saw some oh so, I would have loved it, I don't know what I missed interesting stuff.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Back Again

Okay, time to get back to my trip to Russia. It is kind of hard for me to get motivated to blog about a trip after I get home. Oh, before I start, though, we had another family barbecue last Sunday and I smoked another big hunk of yak. Not sure what part, but it was a roast of some type. I just seasoned it with salt and pepper, a good standby for a type of meat you aren't familiar with. Then I slow smoked it until I got an internal temperature of 140 F, let it rest and sliced it up. It was a nice deep red color inside but with almost no fat. And the color was consistent throughout except for the thin smoke ring on the outside. It wasn't dry and it certainly wasn't over-cooked, but it wasn't very juicy, either. An interesting flavor. Kind of like a cross between grass-fed beef and venison. Or at least that is as close as I can come to describing it. No pictures, though. Sorry, didn't bring my camera.

Okay, as I mentioned, the day after the vodka tasting the last thing I wanted to do was to take a stroll around a little village. I probably shouldn't have chosen that night to drink the gift bottle of bubbly we got earlier in the trip, but of course that was what I did. After all the vodka it somehow seemed like a good idea.

Well, you get the idea, any stroll at all was more than I was interested in. But that was what was on our agenda today, a little stroll around an "authentic" old village on an island. But, luckily, right where the boat docked was a little bar. How convenient. And it had what I was interested in.

A Lifesaver

This little bar drew quite a crowd, mostly Russian. I think some of them were people who actually lived and/or worked on the island and there might have been a Russian tour group here as well.

A Nice Morning Crowd

It looked like a lot of the people who were drinking here had bought smoked fish somewhere and were snacking on it while they drank. The couple next to me offered me some of theirs, which I greatfully accepted.

Two Thumbs Up

These Guys Weren't Tourists

And after those guys left the birds descended to finish up the leftovers.

Flashback To The Birds

Well, I had a pleasant enough time of it and eventually the Mysterious Chinese Woman did return to tell me all about her sightseeing.

Together Again

I will share her pictures with you tomorrow, they are kind of cool. And by then I might be able to dig out our notes and remember the name of where we were.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Finally, A New Post

Man, have I been lethargic lately. Nothing serious, just a major case of jet lag. And when you are retired and don't really have to live by any schedule you just start living a bit strangely. Like getting up at 2:00 A.M. and having coffee then watching something stupid on television. Thank goodness for Hulu+ and its endless supply of cheesy horror movies and other weird stuff.  Of course we are in bed by around 6:00 P.M. I kind of feel like a zombie, too. Maybe all those cheesy horror movies. This week I think I am finally back to some kind of normal.

One night we had a vodka tasting aboard ship. Who could pass up something like that. Certainly not me.

In the Russian tradition of drinking, a plate of things to nibble on was available.


It turns out that part of our tasting consisted of learning strange ways to drink your vodka.

Giving A Demonstration

Well, in for a dime, in for a dollar, I always say.

Drinking Like A Russian

Ah, Being Plied With Alchol

And, of course, there is more than one way to skin a cat or to drink a vodka.

Why Would Anyone Do This?

Ooh, More Alcohol

Okay, now let me get this straight, you balance the glass on the back of your hand and then you do what?

Drink It, Of Course

A Little More Vodka, Sir?

After the other, more convoluted methods of drinking, this one struck me as being positively genteel.

Like Drinking Out Of A Tea Cup

Well that was it for the drinking tricks. Now there was nothing left to do but settle back for a little nosh and a little more vodka.

A Perfect Ending

But that isn't to say Bar Man didn't pay a bit of a price the next morning.

What Time Is It?

And as a result of my vodka tasting I didn't see quite the same sights as the rest of our cruise did the next day. But that will have to wait for my next post.

Hurricane headed my way and it looks like it could be serious. I will keep you posted if anything interesting starts to happen.